New Model Vaquero base pin wont stay in place

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Mtn Biker

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
51
Location
NW New Mexico
Hello. I've been a long time Ruger owner/shooter and forum lurker! Lots of good info here and I am sure someone will have an answer for a problem I am having with a New Model Vaquero I just purchased.
It is a 5.5" 45 Colt blued New Model. I shot it for the 1st time this weekend and have a problem with the base pin jumping out of the latch with every shot. I have to reset it between shots before I can fire the next round. I am shooting mild hand loads (250gr LRN, 7gr Unique) and it happens every shot. It seems to click in ok as the latch drops into the pin groove and I can not pull or wiggle it out with my fingers without pressing the latch. The latch spring is kind of light so I wonder if it is just needs a good Wolff extra power spring? The radius on the base pin notch is not very "sharp" on the edge so I think it is just pushing the latch over under recoil.
Anything else I should check over? I figure I could call Ruger but since it is probably a simple fix I would prefer to just fix it myself.
Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

VL
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
Welcome to Ruger Forum!

I'd call Ruger and explain the situation and ask for a new pin and latch assembly. You shouldn't need a "Wolff" spring in a brand new New Vaquero shooting light loads.

JMHO,

flatgate
 

J Miller

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 30, 2000
Messages
977
Location
Not in IL anymore ... :)
Mtn Biker,

Welcome to the forum.

In addition to what flatgate posted, make sure that both sides of the base pin latch are screwed tightly together.

Joe
 

Mtn Biker

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
51
Location
NW New Mexico
Thanks for the reply's. I will give Ruger a call Mon morning and see if they will send a few replacement parts. I checked as you suggested and the latch is screwed together all the way.
One question; how far should the fat part of the latch extend into the base pin hole in the front of the frame? Mine is less that half way which means that only the leading edge of the latch catches the base pin groove. It does not take but a little push on the latch to release the pin (but like I said, I cant tug or jiggle the base pin by hand and get it to pop out)
Tomorrow I think I will grind a notch in a screw driver and remove the latch and make sure there is not a burr or something in the bottom of the latch hole keeping the latch from seating all the way.
Thanks again.

VL
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
Don't shoot it when it's doing that. You're slowly destroying the frame with every shot.

The ultimate answer is a Belt Mountain base pin with a set-screw, assuming the latch isn't malfunctioning.
 

klord

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2
Mtn Biker":3m5h5q3s said:
Hello. I've been a long time Ruger owner/shooter and forum lurker! Lots of good info here and I am sure someone will have an answer for a problem I am having with a New Model Vaquero I just purchased.
It is a 5.5" 45 Colt blued New Model. I shot it for the 1st time this weekend and have a problem with the base pin jumping out of the latch with every shot. I have to reset it between shots before I can fire the next round. I am shooting mild hand loads (250gr LRN, 7gr Unique) and it happens every shot. It seems to click in ok as the latch drops into the pin groove and I can not pull or wiggle it out with my fingers without pressing the latch. The latch spring is kind of light so I wonder if it is just needs a good Wolff extra power spring? The radius on the base pin notch is not very "sharp" on the edge so I think it is just pushing the latch over under recoil.
Anything else I should check over? I figure I could call Ruger but since it is probably a simple fix I would prefer to just fix it myself.
Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

VL
 

Base Pin Maker

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
171
Location
Belgrade, MT USA
Mtn Biker, the notch on the pin may need to be deepened a little, allowing the latch to go in farther. I have latch springs from Wolff if you need one. Kelye @ Belt Mtn
 

edlmann

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
785
Location
lovely downtown Central Florida
flatgate":2dmpwph5 said:
I'd call Ruger and explain the situation and ask for a new pin and latch assembly. You shouldn't need a "Wolff" spring in a brand new New Vaquero shooting light loads.

Absolutely true, but . . .

Just as a matter of course, I'd put an extra power spring in every center-rire Ruger SA as the need arose or I just had the gun on the bench. Inexpensive prophylaxis.

BTW, Brownells offers a kit with an OEM Ruger base pin latch & nut and the Wolff spring.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
I have quite a few "shooters" in my possession. I've only "messed" with the base pin latches on two of them. The rest are just fine with the original set up. As Kelye sez, fitting the latch to the base pin is SOP.......no matter if you are dealing with Factory or the fine Belt Mountain designs.

flatgate
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
My SBHH was jumping its pin recently, and presumably was doing it for the previous owner, as he installed the BM pin. It was still jumping, so I recently installed an extra power spring. While I had it apart I noted that the latch parts were battered and worn on one side. I'm going to call Ruger tomorrow and see if they'll send me (or let me purchase) new parts.

