A fan of the TV western Rawhide, which starred Eric Fleming as Trial Boss Gil Faver and a very young Clint Eastwood as Segundo (second in command) Rowdy Yates, I was aware of the episode where Rowdy acquired the Colt six-gun with the silver rattlesnakes on the grips. In the second episode, “Incident At Alabaster Plain,” which aired on Jan. 16, 1959, guest star Mark Richman played Mastic, a vicious killer who challenged Rowdy to a gunfight. Faver intervened but in the end Rowdy went after Mastic, who fled to the bell tower of a mission after robbing and murdering his stepfather. Faver yanked on the bell rope and the bell knocked Mystic out of the tower and he fell to his death. Faver retrieved Mastic’s Colt, which had the silver rattlesnakes on the grips, and gave it to Rowdy. Clint Eastwood used the snake-handled Colt, a 5.5-inch barrel .45 for use with Hollywood 5-in-1 blanks, for the rest of the Rawhide series.
When Eastwood was hired to star in his first “Spaghetti Western,” A Fistful of Dollars, he used the snake-handled Colt with his personal Andy Anderson custom Walk-and-Draw rig. He continued to use the snake-handled Colt in For A Few Dollars More. The sterling silver rattlesnakes, coiled and ready to strike, were supplied on the custom grips by Andy Anderson of the North Hollywood Gunfighter shop. It is unknown who crafted the original snakes, but they were definitely professionally made by a silversmith.
Cimarron Fire Arms Company has added a “Man With No Name SA” to their line of Italian replica SA revolvers for 2009. It is available as a copy of Eastwood’s revolver, with a 4.75- or 5.5-inch barrel in .45 Colt caliber only.
My sample “Man With No Name SA” is stamped “A.UBERTI — ITALY” on the bottom of the barrel, with “CIMARRON F. A. CO. FRDRBRG, TEXAS” “MANUFACTURED BY A. UBERTI — ITALY” in two lines on the top of the barrel. The frame, loading gate and hammer are color casehardened with the remainder of the revolver finished in an attractive blue. The cylinder has the front edge radiused, as on first generation Colt SA’s, and the cylinder pin is secured by a spring-loaded crosspin. For import purposes, the “Man With No Name SA” has the two-position cylinder pin. When fully seated the end of the pin blocks the hammer from the firing position, acting as a hammer drop safety. As standard practice I shorten all two-position cylinder pins in my personal SA six-guns. A nice feature is the last four digits of the serial number are stamped on the cylinder as with early Colt SA revolvers. The out-of-the-box trigger pull measured 3 pounds and broke cleanly. While the “Man With No Name SA” could benefit from an action job, I used it in a round of Cowboy Fast Draw competition and had no trouble thumb cocking it on the draw with reaction, hitting times in the mid .400 ( .445) of a second.
But what makes Cimarron’s “Man With No Name SA” different is the grip. My sample has an attractive burl walnut one-piece grip. The fit to the backstrap and trigger- guard is perfect and the grips are shaped as the early Colt one-piece wood grips, fitting flush with the frame at the top. But what makes these different, i.e. Eastwood’s Rawhide and Spaghetti Western Colt, are the rattlesnakes on each side of the grip. The snake is cast in 3-D from sterling silver. Individual scales are apparent down the snake’s belly with diamonds along its back. The rattles extend upward from the center of the snake’s coiled body, and the head has the detailed eye, nostril, mouth and “forked” tongue. The silver snakes are overlays and are twins for those on the Eastwood Colt.
Not having the patience to wait for nice weather for a trip to the local shooting range, I test fired the sample “Man With No Name SA” in my basement Fast Draw range using shotgun primer powered wax bullets. In the dim indoor light I have trouble seeing iron sights, so I ended up shooting offhand groups at 10 feet, with five shots going into one ragged hole which measured 0.88 of an inch, center-to-center on the largest measurement.
I originally intended to return the test “Man With No Name SA” after finishing this article, but I think it has found a home here and will not be going back to Cimarron Fire Arms Company. They certainly have a winner.