1860 Army Blackhawk

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Okay. Got to inspecting and cleaning the Blackhawk 45 Colt. Dayum it was dirty and wouldn't function with the cylinder installed. Once I got it apart, soaked it an hour in WD40 and scrubbed it and the blasted it with solvent.....

Reasonable mechanical condition. Plumb brown frame, black barrel and perfect bore and cylinders. Cylinders mike .455ish which is about right for an early new model 45 colt...it'll prolly shoot best with .454 bullets....pretty much standard lead loading in factory ammo. Bluing is about 75%+ coverage....lots of holster wear. Some light freckling all over. Big rubber grip is fine and the finish on the alloy frame is over 90% condition.

The reason it wouldn't work with the cylinder in place? The hammer plunger, which releases the bolt lock on the back stroke of the hammer was stuck too far up into the hammer. And the reason it was stuck in there is cause it was broke, rotated and one half wedged over the other....was a booger to get out. But in all, since it was stuck/wedged up in there, it couldn't do its job and release the bolt lock.

So, either a new hammer or just a plunger. I hate to pay $10 for a $2 part so maybe just the entire hammer assembly. I'll think it over. Gotta get it running and I think I'll sell or swap for a caliber I load for.
 
Last edited:

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Clean and pretty. On the ready line. Checked and double checked. A variety of 38 Specials and 357 Magnums, lead and jacketed, 125 to 158g ready to go.



Pretty typical primer indentation. No signs of failure in any of the hundreds of rounds fired today. So, no transfer bar pinch and obviously, no light strikes. We'll leave the hammer nose adjustment where its at.



Starting with 38 specials in 125g weight and the rear sight all the way down, I walk it up to zero at 10m from the bench.



Three CCI Blazers, 158g JHP at 10m. Rear sight is a bit high w/o the ears so I'll install a taller front bead and bring the rear back down a bit for better range of adjustment with heavy and very heavy bullets and loads.



At the beginning of nearly 2.5 hours of slaughtering steel from 5m to 30m. The Lightning is dead on and no changes to be made. The 1860 Army Blackhawk needs a taller front sight but its close enough to regularly knock over 8" steels at 30m off hand. I have plenty of time to change the sight and rezero for Dad.





Opened it up when I was just too tired to shoot well any more. No worries with the trigger spring mount. The legs do not jump the holes in the backstrap and if they did I wouldn't know because trigger function will be guaranteed by the filler block below the legs.



The end of a good first workout with the 1860 Army Blackhawk. This pile was shot thru the 1860 Army Blackhawk. A smaller pile went thru the Lightning when I had to halt and let the Army cool off.



Findings:

-- Story ejector rod rubs the cylinder mouth when the cylinder gets warm. I'll polish a flat in that rod this week.

-- I will probably glass bed the grip panels where they meet the frame not only to fill the left side gap but to keep oil out of the end grain.

-- New front sight is needed for the 1860 Army Blackhawk, taller. Which is fine, I need a part or two for the 45 Colt project.

-- The 1860 Army grip is comfortable, controllable, really handles the heavy loads well and I adore the Bisley Hammer!

-- I gotta lotta cleaning to do!
 
Last edited:

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Dad called. He got the build book. (I downloaded, edited and .pdf'd this thread into a build booklet) Read thru it this AM while I was doing the test firing. Needless to say, we's both pretty excited to finish it up and get him carryin it!
 

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
I been toyin around with ideas on the 45 Colt. Its sittin awaitin some parts that I ain't ordered yet cause I can't decide whether to get it running and get rid of it or do it.

For the barrel, its 7.5" long....a real hogleg. I was thinkin, 4 5/8" then I though, no make it 5 for a hunter then after shooting the ligntning today, I though...would be so cool at a true 3.5" with a bisley hammer.

Then I though, how to sight it with a 3.5" barrel and the NECG universal ramp came to mind.....its 3.5" long so the ramp would start at the nose of the frame and run up to the interchangeable front sight beads at the muzzle. Kind of like a barrel rib.


Then I thought, no, it needs to be 5" long and have that gorgeous stainless Ron Power Colt Plow share grip on it.

