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Old September 4, 2021, 11:06 AM   #1
FoghornLeghorn
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An issue with my Redhawk

I bought a used 44 mag Redhawk. It's the 4th I've owned.

The issue is that with reloads, the cylinder binds up in rotation after it heats up. It doesn't do it with factory ammo. Just reloads.

I initially used pre fired brass and after I discovered the issue, made sure I seated the primers especially carefully. It didn't help.

So then I used only new, unfired brass. It still binds.

I have a 3 screw Super Blackhawk and never had that problem. Never had the problem with my other Redhawks and Super Redhawk.

I have two S&W 29-2 revolvers and never had that problem.

I haven't measured the gap yet, but maybe the gap between the cylinder and breech face is less than it should be?

Suggestions?
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Old September 4, 2021, 12:20 PM   #2
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How many rounds is "heats up"?

How does factory not do it and reloads do?? What's different?

I'd call Ruger and explain the problem. See what they say.
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Old September 4, 2021, 12:57 PM   #3
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It usually happens during the second cylinder, viz. after 7 or 8 rounds. I pull all the affected rounds of all the affected cylinder fulls and will wind up with about 5 or 6 rounds that will not function in that gun.

They fire just fine in my Super Blackhawk and in my S&W 44s. Just not the Redhawk.

Quote:
How does factory not do it and reloads do?? What's different?
My theory ..... theory, is that the gap is too narrow. I shoot light reloads. 44 special levels. I load light to minimize wear and tear on my collectable revolvers but use the same reloads for all my 44s.

With the light loads, the primer backs out of the primer pocket somewhat. The recoil is insufficient to reseat the primer. With such a narrow gap, a slightly elevated primer is locking up the gun.

The factory loads are full charge. The recoil is sufficient to reseat the primers hence, the gun functions as desired.

But I've used the same reloads for decades and never had the problem before. Not even in my three other Redhawks or my Super Redhawk.

But I suppose you're right. I'll ultimately have to send it back. I'm not the original owner and there is no warranty.
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Old September 4, 2021, 04:01 PM   #4
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If the primers are not being reseated, I'd say your loads are too light, but since you've used them for years in other guns without this issue, its a puzzler, and must be something specific to that gun and ammo combination.

And, I assume, when you say "the gap is too tight" and primers you are talking about the gap at the rear of the cylinder, not the barrel cylinder gap.

technically, since it works with normal factory ammo, and only seems to malfunction with your light reloads, there's nothing "wrong" with the gun.

Talk to Ruger, they may be able to figure it out and fix it. Or they may not, since it does work with standard ammo. Worst case is they turn you down. they may want to see the gun to check if it meets factory specs. If its out of spec, they will fix it.

You may be charged for the repair, you might not, I don't know. Ruger stopped issuing a written warranty some years ago, but they make a point of saying "we stand behind our guns" so talk to them and see what they recommend.

Good Luck.

Alternately, you could simply stop using that ammo in that gun and use what works correctly...just sayin...
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Old September 4, 2021, 04:10 PM   #5
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Well, before you send it back, try some heavier reloads. If the factory loads work fine, but the reloads don’t, maybe the gun isn’t bad. Maybe it’s the reloads in this possibly quirky revolver.
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Old September 4, 2021, 06:33 PM   #6
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Where is it binding - rear of cylinder or face of cylinder? If you are shooting your reloads - do they fall within the accepted COAL? I know you are shooting light loads - but are you roll crimping or taper crimping? If backed out primers are the "real" culprit - then you need to load them a little heavier - a RH should certainly be able to handle between minimum and maximum load for the powder/bullet combination you are using regardless if jacketed or lead. Are you loading at least the minimum recommend charge for your powder/bullet combination?
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Old September 4, 2021, 11:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
I assume, when you say "the gap is too tight" and primers you are talking about the gap at the rear of the cylinder, not the barrel cylinder gap.
The thinnest feeler gauge I have is .005 inch. It won't go into the gap between barrel and cylinder. It also will not go between a factory unfired cartridge loaded in the cylinder and the breech face.

There's definitely something off. I bought the gun used and haven't owned it that long.
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Old September 5, 2021, 01:37 AM   #8
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@Foghorn: I think you hit it in your post #3.

Just to satisfy my curiousity, I checked the gap between the cylinder rear and the breech face (loaded) on my S&W model 24, .44 special. The gap was a consistent .008. I was surprised at how uniform the rim thicknesses were on the cartridges. If your .005 gauge won't go, then that means you cartridge-breech face gap is even less. It wouldn't take much of a spent primer protrusion to lock your redhawk up on the backside.

