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Discussion Starter #1
First of all I have the Technical Manual and have read it and understand it.  Has anyone here fire lapped their Ruger and noticed an increase in accuracy?  I have not slugged my barrel yet so I don't know if there is a tight spot where the barrel enters the frame.  I bought this 45 Bisley new about two years ago.  What are the chances that it does have a constriction in the bore?  
Thanks.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Sean,

1. Did notice an improvement in accuracy but can not give you a specific estimate as the improvements were not linear. For example, one Bisley was a 3.5" 25yd shooter and became a 2.5" shooter, while another SBH was a 1.5" shooter and became a 1.0" shooter. Of the five revolvers I've firelapped, only one (.22 Single Six) didn't show accuracy improvement. It was and is a 3.5" shooter.

In addition to accuracy question, I found reduced leading to be such an improvment that it supports the firelapping effort even if accuracy improvement is minimal.

2. I would anticipate your revolver will have constriction(s). I have nine Ruger single actions and all of them have the constriction, both at the front of the barrel (at the sight area) and the barrel into the frame portion, with the latter being the greater restiction. I can remember how I've always been alarmed when I slug my barrels with front sight restictions. Once past the sight constriciton, it feels like the slug is almost loose in the barrel until it hits the frame restriction. But correctly or incorrectly, I've never been concerned about the sight constriction, while  the frame constriction is a definite concern.

While obviously an amateur, I would think that removing the "barrel into frame" constriction would help accuracy. Any initial barrel constriction that leaves the bullet undersized through the rest of it's journey down the barrel sure sounds bad to me. Kinda like undersized throats, which are certainly identified as affecting accuracy/leading. Suspect the amount of constriction, type of bullet, current cylinder to barrel alignment, etc. also impact the amount of accuracy improvement you'll achieve.

But the cost and risk is minimal so you'll never know until you try. How's that for cheap advice :)

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dan,

Thanks a lot for the advice.  I have posted that question on other boards and no one has been able to give me a good answer.

Sean
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sean,

While I may not be a good enough shot with a handgun to 'prove' any accuracy improvements, it hasn't ever hurt accuracy.  The biggest benefit has been reduction of leading with cast bullets.
 

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Sean,

I didn't answer you yesterday, as you 've already read the Tech Guide, I wanted some other input here on what experiences others could share.

I've seen some revolvers with dramatic improvements in accuracy, and others with minimal to none, as Dan has mentioned with his Single-Six.

However, to put your mind at ease, I've NEVER seen a revolver properly fire-lapped that was detrimental to accuracy!  And as observed earlier, always a reduction or outright elimination of tendencies to jacket foul or lead foul after lapping and polishing of the bore.

FWIW,

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've decided that I'm going to do.  I just need to ream my throats.  I've got the reamer from Brownell's, I'm just waiting on the cutting oil to get here.  I'll keep you guys updated.

Thanks,
Sean
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Sean,

I'd be very interested in your experience with the throat reamers as I've given serious thought to doing the same thing rather than the gunsmith route. It's gotten so that the shipping both ways is almost more than the cost of the reamer/guide kit.

Dan
 

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DOK & Sean
    There is a very simple way of polishing out your cylinder throats described in Marshall's Tech. Guide on page 50. You probably have all the necessary items at home, or they can easily be picked up at the local hardware store.These include: an electric drill, 320 grit emory paper, piece of 3/8" steel rod 8-10 " long, hacksaw, and a properly sized bullet.

Simply cut a 1 1/2 " longitudinal slit in one end of the steel rod. Cut your emory paper into 1" X 6 1/2 " strips . Now insert one end of the emory paper strip into the steel rod slit and wind it tightly around the rod, counter clockwise, grit side out. You just made an arbor for your cylinder !

Now chuck the arbor in your drill and insert the emory paper end, chamber side first, into the cylinder.It should fit snuggly. If not , add paper, if too tight, remove some. Now start polishing the inside cylinder, being careful not to run the emory paper completely out of the exit end, so as not to round out the exit hole. After a few strips of paper, try to fit your properly sized bullet thru the exit end. When the bullet passes thru with snug pressure, go to the next hole. I usually place a patch in the finished hole, so I know that one is already done. It will probably take several strips of paper to polish out the throat enough to pass the bullet thru.

