Gas or debris blown back from .22 revolver?


July 13, 2008, 04:43 PM
Hi All,

I have a Ruger New Model Bearcat revolver in .22LR. It's a handy and great little gun. When I first got the gun, the cylinder chambers were not aligned with the barrel and it shaved lead like crazy. At the advice of this forum, I sent the gun back to Ruger and they repaired it quickly and it shoots really well now. I've shot the gun a few times now and it shoots point of aim and has good accuracy (even though it can be hard to hold that tiny gun properly!). I was able to hit a spent .45 Colt case today at 11 yards on my second attempt (the first shot was a bit high) and I could keep most of my shots within a 2" diameter circle when shooting from a padded rest at 11 yards.

One thing that I have noticed with my Bearcat is that on occasion, I feel a stinging sensation on my left cheek or left arm (I shoot with my right arm).

I don't get this stinging feeling all of the time, and it doesn't appear to occur for any one specific chamber of the cylinder. Today when I shot, I kept track of the order of the cylinder chambers that I used, and I maintained the same order for the day. The stinging sensastion seems like a random event.

Also, I used mostly lead .22 LR rounds (CCI pistol match, CCI mini mag, Winchester T22 target) and some copper coated rounds (Remington golden bullet). I didn't notice any pattern to the stinging sensation and the type of round that I used.

I tried to use a paper bag to help determine if I was getting any debris blown back while I shot. I had some boxes of ammo in the bottom of the bag, and I stood the bag up, and next to the revolver on the left hand side of the gun (with the face of the bag behind the gun). I then fired a couple of cylinders of ammo and inspected the paper bag to see if I could notice any debris on the bag that might have been blown back by the revolver. i didn't notice any.

Can anyone suggest why I might be getting the occasional stinging sensation when I shoot this revolver? I looked at the forcing cone area of my revolver and I don't notice any evidence of the gun shaving lead. I also unloaded my revolver, and then peered down the barrel while shining a light down the barrel and looked to see if the cylinder chambers were aligned with the barrel. As far as I could tell, they all looked aligned. Before I sent my gun to Ruger for repair, I could see that the edges of the chambers overlapped the mouth of the barrel and that the chambers weren't precisely aligned.

Is it gas that is getting blown back at my arm/cheeks? Is it debris from the gun? Or is it debris from the backstop?

The range that I shoot at has a sand/dirt backstop at about 11.5 yards and my targets are held on a cardboard backing at 11 yards. There are a lot of bullets/lead debris liitered around the backstop.

Aside from this issue, the gun is awesome and such fun to shoot. I don't know if I've experienced this stinging from any of my other current revolvers - at the moment, I've only noticed this feeling when I shoot the little bearcat.

Thanks in advance.

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July 13, 2008, 07:25 PM
What you're probably feeling is a little bullet lubricant or burned powder particles spraying back.
This is not too unusual, and many .22's will allow some hot bullet lube or powder splash-back.

I used to have a High Standard target pistol that would deposit a nice hot bit of lube on my trigger finger once in a while.
Since it's doing it with no rhyme or reason, and with a variety of ammo, you might want to talk to Ruger about it.

July 13, 2008, 09:24 PM
I get that once in a while with .22 autos and revolvers. Always figured it was unburned or still burning powder flecks. It is a rifle cartridge, and probably lots of powder still burning when it comes out of the shorter handgun barrel.

Jim K
July 13, 2008, 09:35 PM
What hearing protection are you using? The sensation might not be caused by any actual particles, but might be a nerve reaction to the noise especially if your ears are not protected.


July 14, 2008, 05:32 AM
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies.

I think you are right. It's probably powder flecks. I did notice some tiny black specks once on part of the paper bag when I was at the range (looked like burnt powder) so maybe that's what's happening. It doesn't happen very frequently so I'm not too concerned.

Jim - thanks also for the suggestion. I had on some good quality ear muffs and the noise from the little revolver wasn't too loud.

July 14, 2008, 09:59 AM
Check the forcing cone for lead shavings!! Could be mis-alignment of the cylinder.

July 14, 2008, 10:20 AM
The barrel/cylinder gap is a dangerous place in almost any caliber.
This guy found out how dangerous a .460SW b/c gap can be.
He held the pistol w/ two hands and his thumb up by the gap because the gun weighs about 5lbs w/o a scope.

La Pistoletta
July 14, 2008, 10:35 AM
I'd keep that picture as a thumbnail (oh the pun...) and put a warning sign above it.

July 14, 2008, 10:48 AM
Thanks all for the responses. I've seen that photo before of the fellow's thumb and it is a very good warning for shooters!

July 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
I once had splinters flying back at me from the sticks that were holding up my target at 50 yds.

dagger dog
July 14, 2008, 05:42 PM
bet he won't be hitchin' a ride for a while.

Yeah thats probably powder, depending on the ammo you're shooting try some standard velocity ammo, if you're shooting some of the high velocity stuff , the pistol barrels length may not allow for all the powder to be burnt.

July 14, 2008, 05:48 PM
My Bearcat does the same thing, and I think it's unburned powder also. We probably don't notice it so much with other bigger guns, but the Bearcat is so small everything is just a little closer

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