Revolver out of time?


October 4, 2010, 09:11 PM
Hey guys-

Question for you....

Assuming a modern DA revolver like a Ruger SP series, how does it "go out of time"? I know someone will say "by shooting it", but what actually happens to make this occur, how likely is it to occur given nothing is wrong with the revo prior?

I was reading a thread on another site and some guy was saying he saw a guy have timing issues with a Ruger SP-101 all of a sudden after firing it a bunch the week prior with no problems. It was shaving about 1/3 of each bullet off as it hit the FC. How would something like that just happen out of the blue?

I own a pair of LCR's and am just curious to know what to look for.

Thanks in advance!


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October 4, 2010, 09:31 PM
1/3 of the bullet is not possible; because if the firing pin is centered enough to make it go boom, then the bullet is centered near enough where its not going to lose a third of itself. Unless--big Unless--the gun isn't staying locked up AFTER firing which is bad news, but not a timing issue. To check if it is staying locked up upon firing, dry-fire the gun and hold the trigger all the way back. Check to see if the cylinder is locked up by trying to turn it side-to-side.

But, to check for timing:
Pull the trigger very, very slowly and make sure the cylinder locks into place before the hammer falls.

I do this with the gun sideways (with the hand/pawl on the 'down' side) so gravity is working against the hand/pawl too. Sideways + slow trigger pull shows the slowest possible timing, so if it passes here then you're 100% good to go.

Another test is to dryfire the gun rather slowly, putting slight back pressure on the cylinder. (Drag your thumb lightly on it as it trys to turn) If the gun goes to lock up before the hammer falls, once again, you're set.

Good news is with a Ruger, you can check your timing whenever you're feeling paranoid as long as the gun is unloaded. Dryfiring a Ruger revolver slowly and infrequently will not hurt it. Slow dry fire for Rugers is particularly undamaging; it puts very little strain on the gun.

October 4, 2010, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the reply! I didn't think about all of that but I agree with the points you made.

How would a gun just go out of time all of a sudden and how prevelent is this?



October 5, 2010, 08:06 PM
There is a "sticky" post at the top of this sub-forum that explains timing pretty well, as I recall. Going out of time is not usually going to happen catastrophically, all at once, but nothing is impossible. I highly doubt a whole one-third of a bullet could really shave off as described, from a mere timing problem.

October 5, 2010, 11:17 PM
Revolvers go out of time from usage. Take a 'N' frame Smith model 28 for example. The cylinder is massive and the cylinder stop/stop lever relatively small. People who do a great deal of rapid fire double action work with this revolver will batter the cylinder stop lever and the cylinder stop. After a time the stop lever doesn't efficiently stop the cylinder's rotation and you've got timing issues.

The SP 101 is a five shot (much smaller cylinder) so I can't imagine that happening. It sounds like the gun has some serious other issues.

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