Ross Gunnison (pre-98) or Cimarron (post-98)

Daz

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Looking for a nice used reel for a mixed use 6wt (mainly fresh but the occasional brackish) and I'm going back and forth between a pre-98 Ross Gunnison and a post-98 Cimarron (both in the #3 size). Any reason to consider one over the other (considering condition/price)? I've been doing some searching and reading and both seem to be well regarded, but I just can't seem to find anything that really says what their differences are beyond the weight and cosmetics. The Cimarron is stated to be .3oz heavier which is probably good for balance on this rod, but beyond that, any significant reason to lean toward or away from one or the other?

Thanks as always.
 

Southerncaster

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I have a post-98 Cimarron C2, C3, & C4 and two pre-98 Gunnison G5s. I've taken them apart and the primary difference I see is in the spindles. The Cimarrons have the more traditional fixed position, solid stainless steel spindle. The "spindle" on the Gunnison is considerably thicker and is actually a more complex complete bearing unit that spins around rather than just a stationary spindle.

The drag system is the same on the Gunnisons and Cimmarons. The main drag washer is the same style on both models also and made of a polymer that I think is probably delrin, which is a self lubricating plastic. There are 4 conical Belleville spring washers in the drag stack of both models, except Ross added a 5th Belleville washer to the larger Gunnison G5 as their technician told me they felt the extra one was best for that size reel (that extra Belleville washer is not pictured in the schematic). Ross states the drags in those reels are self lubricating and not to oil or grease them or it will degrade the drag.

The pre-98 Gunnisons have a solid 1pc spool. Post-98 Gunns & Cimarrons have, I believe, 3 pc spools (I haven't taken the spools apart yet) with screw heads visible on the back side of the spool. The pre-98 Gunns are much louder on the retrieve than they are when line is going out and cannot be made quieter as the noise is produced by the little spring loaded plungers on the spool clicking off the little ramps on the drag disk. The sound is unpleasant to me and I prefer it to be louder when a fish is pulling line out, but I'll live with it on the G5. I believe that issue got fixed on the post-98 Gunns. The post-98 Cimarrons have a softer sound.

The Cimarrons & Gunnisons from those periods are solid, tough reels that will handle decent fish. I've caught many nice stripers on the Cimarrons, up to 35 pounds on the C4 that ran approximately a hundred yards down river. The C3 would've handled it. I've never had any problems with any of them, except I somehow bent the C3 spool rim enough that it wouldn't turn; I sent it back to Ross and they fixed it perfectly. I keep a wf-7 on my C3 and a wf-8 on the C4.

Used Cimarrons usually cost less than Gunnisons. I trust Cimarrons as much as I do the Gunnisons and mine are for keeps for medium to heavy freshwater, but I'd use them in salt, too.

Below is a list of specs on those reels I gathered together from the Ross website and arranged for my personal reference:

GUNNISONS (Pre 98):
(Capacities based on 30 yd fly lines and 20# Dacron backing)

GUNNISON G-1 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80'' // dia. 3.00'' // weight 4.4oz.
WF 3 +90 yds | DT 3 +70 yds
WF 4 +60 yds | DT 4 +50 yds
WF 5 +40 yds | DT 5 +30 yds

GUNNISON G-2 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.25" // weight 4.8oz.
WF 4 +170 yds | DT 4 +90 yds
WF 5 +140 yds | DT 5 +60 yds
WF 6 +120 yds | DT 6 +30 yds

GUNNISON G-3 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.50" // weight 4.8oz. 5.5oz.
WF 5 +170 yds | DT 5 +145 yds
WF 6 +160 yds | DT 6 +100 yds
WF 7 +150 yds

GUNNISON G-4 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.75" // weight 5.7oz.
WF 6 +275 yds | DT 6 +180 yds
WF 7 +250 yds
WF 8 +225 yds

GUNNISON G-5 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80'' // Dia. 4.0'' // weight 6.1 oz.
WF 7 +350 yds
WF 8 +300 yds
WF 9 +250 yds
WF10+200 yds

CIMARRONS (Post 98):
(Capacities are based on floating lines & 20# dacron backing)

CIMARRON C-1 (post-98) -- spool width .80'' // dia. 3.00'' // weight 4.4 oz.
WF 4 +60 yds

