Cimarron Evil Roy Cowboy Colt Replica

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It took me a while to get to this Evil Roy model from Cimarron Arms because I didn’t have any cowboy ammo for it. Fiocchi has introduced a new line of all cowboy ammo in most cowboy calibers, and they also have a wadcutter round pefect for clanging or dropping steel plates at short distances. You can shoot jacketed or semi-jacketed rounds at most cowboy clubs, but some require lead, and in the spirit of the sport, lead bullets are true to the cowboy period, where all bullets were lead and lead alloys.

The Evil Roy is made in Italy by Uberti and carries many of the standard Colt markings from 1873 when the gun was introduced. This is a “slicked up” model, custom fitted to SASS World Champion Evil Roy.

The 5 1/2″ version of the old cowboy Colt is considered to be the most well balanced by competitors, and it clears the holster much faster than a 7 1/2″ gun.

Side by side with an open top conversion replica from Cimarron/Uberti. History buffs like the long guns because that was the standard Army issue, but the civilian “Peacemaker” guns came in many sizes, 5 1/2″ being one of them.

You can get holster rigs as cheap as $69 online that work fine and are legal for SASS, but many people spend several hundred on a nice double rig, either historical, with belt level holsters, or movie rigs with drop holsters that are equally welcome in competition. All that matters is that it looks like some sort of cowboy holster. The choice is up to you how elaborate or simple you want to go.

The low velocity .38 Special wadcutter loads from Fiocchi worked the best in the Evil Roy, shooting into under 2″ at 10 yards. Very few SASS targets are ever further away than this.

The Evil Roy utilizes a fixed firing pin, much like the original Colts. Decades of experience has shown that Colts with a fixed firing pin will fire when dropped on their hammers if the hammer is carried down on a loaded chamber. This has led to guns like the Ruger Vaquero that use a transfer bar to hit the firing pin. In Cowboy Action you never leave the hammer down on a loaded cylinder, and the guns are always pointed downrange, so this is not a concern. The transfer bars, while safer, tend to break after thousands of rounds.

This was the average group shot from my Hyskore Parallax Pistol Rest with both the .357 Magnum and .38 Special Fiocchi cowboy loads at 10 yards. Note that these Colt copies don’t have adjustable sights, so if you want it to shoot to other than point of aim out of the box you have to bring it to a gunsmith or send it back to Cimarron for work. Most poeple generally develop a sight picture based on their sights the way they are, and this gun shot a couple inches low, and slightly to the left as the center of the group. This is actually pretty good for a Colt or Colt copy. Many of them shoot 2 feet high, especially the cap & ball guns.

Click the picture to make it bigger and you will see the hole in the powder disks of this new powder from IMR called Trail Boss. It is on the shelves at Bass Pro, and it really takes a lot of the powder position sensitivity out of low powdered loads. It is also nearly impossible to double charge a case, but if you are using a progressive press note that the powder measure empties quicker than you are used to and it is easy to pump out some empty shells if you are not mindful of it.

Even with a single stage press, reloading for Cowboy Action Shooting is worth the time. If you got to a weekend match with side matches and the main match stages you can burn over 500 rounds in your revolver/rifle ammo.

Wadcutters are a strange bullet. They are big and long like regular bullets but you push them all the way into the case and crimp over them.

Your carbide .38/.357 dies probably came with two seater plugs, one for round nose bullets and one for wadcutters. .38 cal wadcutters have been popular in shooting sports for decades.

Three different shell and bullet combinations all shoot well in the Evil Roy, and any other .357 Mag. revolver.

Hornady .38 caliber wadcutters loaded into .357 Mag. cases and .38 Special cases with the same 2.2 grains of Trail Boss produced roughly the same velocity as the Fiocchi wadcutter loads.

Be patient with figuring out the right setting for your seater/crimp die using lead bullets. You will most likely get some shaves at first, but if you bell the case mouth a lot it makes it much easier, though this may decrease brass life down the road. One of these days we’ll do an article on annealing cases, but until then just Google it.

