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SBH Hammer in NRV Problem......HELP!

This is a discussion on SBH Hammer in NRV Problem......HELP! within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I bought Super Blackhawk hammers to put in my New Vaqueros, 2 of them. Bought the hammers from Midway, not Ruger. Putting them in was ...


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Old April 5th, 2017, 11:02 AM   #1
 
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SBH Hammer in NRV Problem......HELP!

I bought Super Blackhawk hammers to put in my New Vaqueros, 2 of them.
Bought the hammers from Midway, not Ruger.

Putting them in was fine, I have no problem with disassembly/assembly.

But the hammers are not working properly.
I have the cylinder thing removed so the cylinders will turn both ways.
With the SBH hammers there is a "clicking" when I spin the cylinder forward and it will not turn backwards.

It looks to me like the pawl is protruding into the frame too far and staying in contact with the cylinder ratchet, which makes a click forward and prevents the cylinder from turning backwards.
The problem is with both guns, one worse then the other.

Anyone have any advise on how to fix this?



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Old April 8th, 2017, 01:01 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to the forum.

This is not uncommon. And you've located the problem.

It only takes a slight variation in the location of the cyl pawl mounting hole in the hammer base for this to occur.

Just relieve the pawl a little at a time as shown until it works:


Photo by Iowegan

You can fit the pawl while in the gun, just remove cyl.


#1. MY SHORTCUT FOR REMOVING JUST HAMMER and/or PAWL in New Models:

Recognize, when JUST NEEDING to remove the hammer and pawl, you do not need to hassle with the PESKY LOADING GATE SPRING, pull the trigger pin, OR trigger/transfer bar. Once you remove the grip frame, the hammer pin is the only other part you need to remove. After that, just pull the hammer back and all the way down, then depress the hammer plunger in the base of the hammer with a small tipped screwdriver to clear the trigger extension where the transfer bar connects to it. Let the hammer & pawl fall out. Reinstall the hammer and pawl back in the same way they came out. Push the plunger in by pushing it against the trigger extension just like you did with the tip of the small screwdriver, and the hammer will slip by the trigger extension. Piece o’ cake.

Occasionally a hammer change that doesn't cock or just barely cocks is because it's hitting the back of the slot in the grip frame. I have had to slightly lengthen the slot with a few file strokes.
If either the trigger or hammer pin are snug fits, after they’re removed the first time, it’s the opportunity to polish them so they’re slip fits to put back in and remove the next time.


#2. TIPS FOR INSTALLING GRIP FRAMES:

Always unhook both legs of the trigger spring for reassembly, it’s easier to get the spring behind the trigger shelf.

Always leave the cyl out so you can confirm the cyl latch spring/plunger is properly aligned on the latch so it has tension on it by seeing it sticking up thru the frame, before putting in any grip frame screws. Put the cyl pin back in the frame to keep the transfer bar from hanging up on the firing pin when moving the hammer up and down.

The cyl hand spring to the left side of the hammer goes plunger first. Also, you can put a small magnet over the spring to hold it in the hole and just let the grip frame push the magnet out of the way as the grip frame ear slips into position over the hole.

Install all five screws but do not cinch them tight. Align the grip frame edges flush with the cyl frame by tapping with the butt of a plastic handled screw driver. Tighten one trigger guard screw, then front screw and then one ear screw. Then tighten them all. Check for ease of hammer movement to be sure it's not rubbing on grip frame ears.

NOTE: While you have the grip frame off, it's always good to examine the upper end of all the grip frame screws blind screw holes in the main frame (especially stainless guns) for thread shavings that weren't cleaned out from the factory and get crammed in there by the screws.

Also check the two trigger guard screw holes where they are exposed by the milling cut if your grip frame has the two projections that go into the main frame (the New Vaquero and New FT BH guns no longer have these projections and milling cuts). Almost always there will be a huge flat 'roll-over’ burr in each hole from the milling cuts that expose the holes. If they are present they generally cause the 1st 1/8" of removing those two screws to take extra effort to unscrew and can cause screws to screw in too tight and/or break off. You'll need to break off the burrs and pick them out with a dental pick or equivalent tool.


#3. AFTER CHANGING HAMMERS IN NEW MODELS:

The first thing to check is the transfer bar clearance with hammer for reliable firing pin function. When swapping hammers between two guns, it often helps To swap transfer bars as well for proper ignition and to insure the safety feature still works correctly.

