Found old rusted revolver ...Loaded. HELP!


April 19, 2007, 06:37 PM

A niece was helping clear out some old Mosler safes in my aunt's home,
and found a few firearms. One of them particularly alarming enough to
induce her to call me.

Based on my niece's description (and her brothers') of its markings, it's
a Llama Ruby in .22LR. The hammer is down (!!!) on a live cartridge,
cylinder's full: I asked my nephew to check (eyeball only, no touching)
--first time he's heard of the four rules. My nephew describes the rust
as 'patches' scattered all over an otherwise shiny dark finish.

I know less about the revolver than my niece and nephew do, at this point.
Going to a gunsmith is out of the question for the next several months
(election related firearm restrictions in my country).

My aunt (their grandmother) is adamant that the revolver be unloaded
ASAP. There's no internet over there, so I'm begging for help by way
of a step-by-step, so I can swing the cylinder out and unload
the thing, when I get there this weekend.

What widgets to push, turn or flip, that sort of thing.
I'm worried about the rust hindering mechanical function.

Thank you very much for any help you can offer.


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Jim March
April 19, 2007, 07:14 PM
OK. As I recall, the Llama wheelguns were loose copies of S&Ws. *Might* be a Colt clone. That's OK, here's what you do.

DON'T SHOOT IT, first and foremost.

1) First thing: make sure the person doing all this is alone, outdoors, and has eye protection. If the gun goes off in a safe direction but the cylinder not properly in the right place, lead bits could go flying into an eyeball. The reason you don't shoot it into a pile of dirt is because you don't know the gun's condition and it's way unsafe to find out with it loaded.

2) FINGER OFF TRIGGER at all times. Unloading a revolver doesn't involve trigger movement. Period.

3) At the LEFT side of the AS YOU'RE POINTING IT IN A SAFE DIRECTION (dirt is good, sand is better, big tree trunk mebbe if this is rural) there will be a switch of some sort on the left side behind the cylinder. The shapes vary but it will be a slide switch - it will move towards or away from the person holding the gun. Odds are 80% it's the "away from" pattern (S&W), 20% it's the "towards you" pattern (Colt).

4) While activating the switch: push the cylinder out to the LEFT as the shooter is looking at the rear of the gun. Takes two hands, neither of which should be in front of the gun!!!

5) If they can't find a cylinder release switch behind the cylinder, it may be one of the rare types with the switch in front of the cylinder. Try that. It's also possible there will be a small rod under the barrel pointing forward that you pull forward (towards the muzzle) and then use the same rod to push the cylinder open to the left. Keep - hands - behind - the - business - end - where - the - deadly - part - comes - out - of.

If that doesn't work: dunk it in oil for a week and try again. That will disable the ammo and slick up the gun just fine. The oil will seep into the shells, mix with the gunpowder and "kill" the gunpowder (safely). Mineral oil ("baby oil") would be perfect, or any sort of light motor/machine oil.

The good news is, it's a .22 - very low power levels. If the gun fires out of battery (bullet slams into the gun's innards instead of down the barrel) it's not gonna "blow up". Worst case, it'll sent lead fragments that won't do an adult human any real harm, 'cept for maybe the eyes. Hence the glasses/goggles/whatever.

April 19, 2007, 07:47 PM
Thank you so much, Jim!
The oil immersion's a great tip.

Uhmm... I don't have to cock the hammer (get it ot of the way,
so to speak) in order to swing the cylinder out, right?
Might seem like a stupid question, but I'd rather ask the stupid questions now,
than guess stupid when I'm actually going to handle the thing, ehehe.

As a sidenote, my nephew and niece are arguing over who gets it,
after their Uncle George arrives and 'fixes' the thing this weekend *rolleyes*
...or at least they want one just like what their lolo (grandpa) used to own.


Wish me luck!
It'll be early Saturday morning in 20 hours, then I'm off on a long drive
to Orani, Bataan to deal with it. There are rice paddies in the property,
and I figure the deep squishy mud'll be a safe enough 'direction, if
they haven't drained and harvested yet. There's also a small cemetery
nearby, so I guess I'm covered *gulp*.