Cimarron Arms Evil Roy
http://cimarron-firearms.com/evilroy

We are often so focused on the black guns these days that sometimes you miss what is going on in other parts of the shooting and hunting world. A lot of it is deeper and a more enjoyable than all of the tactical stuff combined.

Cimmaron Firearms specializes in cowboy era firearms, from the percussion age of the 1830s through the cartridge guns from Colt, Winchester, Smith & Wesson, Marlin, Sharps, and others to the turn of the 20th Century. The dawn of the repeating firearm is not only a lot of fun historically, you can actually live it and breath it through a very popular shooting organization called the Single Action Shooting Society, or SASS. Cowboy Action Shooting is a lot of fun, and if you are of the competitive bent, at the regional and national level the competition is fierce.

This “Evil Roy” model of the 1873 single action Colt Peacemaker is engineered to meet the needs of the discriminating SASS competitor. More than 90% of the people who shoot Cowboy Action are not competitive and have no interest in winning anything, but we all like to shoot good. And for that small percentage of serious competitors, they are really serious and like to shoot perfect, not just well, and win the prized trophy SASS belt buckles. All of the SASS shooting is on metal plates, not paper, and the plates are set as close to the shooter as is safe for splatter. This makes Cowboy Action really easy to shoot well, so the competition really boils down to speed. Hit the metal plates, every time, as fast as you can.

In SASS, everyone goes by an “alias.” I won’t tell you what mine is, but “Evil Roy” is the alias of a world champion SASS shooter named Gene Pearcey. He has gone on from the sport to set up his own shooting school and release his own approved brand of firearms and Cowboy Shooting accessories. For someone who wants to get into the sport and buy the right gear the first time, you can’t go wrong with the Evil Roy guns, and they aren’t that much more expensive than an off the shelf replica Colt with no branding. The Evil Roy is a Model “P” from Cimarron if you would prefer to have the extra work done yourself.

You may be asking, why not just buy a real Colt? The answer is that they are seldom available due to a very limited production, and when they are available, they are very expensive. There are other US makers of reproduction Colts, and Ruger makes a very popular Vaquero in the US that many SASS shooters love, but if you want a gun that has the same function and guts as the original Colt Peacemaker, or Single Action Army (SAA), the most affordable option is an Italian copy.

The Evil Roy is made by Uberti, considered by most to be the highest quality of all the Italian replica brands for revolvers. Every Uberti I have ever owned or encountered works great out of the box, and whether you buy the Evil Roy or a standard Model “P” Cimarron, it will be a nice gun. The Evil Roy is just slicked up in advance. If you want to really fly across those steel plates at a SASS competition (check out youtube they move so fast you can’t see), the Evil Roy series are probably a worthwhile investments, whether you ever win a buckle or not.

The caliber on our review guns is the most common competition caliber, .357 Magnum, not the more traditional .45 Long Colt or .44-40 Winchester that were originally released in the black powder cartridge era of 1873-1890. Low recoil loads are absolutely required for fast shooting in SASS, and though many clubs have “power factor” rules like USPSA and IPSC, you can usually get away with pops instead of bangs in SASS, mostly because the guns don’t have to cycle a slide like with a semi-auto pistol.

If your revolvers are .357 Mag., you can buy a lever gun in the same caliber and shoot the same low powder loads without having to worry about inserting the wrong shell. The bigger and more traditional cowboy calibers are available in the Evil Roy, both .44-40 and .45LC, but the .357 Mag. has become standard for most serious SASS competitors. I think this is mostly because of concerns over ammo inconsistency with low powdered loads.

