Free spin mod in a new model Blackhawk/ Vaquero

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Joe S.

Hunter
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
4,808
Location
Central MS
Sorry for the crappy pictures.

I have always liked the idea of a free spinning cylinders in single actions. But it has always been expensive and/ or time consuming with having to fit aftermarket parts or filing the factory pawl. The new model Blackhawks and Vaqueros make performing this mod quick and easy with the indexing "pawl" they are putting on the frames now. This is a spring loaded button that aligns the chamber with the loading gate. The ratchet pawl rotates back into the frame free and clear of the cylinder from the lever on the bottom of the pawl that rests against the grip frame. Makes loading the newer guns a snap, much like the old three screws with the half cock feature.





I havent seen any write ups on this mod, so I thought I would do one.

First up, SAFETY! Follow all rules of safe gun handling. All guns are always loaded. Never point a gun at any thing you arent willing to destroy, so on and so on...

Next, you need good companions. Here are mine for this mod.



This is the screw we are trying to get to.


Pull the grip panels and the cylinder, and remove the grip frame. Dont forget to put the pin in the hammer strut, like I almost did.




While you are at it, you might as well perform the "poor man trigger job" and bend the spring. I didnt put much in mine, but just enough to help a little.


Now we need to pull the hammer out. To do that, remove the pin that holds the hammer to the frame. It is the one higher on the frame. It will come out easily once you remove the grip frame because the long screw on the grip frame captures that pin by going up into the groove on the pin. Keep that in mind when reassembling the gun. Once the pin is out, you need to depress this pin on the hammer, and it will slide on out.





Once the hammer is out, all you have to do is pull the trigger, moving the transfer bar up and out of the way. Then, simply remove this screw, and push the detent pin and spring out the back of the frame.






Now, simply put the hammer back in and replace the grip frame and panels. Open the loading gate, and give it a test spin and make sure the gun still functions properly.

One thing to note. Make sure the spring on the rear of the cylinder frame to the left of the hammer doesnt get bent. It is easy to do.
 

Doc Fillem

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
88
Location
Arkansas
Nice write up. I do a lot of Cowboy Action shooting and have several sets of New Vaqueros. I've done the free-spin mod without any disassembly by reaching in with a long ball-end hex key to remove the screw.
 

jmartiney

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
3
Joe & Doc - great info...is there any difference aside from cost with this mod versus the 'free spin pawl' parts and services I see advertised by 'smiths? Thanks...j.
 

Joe S.

Hunter
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
4,808
Location
Central MS
Yes the older new models did not have this indexing pawl. Only way to make them free spin is by modifying the gun with the free spin pawl, or modifying the factory pawl.
 

jmartiney

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
3
Joe - Hi...what size hex key? I've got one of the new BH's and want to try that mod...thx...j.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,552
Location
Butte, MT
Nice write up, but one clarification. All the revolvers since '73 are New Models with transfer bars and no side screws. The New Vaquero and the medium frame flattops have the indexing pawl as described above.

Can you tell my why you would want to make the New Vaquero/Flattop a free spin? I think it is very nice touch now that it indexes properly as you can again unload/load by feel. Wish they would add it to the whole line up :) . Before I could understand the free spin 'need' (so you could backup if you went past).... I even modified my original Vaquero (filed the pawl) to test this mod and it worked fine, but finally went back to normal pawl as over a lot of use, it finally wouldn't reliably advance the cylinder. Especially when the cylinder was gummed up with BP making it harder to turn.
 

Joe S.

Hunter
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
4,808
Location
Central MS
I just prefer the ability to back the cylinder up if i miss the gate. And the click bugs me. Ha
 
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