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Light firing pin hits

This is a discussion on Light firing pin hits within the Gunsmithing forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I have an older Redhawk 44mag blued finish. Last time at the range I wanted to fire 6 round strings using double action. About 10% ...

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Old November 7th, 2016, 04:17 PM   #1
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Light firing pin hits

I have an older Redhawk 44mag blued finish. Last time at the range I wanted to fire 6 round strings using double action. About 10% of rounds fired had light firing pin hits on the primers. They did fire when using SA. Does this mean I need a stronger main spring? Also, I noted that I had to let the trigger go full forward or the cylinder would not turn for next shot. Do I have problems? I would like to read your comments. Thank you

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Old November 7th, 2016, 04:20 PM   #2
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Sounds like it needs a good cleaning. Powder and gunk building up in the trigger group could be causing some of these problems. Online takedown instructions are pretty good and Ruger has some on You Tube. However, if you do regular deep cleaning than perhaps it does need new springs. Someone more experienced can advise.

Last edited by Rugerfan57; November 7th, 2016 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Extra comment
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Old November 7th, 2016, 05:21 PM   #3
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Yeah, check your main spring and make sure it is the stock spring. Is it new to you gun?
I had a GP100 that light struck primers just like your Redhawk. Sent it back to Ruger twice and still had the issue. I unfortunately sold it off because I was planning to have it in my carry rotation.
A heavier spring may help.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 03:09 PM   #4
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Your revolver has almost assuredly been "improved" by Barney the gunsmith. Redhawks come with a stout trigger/hammer spring (same spring) which works great in both double and single action. Remember that if you are having light primer strikes on some of your ammo, then you are having light strikes on all of your ammo. It is just that a certain percentage will fire since it is a statistical thing in the end. It is possible, but not probable that the trigger engagement surfaces have been incorrectly stoned or altered, causing DA pull to be too short. It is normal for the DA hammer strike to be a little shorter than SA, but the design takes that into account.

Someone always chimes in that you need a "good" cleaning and lube. I have nothing against cleaning firearms, but I''m also assuming the majority of shooters are smart enough to clean and lube their guns periodically. Put in a factory weight trigger/hammer spring, make sure your firing pin assembly is not stuck and that the f.p. can actually protrude from the recoil face when you push on it.


Last edited by Eor; December 11th, 2016 at 03:12 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2016, 03:41 AM   #5
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I disassembled my Redhawk and gave it a thorough cleaning and found no problems at all. All internals are as they should be, ie:no honing of trigger parts and firing pin is doing the correct thing. It's now too cold here to go to the range to check it out. Come on Spring time!
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Old December 13th, 2016, 04:02 AM   #6
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The problem never was an issue with cleaning.

The problem IS the mainspring. As an example if you were to order a 3 piece spring kit from Wolff one spring would be a light spring, then medium, then heavy. What happens is maybe the lightest will detonate very few primers. Then maybe the medium spring will detonate all the primers in SA but once in a while it will fail in DA operation

Here is what is happening. In SA mode the hammer has more inertia than DA mode. Therefore the revolver will show signs of failure in a few primers here and there in DA but not in SA mode. Pretty much every time I work with a spring kit from Wolff this is what I experience.

The fix is to either try the heavy mainspring by Wolff or order a stock spring from Ruger.

Hope that helps.

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Old December 13th, 2016, 04:13 AM   #7
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Eor may be hitting on the problem. I have had Ruger revolvers that previous owners have "improved" the triggers on that acted much like the OP's Redhawk as the result of installing too light springs in an attempt to reduce DA pull. The trigger long reset is another indication of this. Before doing anything else, order a set of stock springs and replace the ones in the Redhawk.
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Old December 13th, 2016, 10:00 AM   #8
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The Redhawk "single spring" design has been problematic since day one .... but only if the spring has been cut or the factory spring has been replaced with a reduced power spring. With the single spring design, a lighter spring will affect trigger pull in two ways .... less trigger tension (DA) and less hammer tension, which in turn will reduce sear tension (SA). Herein lies the problem .... to maintain the delicate balance between a decent trigger pull and positive primer ignition, you need to favor reliability and just deal with a stronger trigger pull. In other words .... use the factory spring.

I see references to firing pin protrusion in Redhawks where installing a slightly longer firing pin will solve the problem. Having worked on many Redhawks, my conclusion is .... if there is enough firing pin protrusion to detonate a primer, there's no need to replace the firing pin. The issue is NOT with firing pin protrusion, it's simply with applying enough energy to the firing pin to get the job done.

Here's how all Ruger revolvers with transfer bars work .... As the hammer thrusts forward, the lower step on the hammer strikes the transfer bar and the top step on the hammer strikes the frame. Most of the hammer's energy is wasted on the frame and just a little of the energy is used to drive the transfer bar on the firing pin. There's plenty of hammer energy available ... even with a reduced power spring, it's just a matter of wasting less energy on the frame and applying more energy to the transfer bar, which then drives the firing pin.

So .... how do you apply more energy to the transfer bar and waste less on the frame? Simple .... you just remove a small amount of metal from the top step of the hammer. With the relationship now changed, some of the energy that was previously wasted on the frame will now be directed to the transfer bar and in turn, to the firing pin. This will provide very positive primer detonation even with a reduced power spring, while providing a lighter DA and SA trigger pull. I have accomplished this modification many times and it has always worked just fine in fact it doesn't even take expensive shop tools to do it.

Measure the hammer from the tail of the spur to the top step surface. Remove at least .015" but not more than .020" from the top step. I used a belt sander with a 400 grit belt. Drill a hole in a piece of scrap wood ... an old 2x4 works fine. The drill bit is the same size as the pivot hole in the hammer. Insert the drill bit through the hammer pivot hole and into the board to use as a pivot pin. Clamp the board to the table of the belt sander so the face of the hammer is squared up on the belt. As you push the hammer forward, the arch of the hammer movement will keep the top step of the hammer at the proper angle.

Take a little metal off then measure and inspect. Repeat as necessary until the hammer measures about .015" shorter .... but no more than .020" shorter. If you take too much metal off, you will end up with pierced primers and poor trigger reset ... which means a new hammer.
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