Ben Forkin is a custom gunsmith who plies
his trade in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Ben
specializes in revolvers and leverguns, particularly Marlin
conversions to the .50 Alaskan cartridge. Studying at
Trinidadís famous gunsmithing school and then working for the
legendary Tennessee custom gunsmith Hamilton Bowen, Ben
got his training the right way, and it shows in his work. I have
seen, handled, and shot some of Ben Forkinís custom guns
before, and have always been impressed with his fine workmanship
and attention to subtle detail.
Ever since Ruger brought out their New
Vaquero, the one that is nearer in size to the original
Blackhawks and Colt Single Action Army revolvers,
shooters have been hollering for one chambered for the .44
Special cartridge. The .44 Special is indeed a fine cartridge,
with good lineage and a stellar reputation for good accuracy.
It is also ideally suited for the frame and cylinder size of the
New Vaquero sixgun.
Shooters need not complain anymore, as Forkin
Custom Classics is now doing .44 Special conversions on the
New Vaquero. Ben builds these sixguns as they should be, line
boring the chambers for perfect alignment with the barrel,
setting endshake to a minimum and fitting a Belt Mountain
base pin to tighten things up. He also bevels the front of the
cylinder in the old black powder sixgun style. The gun featured
here had received that treatment, and the small details make all
the difference. The old caliber markings have been removed, and
the frame correctly marked. The Ruger factory warning label
about reading the manual has been removed, and Forkinís roll
mark pressed into the top of the barrel. The trigger pull has
been smoothed and a hidden overtravel stop installed. The
trigger pull measured just over three and one half pounds on the
gun pictured here. The whole sixgun has been polished and
reblued. This gun has the tightest barrel/cylinder gap that I
have ever measured on any revolver. It would not accept my
thinnest feeler gauge, which is only two one-thousandths of an
inch (.002") thick. Even this tight, the gun ran smoothly
throughout testing with both jacketed and cast lead bullets.
The Forkin Vaquero displayed excellent accuracy.
Many times it would cut just one ragged hole at 25 yards.
The group shown consists of firing twenty-four shots as quickly
as the weapon could be loaded and fired in the Ransom
machine rest, and measures just two inches, with most
going into about an inch and one quarter. This is a very
accurate sixgun, finely fitted and finished, and built by a true
craftsman: Ben Forkin. Ben is also a Shootist,
a friend, and one of the nicest gentlemen that you will ever
meet. If you have a Ruger Blackhawk, Vaquero, Redhawk,
Super Redhawk or Ruger .22 pistol that needs some custom work,
Ben is the man to call. Also, if your Marlin levergun needs
slicking up a bit, from just an action job to a full-blown
custom conversion, check with Ben Forkin. I highly
recommend his work.
Contact Forkin Custom Classics at:
Forkin Custom Classics
PO Box 444, 205 10th Ave SW
White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
Phone number is 406-547-2344.
You can email Ben at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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