Then I realized, before I decide I need just go drink some good bourbon and relax. So, I did and the decision I came up with is to replace the cylinder pin and fix or replace the hammer and find some brass to load and go from there.
 
Last edited:

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Okay, yeah. The sight rib full length on a short barrel will look at least as good or better than a polichoke rib on a Blackhawk.
 

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
While I wait for the new front sight so I can get a good zero.....fixin up the sticky when hot ejector rod from Story.

The rub line is on the backside of the ejector rod.....So, the drag was less against the cylinder and more on the hole in the frame loop that the ejector rod travels thru. I filed and polished a simple flat using the scratched line as a guide. The rod will need reblued but that's about right for first test....good as long as it gets the bugs out. Its easier to file/polish if its clamped down and immoveable.



Last adjustment was to close up the clipped end of the spring.....it was boogered somehow and I cut a single coil off to clean it up. The end is folded slightly in so it does not snag and the cut end placed against the button end of the rod....the factory compressed coil end abuts the bottom of the frame loop. No snag function and there should be no drag in the assembly even when hot.



And now off to the hot hot hot shop to pull down my six black powder loaded 45 Colts and reload them with a 260 Full Wadcutter sized .454 and a healthy charge of Bullseye. Should I ever get some parts (UPSs today delivery has extended to an estimated 3 Sept via USPS cause the bums abandoned the package at USPS about 50 meters down the street from where they picked it up) I'll be able to go to the range and give the potential 45 Colt project gun a good test fire.
 
Last edited:

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
.250" tall front fiber optic sight finally arrived in the AM mail. Got it pushed into place and off to the range for the rezero and final checks. 200 rounds of 38 and 357 later, reporting perfect function and reliability. No issues with this grip conversion. Works as good as factory and grips a darn site better. Nothing left to do but buy Pops a box of ammo or three for practice and hunting season and get this gun fully cleaned and lightly lubed for when the holster arrives.

 

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Holster is in. 4 weeks and one day since ordered....worth the wait. Received Dads 1920 Tom Three Persons Cross Draw and GoodWife's black Tortilla for her EDC.

I have owned a couple good holsters. These from El Paso Saddlery look so far to be in the "Best" category. And the hand carved Frontier Floral is quite nice. This is the holster that Wife, Mother and Sister picked out for Dad's gun. Good selection and I'm pleased. I am sure they will be too.









 

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Got a good 600 rounds thru this one now, both 38s, 38+P and a variety of med to heavy 357 Mags. Nary a problem or a breakdown. Plenty dirty but cleaning will come later.

So, I suspect I'll have to officially pronounce the conversion of an 1860 Colt Army Grip Frame to coil spring and installing it on an Early New Model 357 Blackhawk both doable and done. It seems perfectly reliable, including the unusual mounting of the rear legs of the trigger return spring. Ignition and extraction are perfect. Timing is just right. Accuracy is great (dayumed easy to hit with) and the grip...ah, pretty and pointable. The brass seems strong enough, well fit and there are no indications that its any less durable than the factory potmetal (aluminum) grip frame.

If it weren't for the fact I made it for Dad, I'd have to keep it. So. Guess I'll have to find me a nice 3 screw 45 ACP and make one up with the 1860 Army Grip and the 3.5" Sheriff length barrel with full extraction. Time to go shoppin!
 

xtp308

Four Pointer
I LOVE these threads !!!
I especially like how the new grip brought the grip closer to the trigger (a common problem with short, fat fingers like mine) !!
The finished product looks great; this and the Lightning are true Heirloom guns !!
 

Sharps40

Twelve Pointer
Thanks. Got a NM inbound that I will set up to solve my Mothers arthritus issues. It was wierd. I kept the Lightning (glad I did _ its my daily companion now. ). But after 6 weeks of GB, etc there was no interest in it at allm. Now I know it woukda been a mistake to sell or trade it. I have another rough 3 screw coming to. I might try an amalgam of 1860 trigger guard and a real 100 year old Colt Lightning backstrap for it.
 
Last edited:
Top