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Author Topic: Ruger hand spring plunger?  (Read 2035 times)

Offline ssb73q

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Ruger hand spring plunger?
« on: June 29, 2017, 07:13:17 AM »
Hi, since I have already modified the frame of a Pietta 1860 I am not shy about doing other enhancements. I am considering adding a Ruger plunger and spring to improve the hand reliability of the Pietta 1860. The work required is in this reference starting at page 9:

http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_Two.pdf

Has anyone ever done this mod and do you recommend it?

Regards,
Richard
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 07:59:33 AM »
Mike (Goon) did this to my 2nd Dragoon ("Joaquin Murietta") and it is slick as hog snot. Ask him for the details...
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Offline Fingers McGee

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 08:58:41 AM »
I've done it to six of my CAS main match guns.  Don't have to worry about breaking a handspring and helps smooth the action.  I highly recommend it.
Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee - AKA Man of Many Colts; SASS 28564-L-TG, rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire; Frontiersman/Pistoleer, NRA Endowment Life, Central Ozarks Western Shooters
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Offline mazo kid

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 06:15:46 PM »
I haven't done it yet, but considering trying it on a couple of guns to see if it smooths up the action. No more broken hand springs!

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 09:38:20 PM »
Yap, I do it to pretty much all my customers revolvers.  I use a slightly larger diameter/ longer "plunger" (a pushrod) and a shorter/stouter spring. My setup increases tension as the action cycle continues. This helps alleviate the "throw-by" problem that the true "Ruger" type setup induces. It more mimics the action of the original hand setup.  Because you don't have the friction from pushing and dragging the flat spring anymore, a  significant reduction in overall friction is a huge plus toward the "felt" action.

  I profile the back of the hand (after removing the flat spring) to induce greater tension as the hand moves further in its cycle.  The normal Ruger setup (long spring/short plunger, straight posterior hand surface) allows a reduction in tension as the hand  travels further away from the plunger/spring. For this reason, I was taught not to do this "upgrade" to a customers revolver, only the competition guns.

  I finally figured a way to do the upgrade without the "problems" that came with it. So, now I offer it as an upgrade (though it's not on my website yet). 

  I also replace the bolt spring (the second most broken spring) with a torsion spring (just like a Ruger 3 screw/Old Army). That upgrade also adds a significant reduction in overall friction and enhances the action considerably!  I call it a "Hybrid" coil spring conversion when those two are used.  Of course, you can go the "full Monty" and put a spring and plunger in the trigger guard for the trigger return (also ROA/3 screw) and do away with the rest of the combination spring and have what I call a "full" coil conversion. The main spring remains a flat (reduced as/if needed of course!!). Doing this to my El Patron Comp reduced the hammer draw to just under 3lbs!! (I left the already tuned, ignition reliable mainspring alone ). My trigger pull is right at 3lbs! Imagine that, a trigger pull that's heavier than the hammer draw!!  That's what these setups can do for you!!

Mike
www.goonsgunworks.com
Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 09:57:49 PM by 45 Dragoon »

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2017, 08:27:25 AM »
Hi, thanks for all the replies. I ordered and received the Brownells 780-001-231 and 780-000-464 (spring and plunger) parts for my Pietta 1860. The frame was center punched per the instructions starting pg 9 in:

http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_Two.pdf

I have a drill press vise, but it won't let me correctly mount the frame for drilling. A new drill press vise was ordered that should work, see:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01547SBBS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That vise will arrive Friday. The frame will then be drilled.

Regards,
Richard

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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 06:31:56 AM »
Hi, I have decided to put this project on hold. The action is now slicker than goose grease, I have never broken a hand spring, and why fix what ain't broke. I have the parts on hand to do this work, drill press, a new drill press vice, soft jaws for the vice, Ruger plungers and springs, #42 drills, and even a #42 reamer.

The first time I break a handspring in the 1860, I will then do the mod.

