Monday, May 24, 2010

Longitudinally Cracked Revolver

I've often thought that Bill "No Honest Man Needs A Handgun Smaller Than A Canned Ham" Ruger Sr. would spin in his grave at some of the stuff being released from his old company these days. Not only because he didn't believe in CCW and scary black hi-caps for the serfs, but also because some of them seem... well... decidedly non-Ruger.

Rugers have long had a reputation for ruggedness and durability, thanks to Bill's design maxim of "Never use one ounce of steel where two ounces will do the job just as well."

The first time I handled an LCR, my initial thought was that they're going to have to amend the 'Ruger Only' sections of a lot of reloading manuals; it just didn't sport that overbuilt feeling, y'know?

Now that I've seen pictures of my first LCR ka-BOOM, it only reinforces my dislike.


Anonymous said...

Just buy a revovler instead. Revovlers never malfunction.

Shootin' Buddy

jimbob86 said...

^^^ Yeah, what he said.... :b ^^^

wv- "cativers"

Plane of existence much like our universe, but smellier and more chaotic....

"No power in the vers can stop me... probably..."

Anonymous said...

Then, hey, I want me one o' them revovlers...where do I pick one up, SB? (figured once is a typo, twice must be a new-fangled shootin' ahrn.)

Never cared for Uncle Bill's fuddy views, but he knew how to build 22's and hawg legs...they shoulda stuck to that.


og said...

There are no longer any Rugers at Ruger, which sort of coincides with their foray into the teeny pistol market.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a tyro - but would that not appear to be a timing / lockup problem?

No amount of canned ham would prevent a broken (or malinjected) fiddly bit from shooting your own gun.

Very glad no one was hurt. Hopefully it didn't open up the group too much.

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later everything breaks. Ruger has very good customer service, so the lady owner should be taken care of.

Al T.

Jim said...

It was nice of a Ruger minion to be "concerned" about the customer's LCR problem. The company -- I think of it as the new Lorcin -- also shed crocodile tears after the SR9 and LCP fiascos. And if my experience is any guide, trying to get Ruger's attention on a warranty question is like trying to get Obama to return your call.

Desertrat said...

That appears to have resulted from truly serious misalignment, not from an inability to withstand the pressure of +P. Apparently a failure in the linkage. I'm not sure a Redhawk would have survived in that situation.


TJP said...

"It appears that the chamber was not properly aligned with the bore when the round fired, and that the bullet struck the forcing cone out of alignment."

We're talking pretty far out of alignment, because your S&W guns are "not properly aligned" every time the hammer falls. Or maybe not, because if the chamber was that far out, the primer wouldn't be struck hard enough in the middle. (Empirically tested.)

I'm going with bad barrel / lucky shooter.

p.s. Why do they make the J-Frame firing pins so pointy?

Lewis said...

You'd think we had figured out how to make revolvers that work, regardless of what they're made of. (Pats t-gripped handle of 1956 Colt Cobra approvingly.)

RevolverRob said...

That's an interesting K-Boom. Makes you want to jump on the bandwagon of love for the new .357 version don't it?

I for the life of me, still can't figure out who is buying these flyweight .357s, but I guess a fool and money are soon parted.


The Raving Prophet said...

I've been intrigued by the LCR since it came out, and I'm still tempted to get one. I'm also waiting to see the new S&W Bodyguard though.

If the cylinder was out of time, it likely had nothing to do with the LCR's funky polymer grip frame. Broken lockwork is broken lockwork, and even a 642 isn't going to survive what happens if things aren't liked up well enough when the firing pin hits the primer.

Ruger has had their issues lately, but I've yet to hear anything about widespread issues with the LCR. It may be ugly, but hey, it would keep my 327 TRR8 good company.

Anonymous said...


My Cobra (took it in trade on a frickin' Glock about ten years ago if you can believe that), is a '54...built same year as me. It might be made of Reynolds wrap, but it's holding up better than I am...almost like it has more to do with how and by whom it was built rather than from what. ;o)


RipRip said...

Is that a bulge in the barrel? Almost looks like it.

Anonymous said...

I'm 50 this year and I have owned 2 Rugers.
After 3 trips back to Ruger the.357 Blackhawk off the bench wouldnt hold groups any tighter than 2.5"s at 25 yards.
At the time I could shoot in the mid 270's Camp Perry style.
The Ranch rifle after about 300 rounds started ftf/stovepiping and after several trips back still had the same problems although not as often.
No more Rugers for me no matter Old Bills political views.I want my bullets to go where I put them and things to go bang when I pull the trigger.

og said...

"Is that a bulge in the barrel?"

No, it's just happy to see you.

RevolverRob said...

I didn't realize it was CCI Blazer ammo at first. Now that I see that, I strongly suspect this IS an ammo related failure. I stopped selling CCI Blazer ammo, after I had two cases of it come into the shop in .38 special with bullet setback (when I say setback, think, gee...I didn't know they built .38 Nagant). I sent the cases back and CCI never really acknowledged the problem.

If there was bullet setback in a .38 +P case it could easily well exceed pressures and blow the gun up. Having seen the setback in those particularly cartridges, I could easily see this happening.

I seriously don't recommend CCI Blazer ammunition to anyone anymore after that incident and the poor way it was handled by the manufacturer.


TJP said...

Aww, c'mon folks, this is no reason to boycott Ruger. Anyway, the Ruger-only section hasn't been universal since they slimmed down the Vaquero.

