Cimarron 1876 Centennial “Tom Horn” Signature Rifle – Review

Everybody knows the Winchester 1873, “the gun that won the West.”

We all grew up watching cowboys played by the likes of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, and Emilio Estevez carrying 1873 lever actions. Its big brother, the Winchester Model 1876, however, despite being the first large caliber repeating rifle, never quite got the same acclaim.

When the 1873 came out it was a paradigm shift. A repeating rifle that was as reliable and capable as it was practical. However, it was still a pistol caliber carbine. For real rifle work, you had to go to something like an 1869 Sharps, a Ballard Perfection rifle, or a Remington Rolling Block. That’s what buffalo hunters used. What these long range, big game guns had in common was that they were all single shot firearms. The Winchester Model 1876 changed that forever.

Photo courtesy of Cimarron Firearms.

Whether shooting grizzlies, buffalo, or marauding Indians, having the ability to fire multiple shots in quick succession often meant the difference between life and death for the western frontiersman. It was embraced by those who needed the power and range the bigger cartridges provided including settlers, professional hunters, and soldiers. Probably also why it became a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt in his treks out west (and even Africa).

Roosevelt with his Winchester 1876 rifle. Phot courtesy Library of Congress.

Cimarron contracted with Uberti to produce the replica Winchester Model 1876 and they couldn’t have picked a better company. Uberti makes beautiful and detailed replica guns. Their Model 1876 is a gorgeous rifle. The wood, bluing, fit of the wood to steel, and the action are all excellent. And it shoots as good as it looks.

 

Tom Horn Signature

It also wears the Tom Horn Aperture Sight from the Steve McQueen Movie.

In order to handle more powerful cartridges, Winchester took their successful Model 1873 and made it bigger. In fact, the 1876 utilizes the same toggle action as the 1873. However, in the Cimarron/Uberti guns, it’s much stronger than the original. Modern metallurgy definitely makes a difference.

A Brass elevator positions the round for chambering

The gun pictured and evaluated is Cimarron’s special Tom Horn edition. So who was Tom Horn, you might ask? Horn was a legend in his own time. At 6’ 2” and 200 lbs. he was an imposing figure. A cowboy, US Army scout in on the capture of Geronimo, a Pinkerton agent in the time of Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, and a range detective (some might say hired gun) working for cattleman’s associations.  In other words, he was a bigger than life, fiercely independent, and rugged individual fighting for what he thought was right.

Storage in the stock for emergency supplies, extra ammo, or Slim Jims. Horn carried a cleaning rod in his.

Although there have been at least ten movies and TV programs over the years featuring the legendary Thomas Horn, Jr., the best known is probably the 1980 movie starring Steve McQueen. In this movie, Horn’s near constant companion is a Winchester Model 1876 in 45-60. (Back in the black powder days, cartridges were typically denoted by the caliber followed by the number of grains of black powder they contained. So 45-60 was a 45 caliber bullet, generally cast lead, over a charge of 60 grains of powder.)

Photo downloaded from http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Tom_Horn shows how big the 1876 is.

The gun McQueen carried in the movie was an original Winchester Model 1876. It was, in reality, a 45-75 but was depicted in the movie as a 45-60 since that’s the caliber Horn used. In fact when Horn was arrested for the murder of Willie Nickell, a murder which he probably didn’t commit, he had 45-60 cartridges in his pocket. Unfortunately, Horn still swung from a rope for it in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The gun was modified for the movie with a rear aperture sight as is the Cimarron version. Photo downloaded from http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Tom_Horn

The Winchester Model 1876 was introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition celebrating the founding of the USA and was well received. It achieved a unique position in the market until being dethroned by the Winchester Model 1886. Still, it was produced until 1897 with a total production of 64,000 guns. The Cimarron Model 1876 is the very first version to be produced since then.

A dustcover protects the elevator area from dirt and debris and retracts when the action is opened.

 

1876 Centennial “Tom Horn” Signature Rifle Specs

Price$1,818.70
Caliber45-60
StyleCentennial Rifle
Trigger7 lb. 8 oz.
FrameStandard Blue
FinishStandard Blue
Stock/ForearmWalnut
Barrel28 in.
Weight10.05 Lbs.

Shooting the 1876

My first outing with the 1876 was a little disappointing. The action was stiff, the sight was off quite a bit to the left, and I got some light primer strikes. Keep in mind that the test and evaluation (T&E) guns we writers get to review make the rounds. I didn’t clean or lubricate it when I got it. I just went straight to the range. When I got home I cleaned it, sprayed some Rem Oil down the firing pin hole, and properly lubricated the other moving parts. Should’a done that to begin with.

Fired Ventura Heritage 305 grain RNFP ammo. It was a joy to shoot.

My next trip to the range the action was slick as warm butter, the front sight was easily adjusted, and no more light primer strikes. It functioned flawlessly. Lesson learned. Clean it before you shoot.

Front sight adjustment is as easy as loosening a screw and moving the blade in the dovetail.

I have to say that this is a fun gun to shoot. The weight of the gun mitigates the recoil from the 45-60 round firing a 305 grain lead round nose flat point (RNFP) bullet. With a muzzle velocity of 1137 fps you get muzzle energy of 876 foot pounds. That’s more than enough for deer, hogs, or black bear.

The only safety is a lever safety button that must be depressed.

Firing offhand at 50 yards, like you would if you were hunting, my best group was 2.238”. Four of the five shots were at just over an inch and a half. You should know that I’m not the best with iron sights. The targets I brought with me that day were also black and it was even more difficult to see the blued, almost black sights on a black target. So you might say this was a worst case test. I truly believe that the gun is more accurate than this for someone with younger eyes. Still, that accuracy is good enough for shots out to 100 yards, even for me. You could likely use it successfully to 200. That’s probably the limit of its accuracy for humane kills due to the trajectory of the most un-aerodynamic blunt 305 grain bullet.