-- Sam
 

Mtn Biker

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
51
Location
NW New Mexico
The base pin notch is deep enough for the latch to clear.(maybe too much clearance?) What I noticed was while looking in the base pin hole from the front of the frame with no base pin installed I could only see a small portion of the latch barrel extending into the frame base pin bore hole which would just barely catch the pin. Its almost as if the axis for the latch hole is too far away/below the axis for the base pin hole. One thing odd is that when the base pin is installed and the latch clicked in, the base pin can be moved in and out quite a bit as if the latch is not down in the bottom of the base pin notch. It does catch the latch but barely. That base pin "float" could be normal I guess as I currently do not have another single action to compare it to. With the hammer back you can see the transfer bar moving as you float the base pin.
Anyone want to look at theirs to see if the base pin moves very much?
As a test I removed that latch and de-burred the bottom of the latch hole and gave the spring a little stretch an went out for a test shoot and had the same results with it jumping forward after every shot.
I will let you all know what Ruger thinks I should do after I give them a call.
Kelye, does the BM pin with the setscrew lock hold well enough on its own to hold regardless of the latch?
Thanks again and sorry for being so long-winded.

VL
 

w5lx

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
334
Location
North Texas
If you use the Belt Mountain Base Pin with the lock-screw, do you have to "dimple" the area where the lock-screw contacts the gun so that it won't slip, or do you just tighten the lock-screw down tight so that it makes it's own "dimple?" If you have to "dimple" the area where the screw contacts the gun, what method works best?


Edited to add: Thanks Driftwood Johnson, for a very informative answer to my question. It makes sense.

Regarding the Belt Mountain pin with the locking set screw, I do not recommend it. I installed one on a Vaquero and quickly found that just a tiny bit too much tension on the set screw would bend the pin a tiny amount, just enough to cause the cylinder to bind. Better to properly fit the pin to the latch than to rely on the set screw. Besides, it is a real pain to keep that tiny allen wrench handy at the range if you want to remove the cylinder for any reason. I do wholeheartedly recommend the non-set screw type of Belt Mountain pins. The Belt Mountain pins are more precisely controlled for diameter and straightness than the Ruger pins, they are centerless ground, they are not cut.
 

SBH4628

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
925
Location
Indiana
I had a 32 Magnum years ago that done the same thing.I found that the collar contured to the barrel was machined to large... So the base pin would twist under recoil after about two or three shots...Then would start moving foward. Ruger will fix it. Send it back :D You could use a hose clamp. Just kidding :D :D :D
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Location
Land of the Pilgrims
Howdy

Whether or not it is 'right' the unfortunate fact is that a lot of Vaqueros and Blackhawks leave the factory with this problem. And it is not limited to Rugers either; I have two 2nd Generation Colt Single Action Armys that I had to do some fitting to get the latch to properly retain the cylinder base pin so it would not move. The difference is, with a Colt the pin will keep working its way out until it falls on the ground and gets lost in the grass. With a Ruger, once the pin works its way out about 1/4" or so the transfer bar tends to jam under the firing pin locking up the gun. If you can't cock the hammer properly it is always advisable to check if the pin has jumped forward. If it has, the little spring plunger at its rear is no longer doing its job of pushing the transfer bar to the rear as it rises. Without that rearward thrust the T bar can easily jam under the firing pin as it rises. So a Ruger will usually let you know when the pin has jumped forward, a Colt will usually not. The worst case with a Colt is that if the pin jumps forward enough that its rear end is no longer in the frame, it can easily lose its alignment with the frame, allowing the cylinder to sit at a slant, which can cause big problems.

I don’t fault Ruger too much for this problem, I have no idea what their tolerance is for the true position of the cylinder pin hole in relation to the latch hole. The diameter of the latch will also come into play as well as the depth of the locking slot. Given that these guns are mass produced, I’m not surprised that some slip through with poorly fitted locking latches.

Although a stronger spring can help, the real solution is to make sure the engagement between the latch and the cylinder pin is positive enough to do its job. If the latch is only extending partway, relying on a spring to keep the pin in place is only treating the symptoms, not the cause.

As for how far the latch should extend, compare how far it snaps in with the cylinder and pin in place to how far it snaps in with no cylinder or pin in place. With the cylinder and pin in place, the latch should snap in just as far as when it is not engaging anything. If it only goes in partway with the cylinder and pin in place, there is probably interference between the parts, not allowing the latch to completely engage the slot in the pin.

Over the years there have actually been a couple of different designs for the slot on the pin that engages the latch. The old fashioned style was that the pin did not have an alignment notch on it. The pin could be inserted in any orientation, because the locking slot was a groove that ran completely around the pin. Later, Ruger changed the design slightly, including an alignment slot on the pin, so it could only be inserted in the frame oriented one way. With this design, the engagement slot on the pin was cut horizontally across the pin, it did not run all the way around the pin. More recently Ruger has gone back to the design with the slot running all the way around and no orientation slot. The 357 Mag New Vaquero I have in my hand has this type of pin. Unfortunately, the other design was superior. With the slot running completely around the pin, there is less surface engagement with the locking latch. With a slot running across the pin, there is more engagement surface. So it is easier for the pin to ‘jump’ the latch with the circular design. That is why the Belt Mountain pin has the orienting feature on the pin, and the slot cut across the pin. I have that directly from Kelye at Belt Mountain, he feels it is a superior design. It is probably also more costly. The other design can be completely cut on a lathe or a turning center, all in one step. The design with the horizontal slot requires a secondary operation, off of the turning center, on a milling machine to cut the horizontal slot. More operations means more cost. I would bet that is why Ruger went back to the inferior design.

