Once I'd selected the LaserWorks rangefinder as a core piece of the build, I had to figure out how to mount it.
Typically, rangefinders are mounted on top of, or beside a scope or other magnified optic. Doing so on this revolver would make it very awkward. Not good when you're in a high-speed chase on your space pony.
So, I decided to mount the rangefinder underneath the barrel. The Ruger GP 100 doesn't have a way to attach things below its barrel. I had to build a way.
I went through several designs ranging from custom-formed carbon fiber arms that would attached to the Picatinny rail and then extend below the barrel to steel angle iron wings meeting on the top of the barrel. Then I started to explore modifying an existing handguard to fit the build.
No one makes handguards for revolvers. Big surprise. There are at least 1,000 handguards available for the AR-15 platform. There are 0 for revolvers. The good news for the Space Cowboy Revolver is that there are handguards that, with a little ingenuity, could work on a 6 inch revolver. Cutting down one of newly-released the lever action rails could have worked. So could have Sig MCX or rattler rails. The one I landed on is the Kriss Vector MK1 Modular Rail.
The beauty of using an existing handguard instead of making a series of attachments from steel or other materials is that handguards are made to be handguards. That line deserves a trendy increased font blog pop out.
"Handguards are made to be Handguards." - Uncle Fudd
They are made to be light, durable, and easy to attach things to. Exactly what I need.
I'd hoped that the rangefinder would fit neatly inside the handguard underneath the barrel. But nothing in life is that easy. I'm going to have to do some hacking on the handguard to get the rangefinder to fit. This is only a slight change of plans, as I knew I'd have to hack the handguard a bit to get it to fit with the Weig-a-tinny rail. More hacking = more fun.