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Old January 6, 2018, 04:35 PM   #1
TheLastGoodFight
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An "Economy" .44 Special

I've posted on other forums seeking the advice of you old hands for my first build. I carry a Harton Colt .44spl daily as a general use ranch companion. As this pistol holds significant personal value to me, I've started exploring alternatives, not as a complete replacement, but a simple supplement so as not to overuse the Colt long-term.
I've got a few ideas in mind, and I know exactly who I would like to do the work, but never having had a custom built handgun before, I am slightly out of my depth. The pistol I have in mind will in no way compare to the custom jobs most of you have built and owned, thus the "Economy" title. The pistol I have in mind will be a ranch companion, capable of of chambering medium size game loads, with a secondary use as an "under the coat" town gun for going in to the feed store or what have you. It is general purpose, tough, and resilient to daily use, featuring a front and rear sight that promotes prompt target acquisition and a butter smooth trigger pull.
I have a few options as far as getting started. First, I have an OM Ruger Blackhawk .357 that I could use as a conversion project, but this may negate some of the economic intentions I had in mind. Second, I have considered selling the .357 and using the proceeds to purchase a NM Flattop Blackhawk .44spl with a 4 5/8in barrel, thus eliminating the need for conversion costs.

I am seeking advice, suggestions, and education. I realize that with every contributor comes a different opinion; that is the idea as far as I am concerned. I am new to the custom field, and therefore am not 100% familiar with my personal preferences as far as custom guns go, which is why this is an "economy" endeavour; a cost-effective dabble in the world of custom sixguns. I do know that the pistol will be single action, and .44 Special. For all other details, I am all ears.

On a side note, if any of you are in possession, or have a line on .44spl BH cylinders/barrels that you are willing to part with, I would appreciate a PM.
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Old January 6, 2018, 06:17 PM   #2
shootniron
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Unless you just want a custom...I would get the Ruger Flattop or a Cimarron/Uberti Cattleman.

I am a single action .44 special fan...have a lot of them. I have several of all of the ones that I listed above...like them all.

My newest Cimarron ModelP/Cattleman is my favorite. It handles Skeeter loads with no problem and it has that great SA Colt grip...just a sweet little gun.

And, don't let the folks that don't have any experience with these guns tell you that the Ruger is the only way to go because it just ain't so. I have shot my clones a LOT..thousands of rounds....they have held up just fine. They are not as heavily built as the Ruger, but they are very serviceable.

Last edited by shootniron; January 7, 2018 at 01:50 AM.
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Old January 7, 2018, 01:28 AM   #3
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The Ruger Blackhawkwill feel a lot different than the Colt, a Ruger Vaqero would be closer but still not quite the same. If you want the Colt feel, a SAA clone would be in order. The Uberti Cattleman, Cimarron Model P, and the Taylor Smokepole are all made by Uberti, they differ in available finishes. The Uberti guns are well made. They run around $600.
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Old January 7, 2018, 02:17 AM   #4
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If I were in your shoes, I would opt for a Ruger. I have nothing against the quality clones other than the fixed sights. I would think using your revolver for things around the ranch, you would want the capability of having it shoot precisely to point of aim, and thus adjustable sights would be a major consideration.
Shooting large steel cowboy targets are one thing, but shooting the head off of a rattlesnake is another.
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Old January 7, 2018, 08:23 AM   #5
RaySendero
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Ruger Model Number: 1761
Caliber: 44 Special


https://ruger.com/products/gp100/specSheets/1761.html
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Old January 7, 2018, 12:19 PM   #6
shootniron
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TheLastGoodFight...for the record, my clones will shoot the head off a snake...if I do my part and shooting my handloads.

Now, if that snake is at 50yds...probably not...but for anything reasonable, accuracy is not a problem.

