A SINGLE ACTION FOR THE AGES: CIMARRON'S .44 MAGNUM BAD BOY IS A POWERFUL PERFECT PACKIN' PISTOL.
A few years ago, Roy Huntington (my editor at American Handgunner) really put the pressure on me to come up with not just a category but an actual favorite single-action sixgun. Back then, if I could only have one sixgun (certainly a minor tragedy), it would be the Ruger 7-1/2-inch .44 Blackhawk.
What could be done to make it perfect (or should I say more perfect)? Ruger sought to do just this with the arrival of the Super Blackhawk in 1959. Instead of the Colt SAA-style grip frame made of an aluminum alloy, the Super Blackhawk has a longer grip frame made of heavier steel and a square-back triggerguard. I like the longer grip frame and the extra weight but it never worked for me as my knuckle always took a beating from the Dragoon-style triggerguard.
For me, a better solution is the original 1860 Army Colt grip frame. Several of my big-bore single actions have been equipped with 1860 Army grip frames and 1-piece stocks made by Uberti. Uberti still outfits their replica Colt Cartridge Conversions and 1871-72 Open Top sixguns with this grip frame. Several decades ago, Uberti offered a .44 Magnum
single action with adjustable sights called the Buckhorn and this particular sixgun had a brass 1860 Army grip frame. Now we have a .44 Magnum single action with an I860 grip frame made of steel, excellent adjustable sights, and the added bonus of more weight added with an 8-inch octagon barrel and unfluted cylinder.
This new .44 is from Uberti via Cimarron. It has been dubbed the "Bad Boy" and it is one exceptionally good-looking and handling .44 sixgun. Fit and finish are excellent, the bluing is deep and uniform, and the stocks are 1-piece walnut. When shooting loads above standard .44 Special I especially appreciate the longer grip frame allowing my little finger to ride on the grip instead of under it. If I had been given the chance to name it I would not have chosen Bad Boy but rather "Best Boy" as this is one of the finest examples of a .44 Magnum single-action sixgun I have ever experienced.
This Uberti .44 Magnum is a "3-Screw" pattern sixgun which means it is a traditionally styled single action and there is no transfer bar. This translates into it should only be carried with a hammer down on an empty chamber. The rear sight is set in a flat-topped frame and the ramp front sight is set in a dovetail. Both the ramp and the rear of the front sight are serrated to reduce glare. The front sight itself is also set in a dovetail on the ramp base and enters from the front of the ramp. So, at least theoretically the height of the front sight could be easily changed.
Although this excellent single-action sixgun is chambered in .44 Magnum almost all of my testing has been done with .44 Special loads. There are several reasons for this not the least of which is I have left my invincible period far behind and am now deeply embedded in my fragile period. In addition to my hands becoming more tender with age my right hand is recuperating from extreme carpal tunnel surgery undergone only 4 months ago.
Hopefully, within the next few months some of this tenderness will leave, however if it doesn't I have no complaints as I have had a long life of shooting big-bore sixguns. Another factor which enters in is the fact the cylinder length is 0.070-inch shorter than a Ruger .44 Blackhawk cylinder and thus does not accept my handloads which are assembled with Lyman's 429421 Keith bullet or 431244GC Thompson Bullet. 1 had assembled loads for both with 2400 as well as milder loads using Unique and 4227, however none of these could be put to use.
With .44 Magnum factory loads I found the CCI Speer Blazer 200-grain JHP at 1,350 fps and the Federal 180grain JHP at 1,600 fps were all my hand wanted to handle so I did not go with any other loads. Both of these shot well with 5-shot groups at 20 yards measuring 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 inches. Either one of these loads is more than adequate for deer hunting.
Switching to .44 Special factory loads I called upon Buffalo Bore as they have a diverse offering of serious .44 Special loads for both hunting and self-defense. A most interesting load, and one worth looking at for anyone carrying a short-barreled double-action .44 Special for self-defense is the Anti-Personnel load consisting of a 200-grain full wadcutter.