Before IMR released a new powder called Trail Boss (see below), the small amount of powder you use for low powered loads with a flake powder like Unique will ignite differently depending on where the powder is sitting in the case relative to the primer. The case capacity is much smaller with a .357 Mag. than with a .45LC or .44-40, making powder position less of an issue. Now that we have Trail Boss the issue of .357 vs. .45 Colt or .44-40 isn’t as much of an issue, so buy the caliber that makes you happy. Just remember that .44-40 is a necked case, so they sometimes have to be resized and they don’t last as long.

The barrel length of the Evil Roy is 5 1/2″, which is one of the original lengths that Colt produced in the 1800s in civilian guns, so it is historically valid. You generally want a shorter barrel for competition so it clears the holster faster when you draw it, but most people find the even shorter and also historically accurate 4 3/4″ and 3″ inch guns not as comfortable and balanced to shoot. For most competitors in SASS, the 5 1/2″ gun is just right.

The other differences with the Evil Roy besides the fine checkered grips are mostly internal. Anyone who wants a competitive gun will generally “slick it up” so the hammer is easier to pull back and the trigger has a clean and light break. Almost no factory Colts or Italian replicas come with nice hammers and triggers. Also, those who shoot Ruger Vaqueros often replace the transfer bar system with a fixed firing pin hammer like the original Colts, so this Evil Roy has the original firing pin hammer design. The Colt 1873 has always been a working gun, not just a piece of history, and the transfer bar is an important safety feature if you want to keep 6 rounds in the chambers, but for SASS you never load more than 5, leaving the hammer on an empty chamber, and the gun is never pointed anywhere but downrange. Transfer bars almost universally break when you fire thousands of rounds through a gun like SASS competitors do, so it is best to not have one for the long run.

As you can see from the pictures, I use a holster rig made by Ted Blocker, and I generally shoot a full 7 1/2″ or even 8″ gun (1858 Remingtons). This Evil Roy fits great in the 5 1/2″ holster I had made for my significant other, but this is not a competition design. Evil Roy has a line of holsters from Mernickle, and they have steel inserts inside the leather to keep the opening wide when you remove and replace the revolver in the holster. I am not competitive, so back when I bought my holsters the design and color were my priorities.

Shooting the Evil Roy

This article sat on the shelf a while because I didn’t have any cowboy loads to shoot in the Evil Roy. At some point I hoped to make some reloads, but I hadn’t gotten to it yet. So it was a huge coincidence, or Divine Providence, depending on which way you lean, that we recently developed a relationship with the ammo company Fiocchi, also from Italy. They have a complete line of Cowboy Action ammo and they sent me two versions of .38 Special (you can shoot .38s in any .357 Mag.) and a .357 Mag. specifically downloaded for shooting in SASS competition.

Usually when you clock velocity from a chronograph you are looking for the bigger number the better, but with competition ammo it is the opposite. You always want to have the lowest powered load you can get away with, either according to the rules, your own conscience, or pride, because you don’t want to be labeled a gamer with mouse fart loads. Fiocchi makes 3 loads for the .357 Mag. revolver and rifle that are tailored to whatever you are looking for as a competitor.

Not all lever rifles will cycle a .38 Special reliably in a gun created for a .357 Mag. The difference in the case lengths is only about 1/8th of an inch, but if you gun is tailored for .357 Mag., you are better to shoot that shell in it. The 158 gr. Fiocchi .357 Mag. cowboy load clocked nearly the same as the 158 gr. .38 Special load, about 825 to 870 feet per second, out of the Evil Roy. I would guess they use the same powder charge for them. This is normal muzzle velocity for a .38 Special, and about half of a normal full snot .357 Mag.

Fiocchi also offers a very low powered option for your revolvers, a .38 Special 148 gr. wadcutter bullet that clocked at only 560 or so feet per second, just over mouse fart and enough to drop a steel plate for competition that requires you to knock them over, not just clang them. The wadcutter bullet is something you may not be familiar with if you are new to shooting. The design is perfectly flat in front, giving you the full caliber width to hit your target, and the cylinder style bullet is pushed all the way into the case. They are called wadcutters because of punching “wads” out of paper targets. They make a clean hole, and if you need to touch a ring to score on a paper target, you get the widest possible punch. On steel, wadcutters give you a full strike even on a glancing hit, so you may drop a plate with a wadcutter where a round nose bullet would not.