TO TEST HAMMER/TRANSFER BAR FOR MISS-FIRES:
With hammer fully cocked, press on the transfer bar to extend the firing pin and observe how far thru the recoil shield it protrudes. Now keep the trigger pulled back, drop the hammer and observe the firing pin again. If firing pin protrudes the same amount, you’re good to go. If it doesn't protrude the same amount, you need to remove just enough metal from the top face of the hammer nose so the transfer bar is pushed tight against the firing pin and the frame. If you remove too much, the transfer bar will not perform its safety function and will be pinched. Also make sure hammer has no friction or contact with grip frame ears around its base to slow its fall and you may have miss-fires; another potential issue when making hammer changes.

IF TRIGGER DOESN”T RETURN, TRANSFER BAR IS PINCHED AND SAFETY IS NOT WORKING:
If the transfer bar is hanging up under the hammer face, since it's connected to the trigger, it prevents the trigger from returning. The transfer bar is slightly too thick. If both ends of the trigger return spring are connected (under the grips), or even if you have only one leg of the spring connected it should pull down the transfer bar if it's the correct thickness. When this happens, the transfer bar safety function will not work. If the gun were dropped, a live round in the chamber under the hammer will fire.

This is not uncommon however, and it's a very simple fix. File the second step of the hammer face, counting from the top, just a bit until the bar no longer hangs up. Don't take too much off or you'll have miss-fires. If that happens file a little more off the top step of the hammer.

IF YOU HAD TO MODIFY HAMMER NOSE:
At the range, double check the safety function by loading a live round in the next chamber to cycle under the hammer, point down range, cock the hammer, hold with thumb, release the trigger to uncock the hammer, take finger off trigger and release your thumb to let the hammer fall. The round will not fire if safety transfer bar is functioning correctly.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 03:46 AM   #3
 
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Thanks a lot Hondo.

I understand now that by putting BH hammers in my Vaqueros I essentially made them Blackhawks, which do not have the option of free spinning the cylinder.

I'm not certain I want to modify the pawl that came with the gun. Maybe I'll buy a pawl and learn to time it?

What is your opinion of a Power Custom free spin pawl?

Thanks again,
JIM
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Old April 8th, 2017, 11:13 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devrodirt View Post
Thanks a lot Hondo.

I understand now that by putting BH hammers in my Vaqueros I essentially made them Blackhawks, which do not have the option of free spinning the cylinder.

JIM
No, your Vaqueros are still Vaqueros. To be a Blackhawk, there must be a rear sight.

A Vaquero will never be a Blackhawk, but I've made some of my .45s Super Blackhawks, more or less.

Bob Wright
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Old April 8th, 2017, 12:05 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devrodirt View Post
Thanks a lot Hondo.

I understand now that by putting BH hammers in my Vaqueros I essentially made them Blackhawks, which do not have the option of free spinning the cylinder.
No, once your pawl is adjusted it will work as originally. Occasionally a New Vaquero will ship out with the same problem that you have and it's fixed with the slight pawl adjustment I recommend.

All your pawl needs is a couple of file strokes, You won't need near as much material removed as shown in the above post photo. And it will still work perfectly with your original hammers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devrodirt View Post
[I'm not certain I want to modify the pawl that came with the gun. Maybe I'll buy a pawl and learn to time it?

What is your opinion of a Power Custom free spin pawl?

Thanks again,
JIM
I've used them, they work great but must be fitted. But your New Vaquero already has a free spin pawl, It just needs to be adjusted for the new hammers. And I can assure you, it's a lot less work than fitting a Power Custom pawl.

All the New Vaqueros and NM Flat Top Blackhawks introduced in 2005 added a new feature; the Reverse Indexing Pawl System (RIPS) to align with the loading gate at the click of the 2nd pawl. The cyl free spins backwards only a short distance until it catches on the 2nd pawl.

You can see the device (3 of the 4 parts) in the hammer channel to the lower left of the cyl pin hole shown below.
Hex retaining screw in hammer channel for spring and indexing pawl button:



Just remove the hex set screw and 2nd pawl to make the cyl completely free spin. Your cylinder will freewheel in both directions with loading gate opened. The most immediate benefit of course for New Models is easier alignment of the chamber with the loading gate opening for loading/unloading. But there are additional benefits: if you load a round that might have a high primer, pulled bullet or other problem that makes the cylinder tight to turn, you don't have to pull the cylinder to unload it. It’s much safer to just turn the cylinder in reverse and unload it thru the loading gate.


