1860 Army Blackhawk...I think!

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by Sharps40, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    1860 Army Blackhawk

    This may be premature. I ain't made no measurements yet. And I see that #1 Tardeddoggy has given both a healty slobber snort while I had my back turned.....but, with a bit of luck I hope to marry the Slimmer Finer 1860 Colt Army 44 brass grip to the new model Ruger Blackhawk. I think we'll be leaving the barrel around 5 to 5.5" for use as a hunter.....5 being the minimum length for handgun hunting deer and such in many states. If this 2 piece/flat spring grip is a no go then perhaps a true Birds Head grip or better, a custom birdshead shape. Grips I'm leaning towards redwood burl or bloodwood.

    So, as a place holder while I sip good Bourbon and think over the road ahead.....

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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Born on date is......drum roll......1974. So this one is just barely a New Model.

    The overall condition seems great. Plenty tight and timed well. A few freckles but the bluing is pretty darn good. Number one on the list was peeling back them dayumed ugly pachmeyers, why anybody'd put em on a single action while still sober is beyond me. But...there ain't no stupid locking mechanism under there so I'm happy!....
     

  3. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Rough measurement of the frame and grip with calipers indicates the widths and heights are close, may work. The trigger guard area is wider than the Ruger Frame too, so we should be able to fit the cheep part to the spensive part.

    Eyeball wise, screw holes appear close....I'll know more when I try to fit some parts for the first time.

    Looking at the two grips together.....I like the 1860 and beat up walnut lots more than the rubber Stinkmeyers.

    No medallion and no grip screw....smaller and rounder too.

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    Here the 1860 overlaid onto the New Model Blackhawk and the Suckwilies rubber grip....

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    And here, the 1860 compared to a vintage and near like new in box Old Model (3 Screw, 1968) 357 Blackhawk. The 1860 grip is rounder and a scooch longer, more pinkie wrap friendly and what you can't see.....when installed it should be a bit closer to the trigger....

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  4. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Its a forgone conclusion, if the grip fits, a Stainless Bisley hammer is gonna be needed.
     
  5. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    Your taking a cheap brass frame and putting it on a 357 mag revolver. After a few rounds, I wouldn't put too much stock in the veracity of that brass. It's your gun, good luck with it.
     
  6. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Spurious statement and pretty much in line with Internet Armchairmanship....too much of that negative opinion and false data all over the place. I wish folks would put hand to tool and mind to work before they type. Neophytes and Experienced folks everywhere would benefit from less confusion and more accurate information and proofs of concept.

    That cheep beer can aluminum frame that ruger puts on from the factory doesn't wear out in a few rounds. Neither does the original ruger brass frames nor the aftermarked Qualite and NC Ordinance brass frames. The original Colt brass black powder frames installed on the Colt Peacemakers clean thru the 1950s were put on since even though approaching 100 years old they were holding up well enough to customize a modern peacemaker. The cheep brass frame of the original henrys didn't wear out in a few rounds. The cheep brass cartridge cases provided by ammo manufactures don't wear out in a few rounds and on and on ad infinitum.

    Stand by and watch. Might learn something.

    Hell, we all might learn that the frame won't fit and then together can have a great laugh but for now, lets lean forward and Approach with Confidence, a key attitude for custom smithing. Negativity ensures failure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  7. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    You really don't have a clue. Good luck with your new gun.
     
  8. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Interesting assessment but again, spurious since you don't know me. I'm pretty sure I have more than a clue (and that bears out truly oftener than not, so I remain confident in the face of challenges or naysayers) and -- I never rely on luck. Skill. Thought. Confidence. Experience. But, not luck. Thank for yer good wishes though, its always nice to be wished the best.

    And for all....Confidence is not Uppity, it just is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  9. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Dayum. That's expensive! Cost near as much as the whole gun!
     
  10. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Grip frames don't have a lot of stress put on them. Brass grip frames hold up to 44 mag recoil with no issues.
     
