Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

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Netpackrat
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Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:31 am

So, I think I posted this video by Hickok45 in another thread. I thought it was one of the coolest things ever, and given that A) I have a pistol can ordered, and B) work paid a bonus that just about covered the cost of the [strike]rifle[/strike] pistol, I wanted one too. But since my can is for .45 caliber, and I already have a western style revolver in .45 Colt, I wanted mine in .45 because 'Merica, I guess. Bud's gun shop happened to put them on sale (the .45 version only) a few weeks ago for something like $372 or so, which kept the total under $400 even with shipping to Alaska. They already had my gunsmith friend listed as one of their preferred FFLs which made it way too easy.

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It took a while for them to ship it, but it was finally delivered Monday and I picked it up tonight. Gunsmith friend kind of looks down his nose at some of the stuff I buy, but even he had to admit that it will actually make some sense as an SBR. He's not terribly keen on threading it, so I may have to take it elsewhere for that. I'd brought a couple boxes of .45 Colt reloads and my range bag, so I was able to hit the range and try it out on my way home.

One of the bad things about the range where I shoot, is at sunset the sun is directly in your eyes, so I could barely see the target at all. The main goal was to function check to make sure I hadn't gotten a lemon prior to e-filing a form on it, so not actually being able to hit anything wasn't the end of the world anyway. The good news is the rifle cycled my LSWC reloads perfectly... It has some sharp edges around the loading gate, but once the rounds were loaded everything worked as it should. Bad news was I couldn't seem to hit much, even towards the end after the sun went down and I could see both the sights and the target. Since it's a handgun, I fired the last couple magazines full one handed in a bullseye stance and seemed to hit the steel plate better that way. Vaguely had an idea that it was shooting to the left.

Got it home and under the light in my shop for a closer examination, and to check a couple things. Right away I found the reason I couldn't seem to hit anything:

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Not sure yet if the sight is bad or the dovetail is crooked, but either way, that will do it. I was planning on getting different sights anyway, but that's pretty bad. Not sure yet what kind of rear sights I am going to get, since there are several styles of peeps, although depending on what I choose I may need to have the barrel or the tang drilled and tapped. I might even have it drilled and tapped for a scout mount, and put a basic red dot on it, just forward of the receiver.

Outside diameter of the barrel at the muzzle is about .645", tapering up to .650" or so in front of the barrel band. Which means that getting it threaded 5/8-24 to fit the fixed barrel rear cap I have for the Silencerco Octane 45 can I ordered is probably sketchy at best... It will most likely end up at .578-28 like they thread a .45ACP pistol for. At .645", it's a lot meatier than say a 1911 barrel, so that should work okay I think. Downside is SiCo doesn't make a straight fixed barrel rear cap for that thread size, so I would have to use a regular piston with a fixed barrel spacer. Mostly that seems to mean the cost of the project just went up by however much I have to pay for those parts. The easy button would have been to get the .357 version since there is plenty of meat then to thread 1/2-28. There seems to be a couple different ways to go with these... Some shorten the magazine tube slightly to clear the suppressor, while others use a relatively thin threaded adapter to extend the muzzle far enough to clear the existing magazine tube.

And yeah, I know it is not going to be as quiet as the .38/.357 SBRed Ranch Hand that Hickock used in his video... Firing standard velocity .45, it will easily be subsonic, but .45 just doesn't suppress as well period. I don't necessarily care. I found a forum thread elsewhere where a Silencerco rep said that the combination of an Octane and a .45 Colt in barrels as short as 10" should be fine, as long as "factory type" (aka subsonic) loads are used. The +p loads like Buffalo Bore et al would probably blow out my can sooner or later, although the rifle itself will handle them okay. I don't see this ever supplanting my .450 Marlin as an anti-bear device, so it should be easy to make sure I never have any of the +p ammo around to find its way through my can. My current handload in .45 Colt is a 255 grain LSWC cast from wheel weights, over 8.5 grains of Unique.

One last thing I tried for shits and giggles, is I tracked down a box of .45 Schofield ammo, loaded by Ultramax IIRC. The idea being to see if the shorter cartridge would allow for an extra round of magazine capacity. I didn't have it at the range with me, but I did load up some at home, and found that I could indeed fit a seventh round. But I had a couple of them hang up at the end of the mag tube, which took all manner of percussive adjustment with a dead blow hammer to the butt plate to dislodge. Not sure if that was a feature of the specific brand of ammo, or just because .45 Schofield in general doesn't work through the action. I'm not about to attempt to find out, given that the .45 Colt rounds fed flawlessly.

My overall impression is that the Ranch Hand is a very good deal for the money, IF you are willing to pay an additional $200 to the ATF to be able to put a real stock on it, which Boyd's has for $65. Otherwise, don't bother, or buy the full length rifle version. The action has some sharp edges to it in places, and it could probably stand to be fired for a few hundred rounds to improve overall function, but it works and feeds exactly like it is supposed to (provided the correct ammo is used). The trigger is a lot better than I expected it to be. It breaks on average at about 4 pounds (measured), with only a little creep. The sights... Plan on replacing them. Ranch Hands apparently have a reputation for shooting high anyway, since it seems they might use the same front sight that Rossi puts on the full length rifle version.