Anyone remember the Brazilian Smiths? How about the problems they had with steel in the early 629s? Barrels popping off of Model 13s? How about a Dan Wesson made in the lean years? The Colt Delta Elite cracked-frame special? Every company turns out lemons. If I took my business elsewhere every time I had a problem, or someone else did, I'd have zero handguns.

RevolverBob: I thought about overcharging, but the cylinder didn't blow; the damaged part of the barrel is a long way from the case web, and 38s are usually loaded with fast-burning power, i.e. sharp and short pressure spike. RCBS's loading manual recommends not using heavy bullets with full jackets in 38s, due to the pressure limitations and the large bearing surface--the bullet might get stuck. I've never seen a BIB kaboom in a snubby. Could this be one? Thoughts??

Also: Even an exploded barrel didn't completely remove that stupid warning.

wv = "rellism"; turn of phrase used by governor of Connecticut

OldeForce said...

Well, I guess I'll leave the LCR my son gave me for Christmas on the closet shelf [by the front door; the J-frame is in the kitchen, by that door!] and just keep carrying the Kimber.

RipRip said...

Even though it's just happy to see me, is the barrel to shroud fitment tight enough that a bulge would crack the shroud?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And hence my philosophy to try and restrict myself to firearms models with 70+ years of field testing...

Anonymous said...

I was discussing this with a local gunshop owner this afternoon, and he told me that (assuming the CCW instructor is correct about the cause of the LCR mishap) that he'd seen the same thing happen with a new Airweight. Unlike this LCR, the Airweight ended up in several pieces, fortunately without injuring the shooter...

Everybody makes a lemon or two. It doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem across the entire brand or even just this particular model, based on just one incident.

FWIW, the gunshop owner claimed his own wife daily carries an LCR. I personally own an Airweight, and am strongly considering picking up an LCR of my own to go along with it.

--Wes S.

Tam said...


"Anyone remember the Brazilian Smiths? How about the problems they had with steel in the early 629s? Barrels popping off of Model 13s? How about a Dan Wesson made in the lean years? The Colt Delta Elite cracked-frame special? Every company turns out lemons."

The "cracked frame" on the DE is just that little section above the aft hole for the slide stop; it is meaningless. The fix, as Colt knew, is to simply mill out that chunk of rail. Gun works fine, whether it's cracked there or not.

(Are you ready for the blasphemy?) John Moses Browning should have milled out that section of rail in the first place.

phlegmfatale said...

Why does this remind me of the big fat baby pencil they gave me in first grade? Why didn't they put a dragon and a day-glo tassel on it?

Ah, to find elegance and refinement in such a graceless age. *le sigh*

Crawler said...

Hmmm..., makes me appreciate my SP101 and 340PD even more...

TJP said...


I apologize; I wasn't attempting to compare a functioning Delta Elite with an auto-bore-resizing LCR. However, since gun owners are a superstitious lot, all it took was one macro shot of the tiny crack in a gun rag, and the Delta was thereafter very scarce.

Will said...

if you look at the second photo on the original post, you will see that the barrel is split in two halfway to the muzzle. That's a wee bit beyond a "bulge"!

A friend bought a large amount of Blazer Brass .45acp a year? ago. We took a 4 day class using it. His govt mod continually choked on it, with lots of failure to load or chamber. After much fruitless troubleshooting of his gun, I found him standing at the line with a pile of ammo on the ground. Grabbing a handful, it became clear what his problem was: bullet setback. He was smacking the rear of the slide to get it to chamber. The slide would halt, after using up it's energy shoving the bullet into the case when it hit the ramp and chamber wall. My Officers always chambered it, with it's 24lb recoil spring.
Unfortunately, we both had accuracy problems, with the varying pressure from the setback. MAJOR setback. I don't recall the numbers offhand.
He tells me that Blazer informed him there was no recall on that batch, and blew him off. How big is a production batch? Maybe he bought it all?

Tam said...

Most of the budget .45ACP FMJ isn't crimped very enthusiastically. Blazer Brass, Speer Lawman, American Eagle... I've had problems with all three choking a S&W 325 from bullets jumping "crimp".

Lewis said...


Late in responding (as usual!), but I am a big fan of the Colt Cobra, heck, for that matter of most of the D-frames. For me, they hit the sweet spot between S&W's J and K frames, feel good in the hand, have good sights, and shoot to point of aim. I've also got a 3" and a 4", just to be all decadent like.

Anonymous said...

"Are you ready for the blasphemy?) John Moses Browning should have milled out that section of rail in the first place."




Anonymous said...

Blazer ammo will jump the crimp in my Charter Arms by the fifth round every time, It is the only ammo my On Duty does not shoot well.

( yea, yea, I know "cheap POS's", but mine shoots great)

Chronos said...

Saw one of those guns just feels cheap. The clerk said he was thinking of getting one. I told him of the article i read about the "Epic" failure. He is not so sure now. I think if you work in a gun store you should have @ least shot the firearm you are pushing. Again MHO

Anonymous said...

RipRip is likely correct. Mike Freese attributes this catastrophic failure to a squib load.


Dr. StrangeGun said...

Strangely enough, Mike Free attributes it to a squib as well.

Anonymous said...

If I see Mike Frieze post a similar observation it will cause me to suspect "something fishy" is going on and I will have to report my suspicions to Obongo.