Sometimes just a glance will do it. That’s how it was with my first look at the press release for Cimarron’s new Bad Boy single action revolver from Uberti chambered in 44 Magnum and sporting either a 6 or 8″ barrel. It was that octagon shaped barrel with the blue finish that vaulted the Bad Boy near the top of my “gotta get my hands on one” list, but then I’ve always been a sucker for a single action revolver with an octagon barrel. The fact it was a Peacemaker style replica chambered in 44 Magnum and equipped with adjustable sights also appealed to the handgun hunter in me. I struggled a bit trying to identify the grip frame shape: neither Ruger Blackhawk nor Super Blackhawk — not Colt SAA, not Bisley, not Freedom Arms. The Bad Boy sports the grip frame of the 1860 Colt Army pistol, one of the most popular (and perhaps most beautiful) cap and ball pistols used in the 19th century.
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Once in my hands, both guns seemed lighter than expected. The octagon barrel provided a partial explanation for that — shaving metal from a round gun barrel to create 8 flats does reduce weight. But the cylinder looked smaller than the Ruger 44 Magnum single action revolver, so I made some measurements. The Bad Boy’s cylinder diameter is 1.68″ while the length is 1.675″. The diameter of a Ruger New Blackhawk cylinder is 1.73″ with a cylinder length of 1.7″. But since the Ruger cylinder chambers are not recessed to enclose the cartridge rims, this is not an “apples to apples” comparison. The 44 Magnum’s rim thickness is .055”, which makes the useful length of the Ruger cylinder 1.755″ compared to the Bad Boy’s useful cylinder length of 1.68″.
Attention To Detail
Recessed chambers were eliminated by our major manufacturers of 44 Magnums years ago, which simplified and reduced the cost of the manufacturing process. I’ve always thought that cylinders with recessed chambers make for an elegant touch in a handgun, and I like seeing them in the Cimarron guns. The trade-off on having this feature is that you’re restricted to the use of light to “standard” weight bullets (at least in the Bad Boy) because the heavyweight bullets extend beyond the cylinder mouths and prevent cylinder rotation. And with the case rims enclosed, you can’t see whether or not there are rounds in the chambers unless you open the loading gate.
I was quite impressed with the fit and finish on all parts of the gun both metal to metal (specifically the loading gate to frame) and wood grip panels to grip frame. That’s especially important to me because of the beauty of the wood grips. The choice of an unfluted cylinder on a smaller 44 Magnum struck me as odd at first, but combined with the bright blue finish on the overall gun, I decided the match was perfect. The Bad Boy features a hammer mounted “floating” firing pin, which is correct for a retro design (even if it is in 44 Magnum.) This does dictate the use of extra caution for handgun hunters who periodically have to decock their revolver after a shot opportunity dissolves. Being a 19th-century design, there is no transfer bar system — the gun must be carried with the hammer down on an empty cylinder. In fact, the Bad Boy has only 3 audible clicks compared to the 4 found on Colts. It’s the first click/stop safety notch that’s missing, so don’t even think about carrying the gun, however briefly, with the hammer down on a loaded chamber.
The adjustable sights on the Bad Boys present a sight picture far superior to the fixed sights typically found on a replica (and modern) single action revolver. The base of the front sight is dovetail mounted in the barrel and anchored by a screw. The rear of the front sight blade and the slanted rear-facing section of its base both have serrations to help diffuse light reflection and eliminate glare. Top and side edges are straight on front and rear sight alike. You don’t have to settle for just hitting a target; the sights allow you to pick exactly where you want to hit and, as I found out during the subsequent shooting sessions, the Bad Boy will deliver multiple hits to that exact spot.
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In The Beginning
As a young adult, my first foray into big bore handguns was with black powder pistols because they were more affordable to purchase and economical to shoot. My roommate purchased an 1860 Army replica while I got the 1858 Remington. Back then I shot handguns with one hand and curled the little finger of my shooting hand under the butt of a single action revolver. In that position, it was difficult, or at least awkward, for me to cock the hammer with my shooting hand. Thus my choice of the smaller grip Remington. Today most people, including me, shoot handguns with 2 hands, something I adopted when I started shooting 44 Magnums decades ago. As it turns out, the Bad Boy’s 1860 Army grip is ideal for this. You have a longer grip that provides more space for both hands to hold, and you cock the gun with the thumb of your support hand. While I recognize that I was using less than maximum loads with reduced recoil, the longer grip insured there were no trigger guard whacks on the knuckle from recoil. A pure pleasure to shoot!
I received both Bad Boy test guns (one each with 6″ and 8″ barrel) as I was packing for a hog hunt with Garrett Cartridges of Texas, so serious testing of hardware didn’t begin until after I arrived in camp. I planned on hunting with one of Garrett’s hard cast 44 Magnum loads but had no predetermined thoughts on which gun would get the nod. As it turned out, the cylinders were too short to handle Garrett’s heavier 310-grain bullets but adequately housed the shorter 250-grain rounds. Velocities of this load ran 1,161 fps through the 8″ inch barrel and 1,158 fps in the 6″ barrel. The loads were comfortable to shoot in both guns, but the shorter barrel was shooting over the 6″ steel gongs even with the rear sight bottomed out. As it turned out, the 8″ barrel gun had a slightly better trigger pull than the 6″, (3 lbs. 8 oz. vs. 4 lbs. 4 oz.) Shooting from a bench with arms resting on a bag, I was able to dial in the longer barrel and shoot some sub-2″ groups at 25 yards, and it had been a while since I shot sub-2″ groups with iron sights. Following group testing and velocity measurements, I was able to ring the 6″ steel plates at 25, 50 and 75 yards in sequence. To ensure I finished the day on a high note and not risk humiliation among my peers, I ignored the 100-yard steel plate and packed up my gear for hunting.
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It’s Called Hunting
I’d love to report that the Bad Boys and I rode out on the ranch and exterminated a herd of wild boar just in time to save the pretty new schoolmarm from back east who had recently moved to Texas, but as you’ve already guessed, that didn’t happen. I was working on two articles that week and alternated every day on which gun to carry. It’s almost unfortunate that I was wearing the other gun when I encountered pigs because I shot smaller groups at longer ranges with Cimarron’s single action revolver. Another day perhaps, as I sense the Bad Boy and I have not had our last hunt together. These latest offerings from Cimarron feel way too good to return.
For velocity comparisons, check the table below. I had expected a greater velocity difference between the two guns given the 2-inch difference in barrel lengths.
Cimarron 44 Magnum w/8” Barrel @ 25 yards
- Garrett 250-grain. 44 Mag Defense Load: Avg Velocity = 1,161 fps
- Garrett 250-grain 44 Special: Avg Vel = 983 fps
- DoubleTap 240-grain 44 Special: Avg Vel = 965 fps
- Black Hills 44 Special: Avg Vel = 805 fps
Cimarron 44 Magnum w/6” Barrel @ 25 yards
- Garrett 250-grain 44 Mag: Avg Vel = 1,158 fps
- Garrett 250- grain 44 Special: Avg Vel = 982 fps
- DoubleTap 240-grain 44 Special: Avg Vel = 960 fps
- Black Hills 44 Special: Avg Vel = 800 fps
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