Getting light strikes on my blackhawk, firing pin or ?

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puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
I've got an old 4 5/8" 45 long colt blackhawk. Plenty of cowboy rounds through it. I think it has a light strike problem.
I need to somehow make the firing pin strike harder.. (or is it needing to be longer). None of my other rugers do this. But this is the only 45 long colt I have and my sons like to shoot it a lot. So I guess I need to do something about it.

It is mostly ok, but has it's share of misfires. I'm sure it can mostly be blamed on me seating my primers plenty far in,..but like I said,..none of my other rugers (or non-rugers) have this problem and I always seat my primers in plenty far in regardless of what gun or caliber I may shoot it in.

Is there something I can do to rectify this problem.???? My kids like this gun the most (I am partial to my security sixes...but that might be because of the caliber..I donno) and when we go shooting that is all they want to shoot......and it's the only revolver I have that isn't running quite right, so to speak.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
 

Jim Puke

Hunter
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
3,088
I have seen the hammer dragging on the frame, one side or the other, cause misfires with the Blackhawks. You can look at both sides of the hammer and if it is dragging, there will be evidence of it.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,833
Welcome to the Forum!
Several things come to mind.
Has it had a different hammer spring installed?
Have you used a spray type cleaner in the firing pin hole to flush out debris?
Have you checked the firing pin protrusion by doing the following;
1; UNLOAD the gun
2; Cock the hammer.
3; Hold the hammer back, and pull the trigger.
4: Lower the hammer, and hold it against the firing pin.
5; While in this position, turn the gun sideways & look in the gap between the back of the cylinder & the frame.

Using the same method above, with the cylinder removed, check the face of the firing pin as it protrudes out of the hole.

Try these things first.
 

DGW1949

Hunter
Joined
Apr 10, 2005
Messages
3,638
It might be this, or it might be that.....headspace problem, work or chipped firing pin, weak hammer spring, crud in the FP recess?....hard to say without lookin'.
If you can't see anything that's obviously wrong, perhaps it's time for a professional check up?
Contrary to popular opinion, even Blackhawks wear out, or sometimes break stuff.
I've had to rebuild mine twice.

Oh BTW, primers don't go but so far in, and then stop. After that, ya sqush 'em to some extent or another. I know that because I squashed a few back when I was learning...but they went "bang" anyhow. Just sayin' that I doubt that that's your problem.

DGW
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
Ya, I doubt it's a primer problem,...this batch of cowboy ammo I did with Federals...they are very good at going off (especially in progressive reloader priming stations...if you're not careful....LOL)..so I doubt it's them. But the ones that don't go off do not have much of a dent..like,..I guess it may be slightly better than "barely can see it'...but not exactly heavy.

Thank you for suggesting that spray type cleaner for the firing pin hole. Crud+firing pin hadn't crossed my mind that it acutally could be crud in there. 9 times out of 10...if something is amiss...it can be attributed to crud where it shouldn't be. I must have had a brain fart. It's too late to go get a can of that right now, and I am guessing that is a bit better than an air compressor and MEK (or some other non EPA approved super duper solvent I already have.). I will check the protusion tomorrow. (Have to help get the kids to bed).

This is a wealth of info. I appreciate it. If it was a weekday I would have called Ruger..they have always been very helpful on the phone...although I've never called them about a revolver before.
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
OK,..I think after poking around I have found some things.
Got on my reading glasses and a flashlight, etc., Compared it to some other rugers and there are a couple things that are different.
1) The pin, when fired, does not protrude as much as the other 3 I checked..which were similar to one another. Although it does protrude (which would explain it being always fine unless I'm using handloads with deep seated primers).
2) The little safety tab (or whatyamacallit??) that comes up over the pin... On the 45 LC blackhawk this tab only covers the back of the pin about half way..or maybe just a bit over half. On the rest of them, the tab seems to cover them completely (not much more than completely,..but it does appear complete...so..do I assume it should have been complete on the blackhawk. The others were security sixes and redhawk,..I guess I've got a single six in there somewhere but I didn't pull it out once I checked the others..so I'm thinking I may have found the problem.) Which I had another blackhawk to compare it with.

