New Vaquero .357 Light Primer Strikes

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Newbie_Vaquero

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 18, 2024
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NI
Hi Folks, Im hoping someone can help me with this one! I just took delivery of a brand new Ruger New Vaquero in .357. I took it to the range, loaded 6 factory rounds, took aim, pulled the trigger and the pistol went ..... click! It failed to fire 5 of the 6 loaded rounds. All 5 had really light firing pin strikes on the primer. This has never happened me before and I am at a loss as to why it is happening. I have reached out to Ruger but they are very slow in coming back to me. I have cleaned and oiled the pistol but it hasn't made any difference - just more light primer strikes. Very disappointed as this is my 3rd Ruger and I have never had any issues with the others.
Has this happened anyone else? Any suggestions (other than return to Ruger - I am thinking that is probably my only option)
Anyway Thanks for reading and Thanks in Advance for any suggestions.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Welcome to the Forum!

A couple of good points above. Bad ammo can be one issue. And internal gunk or such can cause light strikes.

Take the grips off,,. Then, using a spray can of brake cleaner,, do a thorough spray cleaning in & around the action & internals. Let it dry,, then add a good gun oil,, and lube it again. If possible,, use an air hose to blow oil in all the little places. Wipe off the excess,, and then try 2-3 different types of ammo.

BTW; You didn't add what BRAND of factory ammo you used. Often,, some ammo is more reliable than other brands. Especially their "bargain level" ammo.

Another thought.
How are you cocking the revolver? Are you cocking it VERY slowly,, or are you using a more steady firm cocking method? Very slow cocking sometime causes the cylinder to not fully rotate,, and "lock" in place. This can cause an offset firing pin strike,, which may or may not ignite the ammo.

Lastly,, give Ruger a little time. They have an excellent customer service,, and they will address any issue promptly. Just understand,, they are busy,, and it may take a few days to get an email response. A phone call can also take a day or so to get a return. They are busy folks.
 

Newbie_Vaquero

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 18, 2024
Messages
8
Location
NI
Have you tried different ammo first? Bad batches do happen from time to time.
Hi. Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to offer help. It is really appreciated.
I have tried 3 different batches of ammo - MagTech (.38SPL & .357 Magnum) and mu own home loads. All the ammo fired as expected in my GP100 after it failed in the Vaquero. So I dont believe it to be the ammunition.
 

Newbie_Vaquero

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 18, 2024
Messages
8
Location
NI
Welcome to the Forum!

A couple of good points above. Bad ammo can be one issue. And internal gunk or such can cause light strikes.
I have cleaned the internals and was actually thinking of placing a few washers/shims under the trigger spring to see if the added tension helped in anyway. Problem is though, I would need to disassemble the whole trigger system just to get at the spring so thats probably gonna be a last resort
 

Newbie_Vaquero

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 18, 2024
Messages
8
Location
NI
I'd check for transfer bar interference preventing a good solid hit on the firing pin.
I was thinking it might be the transfer bar but how do I go about checking that. Youtube is very light on how the transfer bar mechanism works so the only thing I could really do would be to strip, clean and oil???
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Lake Lure NC USA
"I have cleaned the internals and was actually thinking of placing a few washers/shims under the trigger spring to see if the added tension helped in anyway. Problem is though, I would need to disassemble the whole trigger system just to get at the spring so thats probably gonna be a last resort"

Ok, you've tried 3 types of ammo,, so that may not be the problem. But to be sure,, maybe try a few different factory loads to be sure. Ruger uses factory ammo to test fire their guns.

You mention you've cleaned the internals. Did you do any disassembly of the gun to do so?

You said you were thinking of placing shims under the trigger spring. You mentioned how you'd have to do a "whole disassembly" here. Not true. The trigger RETURN spring,,, that gives it tension & all is not of a design to allow shimming.
The HAMMER strut spring,, is a coil spring over the strut which gives the hammer the force necessary to fire the gun. A few things here. (1) Ruger hammer springs are,, if anything,, heavier than necessary in general. I seriously doubt that's an issue. But to give you a thought,,,(2) to remove the hammer spring assy,, (strut & spring,) it's not hard. Remove the grips, cock the hammer. You'll see a hole in the bottom of the strut. Insert a stiff, short metal pin into the hole to capture the strut against the spring keeper. Then carefully pull the trigger, with the thumb on the hammer & lower the hammer. The spring will be captured on the strut, and can easily be removed out one side.
Unless I'm mistaken,, this disassembly is shown in the owners manual. I haven't looked lately into a NM manual to check.
(3) For those who prefer a lighter hammer spring,, they then clamp the top end of the hammer strut into a padded vise, then using an old fork (metal & kind heavy) they compress the spring from the end with the pin,, pull the pin, then CAREFULLY relax the tension. BE VERY CAREFUL AS THIS SPRING IS HEAVY DUTY!

But I really do not think the issue is the spring tension.