April 19, 2007, 07:55 PM
Horge, you will not need to touch the hammer or trigger at all during this process. I am confident that you will find that the rust is most likely surface from humidity and wont be severe enough to affect or compromise the safety of the gun. Just a further note that the Llama was a low cost version of the S&W as stated above and does not hold much value other than sentimental.
Good luck and dont be worried. It is a very simple operation to swing out the cylinder and unload. If the ejector rod is difficult to move, dont hit it!
All the best

April 19, 2007, 07:57 PM
I found one picture of a Llama Ruby revolver, it certainly looks like a S&W copy.

You do not cock the hammer to open the cylinder.

Nomad, 2nd
April 19, 2007, 08:09 PM
So long as you do not touch the trigger or the hammer you will be fine...

April 19, 2007, 08:19 PM
Wear ear protection, too :)

Even with .22, if one goes off a few feet from your ears, you'll know it :) (I once foolishly forgot that I had pulled up my ear protection to check my targets, and hadn't yet put it over my ears ... even with a Ruger 22/45, a relatively quiet gun, that was a painful mistake, since unrepeated.)

How long has the gun been there? And how come other people are always finding guns about? ;)

April 19, 2007, 08:28 PM
where abouts is your grandmother, if she is somewhere around one of the members they might be able to help. I'm in Bakersfield, Ca if that helps any

April 19, 2007, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the tips, guys!! :)
My remaining concern is, if the gun needs a prolonged oil bath, just in case,
whether and how to get the gripstocks off prior (assuming they're wood).

Thanks for the offer!
Unfortunately, I'm wayyyy over on the other side of the Pacific, in the Philippines :)
Whether I get to fix this thing or not, I'll post pics of the wheelgun here,
when I get back on Monday am (that'd be Sunday evening over there in the U.S.).

Hi Timothy,
The old house has been there since my uncle built it in the early 50's.
The house is going to be demolished as it has been condemned (unsafe),
which is why they had begun clearing out their stuff. It's ony been a
couple of years since my uncle passed on, so maybe the Ruby wasn't
sitting unattended for much longer than that.

April 19, 2007, 08:35 PM
The grips will probably be held on by a single screw.

I would not recommend soaking the whole gun in oil unless it is hopelessly rusty. You would be better off cleaning the outside with fine steel wool and and lightly oiling it. If it needs more attention than that, you should probably take it to a gunsmith or a competent gun shop owner. They can show you how to take it apart to clean the innards.

Burt Blade
April 19, 2007, 09:05 PM
If the cartridges are properly sealed, oil might not kill the ammo. Not even after several weeks of immersion.

April 19, 2007, 09:27 PM
Just a quick question, speaking of ear protection, obviously cops, FBI agents, people defending themselves probably aren't wearing any if attacked. How severe can the damage be from a few rounds? For example if you had a 9mm or .357 would you actually go deaf? Or just be hurting? (I'm guessing you don't go completely deaf based on accounts of people having to use their gun in defense and not mentioning being deaf afterwards)

April 19, 2007, 09:29 PM
You might want to try WD-40 (lots of it). Should free up the action in a manner others have outlined so you can unload and perhaps penetrate and deactivate the ammo. Joe

April 19, 2007, 11:04 PM
"How severe can the damage be from a few rounds? For example if you had a 9mm or .357 would you actually go deaf? Or just be hurting?"

I've heard, unprotected, a few rounds of .357 (luckily just a few) from close range -- 5-8 feet -- and while it's not a comfortable feeling, you're right that lots of people have been near live fire without going deaf. Hopefully an audiologist or other ear-person will speak up, but I wouldn't be surprised if even just a few shots of .357 could cause permanent damage though if it's much closer than that. Even a single .22 from a 5" barrel had my ears ringing for at least 10 minutes, and that was 3' from my head ...

(For that reason, I'd agree with the advice above to wear eye protection, and redouble my call for ear protection. Maybe thick gloves, too!)


