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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back to work.....This and several other projects perked to the top of the list now that Deer Season is nearly over.

Busby is a not too bad OM Bearcat, 1960/61 vintage, .22 LR



Busby has his original staked in place sail front sight, well butchered with a file and not polished or reblued.



He also has a well butchered cylinder lock....sides, cylinder bump and ground durn near too short on the back....ocassionally, Busby locks up at half notch and ya can't spin the cylinder.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
But, Busby (named after a fellers first pet, a fine turtle) has a decent aluminum frame with good enough anodized finish to think strongly about leaving it as is in the Aluminum cosmetics department.

And more importantly, all the threads in the aluminum and all the windows for hand and cylinder locking bolt are in fairly good condition. So, I'll focus on Busby's functions and steel components.

Fortunatly, the hammer notches and sear remain unmolested.....these are OM parts. Durn hard to find. Oh, yeah, no transfer bar in this one, so, its a load one, skip one, load 4 gun......do it that way and when you draw the hammer back and set it down on the safety notch, there is an empty cylinder under the firing pin.



Like most all Ruger single actions, Busby has a buncha slop between the trigger and the cylinder locking bolt. In this case, a stack of 5 ea .002" shims snugged up the wobble and rotation in the cylinder and fined things up in the trigger too. So, I'll pull those temporary "check it out" shims and make up one to slip in there.



Now Old Busby has a bit of end shake. A Smith J Frame end shake shim, at .002" thick takes most all the slop out when inserted between the cylinder and front of the frame. I just slipped it in for now.....may see if I can semi permanently affix it to the cylinder later.....sure would make things easier to assemble.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lookin over sights, some interesting applications come to mine from the Muzzleloading world.

The old mans nose sight.....probably too big for this little revolver....



The brass heart sight is pretty and just tall enough to allow some latitude in zeroing....



The Sterling Silver horse front sight (he faces the shooter) at 7/16 high is too tall but would work on a Blackhawk or perhaps a nice rifle project.....to be determined.



But, since Busby The BearCat is named after a pet turtle, a turtle it is.....sterling silver. I'll get two in case I melt one trying to solder this mess together!

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had thought about a 3" Shopkeeper/Sheriff conversion to this one. But everything I read about the Lipseys Shopkeeper is with the short barrel a hard to unload gun becomes a real PITA to unlode.....specially if ya got ham fingers. So, I am pretty sure this one won't get trimmed, thus saving the full extraction and avoiding the number one internet fix for the shopkeepers....grinding out the back of the chamber to a bevel (often described as a cone). Nah, I think I'll give it a test fire as is and if all is well, fix the butchered parts and some cosmetic attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Really want to brown the steel but quite concerned that even the fine finish in rust will obliterate the roll markins on the cylinder. Those markings are so fine. I'll have to play with some steel while I await the turtle for the front end.

I am also considering rust black on the cylinder and ejector rod housing with a brown on the gate and barrel.....it might look fine, black in the middle, brown front and rear.

So many decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
$25 shipping paid via fleabay scored me a baggie of OM BearCat parts in Wondermus condition! Very pleased. I think most every major part in the baggie will go into Busby and we'll reserve the old and the hacked in the baggie as backups. (and in the background, English straight grip and splinter forend in strong tight straight grain walnut for the Coach)



The big scores in the bag are the wonderful condition and unmolested locking bolt....thicker and smoother and much less worn....well, at least not worn by hammer and file. Also, looks like we have a solid hand in great shape for the cylinder. If it does not need much fitting, this may go in place too. And a new mainspring and strut.



Here, on the left, the molested locking bolt and the replacement on the right. The aft end, or leg that is impinged by the hammer plunger. As you can see, the original (left) was filed, rounded and then finally, beaten thin and long with a hammer in some misguided attempt to "Smith" Lil Busby.



And there, the locking ends, the molested lock on the right.....filed, rounded, filed on the sides and too short and too thin and nearly ruined. Please, you Hacks, if you don't know what yer doing, stick to painting guns.....at least paint can be removed later and no harm done. Go get some training and Grip Chop a Glock or pull the turd out of the punch bowl and make a Mosin even uglier before ya "Tune" a nice weapon.



And so, the new lower mileage uncut locking bolt in its new home awaiting function testing.....which went well by the way. Since it aint' been beaten thin, it fits the cylinder notches and cut much of the rotation out of the lock up. A bore size rod does not catch the cylinder mouth when the hammer is full back and so, test firing can begin soon.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All of my gages under 10 thousands thick are in the shop across a vast expanse of ice....I'll not be goin for em today. Except maybe to fetch em tonight on the way in from hunting, but......

