Originally Posted by Waveform
I bought a front sight and screw with the idea to simply drill, tap and mount up a new style front sight but it looked really tall sitting there plus it would sit on top of the end of the rollmark (these early guns have the Ruger rollmark on top of the barrel.) After a lot of indecision I decided to attempt to mill a new slot on the top and reuse the original front sight. Glad I did - I think it looks good that way and it keeps the old rollmark intact.
As before I'm indebted to Hondo44 for his inspiration and advice - thanks Jim. The plan is to swap out the trigger for the Clements trigger, tweak a few details and send it out for a reblue. Custom grips are in the plan too.
I think you did a superb job. Especially the front sight work!
I never liked the Ruger Birdshead grip. I prefer the original Colt Lightning Birdshead shape.
So I cut the back strap and butt strap off of a new model Ruger XR3 steel grip frame leaving the spring mount, and drilled and tapped a hole at the bottom of the front grip strap toe. Inserted the back strap of a Cimarron Lightning grip frame (also known as Thunderer in the large caliber guns) and screwed it together. The top two holes of the back strap align with the Ruger holes. The butt screw went into my new hole drilled and tapped in the front bottom end of a piece of butt strap left on the Ruger front strap.
You can see the excess metal on the Ruger XR3 front strap to be removed. Or just make a new set of grips to fit the new grip frame size. That’s what I’m planning to do. If you start with the more common XR3-RED grip frame, you will not need to remove any metal from the front grip strap, the one piece grip fits almost perfectly.
It went thru several iterations:
It started out as a .22 convertible with a damaged 9 1/2" barrel. I cut it to 3 1/2". I resurfaced the front face of the frame to remove the rough milling machine marks so typical on the Rugers of this vintage, which allowed turning the barrel an extra 1/4 turn. The barrel rollmark is now on the left side so it wasn't covered by the front sight. A Super Single Six NM ramp front sight has been screwed on and filed lower to shoot to point of aim. I preferred it with the windage adjustable rear sight.
I originally used the steel short grip frame from the NM 32 Mag single six ‘Vaquerito’ (shown above) for proportion with the short barrel and for easy packin'.
Then I switched to the Birdshead grip.