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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 24
THESIXGUNNER close-up of king Gun Sight co. wide, low hammer. JoHN tAFFIN Sixgun Hammers and Handles none of these ruger sixguns started life as Bisley Models. Bisley grip frames, hammers and triggers have been fitted to, from top right clockwise: ruger .45 Blackhawk blue and stainless steel versions, and custom rugers in .45 colt and .44 Magnum. S topping in at Buckhorn Gun I spotted an old 71/2" Single Action Army on display. It was a 1st Generation Colt, which had been fitted with a 2nd Generation .38 Special cylinder and barrel; it also had very attractive stag stocks. However, what really caught my eye was the hammer. This was not the traditional upswept hammer found on hundreds of thousands of Single Actions but rather was of the low, wide target-style. From the period of time after World War I until the early 1950s King Gun Sight Co. was the premier supplier of custom parts for handguns. King accomplished all kinds of wonderful transformations, especially on Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers including custom sights, ribbed barrels, short actions, and special hammers. this custom ruger .44 Special and freedom Arms Here before me was a King hammer, and while I wasn’t in the market .45 colt Model 97 both have round-butted grip for a .38 Special Single Action I was sorely tempted to buy that sixgun frames. note the custom hammer on the ruger. just to get the hammer. The fellow who purchased the .38 Special Colt did not like the “funny looking” hammer so it was replaced with a period installing a longer correct hammer and the boys at Buckhorn were told to give the King colt 1860 Army nd hammer to me. One of my most cherished Colts is an early 2 Generagrip frame on a tion .44 Special with faded case colors, bluing worn on the ejector rod SAA helps reduce housing, barrel cut to 43/4", and one-piece Pau Ferro stocks. The King felt recoil. hammer dropped in perfectly and the action functioned flawlessly. Since the introduction of the Ruger Super Blackhawk all those decades ago, I have been regularly looking for better hammers and better handles, or if you please, grip frames for single-action sixguns. To shoot a single action sixgun successfully, or at least easily, requires an easyto-reach hammer with enough surface area on the spur for easy cocking, matched up with a grip frame which helps to diminish felt recoil. This search of mine probably started when seeing pictures of Elmer Keith’s Colt Single Actions which he had built up prior to WWII and which I was eventually able to handle. These favored Single Actions of his consisted of a 71/2" .44 Special Custom Colt with adjustable sights by olt hammers are not so easy to come King Gun Sight, a 43/4" Single Action by these days except through the hands .45 also with adjustable sights, and his of a custom gunsmith. But, once Ruger favorite, the Number Five, or as he had established the Super Blackhawk and called it the No. 5 S.A.A. All three of made parts available, I purchased sevthese sixguns had low, wide, targeteral of the wide target-style hammers for style hammers and started my peruse on other Rugers — a circa 1955 45/8" sonal quest for personalizing sixguns .357 Blackhawk and circa 1956 61/2" .44 by changing hammers and handles. Magnum Blackhawk. Both were definitely improved with the addition of Super this ruger Super Blackhawk has had the original Blackhawk hammers, and I took it a step grip frame replaced by an Old Model Blackhawk further and had a 71/2" Super Blackhawk Change ’Em To Fit Variations on the keith #5 grip frame by Bill Grover, David clements and Gary reeder, left to right. HAMMers c grip frame. custom work by M-n-P and leather by Andy horvath. Continued on page 78 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012 24