Transfer bar reliability


May 7, 2009, 10:16 PM
How easily do transfer bars break? I've heard people say that Rugers are tough enough to pass on to your children (grandchildren?) but the transfer bar seems to me to be a weak point. Is it? For long life would it be better to get an older gun? Thanks.

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May 7, 2009, 10:19 PM
I'm sure there might be one somewhere but in nearly 40 years of shooting I've never heard of a transfer bar in any gun breaking.

May 7, 2009, 11:18 PM
The only problem you might have is if the heat treat was not done properly, in which case failure would be almost immediate. I recall shooting a brand new Virginia Dragoon (stainless) years ago. I'd bought it because every time I asked the dealer if he had a S&W or Ruger stainless DA, he'd immediately begin laughing to the point I thought he was going to choke.

But I digress.

About the second shot, the hammer dropped and then shattered like glass. I bent down, picked up the pieces and took the gun and the pieces to Interarms, in Alexandria, Virginia. They apologized and immediately installed a new one for me while I waited (boy, those were the days!). The second one held up marvelously, but I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. A friend and I later discovered that the chambers had almost no throats. Jacketed bullets just fell through each chamber. We did the same thing on another friend's .44 mag SA and they caught in his, so the tolerances were really sloppy.

If the transfer bar doesn't shatter in 25 rounds, you shouldn't worry about it. I've never heard of it happening, either. Your chances of blowing out a forcing cone with light bullets and heavy loads are much greater. I've seen that happen quite a bit.

Don't worry about it.

Ruger overbuilds their guns and offers a quality
product. If thrown into the wilderness with a 4-inch
.357 mag and 5,000 rounds of hot ammo, I'd take
this Security-Six over anything.


Jim Watson
May 7, 2009, 11:22 PM
Friend of mine wore out the transfer bar on a Blackhawk .45. Untold thousands of rounds pounded it so thin it would no longer bridge the gap between hammer and firing pin. He took it out and filed the hammer to hit the firing pin directly. That worked until accuracy dropped off and he found a split forcing cone. He sent it off to Ruger with a check for the price of a hammer, transfer bar, barrel, and labor. He got back a completely overhauled and refinished gun and $10 change.

I wouldn't worry about it.

May 7, 2009, 11:26 PM
Worry about your hands quitting working before a transfer bar.

May 7, 2009, 11:30 PM
No worries, sounds good. Thanks guys.

May 7, 2009, 11:30 PM
My Ruger NMBH is 30 years old and has almost 30,000 rounds thru it with out any type of failure.

May 8, 2009, 12:07 PM
I own a Blackhawk and the transfer bar broke.

It's a 45 LC/ACP convertible, blue, with 5.5" barrel. The transfer broke after about 2,500 or so pulls of the trigger.

WHen It happened, I did a search on THR and found another member expressing that he had the same issue. Yet another member described a transfer bar as a wear item, kind of like brake pads, and claimed they should be replaced every so many thousand rounds

It's an easy fix, and the part cost only about $15 if I remember correctly. I ordered two, while I was at it, to have one in reserve just in case.

May 8, 2009, 12:23 PM
Here's one thread with graphics:

I don't know what kind of metal the transfer bar is made of, or why it's made of such a metal, but it seems not to be as strong/durable as the other internal parts. Maybe there's a good reason for this choice in materials. I found no other part made of the same metal.

May 9, 2009, 04:51 AM
If I get a Ruger then maybe I'll order a spare transfer bar. Are the older pre transfer bar revolvers hard to find or expensive?

May 9, 2009, 07:34 PM
The three screw (pre transfer bar) blackhawks are all over the place, and, in my opinion, overpriced. I don't like the trigger action anywhere near as much as I do with the newer models, those with transfer bars. I'd go with a later model, myself.

By the way, what do you mean "if . . .?" Get the Ruger!! You'll be happy. My blackhawks are my favorite guns.

May 9, 2009, 09:39 PM
I think we are a minority of two, goodtime. If I want a four click, load five, I'll go for a Colt or a clone. It is a different feel and it is a very nice experience. If I want something a whole lot tougher, I want a New Model Ruger.

May 9, 2009, 09:53 PM
Yeah, Virginian. Not to mention the action after doing the "Poor Boy Trigger Job," which you can't do on the old models.

May 11, 2009, 08:12 AM
Sorry about the "if" goodtime. To be honest Rugers are the top three handguns on my wish list. I don't want to pi** off the S&W guys cause I've got to admit some of the S&W's are so sweet looking. I like tough and reliable and that's the Ruger rep. I'm currently thinking of getting the Blackhawk convertible cause it seems so versatile. Tough, reliable, and versatile is a great combination in my books.

May 11, 2009, 12:11 PM
Buy the ruger you want or smith or most any other transfer bar revolver you want. You stand a much better chance of shooting yourself with a old design pistol while or haveing to carry one empty cylinder. You should shoot many thousands of rounds before ever worry'n about any problems.

Vern Humphrey
May 11, 2009, 12:58 PM
Stay on this forum long enough and you'll see more than one story about transfer bars breaking -- I recall one about an SP 101

June 12, 2009, 09:42 AM
I would guess that the transfer bar is made of a weaker material to absorb the wear of the hammer falling. Think of all those parts getting smashed every time the hammer falls down onto them. It is moving with quite a bit of force and that energy has to be absorbed or transferred into something. By making the transfer bar of a weaker material, it will bend and flex slightly and absorb that energy with the idea being it is a cheap part and easily replaceable. Just thinking here...

June 12, 2009, 11:12 AM
Yes Virginia, transfer bars break.

This one happened at the range. I have owned this Super Blackhawk since 1983, dry fired it an ungodly amount, and fired around 5000 rounds (maybe more, maybe less) through it.

And the transfer bar broke.

So I ordered a new one and installed it.

Stuff happens, deal with it.

June 12, 2009, 11:17 AM
Transfer bars break.

So do firing pins on old Colt SAA hammers.

So do other little metal parts.

All those parts are "weak points" that can cause the gun to fail. It's not often (except with botched handloads) that you hear about a barrel blowing off or a frame cracking in half, in a quality gun. ALL the little parts are the parts that will break before the big hunks of steel do.:)

June 12, 2009, 11:51 AM
Almost every time a transfer bar fails it is because of incorrect fitting to the frame or hammer, or incorrect heat treat. It is rare, but as another poster said if it's going to fail it will happen early in the gun's life.

June 12, 2009, 03:09 PM
Any part can break. Make enough of them over time and sure, some will fail. Doesn't mean the product is fundamentally flawed, just the law of big numbers and the inherent fact that nothing we humans make can ever be guaranteed to be perfect, nor last forever.

If you're looking for a firearm with a history of never having any problems or parts failure, give up now. Such a thing simply does not exist.

Vern Humphrey
June 12, 2009, 03:20 PM
Almost every time a transfer bar fails it is because of incorrect fitting to the frame or hammer, or incorrect heat treat.
Almost every time any part fails it is because of incorrect fitting or incorrect heat treat. And that's as true for automatics as for revolvers.

June 12, 2009, 05:38 PM
I have had a transfer bar break on blackhawk after about 8 years of use. Just broke in two. Called Ruger got a new one in the mail. No charge.

I also had a firing pin on a Vaquero peen to the oint that when fired it stuck. Sent to Ruger and it was fixed.

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