CIMARRON C-2 (post-98) -- spool width .80" // dia. 3.25" // weight 4.9 oz.
WF 5 +140yds

CIMARRON C-3 (post-98) -- spool width .80" // dia. 3.50" // weight 5.4 oz.
WF 6 +160 yds
WF 7 +140 yds

CIMARRON C-4 (post-98) -- spool width .80'' // dia. 3.75'' // weight 6.0 oz.
WF 7 +225 yds
WF 8 +200 yds

CIMARRON C-5 (post-98) -- spool width .80'' // dia. 4.00'' // weight 6.3 oz.
WF 8 +300 yds
WF 9 +250 yds
 
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WNCtroutstalker

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Not much to add to the excellent summary above, though I will say that the Gunnisons were considered more durable. There was a reason for the price difference (the Gunnison was the big brother and the Cimarron the little brother), though the C3 is a solid choice and should get the job done with a 6 wt fish. As for the sound of the pre-98 Gunnisons, I actually like it. It is loud but distinctive - and no one who comes up to your fishing spot should be able to claim they weren't aware you were there. :)

By the fact that you asked about a pre-98 Gunnison and a post-98 Cimarron I'm guessing that you found those reels for sale and are deciding between the two. That said, if still looking note that some of the early Cimarrons came with a solid frame. Sharp looking IMO and likely a bit heavier than the ported frame if looking for weight. You might also look out for a CLA 3 - the CLA (Cimarron Large Arbor) was the successor to the Cimarron. Not the most glamorous of reels, but a solid workhorse.
 

Daz

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Thanks for the info, that does help.

Yes, I WAS considering two specific reels but I'm passing on this particular Gunnison. It's older than I first realized and under closer inspection (pics only) it looks like it's had a tough life. I figure if somebody isn't going to clean it up when they want to sell it, they probably didn't do much when nobody was going to be looking at it either. The Cimarron is still a possible although the seller isn't exactly forthcoming with information. There's no rush so I'll keep looking. Also toying with the idea of a Battenkill mid-arbor III to keep the classic look going.

Thanks again.
 

Southerncaster

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WNCtroutstalker, I can appreciate your liking the sound of the Gunnison, and got a chuckle, too. I guess that's part of why I like my Hardy reels.:)

Daz, I also appreciate the classic look of the Battenkill.

You guys got my curiosity up so I called Ross Reels and asked about the durability and engineering comparison between the two model versions in question here. The response was that other than some machined design differences in appearance along with the fixed spindle assembly vs. more complex free spinning bearing assembly, they are both otherwise essentially the same, both machined and built to same tolerances, same drag system, and equal in durability and longevity. Not counting the spools, the schematics show 12 parts in both reels, with all parts appearing to be the same except the spindle designs.

The uniqueness of the Gunnison was/is characterized by the raised octagonal design on the drag knob side of the reel, the extra row of porting holes on the spool face, and especially the impressive stainless steel spinning bearing assembly the spool turns on, so there was more design & production work that went into it, thus a higher cost. Both still rock solid as reels go, but differences enough at two price points that I think made either one worth it. In terms of the classic style stationary spindle on the Cimarron, think of all the great classic reels that have similar spindles.
 
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srock

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I own the early Ross G3 you mention and have had it for about 25 or more years. It is still rock solid and works very well. It is standard arbor and can hold a lot of backing, and in the day I used it for Midwest steelhead and salmon fishing. It has a strong drag. I use it less today because I am now more into classic click and pawl reels but still put the G3 on rods when fishing for bass or muskie. The G3 can handle most things you throw at it. I like its styling better than the cimmaron and think it is likely a sturdier reel. If you can find a decent G3 then I would get it over the. Cimmaron. But, that is my preference.
 

Daz

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Well, found what appears to be a good condition pre-'98 G3 on the auction site today and pulled the BIN trigger.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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Well, found what appears to be a good condition pre-'98 G3 on the auction site today and pulled the BIN trigger.
Nice! Performance wise both are great, but I much prefer the looks of the pre-98s to the post-98s--though I have both. Just FYI, if you decide to look for extra spools, make sure they'll fit with your reel as not all are compatible. Ross has an ID file on its website and of course you can just look at your reel. Basically need to look at the number of screws and plungers/pins. Enjoy your new (to you) reel!
 
