Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fat men and iron

Phil Bardsley and I had our quasi-monthly dim sum/shoot some event on Saturday. For the first time I can recall, we didn't finish everything we ordered at Noble Court. I think this means my stomach may be shrinking. 

At the range, I mostly shot .45 ACP from my SIG 220, but I rented a Kimber Gold Match II to try it out. Phil has a Kimber Eclipse Pro that I've shot a few times. Kimbers are very nice pistols and accurate like anything. I was hoping to see a big enough difference between the Kimber and my SIG to make me want to trade up, but Kimbers don't come cheap and even with a trade-in on my well-used SIG, I expect to pay a lot for one.

I did get to thinking about another cowboy gun, however. I enjoy my Cimarron Arms Model P SA .45 so much that I want to get a companion (or two). After shooting, I stopped off at two places near me: Adventure Sports in Lynnwood and Sam's Gun Shop in Everett. Adventure Sports carries several Uberti pistols and long guns; Sam's carries the Cimarron line. (Sam's is the only Cimarron dealer in WA state.) Cimarron are made by Uberti in Italy, but the lines are actually distinct. There are several models in each range that are not available in the other.

At Adventure Sports, I was looking longingly at a .45 1858 New Army conversion. It's a big gun with a long 8" barrel, but felt surprisingly light when I handled it and it's very nicely balanced. I'm a little hesitant to get another pistol that shoots .45 LC because of the difficulty finding jacketed rounds for it--as well as the expense of even the cowboy action rounds. But I learned from Sam's that they have such faith in the circulation system for their range that they allow shooting lead cap bullets. I've been shooting at Wade's for years, but it's nice to know that there's a place only a few miles from my house where I can shoot my SA even when I can't find jacketed rounds.

At Sam's I found what I'd hoped they'd have: Cimarron's model of the .38 Colt Lightning. It's chambered for .38 special and has a bird's head grip. It's a nice light piece and well balanced. The .38 ammo is much less expensive than .45 LC and is widely available as FMJ, so indoor shooting at any range isn't a problem. They had one with a 5.5" barrel and another with, I think, a 4.75" or maybe 3.5" barrel. The 5.5" barrel is what I wanted and I bought it after only a few minutes consideration (just long enough to let me look over a Cimarron "Yellow Boy" they had on the wall). I don't have a concealed carry permit, so I have to wait for a background check to clear before I can take possession of the gun, but I could have it by the weekend. Also, I can fire it on the premises at Sam's (on their range, not in the shop).

The acquisition of the Lightning gives me a pair that is similar to the pair of pistols that Doc Holliday is reputed to have carried--except that his were nickel plated and ivory handled. Mine are blued with a color case-hardened frame and Tru Ivory grips. I'd love to get genuine ivory or, even better, mammoth ivory; however, it's difficult and expensive to get natural ivory for a SA grip because of the size required. Also, the Colt Lightning that Doc carried was a double action. Cimarron's model is single action. Interestingly, I read recently that the poor operating condition of most of the surviving Colt Lightnings is due to the owner's practice of firing them as single-action pistols, which is what they would be used to. Apparently, the Lightning wasn't intended for single-action use.

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