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Posted: 3/29/2021 8:10:04 PM EDT
I have a 6in barrel on a heritage mfg .22 SAA revolver.  They've released the new barkeep, which I like quite a bit and think would be a neat gun.  On another hand, I also think the Ruger Wrangler looks neat with the available cerakotes.

Here's my thought: chuck up my 6in barrel on my lathe, cut it down into my own short SAA, and then buy a Wrangler.

My only hang up on this is the front sight.  I've never silver soldered before, and I don't know how difficult it would be to properly reaffix the front blade.  Do y'all think I could shorten the barrel from the rear, since it is not tapered, rethread for the frame and cut a new forcing cone?  Or is learning and getting the tools to do the front sight far simpler?

Obviously cutting the barrel from the front and recrowning is far simpler, but if I can't put on the sight properly then I've kinda screwed the whole thing up.
Link Posted: 3/29/2021 8:40:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2021 8:42:44 PM EDT by dfariswheel]
Usually the front sight is installed by milling a slot in the barrel, press fitting the blade then silver brazing it in place.
Unfortunately, the red heat necessary to melt the brazing compound destroys the finish so you need to consider that.

Short of the problems with rebluing the barrel, a cut-down is far simpler to do, even with milling a tight fitting slot at 12:00 top-dead-center.

An acceptable refinish can be done with a quality cold blue like Brownell's Dicrophan T4.  T4 is not the standard blue, it's a Black color that much more closely matches today's hot salts blued finishes.
The trick to using it is to THOROUGHLY clean the metal using harsh soap cleaners like Simply Green, then use a solvent like Acetone, then after drying liberally spray it with 91% alcohol.
After the alcohol dry it with a hair dryer until all traces of the alcohol are gone and you see moisture come to the surface and evaporate.
Then pour the cold blue chemical in a small container and use a CLEAN soldering brush to liberally apply it.
This prevents contaminating the chemical in the bottle.

After a short time, liberally flush the surface with hot water, then spray with the alcohol again and reapply.
With T4 you can do this as many times as you want without the chemical starting to bead up on the surface like most others do.
Of course you can bypass all this with a coating like Cerakote.

For silver braze you can use real silver or an alloy.
Note that the 3% silver and tin soft solders sold in hardware stores will not hold a front sight reliably.
I recommend a braze-flux paste mix as sold by Brownell's.
Just pack some in the slot on the barrel and press in the sight.  Remove "most" of the excess and heat.
Also note, the bigger and hotter the torch, the faster you can do the job and not have the heat spread to the frame.
A standard propane torch may not be enough.

To cut the barrel from the rear is tougher because you have to lathe turn the barrel shoulder so the front sight is top-dead-center once it's torqued in place.
Often you need an actual frame wrench to remove and re-torque the barrel to avoid bending or cracking the frame.
Then you need a forcing cone cutter, a brass lapping tool, and the drop-in precision plug gauge to be certain the cone is correct.....too small and it spits bullet metal, too big and poor accuracy.
The tooling and the precision plug gauge are costy.

So, it comes down to which you feel the most comfortable with doing.
Link Posted: 3/29/2021 8:57:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2021 9:35:33 PM EDT by MrVest]
I have the tools to separate the barrel from the frame safely.  But I had not considered that if cutting from the 'chamber' side I'd need to *perfectly cut the shoulder so that the sight lines up.

Your description of the front sight is very thorough.  I have done touch up blueing with T4, and am comfortable with that.  I'd not considered cutting a small notch for the front blade (cause I've thought of this project for all of 5 minutes prior to posting ) but that seems pretty simple to do.

So, thank you for your recommendation, here's what I think I'll do once that braze-flux paste gets in from brownells: ebay, apparently brownells discontinued it.  Bought some old stock craftsman's for the same.

I'll remove my barrel, and cut it from the front down to my desired length, I'm thinking 2.5 in.  I'll then recrown and lap.

I'll then remount the barrel to the frame to the proper torque, then mark a new spot for the front sight.  I'm thing a small plug with some fishing line in the muzzle, and bringing that like back to the rear notch should serve as a good guide on which to mark the spot.

Side note: think I can reclaim the front blade from the now cut off front end?  If it's heated up enough?  Or am I making/buying a new blade.

