What Would You Do? Updated 10/25/21

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Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
62
I recently purchased a Ruger Blackhawk Lipsey’s special run stainless steel Bisley
45 Colt/45 ACP convertible 3.75” barrel. It was lightly used, I don’t think that the
45 Colt cylinder had ever been fired. I believe it had had at least 2 prior owners.
The pictures I saw looked good so I bought it as it was the exact gun I was looking
for (it was expensive!).

I got it home from the transfer dealer and it had the heaviest trigger I’d ever had
on a Ruger in 46 years. Decided to do a “Poor Boy’s” trigger job by releasing one
of the legs on the trigger return spring. Went to take off the grips to release the
leg, and the grip screw was so tight you would have thought it was tightened with
an impact wrench. Got the screw out and grips off and released one of the legs.
Trigger was now much better but now had Transfer Bar pinch (grrrr!). Took it out
the next day and it shot fine with both 45 Colt and 45 ACP cylinders.
Except for the pinch.

Well I read up on transfer bar pinch and decided to take the gun down and stone
down the transfer bar and while I had it apart to install a Wolff’s 30oz trigger
return spring like I have on several other Ruger single actions. Started taking
the gun apart and discovered that the upper left Allen head screw had no head
and the screw was flush with the frame it had been broken off I believe when the
gun was assembled at Ruger (argggghhh!). When I went to take out the long grip
screw that fits in the trigger pin groove it appeared that when it was installed that
what ever power tool is used had slipped and gouged the grip frame some.

Does anyone know if Ruger actually uses power tools when doing final assembly?

Well I got the gun disassembled and stoned the transfer bar some then
reassembled the gun with the 30oz trigger spring. Unfortunately the transfer
bar pinch was the same or worse. So it will need to be taken apart again to file/
stone the transfer bar some more (I have a spare on hand just in case). I shot the
gun again after the above work and it shot fine, except for the pinch.

My question is(finally!) would you send the gun back to Ruger to have them attempt
to remove the broken screw knowing that if they screwed it up that they might then
junk the gun and I wouldn’t be able to get the exact replacement (this has happened
to me twice before). Or should I see if one of my local yokel gunsmiths
could remove the broken screw without screwing it up. Or should I just keep
shooting the gun with 4 grip screws instead of 5, probably wouldn’t shoot anything
hotter then 45 Colt 255 SWC @ 1,000 fps or 45 ACP 230 +P.

I am very leery of sending the gun to Ruger based on my past experience. Equally
leery of any local gunsmiths.

What do you think I should do?
 

NikA

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
1,380
First let me say that I haven’t had your negative experience with the mothership, so my first impulse would be to send the gun in to Ruger.

If that were not an option, I would look at drilling out the broken screw with a left hand drill. This is not difficult to do with a drill press that has a reversible motor and the appropriate drill bits. If I were not confident in my ability to do it myself, I'd contact a local machine shop; they deal with this sort of issue all the time.

Last resort would be a local gunsmith; IME they're either under qualified or have an inflated sense of the value of their services (and not infrequently both), so I rarely end up dealing with them when there is any sort of viable alternative.
 

woodsy

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
724
If it had two prior owners I could not assume that Ruger actually screwed it up during assembly. It may have been bubba'd before you got it.
And a simple phone call to Ruger, armed with appropriate questions about their remedy, would be a good start.
 

LDB

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
57
I'd probably contact Ruger and make sure no matter what they would return that specific gun with S/N whatever it is to me. If yes, I'd send it to them. I've heard a lot of good reports on their NC (I think it is) facility so I'd probably try to send it there.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
Once the head breaks off of a screw, there's no tension on it and the broken piece usually screws out easily without special tools or left handed drill bits.

You can try a small pointed center punch at an angle and attempt to turn the screw out with counter clockwise tiny hammer taps near the edge.

Or if that doesn't do it, you can even gently punch a line of dots forming a screw slot. Then try a small screwdriver to unscrew it.

If you call Ruger, ask if they will remove a broken screw or junk the frame?
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
62
Thanks everyone for your replies. Unfortunately the only good/real gunsmith in my
area passed away over 30 years ago. I’ll let you know how this turns out.
8) or :cry:
 

jgt

Blackhawk
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Messages
771
I would call Ruger and order two replacement screws for the grip frame. One to replace the headless one and one for the over torqued one. They will probably send them free of charge as customer service, but if not, you would still have the correct ones on hand.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
Ruger will send any parts under ~$20 free of charge: (336) 949-5200. Be prepared to give them the serial # of the gun for reference if you call.
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
62
Talked to a local gunsmith today, said he could take a look at it in 2-3 months.
Called Ruger and got a return shipping label. Sending back tomorrow and hoping
for the best. We’ll see.
:D :(
 

George

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
761
Don't forget to mention the hammer transfer bar pinch when you send it back 2 Ruger! The Hammer needs to be filled down in the proper area. The transfer bars are metal injected molded parts and are usually pretty consistent! I had to do that with the 44 that had was a Lipsys addition. Didn't even have to take the gun apart! Really easy to do! Good luck! Let us know how you make out! George
 

woodsy

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
724
professor_cassidy said:
Talked to a local gunsmith today, said he could take a look at it in 2-3 months.
Called Ruger and got a return shipping label. Sending back tomorrow and hoping
for the best. We’ll see.
:D :(
Any updates?
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
62
Gun is at Ruger, received this email on the 15th:

"Dear Valued Ruger Customer,

We have received your Ruger firearm and are reviewing your concerns. We will work hard to address
your concerns and get back to you quickly. Our typical response time is less than one week, but we will
update you along the way so that you can track the process."

Hoping to hear more this week 8)
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
62
This story has a happy ending! I received my revolver back from Ruger this morning and they did remove the broken screw and replaced all the grip screws. They also replaced the front sight which wobbled a little front to back. I didn’t mention transfer bar pinch because with the factory “200lb” trigger spring with both legs attached it was powerful enough to suck the transfer bar down. Unfortunately this leaves a creepy 5lb trigger pull.
Even with the creepy heavy trigger I managed to get some good groups this afternoon while testing the gun with a cast 255gr SWC, 9.0grs Unique in the 45 Colt cylinder and Winchester 230gr JHP factory loads in the 45ACP cylinder.

This has been my most satisfying contact with Ruger Customer Service in 40+ years.
It only took 2 1/2 weeks from sending to them and receiving the gun back.

Next up is some work on the transfer bar and trigger spring. Then I can really live happily ever after. 8) :D
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2014
Messages
1,441
I bought one of the limited run Turnbull color case hardened .45s a few years ago
and the trigger was pretty bad. Ordered a hammer and trigger kit from Power customs,
after installing and "tuning" it a bit I have a trigger with about .020 of travel before the break,
at about 2.5 pounds.
As a plus it was available in a black oxide finish ( not real blue ) but looks to me a lot
better than the stainless hammer that Ruger installed.
Dry firing will sometimes allow the transfer bar to stick, but it never happens with live ammo.
It would be an easy adjustment to correct it but I've never bothered and sorta forgot about
it till I read this thread.
Added a Belt Mountain base pin and cleaned up the bore in the cylinder for the pin.
The bore looked like it had been "machined" by a rodent with buck teeth!
Dave
 
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