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wheel struggles to turn after shooting medium/heavy loads?

This is a discussion on wheel struggles to turn after shooting medium/heavy loads? within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Hey guys, I own a blued 5.5 redhawk in .44. I have had to fully disassemble the cylinder a couple times because it get's so ...

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Old April 21st, 2013, 12:38 AM   #1
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wheel struggles to turn after shooting medium/heavy loads?

Hey guys,

I own a blued 5.5 redhawk in .44. I have had to fully disassemble the cylinder a couple times because it get's so gummed up it will hardly turn or cycle. This seems to happen or is accelerated by shooting higher powered rounds, though nothing outrageous. It was some winchester with 240gr jsp's @1150fps I think. I only shot 50 or so after shootiing 100 or so of my own loads (240gr lead @ 850-900fps or so, never had them measured for speed but the reloading specs list that velocity out out that revolver.

Anyway, I shoot a hundred or more rounds of those and then some of the bigger factory Winchester's. Almost immediately I felt the wheel tightening between shots as I brought back the hammer. It got so bad that it would not turn anymore. This has happened before and I disassembled the cylinder and found it to be filthy and gumming up the works. When cleaned the wheel spun smoothly again. This was the all the same when I repeated this process for this aforementioned scenario.

So my question. Is it typical to have to fully disassemble the cylinder for cleaning ever 100-300 rounds and do stronger/hotter loads aggravate this issue of making the wheel's insides dirty and gummed to the point of not being able to rotate? Is there something I might be doing wrong? Is there something I could do better?

Thanks for any help and/or advice.

Best, JP

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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:19 AM   #2
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It is unusual for enough gunk to form around your cylinder to prevent it from rotating. Generally the problem lies with the ejector rod backing out slightly and causing the binding. be aware that the ejector rod is reverse threaded into the cylinder. You might use a dab of blue Lock-Tite on the threads to prevent this in the future.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 05:26 AM   #3
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Over the years I've had similar things with a GP100 which has a similar ejector rod set up. nothing but dirt, grime and powder residue. Mine usually happens when I'm working up a load and starting on the low end....lower loads often do not expand the brass enough during firing to keep the powder and residue from leaking down along the side of the case and backing up along the rod and "star" in the ejector area. I find that if I just accept it while shooting certain loads and take the time to clean things right on the all works itself out as I move into heavier loads. One more thing that may have no bearing. It's more prevelent with 38 special loads than with the 357 mag loads in my GP. The cylinder is tight in my revolver and tends to gum up a lot more with the 38's and light 357 loadings...I'm particularly sensitive to dirt and crud under the star ejector on the back of the cylinder and have to make sure not to leave any oil or grease residue in that area when cleaning.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 08:25 PM   #4
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The Redhawk has no threaded ejector rod, but the problem sounds like too little headspace...I had a GP100 that did this, when the gun heated up from shooting it would bind, when it cooled it was OK. The cylinder was fitted too tight and the ratchet would bind against the recoil shield when the gun got hot and the steel expanded. This sounds like a job for Ruger to fix.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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ExArmy11b, You're right ... jdavis must have been thinking about a S&W. It's not a headspace problem or it would happen with just a few rounds fired.

JPS, I think your problem is a combination of dirty burning powder and oil. Take the cylinder apart and clean it thoroughly only this time DO NOT oil the ejector or the cylinder center hole. Oil draws powder residue and causes this exact problem. Likely your cylinder endshake is very snug so all you need is a flake of powder behind the extractor (star wheel) to bind it up. This is a very common problem with all revolvers but the good news is ... it will get better as cylinder endshake breaks in.

Last edited by Iowegan; April 21st, 2013 at 08:47 PM.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of the replies!

I'll try the no lube next time.

The trouble is that is gets really dirty inside the cylinder. The actual rod that the whole wheel slides onto gets gummy and dirty to the point that is does not turn freely, if at all. So I fully disassemble the wheel, which isa real pain, especially since the manuel says that I don't have to do that ever. Or at least instructions on how to are not in the cleaning section of the manual.

Well I guess we'll see...
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Old April 27th, 2013, 04:55 AM   #7
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The first two times I went to the range with my Redhawk (5.5 stainless .44mag) I also suffered with getting dirty stiff cylinder axle. On reading the recommendations on this board about 3 years ago, I stopped putting any oil on the axle, and so for about 500 more rounds over multiple years I have had no trouble with it gumming up. Oil is the enemy as far as this cylinder axle is concerned, Clean and dry is the cure.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 05:11 AM   #8
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good advice by all.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 05:24 AM   #9
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Never had any problems like that with the bunch of Ruger double actions I had. Used to shoot many hundreds of various ammo at one setting with no binding, even with H110/296 and 2400. Sounds like it needs to go to Ruger. The S&W has a tighter fitting to the extractor and would bind with a small amount of crud under the star but the Rugers never had that problem. Next time it happens, look under the extractor.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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My GP has a similar problem after 50 rounds or so, but it's just a matter of cleaning under the star. I carry a small toothbrush with me to the range to clean as needed. Scared the heck out of me, though, first time it happened.
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