First Range visit with Ruger Security Six. Cycling problem?


January 17, 2013, 02:46 PM
I had my first range visit with my new-to-me Ruger Security Six. The gun was accurate as I could be with it. Felt great.

Of the 50 rounds I put through it I was 98% pleased. I had one small problem with it. After the first couple cylinder's full I noted a problem cycling the action on a round. When I pulled the trigger the cylinder wouldn't turn. It was as if a case was hanging up the action.

I stopped, opened the chamber. Pulled the fired rounds out. Re-inserted the unspent rounds and tried again. First one was fine. Then the cycling problem again.

I stopped again. Removed all rounds. Re-loaded the cylinder with five new rounds and the one live round from the previous six. Shot a few rounds fine, then had the cycling problem again.

I got it to cycle and fire all six and the remaining rounds form the box were fine too.

I've dry-fired with Aluminum snap caps probably 700 times in the last week with no problem.

At the range I was using Winchester White Box 38 Spl. FMJ and shooting DA only.

My assumption is this was a problem with one of the rounds in the box. But that's just an ass-u-me-ption

As I noted in a previous post, this circa 1977 gun is and was pristine. Almost like it had never been fired. But it's also new to me and this was my first trip with it and the first time I've fired more than 20 rounds with a revolver.

So they are new to me.

I won't really worry it until I've been able to repeat the condition on multiple occasions with different rounds, different brands, etc..

But before I go on, does the collective wisdom and experience of the group have any suggestions or things to check on the gun itself?

Thanks in advance and I have to say I love shooting this gun. I was a lot more accurate with it than I thought I would be in DA. Even got high praise from a retired Navy shooter at that range on my accuracy.

Thanks again all.

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January 17, 2013, 03:20 PM
My assumption is this was a problem with one of the rounds in the box.

I'm not very familiar with the workings of Rugers, but your assumption sounds likely to me as well. Possibly a high primer or a burr on the case rim. Unless it's a problem that shows up again, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Enjoy your new revolver. Sounds like a nice gun.

January 17, 2013, 03:54 PM
I've gotten that in revolvers with a high/incompletely-seated primer. Also, if there's a lot of carbon in one or more of the chambers, and you're using a longer case than the cases that deposited the carbon (for instance, shooting .357's after someone shot a lot of .38's), that ring might make it difficult for the widest or longest of the cartridges to seat fully.

January 17, 2013, 04:20 PM
I'd give it a thorough cleaning. Rugers are great for this due to their modular design. Get a brush in that cylinder. Then try shooting with another brand of ammo. That was made back in the day before Ruger produced some bad eggs. Seems like more slips through the cracks these days. I have a Speed Six and the wife has a Security, both of the SS 2 3/4 flavor. Great revolvers.

January 17, 2013, 06:41 PM

You weren't short stroking the trigger by chance? Sounds like the more rounds you shot maybe your finger tired and you weren't cycling the trigger full thru.

Just a thought.

January 17, 2013, 06:57 PM
I have had similar issues come up from time to time with my Sixes, typically due to a round snagging on something or not fully seating due to shooting 38's and switching to 357's.

January 17, 2013, 07:16 PM
Check the recoil shield. If there are ridges or rough spots they can snag on high primers or even the brass itself.

January 17, 2013, 08:09 PM

You weren't short stroking the trigger by chance? Sounds like the more rounds you shot maybe your finger tired and you weren't cycling the trigger full thru.

Just a thought.
I thought that the first time, but not after I emptied and reloaded it with the same round twice.

I'm guessing it was a high primer but I'm going to brush the cylinder with a .40 brush and check the shield too.

Thanks for the input everyone.

January 17, 2013, 11:27 PM
To make sure you get the cylinder cleaned well enough, if 38's being shot after 357 rounds, get a .40 cal bronze brush, insert it into a cordless drill. Dip the brush into some Hoppes, run the drill /brush inside the chamber holes, this will clean the deposits of carbon out. Another guy here on THR told me about it, works like a champ! Good luck.

January 17, 2013, 11:42 PM
Also clean under the extractor. Sometimes unburnt powder/debris gets under it and can cause problems.

35 Whelen
January 18, 2013, 01:06 AM
The ejector pin on my Security Six sometimes unscrews itself, binding things up a little. You might check that.


January 18, 2013, 01:37 AM
351 & 35 have the right idea here. Make sure the ejector rod is tight (put empty cases in the cylinder to prevent stressing the extractor) and use your mother-in-law's toothbrush to scrub between the cylinder and extractor. It only takes a few grains of powder between them to cause binding. Also, turn the muzzle up when ejecting the empties to prevent unburned powder from falling in there.

Lucky Derby
January 18, 2013, 04:44 AM
Happened to me with a Colt Trooper. High primer was the culprit.

January 18, 2013, 08:16 AM
My GP had same problem, come to find out that you need to keep the place under the ejector star clean. After cleaning the gun very good and shooting 200 rounds or so mine will start to bind up a little due to all crud building up under the star. Just clean that place very well and you should be good to go.
Please report back if/when you find a solution. So many people come for help and when they figure the solution just forget about their post. Please get back with us and let every one know what was the culprit.

