“The Fixer”

Roy Huntington Flexes His Superpowers

The first job was to turn the old threads off the bigger barrel and turn
the shank to size for threading for the old gun’s frame. The old barrel
was slimmer and had finer threads.

Roy eased up to the final dimension prior to threading.

To keep things extra-accurate, Roy rigged up a three-jaw chuck in
the tail stock of his lathe to keep the die aligned perfectly while he
threaded the barrel shank to match the frame threads.

Roy did a test fit with the barrel still in the lathe to keep
it dialed in if he had to do anything else to make it fit.

Have no fear, The Fixer is here. Faster than a speeding bullet when editing mush, more powerful than a prepositional phrase, able to leap backlogs of pending articles in a single bound, it’s his Editorship, Roy Huntington.

Few people know mild-mannered Special Projects Editor Roy is a superhero of sorts. Sure, you’re familiar with his Super Editor Status when he was editor of American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine, simultaneously at times, mind you. But now that he’s the special projects editor, he has a little more time to hone his other superpowers in between making cool videos and writing feature articles with his turbo-charged Word program.

Working in the confines of his garage and/or machine shop, Roy taps into these other powers, transforming into his alter-ego, “part-time gunsmith guy.”

Roy’s got mills, lathes, drill presses, hammers and files to complete his “gunsmithy” projects. You’ve seen several examples of his work in the pages of Handgunner.

Once screwed in the front sight didn’t quite align, quite common on a
re-barrel. In this case rather than turning the shoulder of the barrel back,
Roy peened the shoulder to push a bit of metal back to get things aligned.
The old barrel is above.

After peening the shoulder to fit, Roy turned the raised section to get
rid of the peening marks. It ended up looking pretty good and fit the
frame contour more closely.

Roy also re-cut the forcing cone on the new barrel. The wall thickness
was a bit thinner than he liked but should be fine with mild loads.

The front sight on the new barrel is considerably thicker than
the one on the old so Roy had to open the rear sight channel up.

Ready for final fitting, Roy turned the barrel in and aligned it to
get a rough idea of how big he needed to cut the rear sight channel.

Tank’s Turn

It just so happened I had a project for our superhero. I’d obtained a Colt Police Positive in .32 Colt for a song, but there was a problem. The thin forcing cone was split. I ordered a heavier replacement barrel from eBay, one having a thicker front sight I’d actually be able to see.

But there was another problem. The thread pitch was different than the older barrel. No problemo! Enter — The Fixer. Roy was able to turn down the old threads and re-thread the barrel shank to fit my frame.

When screwing the new barrel on, the front sight didn’t align properly. Rather than turn the shoulder down on the lathe, he used a hammer to peen the shoulder just enough for a snug fit, aligning the front sight so it was perpendicular to the frame.

Then, another problem presented itself. Remember that nice thick front sight? While being easier to see, it was too thick for the grooved fixed “hog trough” rear sight. Roy was able to open it up on the mill, lickity-split.

Dialing in the frame in his mill, Roy cut a new, winder
rear sight channel, guessing at the width.

The new rear sight channel is squared rather than a shallow
“V” of the old one, improving the sight picture a good deal.

Snugged up nicely and Loctite-d in, the new barrel looked
virtually stock. Some cold bluing helped to tidy things up.

An initial test-fire showed the old gun shot just fine at 15 yards,
so Roy boxed it up and returned it to Tank.

Here’s the re-barreled Colt with some of Tank’s handloads consisting
of RCBS 98 grain SWC and MP Molds 100 grain flat-nosed HP using
231 and Unique powders.

Care-Free Custom

Now I’m the proud owner of a carefree custom pocket pistol, worked over by none other than Roy Huntington. It looks better with the heavier barrel and has a front sight I can actually see. But more importantly, it was fixed by The Fixer, making my gun more valuable to me because of who repaired it.

The new barreled gun’s thicker front sight nestles perfectly between the freshly cut rear sight notch, providing a wonderful sight picture. I’ll need to figure on a pet load and file the front sight down to correct the point of impact. I’m looking forward to doing it.

I’ve already got some loads and, of course, cast bullets to try out in the re-barreled shooter. I’ll let you know how it goes in another article. But in the meantime, let this be a lesson — it’s always good to know a “Fixer.”

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