Thursday, May 9, 2013

Restocking a Ruger Bisley...... with custom fit handmade grips.

Recently Peter spoke of acquiring a Ruger Blackhawk.  His writings brought this to mind....

This Ruger Bisley .44 has been in the stable for decades. Acquired at a gun show long ago, it's become an old friend. It's seen it's most use as a cowboy action pistol, with lots of range time tossed in. It's also fired it's share of hot lead at game in the field, and been a bear backup gun during some Maine fishing expeditions. From 200 grain puff loads to 300 grain super boom-en-splat bear loads, it's gobbled them all with no complaint.

One issue, nursed over the years, has been the original factory walnut stocks. Now, the factory wood was nice, and had the nifty Ruger squawking chicken emblem on them. For many people they would have been fine...

For many people.... but not
me. See.... most people don't have paws like mine. Big hairy creature paws that tend to fill up any space they are jammed into. Especially tight little spaces jammed in behind trigger guards on magnum pistols.

My answer was to whittle my own stocks from rock hard Birdseye maple. It took only
a few hours, and they happened on the first try which is amazing. The directions are out there on the net.... and wood is around. I highly recommend trying this activity if you have the desire.

Laying the original factory stocks onto flat slabs of maple, I traced around them with a pencil. Using a band saw (a jig saw works fine) I cut away everything outside the generous line. Working the parts of the oversize rough pieces where they fit the pistol, I filed away till the blanks could be fitted to the pistol. With tape on the blued surfaces to protect them, I then began carefully filing away at the overage, till I
was within .040" or so of pistol frame.

After that, it was simply a matter of sand off a hair at a time till they fit as good as possible, and then sand for thickness and finish. Once final shaped and sanded, an oil finish was applied and allowed to set up for a week or two.

These fill my hand like the gun was fitted to me personally. Oh, wait..... it was. The full house magnum loads are nothing big to deal with, now that the pistol has something to really hang onto. The puff target loads... like shooting a .22, only way more fun.

Want new grips or stocks? Try this! I mean... the WORST that could happen would be a wasted evening and some fancy toothpicks.... It's not like the order of the universe will be altered if it doesn't work.


Anonymous said...

I made some teak grips for my Wusthof chef's knife when the original plastic cracked. More than one evening for me -- it would've helped if I had enough sense not to rush it and take too much wood off. Twice.

But I sure love that knife now.

Andy said...

Now that you've done it once, you can make some more with variations. Like filling in the space behind the trigger guard, or some finger grooves. I'm picturing some of the Hogue wood grips for the Ruger SP101.

Old NFO said...

Nicely done! :-)