Soooooo,... could my tab (I'm sure there's a technical name for this tab thingey) be the culprit?..If I push the pin in by hand with a tool...it protrudes as much as the others. And....the pin doesn't look chewed up, or weird, or chipped, or anything out of the ordinary.

Other than taking out the cylinder and taking the grips of and simple stuff like that,..I've never really completely torn down a revolver, just my auto's. I guess I've always viewed the revolvers as workhorses never needing tweaking and just needing basic cleaning . I do have one revolver (this one really needs to be de-tweaked) I would really like to re-do the trigger on. It is an old herters and has a hair trigger...I don't even take it anywhere because I'm afraid someone will pick it up and cock it without knowing how light the trigger is. Once my boys got old enough to go with me,...it stays in the safe.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,711
The first thing to check is the transfer bar clearance with hammer for reliable firing pin function. When swapping hammers between two guns, it often helps To swap transfer bars as well for proper ignition and to insure the safety feature still works correctly.


TO TEST HAMMER/TRANSFER BAR FOR MISS-FIRES:
With hammer fully cocked, press on the transfer bar to extend the firing pin and observe how far thru the recoil shield it protrudes. Now keep the trigger pulled back, drop the hammer and observe the firing pin again. If firing pin protrudes the same amount, you’re good to go. If it doesn't protrude the same amount, you need to remove just enough metal from the top face of the hammer nose so the transfer bar is pushed tight against the firing pin and the frame. If you remove too much, the transfer bar will not perform its safety function and will be pinched. Also make sure hammer has no friction or contact with grip frame ears around its base to slow its fall and you may have miss-fires; another potential issue when making hammer changes.

IF TRIGGER DOESN”T RETURN, SAFETY IS NOT WORKING:
If the transfer bar is hanging up under the hammer face, since it's connected to the trigger, it prevents the trigger from returning. The transfer bar is slightly too thick. If both ends of the trigger return spring are connected (under the grips), or even if you have only one leg of the spring connected it should pull down the transfer bar if it's the correct thickness. When this happens, the transfer bar safety function will not work. If the gun were dropped, a live round in the chamber under the hammer will fire.

This is not uncommon however, and it's a very simple fix. File the second step of the hammer face, counting from the top, just a bit until the bar no longer hangs up. Don't take too much off or you'll have miss-fires. If that happens file a little more off the top step of the hammer.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,833
puke,,, that "The little safety tab (or whatyamacallit??) that comes up over the pin" is the safety transfer bar.
Now,,, the fact it doesn't come all the way up,, is normal. Try this. Cock the hammer, look at the bar. Then, holding the hammer back, pull the trigger. You will see the transfer bar rise up a bit. It should rise up enough to cover the back of the firing pin.
Yes, as you have noted, there are different degrees of coverage in different guns. It has to do with the timing,,,!
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
OK,
Using the hammer, the firing pin protrudes around .023 or .024 inches..
Pushing it in mechanically without using the hammer gives me around .032 or .033.
So it appears that I could shave .009 off my hammer..... or get a new transfer bar hoping the old one has worn off .009.
I am not sure that tiny amount is enough to make much of a difference. Wish I was close to a range. I would put some aluminum freezer tape on the hammer where it strikes to build it up .009 and see if we get a difference in behavior. 9 thousandths is not much,..

I did read on the web that a colt SAA should have between .040 and .050 protrusion. I can't find a spec. on the ruger blackhawk.
 

myco4you

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Messages
25
Try a new hammer spring.They are only a few dollars at Midway.They can get tired after years of service.

Also sounds like that transfer bar clearance could be tightened up a bit.
 

Chuck 100 yd

Hunter
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
3,251
Jerry Kuknhhausen ,in his book, The Ruger Single Action Revolvers A Shop Manual volumes 1&2 , recommends a minimum of .045" firing pin protrusion using the hammer and transfer bar to hold the firing pin in the forward position as an absolute minimum for positive ignition . He suggests .055" with .060" as maximum assuming
Headspace and end shake are within spec.
I have checked a couple of my new model Rugers that I suspected were short and found one,a single seven, to have as little as .045"-.047 using the hammer/transfer bar to hold it extended. That revolver has no problem giving 100% ignition with CCI small rifle primers that are said to be a very hard primer and normally not recommended to be used in revolvers.

