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Old November 7, 2020, 02:37 PM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Light strikes or diamond-made primers?

I recently had a revolver IPSC competition and managed first place by virtue of being the only wheel gun shooter there.

Anyway, I was shooting .44 Spl reloads of mine.

During the course of the match I had 9 cartridges that failed to go off. 8 had new brass primers that I hadn't used before and one had the chrome primers I'd been using for ages. Both were Fiocchi large pistol bought from the same shop.

Upon inspection, they looked like light strikes to my moderately trained eye.

So my questions are:

Is the Redhawk known for having weak main springs?
Or are they known for getting weak relatively fast? (My .44 round count is probably about 2000 rounds)
Or could it be about a dirty pin-hole?

Finally, has anyone found brass primers to be harder than chromed?

Thanks.
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Old November 7, 2020, 03:04 PM   #2
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An incomplete list of possible causes.
  • Hard primers. Maybe unlikely since it happened with two kinds.
  • Issue with the gun. Weak spring, firing pin too short, firing pin partially obstructed at times, others.
  • Bent moonclip(s)
  • Primers not seated properly
  • Excessive endshake
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Old November 7, 2020, 03:33 PM   #3
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Of that list, I'd lean toward firing pin obstruction; hard primers as it was overwhelmingly the new brass ones; possibly excessive endshake.

I can't discount badly seated primers but I don't think so.

Pulling the cylinder back and forth and only use gauge of eyeball and fingertip, I'd say the cylinder has no more than 1/4mm play.
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Old November 7, 2020, 03:55 PM   #4
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There's a Checkout thread at the top of this forum that explains how to measure endshake properly. There should be very little endshake--a quarter of a mm would definitely be excessive.

To directly answer your questions, I do not recall seeing complaints about weak or rapidly weakening springs in Redhawk revolvers.

If this gun was bought used, however, there's the possibility that lighter springs were installed by the original owner.
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Old November 7, 2020, 04:03 PM   #5
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The gun was bought new. I'm the sole owner. (As far as I know)

I've measured endshake with my calipers and the play is 0.2mm or 0.0008".

By this I mean that there is 0.02mm of playforward to back in the cylinder.
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Old November 7, 2020, 04:27 PM   #6
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If 0.0007" still qualifies as excessive, I need to find out how to address it.

Even if it's not the cause of the light-strikes.

All that said, I remember always having felt that bit of forward-back motion.
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Old November 7, 2020, 05:30 PM   #7
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There are 25.4mm to the inch. 0.2mm/25.4 = 0.00787...

https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/...m-to-inch.html

There's going to be some back & forth motion--with no play at all, it would bind.

0.008" seems like a lot of endshake to me. If I were confident in my measurement and I had a revolver with that much endshake, I would contact the manufacturer and ask them about it.

I just checked one of my revolvers and as nearly as I can tell, the endshake is less than 0.002"
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Old November 7, 2020, 05:51 PM   #8
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Well, that doesn't sound good.

I'll have to dig out feeler gauges to be sure, but it's certainly something I can see with the naked eye.
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Old November 7, 2020, 06:00 PM   #9
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Keep in mind that endshake is the MOVEMENT of the cylinder back and forth. That number should be fairly small--various sources suggest that it should be 0.003" or less (Colt) or that it should be corrected once it gets as large as 0.006" (Kuhnhausen).

The cylinder gap is the maximum space between the front of the cylinder face and the back of the barrel. Some manufacturers allow it to be as large as 0.01"

Excessive endshake can result in light primer strikes, but it seems odd that it would develop rapidly in a gun as sturdy as the Redhawk. Especially since it sounds like it has mostly been shot with light loads.

I would try shooting it with factory ammo (if possible) and see if the problem persists.
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Old November 8, 2020, 07:21 AM   #10
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Endshake after the feeler gauges

Quote:
Keep in mind that endshake is the MOVEMENT of the cylinder back and forth. That number should be fairly small--various sources suggest that it should be 0.003" or less (Colt) or that it should be corrected once it gets as large as 0.006" (Kuhnhausen).

