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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever removed a barrel from a Blackhawk successfully? I have not tried yet, but I think I want to tinker. I know (at least I think I know) that I will need a frame wrench so I don't hurt the frame. I'm ok with that. Is this difficult? Has anyone really messed up their sixgun by trying this? By the way, I just want to put a shorter barrel on the gun. Yes, I know I could just take it to a local 'smith and save the cost of the tools, but I want to do this on my own. Does anyone want to talk me out of this?

Thanks all,

Premium Member
3,366 Posts
Yes, I've pulled quite a number of Blackhawk barrels over the years, many of them in earlier days using improvised means.

The issue of a barrel vise tended to confound me for a time, but the application of a block of maple, cut just the length of the width of my vise jaws, then drilled through the center length-wise with a drill closely approximating the diameter of the barrel.  Cut the block lenthwise, through the center, giving two identical blocks.  These will serve as your barrel blocks in the vise, but will slip miserably as you attempt to unscrew the barrel.  To alleviate this annoyance, use some pure, dried pine pitch ground up and liberally applied to the barrel channel in both maple blocks (common dried pitch where limbs have been trimmed or a pine tree has been damaged works great!  If an urban dweller, go to the city park, you'll almost always find some conniferous trees with some oozing, dried pitch available.  It doesn't take much!)  

Using a small punch, put index marks on both the front of the frame, where it will be hidden by the ejector rod housing, and the bottom of the barrel in corresponding loacation.  Then clamp down the barrel between the two pitch-treated blocks, then unscrew the frame from your blackhawk!  If doing this yourself, to shorten a barrel, it would be easier to take the barrel to a machine shop and have it cut and crowned, then move the sight and re-install the barrel, than to use a new after-market or replacement barrel, as you will have to adjust the barrel to cylinder gap on a new barrel unfit to your frame... a task best left to someone with some experience and the proper equipment.

In days past, before having an action/frame wrench, I used a 4 foot length of 2" wide maple flooring, and after clamping the barrel in the blocks described above, inserting the piece of maple flooring into the frame where the cylinder would go, and applying a sharp thrust on the "handle" to break the barrel/frame threads free.  Although not the preferred method, in years past, I've worked over a number of single actions in just such manner without ever springing a frame or damaging the finish in any way... however, the right tools are always the best way to go if affordable and available!  I've NEVER regretted purchasing a quality tool!

A word about the pine pich described above... it will positively stop the slippage of a barrel in most any barrel blocks, and cleans up easily with mineral spirits, or even WD-40.  Too, it won't harm a blued finish in any way in my experience.

Perhaps this will help!

God Bless,

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