Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Custom Blackhawks

I have been on a single action kick lately and have been researching things you can do to customize a Ruger Blackhawk (I just finished my old model Blackhawk project, see it here). So I decided to add a bit of a slant on the usual gun porn. 
The Ruger Blackhawk is now in its 7th decade of manufacture, so you can imagine how many have been customized over the years.

Here I have compiled just a few of the customized Ruger Blackhawks out there.

These 1st six are from a amateur gunsmith from North Carolina. He goes by the name Sharps40. I decided to include his stuff because I like his style & attitude and he does all the work himself.

This first one is an old model "3-screw" .357 Blackhawk that has the following mods:
  • barrel & ERH cut down to 3.5" & re-crowned
  • modified base pin
  • adapted New Model Colt Lightning brass grip frame
  • thinned loading gate
  • chamfered cylinder
  • dovetailed front sight
  • a custom made a brass ejector rod button to mimic the grip frame 
  • hand made curly maple grip panels
  • rust blued finish
See the write up here: Blackhawk Lightning Restyle

This next project was a New Model .357 Blackhawk that he adapted an 1860 Colt Army brass grip frame to. The mods include:
  • shorten & recrown barrel to 5.1"
  • barrel re-crowned
  • adapted the 1860 Colt brass grip frame to work with the Ruger main spring & trigger return spring
  • modified base pin
  • chamfered cylinder 
  • "flat topped" the frame
  • modified bullseye ejector rod
  • modified & jeweled stainless Bisley hammer
  • dovetailed front sight
  • handmade bloodwood grips
  • rust blued finish
See the write up here: 1860 Army Blackhawk

This 3rd gun started out as a project without a name or plan, he originally called it the "Undecided Project", but then decided to name it "The Gentleman's Workhorse".
On this New Model .45 Blackhawk he performed the following:
  • barrel & ERH were cut down to 3.5"
  • Barrel re-crowned
  • modified base pin
  • modified a Ron Power grip frame into a birds head
  • scalloped the recoil shields
  • "flat topped" the frame
  • added a Stainless Bisley hammer & trigger
  • dovetailed custom front sight made from a buffalo head nickel
  • Super Blackhawk Hunter rear sight
  • modified the ejector rod button 
  • added SBH sight blade
  • hand made bloodwood grip panels                                   
  • rust blued finish
see the write up here: The Undecided Project

This next one he calls "Mr. Belly Gun", he wanted to make a short barreled carry gun. It started out as a 6.5" barreled old model .357 Blackhawk. The custom touches include:
  • barrel & ejector shortened to 3.5"
  • re-crowned barrel
  • customized base pin to allow for extraction of spent shells
  • custom Buffalo Nickel front sight
  • Customized Bullseye ejector & notched ejector rod housing
  • New Model Blackhawk stainless grip frame, adapted to work with the trigger and then given a round butt treatment
  • flat-topped frame and S&W style front contour
  • smoothed barrel (no roll marks)
  • chamfered cylinder edge
  • scalloped recoil shields
  • back-cut on the loading gate
  • custom grip panels made from Afzelia Xylay
  • rust blued finish
 See the write up here: Mr. Belly Gun

Another Sharps40 creation, this one started out as a 50th Anniversary 357 Blackhawk: smaller frame, flat top, old school rear sight.
He calls this one the "New Model Old Model Blackhawk" or "Rusty". The modifications include:

  • barrel & ejector shortened to 3.75"
  • re-crowned barrel
  • customized "cam-over" Ejector Rod Housing to allow for extraction of spent shells
  • Stainless Bisley Hammer & Trigger
  • Removal of main spring lock
  • chamfered cylinder edge
  • scalloped recoil shields
  • Fitted 9mm cylinder
  • Bear Paw Amboyna burl grips
  • Custom blued & browned two tone finish
See the build here: Rusty

Yet another one by Sharp's 40 (perhaps I should have dedicated this whole post to him?). This one is an old model Super Blackhawk 44 Magnum. The mods include:

  • Shortening the barrel to 3.6" & recrowned
  • Adding a rifle barrel band/front sight with brass faced Patridge blade
  • custom fitting the ejector rod housing including a brass accent ring
  • scalloped recoil shield
  • back cut loading gate
  • New Model Bisley grip frame adapted to the 3-screw frame
  • customized base pin
  • Ruger Hunter rear sight
  •  Custom two tone finish in rough brown and smooth black oxides
 See the write up here: The Pack Horse

This custom build was chronicled on one of the Ruger forums. The guy took a New Model Bisley to a new level....