Actually, my flaky 1849 revolver hands would probably be a better candidate for the Ruger plunger mod than the 1860.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 07:21:39 AM »
The correct location for the pocket guns like that is the existing screw hole. Just continue it on through. You'll need to shorten the screw to allow room. I think the regular plunger may not be long enough to span the distance (without causing a binding situation) so a "longer plunger" would be best. That is another reason I use the "pushrod" on all the other revolvers rather than add a "bearing surface" to the backside of the hand. I'd rather profile the existing surface so the hand will do all of its job.
 
  The nice thing about these little guns is you can put the back strap on and then "load" the spring and plunger and follow with the screw.

Mike
www.goonsgunworks.com
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« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 07:25:51 AM by 45 Dragoon »

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 07:36:27 AM »
Hi Mike, thanks for the tips on doing the plunger job on a pocket. Do you use drill rod for a longer plunger?

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 10:14:49 AM »
Hey Richard,
  No, I use steel stock and cut what I need.  I would go through too many drills!! Lol  But, if just doing a few, I would save some steps and use the drill extension.

Mike
www.goonsgunworks
Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks 

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 01:12:24 PM »
Hi, there was little to do today so I decided to do the Ruger handspring mod on my Pietta 1860. The hole was drilled using a #42 chip clearing drill:

https://www.mcmaster.com/#27575a66/=18fvb0a

The drilling went incredibly fast, the frame steel is very soft. It was like drilling aluminum. Internal hole burrs were removed using a #42 reamer:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/No-42-Wire-Size-0-0935-in-Carbide-Straight-Flute-Chucking-Reamer-4-Flute-U/152546678997?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

The Brownells Ruger parts were installed, the hand had the hand spring removed and the back of the hand polished, and then the revolver was reassembled.

The timing is good except for when cycling the action fast. When the hammer is pulled back fast the cylinder sometimes would over rotate the bolt rising. This has me wondering what could be done to cause some drag on the cylinder rotation. Maybe adding a viscus thick grease to the arbor would help? Any other ideas to create cylinder drag?

Regards,
Richard
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 03:51:28 PM by ssb73q »
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Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2017, 05:32:54 PM »
  I believe I explained it in my first post in this thread. 
   The hand has two jobs. Turning the cylinder and braking the cylinder. You removed the flat hand spring that adds tension as you cycle the action further. The flat spring is mounted on and therefore moves with the hand.
 By contrast, the frame mounted spring and plunger is stationary and the further the cycle goes, the less "braking" influence the hand will have. What you are experiencing (probably to a greater degree) is the Ruger problem caused by this setup. This is the reason I was taught NOT to do this upgrade. But, I figured it out and now I offer the upgrade.  I explained my setup in my post above and the difference between mine and the Ruger setup.  The hand needs to be profiled  so as to increase pressure against the pushrod (skinny at the top, thicker at the bottom) as the cycle continues so that the braking action will arrest the cylinder enough for lockup. This setup works very well and I have upgraded all of my S.A.s with it. Even though my El Patron came with a coil handspring, I increased the diameter of the hole and installed my setup and it works much better than the factory version.

Mike
www.goonsgunworks.com
Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2017, 08:27:23 PM »
Hi Mike, I made a lot of progress on the cylinder over running the bolt. First I double checked that the bolt width was narrower than the cylinder bolt slots. But I did notice that the bolt edges were very sharp and the cylinder bolt slot very shallow at lockup. I did a lot more polishing of the bolt sides and slightly broke the sharp edges of the top of the bolt. That has done wonders to prevent over running the bolt. I also saw a Larsen E. Pettifogger article where he suggested grease on the arbor to dampen the cylinder rotation:

"The big single-tooth hand stays constantly engaged in the ratchet throughout the cylinder’s entire rotation and acts as a brake on the cylinder. This combined with the large surface area and increased friction of the cylinder arbor (which is much larger in diameter than the cylinder pin on a SAA) and the fact that the arbor is usually covered with grease, which further increases friction, makes it unusual for a Colt cap and ball to over-rotate."