EDIT: Yes, Nomad 2d is right re: hearing loss, and I didn't phrase this as strongly as I should have -- even .22 is certainly sufficient to cause hearing loss, esp. over a long time, and it wouldn't even take "a few" .357s to cause hearing loss, if a single one was close enough. My dad's hearing above the 2/3 pt of a piano (estimate) is basically gone (though below that it's not bad), and he blames that on Army training with M1s and poor or no ear protection.

Jim March
April 19, 2007, 11:18 PM
If somebody did cock it, you'll have to de-cock it. This is a bit tricky. The right way is to put the whole pad of your thumb in front of the cocked hammer, stroke the trigger, and the instant the hammer starts to go forward get your finger off trigger. Then slowly, gently lower the hammer.

22LR shells are usually not real tight around the bullet. Odds are an oil bath will kill 'em.

Nomad, 2nd
April 20, 2007, 01:14 AM
ANY gunshots will damage your hearing...

A .22 WILL cause permanant dammage. just not as much as a 357...
But then people usually shoot alot of 22's... it adds up over time.

April 21, 2007, 01:45 PM
You won't likely go deaf from a handgun blast, but you may get faint ringing in your ears..........

April 22, 2007, 07:22 PM
Just a data point. I had about 50 .38spl cases primed with cci primers soaked in oil over night. Surprisingly every one of them went off when struck. Surprised me no end.


April 22, 2007, 07:30 PM
Is it possible to post a picture of the gun?

April 22, 2007, 10:35 PM

Thank you to everyone who has posted.
Just so there's no confusion, here's a recap:

My aunt's home in Orani, Bataan, Philippines, is to be demolished.
While clearing out personal belongings, my niece and nephews
(my aunt's grandkids) found some firearms in a safe. One of them
was a rusted .22lr revolver, apparently a Llama Ruby. My aunt insisted
it be unloaded immediately.

The kids called me up here in Manila for help, and so I posted first on THR,
to seek advice on what to expect when I got to Orani. Well, I got there
Saturday, and now and I'm back in Manila this Monday.

The cylinder 'switch' was very stiff due to rust between it and the frame,
but with some effort, it crunched forward and the rest was a piece of cake.
The chambers were clean, and the cartridges ejeccted with an easy push
on the rod. As per my aunt's request, the revolver is unloaded now, safely
stored in their new house in Orani, and I imagine it'll one day make the trip
to a local gunsmith for work.

I'd like to thank everyone who offered help on this thread!

Lots of gorgeous views in Bataan, of its mountains and its beaches...
but I thought you might not mind if I'd leave you with a somber one.
Bataan Death March marker (kilometer 21)
You can barely see it in the background, but the peak of Mt. Samat
(upper left) is topped by a large white cross, a memorial to
American and Filipino heroes who died on the forced march.


April 22, 2007, 11:17 PM
I'm glad you made the revolver safe with little effort. I highly recommend a little service on that revolver since it has sentential value. It should be cleaned with some 0000 Steel Wool and a good gun oil like Remington oil. This will stop any further damage from rust.

Thank you very much for the picture of the Bataan Death March marker and your pointing out the Cross on top of Mt. Samat. Thank you for mentioning the brave Americans who died there along with their Filipino brothers.

April 23, 2007, 12:16 AM
Thank you for posting the picture. I work at the Veteran's Hospital in San Francisco, and we have a couple of Philipino survivors of the Bataan Death March who get their medical care with us.

We are honored to care for them.

April 23, 2007, 07:27 AM
ArchAngelCD and sfhogman,

I should be the one thanking you, indeed for the care given our veterans,
but moreso for the ultimate sacrifice made by your country's finest, defending
my father's freedoms (and those of all our generations to follow) half the world away
from America's shores.


April 23, 2007, 12:12 PM
All freedom loving people should stand together, especially in today's world. I'm glad to see not everyone in the world hates The USA and thinks we are wrong.

April 23, 2007, 01:16 PM
All freedom loving people should stand together

Absolutely, and some of the finest are the proud people of the Philippines.

April 23, 2007, 04:03 PM
Great thread, start to finish.
Thank you Horge, for the pics and the kind words.

The graet people here are just another reason I love THR.

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