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Still Going Strong

Still Going Strong

Newer Powders In The .45 ACP.

There aren’t very many firearms that have been in continuous and abundant production around the world for the last century. The Browning A5 is no more, and even the Winchester Model 94 had a brief hiatus early in the 21st century. Meanwhile, the 1911 Colt is probably even more popular than it has been for many years—proof once again of John Browning’s genius.

While I’ve fooled around with a bunch of 1911s over the decades, ranging from rattling old mil-surps to new Kimbers and Wilson Combats, I hadn’t owned one in quite a while. This posed a little problem when editor Jeff John suggested a centennial column on newer powders for the 1911—a problem that turned out to be easily solved with a visit to Capital Sports & Western Wear of Helena, Mont., one of the old-style gun stores in the state, complete with two in-house gunsmiths and lots of used guns for sale.

They didn’t have any used 1911s, but did have some new ones. I am not much of a target shooter, so mostly wanted a reliable self-defense sidearm with basic, rugged sights. Something as close as possible to the original would work great. Luckily, they had a Cimarron Arms “Wild Bunch,” a pretty close copy of the early 1911s manufactured by Armscor in the Philippines, designed for use in the “Wild Bunch” variation of Cowboy Action shooting. The manager of Capital’s gun department, Dave Tobel, said they’d had very good luck with various Cimarron products, and since the price was half of the next “most affordable” 1911 in stock, I decided to give it a try.

Back home, my Timney gauge showed the trigger pull averaging just about 4-1/2 pounds, though it felt lighter. Everything else, from the magazine release to the safety, functioned smoothly and easily. The first field trial was with a batch of “break-in” handloads filled with Ramshot True Blue and Remington 230-grain hardball bullets. It was the middle of March, a week before the official end of winter, a good time for blasting snowbanks, providing an idea of how a handgun handles and some revenge for the past several months. The Cimarron handled very well, and fed every round reliably, puncturing piles of snow as fast as the trigger could be pulled.

By the time a new batch of highly varied handloads was assembled, spring had arrived, or at least what passes for spring in the northern Rockies, a quickly-changing mix of sunshine, rain and more snow. One Thursday afternoon turned out sunny and reasonably warm, and the Cimarron got a more formal workout with the help of a Millett Benchmaster pistol rest.


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