I have done all of my .45's and .41's this way with excellent results. Ruger .44's seem to be bored correctly in this manner. Again, just use a properly sized bullet and see if you can push it thru the exit end of your cylinder with finger pressure. The emory strips were of correct size when I did my guns. When doing .41's, simply tear the 1"X 6 1/2 " strip in half.

If your cylinder throats are undersized, consider yourself lucky. It's alot easier to remove steel than replace.

Think about it, if thread choke is detrimental to accuracy as the choke squeezes down the bullet, causing it to bounce down the bore, what do you think the undersized cylinder throat does as the bullet exits the cylinder. Same principle.

You should see the smug look on my face when my stock Rugers outshoot my buddies custome Bowen's with regularity. Very satisfying, to say the least.

If you can firelap your bore, you can surely polish out your cylinder throates.

Hope this helps and encourages you.

                                Jeff
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Jeff,

Understood and it does encourage me. My hesitation has been the nervousness of not ending up with equal dia. throats. When I asked my  gunsmith (pistolsmith of the year type gunsmith),
which was better, .4525 or 4530, he said the biggest contributing factor was they all were the same size. My experience with hand tools is such that I simply felt more comfortable considering the
reamer route. I figure I'd end up like the amateur barber's problem of continuing to take a little more off to even everything out and I'd end up prepared to shoot 45-70's. Something about "knowing one's limitations"?

You also touch on a subject that I've been thinking about posting for discussion, that is, the value of custom gunsmithing. The April issue of Gun Tests went the top-of-the-line smithing route and while the revolver was easier to shoot and may last longer, they were "not able to see a clear advantage" re the accuracy. I've had a number of revolvers doubled and tripled (that's conservative) in cost with pretty much the same results. Shoots "easier" and is a more "solid" gun, but the accuracy hasn't improved noticeably. The exception is my line bored revolver, but then that's in the $3000 range. I've got a local person that just cleaned up the trigger on a SBH and did an excellent job for $35 (and yes, gave him a nice tip)! If I firelap the barrel and ream/sand the throats, I've got more money to buy more models.

Dan
 

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DOK,
     I can relate to your initial apprehension. I felt the same way the first time I did same. But remember, we're only talking a $60.00 cylinder here, in a worse case scenario. The process I described is not aggressive, and believe me, if your as impatient as I am, you'll be checking every few pieces of emory paper for bullet fit.

Also remember, you have gyroscopic effect working for you as the arbor revolves inside the cylinder chamber, meaning you'll have nice round holes.

As stated, if you check fit for each hole, with your bullet, symetry will be superb.

As you say, why pay someone else to do something, you, yourself can do, and enjoy the outcome and sense of pride and self sufficiency. Bottom line, more money for more toys!

Your gunsmith was right, symetry does matter. However, its been my experiance that gunsmiths always try and make something sound a whole lot more complicated or mystic to discourage do-it-yourselfers. And why not, it's MONEY out of THEIR pocket.

I say go for it DOK ! After all, this isn't rocket science.

                      Jeff
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Jeff,

It does sound "doable". Since the weather here in Iowa isn't very good this week end, I'll give it a try. I've got a friend that has a good vertical drill set-up and a fixture that would hold the cylinder so may use his tools rather than using a hand drill.

I'll let you know the results.

Thanks,

Dan
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Jeff's right, it works... BUT.... if you have more than a 0.001" or so to take out, I'd just go the reamer route.  I've taken all 6 chamber mouths on my Bisley from 0.449" to 0.4525" and it takes FOREVER, it seems.

The process is slow enough that it's actually kind of hard to screw up.  If you use a drill press (best way), hold the cylinder in your hand.  Keep it real wet with WD-40 so it doesn't get hot.  If you hold it in a vise, it can end up cutting the hole out of round.  Holding it in your hand, it tends to center itself nicely.

This technique works real well for cleaning burrs out of chambers.  One pass of 400 grit usually takes the burrs out, sometimes one pass of 240 first if it's real rough.
 

