View Full Version : Best way to remove a horribly stuck roll pin?

April 9, 2010, 11:10 AM
So it's been a long week, had a big, nasty rush work assignment, and I'd been up since about 6AM on Tuesday when I decided to try to perk up and go play with guns. I'd recently picked up parts to put a forward assist and ejection port cover on a stripped upper I've been sitting on as a small pick-me-up.

Anyway, don't know what went wrong, but the roll pin decided to not be my friend when I was popping in the forward assist. Thing got stuck about half way. In my tiredness, I gave it a couple really good whacks to see if it would drift in - worse idea. Thing bent out of shape. Tried to drift it back out without luck. Tried to pull it with a pliers and about a third of the pin ripped off, leaving me with nothing to work with sticking out.

So that's a happy reminder to not be an idiot caveman when you're overtired and frustrated.

But I'm still left with, oh, maybe half a roll pin stuck in an upper that I hope I haven't hammered out of spec. Hammered at it so much I bent my skinnier punches. The forward assist assembly came out and I'll just get a new roll pin, but in the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for getting this one out without marring up the receiver any worse than I already have?

Thanks much.

April 9, 2010, 11:26 AM
Take it to a gunsmith?

WildeasiestAlaska TM

April 9, 2010, 11:53 AM
Soak it in penetrating oil for a while and try it again. If your punches keep bending, cut off the bend of an allen wrench of the proper size and use it as a punch.

April 9, 2010, 12:42 PM
then with the proper size punch press it out with a press.
much batter than a hammer!
l little heat will help also if its not in a critical area.

April 9, 2010, 01:19 PM
Not too much heat though! Aluminum : | Can be melted with a propane torch...

April 9, 2010, 01:30 PM
the pin is all buggered at the end and sharp, so its cutting into the aluminum as you try to drift it out? If so, you have to drill it out, and I second this mans opinions.

Take it to a gunsmith?

April 9, 2010, 01:42 PM
Gunsmith, tell them how stupid your brother is : D Just like everyone else...

April 9, 2010, 02:40 PM
Look at it this way,its only a stripped AR upper!!You can get a new one for $100!!!
Sure,it is nice if the pin comes out,but usually when something horrible happens,well,what if that was an 1886 Win,or an old triple lock Smith or a Parker sid by side!!
If I may ask a dumb question,does your forward assist move freely,or is it locked up?

April 9, 2010, 04:20 PM
The roll pin I have tried to drill seemed to be considerably harder than the HSS bit I was using.

It is safe to assume you are using a punch that is just slightly smaller than the diameter of the hole the pin is in and tip of the punch is flat.

April 9, 2010, 04:27 PM
Got it soaking in WD40 now and I'll try the hex wrench trick once it penetrates a bit. If that doesn't work I'll try the local smith. Thanks for the suggestions.

But you're right, as far as messing up a receiver, it's not the worst one. It was just annoying because usually I work on my guns to distract myself and relieve stress, not to create it.

The forward assist was moving freely until I started trying to get the roll pin out. Once I started to reverse its travel, I guess the bent part started obstructing, and the forward assist got stuck in the "in" position. After I worked out a little more of the roll pin, I was able to remove it completely, and it's free of the receiver altogether now.

April 9, 2010, 05:44 PM
Got it out. Used some oil, whacked on it, ripped off what was sticking out to shorten it a little more, and then managed to back it up until it fell out through the forward assist hole. Thanks for the help!

April 9, 2010, 06:31 PM
Now get a proper set of roll pin punches that won't bugger the roll pins as you tap them into place.

April 10, 2010, 12:36 PM
Now get a proper set of roll pin punches that won't bugger the roll pins as you tap them into place.


The correct roll pin punches for slotted pins have a small hemisphere on the tip to fit inside the roll pin and keep them centered.

The punch for rolled up style pins have a shallow cylindrical recess with a flat bottom (NOT a round bottom recess) and are used to driven the pin most of the way, but not fully.
A carefully applied drive pin punch will do the last tiny bit.

Cheap punches may also be softer than the pin and deform, so choose carefully.

Roll pins are hardened springs, and are also brittle.

The slotted ones are usually easier to work than the rolled up style.

April 13, 2010, 02:15 PM
I'll be going beyond basic field strip with a 1911 for the first time this weekend and will be driving out some pins (waiting on a set of punches from Brownells).

Two Questions:
Are the pins tapered ? I'd think they should be but I don't know.

What is the best way to put them back in: I am guessing use a small desktop vise, at least to start them.

April 13, 2010, 08:17 PM
1911 pins are not tapered, but they do have heads on them. The pins push out easily from right to left as viewed from the rear.

James K
April 13, 2010, 11:48 PM
The hammer pin and sear pin have heads that go to the left, that way the manual safety keeps them in place. The mainspring housing pin has no head and can go in from either direction, but the round end goes in first. The mainspring cap pin has a head and goes in from the inside so the sear spring holds it in.

The only pin that requires any force to remove or reinstall is the MSH pin; it is retained by a plunger that is on the end of the mainspring and fits into the groove in the pin, keeping it in. The hammer and sear pins are easily removed with the fingers or any small round object, like a ball pen.


April 14, 2010, 08:51 AM
Thanks for the help.
I suspect I could have wasted a bunch of time with a microometer trying to find a non-existant taper.

April 15, 2010, 08:36 PM
And the most PITA pin is the ejector retaining pin.

It is very small, and normally an interference fit with the leg of the ejector.

Start it out with a short solid punch, switch to a longer one (Brownells sells ones with replaceable tips) when you have enough to hold the small punch tip captive in the hole.

April 15, 2010, 11:08 PM
A tip.
Oftenthe pin must be assembled while other parts with spring tension on them must be held just right so the pin can go through.If it is a through hole,a cute trick is a slave pin.I slave pin is a pin that is a slip fit though everything.You can taper the end to a point to make line up easier.
You drive the slave pin through,and out,with the pin you want to keep in there.
Now,a superb source of slave pins,if there is a shop in the yellow pages that builds or services plastic injection molds,ejector pins are purchased long and cut to length.These cutoff ends are perfect,and they get tossed.They are nitrided H-13 tool steel,very tough and hard,and OD ground and polished usually .0004 to .0007 in under nominal size.
You can just buy the pins from an outfit like MSC.Ejector pins and Core pins are good to know about.

April 16, 2010, 03:34 PM
A number size drill index has an extensive set of slave pins right there.

Use the chuck end to avoid dulling anything on the drill bits.

April 17, 2010, 02:44 PM
Hi all
Purchase a 1911 ed brown went threw 250 rds. while cleaning the gun notice the roll pin in the front sight had come up a small bit. use a small hammer with tape on top of sight and move it back in without scaring the sight. my question what color loc-tite to put on top of the small pin. cost too much to send back to brown. hopeing it will not pop back up when i shoot again.
thanks for some info.

April 17, 2010, 04:29 PM
what color loc-tite to put on top of the small pin

The wicking stuff designed for getting into assembled joints.

A drop of super glue often works as well.