Ruger Wrangler jamming issue

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by FlSwampRat, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    I searched the forums for the above title and didn't find anything so I'm bringing up this problem. Just encountered it on a brand new gun we got in the other day. If I pointed the gun at the floor, or about any downward angle of say 45 degrees off of the horizontal, the gun would jam. I asked my friend Google about it and found that it is a known issue! Well, it wasn't known to me!

    Seems the transfer bar can toggle forward by gravity as you're cocking it and jam against the protruding firing pin. Huh. Be bad if you're trying to off a pesky rattler. Seems to me a small spring pushing back against the almost negligible weight of the transfer bar would eliminate that issue.

     
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  2. webrx
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    webrx Contributing Member

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    Interesting, seems they have added a spring, but it is in the base pin. Not sure why unless this is some “safety feature”. I had an old 22 with two grooves in the pin once. One for fire one for safe and if you pushed in to the second groove it would not fire. Hammer could not hit firing pin. Or, option 2 sounds like groove is to large and allowing this. Anything in the manual about this?
     
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  3. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Vaqueros have the same design EXCEPT the base pin doesn’t (or shouldn’t) move when secured into place. If you don’t fully seat the base pin the same thing happens but you can’t slide the pin forward like the Wrangler in your video when it’s properly secured in place.
    I have no experience with Wranglers do I don’t know it they have a relief cut into the base pin for the base pin latch to hold it in place.

    Does the Wrangler base pin have this indent?
    3D3B1DAB-B59C-4073-9047-40C3CE79E2F9.jpeg
     
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  4. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    It has a spring in the center pin. The center pin must be fully seated for it to work though. Problem solved.
     
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  5. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Sometimes the center pin retention groove or the center pin retention button are out of spec and won't hold the center pin far enough rearward to add spring pressure to the transfer bar.

    If this is a new gun, it probably needs a trip back to Ruger to fix as the pin retention button hole in the frame could be a problem as well.
     
  6. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    It appears the one in the video isn’t latching in place therefore the spring pin isn’t able to do its job. He is able to pull it forward, which should not happen without depressing the base pin latch.
     
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  7. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Watching that video, that's a lot of slop. If that was on a centerfire gun with any real recoil, that pin would likely slide forward with each shot fired.
     
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  8. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    Problem is that it slides back and forth when "properly seated". Also, this was on a couple, but not all, of the Wranglers we had in stock. Some locked up with the muzzle pointed downward and the pin physically held back.
     
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  9. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I wonder if the latch isn’t fully tightened on those? It may not be fully engaging the indent.
     
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  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Time to test that "good customer service."
     
  11. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Then they are defective and should be returned.
     
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  12. Pudge

    Pudge Member

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    When it loosened on my Single Six, I experienced the same symptoms. Tightening it cleared the issue.
     
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  13. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    My Ruger Wrangler has just a good fit/finish as any Vaquero I've ever laid hands to. No slop in the center pin when fully seated. Hammer draws fully back and cocks fully from any position. I'd advise that you send your defective products back to the mothership. And, don't be so quick to blame Ruger. I'd hate to imagine how many new employees they're having to train.
     
  14. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Ruger.

    I love that video. Hello, some of us have known about this problem for years. He just discovered it.

    This problem has been occurring ever since Ruger first started putting transfer bars in their revolvers sometime back in the mid 1970s. Let's not go into why Ruger felt it was necessary to put transfer bars in their revolvers, that would be beating a dead horse.

    I first discovered the problem about 30 years ago shooting stout 45 Colt loads out of my old New Model Blackhawk that I bought back in 1975.

    pn6NKZCLj.jpg




    Here is the cylinder pin from a New Vaquero. There is a spring plunger poking out of it on the far left. The idea is when the cylinder pin is latched in place, the spring loaded plunger will push the transfer bar back so it can clear the frame mounted firing pin as it rises. If the cylinder pin is not properly seated, if it is sitting a bit too far forward, the spring plunger will not contact the transfer bar as it rises, and the transfer bar can jam under the firing pin. This in turn prevents the hammer from going all the way to full cock. Note: Even with the cylinder pin improperly positioned in the frame, sometimes the revolver will function fine. Trust me on this.


    pnp6EYoZj.jpg




    With a heavy recoiling round like a 45 Colt with a 250 grain bullet, sometimes the recoil would make the cylinder pin jump forward. Actually, the whole gun jumps back, but if the cylinder pin latch is not doing its job effectively, inertia can cause the pin to stand still while the rest of the gun jumps backward. If this happens, the spring plunger at the rear of the cylinder pin can no longer do its job of pushing the transfer bar back to clear the frame mounted firing pin. This can happen in ALL modern single action Rugers with a transfer bar, Blackhawks, Vaqueros, Single Sixes and has been made clear here, the Wrangler too.

