The Packhorse
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The Packhorse


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Old 05-16-2015, 01:42 AM   #1
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This one sold as good condition.

Not really.

High pressure firearms, in my opinion shouldn't have screws drilled and tapped clean into the bore. Mostly they stay in place, until they come squirting out and wanging around the range bumpin into folks.

For example, this 44 Magnum.....Home shortened and front sight customized......

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

After backing out the sight screw about 1 turn, metal, probably bullet fouling trapped in the screw threads that protruded into the bore, fall to the bottom of the barrel and as you can see, sight is poorly/unsafely installed.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Two holes were drilled, looks like very dull bits and likely not jigged properly. Front is a giant hole for the tiny sight ramp alignment pin....back hole was started off center and then respotted and redrilled and finally tapped all the way thru into the bore of the barrel.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

And in case you still can't believe it.....a bent q-tip passes thru the rear hole and out the muzzle.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Consider working with the seller for a gunsmith inspection and certification on your end and the right to refund on any purchase.

So......To the repairs. I spose this will be the only OMBH Vaquero Sheriff Length 44 mag that I know of. Sans a front sight, the repairs up front will be done. Guts look good, except for the heavy filing of the cylinder pawl.....seems an attempt at reversing cylinder direction that didn't come to fruition. The pawl is serviceable but I may scout about for a Ruger Conversion Pawl.

Finall, Right grip panel was split out the inside from over torqueing, glued and bolstered with a sleeve from a gutted pen......other than that, I think we are okay but havn't busted a cap on it yet. Still gotta gauge cylinder gap and headspace before I shoot it.

If its a shooter remains to be seen. But the bore looks good and we have good ammo to test it after the rain lets up. I ain't lookin forward to firing this mug with that factory knuckle breaker of a grip.

Barrel is shortened to about 3.639"inches. Crowned 11 degrees and the circumference rounded over. (Nicely, the Ruger banner was saved, I believe its the same as the owners birthplace and retaining the banner was desired.) The original ERH screw was a size 6 so the barrel was drilled and tapped for a quality 6x48 screw and then ground back for stud and pinch nut arrangement. The original ERH screw was temporarily converted to a 6x48 pinch nut.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

A 50th anniversary steel ERH was shortened for use on the new barrel. The Ejector rod and spring was similarly shortened. I need to check function at the range, naturally, cases will be "plucked out" on the shortened system. Additionally, the Cylinder pin was slightly shortened and an additional ring groove added to increase ejection stroke. We'll see if its all enough on range day.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

ERH installed.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

All in but the sight and range check.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The Packhorse - DIY Projects


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Old 05-16-2015, 01:46 AM   #2
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Continuing along, time to fit the NMBH Bisley grip frame to the OMBH receiver. The grip is bigger than the receiver, upper ears are taller and need knocked down a bit.

Here on the left not so bad, an easy clean up......

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Here on the right, the frame ear is much lower from the factory and both the right grip ear and to some extent the left frame and grip ears will have to be brought down a bit more to even up the fit to the smallest part ... the small part being the receiver ear on the right side.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

A bit of careful file work and the grip frame now matches much of the frame ears. Still a bit of dip where the frame ears curved down at the edges, as highlighted by the remaining bluing on the frame. Can't work it totally out and still maintain a flat relatively straight surface, so we'll make it very close and trick the eye by working the outer edges....

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Slightly rounding over the outer edges gives us the straight look we want without having a dip at the seam where grip meets frame. Dragging a fingernail over the top of the seam and you can just feel the joint where the receiver dips over.....it needs just a touch more filing there. So, I finished out the top and the round over with smooth cut swiss pattern files and some sanding/polishing with a jitterbug and the fit now looks and feels pretty fine and no serious dip in the middle!

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Gotta convert the NMBH Grip frame to OMBH trigger return spring. Fill the pocket behind the trigger with steel for the OMBH coil spring and plunger. To drill a center hole in a rod or square, file a teat in the stock, slip it into the drill bushing in the scissors jig and with some good oil, drill away.....A .180" drill makes a nice spring pocket for the .171" diameter spring and plunger.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The .22 LR Case in the grip frame was temporarily pinned in place to ensure function when the NMBH grip was initially fitted to the OMBH frame. We'll be replacing it with the new made steel spring way on the right.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

After flattening the bottom of the new spring way, fitting it and cross drilling for the NMBH trigger spring retention pin, we have to shorten its nose to fit the groove in the grip frame.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Once shortened the back end is tapered to clearance the main spring and hammer strut. The final step will be to glass bed the spring way in place so that it does not pivot around the retention pin. If you make up a square filler block ya can fit it tight to prevent it pivoting or glass bed it as well. In any event, once its in and bedded, it won't pivot and cause trigger clicking noises like an unbedded filler block can. The click occurs if the new spring way pivots up slightly and the nose of the plunger slips up off its pad on the back of the trigger. Rember, on an OMBH this spring and plunger was in a hole in the frame so the filler block ya make up for the NMBH grip frame has to be a very snug square block or better, a square or round block that is very tight or preferably bedded or soldered in place. I may solder it in as I potentially have other soldering to do on this grip frame.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects


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Old 05-16-2015, 12:11 PM   #3
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Dispelling any myths from back in the good old days of hand fitted firearms that such were the embodiment of perfection......Not.