Even though the action now seems OK with just Ballistol on the arbor, I will see what putting grease on the arbor does tomorrow.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2017, 11:16:38 PM »
Ok,
 I'm not being presumptuous, just trying to help (others too if they don't know). Timing is often "seems good" but that's not a state of correct timing. Textbook timing is the bolt dropping one full bolt width before the locking notch. To check it, sight a line down the barrel in line with the left side of the hammer.  While cycling the action slowly and dragging a finger on the cylinder, watch the "sight line".  The bolt should drop when the cyl locking notch reaches the line. Full lockup will have the notch just across the line.  If the bolt drops slightly earlier, that is OK  as long as it drops in the approach (if one is present). If it drops later, (touching the line or anything across the line), it must be corrected.
   The leading edge of the bolt head (tall side) should be sharp and slightly broken at a small angle  (20-30 deg.) to prevent scratching the cylinder. Never round the edge. Buffing it with a buffing wheel (unless you know how) is a no no.  A round edge here promotes throw-by. Late bolt drop promotes throw-by. A cracked or broken or weak bolt spring allows throw-by. That being said, 3-4 lbs pressure at the bolt head is all that is needed.
   A weak or broken hand spring also allows throw-by. The reason is, there is no braking action by the hand applied to the cyl ratchet. Relying on grease to prevent throw-by is not a correct fix. (It's a band-aid at best! Don't care who said it. That isn't the design)

  What has changed here is the addition of a long slinky spring with a follower (plunger) on the end. It is what Ruger uses and a Ruger S.A. can be used to demonstrate throw-by (at will) because of this. Competition folks like this fix because of the "unbreakable" aspect and if throw-by happens, they keep cycling untill it fires that round. A ring on the cylinder of a competition gun is common, especially a Ruger. Again, this is the very reason I was taught NOT to do this upgrade.
  The upgrade CAN be done successfully if enough tension is delivered to the  hand.  The hand can be profiled to vary the tension for ease of rotation (for loading) and increased for lockup.  The use of a stouter spring supplies the needed tension and a long plunger (a pushrod) to deliver it to the hand.  The overall throw of the pushrod is roughly  between 1/8"- 1/4". The highly polished hardened surface reduces the friction, from this normally high friction area, quite substantially!!

 So, for those that want to do the "Ruger" hand spring upgrade, the price for the upgrade may be cylinder throw-by unless you have a perfectly timed (or even slightly early) action and an increased (replaced) spring for the plunger.  Or, you can use my method (it only took a LOT of time to figure out and it's offered freely!)

Mike
www.goonsgunworks.com
Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks

 

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Ruger hand spring plunger?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2017, 03:40:53 AM »
Hi Mike, IMO the timing is now very good since polishing the sides and breaking the sharp edge of the top of the bolt. A significant design issue for the 5-shot 1860 conversion cylinders are the very shallow bolt locking depths since there is both a lead in and lead out at the cylinder bolt slot. That design minimizes the amount of metal to metal contact area to lock the fast moving cylinder in place. If there wasn't a lead out the bolt would never drop enough to unlock the cylinder on these 5-shot 1860 cylinders. The Kirst seems to be a lot more difficult to set up properly. I currently own 5 1860 .45 Colt conversion cylinders (4 Howell, 1 Kirst). The Howells (Taylor) never gave me a problem, but if one wants a gated revolver the only choice is the Kirst.

BTW, this morning I put some lithium grease on the arbor. Band-aid or not, it sure turns a marginal revolver to a super slick operating action. The only thing I don't like about it is the potential for a real goo mess on doing a cleanup after shooting.

Those that have ears should seriously consider having you do the Ruger plunger mod or spend hours to get the action set up perfectly for a Kirst conversion, and even then maybe with a lot of grease. I think that the Ruger hand plunger mod is more straight forward and forgiving for the amateur gunsmith when C&B.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!