Alan Harton

Owner at Single Action Service

Company:
Single Action Service

Web References  

Anderson's Big Iron .44 Replica - Guns of the Old West

Several years ago, I had Alan Harton of Single Action Service build a poor man's copy of Elmer Keith's legendary No. 5 single action using a three-screw .357 Mag Blackhawk that had been extensively modified for fast-draw competitions as the base gun.
I was extremely satisfied with the result, and Alan was my first choice to modify the Great Western backstrap to the exact shape of the Big Iron template. I highly recommend Alan Harton's work.

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Sow's Ear Becomes A Silk Purse

However, magic still exists and Alan Harton of Single Action Service has literally transformed a sow's ear into a silk purse.
Alan Harton is my latest sixgunsmith "discovery" thanks to friends Bob Baer of the Houston area and Sergeant Fermi Garza of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Both found Alan, looked at the genius entailed in his work, and contacted me immediately. To these men I sent a fairly good specimen to use as a basis for building a custom sixgun; Alan Harton was not treated so kindly. In fact I sent him a real dog of a sixgun. We often use the term "ridden hard and put up wet"; this one looked like it was never put up, it was just left out in the wet. Just as with the other sixgunsmiths we started with a Three-Screw Ruger .357 Blackhawk. Today to get a decent specimen a Flat-Top from 1955 to 1962 will run $600 or more, while Old Models originally offered from 1963 to 1972 command prices in excess of $400. The 4-5/8" Old Model sent to Harton cost me $100. It was originally purchased as a beater sixgun, that is, one to be used without any fear of harming the finish no matter what task it was put to. The action was loose and the finish was basically gone; actually the finish could be called early pitting. Except for the pitting the rest of the condition did not make any difference as Alan would basically discard everything except the frame and the cylinder. Even so, it would be a challenge. Alan was up to the challenge in spades and the result is one of most beautiful sixguns I now own. Starting with the sow's ear/beater Ruger Old Model .357 Blackhawk, Harton completely stripped the sixgun to its component parts, and, as mentioned, for this project basically discarded everything except the cylinder and mainframe; everything else would be replaced or greatly altered. The original cylinder was re-chambered to .44 Special and re-fitted to the frame with absolutely no play either front to back or side to side. The octagon barrel was meticulously machined with an integral front sight base and then fitted to the frame so the barrel/cylinder gap is barely discernible; in fact a .002" gauge will not enter the gap. This 5-1/2" octagonal barrel sets this particular .44 aside as one very special Special. To come up with the barrel, Harton started with a Douglas barrel blank and machined it to shape himself. The left side is marked ".44 SPECIAL" and top is inscribed "SINGLE ACTION SERVICE". Harton learned his craft by spending 34 years as a machinst before switching to custom gunsmithing; his background has been proper training for him to be a true artist working in steel. This grip frame matched up with the beautifully fitted, smooth ivory stocks which Alan Harton shaped to perfection removes all "hotspots"; that is, even when shooting 250-260 grain.44 Special and .45 Colt loads at 900-1100 fps using the standard Colt Single Action grip frame my hand will fatigue after 300 or so are loads.

Read More
Sow’s Ear Becomes A Silk Purse

However, magic still exists and Alan Harton of Single Action Service has literally transformed a sow's ear into a silk purse.
Alan Harton is my latest sixgunsmith "discovery" thanks to friends Bob Baer of the Houston area and Sergeant Fermi Garza of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Both found Alan, looked at the genius entailed in his work, and contacted me immediately. To these men I sent a fairly good specimen to use as a basis for building a custom sixgun; Alan Harton was not treated so kindly. In fact I sent him a real dog of a sixgun. We often use the term "ridden hard and put up wet"; this one looked like it was never put up, it was just left out in the wet. Just as with the other sixgunsmiths we started with a Three-Screw Ruger .357 Blackhawk. Today to get a decent specimen a Flat-Top from 1955 to 1962 will run $600 or more, while Old Models originally offered from 1963 to 1972 command prices in excess of $400. The 4-5/8" Old Model sent to Harton cost me $100. It was originally purchased as a beater sixgun, that is, one to be used without any fear of harming the finish no matter what task it was put to. The action was loose and the finish was basically gone; actually the finish could be called early pitting. Except for the pitting the rest of the condition did not make any difference as Alan would basically discard everything except the frame and the cylinder. Even so, it would be a challenge. Alan was up to the challenge in spades and the result is one of most beautiful sixguns I now own. Starting with the sow's ear/beater Ruger Old Model .357 Blackhawk, Harton completely stripped the sixgun to its component parts, and, as mentioned, for this project basically discarded everything except the cylinder and mainframe; everything else would be replaced or greatly altered. The original cylinder was re-chambered to .44 Special and re-fitted to the frame with absolutely no play either front to back or side to side. The octagon barrel was meticulously machined with an integral front sight base and then fitted to the frame so the barrel/cylinder gap is barely discernible; in fact a .002" gauge will not enter the gap. This 5-1/2" octagonal barrel sets this particular .44 aside as one very special Special. To come up with the barrel, Harton started with a Douglas barrel blank and machined it to shape himself. The left side is marked ".44 SPECIAL" and top is inscribed "SINGLE ACTION SERVICE". Harton learned his craft by spending 34 years as a machinst before switching to custom gunsmithing; his background has been proper training for him to be a true artist working in steel. This grip frame matched up with the beautifully fitted, smooth ivory stocks which Alan Harton shaped to perfection removes all "hotspots"; that is, even when shooting 250-260 grain.44 Special and .45 Colt loads at 900-1100 fps using the standard Colt Single Action grip frame my hand will fatigue after 300 or so are loads.

Read More

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