The cylinder gap is the maximum space between the front of the cylinder face and the back of the barrel. Some manufacturers allow it to be as large as 0.01"

Excessive endshake can result in light primer strikes, but it seems odd that it would develop rapidly in a gun as sturdy as the Redhawk. Especially since it sounds like it has mostly been shot with light loads.
With no forward pressure on the cylinder the 0.15mm gauge did not go through the cylonder gap, but the 0.1mm did, so lets assume the largest gap possible is 0.14mm. But based on the mild drag, I'd say closer to 0.11

With the cylinder pushed forward as far as it would go the 0.05mm would not go in but, as with the 0.1mm gauge above, could be pulled out with only slight resistance (if I fed it in before pushing the cylinder forward). So let's say 0.04mm.

So the most it could be is 0.1-0.11mm. but more likely closer to 0.07mm

This equates to 0.004" maximum, but probably more likely 0.003"
(both rounded up).

Am I in the clear on endshake?

Quote:
I would try shooting it with factory ammo (if possible) and see if the problem persists.
Yeah... factory ammo is ridiculously expensive. Most of the competitions are .44Spl

I am developing a load that will have similar performance as the Specials but from a magnum case, purely so that my reloads will go more smoothly. But the idea is that they should be equally mild shooting.

Basically, I'm still leaning toward those brass primers being too hard, but it could be that endshake had highlighted their hardness and I would have gone on blissfully unaware had I only had the chrome ones.

Needless to say, I'll be curious to see what the consensus is for my Redhawk.

Either way, lesson learnt: don't measure with calipers that which should be measured with feelers!

How hard is it to remove and clean the firing pin home and internals, I wonder.
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Old November 8, 2020, 08:12 AM   #11
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The correct measurement is the largest gauge that can be inserted. It can take some pressure to insert it and feeling some resistance is ok, but you shouldn't have to force it in and there shouldn't be too much resistance. Here's a guide to using feeler gauges.

https://www.wonkeedonkeetools.co.uk/...a-feeler-gauge

They comment that the amount of resistance/friction should be like sliding a sheet of paper out from under a magazine.

Feeler gauge sets here are provided in 0.001" increments, or increments of about 0.025mm.

That aside, your cylinder gap sounds reasonable. 0.004" fits but 0.006" won't fit. That's good.

Endshake is the difference between the measurement with the cylinder pushed all the way forward and the measurement with the cylinder pulled all the way back. If you're seeing a difference of less than 0.006" (0.15mm) in those two measurements then you are probably ok.
Quote:
How hard is it to remove and clean the firing pin home and internals, I wonder.
I don't think I've ever heard of someone having to remove a firing pin and clean it on a Ruger revolver. I've certainly never done it on any of mine.

Do the shells fire when hit a second time?

I've never heard that Fiocchi primers are harder than normal.

What are you using to load your primers? Is it something that lets you feel the pressure as they seat?
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Old November 8, 2020, 10:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
I was shooting .44 Spl reloads of mine.
What did you use to prime the cases? A single-stage press? A progressive (which one?)? A hand tool?, a bench priming tool? I ask because .44 Spl. uses large pistol primers and I have an ongoing problem with large pistol primer seating on my old Dillion 550b progressive.

Quote:
...has anyone found brass primers to be harder than chromed?
All primer cups are Brass. The "chromed" ones are made of Brass that has been Nickle plated (not Chromed).
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Old November 8, 2020, 10:32 AM   #13
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I’ve used Federal primers in the past for my 625 and 325 when I had problems with light primers. Federal primers I have no problems. Just used my last Federal primers. Hope to find some more in near future.
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Old November 8, 2020, 10:51 AM   #14
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Hmm. I’d forgotten to mention how I primed them.

The Lee hand-primer.

So if endshake is not out of the acceptable range, the pin shouldn’t need cleaning and the primers are regular hardness, it sounds like either my priming or the mainspring.

Given the number of rounds and about the same number of dry-fires, it’s still at only about 4000 trigger pulls (and not all of them led to a hammer fall: I often pull the trigger back in DA just when it would fire then release which I do this to focus on keeping the barrel on target as I pull through the DA) then probably it’s my priming that’s the weak link.
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Old November 8, 2020, 02:49 PM   #15
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Generally speaking the hammer fall in DA is slightly less than in SA, resulting in slightly less energy being delivered to the primer. Slightly...

Normally, its still enough. Some guns, tuned by reducing spring weight to reduce trigger pull cross the line into erratic performance, reliable only when certain brands of primer are used.

Is your Redhawk "box stock" with the original everything? Or has is had replacement springs and trigger job work?