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Guys and dolls:
 Rugerforum.com has a .452 Brownells reamer that seems to be passed around gratis.  Another gent had a brand new one for $85.00  I did my .450 cyl. with a g'smith friends reamer and it solved the leading problem.
 A simple polishing tool can be made with an old casing, a nut & bolt and some flitz.  Drill out the primer pkt, put the bolt thru from the inside out in the case, turn down the nut, smear some flitz on the cart.case and put the whole thing in a low speed hand drill.  My cyl. look like a mirror!
 

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DOK,
     As MikeG mentioned, if you use the drill press, I would also hold in my hand. This does center the arbor. I did all of mine with hand drill while holding cylinder in other hand. As I stated, they all turned out great. I was more apprehensive to firelap, than polish the cylinder throats. Go figure.

I can do all 6 cylinder holes in about 30-40 minutes, just to give you a time frame.

I wouldn't worry so much as to the diameter size, as to the bullet fit. Remember, when the bullet of choice can snugly be pushed thru with the same amount of finger pressure on each chamber hole, they will be so close in size as to be immeasurable with the type of tools most of us have.

After you complete your project, you will be pleased and satisfied with the results at the range.

                            Jeff
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Jeff,

"they will be so close in size as to be immeasurable with the type of tools most of us have."

You very nicely addressed my primary concern, that of having mismatching throat diameters. We'll give it a try.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I reamed out my throats last night with the Manson reamer.  It was real easy.  My friend still needs to ream out his throats and then I am going to sell the reamer, T-handle, pilots, and Brownell's Do-Drill cutting oil.  Now I need to order the lapping stuff.  I plan on testing out the new throats tonight if it doesn't rain.  I only have internet at work and trurkey seaon starts on Monday so I won't be able to give you guys an update untill next Tusday.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Mike, Jeff, m141a,

Didn't want you folks to think I was just "talking"  about the interest in throat sizing you contributed information for. Since one of the two Rugers requiring work is stainless, I am going the reamer route. I've purchased Sean's set-up now that he's done with it and will let you know about the results.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #18
After reaming the throats on my Bisley I went out and shot it.  I couldn't tell that big of a differnce.  The one thing that I did notice was that the group was vertical.  Does this mean that the gun is more accurate and I just can't shoot?  The blueing on the front sight is wearing thin could this also be a reason?  I still need to slug the barrel and get the lapping stuff.
 

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More comments, questions.
I have an OM Blackhawk .45 Colt with umpteen thousands of rounds through it.  It needs at least two things done.  
First, the forcing cone is quite uneven.  Confirmed by a gunsmith.  I have been debating weather to buy the tools and do it myself, or have gunsmith do it.
Second, the undersized throats on the cylinder were reamed out by a gunsmith.  Instead of the .4525 to .453 I asked for I got .454 chamber throats with bad tool marks.  Thing leads bad.  Now, since this gun has thousands of rounds through it, many of them hot jackeded loads, will fire lapping help the chamber throat and barrell  leading?  
If the gun was new, I would expect it would, but it ceased to be new three decades ago.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sean,

Could very well be.  Vertical stringing is usually caused by either large differences in velocity, or not keeping a consistent grip on the gun.  It does take real concentration and practice to shoot the big bores well, one reason I do better group shooting with a .357.  Darken the front sight next trip to the range and see what that does.

J Miller.... tough call.  Since it's now leading, there isn't much to lose by working on it some more, in my opinion.  But fire lapping is a poor way to work on throats, unless you take the barrel off the gun.  First reason is that you'll be putting 6 lapping bullets down the barrel for each one that goes out a particular chamber.  Second is that cylinders are generally a lot harder than barrels.  By the time you got the chamber throats on the cylinder smooted out, the barrel would probably have had WAY too many lapping rounds through it.

I personally would us the drill press/sandpaper method and see if that helped.  One pass with 400 grit per chamber would tell you if it can be cleaned up easily, or if it would take out a whole lot more metal to do so.

Either way, you'll definitely be better served by going to larger bullets now, either .453" or even better, .454".

Slug the barrel to be sure, but if you've put that many rounds through it, not likely that it needs to be lapped.  You never know, though.
 
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