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Daz

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Nice! Performance wise both are great, but I much prefer the looks of the pre-98s to the post-98s--though I have both. Just FYI, if you decide to look for extra spools, make sure they'll fit with your reel as not all are compatible. Ross has an ID file on its website and of course you can just look at your reel. Basically need to look at the number of screws and plungers/pins. Enjoy your new (to you) reel!
Thanks. Yeah, Ross' Product Help page has been an invaluable tool for me during my reel search - Great info on IDing their reels and spools as well as giving specs, capacities, and info. The seller doesn't have the original reel pouch so I now have a new search project. I know Ross sells the current version, but I just can't see spending $45 for a neoprene reel case.
 

Southerncaster

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Excellent find, especially a BIN! I found a couple extra spools on the 'bay for my pre 98 Gunnisons and occasionally see the neoprene cases come up for decent prices. Ross does have great info on their website --and top notch service.
 

Daz

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This has been a good exchange, it's what the forum is made of!
Absolutely. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back.

Thanks to all who participate and especially those who keep it going.
 

Daz

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Received my new (to me) '95-'98 Gunnison G3 last week and was finally able to fish it yesterday. Nice - The seller described it as in good condition, but beyond one small cosmetic nick on the lower edge of the frame (since touched with a Sharpie and now undetectable), it looks essentially new. It balances the rod out perfectly and passed all of its drag tests with flying colors. Yes, it's a bit louder on retrieve than most of my other reels but I can't wait to hear it scream when a big snook or red grabs the fly and decides to run.

After I got home I hit the auction site and a couple of facebook groups for my daily search as I'm still looking for a Battenkill I for my little 3wt, and I was lucky enough to be the first to respond to a guy selling his latest generation C3. He said it's in perfect condition but just isn't big enough for what he wants. Long story short, it's now on its way to me so I'll be able to do a side by side G3 - C3 comparison soon.

Still looking for a deal on a nice Battenkill I...
 
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Jeremi414

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I’ve owned several Cimmarons. Always wanted a Gunnison. I would say Gunnison if it’s in budget. Or you will always say “I wish I would of”
 

thomasw

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GUNNISONS (Pre 98):
(Capacities based on 30 yd fly lines and 20# Dacron backing)

GUNNISON G-1 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80'' // dia. 3.00'' // weight 4.4oz.
WF 3 +90 yds | DT 3 +70 yds
WF 4 +60 yds | DT 4 +50 yds
WF 5 +40 yds | DT 5 +30 yds

GUNNISON G-2 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.25" // weight 4.8oz.
WF 4 +170 yds | DT 4 +90 yds
WF 5 +140 yds | DT 5 +60 yds
WF 6 +120 yds | DT 6 +30 yds

GUNNISON G-3 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.50" // weight 4.8oz. 5.5 oz.
WF 5 +170 yds | DT 5 +145 yds
WF 6 +160 yds | DT 6 +100 yds
WF 7 +150 yds

GUNNISON G-4 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80" // dia. 3.75" // weight 5.7oz.
WF 6 +275 yds | DT 6 +180 yds
WF 7 +250 yds
WF 8 +225 yds

GUNNISON G-5 (pre-98) -- spool width 0.80'' // Dia. 4.0'' // weight 6.1 oz.
WF 7 +350 yds
WF 8 +300 yds
WF 9 +250 yds
WF10+200 yds
Excellent detail on the specifications but for posterity I wanted to correct the typo on the weight of the G3.
 

Southerncaster

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Oops, thanks Thomasw. Got it corrected on my post, too.

The other feature on those reels I forgot to include is that on the Cimarrons, when the drag is engaged/pulled by a fish, there is just a single plunger that backs up to the stop on the drag disc, whereas on the Gunnisons, there are two plungers -- *with the exception of some of the earlier Gunnisons I've seen, on which I have noticed that some of them had only one plunger. I am not clear as to the production year(s), or exactly which Gunnison models and how many, had the single plunger.

To my thinking, that would be the most notable difference between those Gunnisons and the Cimarrons (other than the spindle styles).
 
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