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Discussion Starter #1
Just bought a new SBH .44 Magnum with the 5.5" barrel & rounded trigger guard last week. Love the gun (haven't shot it yet), but think the grip frame & panels are too short. I'd like to change them to the longer style as what comes on the SBH .44 Magnum Hunter (still the rounded trigger guard - NOT the square back).

Does the Ruger factory do such "customizing"?
If so, anybody know how to set it up & the cost?
Would they just swap it out with me (I'd pay the mailing of course)?
 

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Ruger will not perform this service for you. You can do it yourself either with polished take-off parts, or with Ruger factory after-market parts. The cost is about $150 either way.
 

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You can get a grip frame from Midway and fit it up yourself. It's pretty straightforward...just take the time to file and fit. I got the Dragoon style grip and built up a 5.5" SBH that turned out really nice. Took a couple of hours, but it was worth it. Finished it off with some Mesquite grips.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all - I ordered a SBH Hunter back strap & trigger guard along with the longer grip (silver & black wood) from Brownell's.

Will borrow a Dremel to finish & fit it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Finally got the SBH Hunter grip frame ground, polished, & fitted to my SBH .44. It fits my hand so much better:

 

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Finally got the SBH Hunter grip frame ground, polished, & fitted to my SBH .44. It fits my hand so much better:

Bravo, looks very good and what an improvement. The proportion on a 5 1/2" barrel is right, not so much on shorter barrels. You might consider working the grip frame Ears down to a flush fit with the Hammer Base size.

Ruger has only enlarged the hammer base to match the taller grip frame ears on the newly designed hammers introduced since 2005 such as the New Vaq standard ‘long horn’ and Montado hammers, the NM Flat Top Blackhawk hammers.

All other hammers designed prior to 2005 used on current model and Old Model hammers are small base and do not match the post 1997 tall eared grip frames. Some people don’t mind. If I install a small base hammer in a post 1997 gun, I fit the grip frame ears to the hammer. I also have to do this every time I install post 1997 grip frames such as the N Vaq and Flat Top XR3 size steel grip frames or XRE-RED size steel grip frames on pre 1997 New Models, or on Old Model Rugers.

Grip Frame Ear Changes to be aware of: the ear height around the base of the hammer varies on all grip frame ears slightly due to hand fitting at the factory, but there was one specific big height increase. To simplify production in 1997, Ruger increased the height of the standard cylinder frame mating surfaces on both sides of the hammer 1/16” to match the Bisley model frame ears so any style grip frame could be assembled to any main frame.

Therefore the ears on all other standard grip frames after 1997 had to be made ~ 1/16” taller as well. This also affects the hammer base fit to the grip frame ears. The result is they stick out proud of the hammer base.

Proper hammer base flush fit to ears:
 

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Do not want to hijack this thread, but along the same lines, can the aluminum grip frame of the New Blackhawk (357) interchange with the steel grip frame of the New Blackhawk Flattop (medium frame/New Vaquero 357)?
 

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Blaze,

I think that's a legitimate related question to this thread. The swap you propose is the easiest there is, a 'drop in' switch. Recognize that your grip frame size is the XR3-RED size and you'll need different grip panels for that XR3 size New Blackhawk Flattop (medium frame/New Vaquero 357). If you want the same size grip frame as your alloy frame, but in steel, I recommend the 5 1/2" and shorter SBH steel grip frame show below.

In a nutshell, there's three basic ‘plow handle’ Ruger grip sizes, note that all the new model XR3 size grip frames are 7/16" thick, the old model XR3 and all other grip frames are 1/2" thick. The SBH grip frame shown is for the 7 1/2" and 10" models. All other SBH grip frames are the XR3-RED size shown:



From my Ruger tutorial:

GENERAL SUMMARY OF RUGER GRIP FRAMES:

All Ruger SA grip frames including SBH Dragoon, Old Army, Bisley and Birdshead (excluding Bearcats of course) will interchange from the standpoint of the screw pattern from Single Six to Super BH, Old Model to New Model, and even NM to OM.

It's always easier to obtain a 'take off' grip frame because new steel grip frames from Ruger are only about 90% finished, requiring more work and bluing if not stainless steel.

There are other issues to be aware of when swapping GFs depending on which models are being swapped which I can elaborate on if interested:
*matching the grip frame 'ears' to main frame & hammer,
* grip frame projections,
* internal locks,
* Birdshead/Bisley grip frames
* "Reverse Indexing Pawl System", a simple modification is required for NM Flat Tops and New Vaqueros which all have the RIP System
*NM grip frame adaption to old models; trigger return spring, and
*a few mods for Old Model grip frame to NM main frame.
 

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That's a GREAT looking Super, Armybrat!!! I like it with those black grips.
Now, get out there and enjoy all your hard work!! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just added some Altamont "Bonded Ivory" grip panels today. Great service from the Illinois company. For $28 they look pretty good and don't feel like plastic - actually kinda heavy like real ivory or stag The fit is not perfect but is good enough for the price.
Sorry for the crappy cellphone pic, but that's all I have:

 

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I'm going to put a SBH hammer in the standard "large frame" .357-9mm convertible when I get it. I won't worry about the grip frame ears not matching the hammer base. Maybe some day I'll have my gunsmith match it up for me.

I really, really don't like that super high spur Vaquero hammer, so I'm dropping in a Blackhawk hammer, in my 5.5" Vaquero. I don't want a SBH hammer on this gun, since I shoot with a high grip, so the BH hammer seemed like the best option.

I have a .45 ACP Birdshead that came from the factory not perfectly "fitted" with the ears of the grip frame to the SBH hammer it came with, the ears are about 1/18" out from the hammer base.
 

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I'm going to put a SBH hammer in the standard "large frame" .357-9mm convertible when I get it. I won't worry about the grip frame ears not matching the hammer base. Maybe some day I'll have my gunsmith match it up for me.

I really, really don't like that super high spur Vaquero hammer, so I'm dropping in a Blackhawk hammer, in my 5.5" Vaquero. I don't want a SBH hammer on this gun, since I shoot with a high grip, so the BH hammer seemed like the best option.

I have a .45 ACP Birdshead that came from the factory not perfectly "fitted" with the ears of the grip frame to the SBH hammer it came with, the ears are about 1/18" out from the hammer base.
I couldn't stand the New Vaquero hammer either. I put a Montado hammer in my NM flat top and it fits flush because the base is larger than the SBH hammer.



Then I put the FT standard hammer in my New Vaq. The flat top Blackhawk hammer also has the larger base and fits flush in both my New Vaq (shown below) and my original Vaq.
 
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