  • Shilen Premium 4140 .451 barrel, cut to octagon shape
  • Ruger .357 Maximun cylinder, rechambered/throated in .45 Colt with recessed case heads
  • Belt Mountain over-sized base pin (.257)
  • Cylinder line bored to bore axis (within .0005)
  • Barrel to cylinder gap set at .0015
  • Power Custom over-sized cylinder latch, machined to fit the stop notches
  • Custom made over-sized trigger & hammer pins fitted to frame and parts
  • Bowen Custom rear sight and custom made interchangeable front sight
  • Custom made brass Ruger grip emblems and screw escutcheons.

     see the build here

Another "Belly Gun", this one a 3-screw .41 Mag, barrel shortened to 3", brass insert in front sight, custom birdshead grip frame with unique trigger guard, see it here

This next one was built by master gunsmith Alan Harton. It started out as a 50th Anniversary 357 Blackhawk (flat top). The modifications include:
  • 5.5" banded PacNor .44 barrel
  • custom 5 shot .44 mag unfluted cylinder
  • Bisley Hammer, trigger & grip frame
  • No.5 cylinder latch
  • custom Amboyna grips by Harton
See more here:Single Actions

This Alan Harton build is another unique gun. Built on an old model/3-screw Blackhawk frame it features custom cylinders in .327 Federal Magnum and .32-20 Winchester (with extra long flutes), a custom tapered octagon barrel, scalloped recoil shields and lower frame, hand fitted NM Bisley grip frame (made lightweight, hot rod style) and Clements custom trigger & hammer. The grips are genuine Ivory. See the build here

Yet another Alan Harton masterpiece. This New Model .357 Maximum Blackhawk had the following performed on it:
  • Top strap welded and a Freedom Arms rear sight installed
  • A new 414 Supermag cylinder was custom made
  • A new .41 caliber octagonal barrel was installed
  • A Bisley grip frame, trigger and hammer installed
  • The frame was color case hardened
See it here

This gun was created by Jason Menefee. It started out as a run of the mill New Model Blackhawk and had the following mods performed:
  • Flat Topped frame
  • S&W J frame rear sight 
  • Custom 5 round cylinder in .500JRH
  • Black Powder chamfer
  • 4½-inch octagon barrel with an integral rib and a custom white bar front sight
  •  Custom contoured grip frame with custom bird's eye maple grip panels
  • Super Blackhawk hammer
  • Color case hardening by Turnbull

This next gun started out as an old model .357 Blackhawk. The work was performed by  Cosby Custom Gunsmithing, I am guessing this was done before 1993 (pre-Vaquero).
The mods include:
  • Rebarreled/rechambered to .44 Special
  • Shorten barrel & ERH to 3.5"
  • Welded top strap and milled for fixed sight
  • Black Powder chamfer on the cylinder
  • Colt style patridge front sight
  • Modified base pin
  • Colt ejector rod
  • Custom welded & contoured grip frame
  • Custom grips
  • Color Case Hardened finish
 See more here
This .44 Special 50th Anniversary Flat-Top Blackhawk was custom engraved by Michael Gouse and refinished by master gunsmith Doug Turnbull
 See it here

This one is from one of the premier gunsmiths in the country. Hamilton Bowen's work is legendary and this gun is a fine example of his work. The gun started life as a New Model Blackhawk. the mods include:
  • the top strap was welded and contoured to look like an old model Single Six
  • the recoil shields were scalloped
  • custom made titanium alloy base pin, screws, pins, barrel and cylinder
  • chambered in .50 Action Express
  • .50 cal. barrel with custom machined front sight
  • Roy Fishpaw Dall Sheep Horn grip panels
See more here: Bowen Classic Arms

  Clements Custom Guns is responsible for this New Model Super Blackhawk Bisley rechambered in .480 Ruger

Gary Reeder is well known for his custom revolvers, especially Ruger single actions. He has dozens of designs. I chose this one because it was a little different. He calls this the "Coyote Classic". The gun is built on a stainless New Model Super Blackhawk frame, the mods include:
  • 8" heavy barrel with gold bead front sight
  • custom six shot unfluted cylinder
  • choice of chamberings: .22 Hornet/K Hornet, .218 Bee or .218 Mashburn Bee
  • rounded SBH grip frame
 See more here: Gary Reeder Coyote Classic

This one is also a Gary Reeder custom, this New Model Super Blackhawk is chambered in .455 GNR, has scalloped recoil shields and frame, Colt style ejector, locking base pin, flat-topped frame, custom barrel and some custom grip frame contouring. See it here

Another one from Hamilton Bowen, this one started out as a 50th Anniversary .357 Blackhawk. The gun was re-barreled in .32 caliber and two custom cylinders made, one in .32-20 and an unfluted one in .327 Federal Magnum. The frame is color case hardened.
See it here

Here is a different one: A custom .45 Convertible New Model Blackhawk in stainless. Built by Jack Huntington, it has a shortened barrel (3.5"?) with a custom locking base pin. Scalloped recoil shields, black powder chamfer on the cylinders and a custom aluminum Bisley grip frame.

I found this picture, but no documentation to go with it. By the photo we can tell this is an old model Super Blackhawk. The frame has been scalloped at the recoil shield and the lower front of the frame. It appears to have Ivory grips (I highly doubt someone would put fake ivory on a gun of this quality).
The frame has been color case hardened and it has a custom octagonal barrel. Gold accents and full coverage engraving complete the modifications to this work of art.

