View Full Version : Security Six - Cylinder Hand

October 20, 2007, 07:13 PM
Still not sure how I did this, but somehow it had to be a mistake I made. Last week I had some trouble with my 6" Security Six :rolleyes::eek:. It's over 25 years old and never given a lick of trouble. Description of problem:

While the hammer is traveling rearwards, either single or double action the gun would sometimes bind. The bind ranged from very hard to pull the hammer/trigger back to a complete stop. I mean there were times I could not cycle the action no matter how hard I pulled either the trigger or hammer back. During the incidents of complete stops, the cylinder would start to turn, maybe a 1/16" and stop. Releasing the hammer/trigger and returning the cylinder to its previous cylinder stop would sometimes allow the action to be cycled most often with a bind. This happened most on the 4th or 5th shots from a cylinder.

I notice that the inside of the gun frame is relieved to allow the hand to move up and down in response to the trigger and the relieved portion is 'deep' enough to hide the hand from view from above (though the space in front of the trigger with the trigger in the cocked single action position). This next part is hard to put into words, so bear with me. I noticed that the hand was not all the way against the side of the frame while looking down the space left when the trigger is pulled into the single action position. I reached down this space with a plastic pick and was able to push the hand closer to the frame. Of course it would spring back to its original location. I disassembled the gun and tried to gently 'bend' the hand so it would travel more closely to the frame. Being it's hardened steel I doubt I actually bent the hand but since then I have not been able to reproduce the failure.

I clean my guns after each outing (once a week) so there is opportunity for me to have done something wrong in re-assembling the what, 10 parts that make up the gun. (a simpler design I couldn't imagine). I found immediately after purchasing the gun that it is easiest to pull the hammer all the way back to remove the hammer during disassembly. Installation is easiest if the trigger/hammer is most of the way back. This just seems to make aligning the hole in the trigger with the holes in the frame easier. The only thing I can think of that I did different recently was that after one cleaning I accidentally installed the hammer without pulling the trigger back. I found that the trigger did not engage the rest of the action correctly when I cycled the gun. The hammer must have been installed in front of something when it should have been installed behind. I removed and reinstalled the trigger correctly and all seemed ok. But this was the week before the problem occurred. Not sure if this has anything to do with my problem, just the only thing that has been out of the ordinary in the last week or so.

Now that's a lot of words when the simple question is this:

Is the cylinder hand supposed to travel close the frame or is it acceptable for the hand to be 'away' from the inside of the frame?

Any help or experience would be helpful. I feel like the Coyote who broke the anvil:confused: Thanks

James K
October 20, 2007, 07:41 PM
The Ruger hand (Ruger calls it the ratchet) is pretty reliable, but it is powered by a small spring and plunger inside the trigger, so dirt in that area can cause a problem. But you indicate the cylinder binds, so the hand would seem to be engaging, trying to move the cylinder. The Ruger design, unlike some others, is not prone to binding by the hand itself.

You say that the cylinder starts to move. Look through the gap between the frame and cylinder at the bottom of the cylinder and make sure the cylinder stop releases properly. If not, the gun is out of time and I recommend either returning it to the factory or finding a competent gunsmith.

If the cylinder stop is releasing, the cylinder could be rubbing on the barrel at the front. That also can be checked by eyeball.

You don't say whether that fourth or fifth shot was actually a shot, and not dry firing. If it is a shot, it is possible that the barrel-cylinder gap is so tight that heat from firing is expanding the cylinder and causing it to bind on the barrel or even on the frame.

Just a few thoughts, and I don't know if I helped or not.


October 20, 2007, 10:42 PM
It does help Jim. I hadn't thought about the cylinder stop. At least now the cylinder stop appears to be working correctly. Though it never retracts enough to see light between it and the cylinder it certainly retracts at the correct time. Also the turn line is unchanged from 25 years ago.

When I had the problem in the field last weekend I had the feeling (talk about subjective) that the ratchet (hand) was contacting the cylinder incorrectly causing an eccentric rotation. No science behind that 'feeling' just a gut feeling. That is why I looked to the ratchet for the source of the problem. The more I think about it the less likely I 'feel' the ratchet is the source. Mostly because the ratchet reaches through a slot in the back plate. It appears to be a 'go no go' fit.