More to follow once I get SBR paperwork back (will file soon), and get the threading done. I probably won't have the can for this until end of summer at the earliest.
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PawPaw
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by PawPaw » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:40 pm

Two choices, depending on what you want to do with it.

First, leave it alone and shoot it "as is". You'll have to tweak the sights a little bit, but it retains the whole flavor of the [strike]rifle[/strike] pistol. Of course it you're going to SBR it, then it won't be a pistol any more.

To me, it cries out for a ghost ring sight. For me, the best way to do a ghost ring is to install a Williams foolproof or a 5D and remove the aperture.
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SoupOrMan
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by SoupOrMan » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:50 pm

That should make a fine SBR once you've tweaked the sight issue.

Thanks for adding that link to the Rossi 92 stock on Boyd's. That one thing that has killed my regular shooting of my rifle is that curved steel buttplate. That curved buttplate plus hot .357 loads leaves some weird bruises.
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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:34 pm

They have forends, too. I figure on ordering both when I order my stock, since it seems like that will give a better chance of getting a close match.
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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:57 am

Form 1 e-filed.... Now I wait.
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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:22 am

I removed the rear sight the other night, and to my surprise, it's the sight that's tweaked, and the dovetail in the barrel appears to be cut straight. So, I could get a replacement rear sight, a taller front, and be done with sights. Not gonna do that, though. I ordered this scout mount, and plan to stick just a basic red dot on there instead of using irons.

The downside of the rail is although the barrel contour is the same as the regular '92 rifle version, the Ranch Hand doesn't come drilled and tapped for the mount. So I will need to have that done when I have the muzzle threaded for the can. Which I finally met last week, despite having ordered it in January. The distributor sent the wrong one the first time, so I ended up waiting for two Forms 3. Maybe in another 5-6 months I will be able to mount it. Should have the Form 1 back long before then.
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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:23 am

I removed the rear sight the other night, and to my surprise, it's the sight that's tweaked, and the dovetail in the barrel appears to be cut straight. So, I could get a replacement rear sight, a taller front, and be done with sights. Not gonna do that, though. I ordered this scout mount, and plan to stick just a basic red dot on there instead of using irons.

The downside of the rail is although the barrel contour is the same as the regular '92 rifle version, the Ranch Hand doesn't come drilled and tapped for the mount. So I will need to have that done when I have the muzzle threaded for the can. Which I finally met last week, despite having ordered it in January. The distributor sent the wrong one the first time, so I ended up waiting for two Forms 3. Maybe in another 5-6 months I will be able to mount it. Should have the Form 1 back long before then.
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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Thu May 19, 2016 7:56 am

Finally got the barrel out of this, without much fuss once I had the right stuff. I ended up ordering the wrench for a 98 Mauser, and I reversed the non-handle block to give two flat clamping surfaces. I put a couple layers of black electrical tape on the working surfaces to keep from marring the action, and then clamped the barrel into my ersatz barrel vise. This consisted of the blocks shown in the picture below, placed between a pair of heavy plates in my hydraulic press. Cheaper than buying the "real" barrel vise, and doubtless more effective as well. Once everything was clamped securely the barrel loosened up without a lot of force required.

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One thing to keep in mind if you ever have to remove one of these barrels, is to open the bolt slightly. The extractor fits into a cut that can keep the barrel from turning. Perhaps surprisingly I didn't forget to do this step... Just putting the info out there, since you could probably break parts that way.

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All of the parts and pieces laid out, including the scout mount. The "fun" part is going to be shortening the magazine to behind the muzzle threads. The vertical bolt for the end cap is going to be the sticking point... It actually rests in a divot in the underside of the barrel and appears to contribute to keeping the assembly tight. For one, this means there is going to be a slight divot in my threads, and also that I can only go just so far back before it will hit the cross-bolt for the barrel band. Another possibility may be to forget the tensioning aspect of it, and drill the magazine tube for it horizontally, and then shorten it until it just fits inside the barrel band. Doing it this way I could shorten the mag tube flush with the barrel band, but then I might need to add some shim material between the barrel and the mag tube inside the forend, to keep the assembly tight.
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Weetabix
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Weetabix » Thu May 19, 2016 2:20 pm

You take the saying, "A firearm isn't truly yours until you've voided the warranty" seriously, don't you? :lol:
Note to self: start reading sig lines. They're actually quite amusing. :D

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Netpackrat
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Re: Range Report - Rossi Ranch Hand (.45 Colt)

Post by Netpackrat » Thu May 19, 2016 3:11 pm

These things come with a warranty? Now you tell me. Honestly, I was just glad I was able to get the barrel off without breaking anything. I can get the $200 back from the ATF, but I can't get the $400 I spent on the gun back.
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