How difficult is it to remove a Super Redhawk barrel?

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tjw

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
4
So this is a very ambitious project. My ultimate goal is a totally caliber convertible revolver. That means one that has a fairly easily removable cylinder and barrel. Now I have a Dan Wesson .44 which I love and has an awesome barrel system, but removing the cylinder is both difficult and has the possibility of damaging parts.

The search for a new project gun came to the Super Redhawk. Its at least as durable as my Dan Wesson, if not more so, and it has a removable cylinder. But how to remove the barrel?

I am a machinist, so if I do this project I will be designing my own Dan Wesson-esque barrel shround system and be machining my own barrels and probably cylinders. So I'm not super worried about this being a difficult project.

My main question is has anyone ever taken the barrel off of a Super Redhawk? I know they are supposedly extremely tight. And what are the potential concerns when taking it off? And does anyone know the factory thread pitch? I've searched the world over for this question but it always ends with "take it to a gunsmith". So I've never actually seen someone try to take a barrel off.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks. And yay for complicated first posts.
 

Chuck 100 yd

Hunter
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
3,251
I posted to your thread BUT I had misread your title. I have done a couple Super Blackhawks but never a Super Redhawk. I assume it would just screw in like any other. I believe I would strip the the frame,remove the trigger assy. crane and cylinder and make up a receiver wrench to clamp the frame into to prevent twisting and destroying the frame. Clamping the barrel into a barrel vise using wooden blocks fitted to the barrel and coated with rosin. Super Blackhawk barrels are torqued in with about 35-45 ft.lb. torque if the ones I did were normal.

Does anyone know how Ruger does the Alaskan? I assume they screw in a extra long barrel blank and cut and crown at the end of the frame extension. A bad barrel would mean the entire frame would have to be replaced. Yes/No???
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
Welcome to the forum.

The Super Redhawk and the .44 SBH Hunter are the same: 20 TPI x .747" (shank diameter is .680").

Single actions are easier to remove barrels from; their frames are solid. I would use a frame wrench as Cuck poste d above, on any DA frame that splits with a yoke for the cyl to swing out on. Brownells and Midway USA sell frame wrenches. It's not a daunting task. All gun barrels are tight of course, Ruger barrels are a little tighter in my experience but they do come apart readily with a long enough wrench handle. The challenge is putting different barrels in and getting them to have the sight straight up and down. But that just takes a little math and lathe work on the barrel shoulder; not an issue at all for a machinist.

Various custom smiths have devised quick change barrel systems. They aren't very popular, two or three different caliber guns seems to be preferred and it is for me. I only change barrels to do permanent caliber conversions, or to change lengths.

I'd be happy to post my barrel change tutorial if interested. I prefer not to use Rosin because the barrel will slip until clamped tight enough and it scratches the bluing or stainless finish so I use a different process. And you don't find out if the barrel is clamped tight enough until you finally hear the "crack" when it breaks loose instead of slipping.
 

tjw

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
4
Thank you very much for the information. A tutorial would be greatly appreciated. I know this seems like a strange project. Part of it is because I like unique things, part if it is the challenge and part of it is the fact that I don't have to convince the wife to let me buy multiple guns. :wink:

And if you know of any custom quick change barrels off the top of your head, I'd love to see how they did it. One guy on Smith and Wesson forum made a shrouded removable barrel for his .500 S&W.
 

tjw

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
4
No offense taken. A tutorial was exactly what I was looking for. I want to make sure its not super hard to do before I drop money on a Super Redhawk.
 

foxtrapper

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
495
I heard that some smiths will not attempt to remove a super RedHawks barrel. Something about crush threads...... I think. Keep asking before you buy one for a project.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
win1894s said:
Hondo I would like you post tutorial on changing barrels. Thanks mike

There is the professional way to remove/install barrels with expensive eqipment. But for more than a hundred years the home shop method has also worked.

One of THE FINEST Gunsmith's around, Hamilton Bowen of Bowen Classic Arms has written a "How To" for all of us homeboy 'smiths. In addition to that, I've included much more detail that I determined to be helpful as well.

I've also included installing a different barrel for reference which is where this sometimes becomes more challenging than simply replacing the original barrel. It may seem complicated once you see what's involved, however it’s really a fairly simple operation, it just takes a lot of text to explain it. But you may need a lathe.

