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Thread: Fitting Blackhawk Grip Frame

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Ickisrulz's Avatar
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    Fitting Blackhawk Grip Frame

    I would like to install a Super Blackhawk steel grip frame on a Blackhawk. I can order a frame from Midway. How hard of a job is this?

    I have no metal working experience. I have files, Dremel and a 6 inch wide belt sander to work with.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Yes, a used grip frame if you can find one will in fact "bolt" right up (meaning the hole patterns are identical) - but, it's the fitter who ultimately determines the final fit of the gripframe to the main/cylinder frame, on the outside edges.

    So the sides of a "used" gripframe, when mated to your main/cylinder frame, may overhang it, or have an undercut all along the seam where the two join.

    Also, be aware that factory new grip frames are oversized to allow a gunsmith to "fit" the grip frame to the main frame.

    If any fitment is done, then it also means refinishing the gripframe to match the cylinder frame.


    .
    Last edited by pietro; 02-17-2017 at 12:40 PM.
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Little more to it ... Or in my experience anyway.

    My fitting the S BH frame consists of fitting it to my New Model Vaquero.

    In my many trials and in frustrating attempts ... I realize that the water table area of the GF had a small divet in the Grip Frame (GF). Just below the main frame and rite where the hand rides, it (the hands) lower portion, left to its own position ... Sticks slightly below the main frame and on mine ... Locked up my action completely. Now my first mini success was to gouge out this area in my new GF to relieve this area so the hands lower section would not contact the GF.

    I'd like to say that this fixed my problem ... But NO!!!

    Gotta know that this all took several months as the frustration would convince my to set it aside till I could rethink the whole project and figure my next step ... Looking back it should have taken just an afternoon.

    So after my last letdown I began to wonder if MY hand lever had been a mistake and that the small divet ground into the original GF on my new vaquero. I decided to do some grinding on the hand itself. So ... Disassemble the main frame and removing the hand lever and doing just the finest grind at a time till I got it to function through the action without any portion of the hand dropping below the main frame. Assembling the revolver again with the SBH grip frame. SUCCESS!!! Finally got a working New model Vaquero wearing the Super Blackhawk gripframe.

    So go slow and solve all the troubles and you will also get a Ruger single action with the longer gripframe to accommodate bigger hands like my own.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    That's going to be pretty tough without a mill. If you can hunt up a used one, you will be WAY far ahead of the curve, even if it doesn't match up perfectly. Fitting a grip frame from a raw casting is a chore I wouldn't wish on anyone without a decent small machine shop. If you get the grip frame in and it looks like too much of a task Midway will let you send it back. The Hunter gripframe if you can find one is the same as a SBH but with a rounded trigger guard.
    Got a .22 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cylin...56429174391912

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master contender1's Avatar
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    You mentioned you have no metal working experience. To me,, that says to NOT buy a new g/f & try to fit it. It takes good gunsmiths time to understand the way to properly use a file & fit one. A Dremel can ruin things QUICKLY! Buy a used g/f & it'll bolt right up,,, with the possibility of a slight mis-fit. I swap frames around often on Rugers. Never had any issues. But I also understand I may not have a "custom" looking fit.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I have done this as well. My two cents:

    #1 no mill is needed. Files and 240, 320, 600 etc sandpaper will be your best, best friend. You will not use your dremel or belt sander.

    #2 if you are comfy with files this is a straightforward job. Go for it.

    #3 of all the tasks I completed to customize my large frame vaquero, fitting the gripframe was by far the most labor intensive. It was a downright pain in the rump.

    Reason being, it's as-cast. You will have to file and polish every surface before bluing. It will be MUCH easier if you can file right up to the frame and re-blue the frame as well. Otherwise, it's going to be tedious x5 because you'll have to fit, attach, remove, file, fit, attach, etc. That's brutal. way easier to bolt it up and file away till it's perfect. Next, polishing EVERY surface on the grip frame to prep for bluing. trigger guard area isn't a lot of fun.

