Ruger New Vaquero transfer bar pinch?


March 18, 2012, 11:23 AM
Hi! Well I picked up a new vaquero and did some dry firing to familiarize myself. I love the way this gun fits in my hand! I took a really good look at the transfer bar setup and noticed the transfer bar takes 100% of the force of the hammer and when I release the trigger the hammer rests on the face. I have read it is not supposed to happen this way, it is supposed to take part of the force and the other part is distributed into the cylinder face. I have read these transfer bars break because of this! I bought this gun because of rugers reputation for toughness and now I have to worry about a major functioning part breaking??

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger New Vaquero transfer bar pinch?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 18, 2012, 01:14 PM
Are you saying that when you release the trigger, that the hammer then falls further forward???

March 18, 2012, 01:20 PM
I'm not sure what you're asking. The transfer bar is raised when you pull the trigger and transfers the energy of the hammer to the firing pin. Hence the name, transfer bar. When you release the trigger, the transfer bar drops and the uppermost part of the hammer rests against the frame and cannot contact the firing pin. I don't know what you read or where, but it makes no sense. Your Vaquero is working the way it was designed. I put 20,000 rounds through two old Model Vaqueros before anything broke. It wasn't the transfer bar.

March 18, 2012, 01:21 PM
And the hammer never comes close to touching the "cylinder"...

March 18, 2012, 01:23 PM

March 18, 2012, 01:37 PM
Yes the hammer then falls further forward after striking the transfer bar with the 2nd step on the hammer Salmoneye, I don't have the manual in front of me so I must have used the wrong nomenclature when describing where the top of the hammer comes to its final rest after releasing the trigger. Google search ruger Transfer Bar Pinch and you will read about how more people are experiencing this. Figured I would ask around and see if anyone else has this Pinching problem.

March 18, 2012, 02:22 PM
On my new Vaquero, the transfer bar raises when I pull the hammer back. When I pull the trigger, it raises another .125" or so and the hammer hits it. When I release the trigger, the transfer bar lowers back down to it's original position, and the hammer moves a little closer to the frame.

March 18, 2012, 02:35 PM
That's exactly what happens in mine Keizer, this apparently can cause breakage of the transfer bar and someone recommends filing of the hammers 2nd step just enough to alleviate the "pinch" but to leave enough metal to properly hit the firing pin. From what they say in rugerforums this will extend the life of the transfer bar because the hammer hits the transfer bar and frame instead of JUST the transfer bar. Anyone else have opinions? I find this interesting

March 18, 2012, 02:41 PM
My opinion is, If it isn't broke, don't try to fix it.

If Ruger's warranty department was being inundated with broken transfer bars, they would redesign it.
But they didn't.

It is working exactly as intended.


royal barnes
March 18, 2012, 02:41 PM
I shoot Colts in CAS but have worked on numerous Ruger Vaqueros and shot around folks who put thousands of rounds through theirs as well as a lot of dry firing. I am sure a transfer bar has broken at some time but I have never seen or heard of it.

March 18, 2012, 03:20 PM
If the majority of the force is transferred on impact (firing the round ) I don't think additional movement is going to affect much.

Driftwood Johnson
March 18, 2012, 07:34 PM

Yes, transfer bars can break. I first started hearing about this almost ten years ago when the 'original model' Vaquero first came out.

At the time I used to shoot with a pard who was a line engineer at the Ruger plant where they make revolvers. So he did a little test. He set up a Vaquero on a test stand that automatically cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger. Then he just let the thing run. He told me the gun cycled thousands of times and there was no problem with the transfer bar. However rumors of broken transfer bars persisted, so they looked at the heat treatment that they give the transfer bars. Last time I talked to him he told me they tweaked the heat treatment to make the transfer bars a little bit stronger. Then he moved out of the area and I have not heard from him lately.

But yes, there are persistent reports of transfer bars breaking. With all due respect, if you have never heard of it, perhaps you don't talk to as many Ruger shooters as I do. There have been numerous threads about this on the SASS Wire and CAS City as well as the Ruger Forum.

Transfer Bar Pinch

Here are two photos illustrating Transfer Bar Pinch.

In the first photo, the hammer is down and my finger is still on the trigger. This simulates the situation of the hammer falling and firing a cartridge. The trigger is still back and the transfer bar is in the raised position, the position it needs to be in to do its job of transferring the hammer blow to the firing pin. Notice there is a gap between the hammer face and the frame of the revolver.

In this photo I have released the trigger. This causes the trigger to rotate forward, which in turn pulls the transfer bar down away from the firing pin. Notice the gap between the hammer face and the frame has closed.

That is Transfer Bar Pinch. What it means is the transfer bar is being supported at two places. The transfer bar has a pin cast onto its base. The pin fits into a hole in the trigger. When the hammer falls, it strikes the transfer bar, which in turn pushes the firing pin all the way into the frame. The problem exists when the transfer bar is supported at both the bottom, by the pin in the trigger, and at the top where it bottoms out on the frame. Picture those Karate guys who support a board at both ends and strike it in the middle. The board splits. If they did not support the board at both ends, but instead laid it flat on a table, the board would not split and they would break their hand.

