Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ruger Old Model Blackhawk Project part 2

Making a Decision
While pondering the options I proposed in part one, I did some research on what could be done with this old model Blackhawk.

For those that don't know, the old model Blackhawks came with an aluminum grip frame that has a different trigger spring configuration making the installation of a New Model Blackhawk grip frame troublesome.

I covered the differences in my post Ruger Single Action Grip Frames

Briefly here is what we would have to over come:

The old models used a plunger and coil spring to provide return pressure on the trigger, the New Models used a leaf spring style that had a perch for the "legs" of the spring, in the second picture you can see the hole in the om grip frame for the coil spring & plunger

 To install a New Model grip frame on an old model Blackhawk we need to add a block to contain the coli spring and plunger or buy a custom made trigger
Here are two examples of block made for the om trigger spring in a New Model grip frame. They use the NM trigger spring pivot pin as the locator for the block

Master Gunsmith Dave Clements has created a custom trigger to work with the New Model trigger spring. It is the 2nd one from the right in this picture
From left to right: custom Bisley trigger for New Models, Bisley trigger for OM using NM grip frame, standard trigger for OM using NM grip frame and OM stock trigger for reference.
The price for the custom trigger is $65, which is acceptable. the advantage of using a New Model grip frame is that you can find them in steel, brass, stainless and other styles like Bisley, birds head, Keith #5, Super Blackhawk/Dragoon & the original Colt style.

The ability to fit a New Model grip frame to my gun allows me to pursue the 2nd (Army Calvary model), 3rd (Sheriff's Model) & 4th (custom) options.

I already have this original old model Blackhawk aluminum grip frame in really good condition, so I need to weigh the options along with the amount I would have to spend. 

Steel New Model grip frames can be purchased new from Midway USA and Brownells for $100-$120, used ones come up on ebay and Gun Broker, but they often sell for the price of a new one. Brass grip frames would be out of the question if I didn't already have one. On the rare occasion that they come up for sale, they often sell for $300 or more.

The lanyard loop (to make a Calvary model) is available from several sources from $25 to $75. The one below is from Bowen Classic Arms.

Shortening the barrel and adding a dovetail sight will require the purchase of a dovetail jig, which is around $40 (to make a custom or Sheriff's model)
New and vintage front dovetail sights can be had for $10-$30

I would also need tools to recrown the barrel, so I would have to include that expense as well.
Brownells has tools and kits that you can recrown the barrel without using a lathe, they run from $150 to $450. There are probably other, less costly, options to obtain a nice crown, but if you want to do it right......

Option One: Restore, only some factory parts are needed to complete a restoration, perhaps $50 worth.

Option Two: Calvary Dragoon, I would need the Super Blackhawk Grip Frame: $120, If the grip frame is from a New Model I will need the custom Clements trigger: $65, in addition I will need the factory parts to finish the assembly: $50, an estimate of $235 If I decide to have it nickel plated I can add an additional $200 to that price.

Option Three: Sheriff's Model, I would need to buy a grip frame or use my brass one, we'll assume for this exercise that I will buy a new steel birds head: $120, I will need the custom Clements trigger: $65. I will also need to shorten the barrel and install a dove tailed front sight, the jig and front sight will cost approximately $60, add the $50 for the factory parts needed and we have an estimated expense of $295.

Option Four: Custom, for this option I will need to buy a new steel grip frame: $120, I will need the custom Clements trigger: $65. I will also shorten the barrel to 4 5/8" (to match the ejector rod housing) and install a dove tailed front sight, the jig and front sight will cost approximately $60, add in the $50 for factory parts. Then include $200-$250 for a high polish nickel platting job, grand total: $545

Our costs estimates run from $50 to $545, resale value is not a concern, but money is money.....

Of course I could just sit back, wait & keep my eyes peeled. Maybe the right grip frame will fall into my lap, perhaps I will come across the tools at a gun show for cheap?  

A guy could grow old waiting for that to happen......

I will ponder the options and make a decision soon.

Clements Custom Guns
Midway USA