Mill a slot for the front blade, and follow your method to braze it in place.  I have an oxygen torch, and at this point the barrel is still separate from the frame.

Reblue the muzzle.  Remount barrel.

Profit.

Notice any glaring deficiencies?
Link Posted: 3/29/2021 10:24:34 PM EDT
The company I work for machine frames for the Roughriders from die cast castings.

We get a supplier discount so several of us bought Roughriders recently. 2 things about shortening the barrel. #1 , the front sight is not soldered on. The barrel is slotted for the front sight with a keyseat cutter after the barrel is installed. The front sight is inserted in the slot and staked in place. #2, the Barkeep does not have an ejector rod. If you look at pics of the frame on the Barkeep, the hump on the frame for the ejector rod housing has been machined off.

If I was going to shorten the barrel I would cut off from the muzzle end and not mess with the threaded end. Not sure it is really worth messing with on a $ 150 gun.

They are a pretty sweet little gun especially for the price point they sell for. I got the 4-1/2" (9 shot) with the "casehardened" frame. The frame is heavier than you would expect. I believe it has a good bit of  zinc in the alloy. Barrel is steel with some good heft. Nice wooden grips. It is the first wheel gun I have had with a safety. I wasn't too crazy about the idea but its really not a big deal.

Next time we place another order, I will get another. maybe a longer barrel. Just remember its a $ 150 gun so don't expect a Colt but still a fun gun.

We do a lot of work for Ruger as well so I might have to pick up a Wrangler too.

Link Posted: 3/29/2021 10:39:49 PM EDT
I picked mine up in like 14 or 15, right as the last panic was winding down.  Think I paid $80 plus $30 transfer/background.  Fun as hell.  I'm mostly thinking of cutting it down cause a) the barkeep seems neat and b) doing it seems fun.  Thanks for the info on the front sight, this likely would have gone better if I went downstairs and took a good hard look at it first.
Link Posted: 3/30/2021 3:57:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2021 3:57:27 PM EDT by wm69]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MrVest:
I picked mine up in like 14 or 15, right as the last panic was winding down.  Think I paid $80 plus $30 transfer/background.  Fun as hell.  I'm mostly thinking of cutting it down cause a) the barkeep seems neat and b) doing it seems fun.  Thanks for the info on the front sight, this likely would have gone better if I went downstairs and took a good hard look at it first.
View Quote


I'd like to see what you end up doing with this.

I recently bought an old High Standard Sport King barrel that had already been cut down, had it threaded, and want to use it as a suppressor host.  It looks like milling a slot and pressing in a new front sight will be the way to go.  Not sure if there was enough barrel left to do it, so might have to do it in the barrel block.

I don't have any of the equipment to do it, and live in the boonies in Eastern Arkansas, so nobody local to do it either, but if I get a general idea (could you post pics as you're going?) it would be much easier to show what I need done, once I figure out who to get to do it.

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 3/30/2021 10:14:54 PM EDT
Will do!  Debating whether I'm tackling it this weekend or waiting until after finals which is like a month away.
Link Posted: 4/4/2021 9:08:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/7/2021 8:14:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/7/2021 8:59:26 PM EDT by MrVest]
Spent a little bit of time downstairs today starting this project.  Checked out the front sight on the barrel and it doesn't look to be staked, there's a groove milled in that the blade sight has been set into and it looks to be brazed/soldered.

Two quick disclaimers: a) I'm terrible at remembering to take photos partway through the project so there's mostly photos of when I finished something and b) the finish on this was already in pretty rough shape from use, and in all honesty I wasn't super careful about protecting said finish due to the state it was already in.

So I have a standard 6.5in model like this (didn't take a photo prior but may have one lying around if y'all super care).  Had to take the thing fully apart to be able to be able to get it in my wrench which was unexpected but not a big deal.  These things are super simple, which makes it a fun and simple project.  Got the barrel off, chucked it into the lathe, and chopped it down to 3in.  Cleaned the face up, may take another swing at it so it's not so flat faced, not really decided on that.  The length is really good though, about 2.3 past the frame and looks neat, can't wait to fireball some .22 mag out of it.

Cut the extractor-channel-thingy (ECT for short) down to length and then decided to handfile the fitment into the frame.  That took far longer than I thought and that ate up a lot of my available time.  I remounted the barrel, marked up where I need to tap a hole for the ECT and where I need to mill for the front sight.  Also marked up the actual extractor which will need to be cut down and probably the spring too.  May take about 1/3 off of the spring.  It'll probably be one of the last things I do, taking 1 coil off at a time once the revolver is all back together for real.

