Cylinder binding on Blackhawk

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Jeff H

Bearcat
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Jul 9, 2009
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60
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Cincinnati, OH
I have a 357 New model Blackhawk that doesn't seem to be a fan of 38spl. After firing all 6 and opening the loading gate the cylinder gets very hard to rotate sometimes. It almost seems like the fired primers must stick out a tad more than the unfired ones. Seems weird and it does this on various brands of ammo. Oddly enough, I have some Remington 357s and there is no problem with that ammo.

As far as I can tell, The point of binding is right where the 1st fired round starts to come back up to the top by the firing pin. Occasionally the binding is so bad that removing the whole cylinder is the only way those shells are coming out.

The gun is very clean and unfired rounds spin freely with the loading gate open, its just that the fired ones don't....

Seems to me, that the back of the cylinder might be a tad too close to the breech face. Anyone know what the tolerance should be? And is the easiest was to fix this would be to do what?
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
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Jeff H":1d3irbmk said:
It almost seems like the fired primers must stick out a tad more than the unfired ones. ................... the easiest was to fix this would be to do what?

.......keep shooting "high powered" ammo.

Many cartridges experience "primer set back", however most have enough "thrust" that the cartridge is forced against the "recoil plate" (Ruger term) and/or the "breech face" to reseat the fired primer prior to cylinder rotation for the next shot.

You could check the headspace but I bet it's OK.

flatgate
 
Joined
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Yeah, what he said.

The fact that the loaded cylinder will spin freely before firing indicates adequate headspace. No problem there.

Unresolved primer setback in "mild" ammo is common. I experience it the worst with very light "target" .38's.

I will note that on a couple of occasions I have seen cases hang up on the edge of the loading gate if the gate is not properly, completely fastened in place. You can see this situation if you examine the gate and its operation.
 

SAJohn

Hunter
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Jeff, Welcome to the forum. I'm with Flatgate in doubting the problem is excessive headspace. It might be caused by not enough headspace but that would bind up the cylinder regardless of ammo. Headspace is best checked with virgin unprimed brass. Load one, rotate to the firing position, hold the cylinder firmly to the rear and use a feeler gauge to measure the gap between the case and the recoil shield. It should be .008" to .012" with .010" being optimum.

As far as I know, in all centerfire cartidge firings, the primer exits at least part way out of the brass during inintial firing. This is because the pressure pins the case to the firing chamber wall. As the pressure decays the brass frees up and the remaining pressure forces the case backward thus reseating the primer. Sufficient primer reseating should occur even with loads milder than factory .38 special so I am puzzled by your problem.

Compare any fired round primer to an unfired one and you will see some flattening of the primer. This was caused by the slamming out and back in of the primer.

John
 

Jeff H

Bearcat
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Jul 9, 2009
Messages
60
Location
Cincinnati, OH
Thanks for the advice guys.

After reaching into my pile of once fired 38spl brass and checking 100 or more to find out which ones caused the problem, I found that overwhelmingly they were WWB, but there was at least 1 CorBon and R&P, federal and a few 357s that I could feel noticeable resistance (a couple were very tough to turn the wheel)

When sighting these tight cases with a strong light in the background, I could see that one side of the case was always touching the recoil shield. ( like it wasn't parallel to the recoil shield)This would be around 10 O'clock where the recoil shield gets closer to the cylinder. There are also noticeable scratches on the recoil shield.

It does appear that either the brass is out of square or the breech face is out a bit because there is always only a portion of the brass touching with rounds that cause frictio after being fired...
 

raw6464

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
85
How does an unfired cartridge fit. My 357 SBH has .008 clearance with a new cartridge and .007 with a discharged one. In either case the clearance is equal across the diameter of the cartridge to the recoil face. I would think if the recoil face is out of square to the cylinder a brandy new unfired cartridge should be out of square also.

If you stand side by side a good cartridge with a bad one and rotate the bad one 360 degrees does the space space between the bodies of the shells appear to be equal? This should tell you if the bad cartridge is out of square.
 

victank1

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Mar 5, 2009
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central al
Jeff H, it might be a good thing to call Ruger and explain your problem to the Techs there. It doesn't cost any thing and if Ruger feels it is due to some fault of theirs they will send you a free shipper and they will fix the problem. May not be quikest fix but will surely ease your mind.
 

Koveras

Bearcat
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Apr 6, 2002
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Oklahoma, USA
Have you checked that the cylinder base pin is fully seated when the cylinder is hard to turn? I have a Blackhawk that used to jump the base pin on light loads but not on full loads (a Belt Mountain base pin fixed that problem).
 

twobisquit

Single-Sixer
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Jan 8, 2006
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318
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Rock Ridge, Wyoming
I had a Blackhawk do the same exact thing. After a while the base pin started jumping. I replaced the latch with one from Ruger and the latch spring with a heavy duty one from wolf. No problems since.

I now have a single six that is doing it with Remington .22's only. Mini mags work flawlessly so its not much of a problem
 

Rclark

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The base pin is what runs through the center of your cylinder. Normally it is 'latched' at the front. You shouldn't be able to move it without pressing the spring loaded 'release' . Sometimes under heavy load (usually) the pin will 'jump' forward and not be latched. Should not happen. Of course when you shoot again the cylinder is no longer aligned with the bore and binding or worst will result ...
 

Hokie73

Bearcat
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Mar 27, 2008
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S.W. Louisiana
Of course if the base pin is forward on a New Model, it usually will not even cock easily. The true cure is to make the notch in the base pin actually fit the locking cross pin rather than installing a heavier spring.
Jeff, I don't think there is a thing wrong with your gun, it's the ammo. If it was the gun, it would do it with all ammo. In addition to what has already been said, check your primer holes in your brass to make sure they are free. Very common problem for novices loading blanks and/or wax bullets is to not drill out the flash holes and tie up the gun with backed out primers. Of course you should not drill out the holes to oversized with live ammo.
 

Jeff H

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
60
Location
Cincinnati, OH
Well I finally had a chance to check out the Blackhawk with some feeler gauges and what I found was interesting.

The recoil shield seems ever so slightly out of parallel with the rest of the gun. With a live round chambered, I have .008 clearance between the cartridge and the recoil shield at 12 O'colck. Spin the cylinder around to 9 or 10 O'clock and there is only about .003-.004 clearance.

putting in fired cartridges is around .006-.007 at the firing pin and less than .002 ( the thinnest I have) an sometimes actually touching ( and difficult to turn) at 9 O'clock. While it might be the ammo, the gun still seems a bit off. Probably time to get out those fine files and 600-1000 sandpaper unless someone thinks this is a really bad idea. If it is as simple as filing it back to parallel, I'm not sending it back to Ruger for 5 min worth of work.
 

eric conrad

Buckeye
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Sep 8, 2003
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There is nothing wrong with your gun. Your last post tells me its within spec. DO NOT TAKE MEASUREMENTS WITH A LIVE ROUND IN THE CHAMBER. Don't mean to get grumpy but be safe. Look at the recoil sheild on another BH. The raised part you talk about is on all of them. Put a upprimed brass in the cyl. and take your measurements from the brass to the recoil sheild.
Sounds like the base pin could be the problem.
Eric
 
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