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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:35 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Hello all,

I have a been kicking around ideas for a custom shooter. One of the ideas I'm considering is a bright stainless New Vaquero receiver mated to a stainless Super Blackhawk grip frame.

Is this possible? Will they fit together? I wanted the Super Blackhawk grip frame for the slightly longer grip. I also like the dragoon trigger guard. I like the thinner rounded top strap of the Vaquero.

If this will work, I'll just need to decide between the .44 Special or one of the Davidson's .45LC/.45ACP convertibles. I'm thinking a 9 1/2" barrel would be pretty spiffy.

Thanks in advance for your assistance!


David

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Hunter
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As I have never worked on a Vaquero I cannot be 100% certain, but I am at least 99% so that they will fit together. Certainly the Super Blackhawk grip frame will fit on any other Blackhawk as long as it is new model to new model or old model to old model. Cross fitting between new and old models can be done but not easily.

Pictured is my Anniversary model .44 flattop with a super grip frame. If you look closely you may be able the see that the revolver frame is a little proud at the intersection with the "ears" of the backstrap grip frame. This might occur with your mod. If the vaquero is stainless it would be a simple chore to smooth that area out.
Image

I also had to do a little filing on the grip frame to remove a bit of medal that interlocked with a regular blackhawk revolver frame but not the anniversary revolver frame.


John


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:10 pm 
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You might encounter a slight "height" difference at the top of the "ears" of the grip frame and the New Vaquero's cylinder frame. Other than that it should only require a wee bit of "homeboy" gunsmithing!

We need to see pics, eh?

:D

Me? I'd use the Super Blackhawk hammer, too.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:35 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
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David,

Yes they will interchange! All new model grip frames will interchange. However, there are two cautions to be aware of:
John experienced both issues and flatgate one of them.

If you get a SBH grip frame of a similar vintage as your New Vaq., you'll have less or no fitting needed at the top of the ears along side the hammer. But whichever vintage you get, you'll need to remove two 'points' that extend into the frame under the hammer of the SBH and standard model Blackhawks (not Flat tops or New Vaqueros). But they are easy to cut or file off and aren't needed with steel grip frames.

One other word of awareness: if you buy a new SBH grip frame, it will be the best fit on the 'ears' however all new ones come oversize and extend beyond the main frame on both sides and will need some laborious and careful filing down to match your gun's frame width. Buying a late model used SBH will be the least amount of work, basically just cutting the two points off. They are often available right here on this forum's classifieds and you can post a want-to-buy thread for one made since about 2002.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you all very much for your replies.

John: That flattop Blackhawk looks fantastic with a SBH grip frame! I may have to reconsider my whole plan after seeing that...

Flatgate: I was thinking a Bisley hammer, but the SBH hammer would look (and work) well. My original thought was to have the frame, cylinder and barrel in bright stainless and have the hammer and trigger in color-case hardened steel.

Hondo: Thank you for the confirmation and explanation. I'll have to refine exactly what I'm hoping to achieve here, then put out a WTB ad and see what comes.

The full plan is to have David Clements do the work. My plan is to have him install one of his pre-war S&W adjustable rear sights, a taller Patridge-style front so it looks something akin to a Colt flattop target model, and then the SBH grip frame. I was originally thinking 9 1/2" for the barrel, but those 10 1/2" SBH's sure look nice.

Thank you all very much for your assistance!


David

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:59 pm 
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Hunter

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Well I like the idea of the Case colored hammer and trigger, kind of an old Smith nickle gun look!

Either long barrel will nicely balance the look of the Dragoon grip.

Another thing to consider if you haven't already: some love the looks of the sq back trigger guard and you may be one I suspect. But others hate the bang on the knuckles you can get and use the 44 Hunter grip frame, just as large but w/round trigger guard.

A thought on the pre war sight: they are very authentic to the point of not having 'micro click' adjustment. You have to loosen one side, thighten the other side screw and then retighten the 1st screw. Not a big deal but not as precise and the tiny screws tend to come loose and get lost. I would prefer the Smith post war J frame size micro click sight. Almost as small.

David could put a windage-adjustable-only early Ruger rear sight on a New Flat top after recontouring the top strap and really give you the old Colt Target model look.

Fun to ponder all the possibilitie!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
I'm going to try the pre-war S&W sight David Clements makes on an old I-frame .32 Hand Ejector with a 4 1/4" barrel I picked up last month. I bought a Paine front sight for it and have a jeweler putting a gold bead on it currently. That will give me a good trial of whether or not the sight is what I'm looking for.

