Skip to main content
Cimarron FirearmsFeatured ArticlesLBM Company News

Leaders Unloaded: A Conversation with Bryce Wayt on Preserving the Past While Innovating for the Future

Mike and Mary Lou Harvey, founders of Cimarron Firearms

By Ashley Burgess Gall, Laura Burgess Marketing

In this edition of Leaders Unloaded, we are delighted to feature Bryce Wayt, the Vice President of Retail Operations at Cimarron Firearms. Known for its authentic reproductions of Old West Firearms, Cimarron Firearms stands as a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and historical accuracy. We sat down with Bryce to delve into the company’s founding principles, their dedication to authenticity, and the innovative strides they are making to blend historical fidelity with modern advancements.

Ashley Burgess Gall (ABG): Hi Bryce, thank you for sitting down with us today. Cimarron Firearms has a rich history and legacy. Could you share how the company’s founding principles and historical approach to firearms continue to influence its products and business philosophy today?

Bryce Wayt (BW): Cimarron Firearms has built its reputation on quality and authenticity. When Mike and Mary Lou Harvey began building Cimarron, they noticed that available Old West replica revolvers were not quite accurate to the original models. Cimarron began working with Italian manufacturers who understood “the art” of reproducing these classic firearms. Cimarron has worked tirelessly since 1984 to bring more classic models back to market than any other company.  We challenge ourselves daily to offer the most authentic high-quality product line available by refining markings, tooling, and materials and expanding on what we offer.

ABG: Cimarron Firearms is renowned for its authentic reproduction of Old West firearms. Could you discuss the meticulous attention to detail that goes into replicating these historical firearms and why it’s important to maintain this authenticity?

BW: Cimarron President Mike Harvey has an extensive collection of Old West firearms that we study and guide our manufacturers in producing for us. No detail is too small. In most cases, our manufacturer would suggest an easier way to do things, but that would not be authentic, and therefore would not work for Cimarron or our customers who demand quality and authenticity. We have reintroduced so many models, calibers, and classic features over the years that Cimarron’s influence can be seen in our competitor’s products and the entire reproduction firearms industry.

ABG: Collaborating with historians can provide invaluable insights. How does Cimarron Firearms work with experts to ensure historical accuracy in the design and production of its firearms?

BW: Mike Harvey is an expert in his own right, and is old pals with many writers and historians. American history is a passion for Cimarron and that attracts a lot of experts who we have started relationships with and these relationships have enhanced Cimarron. Writer and historian Phil Spangenberger helped Mike Harvey name our company Cimarron because it meant “wild and untamed.” Recently we have collaborated with Henry B. Crawford on an upcoming Buffalo Soldier revolver project. Working with historians to uncover firearms details and stories behind products is very exciting for us and our customers.  We will continue to challenge ourselves to go the distance and work hard to recreate these lost treasures.

ABG: The firearms industry has evolved, yet Cimarron Firearms maintains a traditional focus. How do you balance preserving historical designs while incorporating modern manufacturing techniques to meet today’s standards?

BW: We embrace advances in materials. Our firearms offer the look and feel of antique firearms but are stronger and more reliable than they ever were. Certain weaknesses associated with some of the old guns have been improved, giving the shooter a piece of history that they can use and still pass down as an heirloom. From time to time, we have to fight to keep our models authentic. We have to make sure that guns aren’t being hallmarked in unattractive places and we have created tooling and techniques that help hide many of those marks. Uberti laid on us a few years ago that we’d need to have a modern safety hammer on all models and Cimarron fought hard to keep the authentic hammer on many of its models. Keeping our products authentic is not a passive act.  We work very hard on it.

ABG: Cimarron Firearms often brings forgotten firearm designs back to life. Can you share a particular firearm model that you’re proud to have reintroduced and the story behind its revival?

BW: The list of firearms and features that Cimarron has resurrected is long and dense. I just copied and pasted the list on this document and realized it’s too much and it won’t work.