    But it's not rocket science. I did it in 3 days for a couple hours a day after my infant son went to bed, full zombie mode, just filing away till the shape was right, then removing the file marks with 320, going to 400, then rust blue. First time I ever took on a project like that.

    (I will admit, I polished up the frame then sent off to turnbull, so I had the luxury of marking up the frame to fit the grip)

    --------

    Other nice thing about fitting the GF is you can make grips at the same time, so you can file right up to the GF and match curves perfectly, then polish out the file marks on the GF.
    Last edited by Whiterabbit; 02-19-2017 at 04:53 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Another 2 cents:

    the big big benefit of fitting a raw casting: You get the GF FLUSH to the frame, including the ears up by the hammer, and the back of the hammer is set near-zero-clearance to the grip frame at the bottom of the hammer channel.

    If you don't care about either of these, you are money/time ahead to buy a used GF. It's when you want total perfection on a total re-finish job you take advantage of a GF casting.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
    Another 2 cents:

    the big big benefit of fitting a raw casting: You get the GF FLUSH to the frame, including the ears up by the hammer, and the back of the hammer is set near-zero-clearance to the grip frame at the bottom of the hammer channel.

    If you don't care about either of these, you are money/time ahead to buy a used GF. It's when you want total perfection on a total re-finish job you take advantage of a GF casting.

    This post takes on a whole new meaning when you think that GF is short for "girlfriend".

    The last thing I want to do is to fit a rough unfinished GF lol

    Sorry, as usual I have nothing of value to add in this section.
    "Is all this REALLY necessary?"

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    IIRC, there are a couple of different sizes. Call Ruger and find out which one to get to fit your frame. It depends on when your revolver was made.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have done this one time, wasnt a big deal to do. I bought a brand new Ruger SBH 'Hunter' Bisley .44 Magnum, This was my first and last Bisley, they have always felt great to me in the Gun store, but i had never shot one til this, The few times i shot the gun it beat my middle knuckle up, nothing i could do to make it work for me. I have shot Revolvers for 30 years, from .22s to .500 Magnums, The Bisley works great for a lot of folks but i am not one of them!
    I traded my bisley parts to a Ruger Forum member for a Plow grip frame with Round trigger guard, (the square back SBH's tear me up as well) luckily the Plow grip frame i installed was a touch bigger and not undercut, while on the gun i marked the material that needed removed, pulled the grip frame and filed away, test fit often to check your progress. Also mine was Stainless which is easy to brush finish to match, blued would be a bit more of a challenge for perfect matching. Grip swapping is not a tough task, but if you have doubts and dont feel comfortable you probably should take it to someone.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    This is a project I will most likely take on using a new casting. I think I can work my way through it. I just need to clear a few projects off my workbench first.

    There is a Youtube video showing the fitting of a Power Custom grip frame on a Blackhawk. Most of the procedure seems to be the same for a Ruger factory grip frame.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ickisrulz View Post
    This is a project I will most likely take on using a new casting. I think I can work my way through it. I just need to clear a few projects off my workbench first.

    There is a Youtube video showing the fitting of a Power Custom grip frame on a Blackhawk. Most of the procedure seems to be the same for a Ruger factory grip frame.
    When you fit the new Grip frame to your gun take a really sharp needle pointed awl type tool and make a light scribe along the areas that need removed, just take your time with it, if you are in a rush i would wait and do it another day when you can devote your time to the fitting process. When i got close with mine I actually ended up finishing it with one of my wife's fingernail emory boards, it worked really good! The top 'ears' stood up about an 1/8th inch, this was my biggest challenge in shaping the slope, i got it SUPER close, it wasn't perfect but it turned out darn good and nobody could tell it wasn't factory. I no longer have the gun, i traded it at a gun store, they didnt notice it started life a Bisley and ended up a Plow grip, guess that says it turned out pretty good. Good luck with it, lets see some before and after pics of your job!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    With three styles of grip frames available and two types of steel, I have quite a choice to make before ordering.

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