  11. awahlster

    awahlster New Member

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    All the pissing contest stuff aside from your photos it appears to me the screw recesses on the Colt reproduction frame are way to high to match up with the Rugers Remington inspired shape. So that if you try to match the top of the mating surface below the hammer you will be opening up the top of the recess (which will weeken the material at the joint)

    I could be wrong afterall its not a good photo of the screw holes.
     
  12. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    No pissing contest. He was negative and inaccurate. The change over might work...but even if not, it'll be documented here as facts that folks can follow to the end instead of doomsday preaching from the outset.

    All that negativity does is confuse folks that'd like to learn and try. We'll stick with photo documented processes of the success or failure and thereby eliminate confusing and often inaccurate opinions.

    Still don't know if the 1860 Army Colt grip frame will work but follow along below. So far, so good and the screw holes are at least for now...okay.

    I remain positive and engaged.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  13. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Step one is seeing if the 1860 Army Colt brass grip frame will fit the New Model Blackhawk frame. Whether is does or not....a fit is no guarantee it'll work in the end. I still need to make up a plan for cylinder bolt spring and plunger, trigger return spring and coil mainspring assembly. That plus see if I have room left to make up true one piece grips or if I have to default to a two piece grip.....lots of sittin on the milk crate sippin bourbon without getting drunk.

    But for now, we see that the back strap is a direct bolt up. The slot for the hammer notch is a bit wide and we might either rebush the frame screw holes for the small head ruger screws or get some screws with bigger heads that will fit the ruger....but first touch is a good one and two screws home free.

    [​IMG]

    The trigger guard and lower grip strap...two of three ruger screws driven home thru the Colt Army holes. Again, could consider either bushing the holes or larger headed screws. The front screw hole is as I thought, a bit out of line...so I'll have to fill that and redrill the brass trigger guard to match the ruger frame. But this is good....4 out of 5 ruger grip screws in place and snugged down and the brass parts are a whisker proud of the steel frame...so room to fit the width to perfection.

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    Final rough assembly looks pretty spanky good.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Some size comparisons between the 1860 Army Colt grip frame and the New Model Ruger grip frame.

    The grip is not as thick front to back and the trigger guard is closer to the grip than the ruger.

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    This is the rough positioning of the ruger mainspring assembly in the 1860 Army Colt frame. Close and may need a bit of relief along the lower loop. In addition, the original 1860 Army Colt flat spring mounting screw should make a nice spot for a mainspring bracket....something for it to push on. Its going to be a tight fit for sure.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Looks like a durn near made for it fit....so far....I'd say this is the 40% level...all them internal parts and the length of the ruger trigger all have to be checked against the new brass frame assembly....but.....

    Here are some comparisons of the assembled 1860 Army Colt grip on the Ruger New Model Blackhawk as compared to a pristine and bone stock 1968 Ruger Old Model 3 Screw Blackhawk. (Comparisons to the 3 screw are made cause I don't have wood for the New Model frame....just an ugly Pacmeyer and I don't want my old model wood buggered by movin it around on frames. But, the comparison's below to the Old Model frame should be close enough to the New Model to give one an ider of the changes.)

    The 1860 Army Colt grip has a lot less wood down the back than the Old Model, effectively allowing smaller hands to reach the trigger.

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    The 1860 Army Colt grip has a lot less wood all the way around than the Old Model. It'll be more pinkie wrap friendly for everybody.

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    The 1860 Army Colt grip is lots longer than the Old Model.

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    From above you can see the 1860 Army Colt grip is smaller and slightly more forward than the Old Model.

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    With the faces of the recoil shields lined up we can see some differences in the thickness and length of the trigger guard loop and plate where it attaches to the frame.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  16. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Time to fix the number one flaw in every New Model Blackhawk. Ya can't pull the cylinder pin out of the frame cause its a couple of fingernails thickness too long.