Ruger free spin pawl on the right:



Divot for Ruger’s free spin pawl shown on the left used on NM Flat Tops and New Vaqueros with the reverse indexing system using the Ruger free spin pawl. The Power Custom free spin pawl will not work correctly because of this divot:





“Reverse Indexing Pawl System" parts:

Names of parts, Ruger Part #s & Brownell Part #s:

Ejector/chamber Alignment Pawl (not to be confused with the Cyl pawl)………..KMVQ04502….780-001-292ah
Cylinder rotation Stop Spring……………………………………………………………………………..KMVQ04500….78 0-001-293ah
Cylinder Rotation Alignment Pawl & Spring Retention Screw…………………………….KMVQ04501….780-001-294ah
Free spin cyl pawl* (for mid/large size frame only)……………………………………………KMVQ00701….780-001-296WB
*must modify existing pawl or use Power Custom pawl for single six frame size.
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Old April 9th, 2017, 04:52 AM   #6
 
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I've talked with Randall Power and he says his Power Free Spin Pawl will work in my Vaquaros. But I will make sure he knows the concern of his pawls not working in 2005+ Vaqueros because of the indention in the trigger frame.

Occasionally a New Vaquero will ship out with the same problem that you have and it's fixed with the slight pawl adjustment I recommend.

It seems odd I have a 2007 and a 2010 Vaquero and both will not free spin after I installed the SBH hammer.
If I remove the SBH hammer and put in the original hammer, they free spin (the RIPS pins were removed a long time ago).

I'm not really sure I want to modify the pawl that came with the gun, so I am either going to buy new pawls and time them to work, and then modify them as Hondo44 suggest or get a couple Custom Power Pawls.

I'm new to modifying my own guns, I think it's fun. I have no problem with the timing of a pawl and other smithing I've done on my guns the last year or so.
I thank all of you for your help in this free-spin thing, nothing like getting advise from you guys who know and have been doing your own smithing for quite a while.

Thanks

Now if someone could figure out why my Dan Wesson small frame 357 light strikes on double action I'd be ELATED!

Ya'll be good and shoot straight.
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Old April 9th, 2017, 04:19 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devrodirt View Post

It seems odd I have a 2007 and a 2010 Vaquero and both will not free spin after I installed the SBH hammer.


I'm not really sure I want to modify the pawl that came with the gun, so I am either going to buy new pawls and time them to work, and then modify them as Hondo44 suggest or get a couple Custom Power Pawls.
I see nothing odd about the 2007 and 2010 both not working with the SBH hammers; they're both the exact same design and the two SBH hammers are the same design.

Another thing you might do is compare the depth of the SBH hammer notches at the upper hammer face to the depth of the notches on original hammers. If they're different, they would affect the pawl position.

You might just have to shave the SBH upper hammer face slightly so it goes down farther in the hammer channel which will retract the pawl just a tad more for the cyl to clear when turned in reverse.

That's a good strategy. But I suggest you buy the Ruger pawls for $6 each that will drop in and work:
RUGER PAWL | Brownells

Rather than the PC for $36 each that need a lot of fitting before they'll work in each of your guns:
POWER CUSTOM RUGER® SA FREE SPIN PAWL? | Brownells
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Old April 17th, 2017, 04:14 AM   #8
 
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Thanks again Hondo44.
From the info you gave me I was able to look at all the parts, hammer and pawl, and better understand how they work together.

I filed off about a 1/1000 of an inch off the top hammer face, I did this 3 times until the pawl dropped just far enough to barely touch the cylinder ratchet when turned backwards.
I then filed off the corner of the pawl where it first makes contact with the cylinder ratchet. I took VERY little material off the pawl, just rounded the corner a bit.

By making the pawl not quite clear the cylinder ratchet, and the corner being rounded the cylinder will free spin and I get a little click, click, click as it turns backwards.

Love it!

Thanks for your help, I'm a newbe at gunsmithing, liking doing my own smithing and getting better at it all the time, thanks to folks like you.