You can generally use regular .38 Special and .357 Magnum jacketed or hollow point ammo at Cowboy Action Shoots, though some clubs may have some homemade plates that you are not allowed to shoot with jacketed ammo. If you can find the Fiocchi cowboy, it is probably your best bet from what I have seen. There is a dealer locator on their website, and I have seen it for sale at the usual suspects online at competitive prices with white box and other range fodder.

Reloading For Cowboy Action

At your average SASS shooting event you will shoot at least 250 rounds of your revolver/rifle ammo. This gets expensive, so most people who shoot Cowboy Action reload. As long as you keep your loads downloaded at least somewhat, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and even .45 Long Colt brass cases will last nearly indefinitely, and as long as you keep your velocities low, which is all you need for close SASS targets, just about any lead bullet you can buy or make will work just fine.

I recently discovered a new powder from IMR powder called Trail Boss. It is engineered for bulk, so that even a couple grains of it fill up the case enough to take away most position sensitivity you would find with a common flake powders. It has a hole in the little round gunpowder disk, increasing surface area and bulk at the same time. I had an old box of 148 gr. Hornady wadcutters (excuse the old box design please Hornady) so I tried to duplicate the Fiocchi cartridge with the Trail Boss. I found that 2.2 grains produced about the same velocity, average 525 feet per second, with the 148 gr. wadcutter bullet, as the Fiocchi ammo with the similar bullet. My reloads may not look as pretty as the Fiocchi ammo, but they worked pretty well.

With a more commmon lead bullet, the 158 gr. Hornady semi-wadcutter that has a flat point, 3.4 grains of Trail Boss produced about 740 feet per second in velocity in both .357 Mag. and .38 Special brass with standard Winchester primers. This is a little under the standard Fiocchi load, but still plenty of punch that nobody will ever say is a gamer load. As always, WE DO NOT GIVE RELOADING ADVICE. for legal reasons in this crazy lawyer controlled world, so please visit Hodgedon/IMR/Winchester powder and use their information exclusively. The semi-wadcutter is a good design that will cycle reliably in your lever gun and not set of primers in the magazine tube the way a round nose bullet can.

Getting involved with Cowboy Action shooting is as easy as joining SASS and buying 4 guns (yay). You need two revolvers, a lever action rifle in a pistol caliber, and a shotgun that was designed before the year 1900 (yes the pump Winchester replicas are allowed and very common, as are the lever action 87s). The rules are simple. You dress up in at least a semblance of cowboy clothes, with a hat and boots and go shoot cowboy style. Cheap holster rigs can be found on GunsAmerica, Ebay and by Googling around online for well under $100, and you don’t have to start with competition quality guns to have fun. But if you are inclined to buy the right gun first, you won’t go wrong with these Evil Roy revolvers, or the Brush Popper Evil Roy rifle that we have yet to review but that I have heard good things about. Cimarron Arms is a company 100% dedicated to Cowboy Action shooting and the mystique of old west firearms, and you really can’t go wrong with any of the guns they elect to brand with their name. I started with a Cimarron Single Action Army, and most people I know started with a Cimarron. Black guns are effective, but boring. A cowboy gun from Cimarron carries over 100 years of history, and they don’t make them in black plastic.

{ 24 comments }

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Jim Gifford January 9, 2012, 10:21 am

    I dont know where you are shooting SASS matches but in 15 years of participating in Cowboy Action shooting I have never been to a Cowboy Action club or event which allowed using anything except lead bullets.
    Also I use Rugers with transfer bar in place. Never had a breakage although I have heard of it happening. My main pistols have many tens of thousands of rounds through them with no breakage of the transfer bar.