Try this;
With an UNLOADED gun,, looking into the hammer channel,, slowly cock the hammer & watch the transfer bar as it rises. It should rise up, and place the top end over the firing pin area. quite often,, you can still see part of the top of the rear portion of the firing pin. Then,, while still watching it,, holding the hammer,, pull the trigger & the transfer bar should rise up just a very small amount,, depending upon how they timed everything during the build.
If that does like I've explained,, the action is doing it's job correctly.

And if that's all good, then while still holding the trigger rearward,, drop the hammer. Keeping rearward pressure on the trigger,, turn the gun sideways,, and look in the gap between the frame & cylinder where the firing pin protrudes. You should be able to see the firing pin quite easily & it should go far enough forward of the frame to easily strike a primer.

If not,, you may have some internal gunk in behind the firing pin. This is where a good flushing with brake cleaner comes in. UNLESS YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED GUN MECHANIC OR GUNSMITH,, DO NOT ATTEMPT THE REMOVAL OF THE FIRING PIN ASSY.
Flushing the firing pin area from both ends,, (remove the cylinder & cock the hammer,) may be all that's needed.

Of course,, oil afterwards.
 

vlavalle

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
331
Location
Chandler, AZ
I own 3 Ruger revolvers, and my original gun is a .357 Blackhawk from 1965! I have had no issues with any ammo (all manufactured) in any of my Ruger revolvers. So, after reading a lot of responses below, and that you have tried several different ammo, it sounds like it is the gun that is at fault. And if it is new, as you say, then Ruger should take it back and look at it. I would not suggest that you look for an over the phone 'solution', but rather ask Ruger to have you return it and have them inspect it. In the past, I have heard of other stories of a Ruger revolver not firing correctly when new.

Also, revolvers are NOT pistols. A pistol fires the projectile (bullet) from the barrel, and all revolvers shoot from the cylinder. This may sound trivial, but it is not. Almost all revolver ammo cannot be shot from a pistol, and visa versa. Of course, there are exceptions, such as my.45LC Ruger revolver that came with a .45 ACP cylinder also, which is a pistol caliber ammo, and I do enjoy being able to shoot both. Some .357 Mag Blackhawks come with a 9mm cylinder, another pistol caliber ammo. There are also a few pistol made to shoot revolver ammo, like the .357 Mag (Desert Eagle), but these are very rare, and are VERY expensive!
 

NikA

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rotor

Single-Sixer
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Don't do more than clean it and if that doesn't work let Ruger fix it. They have excellent customer service. Shims are NOT the answer.
 
Joined
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@contender provided a good description in his reply, here's a further description with a couple diagrams: https://cylindersmith.com/Transferbar.html
This. I have run into this on one of my guns. I have measured my firing pin protrusion in 2 ways- first, with cylinder removed, base pin reinstalled- fully cock the hammer, and then use a straight edge or some solid flat item to depress the firing pin flush with the frame. Measure the protrusion while depressing the pin as described. Now, pull the trigger and allow the hammer to depress the firing pin. Keep the trigger depressed, and remeasure the pin protrusion. Is it less? If it is, that probably explains the light primer strikes. The nose of the hammer will need to be filed to allow the transfer bar to fully depress the firing pin. What's happening is sort of the opposite of what is shown in the above linked illustration.

Although, the best advice is probably get a RMA and shipping label from Ruger and let them fix it.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
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People's Republik of California
Randyzzz, excellent instructions. There's one more check to make:

Since the firing pin is an inertia firing pin, it actually must move further forward than with the hammer holding it flush with the frame in the hammer channel. When the hammer smacks the rear of the firing pin the inertia causes it to fly forward below the surface of the frame. That will be the maximum pin travel forward.

Push the pin forward from the rear with a pin punch to confirm that it can travel forward beyond flush with the surface of the hammer channel.

On a brand new gun we would not expect the pin to be gunked up. But what can limit full travel forward by inertia is machining chips left in the hole, or a firing pin hole in the front bushing that is not drilled to the proper depth for the large diameter of the rear end of the pin. Or even a coil spring that's a bit too long and binds. And lastly a firing pin with the large rear end diameter too long and the front skinny diameter too short.

Also inspect the front tip of the firing pin to confirm it's rounded and not flat or chipped.

You can count on Ruger to find the problem, fix it and return your gun within 2 weeks.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Messages
26,120
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"How does the return work to Ruger when you live in Ireland?"

This is a very different angle. I have zero direct knowledge of how an overseas RMR thing would work. But I'd suggest starting with the gun shop where it was purchased & see how they will handle it. Ruger will provide excellent service,, but they need to get it first!
 

BigAl

Bearcat
Joined
May 26, 2024
Messages
38
Location
Atoka Oklahoma
After reading this OP, I took my new Vaquero out with as many different ammo brands, including reloads I could find. They were varied as I shot both 357 mag and 38 sp, but like I said, different makers.
Didn't shoot a lot of any but a few from each, and had no issues.
I suggest contacting Ruger CS and send back. They'll fix it and get it back to you. Every gun has a hickup, regardless of the quality or build. It happens.
 

