Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

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shooter
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Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#1 Post by shooter » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:28 pm

I bought a gun last year that I absolutely love. It is accurate as all get out, the action is silky smooth, and it's a nice packin' pistol. It's a stainless Ruger Vaquero (old model) with a 3 3/4? inch bbl. I have shot many rounds through it and never had a misfire...until today. I just reloaded a couple hundred rounds of .45 Colts to shoot while we were hunting this weekend, and it was very unreliable. Out of the 4 or 5 cylinders I tried to shoot out of it, it only fired about 1/4 of the rounds on the first go round. It would fire some on the second strike, and some it would not fire at all. The dimple in the primers were noticeably light. I put rounds from the same box through my other Ruger and they all went bang without a problem.

The gun in question was evidently modified for CAS, but like I said, has always shot reliably before. What would cause the strikes to get so light so fast, and how do I fix it? Do the lighter springs just loosen up easier/faster than the stiffer stock springs, or the Wolffe spring kits?
‎"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen" - Samuel Adams

adirondakjack
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#2 Post by adirondakjack » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:00 am

Light mainspring as CAS mod is popular. Could be yours 'sat down" on the job, making it JUST a shade less than perfect. Replace or shim the mainspring with a washer on the strut.
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Buck Elliott
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#3 Post by Buck Elliott » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:45 am

Does the firing pin move easily in the frame? Sometimes a bit of primer metal can get stuck in the hole, restricting pin movement..

Is there anything blocking the transfer bar? All kinds of debris can fall into the action when the hammer is cocked...

Pull the grip panels and check hammer strut and spring.. Is there binding? Is the spring cracked or broken?

Remove cylider and drop a dowel down the barrel, making sure it sits on the firing pin.. With muzzle pointed straight up, dry fire the gun.. Does the dowel jump, or just flinch when the hammer drops...
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Lefty Dude
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#4 Post by Lefty Dude » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:06 am

Standard Ruger stock springs are 23#. CAS shooters replace to a lighter spring. Some go as low as 14#. A 14# spring will set of Federal primers as they are the softest. If you are using CCI primers they are the hardest. Brownells has all the various springs for Rugers. Buy a 17# spring and your Ruger will be very happy and set off all the Mfg. primers.

Most CAS shooters prefer Federal primers, I prefer Winchester's. I shoot Colts and not Rugers. My Colts with leaf springs will fire any and all primers. I guess I am old fashion, I do not like coil springs in my CAS fire-arms.
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#5 Post by kimwcook » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:24 am

Lefty, I agree. I don't like coil springs in my Colts. I had a fairly well known gunsmith do an action job on one of my Colt SAA's and he replaced the trigger/bolt spring with a wire spring. I hated the feel and when I opened the piece I found the wire spring all bent out of shape. I replaced it with an original flat spring style, although a custom spring and it worked fine and felt fine.
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#6 Post by Nate Kiowa Jones » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:28 am

If you have gone through the suggestions above there is a spring loaded plunger on the hammer that works the bolt. If that plunger gets sticky,dry, hard to work it will slow the hammer fall.
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#7 Post by adirondakjack » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:33 am

The first test I would do is remove the cylinder, cock the gun and press and HOLD the trigger Now push the hammer down tightly with your thumb and observe the firing pin. Does it protrude normally through the bushing? Does the hammer's last bit of motion feel normal or is there gritty feel or other resistance? If all seems fine there, replace or shim the mainspring before sweating much else.
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shooter
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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#8 Post by shooter » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:40 pm

Lefty Dude wrote:Standard Ruger stock springs are 23#. CAS shooters replace to a lighter spring. Some go as low as 14#. A 14# spring will set of Federal primers as they are the softest. If you are using CCI primers they are the hardest.
ding ding ding! I think we have a winner! I will check all the other stuff the more knowledgeable than me folks suggested, and will probably swap out the spring anyway, but I think Lefty may have hit it on the head. I had been shooting Federal primers since I bought the gun, and just this batch of ammo switched out to CCI to try them out.

I did run a couple of rounds with Federal primers through the gun, and the FTF rate went down to about 10% or so, but that is still unacceptable, so I'm gonna try and diagnose the problem and/or just swap out the spring for a heavier one.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
‎"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen" - Samuel Adams

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Re: Light hammer strikes with a Ruger Vaquero

#9 Post by Lefty Dude » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:35 pm

When we had the primer shortage several years back we had several of our CAS club members buy other than their favorite Federal primers. That was something to watch, as they were getting FTF's on every cylinder of both revolvers. Lucky for some, they had the factory springs in the shooting box. When they changed out the springs, all rounds fired.

Some also had to adjust the hammer spring on the 73 rifle they used the same cartridge as the revolvers.
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