The most pleasing appearance is achieved by using the rammer and attaching the extractor assembly to it. Figure 2 shows the parts in their place. This method does the best job of maintaining the original lines of the dragoon.
The extractor created a few more complications. By laying a piece of aluminum cleaning rod (Figure 2) into the cylinder to illustrate the line required for the extractor, we can see that the assembly must pass right through the wedge, but also lines up nicely with the rammer assembly.
It will be necessary to reshape the wedge and make it shorter. We will also need to make a spacer between the rammer and the extractor to maintain the correct spacing of the components. I decided to thread the spacer and use screws to mount it to the loading arm, and to weld the extractor to the spacer. This will make it easier to remove the extractor assembly in the future for cleaning or replacement.
A quick trip to the hardware store resulted in some 1/4 inch galvanized pipe that was six inches long. Put the pipe into the lathe and turn down the outer surface to create smooth steel (Figure 3). Pick up some mild steel rod to also be turned down to make the second part of the extractor. After turning and polishing the pipe, I cleaned out the inside of the pipe with a drill and prepared to machine the slot for the extractor rod.
I put the newly polished extractor housing in a cross-sliding vise and put a 1/8 inch end-mill into the chuck of the drill press. After carefully aligning everything, I started milling the slot for the ejector rod handle.
Figure 4 shows the ejector rod housing being milled using the cross-sliding vise and an end-mill in the drill press. For those who are not familiar with end-mills, it is similar to a standard drill bit with the cutting blades ground along the flutes and usually a flat base. The steel stock is moved into the mill and the mill cuts the slot. This end mill bit cost about two dollars. Please examine Figure 5 for a closer photograph of the end mill being used to cut the slot.
The cutting of the slot in the steel extractor housing leaves the edges of the metal a little ragged. Figure 6 shows the extractor housing with the finished side on the left and the raw side on the right of the photo. The metal post that divides the two sides is an extractor rod from a Super Blackhawk used as a sizing guide in making the housing.
Use a fine file to cleaned the rough edges of the steel that was raised by the milling operation. The roughness came off with just a bit of filing and it produced a clean exterior. I then took some miniature files and dressed up the sides of the guide slot.
Figure 7 shows the Dragoon with several of the parts laid out for the next step. A little explanation of the split extractor is in order. I used a piece of bar stock to make the tail piece of the ejector housing. The illustration shows the loading ram assembly with a small piece of bar stock in front.
I drilled the bar stock and the loading ram assembly and tapped threads in the bar stock to allow the bar to be secured to the ram with screws. This was done by deciding on an 8-32 screw and consulting a tap-drill chart to determine the correct tap drill and clearance drills.
The tap drill is the one listed on the chart and is used for drilling the hole to be tapped. It is the optimum size hole for creating tapping threads. The clearance drill size listed will create the optimum hole for the screw to pass through.
After drilling the tap hole in the small block of steel, I used an 8-32 tap (Figure 8) and pressed it into the hole while turning it two revolutions. After two revolutions of the tap handle digging into the steel of the block, there are enough threads to start a binding condition with the tap. This condition can cause damage to the new threads and the metal being pulled away must be cut.
The proper use of the tap is to back it up a quarter of a turn to break out the steel and clear the flutes. After the initial couple of turns you can make one turn and then back it out a quarter turn. I repeat the single turns until the hole is threaded.
After threading the steel bar stock, I clamped it and the rear half of the extractor housing in a vise and used a small arc welder to weld the two together. I am not a very good welder so I will not illustrate the part before filing and cleaning it.
The final step was to secure the extractor in the lathe and turn down the tail of the extractor in order to better clear the wedge. This required me to use a four-jaw chuck so I could clamp both the extractor and the new mounting bar in the jaws of the lathe.
I ran out of time on this project and was not able to secure the front of the extractor to the barrel or make the internal extractor rod and handle to match the Ruger one I used as a model. Those will be covered in the last installment as I clean the parts up for final finishing and try my hand at home electroplating of nickel.