Here, upon cleaning up the 44 Mag Safety Conversion hammer we see the flat smooth areas created by polishing and the coarse and angled file strokes of the factory gunsmith at the edges. Nope, no perfection in the non critical areas. Even then, costs were drivers and such "Flaws" while not critical and often not even easily noticeable were the shop floor rule driven by command of the ledger books....

A light buff on the cotton wheel should even up the look of the left and right faces......just carefully since the adjacent blued areas are in pristine original condition and overrunning the edges will remove that survivor color.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

And to the more modern NMBH Bisley grip panels. Walnut and in great shape. No failed finish and no serious marks/dents or boogers and with near perfect Squashed Chickens. A leveling and rub out with Brownells fff cleans them up nicely and produces a satin smooth finish that brings visual life back to the grain of the wood. These nice panels will go back on the grip frame I think.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:07 PM   #4
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Trigger return spring housing is in place. Its a 44 Magnum so, against any possible recoil issues, I've more than pinned it. Given the steel frame (gooder threads than luminum) I decided to cross drill and tap, 6x48 and no way we'll ever loose the pin when the grip panels are removed.....Some of these NMBH Grip frames have loose pins and I am forever forgettin which ones and loosing the pin during cleaning.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The retention screw runs straight thru the new steel spring housing and both sides of the grip, tapped all the way through.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

And because its a steel grip and plenty strong and cause I can and cause I always wanted one.....an Uncle Mikes QD sling swivel is added to the base of the grip. Good for attaching sling or pull (either can be handy when hunting) and if nothing else, a depressed fracture maker for when that dayumed doe just won't quit bawlin and floppin around on the ground. (I can't recommend tryin to brain a buck, them points can be sharp.)

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

I'll thin this swivel down a bit later before the final polish. But, I think I'll make the final installation like it is here, hole running front to back and any sling attachment not sticking out perpendicular to the panels and/or interfering with grip. Now, neck sling, belt sling, short pull, saddle attachment (always nice to let the horse pack the weight when yer way out in the woods), who knows. Maybe its jest for looks.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:18 PM   #5
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While rootin round in the parts box I found a new Hunter rear sight. Important since its perfect, its all steel and it fits with slight modification. Naturally I put it on. Now there is no aluminum what so ever on this handgun. And, that's a big deal, to me anyway.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:40 PM   #6
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Very nice job, good work.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:27 PM   #7
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I would've left the sight off and shot it "ported" lol. Wish I had those skills, looks good man
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:10 PM   #8
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Initial fitting of the steel Hunter sight in place of the aluminum OMBH sight. Differences include the elevation screw and the hole size for the screw.

The Hunter sight on the Left is modded to work with the OMBH screw (which has no unthreaded shank like the Hunter screw.) In order to accommodate the OMBH screw the hole in the hunter sight is opened slightly so the OMBH Screw is a free running fit just like in its original aluminum body sight assembly. A 28 or 29 drill bit does the job for a 6x48 screw.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The sight blades, springs and windage screws interchange, for the most part (some differences between OMBH blades and NMBH/Hunter blades but are workable between sight bodies). A dab of gun grease on the bottom of the sight holds the pesky elevation springs in place for assembly. Shown here fully depressed. Mileage may vary, whether using the OMBH or NMBH/Hunter elevation screw, its length may need adjusted to prevent striking the cylinder at full depression. For now, I have 2 3/4 full turns of elevation. Should be plenty and depending on final sight height, will probably add the taller Hunter rear leaf for a wide range of adjustment to suit most bullet weights and velocities.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Here is elevation at about 2 turns out.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

And finally, should you loose the elevation screw, any gunsmith anywhere will have a spare 6x48 screw or three that can be quickly shortened and have your rear sight back in working order in double quick time. If you like, you can even file the little notches in the replacement screw for click adjustment, or find the right setting and lock tight it in place for the field expedient repair. Finally, the 6x48 screw allows attachment of the various scope mounts and if ya get a wild hair, to fill the sight cut with a removable Fixed Sight Block.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:18 AM   #9
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The very last of the last of my old school Uncle Mikes QD Sling Swivels. From a time when folks knew when to and when not to press the detach button....so, no silly plastic nut on this one to fiddle with, it ain't appropriate for a project gun that is eliminating every trace of potmetal and plastic for wood and steel. Besides, a locking nut just ain't needed. And, the body of these old swivels is narrower and shorter by almost 1/4 than the bulky new ones. Lastly, the plunger can be depressed and rotated with the fingers or if yer into it, they came with a fine screwdriver slot to do all the pressing and rotating. Been savin this one for the right project. Guess this is it.

So, soon this old hunk will be ready for neck carry, Tuco style (Watch The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Tuco was The Ugly.)

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

Oh yeah, blackmaxed on an OMBH front sight to see how it looks.....still ugly. Prolly have to fix that.
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:49 PM   #10
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I left a gap for a decorative brass wedding band on the end of the ejector rod housing. Just messing around to see how it look and not sure if the front sight choices will allow keeping it but for now.....

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

After fitting, soft soldering and shaping an old brass sight eyecup into place....

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

An application of BWCasey super blue to the ejector rod housing to highlight the new band......

The Packhorse - DIY Projects

I think I might like it. It also looks good on two piece rifle and shotgun stocks making a transition from wood to metal, especially with dark walnut or burned figured maple.

The Packhorse - DIY Projects


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