Newbie_Vaquero

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 18, 2024
Messages
8
Location
NI
"I have cleaned the internals and was actually thinking of placing a few washers/shims under the trigger spring to see if the added tension helped in anyway. Problem is though, I would need to disassemble the whole trigger system just to get at the spring so thats probably gonna be a last resort"

Ok, you've tried 3 types of ammo,, so that may not be the problem. But to be sure,, maybe try a few different factory loads to be sure. Ruger uses factory ammo to test fire their guns.

You mention you've cleaned the internals. Did you do any disassembly of the gun to do so?

You said you were thinking of placing shims under the trigger spring. You mentioned how you'd have to do a "whole disassembly" here. Not true. The trigger RETURN spring,,, that gives it tension & all is not of a design to allow shimming.
The HAMMER strut spring,, is a coil spring over the strut which gives the hammer the force necessary to fire the gun. A few things here. (1) Ruger hammer springs are,, if anything,, heavier than necessary in general. I seriously doubt that's an issue. But to give you a thought,,,(2) to remove the hammer spring assy,, (strut & spring,) it's not hard. Remove the grips, cock the hammer. You'll see a hole in the bottom of the strut. Insert a stiff, short metal pin into the hole to capture the strut against the spring keeper. Then carefully pull the trigger, with the thumb on the hammer & lower the hammer. The spring will be captured on the strut, and can easily be removed out one side.
Unless I'm mistaken,, this disassembly is shown in the owners manual. I haven't looked lately into a NM manual to check.
(3) For those who prefer a lighter hammer spring,, they then clamp the top end of the hammer strut into a padded vise, then using an old fork (metal & kind heavy) they compress the spring from the end with the pin,, pull the pin, then CAREFULLY relax the tension. BE VERY CAREFUL AS THIS SPRING IS HEAVY DUTY!

But I really do not think the issue is the spring tension.

Try this;
With an UNLOADED gun,, looking into the hammer channel,, slowly cock the hammer & watch the transfer bar as it rises. It should rise up, and place the top end over the firing pin area. quite often,, you can still see part of the top of the rear portion of the firing pin. Then,, while still watching it,, holding the hammer,, pull the trigger & the transfer bar should rise up just a very small amount,, depending upon how they timed everything during the build.
If that does like I've explained,, the action is doing it's job correctly.

And if that's all good, then while still holding the trigger rearward,, drop the hammer. Keeping rearward pressure on the trigger,, turn the gun sideways,, and look in the gap between the frame & cylinder where the firing pin protrudes. You should be able to see the firing pin quite easily & it should go far enough forward of the frame to easily strike a primer.

If not,, you may have some internal gunk in behind the firing pin. This is where a good flushing with brake cleaner comes in. UNLESS YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED GUN MECHANIC OR GUNSMITH,, DO NOT ATTEMPT THE REMOVAL OF THE FIRING PIN ASSY.
Flushing the firing pin area from both ends,, (remove the cylinder & cock the hammer,) may be all that's needed.

Of course,, oil afterwards.
firstly - @contender Thank You for a very detailed reply. I followed your instructions and am content that the transfer bar is working as it should. I checked this first then added a small washer shim. But it has made no difference. I checked the firing pin and while it does protrude as you would expect - I believe it is not coming out far enough. There is some play on the transfer bar which I can psh against and make the firing pin protrude a bit more. I have flushed the pin area with brake fluid, let it dry, applied some oil but all to no effect. I got a reply back from the distributor so I am hopeful I can get it back to Ruger and get the revolver fixed. This is likely to take some time but I have no choice except to wait! Thanks Again to everyone who took time to reply and provide some great advice. Its really appreciated. I will post an update when I get the issue sorted so you know what's happened :)
 
Joined
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Location
Oregon
If returning it to Ruger is an option, that is how I would proceed.

However- if it turns out it isn't an option, then from your description " there is some play in the transfer bar…". If this is with the hammer down, trigger depressed so the transfer bar is in the "up" position, I would guess the hammer nose needs to be shortened.

Ruger does have a transfer bar assembly that is thicker and compensates for what you are describing. This one came off my mid frame flat top originally. I'll attach a picture.

You can see how the end where it contacts the firing pin is thicker.


IMG_9357.jpeg
IMG_9358.jpeg


By "Hammer Nose" this is what I am referring to, indicated by the pen. Shortening this portion effectively decreases the depth of the notch below it. The transfer bar is impacted by the area of the the notch. If you have a way of measuring the thickness of the transfer bar and then the depth of the notch, if there's a big difference that might give you a clue as to what's happening.



IMG_9359.jpeg
 
Last edited:

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
26,120
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
No problem on me trying to help. It does appear that Ruger does need to look at it. If you are in Ireland,, it'll take a bit longer than it would here,, but they are pretty good about turn-around time.
 
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