Tyler Gun Works Firearms Restoration

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 24th, 2018


YouTube Video Link


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"Before" Pics

We have written here a couple of times about the custom new revolvers offered by Tyler Gun Works in Fiona, Texas. Bobby Tyler and his crew turns out some high-quality custom-finished and engraved limited run revolvers, but what we are looking at here is their restoration of battle-worn and damaged firearms. Sometimes, bad things happen, and when it happens to guns, Tyler Gun Works can make them better than new again. A few months ago, I had a water pipe leak water on some of my best handguns while I was away on a trip. When I got back home, the damage had already been done. I contacted Bobby, and then sent the guns off to be repaired. He does good work.

However, the subject of this piece was the restoration and customization of a well-worn Ruger Blackhawk chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge. The 45 Colt Old Model (three-screw) Blackhawk is relatively rare, made only from 1971 through 1973, and collectors pay premiums for nice, unmolested samples. This was not a nice one, so I was not concerned with killing its collector value. It was just a standard seven-and-one-half-inch Blackhawk, that had seen a lot of use and little care, so I picked it up at a gun show for a great price.

The original Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt is bull-strong and is the reason that handloading manuals and manufacturers list “RUGER ONLY” loads. Blackhawks are real workhorses, handling magnum-level ammunition. I have an Old Model short-barreled (4 5/8 inch) 45 Ruger that I carry on my belt when working cattle that I have also used to take large Russian boar in East Tennessee. These are great guns, and have the original Single Action internals. These Ruger sixguns that were built prior to 1973 do not have a transfer bar internal safety as do the New Model revolvers, so carrying them with an empty chamber under the hammer is advised.

When I sent this sixgun to Tyler Gun Works, the only request that I had was to shorten the barrel to four and five-eighths inches. Other than that, I only told Bobby to “work his magic”, which he did. The pictures can speak for themselves, but I was greatly impressed with the revolver when it returned back home. Besides shortening the barrel and attaching a proper front sight, Bobby replaced the original aluminum grip frame with a Ruger brass dragoon-style grip frame. These brass grip frames were offered as an option on the Old Model revolvers by Ruger from the factory decades ago, and is a really nice touch. He then fitted stag grips to replace the original worn walnut grips, and refinished the entire sixgun, giving the frame and loading gate a beautiful case-colored finish. Tyler Gun Works specializes in case-coloring firearms and does many of the finishes found on factory-new firearms, such as those from Henry Repeating Arms, Magnum Research, and Republic Forge.

The Old Blackhawk turned out much better than expected, and also shoots better than it did before. Velocities are pretty much the same as before. Reducing the barrel length did not reduce velocities as is usually expected, because Bobby also tightened the barrel/cylinder gap considerably to an even two -one-thousandths (.002) of an inch. Perfect. He also reamed the cylinder chamber throats, as well as the forcing cone, and smoothed up the action. This is now a great-handling, great-feeling, great-shooting sixgun that shoots as well as it looks.

If you have a handgun, rifle, or shotgun that needs complete restoration, or just a few custom touches, give Bobby Tyler a call. I highly recommend his work.

Check out Tyler gun Works online at www.tylergunworks.com.

Jeff Quinn

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"After" Pics