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  #1  
Old 09-02-2017, 01:07 PM
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Ruger Bolt Blues



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I'm fairly convinced that Ruger must have a chimp working on their Mark bolt production line. 3 bolts, made over a period of 25 years, and every one of them with problems.

The first was a MKII bolt made in 1992. This pistol had light strike FTFs problems from day one. I polished the firing pin and track, replaced the rebound spring and support, and tried using the mainspring from my MKIII. Nothing helped. I emailed Scott Volquartsen and asked what the length of a new FP was. Mine matched just fine. Narrowing the point to look like the new MKIV firing pins didn't help either.

One day, I decided to end my "extractor madness" experiment and put in a new TacSol extractor purchased from SGW. It not only wouldn't hold a round, it wouldn't even touch a round. That was my first clue that the bolt had a problem. I just put in a VQ extractor and continued on. Then, I was reading the 10/22 forums and read about many bolts being sent to CPC to have the head space reduced to .043" for reliable firing. After inquiring there, I found out that SAAMI spec is 0.043"->0.051". When I measured my bolt, it was 0.056". No wonder I was having problems.

The section under the extractor and below was WAY under milled. After milling and stoning the face even, the new head space was 0.046". No more FTFire problems, and the Tacsol extractor now functions fine.

The second bolt was a MKIII bolt made in 2013. This pistol had a lot of problems feeding, and too many stovepipes (with a VQ extractor). I forced it to feed and eject well, but the main problem was again found to be the bolt. The rim recess was milled with an outward taper for some inexplicable reason. It was after viewing some photos of other people's bolts that I knew this was wrong. I contacted Ruger CS, and they wanted to charge $65 to replace it.

So I thought I would make it "some glasses". But when I pulled it out of the safe to evaluate, I found the taper under the extractor had left the wall too thin and it was broken away.



Hooray! Another call to Ruger CS got a new replacement bolt (made 2017) sent without charge!

The new bolt is the last one with a problem. Can you see what it is?



It wasn't obvious to me either. At least the rim pocket was square and it feeds rounds much better. I found the problem when I removed the bolt for it's first cleaning.



See it now? Just like the MKII bolt, the face was not square. The raised area was peening the snot out of the breech face. Before milling, I checked it's head space. It measured 0.049". In SAAMI spec, so I couldn't mill off all of the (chimp's) tooling marks. But I did make it even.



The new head space was also left at 0.046". The powder residue doesn't stick to the stoned surfaces, but it's squished evenly on the breech. So I know it's okay now.

After spending the time to mill/sand away all of the "leftover" tooling marks and burrs, it now cycles butter smooth - like my old one.

So if your pistol is having problems (RST->MKIV), check the bolt! Yours just may have been made by a chimp too. And aftermarket parts aren't going to solve that problem.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:29 AM
RetiredTwice

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Good post. Thanks for the info. I have noticed uneven peening on the breach face on several of my MK III's. As I have little to no mechanical ability, I will see if SWG will clean them when I get his tuning service on the two I am keeping.

My skill level is at the de-burr and parts swap level.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:48 PM
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Test Engineer, thank you for the detailed story and resolution of your bolt problem. I had a similar issues last year with my MKIII ss comp model, but didn't know it. That is until I got my gun back from the Ruger spa. Ruger tech's apparently did some work on the front of my bolt similar to what you describe. My MKIII went from being a jam-o-matic to perfectly functioning and delightful target pistol. After reading your post I better understand what Ruger tech's accomplished. As you suggest Ruger could save a lot of customer frustration and spare themselves the added costs of send back repair work by making those bolts properly the first time. Thanks for your informative post, and those that followed.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:47 AM
KTGunsmithing
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Test Engineer, thank you for the detailed story and resolution of your bolt problem.
+1
It's nice to have someone share useful information.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:09 PM
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Yes, this type of info is great to have on this forum. I guess I have just been very lucky as I have never had feeding or firing problems with any of my many MKI and MKII Ruger pistols throughout my lifetime. However, I have never owned a MKIII or MKIV. With Ruger's vast experience with castings and machining, you wouldn't think that these issues would exist, but apparently they do.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:37 AM
DeadEyeDick45
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SGW's right on target with his methods. Appreciate the info SGW.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:54 PM
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To get a GOOD, FLAT and ACCURATE headspace within 0.000001 on the bolt face, lapping is the ONLY way to do a hardened bolt, and do it correctly.

So what's the point? Such tight tolerances are simply not necessary. If they were, Ruger wouldn't have any bolts to ship.

Besides, my calipers only have +/-0.0005 resolution. And my bolt face is flat and square to within those tolerances. If I needed (or wanted) better tolerances than that, I'd be sending it off to CPC (who do professional head spacing of bolts on a regular basis).
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SGW Gunsmith View Post
One-millionth, of an inch ( 0.000001 )? Bwahahahahaha! You're gonna need some pretty sophisticated measuring equipment for that "pipe dream".
Hah! I'm glad you got the joke! I said "I'll see your machinist drivel, and raise it 2 orders of magnitude!" Both are accurate statements, both are equally unnecessarily tight of tolerances, and both are equally impossible for me to measure!
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:19 AM
DeadEyeDick45
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Good one TE.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:30 PM
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After reading the original post, one of the first things I do now when I disassemble a Mark pistol is to look at the bolt face cartridge pocket to see what I can see.
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