Tips for installing a ballbearing detente?


Joe Demko
December 12, 2006, 12:42 PM
I recently inherited a Harrington and Richardson 686 .22 revolver. It's a six shot DA .22 lr that is styled like a SA revo. Somewhere over the years, the ballbearing detent that holds the loading gate closed disappeared. I ordered a new spring and ballbearing from Numrich Gun Parts a couple days ago. Anybody have any tips for how to install it without the spring launching itself into hyperspace where it can never be recovered? I experienced spring launch several times while building an AR15 and would prefer to avoid my earlier solution, which was to keep buying more springs.

If you enjoyed reading about "Tips for installing a ballbearing detente?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 13, 2006, 05:52 PM
Put it in a box cut a hole in each side for you hands and drape a dry cleaninig bag or cling wrap over the top.

December 13, 2006, 06:48 PM
Working inside a large ziplock freezer bag could help contain the wayward springs and wee parts.

Joe Demko
December 15, 2006, 11:43 AM
My parts got here yesterday and I believe I will take them and the gun to a smith. Frankly, I haven't any idea how to go about doing this. There must be some kind of specialized tool, or jig, or black magic involved. AFAICS, one must somehow insert the spring, then the ball, then push the loading gate in on top of them while keeping both compressed. All this while working inside an opening less than a quarter inch in diameter with parts best handled by magnetic forceps.:banghead:

December 15, 2006, 12:24 PM
The proper tool you need is a "detent staking punch" in the correct size of the ball detent you're replacing.

Jim K
December 15, 2006, 09:08 PM
I am not sure staking was used on those gate balls. If there is a ring around the hole, it was and I would suggest the gunsmith.

If not, I will toss out this idea. I think there are two sort of tabs that the pin part of the gate goes through and the detent ball sits in the middle and holds the gate in as well as keeping it open or closed. If I am wrong, don't read any further, as I don't want to confuse you.

If I am right, then make a short (2-3") round rod the same diameter as the hole, that is the same size as the loading gate pin. The working end of the tool should be flat, but with one side filed at an angle. Now, using care (and the paper bag to contain mistakes) insert the tool in from the back. Insert the spring and ball in from the front and use the tool to capture the ball, using the angled end to push down the ball and compress the spring. When you get it in, do NOT remove the tool. Turn the tool 180 degrees so the side without the angle is facing the detent ball. Insert the loading gate from the front and use it to push the tool out the back. Make sure the gate is always in contact with the tool, or you will need the paper bag.

HTH and good luck.


Joe Demko
December 16, 2006, 09:02 AM
Jim Keenan is right about the detent holding the gate in as well as keeping it open or closed. One thick tab for it to go through, not two small ones though. Nope, no ring around where the detent goes. There is, however, a hole about 1/8" in diameter in the tab above it. So, if you put the spring straight down through that hole it'll go into position pretty easily. In fact, I already managed that much. It's the ball that's got me stymied. Maybe a magnetic tool would let me maneuver it through the same hole and into position atop the spring. I'm still at a loss for how one would compress it while putting the gate in position, though. Maybe Jim Keenan's idea for an using angled tool (thanks!) would be easier.

Jim K
December 16, 2006, 07:40 PM
There were a couple of different models using different ways of doing that job. If there is a hole straight down, try this:

Take a 1/8" (or whatever size needed) rod and cut off half of it lengthwise for a 1/2 inch or so. If possible, magnetize it. If you can get the ball in, push it down with the rod, then push the gate in so it fills the half of the rod that is cut away. The gate will trap the ball, and you can then pull the rod out and push the gate on in.


Joe Demko
December 17, 2006, 12:37 PM
Thanks again, Jim. Tomorrow I'll see if the shop teacher has a piece of scrap steel of the exact size and give this a try. If he doesn't, I probably have a nail around here of approximate size that I can file to shape and use.

If you enjoyed reading about "Tips for installing a ballbearing detente?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!