January 18, 2013, 09:46 PM
Went through the chamber with a .40 brush and slow cordless drill today. Also re-cleaned the star, ejector rod and face underneath it.

Everything looks clean now. If I can find .357 ill buy that for my range date next week. Otherwise I'll just shoot the .38 I have and report back.

Thanks again.

January 19, 2013, 12:21 AM
Also clean under the extractor. Sometimes unburnt powder/debris gets under it and can cause problems.
The ejector pin on my Security Six sometimes unscrews itself, binding things up a little. You might check that.
This is excellent advice. Common problems like these should be addressed first.

I have several Security Six revolvers, and for the most part, they are one of the most reliable out there.

I recently purchased a Security Six in great condition upon inspection. My first trip to the range revealed a slight problem. The cylinder locked up after 20 rounds in both SA and DA. I performed a thorough examination and found the B/C gap was .000 (cylinder rubbing on forcing cone). I installed a couple endshake bearings and that was the end of the lockup. I've had this happen on several S&W revolvers, but never on a Ruger. My B/C gap, after installation, is .004 and the action is as smooth as a baby's heineken.

This is not a common problem, but it doesn't hurt to eliminate the unlikely.

January 19, 2013, 12:05 PM
Never mind. i found it - barrel to cylinder gap. we'll see if my motorbike feelers will get me to .004.


Can you describe what the BC gap is? I'm finding a lot of football info on a google search but nothing that describes where this is and how to measure it.


January 19, 2013, 01:49 PM
Sorry about the abbreviations. Standard feeler gauges should work fine.

Check the gap and make sure it is not too tight (or touching). I prefer mine to be .004 to .006, but Ruger says it's OK up to .008. If you have less than .002 you might want to think about getting endshake bearings/washers installed. (FYI-- The bearings move the cylinder back to increase the gap.)

Check it with the cylinder pushed all the way forward and then with it all the way back. The difference in the two measurements is what's referred to as "Endshake".

January 19, 2013, 02:20 PM
My gauges go to .003". And it's too tight for that gauge. So... Looks like I need to have one or a couple bearings put on.

Is that a job for a smith or can I do it? The take-down to get the cylinder off is pretty straight forward per the manual but I've no idea how much there is to taking apart the cylinder assembly to get the bearings on.

January 19, 2013, 03:27 PM
I would buy some gauges that go to .001 or .0015 and check again (found at most auto parts stores). Also, make sure you check the gap on all 6 chambers.

Mine was so bad you could see the scrape marks on the powder residue.

Not to hard to do it yourself, but it wouldn't hurt to have a gunsmith take a look at for you. Give them a call and see what it costs? Anything over $50 and I would do it myself.

I purchased a 10 pack of .002 from Midway. Here is a link.

January 19, 2013, 03:37 PM
Sounds like a plan. I will get smaller gauges and re-check to see where it's at on all 6.

Thanks for the advice.

January 19, 2013, 03:40 PM
A credit card is a passable gauge for this sort of thing.

January 19, 2013, 03:54 PM
I may just have thick credit cards but mine aren't anywhere near .003" thin. On the other hand, my gauges go down that thin.

January 19, 2013, 06:34 PM
Just measured each chamber with my feeler gauges. Not one is over .003" I can get a .002" (smallest I could find) to slide in the gap if I sort of forced it. So I'll probably be looking into having bearing(s) put on it or doing it myself.

Thanks for the advice.

Incidentally, a credit card measured .0305 with a digital caliper.

Jim K
January 19, 2013, 06:53 PM
A revolver cylinder expands lengthwise from heat when fired. When the b/c gap gets down around .003" or less, the expanision can cause binding after about 2-3 cylinders full (12-25 rounds). Many people believe that the tighter the gap the better to minimize pressure loss, not realizing that too tight a gap can be as bad in its way as to large a one. IMHO, the ideal gap is .006-.007, though some makers set their range .003-010".


January 19, 2013, 07:08 PM
Have you disassembled it for cleaning? One of my favorite things about the Ruger's is how they are designed to be disassembled for cleaning by the owner, unlike S&W. Check for weak springs while it's open.

January 19, 2013, 07:09 PM
A new wrinkle. I noted I could fit a .004 gauge in from the right side of the BC gap (from the rear of the gun), but not the left. Then noticed this little scar on the left side of the BBL. It's the silverish scare at about 11:00 as you look at the barrel from this pic.

I think this is why I can't get the feeler in from the left side (drop out side) but can from the right side of the gun (from the hammer side)

Is this something I can dress out with a fine hone or steel wool and then a good cleaning or should I take this to a smith or send it to Ruger?

Thanks again.

January 19, 2013, 08:09 PM
Man, I would love to know how someone mangled that forcing cone that badly. I believe you have found at least part of the problem. I would lightly stone off the high spots, check clearance again and I would also have a smith run a range rod down the barrel and check for a bent crane. Somebody got kind of "physical" with that Ruger.

