Restoration of a 3-screw Blackhawk

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by TINCANBANDIT, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I picked up this 1972 vintage 3-screw Blackhawk for a good price. It was an uncompleted project and came with a brass birdshead grip frame (that was for a new model).

    I bought it mainly for the brass grip frame, but also because I needed another project :D

    [​IMG]

    as it turns out I was missing quite a few parts, so step one was source the missing pieces and assemble the gun. I already had a mint condition aluminum grip frame.

    [​IMG]

    I was able to trade a stainless new model base pin for a hammer strut, main spring along with the trigger spring and plunger.

    The bag of screws was not complete, it was actually two sets of new model grip frame screws, since the I had two sets I was A-OK, I just ended up with two pivot lock screws (for a new model)

    [​IMG]

    I needed a few more items, I found an old model ejector rod & spring on ebay

    [​IMG]

    I also found these Ruger Old Army frame screws, they also fit the old model Blackhawk

    [​IMG]

    Numrich Arms (Gun Parts Corp) supplied some other misc parts

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015

  2. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    The process of collecting the parts taught me a lot about what parts interchange between the old model, New Models and the Old Army guns


    A quick assembly to make sure the gun functions (the blue tape is to protect the anodized finish on the grip frame)

    [​IMG]

    I used some Speer practice ammo to test her out

    [​IMG]

    Everything worked like it should...1st hurdle overcome

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  3. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I tried to restore this aluminum ejector rod housing using the B-C Aluminum Black and it didn't work, maybe the solution was old or I did something wrong? I have never had much luck with this stuff

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I stripped the old bluing and rust off with some B-C rust & bluing remover

    [​IMG]

    I started with the top strap

    [​IMG]

    A little file work and sanding and it looks like new

    [​IMG]

    same for the sides of the frame

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    The front of the frame needed some work as well

    [​IMG]

    Polished to a 1000 grit finish

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I left the top strap at a 220 grit finish (to reduce glare)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    Then I started on the cylinder, I used Sharps40's technique.....I mounted the cylinder to a 1/4" bolt so I could chuck it up in my drill press

    [​IMG]

    220 grit finish

    [​IMG]

    and a finish polish with Krokus cloth

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I polished some of the internal and small parts

    [​IMG]

    I scored a mint condition steel Ejector Rod Housing on ebay (along with the screw and another ejector)

    [​IMG]

    and fitted it to the frame, I had to remove some metal from the hole that the ERH fits into

    [​IMG]
     
  8. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    Now that the metal was smooth and shiny it was time to start the bluing.....1st step is to clean and degrease the metal, every nook and cranny must be clean and free of oil and dirt

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I am trying out Mark Lee's Express Blue #1, it has some great reviews and it uses heat to speed up the rusting process taking hours instead of days to blue a gun. The stuff looks like racoon piss

    [​IMG]
     
  9. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I warmed the parts (150 degrees is recommended) using an electric heat gun

    [​IMG]

    I then swabbed on the solution per the instructions, we got some good rusting right away

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then boiling for 10 minutes and carding the loose black oxide with de-greased 0000 steel wool


    [​IMG]
     
  10. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

    8,549
    267
    83
    Straight vinegar strips gun bluing very quick. I just brushed with a toothbrush and in no time the metal was stripped.
    I used Van's instant gun blue which did so-so job. It looks more like a worn blued finish not a deep blue finish like hot bluing provides.
    I refinished a 57 Colt police positive .32 revolver which finished out like a worn old blue finish which was ok with me as it looks more original this way.
    I would like seeing your end result when it is all together.
     
  11. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    after 6 cycles I put the parts in baking soda and warm water to neutralize the chemicals and stop the rusting

    [​IMG]

    then I dried them and put them in a bath of WD-40 for 24 hours

    [​IMG]

    The results were less than pleasing......I was hoping that by using a rusting method I could avoid the dreaded plum color (maybe I should've used Plinkington's?) The cylinder looks horrible, the frame had some weird coloration to it, splotchy, almost like color case hardening

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The only parts that turned out great were the base pin and the ejector rod

    [​IMG]
     
  12. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    12,933
    100
    63
    Good post ... good info...
    Sorry it didnt turn out the way you wanted.

    Nothing ventured ..nothing gained.;)

    A friend of mine restored a rifle , he used Wonder Blue or Blue Wonder, and I seen the results..it was like the best looking home bluing I everseen...deeep black and consistent .

    Jim
     
  13. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28

    Some cold blues give decent looking results, but the finish doesn't hold up well. BTW cold blue is actually a stain of sorts, not real bluing.

    The color of the frame has started to grow on me....it sure is unique!
     
  14. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    Lance Shively from Triggershims.com was nice enough to provide me a set of his trigger & hammer shims gratis. I disassembled the gun and measured the clearances

    [​IMG]

    Some gun grease keeps the shims in place during assembly

    [​IMG]
     
  15. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    This project is coming full circle......I bought this brass grip frame from an Italian copy of a Colt 1860 Army Model. There is a gunsmith in North Carolina that successfully adapted one of these to a Ruger New Model Blackhawk. After much thought I decided I would like to put this on my project gun

    The grip frame has the trigger guard portion and the back strap, but came with no screws

    [​IMG]

    We will need to accomplish the following:


    • Make clearance for the wider Ruger trigger and possibly the hammer
    • drill a hole in the rear of the trigger guard for the trigger return spring and plunger
    • make clearance for the hammer strut/main spring assembly
    • build a mount for the hammer strut
    • plug and redrill the front trigger guard screw hole
    • find all the correct screws
    • Make a custom set of grips, including drilling a hole and installing an indexing pin
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  16. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    this picture shows the Colt & Ruger frames side by side, you can see the hole in the back of the trigger guard on the Ruger grip frame
    [​IMG]

    We (my friend who is a machinist) drilled from the front

    here is a picture of the fixture he built to drill the hole, setting it up to mimic the angle and depth of the hole on the Ruger

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    the next part of this project involved filling and re-drilling the front trigger guard screw. The Ruger's hole sits closer to the trigger guard loop and it overlaps with the original Colt's hole, so simply re-drilling isn't an option (at least not a very good one).

    The old hole was threaded for a larger screw, the screw was bottomed out, then silver soldered in place. The new hole was drilled and counter sunk for a perfect fit with the Ruger screw (The Colts screws had slightly larger holes)

    [​IMG]

    we left a little bit of the screw sticking up, it fits in the recess of the Ruger frame and acts as a guide.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. TINCANBANDIT

    TINCANBANDIT Active Member

    401
    81
    28
    I was able to source the two missing screws. the larger one is the Main Spring screw, the other one is the screw that attaches the back strap and trigger guard sections together at the bottom of the grip.

    [​IMG]

    next up: The building of the main strut/spring boss. I wanted to use the old Main Spring screw as the mount. I measured the angles on my Ruger Single Six. I will try to mimic the angle and the location of the stock boss.

    [​IMG]

    I had this bracket in my scrap metal pile, that had the right size hole, thickness and a 90 degree bend already in it...

    [​IMG]

    I cut and filed away until I had the correct shape and angle

    [​IMG]

    This is what the end result looks like, I will refine it a bit, cleaning up the edges, polishing the slot and then blue it

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]