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Old April 4, 2013, 06:08 PM   #1
Tejicano
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Blackhawk-SAA Grip Frame Question

I have a question about the Ruger Blackhawk grip frame which I am hoping somebody here can answer.

Years ago a guy I used to hunt with told me that the Blackhawk will accept a standard Colt SAA pattern grip frame with some modification to take the Ruger’s coil spring arrangement. I had always accepted this as the truth just because they both have the same number of screws attaching to the frame at the same locations and because the Blackhawk was modeled on the SAA design.

Can anybody verify this for me? Will the Colt (Uberti, USFA, other clone) grip frame attach to the Blackhawk frame without serious modification? As stated above I understand some modification will be required to support the coil spring for the hammer. I am also aware that there is a pin extending from the Ruger cylinder frame for which a mating hole will have to be drilled into the SAA grip frame. I expect some fitting may be required since this is normal even for the initial assembly of a Colt SAA but I’m wondering if fitting the SAA parts to the Blackhawk is even possible.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:36 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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I can't say about a Colt trigger guard and backstrap assembly, but there have been several custom grip designs that allow a Colt-type two piece installation. There is a strut added to the trigger guard assembly to support the mainspring.

As to the hole pattern, I've never tried to see if they are compatible. The Uberti Horseman revovler has a coil spring similar to the Ruger, and uses a strut which permits one-piece style grips to be used.

I believe Brownell's has a Ron Power grip for Rugers that utilizes a one-piece style grip.

Bob Wright
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:43 PM   #3
oldgunsmith
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I'm not sure what hole would have to be drilled for what pin, but the front guard screw won't line up for a straight switch-out. You'd have to move the hole on either the guard or the frame. It would involve more than simply rigging it for a coil spring.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:54 PM   #4
PetahW
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There are 3 different size/shaped Ruger SA gripframes: the XR3, the XR3-RED, & the SBH.

Of the 3, the early (Old Model/Flat Top) Blackhawk & late "New Blackhawk", with the XR-3 gripframes are the closest to the Colt SAA's - but are a tad further away from the cylinder frame than the Colt SAA's gripframe.

AFAIK, The XR3 gripframes are pretty much a drop-in for New Model Blackhawks - except that NM's with the internal lock will need a different MS strut & MS.


.
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Old April 4, 2013, 10:08 PM   #5
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Which trigger return spring do you use with the XR3 on a New Model?
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Old April 5, 2013, 03:37 AM   #6
Tejicano
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Thank you all for your input. This helps a lot.

I have a 41 Mag New Blackhawk and the grip frame parts from a Cimarron Arms Thunderer which I would like to fit to it. I don't mind welding up and redrilling a hole or two if that's what it takes.

Unfortunately I am not in the US right now and can't check this out for myself. I guess this will wait until I get back.
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Old April 5, 2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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It just dawned on me that we're talking about a New Model. The hole and pin thing must be for the trigger return spring. In my feeble mind, a Blackhawk and a New Model Blackhawk are two different things. Every now and then I forget not everyone sees it that way. Still haven't pictured in my mind how an XR3 grip frame would work in place of an XRN3 Red.
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Old April 5, 2013, 11:09 AM   #8
PetahW
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To clear things up some, or maybe muddle someone's brain - here's a Ruger SA gripframe thread with a few illustrated posts by Cary C, a very good custom grip maker, that well worth a read.

http://rugerforum.net/ruger-single-a...-question.html


.
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Old April 5, 2013, 05:14 PM   #9
oldgunsmith
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I believe what they're saying is there are at least two different grip frames marked XR3, at least one for the old mod. and one for the new, which would not be interchangeable on the guns but both use the same grips, which is what XR3 designates.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:45 AM   #10
PetahW
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The old/new XR3's are interchangeable (the gripstrap widths differ, for the later internal lock), as the hole pattern where the gripframe mates with the cylinder frame is the same.

Where adaption enters the picture, is if the compatibility of the mainspring/lock (or no lock) of the gripframe being attached to the receiving action (lock or no lock types use different MS', & MS or lock support, etc ).


IOW - there's no cut & dried: "X" will drop onto any Ruger, only a strong probability.

I've always had to have the donor parts on hand, to see if/what needed to be fitted (or not). Dang liability lawyers.........


.
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Old April 6, 2013, 01:09 PM   #11
Bob Wright
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Tejicano,

Just what are you trying to achieve, copying the Colt grip, or the use of one piece grips, or simply an answer to the question?

Bob Wright
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Old April 6, 2013, 07:57 PM   #12
oldgunsmith
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XR3 grips are interchangeable on old mod. and new mod grip frames, if it takes XR3 grips it takes XR3 grips, old or new, but it sounds like we're saying the grip frames are interchangeable on old mod. and new mod. guns. Certainly not.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:16 PM   #13
Bob Wright
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A New Model grip frame can be adapted to a Three Screw Ruger with the addition of an adapter for the trigger spring.

And Dave Clements makes a trigger allowing a New Model grip frame to be mounted on a Three Screw Ruger.

All Three Screw Rugers, with the exception of the Super Blackhawk, had aluminum grip frames. The advantage, real or imagined, of putting a New Model grip frame on a Three Screw is that one has the option of blue steel or stainess steel.