On your gun, I would remove the cylinder,cock the hammer and hold the firing pin forward using a tool that would hold the back end of the firing pin even with the rear face of the main frame. Measure firing pin protrusion at that point and if less than about .045" I would replace the firing pin. If .045" or more the transfer bar hammer fit is not correct and need replaced or adjusted. I suspect a to thin transfer bar is causing your issue. Good luck and have fun!
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
For sure, the correct transfer bar "could" gain me .009 inches. If the current transfer bar is worn on the inside where it hits the back of the pin, then it could gain me more than that... I think I'm going to go back out and check it while bypassing the transfer bar...I may find that I don't need a firing pin. The pin does not look trashed on either end. Although I suppose I'd need a microscope to know for sure.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,711
puke said:
OK,
Using the hammer, the firing pin protrudes around .023 or .024 inches..
Pushing it in mechanically without using the hammer gives me around .032 or .033.
So it appears that I could shave .009 off my hammer..... or get a new transfer bar hoping the old one has worn off .009.
I am not sure that tiny amount is enough to make much of a difference. Wish I was close to a range. I would put some aluminum freezer tape on the hammer where it strikes to build it up .009 and see if we get a difference in behavior. 9 thousandths is not much,..

I did read on the web that a colt SAA should have between .040 and .050 protrusion. I can't find a spec. on the ruger blackhawk.

You're on the right track. I would shave the hammer first, the transfer is clearly too thin. the top step of the hammer nose should be no thicker than the transfer bar. You'd be surprised at the difference .009" can make.

Firing pins are seldom the problem and a lot more work to change.
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
OK, using mechanical means (rather than the transfer bar) to push the firing pin out, ..it basically protrudes .040",..which I guess is not as much as it should be, technically,...but would be HUGELY BETTER than what I have now if I tuned it right... I believe I could gain over .015 in protrusion safely,..I know I need to leave a tiny bit of overage so that the transfer bar is able to come back down after being fired without getting pinched in place... and I suppose anything over .001 would keep me safe.


Soooo.., I could gain .009 with the current transfer bar and hammer filing
OR....I could gain close to .017 if my transfer bar was new and not worn on the back where it hits (mind you,..I haven't taken it out to see for sure,..but this is what Mr . Mititoyo (12" very expensive calipers) are leading me to believe.
OR.... I could change the firing pin AND transfer bar and could get to .055 or .060, that would be super cool...although probably overkill considering ruger's reputation.

If I can get them on the phone, I think I will call them tomorrow and ask them what they think. I'm not sure if they want joe blow working on ruger's though.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,711
If you get them on the phone I can almost guarantee that they will offer to send you a free transfer bar.
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
Got nowhere on the phone.
They would not give out any info. on the amount the firing pin should protrude.... The lady I spoke to said they probably intentionally don't have the information because management does not want them to give that out.... I'm not exactly in the mood to send my gun 2500 miles to have them look at it and tell me the firing pin only protrudes .023 when it should be .050ish. Mostly, I don't want to be without it. Not sure how long...once you send something off...who knows when it will come back. I guess I am going to order a transfer bar and go from there.
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
OK,
I called them back and told them I needed a new transfer bar...everybody was out of stock so I thought I'd call them back and beg.
They are sending me one...Yipeeee. At least I will know it is from Ruger and not a wannabe...Although, in some cases, other folks can do things better...they just cost more.
 

Chuck 100 yd

Hunter
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
3,251
I have sent three Rugers in for repairs in the last 5-6 years. None took longer than two weeks to return repaired and done right. The only problem with sending a used one in is the shipping cost. A dealer can send one for as little as $15 a- $17 by priority mail but Ruger will return it to the dealer after repairs are made.
 

puke

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
33
I guess I'll be sitting around 2 weeks waiting for this thing to get here. You know,...the only thing I dislike about taking my gun apart is getting the hogue grips off and back on again. That's a bit of a pain in the rear. If I was any good at carving, I would have made some nice walnut grips a long time ago. I have a lot of clear select walnut left over from flooring installs...been hoping to get into a carving mood...but it doesn't seem to be happenning.
 

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