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Barrel Bending 101

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If your airgun is equipped with a shrouded barrel, remove the shroud before attempting the below procedure!!!

I've always wanted to try this but have only had my hands on 1 airgun in 4 years that could use a bending. But it was under warranty so I just took that one back and swapped it. This week I finally got a chance to try this procedure. Grab a cold one and sit back while I tell my story....with pictures of course. :)
I have a co-worker that was interested in an springer with iron sights. He did not plan on glassing it. As you know, the selection is getting thinner for a decently priced airgun that has iron sights. So when Scott listed the Ruger Blackhawk for $59, we jumped on them. I bought one for me and one for my buddy. When the box arrived I opened one rifle, checked it out and handed it to my co-worker. I said it looks great so take this one and I'll just take my chances that the other one is just as clean. After I got it home, I opened it, looked it over and immediately started shooting it. I posted in the China Gate the results. I do not generally shoot iron sights due to my progressive bi-focal glasses. It's just too difficult for me to focus on the front sight, rear sight and the target. But the TruGlo sites on this airgun sure made a believer out of me. My Ruger was a tack driver at 15 yards.
A couple of days later my buddy came to my office and asked if I had shot mine. I said yep, and VERY impressed with it. He said his was shooting 3" low and 2" left at 10 FEET even with the rear sight adjusted to it's max. So 10 or 20 yards it would be WAY off. I told him if he wanted, I'd swap with him. I've always wanted to try bending a barrel but would give him my tack driver and take my chances again. LOL
After doing an internet search of barrel bending, I found a 5 part series Tom Gaylord (The Pelletier) wrote in his blog about bending barrels. I printed the article and read the entire thing 3X.
Tom shows a bending jig anyone can build on the cheap. I rounded up the pieces and slapped a jig together. I had to make a run to Lowe's to get a heavy duty 6" C-clamp but I had the scrap wood laying around that I screwed together. I first physically centered the rear sight and placed my 5-1/2" ductseal lined pellet trap in the corner of the shop about 10 yards away. I took 3 shots with CPUM 10.5gr to get a baseline of how much I would need to tweak the barrel.

It was indeed WAY low and left. I decided to start with the windage bend first. But here is a picture of the barrel/receiver assembly seperated from the stock in the jig.

Not knowing exactly how much bend to give, I went slowly. After making a bend I had to remount the metal to the stock to shoot and see what the bend accomplished.

Back in the jig and bend again.

Now I've gotten a feel for how much pressure to put on the barrel.

Now that the windage was very close, I rolled the barrel assembly in the jig for an elevation bend.

Then I put a fresh card in and shot a few to verify the process. I tweaked the windage and elevation only 3-4 clicks after making the series of bends. So there's a LOT of room for adjustment should different rounds require it.

Now once again, I'll say I'm not a iron site shooter. :)
I was shooting in a standing freehand position also. No form of rest or support. After making sure this process worked, I decided to do a bore cleaning and shoot different ammo to see what would happen. I tried Predator Polymag 8gr and Gamo Fire 7.8gr ammo. They all grouped well but were off the center but not by much. So I decided to shoot and stick with the CPUM 10.5gr rounds. Those would pack a better punch downrange.

After making sure this baby was stacking well, I decided to press my iron sight luck by placing a 10oz Dr Pepper bottle out at 25-27 yards. Still standing and shooting freehand I made the bottle dance with 3 consecutive shots. That moved it back a bit with each hit. On the third shot, the bottle spun to give me a view of only the bottom. Now at 27 or so yards, that's not a very big target with open sights. But I was able to nail it with one shot. So I believe I accomplished what I set out to and this procedure DOES work. Follow Tom's great instructions and set up the very simple jig and you can get good results too. Next step is to strap a glass on it and see how that lines up. But I might just keep this baby as my irons only shooter. It sure restored my confidence in my old eyes. :o
SAFE & Happy Shooting!!!!

Great write-up on straightening that Blackhawk barrel, Dave.  That's one of the few refurb Blackhawks that I've heard of any problem with but you fixed it with a little research and personal attention.  I bet you could get your $59 back pretty quickly with this thread!!  LOL!  Great shooting.


OR.... you could do like we used to do in the old days... lay it in between two chairs and beat it with a club. :D ;D I think Gene still does it that way.  ::) ::)

Nah... don't do it that way. Makes too many bends and dents.  ::)

Great writeup Dave


Nice Work. And great shooting.

i would like to see the actual bending in  bbl bending 101. How did you bend it? or did i miss that part...  yup, i see that i did in fact miss that part.


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