    Here is a photo of a Vaquero with the transfer bar rising and clearing the firing pin because the spring plunger at the rear of the cylinder pin has done its job correctly.

    poTas4xfj.jpg




    This problem is so common that an entire cottage industry sprang up around it. You can buy spring sets for Rugers that include reduced power hammer and trigger springs, and increased power cylinder latch springs. The idea is you replace the standard spring inside the cylinder latch with the stronger spring so the latch will have a better grip on the pin and not allow it to slip past the latch in recoil. I just checked Wolff Springs, and they list spring sets for every Ruger imaginable except the Wrangler. I have no idea if one of their Single Six springs might fit a Wrangler, it might be worth a call to find out.

    Now I am going to say something that some of you are not going to like.

    The Wrangler was created to compete in the same price category as the Heritage line of single action 22 Rimfire revolvers. I have never fired a Heritage 22, I handled one years ago and thought they were crap, so I have never bought or fired one. I also do not know if they have a transfer bar inside or not.

    The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the Wrangler is $249. The manufacturer suggested retail price of a Single Six varies from $629 to $699. These are off the Ruger website, I have no idea what the street prices are.

    My point is, do you think Ruger is going to put the same amount of care into assembling a $249 revolver that they will with a $629 revolver? Boy oh boy, I can hear you all already fuming over this. I do not own a Wrangler, but I have fired one at my club. Put a cylinder full of ammo through it with no problems. I watched that video, and was amazed how much forward and back play the cylinder pin had even when it was latched in place. I have a whole bunch of Ruger New Models (the ones with the transfer bars) and none of them has that kind of slop. With all my New Models, if the pin is latched properly in place, the transfer bar rises with no problem and never catches on the firing pin.

    Clearly, a 22 rimfire should not have enough recoil to cause the cylinder pin to jump out of engagement like the one in my 45 did. But if there is that much slop in the assembly as it comes from the factory, even the minuscule recoil of a 22 could perhaps shove the cylinder pin forward enough so the transfer bar jams when it tries to rise. Even without the cylinder pin slipping past the cylinder pin latch.

    What to do? I would call Ruger and see what they have to say. I would bet a donut they are aware of this problem. Perhaps there was a run of Wranglers made that simply have too much slop in the cylinder pin latch. Perhaps they will offer a fix, perhaps they will not. I can guarantee you that if they get enough complaints, there will be a minor redesign. Perhaps extending the spring plunger further out of the cylinder pin. Perhaps putting a stronger latch spring in the latch. Perhaps redesigning the latch. Perhaps completely redesigning the cylinder pin like some of the old Rugers, where instead of a relief cut completely around the cylinder pin for the latch, there was a simple straight cut across the pin.

    This photo shows a standard Ruger cylinder pin at the top, I don't really remember if it is from a Blackhawk or a Vaquero. Notice the relief cut for the cylinder pin latch goes completely around the pin. This is so the pin does not have to be oriented before inserting it in the frame. Below it is a Belt Mountain cylinder pin. Notice the transverse cut across the top of the pin to engage the cylinder pin latch. This is actually a superior design, it provides more surface area engagement with the latch than the cut around the Ruger pin does. The downside is the cylinder pin must be lined up carefully before inserting it in the frame. There is a relief cut in the flange on this pin on the opposite side that fits around the bottom of the barrel to align the pin properly. If one is not careful inserting this type of pin into the frame, it can jam against the barrel and it takes a great deal of gnashing of teeth to remove it. Trust me on this. Anyway, Belt Mountain used to make pins like this for Rugers, but I don't know if they are still in business.

    pmiV4yuQj.jpg




    By the way, this can happen with a Colt too, except there is no transfer bar to jam against the hammer mounted firing pin. With a Colt you don't know the cylinder pin has jumped forward until it falls out of the gun and you spend time crawling around in the grass trying to find it.