From the Bad Boy this load clocks out at 1,084 fps and groups 5 shots in 1-1/8 inches at 20 yards. The second load for self-defense is the 200-grain Lead Free Barnes TAC-XP. This is an all copper hollowpoint bullet clocking out at 1,059 fps and groups in 2 inches. Buffalo Bore offers three serious hunting .44 Special loads. First, we have the 180-grain JHP at 1,204 fps giving a 1-1/2-inch 5-shot group, the 190-grain Soft Cast HP at 1,242 fps and an exceptionally tight shooting 3/4-inch group, and the 255 SWC Hard Cast Outdoorsman load which groups in 1-1/4 inches with a muzzle velocity of 1,076 fps. Any of these last three loads will certainly handle anything I am likely to encounter when hunting or traveling off the beaten path in Idaho.
Although this is a .44 Magnum sixgun and I will purchase it for me, it will be a dedicated .44 Special. Mostly I shoot what I call Everyday Packin' Loads in the 900 to 1,000 fps muzzle velocity range. With the Lyman 429421 Keith bullet loads assembled with 15.5 grains of 4227 clock out at just over 900 fps while one grain more powder ups it to just under 1,000 fps with both loads resulting in groups just over 1-inch. For a more serious hunting load I go with Lyman's 429215 Thompson Gas-Checked 220grain bullet or the RCBS 44-225 GC 220grain bullet over 8.8 grains of Universal for 1,230 fps.
These heavy loads are not necessarily recommended for any .44 sixguns except those chambered in .44 Magnum. My very easy soft-shooting load uses the Oregon Trail 240 RNFP over 5.0 grains of Bullseye for just over 825 fps and a tight 1-1/4 inch group. Even in my current condition, I can shoot this load comfortably all day, and especially so in this relatively heavy sixgun combined with the 1860 Army grip frame.
The Uberti/Cimarron Bad Boy carries easily and securely in the El Paso Saddlery 1870 Slim Jim holster I originally ordered for the 7-1/2-inch Ruger Super Blackhawk. This traditionally styled Western holster has an open bottom allowing use with the longer 8-inch barrel without it protruding from the bottom of the holster.
It has been nearly 50 years since I experienced my first Uberti single-action sixgun. Over the decades their quality has continued to improve and much of this is due to the work by Cimarron's Mike Harvey who has toiled constantly and continuously to encourage higher and higher quality as well as more and more detail when it comes to replica sixguns. The Bad Boy sits at the top of a long line of excellent quality revolvers from Uberti.
Should anyone ask, the answer is no, I am not about to throw over my old Flat-Top .44. However, I will also not let the Bad Boy/Best Boy get away. They will simply have to get along together. They should get along well together as it has been several decades since I have shot much of anything in the Blackhawk except hot .44 Special loads or milder .44 Magnums. The Bad Boy will continue to be fed these same loads. The Bad Boy is brand-new, and as mentioned, I have had the .44 Blackhawk for more than 60 years, and been shooting big bore sixguns for the same amount of time. All three of us will last longer with my less-than-full-power loads.
BAD BOY MAKER: Uberti, Brescia, Italy IMPORTER: Cimarron Firearms, 105 Winding Oak Rd., Fredericksburg TX 78624,  997-9090, www.cimarron-firearms.com
ACTION TYPE: Single-action revolver, CALIBER: .44 Magnum, CAPACITY: 6, BARREL LENGTH: 8 inches, OVERALL LENGTH: 13-1/2 inches, WEIGHT: 41 ounces, FINISH: Blued, SIGHTS: Adjustable rear, ramp front, GRIPS: 1-piece walnut, PRICE: $687.50
BLACK HILLS AMMUNITION. P.O. Box 3090. Rapid City, SD 57709, (605) 348-5150, www.blackhills.com. BUFFALO BORE, P.O. Box 1480, St. Ignatius, MT 59865, (406) 745-2666, www.buffalobore.com, EL PASO SADDLERY, 2025 E. Yandell, El Paso, TX 79903, (915) 544-2233, www.epsaddlery.com, FEDERAL CARTRIDGE CO., 900 Ehlen Dr., Anoka MN 55303, (763) 323-2300, www.federalcartridge.com, LYMAN PRODUCTS, 475 Smith St., Middletown, CT 06457, (800) 225-9626, www.lymanproducts.com, OREGON TRAIL BULLETS, P.O. Box 529, Baker City, OR 97814, (800) 811-0548, www.laser-cast.com, SPEER, P.O. Box 856, Lewiston, ID 83501, (800) 379-1732, www. speer-bullets.com, WINCHESTER AMMUNITION, 600 Powder Mill Rd., East Alton, IL 62024, (618) 258-3340, www.winchester.com
Caption: John enjoyed Cimarron's Bad Boy shooting from a rest, chronographing his loads with LabRadar.