A recent triumph would be our Henry Nettleton marked Cavalry revolvers. Cimarron had already helped develop the most authentic Cavalry models available, many marked with the Ainsworth stamp. Some very desired models were stamped HN by Henry Nettleton. What makes the Henry Nettleton model so unique is that Nettleton, a US Principal Sub-Inspector for the US Ordnance Department in 1878, only inspected and stamped about 3,000 guns. Additionally, Nettleton placed his inspection stamp on the left side of the hammer and trigger guard, unlike any other inspector. Why he was allowed to do this, is still unknown. Many of the guns Nettleton inspected were later refurbished for the NY Militia and barrels were cut down to 5 ½-inches and case hardened along with the cylinder, hammer and trigger, and trigger guard. The Cimarron US Cavalry 1873 Henry Nettleton pays respect to the original 1st generation Colt government models inspected by Henry Nettleton, down to the details of proof marks and all of Nettleton’s inspection stamps using the exact same fonts and placements as the originals.

ABG: Engaging with firearm enthusiasts is crucial. How does Cimarron Firearms foster a sense of community and interaction among fans of historical firearms and Old West culture?

BW: Cimarron has worked to raise awareness about our unique offering by working with writers, filmmakers, and historians, and even helping to develop sports such as Cowboy Action Shooting and Cowboy Mounted Shooting.  Mike and Mary Lou Harvey worked hard to help build their own audience. Their work can be seen in the shooting industry today.

ABG: The firearms industry is subject to regulations. How does Cimarron Firearms navigate compliance while still delivering historically accurate and authentic firearms to its customers?

BW: Cimarron looks for solutions to keep our products as authentic as possible. Laws are constantly being updated. Sometimes for good, and sometimes not so much. It is a daily challenge to navigate the turbulence of the firearms industry, but Cimarron leads and others follow when it comes to protecting these classic designs so they can be shared with new generations.

ABG: Cimarron Firearms is known for innovation within historical firearms. Could you discuss a recent innovation or improvement you’ve introduced that enhances the performance or user experience of these firearms?

BW: One of the many things Cimarron has done to enhance performance and user experience is reintroduce some of the classic calibers that for one reason or another have become obsolete over the years.  Certain calibers like .45 Colt and .38 Special may never go out of style, but some of our large caliber hunting rifles like the 1876 Centennial Rifle may only be offered in calibers that for one reason or another, are no longer manufactured. We have worked with brass manufacturers and commercial loaders to reintroduce calibers like 50-95, 45-60, and others under our brand Cimarron Ammunition.

ABG: Creating firearms that resonate with users requires understanding their needs. How does Cimarron Firearms gather input from enthusiasts to inform the design and features of its historical reproductions?

BW: We keep current on industry trends to see emerging markets and how we could capitalize. With the rise in first-time gun buyers, women shooters, and traditional hunters, we incorporated this perspective to develop new products that would enhance the experience for a new shooter or hunter. We practice what we preach and talk to our customers at shows, on social media, and in our store Texas Jack Wild West Outfitter, located in Fredericksburg, TX.

ABG: Feedback from enthusiasts can drive improvements. Can you share an instance where enthusiast feedback led to a modification or enhancement of a Cimarron Firearms product?

BW: I am a Western movie enthusiast. When I first started working for Cimarron, they offered a couple of models that were almost right. Cimarron’s Holy Smoker revolver, based on Russel Crowe’s gun in 3:10 To Yuma, was being offered with a brown walnut grip, but in the movie the grip was black. Mike Harvey is colorblind, so this was news to him. We started looking for another option for the grip material and found something that worked perfectly.

ABG: Looking ahead, what exciting developments or directions do you envision for Cimarron Firearms in terms of preserving historical firearms while also adapting to the evolving needs of enthusiasts?

BW: Cimarron will continue its legacy. Mike Harvey is about to turn 80 years old and is showing no signs of slowing down. Our trusted staff along with his daughter Jamie and I are looking to expand the product line, refine manufacturing, and promote the Old West lifestyle.

(L-R): Mike Harvey, Jamie (Harvey) Wyat, and Mary Lou Harvey.

(L-R): Mike Harvey, Jamie (Harvey) Wyat, and Mary Lou Harvey.

Our conversation with Bryce highlights the unwavering commitment Cimarron Firearms has to preserve the rich legacy of Old West firearms. Through meticulous attention to detail, collaborations with historians, and a balanced approach to modern manufacturing, Cimarron continues to set the standard in the industry. As it looks to the future, Cimarron Firearms remains dedicated to expanding its product line, refining its processes, and fostering a community passionate about the historical and cultural significance of its firearms. Bryce’s insights reaffirm that the company’s heart lies in its ability to honor the past while embracing the future, ensuring that these timeless pieces of history remain alive for generations to come.