January 19, 2013, 08:52 PM
Me too. The thing is that's really the only blemish in the gun - albeit a stinker. Everything else looks like new. The Guy at my lgs said he had a hard time telling if it had been fired.

January 19, 2013, 09:42 PM
You might dress that down with a fine stone...keep it square and stroke it lightly just until it's gone. Stone, cover with kids chalk and dry fire to check for rubbing. I've never seen a cylinder grow over .002 when popping em quick, but who knows.

During firing pay close attention to the cylinder face and the end of the barrel shank for rub signs in the carbon. When you dump empties do it as close to vertical as you can, it helps limit the crap getting under the star.

You could have a Smith do all that and adjust end shake if that turns out to be the problem. But start with the most likely and less invasive's a good way to learn about your gun!

January 19, 2013, 09:46 PM
It almost looks like the cylinder is hitting the cone.
If you point the gun towards the ground and slowly close the cylinder, does the cylinder appear to graze or touch the forcing cone? Just curious.

January 19, 2013, 09:52 PM
When in doubt, send it to Ruger. Great shop, reasonable prices (sometimes free). Benifit of buying American.

January 19, 2013, 10:16 PM
I can see a sliver of light shining through the gap when I close the cylinder ... But ... If I smear chalk on the cone rim and close the cylinder there is chalk residue on the cylinder face. The chalk does not smear when I dry fire it.

It looks like the only chalk transfer is when the cylinder closes.

So maybe all the chalk transfers from cone to cylinder on closing?

January 19, 2013, 11:08 PM
The reason I asked is those marks/chips in your photo look to be in the same location where the cylinder first passes over the forcing cone. They don't look to be to serious due to the fact they are on the outside of the cone. That being said, the endshake bearings should prevent any future contact in that area when closing the cylinder.

My Security Six, that I referenced earlier, would hit the forcing cone in that same spot when I closed the cylinder while pointing towards the ground. After I installed the endshake bearings there was no more contact while closing the cylinder.

Jim K
January 19, 2013, 11:25 PM
That doesn't look like the cylinder is contacting the forcing cone in rotation, it looks like it did that in closing the cylinder. I wonder if someone played with the endshake and got it so loose the cylinder hit the forcing cone. If the current cylinder shows no sign of damage, it might be a replacement.


January 19, 2013, 11:42 PM
What I was saying was if you can run a credit card through things are WAY out of spec. Sorry I was in a rush and wasn't clear.

I have a concern that someone, at some time, thought it was "cool" to "snap" the cylinder shut and may have bent the crane.

January 20, 2013, 12:29 AM
Yes, it really needs to be checked for a bent crane before anything else is done.

January 20, 2013, 03:53 AM
I would also have a smith run a range rod down the barrel and check for a bent crane.
A bent crane is also a possibility.

No experience with "bent cranes". So I can't help much if that's the problem.

I've owned two revolvers where the cylinder would hit the forcing cone upon closing. Both were caused by a sub-standard B/C gaps. Luckily I caught the problems before they did any damage. They were both fixed by installing endshake bearings.

January 20, 2013, 04:35 PM
First thing I did with my .38 Speed Six was completely strip and clean it. Mein Gott, it was nasty. I'm not guilty of over cleaning my guns, but I fear some folks don't believe in ever cleaning theirs.

Never dealt with a bent crane, as I never allowed anyone to snap mine closed.
I always figured that anything Hollywood showed, in gun handling, was either unsafe or harmful to the gun.

January 20, 2013, 04:47 PM
I disassembled the gun today per the manual. It was easier to lightly dress the outside edge of the cone if the cylinder wasn't in the way and I didn't want to bugger up the cylinder either. I smoothed out the burr.

I pulled the ejector rod out to see if it was bent because (a) there appeared to be a bit of wobble when I spin the cylinder and (b) if I do have to install endshake bearings I figured I may as well learn how to remove the pin now.

This led to two minor complications:
Even though I wrapped in in thick leather, I slightly scarred the knurled ejector rod end. It's not the end of the world but it's a battle scar. And, I read at the Ruger forum that if you remove the rod you need to buy a replacement star washer. Numrich has a SS ejector rod but no Blued ones and they they say they are sold out of star washers.

To me, $6.50 is a cheap price to pay for a new ejector rod and eliminate that being a culprit. But I can't find a source for a new one in blued.

Beisdes Numrich, does any one have any ideas for a new rod and star washer?

January 21, 2013, 04:02 PM
Had a good conversation with Ruger this morning.

I called to ask them about servicing my SS and they are going to look at it and address whatever problems they can.

They echoed a lot of what others have talked about here so you all are in good company.

One thing he mentioned is that .38 spl loads can and often do back out the chambers a bit upon recoil in this gun. He said that most likely that was causing my cycling hang-up.

He still thought it a good idea to check the forcing cone, B/C gap, crane and see about straightening the rod. So, I sent it to them today.

$80 for overnight shipping was a bear but I'd rather it spend as little time as possible bouncing around various hands along the route to NH.

Great people and a great company. So far I have to say my experience with them has been positive.

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