JIM
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Old April 17th, 2017, 04:18 AM   #9
 
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On to my next project:
Is there a way to better time the cylinder lock so it doesn't put that nasty scratch all around the cylinder?

Seems to me it shouldn't touch the cylinder until just before the notch, it should fall into the bevel before the notch and the bevel and notch should be the only part of the cylinder it touches.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 11:41 AM   #10
 
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Hi Jim,

You're very welcome, my pleasure.

The 1st thing I do on any revolver is polish the cyl latch to a mirror finish to mitigate further scratching. It won't eliminate the line but keeps the latch from carving it deeper.

You're correct, the new Model Ruger design allows the latch to rise way to early, but it's on purpose for a positive cyl locking under rapid shooting conditions.

The cure is to extend the hammer plunger's travel to increase the 'dwell' time of the latch and delay its rise until it rises into the cyl notch lead.

TWO METHODS DEPENDING ON ORIGINAL FACTORY PLUNGER CONFIGURATION:

1. The hammer plunger protrudes from the hammer itself. It looks like this below, and actuates the cyl latch drop and rise. To delay the rise of the latch movement the plunger must be extended. Filing the back edge of the notch will usually accomplish just that.



2. Factory plunger not long enough. “The base of a #42 drill bit is the easiest way to get the exact size rod and proper steel for the NM pin.

OMs seldom need this modification, but the OM pin size is larger, a 1/8” drill bit.”
Also a 3/32 (.0938) drill bit shank works good for donor material.

The cyl bolts can vary slightly so you may have to shorten the ‘C’ dimension a little at a time until it works just right."
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Old April 18th, 2017, 04:00 AM   #11
 
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Thanks again.
One of my Vaqueros has a lot of play in the cylinder from the cylinder latch not fitting well. I'm going to order an oversize latch for that one. It's also the one with the latch way out of time.

So I'll get a latch and get to work.
Thanks for the hammer plunger fix, I have 3 left over hammers, so have 3 plungers to play with :-}

JIM
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Old April 18th, 2017, 02:27 PM   #12
 
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Jim,

Just a word of caution:

Production revolvers have a certain amount of built in "play" to allow the forcing cone to do its job of aligning the chamber with the barrel. It does this as the bullet passes thru by using the play in the cyl. When you remove the play from one part and not correct the variations of all the parts, the gun can wind up losing some accuracy.

Custom line bored guns remove all play and every part is precision fit to gain their accuracy. So it's not advised to just make one part like the cyl latch precision fit, or using a super tight custom cyl pin, etc.
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Old April 19th, 2017, 04:09 AM   #13
 
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Thanks Hondo.
I'll be proceeding slowly and cautiously.
As I said, the one pistol has a LOT of cylinder slop. The scratch in the cylinder from the latch is deep and wide and not centered to the latch ramp or notch, so something is wrong.
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Old April 19th, 2017, 06:22 PM   #14
 
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Most of the "scratch" (cylinder stop track) on the cyl is from mis-handling.

The wide and off center line just means the top of the cyl latch is worn and just needs to be slighty reshaped and polished.


There's actually two reasons for the cyl drag line:

1. The half ring is the unavoidable part of the drag line (AKA “cylinder stop track", in some shop manuals) from where the bolt rises to meet the cyl surface and the notch approach ramp. NM Rugers and Smiths are designed for the bolt to rise before the approach ramp. So the cyl bolt only scribes a line starting 1/2 way between the notches by design.

The severity of the drag line can be a factor of the cyl stop (bolt) surface roughness. Many come new with extremely rough surfaces.

I don't mind the cyl ˝ ring at all but I do mind an excessively rough cyl stop bolt gouging a groove into the cyl.

So I simply polish the bolt while in the gun on all revolvers when I first get them. Takes one minute with a Dremel tool and goes a long way towards mitigating the half ring. After that, I never think about the ring again.


2. However, recognize w/o conscientious handling, the rest of the full ring will result; a full line between each of the notches is avoidable.

You can cause a full ring when you close the loading gate w/o a cyl notch being directly above the cyl bolt; as soon as you cock the hammer or turn the cyl into place to lock it, you scribe a full ring.

Old model Ruger and Colt bolts rise in the approach ramp when properly timed and should have no lines on the cyl surface when properly handled. You can cause a full ring if you drop the hammer w/o cocking all the way back 1st before dropping the hammer (a SA no-no!)
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