My Single Six is keyholing!


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Beetle Bailey
September 16, 2007, 02:29 AM
I recently picked up a "Three Screw" Ruger Single Six and had a chance to shoot it last week. It keyholed at 7 yards, and it was like a shotgun pattern. I shot 24 shots just to see if the problem would go away but it didn't. While there is some muzzle wear, I didn't think it should shoot that poorly. I was shooting bulk Federal .22lr ammo as that was all I had at the time.

Today I remembered I had a box of .22 magnum someone had gave me even though I didn't own a .22 mag gun of any kind. So I removed the cylinder from the Single Six and checked to see if a round of .22mag would fit. It fit just fine :uhoh:. The cylinder is unmarked so I am not sure if it is a .22lr or a .22 mag. Does the fact that it fits a .22 mag cartridge mean it is indeed a .22 mag cylinder? If so, where is a good place to get a .22lr cylinder? Thanks for the help.

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Sunray
September 16, 2007, 02:49 AM
Keyholing is caused by undersized bullets. Since it's unlikely to be the ammo, I'd look at the barrel. It likely needs a really good cleaning.
The cartridge it's chambered for should be marked on the barrel. If you decide to replace the cylinder, you'll have to send it to Ruger. They won't sell cylinders to anyone. Factory installations only.
http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/PDF/PartsBooklets/D11.pdf
Product Service Department
411 Sunapee Street
Newport, NH 03773
(Monday through Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm EST)
Telephone: 603-865-2442
Fax: 603-863-6165
This'll give you the manufacturing date by serial number block.
"...Does the fact that..." Not necessarily. And guessing isn't a good idea.

Beetle Bailey
September 16, 2007, 03:11 AM
The first thing I did after the keyholing was give the barrel a good scrubbing, but I haven't had a chance to shoot it since. I'll try it tomorrow. BTW, the barrel isn't marked for any chambering. It only says "Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc Southport, Conn. U.S.A." The frame says "Ruger .22 cal Single Six" so that isn't much help. Thanks!

gunman42782
September 16, 2007, 06:12 AM
Yes, if the .22 Mag cartridge fits the cylinder then you indeed have a .22 Mag cylinder instead of .22 LR. Was your spent .22 LR brass bulged? That is what usually happens when .22 LR is shot in .22 Mag cylinders. I would still think you have a messed up crown though, if the bullets are keyholeing.

Neophyte1
September 16, 2007, 08:27 AM
Beetle Bailey: Sir; different answers; with all being correct.
Have you tried d-leading the barrel; d-lead cylinder mouth;
In the past with similar 'happing s' Barrel scrubbing with Chore Boy/Chore Girl
copper scrubber has corrected the problem.

Should you; send a 3 SCREW back to Ruger? Only with the understanding that it will never fit back into the collector market as a collectible.
Ask Ruger to return changed out parts; they will.
They also mark the gun to identify upgrades.
There-by; rendering to a collector; even with the old parts; a not sought after unit.

Craig

gezzer
September 16, 2007, 09:28 PM
Your cylinder is a 22mag this is positive as they fit in it. There is no way one will fit in a 22lr chamber. This gun was made as a convertible by changing cylinders.

The most likely cause of the keyholing is the 22lr bullet was damaged entering the forcing cone of the barrel destroying any type of accuracy with it.

The 22mag chamber did not support the 22lr bullet in line with the barrel so when fired it slammed into the edge of the barrel entering the forcing cone at an angle the bullet would then be very imbalanced hence the keyholing.

Joe the Redneck
September 16, 2007, 09:43 PM
22 mag slugs are a bit larger than lr. that's why you can get an adapter to fire the lr in the mag but not the other way wround (assuming a single shot rifle for sake of argument.)

I would imagine that is what is causing the keyhole. The lr slug is not engaging the rifling properly.

If you get lr with a good skirt, it might expand wnough towork properly, but I don't know for certain.

Look at the lr cases and compare them to others fired from a 22lf. You will see they are slightly blown out.

You can also ask you local gundealer to "mic" a lr and a mag to see the difference.

TCOV
September 16, 2007, 11:01 PM
as others have said you have a 3 screw single six with only the 22mag cylinder. carry with the hammer down on empty chamber. it should be a good shooter with 22mag ammo. do not shoot 22lr ammo in the 22mag cylinder. if you want ruger to fit a 22lr cylinder they will also convert it to transfer bar ignition so it will be safe to carry with all chambers loaded. if it is mint condition with box etc. there is good collector value but none of these are worth a fortune. consider it a cool shooter and do what you want with it.

Beetle Bailey
September 16, 2007, 11:05 PM
Thanks for all the help.

Look at the lr cases and compare them to others fired from a 22lf. You will see they are slightly blown out.

Yes, that is what happened.

Should you; send a 3 SCREW back to Ruger?

The previous owner had already sent it back to Ruger years ago for some work and they automatically made the revolver drop-safe. However, they did return the original parts to him and now those original parts are in my possession. My gunsmith told me he can easily re-install the original parts, so that isn't a big concern.

If you decide to replace the cylinder, you'll have to send it to Ruger. They won't sell cylinders to anyone.

Guess I will have to send it back since I want to shoot it as a .22lr and don't really have much interest in shooting .22 mag. Suppose I may as well get a new barrel for it while I'm at it. Thanks again for all the help!

TCOV
September 16, 2007, 11:26 PM
you won't need a new barrel unless you want a different length. ruger uses the same for each caliber. it might be cheaper to sell this 3 screw single six and buy post 1973 new model with both cylinders. 22 rimfire bullets are soft and form to the slight difference in barrel diameter. these little pistols are built tough and hard to find one that is worn out. check your local shops or private party ads for a trade or deal. the 3 screw should carry a slight premium and make a trade possible. good luck.

kludge
September 17, 2007, 08:57 AM
as others have said you have a 3 screw single six with only the 22mag cylinder. carry with the hammer down on empty chamber.

And get a holster with a hammer loop.

Personally I would never send a 3 screw back to Ruger. I heard a rumor that they don't send the parts back anymore. But you would have to contact Ruger to find out for sure.

Another tid-bit... Ruger will not sell you any parts unless you send it back.

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