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GUNS Magazine December 2012 Digital Edition - Page 36
JOHN TAFFIN John found the Cimarron Rooster Shooter a pleasant sixgun, which shot a little low for him—an easy problem to fix by filing the front sight down sight a tad. CIMARRON’S .45 ROOSTER SHOOTER A shootable reproduction of John Wayne’s Silver Screen Single Action Army .45. n older Western movies quite often the firearms used I became as recognizable as the star himself. For a time in the 1960s, and 1970s especially, our eyes were assaulted by poorly finished, brass-grip-framed Italian replicas in most Western movies. Thankfully, there were companies who decided to take the path of more authentic replicas and most Westerns made in the last 20 years or so have paid special attention to the firearms using period correct sixguns and rifles, which are faithful replicas of the originals. One of these companies is Cimarron Firearms. Mike Harvey of Cimarron started out small several decades ago by purchasing a small importer by the name of Allen Firearms. He did not stay small but rather worked tirelessly with Italian manufacturers to produce authentic replicas. Today we have almost every frontier firearm available as a quality replica and a major part of that is due to Mike Harvey and Cimarron. In addition to standard replicas Cimarron provides such famous movie guns as the “Man With No Name” cartridge conversion used by Clint Eastwood in several of his spaghetti Westerns. Cimarron Firearms also now offers one of the most famous sixguns ever seen on the screen, namely John Wayne’s .45 Colt Single Action which has become known as the Rooster Shooter. John Wayne had a long Hollywood career starting with very minuscule bit parts in long forgotten movies, however he found his niche as a Western hero. In the early B Westerns he mostly carried an ivory gripped, or at least what appeared to be ivory, 5-1/2" Single Action which was chambered in .38-40. Western movie firearms used a “5-in-1” blank so named because it could be used in Single Actions chambered in .45 Colt, .44-40, and .3840, as well as Winchesters originally made for .44-40 and .38-40. So it made no difference what the hero’s firearms chambering was as long as it was one of these. In 1939 John Wayne really became a star with his portrayal of Ringo Taffin’s late friend Ron Elerick was an Alaskan State Trooper assigned to “caring for” the Duke way back in the day. in Stagecoach. This was the first appearance of his large-loop leveraction carbine, the Winchester Model 92 chambered in .44-40. He would go on to use this rifle in virtually every major movie he made after Stagecoach. He levered a cartridge in by swinging that rifle in Stagecoach and also as Rooster Cogburn as he rode into the Ned Pepper gang in that memorable scene in True Grit. In that same scene he also carried the .45 Colt, which he erroneously called a “Navy Colt,” that starred along with him in virtually every one of his major budget Technicolor movies. This is the sixgun which is now offered in replica form by Cimarron. The Rooster Shooter is a 4-3/4" Single Action .45 Colt (also offered in .44-40 and .357 Magnum) with Original Finish, which basically gives the sixgun a well-worn or antique look. Actually it appears to have no finish it all and is complete with built in blemishes and pits. Unless you carefully examine it up close, it appears to be a well-used 19th century Colt Single Action. In the John Wayne movies the grips appear to be yellowed ivory, however they are actually a synthetic material and the word is these were found by Wayne in a shop while traveling through the Southwest. The left-hand grip panel has finger grooves. To complete the gun fighter persona, Wayne carried this sixgun in a leather rig, which has now become known as The Duke Rig. El Paso Saddlery now offers this practical belt and holster, along with several other top-grade leather manufacturers. This rig consists of a folded over money belt with a holster that slides on the belt rather than hanging from a buscadero loop. In 1969 Wayne received an Oscar for his portrayal of Rueben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. Rooster was an aging, potbellied, hard-drinking, 1-eyed United States Marshal working out of Fort Smith, Ark. His eyepatch and .45 were major attributes of his winning performance. The sequel to True Grit was Rooster Cogburn in which he also carried his Rooster Shooter. Interestingly enough his last movie, The Shootist, did not feature his well-worn .45 Colt but rather he used an ornately 36 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 2