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    Nice big bulbus rounded end smacks into the ejector button and ya can't get the cylinder pin out for cleaning....at least not without unscrewing the ejector rod housing from the barrel which leads to boogered screw heads and in short order a set of stripped threads in the barrel and yer off to the gunsmith hopin for a repair an not a new barrel.

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    Grind off the bulbusness, smooth it over slightly round....

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    Slip it in past the ejector rod button, nice, lotsa room to swing it in and out now, then stab it home and yer done.

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    Way too long barrel with ugly front sight is shortened a bit. I'll leave the factory barrel 5.1" right now and square, chamfer and crown it. That clears the Ruger Instruction Manual on the Left side.....havn't decided if I'll polish it off for a clean look. But, 5.1" is a good length for a hunting handgun and like I said, a minimum hunting barrel length in several states. The Ruger Lightning on top has a 3.5" barrel and ejector rod assembly....its also set up so that the cylinder pin can be removed without taking off the entire ejection system. Ya should be able to clean and inspect the major components of a Blackhawk without tools and touching up the length of the cylinder pin gets you 100% there.

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    Initial square, crown and chamfer, done with piloted hand tools as described in my many threads on gunsmithing.

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    So, todays work....a quick look. I think its coming together nicely. Still need a front sight selection and some other cosmetic metal work....and naturally, some long hours with the 1860 Army Colt brass grip frame.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Boy O....the New Model Blackhawk frame is noticeable longer than the Old Model. Like 3/16" or so on the calibrated eyeball.

    A quick look at the trigger to guard relationships. Mainspring too. Hammer to complete the picture and kinda help rough in the locations of the parts.

    This is lookin good so far, some work, but perhaps not insurmountable.

    The feel of that grip is pretty excellent. I'll have to get it together and put on a try sight for some shooting. I'm wondering if a bisley hammer is going to be so low when cocked that the hand will be in its way.

    [​IMG]

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  18. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Getting some of the front end stuff done cause its gonna be the same whether its 1860 Army Colt or Birdshead out back.

    So. A pic of where its at and usein my standard methods, duct tape a try sight, in this case a shortened Williams ramp into place with a 3/32" brass bead....just to start getting a feel for how a slimmer trimmer ramp sight with removable blades might look. May have to epoxy this into place for a shooting test before going final.

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    Did the cylinder chamfer. Not much to it. Run it both ways in the drill press or if not reversible, run it one way up and one way down to get an even chamfer on both sides of the flutes. (the file cuts hardest at the leading edge of each flute, so your chamfer looks tapered wide to narrow between the flutes unless you reverse directions to even it up....it ain't no lathe remember? Also, not too deep, so as not to uncover the back of the barrel, just to the bottom of the flute or shallower is fine.) Then some work with 120 grit backed by a file to remove almost all o the pitting on the cylinder. Just a touch left near one locking notch. I don't know iffin it'll come out or not. I'll get back to it later....this cylinder may get an experimental home caustic blue before final polish and finishing out the entire gun. We'll see.

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    A quick tour around the rough assembly as it stands now.

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    The lettering sure is ugly and the back of the ramp could use a bit of thinning.

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    But the Operational View is pretty spankey right on....

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    We should know more in a few weeks. I want to get all the front half metal work done to about the 80% level and then pull the wood stock and see how much trouble I'm gonna be in with the Colt grip. Theys a lot of butt scratching and head rubbin to do back there if it stands any chance at all of comin out functional an reliable.

    Challenges include:

    a. Room and fitting the mainspring assembly and its foot.
    b. Fitting either of two possible trigger return springs, new or old model style.
    c. Opening the trigger slot in the guard and/or thinning the trigger.
    d. Drilling the trigger guard for the locking bolt spring and plunger.
    e. Filling one hole in the trigger guard and redrilling it to match the forward most grip screw hole.
    f. And, modifying the original wood grip for clearance of all the new guts in the grip or making up a two piece grip panel or both.