Caption: The .44 Magnum Bad Boy is a traditionally styled single-action sixgun with an 8-inch octagon barrel, fully adjustable sights, non-fluted cylinder, and--most importantly in managing recoil--an 1860 Army grip frame.
Caption: The Buffalo Bore loads shot extremely well, too, delivering fine 20-yard accuracy. John's .44 Special handloads also shot really well at 20 yards (below, left). Other .44 Special factory loads shot both accurately, and especially pleasantly (below, right).
Caption: CCI's 200-grain JHP .44 Magnum load performed exceptionally well in the Bad Boy.
Caption: Buffalo Bore offers five modern .44 Special loads Including a 200-grain Anti-Personnel, 180-grain JHP, 190-grain Cast JHP, 255-grain SWC, and 200-grain Barnes HP.
.44 SPECIAL FACTORY AMMO PERFORMANCE LOAD VELOCITY GROUP SIZE (BRAND, BULLET WEIGHT, TYPE) (FPS) (INCHES] Black Hills 210 LFP 627 1-3/4 Buffalo Bore 200 WC 1,084 1-1/8 Buffalo Bore 180 JHP 1,204 1-1/2 Buffalo Bore 190 Soft Cast HP 1,242 3/4 Buffalo Bore 255 SWC Outdoorsman 1,076 1-1/4 Buffalo Bore 200 Barnes Tac-XP 1,059 2 CCI 200 LFN Trail Blazer 604 2-1/4 Federal 200 LSWCHP 759 2-1/2 MagTech 240 LFP 650 1-1/2 SIG SAUER 200 V-Crown JHP 773 2 Winchester 240 LFN 649 2 .44 MAGNUM FACTORY AMMO PERFORMANCE LOAD VELOCITY GROUP SIZE (BRAND, BULLET WEIGHT, TYPE) (FPS) (INCHES) CCI Speer Blazer 200 JHP 1,352 1-1/4 Federal 180 JHP 1,609 1-1/2 Notes: Groups the product of 5 shots at 20 yards. Velocity measured with LabRadar. .44 SPECIAL HANDLOADED AMMO PERFORMANCE BULLET POWDER CHARGE (BRAND, BULLET WEIGHT, TYPE) (BRAND) (GRAINS WEIGHT) OT 240 RNFP Bullseye 5.0 OT 240 RNFP Universal 6.5 OT 240 RNFP Trail Boss 5.3 H&G 237 SWC Universal 9.0 Lyman 429215GC Universal 8.8 Lyman 429421KT 4227 15.5 Lyman 429421KT 4227 16.5 RCBS 44-25OKT Universal 7.5 RCBS 44-225GC Universal 8.8 SSK 260TC Universal 6.5 BULLET VELOCITY GROUP SIZE (BRAND, BULLET WEIGHT, TYPE) (FPS) (INCHES] OT 240 RNFP 837 1-1/4 OT 240 RNFP 949 2-1/8 OT 240 RNFP 777 1-3/4 H&G 237 SWC 1,332 1-1/4 Lyman 429215GC 1,231 1-3/8 Lyman 429421KT 901 1-1/4 Lyman 429421KT 982 1-1/4 RCBS 44-25OKT 921 2-1/4 RCBS 44-225GC 1,221 1-3/4 SSK 260TC 926 1-1/4 NOTES: Groups the product of 5 shots at 20 yards. Velocity measured with LabRadar. CCI 300 Large Pistol Primers used in Starline brass. OT: Oregon Trail