Redhawks are not known for weak anything.

If the gun is working properly (no drag on moving parts, including firing pin), and only a very few shells fail to fire, the most likely cause is those few shells. Bad primers?? Extra hard primer?? Not fully seated?? cases with too tight a pocket (so not fully seated primers?)

Now, if the gun shows a pattern, say its always the same chamber that misfires, or the gun repeatedly misfires X % of all ammo, that could be a gun issue.

Did you restrike any of the duds to see if they fired the second time??

Hard to tell from waay over here on the internet, but from what you describe, it seems more an ammo issue than a firearm issue.
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Old November 8, 2020, 03:12 PM   #16
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If the cartridges aren't fully seated in the chambers (for whatever reason,) you will get light strikes. Look into this before you start changing springs.
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Old November 8, 2020, 04:42 PM   #17
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Could be a combination of shooting DA and primers not seated properly. If you really want to slick that guns action up check out YouTube videos on trigger jobs and get the shims and springs from TriggerShims.com. It took me all of an hour to totally change my GP100 from an almost intolerable trigger in DA to one of the sweetest smoothest triggers I’ve ever had, and this is the first Ruger revolver I’ve ever had and am comparing it to some very nice S&W’s in my collection. The Redhawk uses the same fire control group so it would be worth doing.
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Old November 8, 2020, 07:36 PM   #18
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The Redhawk has a different internal system than the GP100, SP100 and the Super Redhawk.

Don't get me wrong, they all share some similarities, but the GP100, SP100 and Super Redhawk are basically almost identical internally while the Redhawk has a different mainspring/trigger return setup.
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Old November 9, 2020, 02:29 AM   #19
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The gun is standard as I believe it to have been new when bought. It had all the stuff in the box and was coated in the light grease.

I have polished points of friction so in that respect it is smoother than it was.

The primers that gave problems were on 9 cartridges out of about 140 fired. 8 of the 9 were brass coloured and a type I hadn’t used before.

I didn’t attempt a restrike as I was mid stage, but I have kept the cartridges and I will try them at the range.

All the cases have been used before. Primer pockets might be dirty and therefore might be tighter as a result.

All in all, this is the first time I’ve had any such problem with this revolver so there is certainly a conflation of new primers and failures to fire.

I’ll clean the primer pockets specifically and see.
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Old November 9, 2020, 01:14 PM   #20
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If they never go off the other possibility is that something (oil?) contaminated and killed just those primers and none of the others. Possible, but likely??? No idea how you would go about looking for that as the cause, but its something to consider...

You might also measure the rim thickness on those cases. Again, not likely but possible that if the rims were just enough too thin the result would look like a light strike.

Good Luck!
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Old November 9, 2020, 02:07 PM   #21
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It's far more likely to be improperly seated primers than anything else.
It ever misfired with factory ammo?
You using .44 Special brass or Mag cases loaded to Special velocities? Highly unlikely to be the cause of misfires though.
"...primers are regular hardness..." There's no such thing as a harder primer cup. Even with magnum primers they're all the same.
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Old November 10, 2020, 05:29 AM   #22
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I agree it’s likely to be primer seating that’s the cause, although I question how true it is that there is absolute uniformity in the materials used by all primer manufacturers.

Either way, I hope to see if the faulty cartridges will fire today as I’m swinging by the range in the afternoon.
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Old November 10, 2020, 06:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
The Redhawk has a different internal system than the GP100, SP100 and the Super Redhawk.

Don't get me wrong, they all share some similarities, but the GP100, SP100 and Super Redhawk are basically almost identical internally while the Redhawk has a different mainspring/trigger return setup.
Yes of course, my bad for misinformation. Thanks for the correction. I forgot that the Redhawk and Super Redhawk were different. Like I said I’m not a Ruger revolver guy, had Smiths all my life. I guess my main point was a Ruger can very easily be improved drastically with the right parts and a little elbow grease.
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Old November 10, 2020, 11:04 AM   #24
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Well, I tried the misfired cartridges as part of a broader test of some light magnums.

In all cases the primers that had already been struck, fired. DA and SA.

So it seems primer seating was the issue.

A relief, to be honest.

So, I now know that they were the problem, I've found my competition magnum load and I've found a SJSP load that had sat undetermined for about 18mths!
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