Again, experience with these guns makes all of the difference...and your Harton is likely setup the same and you understand this.
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Old January 7, 2018, 01:05 PM   #7
T. O'Heir
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A NM Flattop Blackhawk(that doesn't come in .44 anything, according to Ruger's site. There is a 'Lipsey's Distributor Exclusives' Bisley model though. MSRP is $749. No guarantee they have any of 'em in stock.) has a great big front sight. Might make it unsuitable for use as an "under the coat" town gun.
"...a butter smooth trigger pull..." Doesn't come on any BNIB firearm.
"... 44spl BH cylinders/barrels..." Factory install only parts. Ruger won't sell 'em to anybody.
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Old January 7, 2018, 01:10 PM   #8
shootniron
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Quote:
A NM Flattop Blackhawk(that doesn't come in .44 anything, according to Ruger's site. There is a 'Lipsey's Distributor Exclusives' Bisley model though. MSRP is $749. No guarantee they have any of 'em in stock.) has a great big front sight.
There are plenty of the used .44 special Flattop's and few new with the regular grip around.

Just one example...
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/735889071

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Old January 7, 2018, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
The Ruger Blackhawkwill feel a lot different than the Colt, a Ruger Vaqero would be closer but still not quite the same
The 44 special Blackhawks are built on the "mid" size frame and as such feel and balance very closely to a Colt.I'm in full agreement that the clones are very serviceable.
For the record I own both a vaquero and a Blackhawk in 44 special along with a 3rd Gen Colt SAA and SAA clones by USFA and Uberti.
My suggestion to the OP would be to get a stainless 44 Blackhawk although a Uberti clone wouldn't be a terrible choice.
Another option I might suggest would be to load the 3 screw 357 with some good heavier Keith SWCs.
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Old January 8, 2018, 10:48 AM   #10
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The Lipsey's are built on a .357 frame. They can get away with it because the lower pressure of the .44 Special lets the chamber walls be thinner than a magnum does, so they have room. I've been lusting after one of those Bisely grip frame guns for a time, and should probably pull the trigger on buying one.

Are you sure you want a butter-smooth trigger on a single-action revolver instead of a light and crisp trigger? Some folks like a single-action engagement long enough to let them feel the engagement slipping continuously through to the release rather than feel finger pressure building to a surprise release. It's usually called a rollover trigger engagement because it feels like a little ball bearing was rolling between the sear nose and hammer hook. I prefer crisp, personally, though I find a rollover trigger way better than the hesitations of a creepy release. A double action trigger is a place where butter-smooth is desirable, as you can't, by definition, have a long trigger stroke that is an indiscernibly short and crisp release.
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Old January 8, 2018, 03:00 PM   #11
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While I don't have any single action only revolvers, but did have several Great Westerns and one was a .44 Special, my favorite trigger break on most any handgun or rifle is the smooth break often referred to as creep. This may tend to eliminate any jerking from a sudden break.
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Old January 9, 2018, 01:12 PM   #12
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In theory, and if you pick really tiny nits, it should actually be worse. The pull weight is the pull weight, and once the sear passes the hammer hook that weight drops practically to zero and pre-loading of the trigger finger by the pull weight will have it slam into the overtravel stopping point. If the crisp trigger is set for the same weight, the behavior will be essentially the same, except for the tiny (and this really is tiny) difference that the finger is not already in motion when the shot breaks, so the preload has to do a tiny bit more acceleration so the stopped finger won't have quite as much velocity when it finds the stop. In both instances, an adjustable overtravel stop, properly adjusted, is the solution.

The one guy in my old bull's eye league who liked the rollover trigger said the preference came from the fact that as long as he could feel his finger gradually slipping the engagement, he knew he wasn't jerking the trigger. It gave him something to focus on. For myself, I can't really tell a difference between focusing on that and focussing on pressing the trigger toward a surprise break. My reason for preferring the latter is that it eventually builds to a point where there is so little additional pressure needed that normal muscle twitching (around 10% of any force you apply) puts it over the edge with no intent required. For me, its a better surprise.
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