That is what happens with Transfer Bar Pinch. The hammer strikes near the top of the transfer bar, forcing it against the frame, while at the same time the pin at the bottom is also supporting the bottom of the transfer bar. Just like the Karate example, the transfer bar can break because the impact of the hammer is between the two points of support.

Now, let's look at another photo. The arrow is pointing to the surface of the hammer that actually strikes the transfer bar. That is where the Pinch is occurring. You can do the same test I did. Hold the trigger back and lower the hammer all the way. Look to see if there is a gap between the hammer face and the frame. Then release the trigger. What happens? I'll bet you a donut the hammer jumps forward a little bit and closes the gap, bottoming on the frame. If so, you have Transfer Bar Pinch.

Should you be worried about it? Only if you are worried about being struck by a meteorite as you walk down the street. Can your transfer bar break? Yes it can and you can be hit by a meteorite too. The vast majority of transfer bars breaking I have heard about have happened to Cowboy Action Shooters who dry fire their revolvers a whole lot for indoor practice. I am not talking about ten or twenty dry fires, I am talking about guys who do it thousands of times. The transfer bar is a very small part, and the blow it takes when it is struck by the hammer is huge, as far as the forces involved are concerned. Really huge. Yes, a transfer bar can break right out of the box, but it is rare. As I said, it usually happens after thousands of dry firings.

The fix for Transfer Bar Pinch is to relieve the surface of the hammer that I indicated with the arrow. But it is tricky. One of the cardinal rules of gunsmithing is that if one of two parts that fit together need to be altered, always do it to the cheaper part. But in this case, thinning the top of the transfer bar so the hammer did not cause it to be pinched, would weaken the TB (Transfer Bar) so much that it would probably be more likely to break. So the fix is to relieve the surface I indicated on the much more expensive hammer so that it just kisses the surface of the TB, without stressing it. But if you remove too much material, the transfer bar will no longer be able to do its job of striking the firing pin.

Transfer bars are cheap. They are not a precision part. They are Investment Cast and there is no secondary machining done to them. They pop out of the mold and they are ready to go into a gun. Ever notice how the TB usually sits at an angle in the gun? That is because they are designed with so much slop. There is slop in the fit of the pin into the trigger. They are made this way on purpose so that they do not need expensive hand fitting.

I have three 'old model' Vaqueros, two New Vaqueros, and a transfer bar equipped Blackhawk that I bought in 1975. If I was concerned about a transfer bar breaking, I would have a couple of spares hanging around. They are cheap and easy to install. If you can take a Vaquero apart and get it back together again, you can replace a transfer bar. I ain't seen the need yet to keep any extra transfer bars around, and I certainly have not seen the need to alter my hammers. I know guys in CAS who are so paranoid about this that they have had gunsmiths remove their transfer bars and weld up the hammer so it strikes the firing pin directly. But that is another story.

If you are concerned, order a couple of extra transfer bars and learn how to install them. I ain't going to do that. When and if I break a transfer bar, I will call up Ruger and tell them to send me another.

P.S. Ruger is completely aware of transfer bars breaking. But it is such a rare occurrence that they are not going to go to the trouble of either redesigning the hammer and transfer bar, or tightening up the tolerances. It is much cheaper for them to send out a few free transfer bars, or install new ones at the factory for free if the owners send them a gun with a broken transfer bar.

March 18, 2012, 08:27 PM
Wow good explanation! My favorite part was the reminder that a meteorite could hit your transfer bar. :D

March 18, 2012, 09:02 PM
If ya hold pressure on the hammer & release the trigger does it hang up ???

Old Fuff
March 18, 2012, 09:13 PM
In my limited experience if the hammer is in the forward position and pressing on the back of the transfer bar with any substantial pressure, the trigger will not go forward. The purpose of the shoulder at the top of the hammer is to insure that the transfer bar won't get pinched.

I suggest as a test, hold the trigger fully back, drop the hammer, and then while pushing on the back of the hammer as hard as you can, release the trigger to see if it goes forward. If it doesn't the transfer bar is indeed being pinched. If a question remains, return the revolver to Ruger.

Driftwood Johnson
March 18, 2012, 10:04 PM
I suggest as a test, hold the trigger fully back, drop the hammer, and then while pushing on the back of the hammer as hard as you can, release the trigger to see if it goes forward. If it doesn't the transfer bar is indeed being pinched. If a question remains, return the revolver to Ruger.

Yup. Just tried that test on the gun I took the photos of. Yup, with pressure on the back of the hammer, the transfer bar is pinched and the trigger does not pop forward until the hammer pressure is relieved.

I still think it is a making a mountain out of a molehill. I haven't yet surveyed all my Rugers, but I'll bet they all do that. I'm not going to panic and call Ruger for replacement transfer bars.

Old Fuff
March 19, 2012, 10:24 AM
I still think it is a making a mountain out of a molehill.

Could be, but then maybe not. I'd say that it's worth a call to Ruger to see what they say if anyone else find they have the same result. That shoulder at the top of the hammer is where it is for a reason, and the reason is to prevent the hammer from battering the tip of the transfer bar.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger New Vaquero transfer bar pinch?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!