At the front, my model 24, cylinder to barrel gap was .005. The headspace setting shim for my dan wesson is .006. So if your .005 wouldn't go in the front, then you gap is less. A couple of decades ago, I remember some dan wesson users, shooting silhouettes, would gap the barrel/cylinder at .003. It didn't take too many rounds to heat things up to the point of the barrel and cylinder just scraping and "kissing" each other. Also, I think I remember reading somewhere that the acceptable barrel/cylinder gap has a range of .004 to .010.

So I think your theory may be right. Miss Prissy's son (and Warner Bros.) would be proud of you. Unfortunately I don't see any solution other than ruger or someone with a precision lathe, facing off the rear of the cylinder a few thousandths.

Last edited by hammie; September 5, 2021 at 01:44 AM.
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Old September 5, 2021, 03:45 AM   #9
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i had a similar issue with my redhawk, 45acp 45 colt though it would only do it on 45 colt rounds.

i sent it back to ruger, they fixed it with their voodoo no charge and sent it back
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Old September 5, 2021, 10:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Also, I think I remember reading somewhere that the acceptable barrel/cylinder gap has a range of .004 to .010.
For generations the acceptable barrel cylinder gap was supposed to be 0.006". A couple thousandths under or over were considered ok but less than ideal.

this comes to us from guns designed to run on black powder and works adequately well with modern smokeless ammo as well. Small enough of a gap to provide acceptable accuracy, but large enough that heat expansion and (particularly) powder fouling won't bind them up.

Talk to the folks at Ruger. Its possible they'll say "the problem with your reloads is your problem, not ours". it's also possibly they'll want to see the gun to check it, and find nothing wrong, and tell you its your problem. OR they might do something. Talk to them and find out.
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Old September 5, 2021, 10:59 AM   #11
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Just reload 10 rounds a bit hotter and shoot them. If they work Ok, you have no problem.
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Old September 5, 2021, 11:16 AM   #12
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I have a couple of Ruger GP100's and my only problem with them is the disassembly of the cylinder for cleaning purposes. I purchased the special screwdriver tip from Brownells to make disassembly possible. I know, I know, everyone can do this without any special screwdriver tip, but I'm stupid.

Anyway...Ruger double action revolvers with this"split head screw with a pin sticking through it" perversion tend NOT to have their cylinders cleaned on a regular basis.

Maybe yours just need a good cleaning.
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Old September 6, 2021, 01:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
I purchased the special screwdriver tip from Brownells to make disassembly possible. I know, I know, everyone can do this without any special screwdriver tip, but I'm stupid.
I have the screwdriver too, but I've never needed to use it.

You never need to disassemble the cylinder to that level just to clean the gun. In fact, by the time you can even access that screw, you're already well past the level of disassembly that Ruger recommends. Certainly beyond the level required for cleaning.
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Old September 6, 2021, 07:04 AM   #14
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Should you ever decide to use that screwdriver tip, that screw has a left hand thread.
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Old September 6, 2021, 07:09 AM   #15
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Very interesting. I'll bet there's a story behind that bit of information...
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Old September 6, 2021, 09:13 AM   #16
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No, not really. Because S&W's cylinder ejector pins are left hand threads I suspected that Ruger may use the same logic. I looked it up and sure enough, I was right. I'm a certified Bubba, but a careful one.
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Old September 6, 2021, 03:12 PM   #17
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Not as interesting, but a much better process and outcome. I confess that I would not have thought of the possibility of it's being a reverse thread screw.
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Old September 12, 2021, 06:30 PM   #18
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Either take it to a qualified gunsmith or send it back to Ruger.
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Old September 13, 2021, 08:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Either take it to a qualified gunsmith or send it back to Ruger.
Or, better still, trade in that malf-ing junker for a pre-Hillary Hole S&W M29.
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Old Yesterday, 11:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
trade in that malf-ing junker for a ... S&W M29.
I don't know anyone who would make that trade. Generally speaking folks don't care to trade a gun that works fine for one that has "issues".

However, in this case we haven't positively identified that the Redhawk has issues. It does have an issue, but ONLY with the OP's light reloads. Since they work fine in everything else then its a question of "what's different about THAT pistol??" And since that pistol works ok with regular ammo, and FACTORY ammo, then is there really something wrong with it?

Ruger can tell you if the gun is within factory tolerances. And fix anything that needs fixing to be within factory spec.

IF its actually a gun problem....
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Old Yesterday, 02:18 PM   #21
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The previous owner tightened up the end shake. Pull the shim out yourself and measure it.
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