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I have a Ruger Bisley 45 Colt. I had a Belt Mountain base pin installed. I find that after shooting 50 or so rounds the cylinder is difficult to turn. Powder residue builds up on the base pin. After cleaning the base pin and the corresponding hole in the cylinder, the cylinder spins freely. I wonder if I should be greasing the base pin so that it will continue to spin freely longer.

I have another question. I asked the local gunsmith about reducing the barrel to cylinder gap from 0.008” down to 0.003”. I asked him how that was normally done. I asked him if the barrel was turned in one turn and then the forcing cone faced off as necessary or what. He said that the usual way was to add thin washers. Is that correct? Where would those washers go? It would seem that they would have to be placed on the hammer end of the cylinder, between the cylinder and the frame, but what would keep them there when removing the cylinder? Would they be welded or soldered in place? Please excuse my ignorance.

I have one other question. Apparently my chambers are not very smooth. Even with light loads my brass does not always fall freely from the chambers. What would be the best way to polish the chambers?

Thanks, Brian.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Brian,

I would just lightly oil the base pin. Too much grease and it can jump - this happened to me once. It will probably wear in a little and have more tolerance for crud, after it is shot for a while. That example just goes to show that you don't want to get tolerances too tight in a revolver.

My understanding of reducing the B/C gap is the same as yours, that the barrel needs to be set a little deeper in the frame then faced off properly. Can't see how this could be done with washers - all you can take up right now is the slack (endshake) in the cylinder which is probably around 0.002" or so, and if you took up all the slack, the gun would probably be really hard to take apart/put together. Not sure I'd let someone work on the gun until I had a little better idea of what they were going to do. Colts have bushings in the front of the cylinder, but Rugers do not.

To polish the chambers - good idea, by the way - either use a split rod with some emery paper & a hand drill, or rig up an old case on a steel rod (drill out the primer pocket) and use some polishing compound on the outside of the case. Either should work fine. Brownell's also sells some ceramic rods for polishing chambers but for just one gun either of the other methods is easy enough and a lot cheaper.
 

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This is a pretty interesting question, and I'd be interested to hear more opinions, offline if preferred.

I have several wheel guns, let's just say way more than my lady thinks I have. On my Smiths I always pull the cylinder and crane for cleaning. I float the crud out with WD40, and shake the excess out, I then wipe all surfaces with a clean rag and scrub away. I shoot mostly hard cast lead. My Blackhawks are easier, of course, but I use the same basic approach.

When I'm done I apply a film of a moly based grease to all moving surfaces. Not gobs, a film.

After about 3000+ rounds through my blued peices, most of the bluing is still intact on the base pins and DA equivalents. I've never shot thousands of rounds at once, but 250 has happened more than a couple of times, and I've never clogged a gun up yet.
 

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As far as changing the barrel cylinder gap goes, turning the barrel in is the way I'm familiar with. Have a good gunsmith install a Colt bushing into your Ruger cylinder and make sure the throats are the correct diameter, you will be amazed at the one hole groups at 25 yds. As for lubing the base pin, I would use a light lube, I like Break-Free, and to make sure you clean it and relube after each shooting session. I'm sure you're already doing that anyway. I haven't had the problem you mentioned with any of the nine ruger SA's I own, but the only one that has the oversize Belt Mountain pin in it is the .45 Colt Bisley that I have the Colt bushing installed on, so the base pin's closer than stock tolerance may be causeing your problem. I guess that's where the "minor fitting may be needed" comes from on some of Belt Mountains pins. The base pin in mine is quite difficult to remove from the rear portion of the frame, but the results of the bushing and the base pin with cylinder throats of the proper dimension is a night and day difference than what you get from the factory. 45 Colts with a 300gr Hornady XTP-Mag at over 1300fps with no pressure problems into a about 3/4-1 inch ragged hole at 25 yds was well worth the additional investment in the revolver.
 
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