Ruger Mark I oddity


December 28, 2008, 04:23 PM
My father has an old Mark I made in 1972. This gun's been a bit problematic throughout its life, although I seem to have finally ironed them out (tolerance issue with the magazine follower rivet dragging on the inside of the grips; 5 minutes with a Dremel to put a channel in the grips). The oddity I've found is that it only seems to like CCI Mini Mags. I worry a bit about this, as I know guns from 1972 weren't built with high-velocity rounds in mind (they weren't even available back then), though I know it's still just a .22 and Rugers are still overbuilt. Anything other than the Mini Mags tends to jam a lot.

My theory is that the old Mark I is a bit rougher with the rounds than some of the newer ones, and the copper wash on the Mini Mags protects them from deforming during the loading process. Does anyone see any problem with continuing to use Mini Mags with this gun?

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December 28, 2008, 04:35 PM

You can't hurt it, and a 1972 Ruger is just as strong as any .22 pistol made before, or since.

They had been in constant production for 33 years by the time yours was made, and if there had ever been a weakness, they would have found it by then!

However, I suspect you have the wrong magazine for your gun. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to have to alter the grips to get it to work.

Perhaps the correct magazine is all it needs to make it work right with any ammo.


December 28, 2008, 04:39 PM
We bought a new magazine. And all our magazines are genuine Ruger. No dice. It may have been the wrong grips, though. The grips are unusual for a Mark I, Ruger wood grips with a thumb shelf. My father got it second-hand, and we really don't know what the original owner did to it. I know when it was made from the serial number.

After I fixed the grips, the jamming stopped. Last time we used it, we used CCI standard velocity (uncoated lead) and it was back to jamming. After that I took the whole damn thing apart, gave it a deep cleaning, and reassembled it. Haven't shot it again since.

December 28, 2008, 05:02 PM
Well, it never hurts to clean a .22 pistol.
That's for sure!


Pat S
December 28, 2008, 05:47 PM
I'd clean it and perhaps change out the recoil spring. It could be getting a little fatigued after 36 yrs.

CCI Mini mags should be OK, they've been around since 1962 which was before your pistol was made.

December 28, 2008, 06:22 PM
"We bought a new magazine. And all our magazines are genuine Ruger."

I have a MK1 bought in 1974, first pistol I ever owned:)

I bought an extra mag for it a year or so back, genuine Ruger, I was quite dismayed to see the bottom was plastic instead of the original metal type. I'm curious was the one you bought also a plastic bottom?
FWIW I've shot everything imaginable out of mine, no problems ever that I can recall.

December 28, 2008, 09:06 PM
Just for grins and giggles take a very close look at the chamber and make sure there is not small burr that is causing problems. I had that to happen to one of my Mk1s.
Usually those things eat every thing coming and going.

December 28, 2008, 09:55 PM
I usually use CCI Mini Mags in my Ruger Mark I and II, been doing it for a few decades. The CCI Mini mags seem to be the most reliable for me in 22 semi autos.

December 29, 2008, 02:12 AM
No burrs found. Yeah, the new mag had a plastic magazine base. I'll say one thing: I like the mag release on my 22/45 Mark III a LOT better.

December 29, 2008, 07:19 AM
Yeah the mag release on the MK1 is a real pain...
The "new" mag (at least mine) has a slight gap where the plastic meets the steel that catches the mag about 1/4 inch into sliding out, the original all metal mag doesn't do this.:(

December 29, 2008, 07:38 AM
Anything other than the Mini Mags tends to jam a lot.
How is it jamming (i.e. stove piping, failing to feed, etc.)?

December 29, 2008, 03:26 PM
Failing to feed.

December 29, 2008, 09:43 PM
Newer mags in older pistols may have the follower button on the opposite side to the originals. They can be swapped to the other side to match the old style magazines. Not sure if that or newer style stocks are an issue in this case.

We have had a number of these in the family, ranging from quite old guns to brand new ones. I find that now and then I have to tune the recoil spring a bit to function 100% with a given brand of ammo. Basically if I get short bolt travel and poor feeding I snip a couple of coils off to see if things improve. Eventually I get it to balance out and run ok.

