Cimarron Firearms’ Thunderer single action revolver is exactly like nothing they’ve done before. It’s kind of like everything they’ve been doing. And it’s awesome.
What’s so different about the Thunderer is that, unlike the other guns produced by Uberti for Cimarron, this one isn’t a reproduction. Cimarron goes through great pains to perfectly reproduce many historical firearms. I was duly impressed with the attention to historical detailed applied to Cimarron’s McColloch Colt.
But the Thunderer never existed until now. Not exactly. The Thunderer is built off the Single Action Army. If you pulled the grip off, it would look just like the iconic Model Ps.
That familiar frame is paired with the grip from the double action Colt Model 1877, which was widely regarded as having one of the worst double action trigger mechanisms ever.
Cimarron’s Thunderer is then a Single Action Army Top on a Model 1877 bottom.
This is the best mashup since Iron Horse’s Fade To Bluegrass.
Once you see it, and once you shoot it, you’ll wonder why this grip wasn’t put on a single action gun 100 years ago.
In standard 14K PSI loads, the Thunderer is easy to draw and easy to shoot. There’s no twisting the hand common with the Model P. Pulling the firing hand up to cock the hammer isn’t a challenge, and since the frame is the same as the Single Action Army, it’s just as easy to cycle with your support hand thumb for fast fire.
The website description and this stainless version are a bit at odds. Cimarron says the Thunderer is “made on the Old Model (pre-1896) frame and ‘bullseye’ ejector head.”
Note the cylinder base pin is held in by a spring-loaded cross pin on the side of the frame forward of the cylinder on this revolver. That’s a New Model/smokeless powder frame.
The ejector head is definitely not the old model’s “bullseye,” but actually the half moon model, also from the New Model.
The discrepancy is because the blued models are built on the Old Model frame, and the stainless version is built on the New Model frame.
There are several finishes offered for the Thunderer. This particular model is their brushed stainless. As usual, Uberti does a great job here, producing a smooth, even finish without rough tool marks. It’s not quite the gloss you’ll find on a new Python or King Cobra, but it’s darn pretty nonetheless.
The grip shape gives shooters with big hands a little more space between the front of the grip frame and the trigger. It’s long enough that someone with size large hands can just fit 3 fingers fully on the grip, although many will still prefer to fire it with a “pinky under” grip common to the Model P.
These stainless guns come with smooth walnut grips adorned with the Cimarron medallion. Checkered grips are also available.
As the top is a standard Model P, you’ll find a bright blade fixed front and a channel rear.
The Thunderer’s critical dimensions are pretty tight. Using a minus pin gauge set, the cylinder throats all measured to .452″ and the minor bore diameter (lands) was .440″. The major bore diameter (grooves) measured to .451″. That’s all the right ratio for accuracy. More importantly, considering the kind of shooting these guns tend to go through, those tight bore diameters mean a solid seal on a soft lead bullet, reducing fouling and leading of the barrel.
This was born out in the accuracy testing.
The common Winchester White Box 250gr Super-X round printed good and consistent 2-inch, five round groups when averaged over 4 shot strings at 25 yards off bags. This is a work-horse of a commercial cartridge, and I’d bet the most often shot round in the 45 Colt, at least for folks that don’t reload.
For the decent, God-fearing Americans that roll their own, the Thunderer is capable of admirable precision. One of my favorite loadings safe for any smokeless revolver is the Hunters Supply 255gr SWC over 6 grains of Titegroup. At 25 yards this round will plow a tunnel straight through a broadside whitetail deer. It also shot very well in this gun, producing extremely consistent groups that averaged 1.1-inch.
Given the critical dimensions of the Thunderer, I’d have expected those two similar bullets, firing at similar speeds, to print similar group sizes. They both shot to similar points of impact, less than an inch high and very slightly left at 25 yards, but the reloaded round obviously shot much better. Maybe it has something to do with the material, as the Hunter’s Supply round has a Brinell hardness of 22, whereas the Winchester bullet is closer to 16.
I didn’t have any copper jacketed rounds in 45 Colt and I don’t see any need to have any. A bullet with Brinell hardness of 22, especially when properly lubed, won’t foul your bore and will pound through flesh and bone just fine.
The Thunderer shot with the reliability expected from Cimarron and Uberti, that is, exceptional. Uberti is extremely common on the SASS circuit. I’ve watched lots of folks shoot Uberti guns month after month in matches, and several national champions shoot their guns, for good reason. They work. They keep working. When, like all mechanical things, they break, they are easy and inexpensive to repair.
Before I knew it, I had put 100 rounds through this gun. I did the same thing 3 days in a row, practicing a draw and fire 5 at various ranges. It was an absolute ball. It’s hard to not have fun shooting a cowboy gun, and the Thunderer is certainly no exception. I never had any issues with the revolver in any way. I lubed it well before shooting, and never again for the review.
Cimarron has made a great revolver. It’s a little different than what they’ve done in the past, with the same eye to quality they’ve been putting out on their historical guns for decades.
I’m dreaming of what this gun would look like with full coverage engraving and some stag grips.
Specifications: Cimarron Firearms Thunderer 4 3/4″ Stainless
Caliber: 45 Colt (multiple others offered)
Frame Material: Stainless steel (others offered)
Barrel Material: Stainless steel (others offered)
Barrel Length: 4 3/4″ (multiple others offered)
Weight: 2lbs (depending on barrel length)
Finish: Stainless (multiple others offered)
Grip: 1877 Birdshead
Grip Material: Smooth Walnut (checkered offered)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Finish * * * *
This thing looks great. Custom ideas abound. I’d like to see it with fancier wood.
Customization * * * *
Anything on earth can be done to this gun, and relatively inexpensively, considering how many parts and smiths there are available that know the platform.
Reliability * * * * *
I have a Uberti single action I literally found lying in mud after a flood. That was many years and many thousands of rounds through it ago. This one is even better.
Accuracy * * * *
Good with the cheap store-bought stuff, and very good with the right round.
Overall * * * * ½
I can’t give a single action with less than stellar wood and a brushed finish 5 stars on principle. This is a fantastic revolver at a great price. Different, beautiful, tons of fun, and still practical 100 years after it should have been invented. The hard thing is finding one. Call Cimarron directly for availability.