Questions of SA experts-long


November 11, 2004, 12:59 PM
I recently purchased a Ruger Super Blackhawk stainless hunter Bisley model .44 mag. At the first cleaning, I noticed the gun was out of time (timed slow on ALL chambers). I sent it back to Ruger and they returned it after replacing the pawl and doing some other internal work. It now locks up perfectly.

Then, it was hard to eject spent cases on moderately heavy loads. Chambers looked like they were threaded. I had my 'smith polish them and now it ejects all empties nicely.

The cylinder/barrel gap is minimal and there is no fore/aft play in the cylinder. However, the cylinder on the base pin (when out of the gun) is loose. Furthermore, when you shoot the gun, it gets REALLY nasty in the center hole of the cylinder and around the base pin inside the cylinder.

All this sounds like inattention to qc to me. However, the gun shoots really well! Now, finally, here is the questions:
1) SHOULD I try to fix the loose cylinder/base pin slack?
2) HOW can that be done? New pin? If so, will it have to be fitted? How is that done?
AND, I don't want to do anything that might decrease the accuracy of the gun as, like I said, it shoots really well.

Thanks for any help.

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Jim March
November 11, 2004, 01:22 PM
OK. The next step you fix yourself, for about $25 total with shipping.

Ruger will NEVER supply you with a base pin as good as this guy:

The "#5 type" is the ultimate, and a couple bucks more. The Colt-head type (for Ruger) or the Sheriff's model will give you a bit more ejector rod stroke as long as the spring isn't too long. This guy does nothing but Ruger base pins and they're goooooooooooooood stuff.

Get the .2495" size, not the bigger one that needs hand-lapping in 98% of the guns out there. IF the .2495" is still loose, only then do you need to go up a size and I believe Belt Mountain will take the .2495" back and swap.

Ruger base pins are never anywhere near as well machined as these babies.

November 11, 2004, 01:55 PM
Thanks Jim! Will give it a try.

Old Fuff
November 11, 2004, 02:29 PM
I too have replaced the factory base pins with those made by Belt Mountain, and am well satisfied.

If you do a search on this forum you will find that Jim March has posted some long and excellent threads on owner-can-do modifications on Ruger single actions. Brownell's ( have both a regular catalog, and one dedicated to Single Action revolvers with all kinds of parts and tools you can use to improve all kinds of S.A. revolvers.

I agree that it would be nice if some of these things were more carefully done at the factory, but at the same time I know that if this was the case you wouldn't be able to purchase the guns at what are atractive prices.

Jim March
November 11, 2004, 02:51 PM
This particular case is a no-brainer because having the one small part bought and shipped to you rivals the cost of shipping the whole damn gun back to Ruger :).

The part in question involves only one screw (ejector rod and housing have to come out on most models to swap base pins) and the quality of the BM pin over Ruger's is just unreal. And you can change head styles for various cosmetic and/or functional reasons. And you get the locking set-screw which on a 44Mag could be useful.

As to the long thread on Ruger SA upgrades:

Thread starts on TFL, continues here on THR.

Some of the earlier links have gone dead but get updated later or can be found in their new locations via googling.

All that aside: the Belt Mountain base pins remain one of the smartest upgrades for Ruger SAs, improving BOTH accuracy and reliability with zero downsides.

About the only thing that can go wrong is if the frame holes for the base pin are already very badly beat up or way oversize, and you tighten the locking set-screw on the smaller-diameter BM base pin, you might "shift the pin off-center" enough that the cylinder bores are no longer in perfect alignment. It won't be off MUCH, almost certainly not enough to be dangerous, but if the gun is sloppy and you're using the set-screw, do the "flashlight timing trick" from the checkout to make sure you haven't run into this.

In the unlikely event that you do, I recommend swapping to the thicker BM pin. Another possibility is to NOT use the set-screw, and put a beefier Wolff spring in the base pin latch button assembly. When you buy a complete $18 Wolff Ruger SA spring kit, such an improved base pin latch spring comes with it. That spring is one of three known ways to keep a base pin from "jumping" under heavy recoil, the other being a locking set-screw and an oversize pin itself to tighten things up. The Wolff spring cannot drive the base pin off-center if it's undersize in it's hole; the set-screw can in really screwed up cases.

If your Ruger's base pin is jumping out under recoil, you MUST fix that quickly before frame damage occurs.

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