Ruger sells those recoil spring assemblies very reasonably. I like to keep a couple of extras on hand in case I overdo it.

Mini-Mags are pretty expensive just for plinking.

December 29, 2008, 09:44 PM
+1 on installing a new recoil spring.

Might be cheaper from Ruger but here's a pic from Numrich arms. They want $7.50. Seems like I paid @ $5 from Ruger a few years back.

Blind Bat
December 30, 2008, 12:56 AM
You are saying the round fail to feed, right? My MK-I was finicky about ammo when I first inherited it. However, like yours it would always eat mini-mags. The trick is to pick up a box of cheap Walmart Ferderal bulk stuff as it's the cheapest and most temperamental. Next put a round in the magazine (you might want to remove the firing pin from the bolt) and slowly close the bolt. You need to tweak the lips on the mag so that the tip of the bullets rides dead center on the feed ramp with the correct tension. A little bit to one side or the other and it will jam. The feed lips should just hold the tip of the bullet down. If the feed lips are too tight the bolt will push the bullet straight into the ramp, too loose and it will miss the ramp and jam on the top of the chamber. Once you get it just right it will feed anything. It's obvious why ruger changed the mag design of the MK-II+ pistols.

If it's an ejection/stove pipe problem then the simple fix is to pick up a Volquartsen extractor.

P.S. I've been told that MK-II mags will work if you swap the "rivet" to the opposite side of the mag. I haven't had a chance to pick up one of the MK-II mags so I can't say for certain if this is true.

December 30, 2008, 02:45 AM
I've been told otherwise on the Mark II mags.

Wil Terry
December 30, 2008, 01:51 PM
The CCI MINIMAG ammo itself was introduced in the early 1960'S. The WW and RP 22LR high speed ammunition was around for decades before that !!!
You should also take the time to read the history of guns you own so you'll know such things as the fact that the RUGER STANDARD AND MKI pistols was advertised as usable with standard velocity and high velocity from the day of their introduction to the market place.

December 30, 2008, 01:56 PM
Whoa Bro!

You're gonna blow a gasket! :D


December 30, 2008, 05:59 PM
Chill out, have some ritalin.

Fact is, the whole phenomenon of magnumizing or factory hot-loading of older cartridges is largely a recent phenomenon, with +P ammunition and such coming on the scene. It wasn't common practice for factory rounds to be loaded hot at the beginning of the 1970's. Modern alloys and tighter tolerances have allowed the safe firing of much higher pressure loads out of the same cartridges, and it is NEVER safe to just assume an older gun is capable of handling these newer, more powerful versions.

December 30, 2008, 06:07 PM
But it's a Ruger Standard .22!

All Ruger Standards are as strong and modern as any .22 handgun ever made.

I wouldn't shoot Stingers in a 1936 Colt Woodsman, but they are certainly not going to hurt his fairly new MKII!


December 30, 2008, 06:24 PM
Yeah. Exactly. I figured Rugers were still overbuilt, but given that it was the original design I figured there might be some inadequacies. I'll get another batch of Mini Mags and keep feeding it that. I'm sure my Mark III will like it better, too.

By the way, for folks who don't think I should have had to groove the inside of the grip, there were actually metallic streaks on the inside of the wood where the rivet dragged. I used these as my guide for when I used the cutoff wheel to groove it, followed by the grinder to smooth it out. The resulting groove looked entirely professional.

December 30, 2008, 08:23 PM
They had been in constant production for 33 years by the time yours was made

1972 - 33 years = 1939.

Dang, I'm gettin' old! I'da swore it was 1949 when them things came out.

December 30, 2008, 09:55 PM
I have several Standard/MKI, MII and MKIII magazines. I'm not wealthy or neurotic, I just don't trust Dem's in the white house. I loaded up before and after the last weapons ban.

Anyway, the MKI/Standard mags I have all came with metal, chrome finished bottom caps and the spring follower pin on the right. The MKII and MKIII models have black plastic bottom caps and the spring follower pin on the left. Some after market Standard/MKI mags can work in a MKII by removing the follower pin and replacing it on left side.

No crows on the Standard/MKI cap, black crows on MKII and red crows on MKIII.

Good luck.

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