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Old December 28, 2012, 12:46 AM   #8
Jim March
Senior Member
Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,413
K. More comedy from what was the craziest part of this process.

Getting the old barrel off.

"The book" says you can't do it on a home-brew basis. Not on a Ruger SA. It's on there way too tight - if you do the old classic Colt SA trick of shaping a 2x4 for the area where the cylinder normally goes you'll just bend or crack the Ruger frame.

The pros use something called a "frame wrench" to support the entire frame of the gun from top to bottom, so that you're putting twist on the whole thing at once. No warping that way. They also have to use a hydraulic press to squeeze the barrel tight enough - a basic bench vice won't cut it.

Sigh. What to do?

Well the first decision was easy: go ahead and destroy the factory barrel getting it off. Sounds ghastly but really, it had been heavily modded in previous alterations to the sights and then again with the fairly crude test version of the gas-eject system. In good shape it was worth only about $30 tops and it was in far from good shape.

OK, so stick it in the mill, drill right through it sideways, put a bolt through that new hole, NOW the stinker will stay put in the vice.

But I couldn't risk damage to the frame - at all. So I had to build a frame wrench.

Like so:

Note the hilarious "clamp on clamp" setup .

At the area below the barrel you have a narrow point in the frame. That had to be filled in. I used putty epoxy. Here's two shots of one side of the successful frame wrench - I used layers of cellophane to isolate the glue from the actual frame metal:

Here's a close-up side view of the support structure for the frame on one side:

Ditto the other side, with the added complication of a protrusion from the side of the frame where the ejector rod housing (and now the gas line) goes - for that I had to chisel a special recess in the scrap lumber on that side. Good thing Xerocraft also has carpentry stuff around .

And that's how I got the original barrel off.

There's a bunch more stories like this, I'll put them all together in a build journal soon.
Jim March
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