Anyhoo. I have fit Ruger pins and Belt Mountain pins to Rugers and Colts. I have not messed with springs or reshaping any parts in the latch, I did all the work to the slot in the pin. The trick is to get the latch to snap in as far as possible when engaging the slot in the pin. That way you get the most engagement between the two surfaces. All that is required is a tiny jeweler’s rat tailed file and a black marker like a Sharpie. This trick is much more successful with the Belt Mountain style pin with its horizontal slot. Pull the pin out and black the slot completely with the Sharpie. Then put it in place and snap the latch a few times. Pull it out again and examine the ink. The ink will scuffed away where the latch engaged the pin. Take your tiny jeweler’s rat tail file and remove just a little bit of metal and repeat the process. Did the pin snap in farther after you removed a little bit of metal? If so, the new scuff mark will have moved slightly. Remove a tiny bit more metal and check again for engagement. Repeat this process until the latch snaps all the way home when the cylinder and pin are in place. Be careful to only remove metal at the scuff mark, no place else. Like I said, this process is much simpler with the horizontal slot type of pin. With the pin in my New Vaquero, that runs around the slot, you have to remove metal all the way around the pin to ensure that no matter how you insert the pin there is always plenty of engagement. You could try chucking the pin in a drill press and carefully removing metal with your file, but be very careful, it will be very easy to remove too much metal. You don’t want the pin to be too sloppy.

Regarding how much slop is allowable, there is a tiny bit of forward and back slop on some of my pins, others have no slop at all. So a tiny bit will probably not hurt anything.

Regarding the Belt Mountain pin with the locking set screw, I do not recommend it. I installed one on a Vaquero and quickly found that just a tiny bit too much tension on the set screw would bend the pin a tiny amount, just enough to cause the cylinder to bind. Better to properly fit the pin to the latch than to rely on the set screw. Besides, it is a real pain to keep that tiny allen wrench handy at the range if you want to remove the cylinder for any reason. I do wholeheartedly recommend the non-set screw type of Belt Mountain pins. The Belt Mountain pins are more precisely controlled for diameter and straightness than the Ruger pins, they are centerless ground, they are not cut.

By the way, originally the Colt SAA employed a screw to retain the pin. The screw entered the frame at an upward angle of about 45 degrees and engaged a slot in the pin. The spring loaded latch was not introduced until around 1892, if I recall correctly. The screw type of retention was much more positive than the spring loaded latch, even back then. But shooters preferred the convenience of the spring loaded latch over a design that required the shooter to keep a tiny screwdriver handy. But the spring loaded latch is not very reliable if it is not properly fitted.
 

Mtn Biker

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
51
Location
NW New Mexico
The latch goes in just as far whether the base pin in in or out. If anything it has more clearance to the pin than it should. I agree that the full circle groove in the base pin is part of the problem. You give up contact area with the latch by doing that. I have a Belt Mountain base pin in my Old Army with only a notch and its a great product so I am going to pick up one for the Vaquero. Will report back with the results.
Everyone has been a big help. Thanks.

Vaughn
 

klord

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2
b.p. wont stay in because a couple of reasons the hole maybe off location,the latch might not be engaging the b.p. slot,might be a burr in the latch hole,the latch hole may need to be drilled a little deeper k lord s/a technician
 

Mtn Biker

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
51
Location
NW New Mexico
Just wanted to follow up with what was the final fix. I installed a standard Belt Mountain base pin and a Wolff extra power latch spring and it looks like all is well. I put 50 rounds through it today without any base pin jump.
:D
I think the Belt Mountain base pin would have fixed it even without the Wolff spring as the BM pin fit the latch much tighter. I did not have to do any fitting and the pin now has very little end play.
I know I coulda/shoulda sent it back to Ruger factory but felt better just keeping it in house. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

Vaughn
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
Cool. I agree it's a basic Colt design flaw. My NewVaq357 never had a problem, but I did a full Wolff spring upgrade including extra-power latch spring and as others have said, putting it in is just a no-brainer for every Ruger.

This is one of the few "zero downside, zero risk" modifications available. It just cannot do any harm and it's dirt cheap.

In rare circumstances, a BM pin can hurt you. If the gun is very sloppy from the factory, the cylinder slop in more or less every direction may be the only thing allowing a decent barrel/cylinder alignment during firing. So if the Belt Mountain pin tightens everything up, it can go tight in a mis-aligned direction.

This is very rare thank the deity of your choice. You need to do a check for correct alignment of the barrel and cylinder after a BM pin installation.
 

edlmann

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
785
Location
lovely downtown Central Florida
Mtn Biker":1i1c28wt said:
I know I coulda/shoulda sent it back to Ruger factory but felt better just keeping it in house.

I haven't shipped anything to Ruger since, say, 1981. The way I understand it, you probably saved money by not having to pay freight to the factory.
 
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