I haven't fired a pistol with a dragoon grip, but I sure like the look of that square back trigger guard. I also like the idea of the longer grip frame of the SBH, though I haven't tried one yet. I like the look of the Colt SAA grip frame, but prefer the feel of the longer Bisley. I'm hoping the SBH will fill the gap between the two.

I sure wish Ruger would make a flattop SBH in .45LC and/or .44 Special. That would really be the cat's meow. I like the Blackhawk flattops, but the top strap is just too thick in my eyes. I'm growin' particular in my old age.
:wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:19 pm 
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Hunter

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I have no doubt you'll love his sight, I have several Smiths with the originals and shoot them often but once adjusted, don't mess with them and don't take them afield. When I converted my Mod 30-1 .32 to a target, I used a post war Kit Gun sight. And it looks factory for a post war gun:
Image

I still shoot my SBH with dragoon grip and suffer a wrap on the knuckles once in awhile. But I like it too much to change it! I'm sure you will too.

Flat top Blhk 45: there's a project in here somewhere (smile!) A barrel/cylinder change would do it. I converted a standard BLHK in 357 to 38-40. I wanted it on the large frame but would like a Flat top. I'm thinking about stripping the 'ears' around the rear sight so it matches my Flat tops.
Same thing on my Super Single Six.

Yes, you're right, the flat top topstrap is extra thick, as I recall last time I measured them, .040" more than the OM flattop. Probably because the new models are chambered in 44 Spl and 45. But we have deserved the right in our 'old age' to like or dislike whatever! Right?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:23 am 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
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Wow, Jim! That is a beautiful little revolver you have there! The sights look great and those grips are amazing. Did you make them? If not, where did you find them?

I prefer target revolvers as well. Fixed sights are fine as long as the point of impact is dead on, the load doesn't change, and the front sight/crown doesn't get bumped, but the fates haven't smiled upon my attempts to maintain such consistency.

I have recently been enamored of S&W I-frame revolvers. I picked up a .22/32 "Heavy frame" target model last year and was amazed at how small it was compared with a K-22 or even a J-frame Model 63. I'm excited to get the Paine sight back from the jewelers so I can send it on to David Clements to have him work his magic. Then the decision will be how to refinish the revolver. It's currently blue and in need of either a re-blue or maybe nickel....

You mention stripping the rear sight protection "ears" off of the top strap. Can this be done and create a flattop? If so, I'm going to pick up a stainless SBH and Single Six and have a field day.

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


David

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
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Location: People's Republik of Kalifornia
Thanks David,

Those grips started life as standard Smith J frame targets that I reworked.
Bottom center in photo:
Image


On a Sg butt J frame the back of my modified targets look exactly like Magna grips on a square butt frame. The bottom has a small gap at the front 'toe' of the grip frame that can only be seen from the bottom.

When I make them for a Rd butt J or I frame (both shorter than the sq bt), I use the excess wood that was removed from bottom and back to make a filler piece for the bottom and the back of the frame that goes half way up.

1. I trace a sq bt frame bottom and lower back on to both sides of the target grips then cut off the two 'L' shaped pieces with a coping saw on the outside of the line to leave a little for final sanding. I sand down the curved or outside side of each L shaped piece to the grip frame width.

2. (For Sg Bt gun, skip to step 3.) Now you have two filler pieces. Glue one 'L' shaped filler inside one side of the target grip while mounted on a Rd Bt gun and install the other to clamp together until dry. Sand to desired shape.
Image

3. Now comes the more difficult part if you want to retain the factory checkering as I did. With a flat file or sanding block, sand off the checkering edges where they were cut thru with the coping saw to match the borders that were not disturbed. Then with a matching width bordering file, continue the original factory border around the checkered area that you reshaped with file.

4. Finish up with steel wool and coat with Birchwood Casey True Oil.

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Last edited by Hondo44 on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:14 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
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Location: People's Republik of Kalifornia
Doc Nonverbal wrote:
You mention stripping the rear sight protection "ears" off of the top strap. Can this be done and create a flattop? If so, I'm going to pick up a stainless SBH and Single Six and have a field day.

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

David


Yes, the large frames are easiest. Remove rear sight, file flat, polish and touch up blue with Brownell's Oxpho Blue paste. I found that to be a good match for the Ruger bluing. The only difference from a real FT is the front end of the sight. The FTs are round at the front end.