    One more thing. Don't try to sue Ruger if that rattlesnake bites you while you are trying to figure out what is wrong with your Wrangler. Ruger has really good lawyers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  15. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Excellent write up @Driftwood Johnson :thumbup:

    @FlSwampRat
    If you do a search using the words “how to tighten a Ruger base pin latch” you will see others have experienced the same issues with base pins moving on Wranglers and what they do to fix it. Most of the answers are found in other forums.

    If you need a tool to check base pin tension or to disassemble it you can make one from an old screwdriver or use a modified #6 Spanner bit. The belly of the opening may need filing a bit. As Driftwood said there are heavier base pin latch springs that will help the latch stay tighter. Wolfe makes them.
    You can find these bits at Ace or any good hardware store.
    C1A31DAD-92BF-48CD-9FFC-7230D160C76A.jpeg

    The opposing piece of hardware just needs a standard gunsmith screwdriver bit.
    AEF51E41-2738-4285-A892-DB8913BD000A.jpeg
     
  16. murf

    murf Member

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    base pins and latches: Belt Mountain Enterprises, Inc. | Belgrade, MT

    i have these base pins on all my ruger blackhawks.

    luck,

    murf

    p.s. make sure the base pin latch assembly is not in backwards. it only works right one way.
     
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  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Good to see Belt Mountain is still in business. I have their cylinder pins in a few of my Colts and Rugers.

    I will say, don't bother with the pin that has the set screw in it. I tried one years ago, and just a tad too much torque on the set screw caused the pin to bend slightly and bind the cylinder. Plus you need to have the tiny allen wrench handy to remove the pin. The standard cylinder pins without the set screw work fine. Back when I bought pins from them, the pins were centerless ground, not turned. This makes for truer pin. And their pins used to be a few .0001 larger in diameter than standard pins, so they provided a better fit in the frame and cylinder. Like I said, you have to be careful when you orient the pin to insert it in the frame. With the cut out in the flange they only go in one way. Orient it incorrectly and it will jam tight and you will never cease swearing trying to get it out.

    But I do recommend their cylinder pins.

    The latches are are a new item since I last ordered from them.
     
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  18. Orion8472

    Orion8472 Member

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    Overly complicated.........sounds about right. I'm SO glad I have a 1958 model Single Six.....in original condition.
     
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  19. murf

    murf Member

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    agreed, it is not necessary on any (even 44 magnum, 45 colt) of the blackhawks.

    murf
     
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  20. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    There is nothing overly complicated about a New Model Ruger with a transfer bar in it. Actually they are quite a fine design.

    I have quite a few of them.

    plTVGX8Xj.jpg




    But I am very happy with my Three Screw Single Sixes and don't see the need to buy a Wrangler.

    poxqXYBKj.jpg




    I will be on the lookout while I am at my club and if somebody has a Wrangler I will check to see how much slop there is for the cylinder pin to slide back and forth while it is latched.
     
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  21. Orion8472

    Orion8472 Member

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    What I don't like about the new way of doing it is that the click doesn't index with the rod. It's quite frustrating [speaking mostly 22lr, I know some larger calibers do it fine].

    Anyway, nice Single Six revolvers. Mine pretty much looks like yours...just different grips. But it is in as good of condition. :)
     
  22. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    New way? They have been around since the 1970s.

    You can buy an aftermarket 'half cock' hammer for Rugers. With the hammer at half cock, the chambers line up perfectly with the loading gate. I know what a pain it is when you accidentally rotate the cylinder a teeny bit too far and the hand clicks into the next ratchet tooth on the cylinder. You have to go all the way around again to get to that chamber. I can tell you that with a 45 Colt this gets very annoying, there is no way to unload or reload the chamber if you went just a little bit too far, you have to go all the way around again.

    I have the half cock hammers in the three 45 Colt Vaqueros in the center of the photo above. The blue one with the 7 1/2" barrel and the two stainless ones. They make loading a New Model Ruger exactly the same as loading a Colt. I set the hammer on half cock, open the loading gate, and rotate the cylinder for each chamber, the half cock position on the hammer lines each chamber up perfectly with the loading gate. No muss, no fuss, and I can load six safely if I want to with the transfer bar. I never load six in a Colt, I always lower the hammer on an empty chamber.

    New Vaqueros like the two on the far right have a spring plunger in the recoil shield that clicks into the ratchet teeth on the rear of the cylinder, lining up each chamber with the loading gate. The spring plunger was added so each chamber would line up just right with the loading gate, no more going all the way around.
     
  23. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Free spin pawls. Both the .45 and the .32 have them. Solves the alignment issue 100%.
    [​IMG]
     
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