Given the 10 thou feeler I have in hand, a measurement of barrel to cylinder gap was taken.

Busby now has a .002" stainless shim between front cylinder face and front frame retained by the cylinder pin.

The barrel to cylinder gap is well under .010". As such, a fine small gap and no further adjustments needed. I'll measure the value more accurately later but for now, its enough to know it ain't too wide.
 

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This is a great thread!!! Please keep us updated as it continues.

It's nice to see someone salvaging an old Bearcat, and has the patience and knowledge to do it.

The turtle sight is awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I do believe that all but one mechanical/maintenance job for Lil Busby is done.

1. The cylinder locking bolt is replaced and checked for function. It retracts and stays down when its supposed to.....and like most revolvers, its face just kisses the cylinder when it is being rotated for loading and unloading. Unlike the much filed and often pounded (hammer peen marks all over its sides) original locking bolt, this one works and locks the cylinder perzactly when the hammer enters the full notch. Job One Done.

2. Job two was taking the slop out of the cylinder, excess rotation and wobble mostly. The new locking bolt helped a lot, it was not ground and pounded thin, making a better fit in the frame window and cylinder notches. But, a shim between bolt and trigger will help tighten/better any Ruger single action.

Working with some .020 steel, I cut a section, drilled for the pin and polished it down to .007" thick. I arrived at that thickness by trial and error. When its thin enough to allow function of the bolt and trigger but thick enough to help alay much of the excess slop.



And here the shim installed in the middle....each part held more accurately over to their respective working locations on the insides of the action cut. Job 2 Completed.



3. Shimmed the cylinder to frame fit at the front. Right now the shim is floating. Not sure if I'll leave it float or glue to the frame or solder to the cylinder. We'll find out later, when I decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Function test. Steel 22 stop, fronted with 9/16 plywood target holder to prevent back splatter at close range. For perspective, red dots are 1/2" in diameter.

First round, all replacement parts and cylinder and trigger shim installed.....load one, skip one, load four, hammer back, then down on empty chamber....remember, its an old model, a 5 shot 6 shooter.

8 feet, CCI CB Long, 5 shots, aim point is center of the red paster.



16 feet, CCI CB Long, 5 Shots, aim point is top edge of the top of the freshly applied red paster.



16 feet, Federal Auto Match Long Rifle, Standard Velocity, aim point is the center of the two lowest red pasters.



16 feet, Federal Auto Match Long Rifle, Standard Velocity, aim point is the center of the two lowest red pasters.



The verdict.....mechanically, Busby is fully functional and about as tight as a handgun made in 1960/61 (and heavily used) can get. I'd say, where lock up/timing is concerned, nearly as new.

However, it is evident, Busby's front sight is way too low. Current height is .151". Original height in 1960/61 was .1875ish. Late models increased height to .250. The inbound turtle is .3125ish. So. Regardless of barrel length, and if I can solder on a Sterling Silver Turtle without melting its feet, head or tail, Busby will have a new sight sufficiently tall for tailoring to the load he likes best.

Success.

Now for deciding how and if the cylinder shim should be affixed and then to cosmetics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Final molestation of the front sight, yank it out.



Contour the bottom of a turtle, sand up the barrel.



Give Busby a nice 11 degree target crown





Flux and tin the turtle and barrel, flux again, clamp and heat......all that's left is a bunch of tedious clean up. Even got it mostly straight!





Busby is almost ready to Snap some Frogs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A bit of initial work with scrapers around the edges and some cold blue to mark the progress in removing excess solder and not to bad.



 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Protecting the anodized finish on the frame and getting as close to it as possible with the 120g polish of the barrel steel.



Gonna try a very slow and hopefully very fine grained plumb brown on the barrel.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
2.5 hours in with Laurel Mountain Forge brown. The house humidity is 30%. I'm keeping the damp cabinet at 50%. A first wash with hot tap water and scrubbing with wet terry and the rust is slowly coming up. Now that its washed and carded with terry, it is dry and can be set aside until tomorrow with no concerns for continued rusting. I'll go slow and see if I can build a fine enough finish to suit and if so, maybe attempt a similar finish on the cylinder. If not, the cylinder will be rust blackened with pilkingtons to preserve the roll markings.





 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One hour and scrub in hot water with terry. Another hour and scrub in hot water with terry. Set it aside for the night. Coming on slow and fine. The blackened areas are normal, they will come and go and eventually turn it all plumb brown. So far the finish is very fine grained and I am pleased. I'll keep the humidity between 50 and 60% at room temperature (68F) and go with one hour sessions in the damp box tomorrow. It'll be a long day.



 
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