The cylinder gap is something I need to look at. Although I could reproduce the problem by dry firing it was always right after extended shooting. The cylinder gap is tiny and the cylinder does have a little forward and backward movement (is that end shake?). Enough to make the gap almost disappear. I can't find my feeler gauges but in the lock up position it goes from small to almost non-existent (can't easily see light between the cylinder and barrel).

I have a date with the desert shooting area tomorrow afternoon. I'll shoot the snot out of it then and see if I can recreate the issue. If not, I'll chalk it up to a stray piece of dirt/debris. I am somewhat anal about cleaning my guns but I suppose anything can happen.

Let me know if you think of anything else I should look for. Thanks again for the thoughts.

(for those that didn't get the Coyote/anvil analogy - Wyle E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Seems he could make anything malfunction, including an anvil)

October 21, 2007, 07:06 PM
If you have a leaf-type feeler gauge like the kind sold a auto parts places, at a minimum, you should be able to get a 0.002" feeler gauge into the barrel/cylinder gap. It should not allow anything over about 0.006" to go in. If either of these conditions are not true, the gun needs attention. Look for scratch marks on the cylinder face to see whether it has been rubbing the back of the barrel as it turns?

The cylinder stop should drop completely clear of the cylinder until the notch in the cylinder rotates clear of it. On my Redhawk it drops down flush with the bottom of the frame until the cylinder has moved that sixteenth of an inch or so needed to clear the notch, then it pops back up and drags on the cylinder, leaving the usual telltale drag mark in the finish between notches. It kind of sounds like yours is not dropping completely clear, if you never even see a light gap. That would mean it is depending on the rounded edges of the tip of the stop to intercept the edges of the cylinder notches and get the bolt the rest of the way down against the cylinder surface. That isn't right, and is cause to examine the workings of that part of the mechanism. Unless you've had a trigger job, sending it to the factory is the most economical route. If you've had a trigger job, it will come back from the factory undone and returned to factory trigger standards for liability reasons. In that case you need to pay a gunsmith or figure it out for yourself.

I recall the Security Six mechanism is slightly different from the Red Hawk, and it's been so long since I've looked at one, I will bow out advising you on the part that's worn or plugged up with fouling. Since you are up to disassembly, try inspecting how that works. The Redhawk mechanism has a spring and plunger that goes through a hole in the trigger and is linked indirectly to the hand (ratchet) by a small pivoting piece that can take some work to get back into place properly. I would, nonetheless, be pulling that apart for detail cleaning and checking the condition of the springs if the Security Six has the same arrangement? It's just been too long to remember if that is what is different about them?

October 21, 2007, 11:32 PM
Jim - It looks like the cylinder stop is the culprit. The funny thing is that it appears to affect only 2 cylinders :confused: Maybe that is just the way it happened today and may mean nothing. I can see that when the bind occurs that the cylinder stop has not started to move out of the notch it is in. Observation of the cylinder stop when not in a bind shows the cylinder stop immediately withdrawing from the notch.

Unclenick - The trigger/cylinder stop is similar but not the same between the BH and the SS. The BH stop has a pivot located on the trigger assembly while the SS it is actually a loose piece held in place by a plunger/spring assembly on the end of the crane. Can't be sure but I don't think the SS stop is supposed to withdraw down to the frame.

Either way, it will go back to Ruger if you can help me understand the following:

If you've had a trigger job, it will come back from the factory undone and returned to factory trigger standards for liability reasons. In that case you need to pay a gunsmith or figure it out for yourself.

All of my parts are original and none of the springs have been cut but there have been some parts polished/smoothed over the years. Does this mean Ruger will just return it un-repaired? I'm not looking for a warranty repair for this issue. Heck the gun is 25 years old and I'll pay to have it done correctly. I was thinking of having it re-blued anyhow and I would just assume Ruger do that as well.