Removing & Replacing Barrel:
1. When removing the 1st time, Ruger barrels are very tight, don’t give up! Colts are not as tight. Make an index mark on top of the barrel and frame (with fine point black indelible ink pen) where the barrel meets the frame. Make your line about 1/32" wide, before removing if the same barrel is to be reinstalled. Soak barrel joint with penetrating oil.
2. You will not tweak/bend a Ruger SA or Colt SA frame with this method, so don't worry about that. Exception: Ruger and Colt .22 aluminum alloy frames!
3. You'll need a 3 ft piece of 2x4 with one end cut the size of the cylinder window.
4. If you don't have a barrel vise, you'll need a very big vise that you can really tighten to about 150 ft lbs. That means very tight!!
5. Take two blocks of oak or other hard wood about 3" x 3" x 3/4" , clamp in a vise and drill a hole a little larger than diameter of the barrel, thru the seam so you have 1/2 of a hole in each block when you separate them.
6. To absolutely guarantee that you don't mar the finish, spiral wrap your barrel in duct tape folded in half the long way so it's sticky on both sides. I DO NOT use rosin as some suggest, it will rub off the bluing when the barrel slips, and it will slip until you have it tight enough in the vise. And you don't find out if the barrel is clamped tight enough until you finally hear the "crack" when it breaks loose instead of slipping.
7.You will need two thick pieces of leather, 1/8" or 3/16", to pad the wood blocks.
8. Clamp the barrel w/blocks & leather making sure there is no pressure on the sight; you can pop it right off when the barrel slips in your blocks, and it will slip until you tighten the vise 3 or 4 more times.
9. Tighten vise until the barrel won't slip in the blocks when you apply pressure on the 2x4. You’ll hear a crack when the barrel finally lets go. I always pre-soak with a good penetrant. A 50/50 mix of acetone and ATF fluid is the absolute best for frozen and/or rusted parts.
10. Reinstalling original barrel:
tighten until both sides of the 1/32” index mark on top of the barrel and frame align. Release pressure and before removing barrel from vise, check to verify that marks still align and that there was no ‘spring back’.
11. Installing a different barrel:
Lubricate barrel threads. Turn in and hand tighten as far as you can, then reverse until the new barrel and sight are straight up and down. Make an index mark on top of the barrel and frame (with fine point black indelible ink pen) where the barrel meets the frame. Make your line about 1/32" wide. Now hand tighten until it won’t tighten any further and see how it 'clocks' (is the sight straight up, right or left of center?) If the barrel hand tightens about 1/8th of a turn short of the sight being at 12 o'clock, you’re good to go, it will turn enough to tighten in the vise so the sight is straight up.

PLAN A:
Normally the shoulder of the barrel must be faced off in a lathe if it tightens up more than 1/8” turn before the sight is at 12 o'clock. But if it's close, just a little more than 1/8 turn short, the simplest way to fit it, is too draw file the front of the frame. Polish and touch up w/OxPho Blue from Brownells or Nu Blue. Use a hair dryer to heat up frame too hot to touch, for each of four coats. The beauty of this method is you won't have to modify the Ejector rod housing length.
To determine how much metal to remove:
The following example is for mid size & most full size Rugers and 3rd gen Colt barrels with 24 TPI (1st and 2nd gen Colts are 20 TPI; you'll need to count the threads per inch of other barrels).
A barrel thread with 24 threads per inch is .0416" of barrel length per thread, one complete turn of the barrel.

PLAN A cont'd:
Let’s say it’s ¼ turn shy of straight up, you need to remove material to get it within 1/8 turn from straight up. A 1/8 turn is 1/8 of .0416" or .0052", it must be’ faced off’ from the barrel shoulder in a lathe.
Next measure how far the barrel sticks thru the frame and add the .0052" to it because once you draw file the frame the barrel still stick thru that much farther. Now compare that measurement to the new cyl-to-frame spacing and you'll know what the b/c gap will be. If the barrel is too long and B/C gap is too tight or no gap you'll know how much to take off of the barrel forcing cone shooting for about a .005" + or - B/C gap. If the barrel is not long enough to get that tight of a gap or something close to it, you have to go to PLAN B.

PLAN B:
If the barrel throat is too short (barrel/cyl gap excessive) or the barrel doesn't hand tighten until the sight goes past 12 o'clock you'll need to ‘face off’ enough metal from the barrel shoulder to turn barrel almost another revolution. For example if the barrel doesn't tighten until it's 1/4 turn past 12 o'clock, the barrel will have to turn in another 3/4s of a turn for the sight to come around again and be straight up when barrel is tightened. So (.0416" divided by 4) x 3 = .0312" has to come off the barrel shoulder.
You’ll need a lathe to 'face off' .0312" of the barrel shoulder where it meets the frame. And you'll have to shorten the ERH the same amount.
(Note: if the barrel tightens up just a tiny amount past 12 o’clock, there’s a short cut; gently tap the sharp edges of the last two rows of the barrel thread. This will create a slight “interference fit” of the threads causing the barrel to tighten at 12 o’clock).
Install new barrel per #10 above.
12. Don't get in a hurry.

Tweaking Barrels to Zero:
I have tweaked many barrels to get them to shoot to point of aim and changed Colt and Ruger barrels. My experience: the hardest thing to do is to move a barrel just a slight amount, especially tighter! So turn the barrel out loose and then retighten it to the new position you want.
Before you attempt to 'tweak' the barrel, to change windage or straighten up a front sight, be sure that the sight isn’t just leaning to one side. If the front sight is crooked because the sight base wasn't soldered on square to the barrel, even after you straighten it by turning the barrel, it still won't look right! The blade may be straight up but the base could be off center on the barrel.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,124
Here is a magazine article by Bowen about barrel cranking.

http://www.bowenclassicarms.com/news/articles/Sight_Crankin.pdf
 

tjw

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
4
Thank you very much for the tutorial. Sounds like its certainly doable. I actually bought Hamilton Bowens book The Custom Revolver last night and he has a picture of a Dan Wesson barrel mounted to a Redhawk saying its "readily adaptable". I presume the standard Redhawk has a smaller thread pitch than the SRH, because a Dan Wesson .44 barrel is I think .686 x 40TPI. Which is obviously too small in diameter to recut to fit a SRH. Do you know the standard Redhawk thread pitch by chance?
 

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