So next steps:  Getting the front sight off the old barrel length.  Again, it doesn't look staked so gonna take a MAP gas torch too it and hopefully kill whatever solder/braze is holding it in, or else I may be goosed on that front.  If I can't get it out, maybe find a cheap aftermarket one I can tap and screw on top of the barrel.  Also need to tap the hole for the ECT.  May play with the crowning on the barrel if I decide I don't like the super flat look, from the factory the have a slight rounding (which is pretty roughly done).  Once the sight and crown are decided and done, I'll reblue it, as well as probably the ECT.  The barrel is blued, but the frame and rest of the gun seems to just have black paint which scratches pretty easily.  The ECT is in super rough shape, moreso now from my filing so I'm just gonna refinish the whole thing.  May even play with the idea of case color hardening the frame.....

Ideally this will just be one more evening dickering about if the sight plays nice.  Will keep y'all who are interested updated.

Barrel cut down, not cleaned


Barrel cut down, cleaned up


ECT fitment


Mockup


Random thought:  The ETC in the mockup photo looks like it needs a little blue pill.
Link Posted: 4/8/2021 12:18:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/8/2021 12:32:43 PM EDT
Definitely a good idea to record all the spring measurements before cutting.  Fortunately replacements are easy to get, but best to be on the safe side.
Link Posted: 4/8/2021 5:29:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2021 5:32:51 PM EDT by MrVest]
Rough day, should've quit while I was behind but I pushed through into issue after issue.

Firstly, big thank you to Fortyseven2n, the sight was indeed staked in place and was easy to remove.  I just put on my vice soft jaws, clamped the shit out of it, and pulled the barrel off, leaving the sight there.  I then measured it, figured my cuts on the barrel, and moved to the mill.

Here is my classic blunder: I'm bad with the mill.  Like not even amateur hobbyist bad, truly trash.  There's a few factors on why I'm much better and more comfortable with the lather but suffice to say, I'm bad doing things on my mill.  And I forget this, cause I'm pretty decent at doing things on my lathe.

I milled a wide flat area across the front edge of the barrel with a half inch end mill.  I then swapped out to a 1/16in centerpoint drill bit, and drilled down a bit, 2/3 final depth, at the front edge of the sight notch.  I then swapped to a 1/16in end mill to start the groove.  I had my spindle speed too high or was trying to cut to fast and I snapped the end mill on the second pass.  This is where I should have stopped, ordered a new end mill, and just waited.  But I'm an idiot.

Lets do the rest manually thinks I, as an idiot.  I do the cardinal sin, break out a dremel, to help form the curvature of the groove.  Shockingly, this actually went well, and using a cutting disk of a diameter that matched the bottom curvature of the sight, I made a narrow and shallow cut for the sight notch.  Now that I had the shape of the notch, just not the width or depth, I break out the files since that went so well yesterday.

So about two hours of filing later it's going well.  I have the correct width, and am just working on depth/shape of the notch to accommodate the front sight.  Then I drop said front sight.  It bounces off my shoe, into the hell that is my shop floor.  My wife and I search for about 20 mins with flashlights and magnets to no avail.  On a related note the primer catch system of my lock-n-load only works about half the time and there's a shitload of spent primers over on that end of the shop.

Well I could of stopped here, but noooooooo.  I grab a big flat washer, and say I'll improvise this bastard since I have the measurements of the front sight.  This goes relatively well, and now I have a jank-ish front blade that fits into my jank-ass groove.  Hopefully some brazing can help absolve those sins.

Then, I haven't had enough punishment, so let's tap the hole for the ECT.  Back to the mill, this time more carefully but also for this process it's a glorified drill press.  Centerpoint drill, select the correct #drill bit for a 4-40 tap, and in with the 4-40 tap.  Finishing the last part of the threading when my watch goes off with a phone call, I over torque in my distraction, and snap my 4-40 tap in the hole.  Some guys just can't take a hint when it's time to leave the shop.  Fortunately using wire cutters I'm able to rotate the tap out, and the hole is a good depth and threading to work for the ECT.