    • Administrator January 9, 2012, 10:35 am

      All of the Action targets are fine for jacketed rounds, and I think the Evil Roy targets are fine as well.

      • John Creveling January 9, 2012, 11:29 am

        I agree with Jim on both counts. While the targets may take jacketed bullets there are unacceptable because of ricochet. Splatter from lead is bad enough which is why eye protection is mandatory at any SASS shoot. My Rugers also have thousands of rounds through them with no problems and the springs in the rugers are stronger than the Colt clones. The Cimarron ER is a fine gun with excellent action as are the rifles which I also own. John

        • Jim Caudle (Jimmy Frisco - SASS #85877) January 9, 2012, 6:09 pm

          I too have never seen jacketed bullets used at any SASS event, for safety reasons, for target longevity reasons, and because the SASS Shooter’s Handbook, page 12 states ” Revolver and rifle ammunition may not be jacketed, semi-jacketed, plated, gas checked, or copper washed. It must be all lead. Molydisulfide coated bullets or equivalent are acceptable”.
          I’m using a pair of Uberti manufactured .45 Colt revolvers, although one says Beretta and has a transfer bar, and the other bears the Taylor’s nameplate and has the old style firing pin directly on the hammer. Both have been incredibly reliable.
          Regarding safety, I wonder why eye protection is mandatory, while hearing protection is sometimes merely “highly recommended”? A shooter could conceivably shoot for years without eye protection and never have an eye injury, but I can guarantee you that if you shoot without ear protection, you WILL suffer from hearing loss.

          • John Creveling January 10, 2012, 12:06 am

            Good question but I have never shot with any one who didn’t were ear protection. How about when you forget yours and someone starts a stage? Boy do you find em quick! John

  • wade clark January 9, 2012, 10:57 am

    my name is wade clark I live in Clinton IN. and would like to join a club like the old cowboy’s gun club. just how dose someone go about it? thank you.

    • John Creveling January 9, 2012, 11:54 am

      Wade Just go to Single Action Shooting Society.com and you will find all the info. you need. You have 14 clubs in IN alone The closest one I could find is the Deer Creak Regulators in Jonesboro. Contact Doc Moler @765 506-0344 There are Cowboy Action Shooting clubs in all 50 states and abroad. CAS is a hell of a lot of fun and the nicest folks anywhere. Contact me if you want. John

    • Paul January 31, 2013, 10:24 pm

      they have a group that shoots at the proteq range in Brazil, IN. 3rd weekend of each month starting in April

  • Jeff Elwood January 9, 2012, 1:34 pm

    My wife bought me an Evil Roy, .45 LC, 4/5/8″ barrel. I just love how it looks, functions and its accuracy. I have a nice gun belt and carry it any time I go to the field. I appreciate the authenticity and quality of this fine firearm. I have owned hundreds of different firearms and this one ranks right up there at the top.

  • kevin l blankenship January 9, 2012, 5:06 pm

    ron paul is the man for job i will vote for him if he is the republican nomine

  • Lazlo DuMont January 9, 2012, 5:30 pm

    I’ve lived in Ron Paul land for 40-years. He’s not what you are making him out to be. If you think Obama was weak bowing to foreign leaders, wait till the Old Hippie, Paul, goes to Iran to sing Kumbaya.

  • terry yohn January 9, 2012, 6:00 pm

    i have want to get in to cowboy action for a long time did have the money know how to get started

