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SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?
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Author:  stevep1954 [ Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

will a super blackhawk grip frame fit on a new vaquero birdshead 45 colt. i am looking to get a plow grip with a longer than a new blackhawk grip. will this work out without too much fitting? thanks

Author:  powder smoke [ Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

No!

Author:  contender [ Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

Uhh,, I MAY disagree with ps above.
I do believe the screw hole pattern is the same for both main frames, & as such, SHOULD interchange. Now,, I may very well be wrong,, as I mostly fool with OM Rugers moreso than the NM's. But I do have a fair number of NM's too.
The biggest issue may be the vintage of the grip frames.
The older main frames have "slots" for the grip frame "ears" to fit into. Many newer main frames do not have the slots,, and if the g/f has the ears,, it won't fit. However,, some folks have taken & ground off these "ears" to allow an older g/f to fit on a newer main frame.

And lastly,, sometimes the top of the g/f where it meets the main frame may be a little proud. Again, a little minor grinding allows a good fit.

Otherwise,, unless I'm mistaken,, (which is possible,) the screw hole pattern should allow them to mate up.

Author:  stevep1954 [ Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

thanks guys. i think i'll give it a try.

Author:  powder smoke [ Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

Ty, there is no doubt you probably messed with swapping parts more than I have!
I was under the impression the Super frame is a tad larger so they would not be interchangeable. ps

Author:  David Bradshaw [ Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

stevep1954 wrote:
will a super blackhawk grip frame fit on a new vaquero birdshead 45 colt. i am looking to get a plow grip with a longer than a new blackhawk grip. will this work out without too much fitting? thanks


*****

I would guess the HOLE PATTERN for the 5 GRIP FRAME screws to be the same. Contender raises two points,
1) Older grip frames have two INDEXING LUGS which slip into slots cut in the rear face of the FRAME. About a decade ago (more or less), the indexing lugs were eliminated from the grip frame; respective slots in frame eliminated also. A newer grip frame without indexing lugs will mate to older or newer frame. As you were advised, indexing lugs must be removed to mate to a newer frame.

2) Ruger has always polished a steel grip frame to the frame. The “ears” above the backstrap of grip frame do not blend without fitting. Both height and radius are apt to differ, especially between Blackhawk & Super Blackhawk and the Bisley. Bill Ruger wanted to introduce his yet-to-be-configured Bisley grip frame on the Blackhawk .357 Maximum, which was fitted with the Super Blackhawk grip frame. Ruger’s idea was to have full interchangeability. Did not happen. At the time the radius from frame to grip frame didn’t match between SBH and Bisley. A race was on to get the .357 Maximum onto IHMSA handgun silhouette firing lines.

Don’t know about now; it is my understanding that, for as long a the single actions were made in Southport, Connecticut, Sturm, Ruger would install any grip frame that fit, at the customer request.
David Bradshaw

Author:  Hondo44 [ Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SBH grip frame swap w/ birdshead?

Steve,

The following I know for certain:

1) Contender is correct; all grip frames have the same screw pattern from 1953 to the present, all models!

2) The indexing extensions on the front of the grip frames and slots in the back of the main frame were dropped in 2005 when the New Vaq and New Flat Top Blackhawk were introduced. They are not needed on steel grip frames for strength. Just grind them off of your replacement SBH grip frame.

3) INTERCHANGEABILITY OF GRIP FRAMES:

New purchased steel and stainless grip frames are only partially finished and will need sides and "ear" fitting, final finish, and bluing or polishing if stainless steel. “Take off” grip frames from a finished gun are much less work and only need the "ear" height fitted sometimes.

All the screws (but excluding Bisley grip), springs and pins can be transferred over from existing GF. Including those with internal locks, but not the lock itself and a standard spring seat is needed.

Depending on model and vintage, be aware of:

The "Reverse Indexing Pawl System" on NM Flat Tops and New Vaqueros. You'll need to copy the simple little groove cut in the top of your GF above the trigger guard for the free spin pawl.

Grip Frame Ear Height Change to be aware of: the ear height around the base of the hammer varies on all grip frame ears slightly due to hand fitting at the factory, but there was one specific big height increase. To simplify production in 1997, Ruger increased the height 1/16” on the standard cylinder frame mating surfaces on both sides of the hammer to match the Bisley model frame ears so any style grip frame could be assembled to any main frame. Therefore the ears on all the other standard plow handle grip frames after 1997 had to be made ~ 1/16” taller as well. So there's basically two sizes of the STANDARD plow handle grip frames: as short as .530” pre 1997 and as tall as .590” after 1997. Measure from the very top edge of the grip panel to the top of the ears. That's why standard grip frame swaps are simplified if any acquired grip frame matches the vintage of your Ruger that you want to put it on. This also affects the standard hammer base fit to the grip frame ears on plow handle grip frames, except new hammers designed after 1997, like the New Vaquero and New model flat top Blackhawks.

The grip frame ‘ears’:
Image

Image

4) If you want a round trigger guard, use the SBH Hunter grip frame shown below (available in stainless steel only):

Image

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