Fitting cylinder to the revolver

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seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Dec 5, 2011
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I just bought a nice-looking, excellent condition stainless steel Ruger 44Mag cylinder from one of the gentlemen here on the forum. Dimensionally, it measures the proper length and diameter for my revolver. I got it since my existing cylinder is fluted and this one is non-fluted, and I wanted to change up the look. So I installed the cylinder and it fits, but to my surprise, I can’t cock the hammer and get it to rotate the cylinder. Is it just a matter of finding a revolver that it will work in, or does it need to be fitted to my revolver? I didn’t measure the barrel-to-cylinder gap, but it appears to be a few thousandths since I can see a little light through the gap. Thanks!
 

nawagner

Bearcat
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You are finding out the hard way there are more measurements that need to match besides length and diameter. There are 4 dimensions that need to match or be really close. The length of the ratchet column on the rear of the cylinder, the length of the gas tube on the front of the cylinder, the length of the body, and the overall length from the end of the ratchet column to the end of the gas tube. The length of the ratchet column directly impacts head space. The gas tube in conjunction with the body, regulates the B/C gap, The overall length regulates endshake. If any of these measurements are off more than a few thousandths something isn't going to work right or the cylinder just won't fit in the frame.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Thanks for the input. I just finished trying it again and it seems that the ratchet column is a few thousandths too long. Should I file it down, save it for a future revolver that it might fit, or just sell it? I'm not a gunsmith, so other than using a metal file, I only have stones I've used for doing action jobs on hammer and trigger mating surfaces that might work.
 

nawagner

Bearcat
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It might work. Is the overall length still OK when you subtract the necessary length from the ratchet column? Measure the endshake with the cylinder before you remove any material, guessing it's pretty small since it doesn't operate. Use the amount that needs to be removed from the ratchet column to determine what the endshake would be after filing the ratchet. If endshake is not too high then go for it. Just make sure you keep the cylinder square with the file and stones. You can also use sandpaper on a hard surface such as one of your stones. Take off about .001 and test. Repeat until it operates.
 

Hondo44

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More likely your cyl hand (pawl) is a slight bit too long for the new cyl's ratchets: check to see that the cyl locking bolt is is coming down out of the cyl notch during hammer cocking in time for the hand to start turning the cyl. Check each chamber.

If you suspect the ratchet hub, just measure your original cylinder's ratchet "hub" length and if different, make the new cyl hub the same.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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The new cyl ratchet column is only 0.003” longer than my stock cyl ratchet. I’ve got so many other projects going that I decided to just not pursue this one. You have a good point that I could be my gun and not the cylinder. I listed it for sale here on the forum. If over time no one buys it, I’ll come back to it and revisit the issue. I’ve got lots of 45 Colts but only one 44Mag Ruger, so if I only had one other revolver to try it in.
 

nawagner

Bearcat
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Please PM me with the four measurements on the cylinder I mentioned above and if they are close to my 44 Mag I might be interested. Like you, not sure I need another project but what the heck! I originally like the fluted cylinders better, and have to admit the unfluted are growing on me. Especially with dark grip Bisley's!
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
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I really hate to see you give up on improving your 44 mag to your preference.

You would be no closer to the "answer" by having another 44 mag to try the cyl in.
This is hardly a "project", it's only a minor fitting annoyance.

Just take a breath....and 5 minutes of trouble shooting.

What did you find checking the cyl lock in the cyl notch when cocking the hammer?

It can very well be just the extra .003" of ratchet hub width. Or a hand .003" too long. Either one is like 3 file strokes to fix. Just different size files.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Messages
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Hondo44 said:
I really hate to see you give up on improving your 44 mag to your preference.

You would be no closer to the "answer" by having another 44 mag to try the cyl in.
This is hardly a "project", it's only a minor fitting annoyance.

Just take a breath....and 5 minutes of trouble shooting.

What did you find checking the cyl lock in the cyl notch when cocking the hammer?

It can very well be just the extra .003" of ratchet hub width. Or a hand .003" too long. Either one is like 3 file strokes to fix. Just different size files.

Roger that! Thanks for your help. I did take a lot of measurements already and will post them tonight when I get home. As for timing, I couldn’t get that far since it won’t do a full rotation. I’ll check back in tonight with more info and comparisons with stock cylinder.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Hondo44 said:
Will the cyl spin freely with the loading gate open?

Yes, the cylinder will spin freely with the loading gate open. Below are the measurements of the "new" cylinder (I don't think it's really new) and my stock cylinder.

Stock diameter: 1.730"
New cylinder diameter: 1.730"

Stock length of body of cylinder: 1.706"
New cylinder length of body: 1.705"

Stock height of ratchet column: 0.145"
New cylinder height of ratchet column: 0.149"

Stock height of gas tube: 0.127"
New cylinder height of gas tube: 0.097"

Stock overall total length: 1.977"
New cylinder overall total length: 1.951"
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
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That cyl is too short for your gun's cyl window.

It'll have "cyl end play". And when it heats of from shooting the front face of the cyl will likely rub/bind on the barrel and you won't be able to cock/rotate the cyl. That overall length is critical. And it'll be worse once the ratchet hub is corrected. It can only be lengthened by tig welding and you don't need to deal with that.

You were right, let that cyl go. When you consider buying a cyl, always confirm that over all length. A little longer than your original cyl is no problem; just file and then stone the gas seal hub to match
overall length to your cyl.

I have a blue cyl but you need a SS cyl. They're out there. Put in a search on ebay and gunbroker.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Dec 5, 2011
Messages
289
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Thanks for the comments. I don’t really need the cylinder. I only got it to change the look of a birdshead with fluted cylinder to that of non-fluted. So it’s purely cosmetic. I bought it here on this forum. I already listed it for sale here a few days ago.
 

nawagner

Bearcat
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Messages
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Well, Dang. Those measurements won't work for mine either. Guess I dodged that bullet! The non-fluted cylinders do look nice on the birdsheads.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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It’s a little late for me now since I already sold the cylinder, but wouldn’t a shim on the gas tube have worked?... for future reference?
 

nawagner

Bearcat
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Messages
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Possibly. By my calcs the shim would have to be 0.03" after removing the 0.004" of the ratchet column and accounting for the 0.026" length being too short. That would be half of the BC gap you'd like to see to begin with. If that was it and the endshake was good might have worked.
 

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