  • 3 Finger Charlie SASS 68634 January 10, 2012, 8:48 am

    Jimmy Frisco, about safety. People may shoot without hearing but it makes the game more difficult. We cannot see out of a glass eye. We are made with our eyes focusing forward and the loss of one makes depth perception and peripheral vision challenging to say the least. I personally believe that hearing protection is very important to safety in any shooting sport since most of the safety commands are verbal. I also believe that eye protection is mandatory since I cannot imagine a blind shooter being able to shoot an IRS sweep and hit the targets or shoot without sweeping me with the muzzle of a firearm. Most competitors who smith firearms agree that a RUGER revolver is larger than a COLT or the clones but it is significantly stronger and will outlast the COLT simply because of the design. Coil springs in the RUGER will outlast flat springs in the COLT, not because they are smoother, because of physics. At least one manufacturer makes a spring conversion kit for COLT and clone revolvers and many shooters convert to coil springs because they work well and they will last longer than flat springs. If you open up a RUGER revolver and view the transfer bar therein following many thousands of rounds of fire, you will see that it shows little signs of wear. I have competed in SASS events using RUGER revolvers and I have competed in SASS events using COLT clone revolvers and both do the job very well. The RUGER revolvers have outlasted the COLT clone revolvers shot for shot without replacing springs, hands/pauls in the case of RUGER, cylinder locking bolts, triggers, hammers or cylinders as has been the need in COLT clone revolvers shot by me and my competitors. In my opinion, the firearms made today are far superior to those built in the 19th century and using them today in a sport where you may live your old west fantacy is wonderful.

  • Ed Mitchell Jr. January 10, 2012, 11:04 am

    I can’t believe the poster who does not use eye protection. It is mandatory at Deer Creek Conservation Club in Jonesboro IN, home of the Deer Creek Regulators. Eye and ear protection is mandatatory in every venue at the club. Safety is #1 at the club and any violations may be grounds for expulsion from the club. Please be safe and not sorry when ever you are at the range.

  • Hardrock January 10, 2012, 9:43 pm

    Thought I’d throw this out there since there’s so much loyalty between Colt and Ruger. Bought an Old Army Black Powder many years ago with the inscription “Made in the 200th year of American Liberty” on the barrel. Haven’t shot it yet, but have been getting more enthused with CAS. Thinking about putting in a .45LC cylinder conversion. Anyone know how well these work? Please respond via e-mail. Don’t get on the sight very often. Thanks.

    • Richard Caldwell May 17, 2013, 3:08 pm

      I just had a Uberti shcolfield 45 colt top break converted to 45acp and able to use moonclips. Works great TK manufacturer did the work very fast and did a great job.

  • Randy January 12, 2012, 10:52 am

    I have both the “Evil Roy” in 357/38 along with a number of Rugers and Colts and shot them all more often than I should and hands down the Ruger just plain works, is more accurate and built to last.

  • Randy January 12, 2012, 10:56 am

    I use for Cowboy Loads 2.8-to-3 grains of Winchester 231 in the 357 case with lead BNWC (wad cutter that we call the flying trash can) crimped sticking just above the case which has proven to be the most accurate in the Evil Roy and Ruger Vaquero. I haven’t tried Trailboss but intend to real soon.

  • Jim Carter January 24, 2012, 10:37 am

    I am new here. Never been to a shooting match, but as a lifetime Machinest, Safety is first and foremost. Eye, Ear and Clothing Protection if possible. Love history and all brands of Single action revolvers, especially Colts.

  • Al wassel February 13, 2012, 11:46 am

    I use the 71/2 cimarron and 92 browning .357. I have to speed up the loads almost maximum in the rifle, to shoot accurrately,with 150gr. JHP. to where it will explode the bullet on contact; nice potent round huh!

  • edward brown January 25, 2013, 12:02 pm

    where can i buy 357 ammo for cimmaron 357 magnum

  • EPWrangler September 13, 2013, 4:21 pm

    I own two Uberti Cattlemen revolvers. One is a 357 and the other a 45lc I also have a 45aqcp cylinder fitted to the 45lc That makes ammo cheaper and easier to find for plinking. I love them both.

  • EPWrangler September 13, 2013, 4:26 pm

    I own two Uberi Cattlemen One is a 357 and the other is a 45lc The 45lc is fitted with a second cylinder in 45apc This makes ammo cheaper and easier to find for plinking. I love shoot both these guns.

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