So my project lives on, barely, despite me blundering around pretty badly in the shop.  If I manage to finish this project, it'll make for a great story.  Busy this weekend but next step is brazing the front sight into the front groove and trying to clean that mess up, and then refinishing.

Still having fun which is what counts.  On a related note a new 6.5in barrel is about $50 if I call it quits.
Link Posted: 4/9/2021 12:12:46 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MrVest:
Rough day, should've quit while I was behind but I pushed through into issue after issue.

Firstly, big thank you to Fortyseven2n, the sight was indeed staked in place and was easy to remove.  I just put on my vice soft jaws, clamped the shit out of it, and pulled the barrel off, leaving the sight there.  I then measured it, figured my cuts on the barrel, and moved to the mill.

Here is my classic blunder: I'm bad with the mill.  Like not even amateur hobbyist bad, truly trash.  There's a few factors on why I'm much better and more comfortable with the lather but suffice to say, I'm bad doing things on my mill.  And I forget this, cause I'm pretty decent at doing things on my lathe.

I milled a wide flat area across the front edge of the barrel with a half inch end mill.  I then swapped out to a 1/16in centerpoint drill bit, and drilled down a bit, 2/3 final depth, at the front edge of the sight notch.  I then swapped to a 1/16in end mill to start the groove.  I had my spindle speed too high or was trying to cut to fast and I snapped the end mill on the second pass.  This is where I should have stopped, ordered a new end mill, and just waited.  But I'm an idiot.

Lets do the rest manually thinks I, as an idiot.  I do the cardinal sin, break out a dremel, to help form the curvature of the groove.  Shockingly, this actually went well, and using a cutting disk of a diameter that matched the bottom curvature of the sight, I made a narrow and shallow cut for the sight notch.  Now that I had the shape of the notch, just not the width or depth, I break out the files since that went so well yesterday.

So about two hours of filing later it's going well.  I have the correct width, and am just working on depth/shape of the notch to accommodate the front sight.  Then I drop said front sight.  It bounces off my shoe, into the hell that is my shop floor.  My wife and I search for about 20 mins with flashlights and magnets to no avail.  On a related note the primer catch system of my lock-n-load only works about half the time and there's a shitload of spent primers over on that end of the shop.

Well I could of stopped here, but noooooooo.  I grab a big flat washer, and say I'll improvise this bastard since I have the measurements of the front sight.  This goes relatively well, and now I have a jank-ish front blade that fits into my jank-ass groove.  Hopefully some brazing can help absolve those sins.

Then, I haven't had enough punishment, so let's tap the hole for the ECT.  Back to the mill, this time more carefully but also for this process it's a glorified drill press.  Centerpoint drill, select the correct #drill bit for a 4-40 tap, and in with the 4-40 tap.  Finishing the last part of the threading when my watch goes off with a phone call, I over torque in my distraction, and snap my 4-40 tap in the hole.  Some guys just can't take a hint when it's time to leave the shop.  Fortunately using wire cutters I'm able to rotate the tap out, and the hole is a good depth and threading to work for the ECT.

So my project lives on, barely, despite me blundering around pretty badly in the shop.  If I manage to finish this project, it'll make for a great story.  Busy this weekend but next step is brazing the front sight into the front groove and trying to clean that mess up, and then refinishing.

Still having fun which is what counts.  On a related note a new 6.5in barrel is about $50 if I call it quits.
View Quote



We need pics!  

That sounds like me working on anything, and I don't even have a lathe or a mill.

Anytime I break out the dremel, there's a 99% chance whatever I'm working on will end up in the trash.
Link Posted: 4/12/2021 5:58:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/12/2021 6:00:28 PM EDT by MrVest]
Pics, oops!  Was out of town this weekend so no progress.  Not wanting to back burner this but my first final is in two weeks so we'll see what's what.  I suspect I'll burn out studying one night and need to go do something with my hands.



Link Posted: 4/13/2021 12:46:19 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MrVest:
Pics, oops!  Was out of town this weekend so no progress.  Not wanting to back burner this but my first final is in two weeks so we'll see what's what.  I suspect I'll burn out studying one night and need to go do something with my hands.

https://i.imgur.com/H6WZacJ.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/EyrEpE2.jpg
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Hell that doesn't look bad.  You should see what I usually end up with when I break out the dremel......
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