October 22, 2007, 12:48 AM
It means that if any of the parts were modified when someone did a trigger job, they will be replaced with factory standard parts and the removed parts will not be returned to you. This includes sears, springs, etc.

October 22, 2007, 01:50 AM
johnm1: Sir; returning your Ruger. All modified parts will be replaced by Ruger.
Any trigger work, from buffing to cleaning, filing, grinding, hammering, welded will not come back to you in said condition if deemed a safety issue.
That being said.
hypothetically of course; you have a wonderfully manicured trigger:) you would like to have the 'trigger' left alone; "place a note inside your box" describing your wishes. Ruger will return it to you in said condition. As long as the parts are deemed safe.
Ruger's service is second to none; ask and you will receive.
Follow up with your experiences.

October 22, 2007, 12:39 PM
The trigger/cylinder stop is similar but not the same between the BH and the SS. . .

Not a BH, but the Redhawk I was referring to. The RH cylinder latch is a flat piece asslembled into the RH trigger. Different. I found my Kuhnhausen book that covers the SS, and refreshed my memory a bit. The front edge of the trigger has a small forward extension called the trigger hook. The top edge of the hook is called the latch timing surface. Kuhnhausen points out that the finished length of the hook is what determine how long the latch is held down before it is released. It is common, in tuning a revolver for speed, to lower the latch timing surface to get the latch to come up faster after the hook lets it go. If this was done, it is possible a little over-cutting shortened the hook. If this is the cause of your trouble, the trigger will need to be replaced, polished or not, to get proper function back. That said, wear on the latch itself could also change the relationship of the parts and how they function. You may be able to see which it is for yourself when you take it apart and examine it?

The image below is not to scale, but should give you the general idea:


October 22, 2007, 07:32 PM
Thanks Neophyte1. I don't care if the parts are replaced or not I just want it to function properly. I would expect to pay for the parts if they are damaged or out of spec (or thought to be). I have no costs in the work that was done. The polishing was done by my roommate 25 years ago. My roommate was a S&W person and thought the trigger was poor and could use some polishing. Not sure if the polishing work has anything to do with the current issue or not. The gun must have 6 or 7 thousand round through it without a problem. Most of them full house .357's.

Unclenick - Incredible amount of information. I never understood how it was timed before. Very interesting. I'll pull it apart to look at the surfaces. Not sure I will be able to determine anything myself but at least I now have a better understanding of how it works.

Thank you both very much.

James K
October 22, 2007, 09:23 PM
Hi, guys,

True about the way that cylinder (latch) works, but even if worn it should do the same thing every time. That action has nothing to do with the cylinder turning and should work the same even if the cylinder is out of the gun. The only way the latch changes the way it works is if there is some problem. Here are some possibilities:

If the problem always occurs on the same chambers, a very good possibility is that the latch is borderline in size, so it does not rise fully into a slightly undersize or burred cylinder notch. This would cause the latch to only partially engage the cylinder and then the trigger would not fully engage it. (This is not uncommon, and is easiest to fix either by a file stroke on the notch(es) or by a swipe of the stone across the latch.)

Another is that there is dirt in the action, still another is that the cylinder latch or the cylinder latch plunger is binding somewhere, or the spring is weak. The trigger itself could also be binding or something is preventing it from engaging the latch all the time. Anything like that could alter the way the latch works.


October 23, 2007, 03:32 PM

What got my attention is that he says the latch never goes down far enough to see a light gap between it and the cylinder, much less seeing the top edge of the latch get down flush with the frame, as my RH and BH latches both do. The only time I recall having seen that was in a tuned Python action that someone had tried to make really fast. Best I can figure is that either he's got mis-worked or worn engagements (wear being unlikely in Ruger steel after just 7,000 rounds) or a bent pin or pin hole slop that's letting the hook slide off the side of the latch ledge (would sure mess up cylinder timing with respect to alignment with the bore; I would expect deteriorated accuracy and a lot of fouling with lead bullets if that were happening). In any event, if he's returning it to Ruger, it will be fixed. I am curious to learn what their smiths will say they had to correct or replace on it?