Some of the 22 frames can be a problem because the rear sight retaining pin is sometimes too high and by filing the ears flat you can cut into the pin hole.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones as well!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
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Doc Nonverbal wrote:

I have recently been enamored of S&W I-frame revolvers. I picked up a .22/32 "Heavy frame" target model last year and was amazed at how small it was compared with a K-22 or even a J-frame Model 63.
David


I've been studying the post war I frames for some 30 years now. They seem to have been neglected but the 50's models hold a wealth of evolutionary variations that are not correctly identified anywhere. Not even in the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson by Supica and Nahas which is an excellent resource but lacking and confusing on the I frames.

However, with the discussion on the S&W Forum, interest has really picked up. As the popular larger frames became so pricey, the I frames were cheap and plentiful. Although I'm seeing prices rise with all the renewed interest. I have attempted to capture the I frame evolution based on my collection and study, in a rather long document that I'd be happy to share. Just let me know if interested and I'll e-mail if your address is in your profile.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Hi Jim,

Thank you very much for the step-by-step instructions for the grip and top strap modifications. I happen to have a couple pairs of J-frame target grips in my wood pile I can use for such endeavors.

I've been tinkering with images of stainless SBHs and they sure look spiffy with flattops. I wonder why Ruger never made SBHs in .45LC?

Thank you for the photo of your collection of S&Ws. I especially like the little 3rd model Ladysmith in the upper right corner! I wish S&W (or Ruger) would bring back the M frame in a 6-shot .22LR. It would make for a wonderful backpacking pistol.

Thank you very much for your offer of sharing your I-frame research. I would greatly appreciate it if you would send it to me. You're absolutely correct about the prices: I picked up the 3rd model HE .32 I'm going to modify for about $225. I also recently bought a .32 Regulation Police that looks almost new for $300. Now I just need to find grips for it. I think these are bargains when considering the workmanship of these little revolvers.

I put together a short MS Word document outlining study and test taking techniques. If you have any kids/grandkids in college, I'd be more than happy to share it with you.

Best wishes,


David

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
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Doc Nonverbal wrote:
Hi Jim,
I've been tinkering with images of stainless SBHs and they sure look spiffy with flattops. I wonder why Ruger never made SBHs in .45LC?

Thank you for the photo of your collection of S&Ws. I especially like the little 3rd model Ladysmith in the upper right corner! I wish S&W (or Ruger) would bring back the M frame in a 6-shot .22LR. It would make for a wonderful backpacking pistol.

Thank you very much for your offer of sharing your I-frame research. I would greatly appreciate it if you would send it to me. You're absolutely correct about the prices: I picked up the 3rd model HE .32 I'm going to modify for about $225. I also recently bought a .32 Regulation Police that looks almost new for $300. Now I just need to find grips for it. I think these are bargains when considering the workmanship of these little revolvers.

I put together a short MS Word document outlining study and test taking techniques. If you have any kids/grandkids in college, I'd be more than happy to share it with you.
Best wishes,
David


They seem to have reserved the SBH status to the 44 Mag which was once 'King o' the hill' but obsolete thinking these days.

The M frame was only chambered in .22 Long as I'm sure you know. When fired with 22 LRs the barrel throat is destroyed in short order, so even if it were made in a six shot that would be the weak point. However with modern steel and heat teating and maybe a slightly larger frame/barrel junction I think it could be done. But they are intricate and expensive to make and not in S&Ws focus these days with their direction on polymer guns, etc, unfortunately. Sounds like you picked up some very nice finds.

I'd very much appreciate your MS Word document outlining study and test taking techniques. Please send here: jjcarter@sbcglobal.net
Searching the membership for profiles is laborious. I'll forward my I frame Evolution by return e-mail.
Thank you,

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:51 pm
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I understand the M-frame guns were made before S&W started heat treating their cylinders. This, their age, and their value makes shooting them too risky for my tastes.

This said, I would love a modern version of an I- and/or M-frame made in stainless steel. With the current interest in concealed carry weapons and the growing interest of women in the shooting sports/self defense, I would think these little guns would sell like steel toed boots at a butt-kicking contest.

I'm not a big fan of plastic in guns. I'm ok with fiberglass or plastic rifle stocks and prefer them for hunting/working weapons, but I can't seem to bring myself to seriously consider a polymer pistol. Watching a Glock cycle in ultra slow motion was enough to squash any lingering doubts.

I sent the study guide. If any other readers would like a copy, I'd be happy to share it with you.

Best wishes,


David

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