Four rounds into 1 ½” at 50 yards plus a flier.

The trigger was a little heavier than what I prefer in a rifle, but I can’t blame the trigger for my shooting. Even though it broke at 7 pounds 8 ounces on my Lyman trigger gauge, there was no takeup, it broke crisply, and with almost no over travel. It is one sweet trigger.

Ammo

Ammo is an issue since you’re not likely to find it at your local gun shop. The only ammo I was able to get for the evaluation was from Ventura Munitions. From what I’ve read in the forums, ammo is a little scarce although Cimarron is investigating ways to make it more available. If you roll your own, you shouldn’t have any problems. Otherwise, check with these three sources:

Buffalo Arms

Goex Black Dawge – Midway

Ventura Munitions

Wrap up

 The Cimarron Centennial Tom Horn Signature Edition rifle doesn’t have a cross block safety or half cock safety, just like the original. The only compromise made for our litigious society is a lever safety. The lever has to be held against the stock to depress a button. Easy enough to do, especially once you’ve familiarized yourself with the gun.

Although not the best-known rifle from our frontier days, the 1876 is still a storied gun. Get into the history of the era and the rifle and you’ll learn a lot about the old west and some legendary characters who carried it. If you like to hunt with a firearm that was used extensively in the wild west, you owe it to yourself to consider the beautiful guns from Cimarron like the Tom Horn Signature Edition Model 1876.

Learn more about the Cimarron Firearms 1876 Centennial Tom Horn Rifle by clicking here.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next Cimarron rifle***

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Robert Walters July 19, 2018, 10:43 pm

    O.K. Al,……Tom Horn was a product of his time. Hired gun, yes! When you stole a man’s horse or cattle in them days, you got your head blown off. He was hired to stop CATTLE RUSTLERS, which was not an uncommon thing in the days of Horn. Don’t steal and all is well. Next,… when Tom Horn was apprehended, he had several cartridges in his pocket, in which one was indeed a 45-60 W.C.F. Reputable historians have confirmed that it was a well-known fact that Horn used more than one rifle, some say two, others say three. He did, according to many, owned and used a 45-60 as well as a Winchester 30 W.C.F., or 30-30. Many, including yours truly, do not believe Tom Horn dropped the kid that he was executed for. Tom Horn was a victim of a changing world and when the cosmopolitan, do-gooders needed a fall guy, Horn was an easy target. I for one think Tom Horn only killed the thieving bastards that deserved to die.

  • seawolf7103 June 29, 2018, 6:12 pm

    Because the 1876 wasn’t made in .45-70. duh

  • Al May 29, 2018, 10:49 am

    Nice rifle.
    Now, my comment. A tribute to a murderous gun for hire????
    No different than a tribute to Clyde Barrow, IMO. Or Dillenger.
    I never understood the American way of making ne’re-do-wells into some sort of folk hero.
    But a Nice rifle.

  • Pseudo May 29, 2018, 5:55 am

    Calling Matt Damon a cowboy which one grew up with is akin to being an oxymoron, the only western I can find he was every in came out in 2010. I guess next you will proclaim Hitlary as some form of saint.

  • Leonard May 28, 2018, 11:33 pm

    That is a very expensive wall hanger.

  • Rick Hacker May 28, 2018, 4:04 pm

    OK, Wayne, everybody’s stomped on you enough. Now it’s my turn: First, trigger pull can definitely affect accuracy. True, a lighter pull increases potential accuracy (depending on the shooter) but to make the statement that it has no effect is incorrect. Secondly, the original M1876 most definitely had a lever safety (I shoot both originals and replicas) – nothing to do with today’s litigious society; Cimarron was merely following their prototype’s design with their replica. And third (although another reader made this comment, not you, not you) the reason Uberti didn’t chamber their replica 1876 in .45-70 is that the action is not long enough to handle that cartridge. That’s why Winchester had Browning design the 1886. Oh yes, and finally, no one who is serious about testing gun takes it to the range without cleaning it – even if it has just come from the factory. And kudos to the historical comments about the .30-30 and the bison and the 1874 Sharps. Finally, gunwriting’s a serious business and it is imperative to get the facts straight (as much as humanly possible). ‘Nuff said.

  • Don May 28, 2018, 1:10 pm

    I don’t know why they didn’t just chamber the rifle in .45-70. Are they intentionally trying to limit sales?

  • Mick May 28, 2018, 12:39 pm

    For all the naysayers that can’t let a typo alone. Did you know there never were buffalo in this country. They’re called Bison. Not the same.

  • Mitch May 28, 2018, 10:54 am

    Might want to read a little more history on Mr Horn, instead of watching Hollywoods version of it. It’s pretty well documented, Tom Horn carried a 30 WCF (30-30) during the Nichols incident time frame.

  • DanielT May 28, 2018, 7:51 am

    A 7 lb. 8 oz. trigger pull isn’t what I would term “sweet”, even with no take up, a crisp break and almost no over travel. Tune that up a bit and get it down to 4 lb. 8 oz. with the other characteristics the same and then I would call it “sweet.”

  • Greg G May 28, 2018, 7:49 am

    Are you sure you know the man’s name? And history?

  • bjg May 28, 2018, 7:27 am

    Years ago I had an original 76 in .50 95, was fun to shoot and impress people with a 345gr bullet at around 1450fps.shooting at water filled milk cartons. The load he shows seems rather slow, should be around 1250 – 1300fps I believe. Price is beyond me the receiver isn’t even color case hardened.I paid less for an original back in the 1980’s.

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