This stainless New Model Super Blackhawk was built by the 'smiths at Magnaport.
The barrel was cut down to 4", and ported (of course!). The ejector rod and cylinder base pin were shortened as well. Some parts were polished to a high shine with the main parts were bead blasted.
See it here

This gun was built on a 1961 vintage old model .44 Magnum flattop. The gun was built by Milt Morrison who besides being a gunsmith, he also owns (owned?) Qualite Pistol & Revolver as well as MK Technologies.
The gun has a custom 9" half round, half hexagonal barrel with a dovetailed front sight.
A bulls-eye ejector (an MK Tech piece) sits in a steel housing. The brass grip frame is of course a Qualite piece.
After the color case hardening and high polish bluing were finished, an 18 carat gold band was added to the cylinder & barrel.  
See the rest of the story on Gunblast

This final gun, built by Gemini Customs was the 2012 American Pistolsmith's Guild raffle gun.
I have no specs on the gun, but from the picture you can see the gun is a flat top New Model and sports a Bisley hammer and grip frame. The hammer and trigger are jeweled, the grip panel has a blind escutcheon. The recoil shields are scalloped.
The frame has been color cased hardened and the entire was gun engraved with gold pin stripes added.
See the gun here

The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used under the guidelines of Fair Use, per Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Where possible the source has been credited.
If you own the copyright to any of these images and wish them to be credited or removed, please contact me immediately.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Firearm Trends

Colors are all the rage these days, it seems many people are tired of black or stainless guns and alternate colors are selling like hotcakes. Of course we have seen custom anodized and painted guns for a few years now (see my posts on Zombie and Theme guns

While the zombie craze may have kick started the color wars, I think the one of the early adopters of factory color options was the Desert Eagle

Glock made waves with their Olive Drab and Flat Dark Earth versions...originally just the frames were colored, now they come in full color...

Glock recently added a gray version

Smith & Wesson has done the same with their M&P pistols

Kahr Arms has added some colorful options

This one is called "Robins Eggshell Blue", but I think it was inspired by Tiffany's

One of Kahr's divisions, Auto-Ordnance is offering a 1911 in bright orange

Ruger has been offering their LCP and now LC9 & LC380 pistols in a multitude of colors, see my post here

Ruger also has their .22/45 Pistol in a lightweight version that has a anodized upper receiver.

You can also buy aftermarket uppers and lowers for your Ruger Mark series pistols, see the building of a custom Mark III pistol here

Kimber's solo pistol now comes in this strange combo, they call this color "Bel-Air" after the mid-50's Chevrolet

 SigArms always seems to be on the cutting edge of these trends.....they also have some bold color choices

The trend of pink guns and gun accessories (including purple and other "girly colors") continues....Ruger now offers their BX-25 10/22 Magazine in Raspberry.....I'm looking for one for my daughter's Girly Rifle
The guys at Kryptek started a trend of their own with their unorthodox camo patterns

Some companies now offer AR receivers that come with the pattern

Ruger is now offering their LCP and LC9s in two blue Kryptek camo patterns

Colors are not the only new trend in firearms.....America's favorite modular firearm the AR rifle, has seen some unique options hit the market. The makers of the receivers were in need of something new.
I think it started with monolithic uppers

Soon after there were monolithic lowers (built in trigger guard) equipped with flared magwells

AR Lowers are machined on CNC equipment and as such it would not be too difficult to manipulate the design to include some cosmetic touches. This is what the smart fellows at Sharps Brothers did.


Now bright colored anodized receivers are becoming more popular

While we are on the subject of ARs....the 80% lower rage is still going strong. BATFE raids on some manufacturers have not slowed down the sales of the these semi-finished units.

Of course you could do the same with the Ruger 10-22 receiver (note the lack of holes for the trigger group, bolt stop and barrel V-block

Following a similar path is the growth of the home-made firearms industry. We have seen 3D printing used to make AR-15 rifle receivers, and now they have produced a AR-10 (.308) receiver on a 3D printer.
Now the "printer crowd" are making 10/22 receivers with their 3D printers.

Probably the most popular trend going is the suppressor. Many states (mine included) have changed their laws to allow the ownership and use of silencers/suppressors.

According to BATFE records licenses for silencers increased 58% from 2012 to 2014 and 38% last year alone, there are indications that those numbers will continue to climb.

The trend of "do-it-yourself" has bled into the suppressor market (although one could argue home-made suppresssors came first) and many companies are selling kits to build your own. One thing is for sure, the price for these devices have dropped significantly in the last couple of years.

So what is next? Hard to say, but we have a battle ahead of us just to keep our natural born right to keep and bear arms.....perhaps that will be the next trend...getting everyone of the 80-100 million gun owners to actually fight for what is theirs?

CNN Money
3D Print
80 Percent Arms
Aim Surplus