You may not be expecting free service from Ruger, but unless your ex-roommate damaged something, you will probably get it anyway. It's been a few years since I had occasion to send them something. You might want to call first and see if they want to give you an RMA number to put on the box?

James K
October 23, 2007, 05:19 PM
Hi, Unclenick,

It is moot at this point, but my thinking was that if the latch does not go fully in to the cylinder notch, and come back all the way, the trigger will be barely touching the latch. So the trigger tries to pull the latch down, but because it is not fully engaged it won't do so and the latch barely moves before it is free of the trigger.

This is one of those cases where long distance analysis is just about impossible, since there could be several possible causes, and maybe even several real problems.


Harry Bonar
October 23, 2007, 07:53 PM
They have told you right> Send it back to Ruger - my experience has been that they don't charge you. However don't let anyone get their hands on it - it's apparent someone has!
Harry B.

October 23, 2007, 11:11 PM
I agree with Jim. Long distance analysis will not come up with the real issue. All of the information has been very interesting and I have learned a lot. At some point this week I will take it apart again to look for some of the possible issues mentioned. I just don't know if I'll be able to see an issue even if it is right in front of my eyes. For a short time I'm traveling 2 hours each way to work and it doesn't leave me much time in the evening to do much of anything.

As far as warranty vs. repair, I hate it when people take advantage of a situation. It just drives the cost of warranty service up and leads to lesser service in the long run. I'll be up front with Ruger and let them determine if I allowed the parts to be damaged. Kinda looking like I did.

October 24, 2007, 12:56 PM

Gotcha! You're right about the long distance analysis (assuming John doesn't happen to have a fluoroscope in his home to send us movies from). Anyway, off the Ruger with it for sure. I'll still be interested in what they say they've done? The last thing I sent them was a Redhawk that wouldn't group. The form I got back with it said simply "reamed cylinder", meaning the chambers. Groups dropped from 6" at 25 yards to under 1". Reaming and refinishing is normally an accuracy package step done in a custom shop, and they still didn't charge for it. About 5 wk turnaround IIRC. They want their customers safe and happy.

October 24, 2007, 07:48 PM
Not sure how long it will take to arrange shippment, package and return but I will reply to this thread when it comes back. Thanks again.

4V50 Gary
October 24, 2007, 09:38 PM
It's been years since I played with a Security Six, but try removing the latch and reassemble without it. Test if the action cycles.

November 1, 2007, 02:53 PM
Unclenick: Sir; where did you find such a schematic/picture. I have look and not found anything as clear.
I would like to know has anyone heard from "johnm1" and his Ruger.

November 1, 2007, 11:15 PM
Gary - I removed the latch and could not produce the flaw. That may be anecdotal in that it is very difficult to reproduce the flaw by dry firing, though I sometimes can do it. Maybe I just didn't try enough times to reproduce the error?

That diagram communicated a lot of information. I actually printed it out for my records. It helped me both understand the working/timing of this revolver and find places to look for flaws. That said, my wife bought me a set of very inexpensive jewelers loops from 2X to 10X. I inspected the surfaces Unclenick suggested and was somewhat surprised at what I saw though I can't say I found anything that was 'the' cause. In general I found rough surfaces and one wearing surface that I am sure should have been straight that wasn't. I expect that surface was straight when it shipped from the factory. I found 3 relatively deep scratches in the vertical (well mostly vertical) face of the trigger hook. A part of the latch rides along this surface. None of this means anything to my untrained eye and off it goes to Ruger. I would be delighted if it returned factory standard.

Thanks all for the information. Not sure me learning it really gained anything other then general knowledge. I knew before I wrote the original question that the answer was to send it back to Ruger. Kinda like dressing up a pig. It accomplishes nothing and angers the pig. (feeling kinda silly in this dress, oink oink)

November 2, 2007, 10:15 AM
johnm1: should you send it back to Ruger; it will be examined and returned to factory specs. Quite amazingly Ruger cares about it customer and will do what is in your best interest. [my experiences]
add a note about what you think is happening on the return.
If you would; follow up when it is resolved. Or would you have more questions?

without questions we would never have answers