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Old April 6, 2013, 11:13 PM   #14
newfrontier45
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Did we completely forget the Colt style grip frames for Ruger single actions, Old and New Models, made by Power Custom???


Quote:
but both use the same grips
Old and New XR3 grip frames do NOT use the same grips. The overall pattern is the same but the locator dowel is in a different location and New Model grips do not have the bevel at the top, inside corner. Either can be worked around but they do not interchange without modifications.
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Old April 7, 2013, 10:26 AM   #15
oldgunsmith
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Did Ruger discontinue the XRN3 marking they started out with on the new mod. grip frames and start using the XR3 marking like on the old models again?
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Old April 9, 2013, 01:55 AM   #16
Tejicano
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Hello Bob Wright,

Thank you for your information and for the direct question about what I am looking to do. Sorry for having been away from the discussion for a couple days.

I did post some follow up information but it seems to have been buried in the discussion.


My Intention :

1) I have a New Model Blackhawk in 41 Magnum.

2) I want to attach grips and grip frame from a Cimarron Thunderer (very different shape grip from the SAA or Blackhawk) - the frame has the same hole pattern as a Colt SAA as it is an Uberti clone.


I was once told that this can be done - but now believe that some amount of rework would be required. I happen to be a degreed Mechanical Engineer with years of experience doing metal work on cars and guns so I don't see anything as impossible. If all I need to do is weld over and re-drill a hole or three I will probably go ahead with this project. I am just wondering what I am up against.

I also happen to be out of the country right now so I don't have access to any of the parts I need to check to figure this out.
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Old April 9, 2013, 09:20 AM   #17
Bob Wright
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O.K. You will have to re-drill at least one hole, the front screw in the trigger guard piece. Also, depending on the age of your Blackhawk, the vertical lugs of the trigger guard may be a little short. This where it mates to the back of the cylinder frame. Later model Blackhawks are slightly deeper here to account for the Bisley grip frame. You will have to make a seat (a pin) for the trigger spring. And, as you mentioned earlier, a seat for the mainspring.

If you were to have these in hand I'm sure you would readily see the work required. Some fitting, too much for some, maybe only a small task for you.

By all means, if this does come to fruition, please, please, post a photo.

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Old April 9, 2013, 05:07 PM   #18
Bob Wright
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Tejicano,

I have a take-off trigger guard and backstrap from a Hy Hunter single action and a take-off grip frame from a Ruger Blackhawk. (The Hy Hunter screw pattern is the same as the Uberti) I compared these, did not put calipers on them, just eyeball side by side.

1. The lugs, as I said, are a little short, build up and dress down.

2. The trigger guard's front strap will require two bosses drilled for a pin to retain the trigger return spring, this just behind the cylinder frame.

3. A single lug is needed high up on the backstrap for a press fit pin. This pin hold up the rear legs of the trigger return spring.

4. A lug is required low on the front strap part of the trigger guard to seat the mainspring.

If you are all that handy, you may want to re-configure the mainspring strut. Uberti's web sight has an illustration of their new Horseman single action showing the lug and mainspring arrangement. (The Horseman is a new Uberti with transfer bar and coil mainspring.)

http://www.uberti.com/firearms/1873-horseman.php

This sounds like an awful lot of work, but if you have access to the tools and equipment to do this, I believe you would be able to dope it out without too much problem.

Another thing, are we talking steel, or brass?

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Old April 9, 2013, 08:00 PM   #19
Tejicano
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Hello Again Bob,

Ha! Yeah this may seem like a bit of work but that 's just the kind of thing that gets me interested. I've done more complicated stuff before so this doesn't deter me.

Thank you for all the detailed information. Good to have a detailed plan.

Steel or brass? - both. The backstrap is steel but I am using a brass squareback triggerguard from a '51 Navy. If the holes are only off by less than 0.125" I may just drift the hole in the guard over and use/fabricate a screw with a larger shaft and head.

I have been thinking to have the triggerguard nickel plated - I'll wait until I see how the assembled unit looks and decide then.

Of course I will have to work on the grip too - it is a one piece grip so I'll probably just hog out the inside to accomodate the mainspring and lug.

The Blackhawk I have is a late-70's production. Hopefully that will mean the rear lugs on the backstrap will line up as is.

I am also replacing the ugly aluminum ejector rod housing with a nice steel one. I also have an early model "ring" type ejector lug to make the pistol look all that much more "period" as well.
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:46 AM   #20
Bob Wright
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As to one piece grips, I fudged!

I made a spacer and clamped one grip panel in place on the gun, then glued the spacer to that grip while both were clamped in place:



Then glued the other panel in place:



Then a little (well, a lot) sanding and oiling:



And, nothing to it! (Ha!)

Bob Wright
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Old April 10, 2013, 05:55 PM   #21
rep1954
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I use a little different approach in where I put a shallow grip pin hole in each panel and no screw hole. I then work the grips and bring them all the way to a 240 paper finish. Then instead of a one piece spacer I use two thin spacers and glue one each panel while on the gun at different times. Then remove the pin from the frame and glue the two panels together on the gun. I've found this system to give me a better fit at the top and forward surfaces of the grip. Patrick Grashorn has made a couple of sets of elk grips for me with the pin hole and no screw holes and then I finished them with the two piece spacer.






Last edited by rep1954; April 10, 2013 at 06:11 PM.
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