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Cimarron’s .45 Rooster Shooter

Cimarron’s .45 Rooster Shooter

A shootable reproduction of John Wayne’s Silver Screen Single Action Army .45.

In older Western movies quite often the firearms used became as recognizable as the star himself. For a time in the 1960s, and 1970s especially, our eyes were assaulted by poorly finished, brass-grip-framed Italian replicas in most Western movies. Thankfully, there were companies who decided to take the path of more authentic replicas and most Westerns made in the last 20 years or so have paid special attention to the firearms using period correct sixguns and rifles, which are faithful replicas of the originals. One of these companies is Cimarron Firearms. Mike Harvey of Cimarron started out small several decades ago by purchasing a small importer by the name of Allen Firearms. He did not stay small but rather worked tirelessly with Italian manufacturers to produce authentic replicas. Today we have almost every frontier firearm available as a quality replica and a major part of that is due to Mike Harvey and Cimarron.

In addition to standard replicas Cimarron provides such famous movie guns as the “Man With No Name” cartridge conversion used by Clint Eastwood in several of his spaghetti Westerns. Cimarron Firearms also now offers one of the most famous sixguns ever seen on the screen, namely John Wayne’s .45 Colt Single Action which has become known as the Rooster Shooter. John Wayne had a long Hollywood career starting with very minuscule bit parts in long forgotten movies, however he found his niche as a Western hero. In the early B Westerns he mostly carried an ivory gripped, or at least what appeared to be ivory, 5-1/2″ Single Action which was chambered in .38-40. Western movie firearms used a “5-in-1” blank so named because it could be used in Single Actions chambered in .45 Colt, .44-40, and .38-40, as well as Winchesters originally made for .44-40 and .38-40. So it made no difference what the hero’s firearms chambering was as long as it was one of these.

In 1939 John Wayne really became a star with his portrayal of Ringo in Stagecoach. This was the first appearance of his large-loop lever-action carbine, the Winchester Model 92 chambered in .44-40. He would go on to use this rifle in virtually every major movie he made after Stagecoach. He levered a cartridge in by swinging that rifle in Stagecoach and also as Rooster Cogburn as he rode into the Ned Pepper gang in that memorable scene in True Grit. In that same scene he also carried the .45 Colt, which he erroneously called a “Navy Colt,” that starred along with him in virtually every one of his major budget Technicolor movies. This is the sixgun which is now offered in replica form by Cimarron.
By John Taffin

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  1. Jeff Sartain says:

    Great interesting article. I always wondered what model of pistol Wayne used in the later colored movies.

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