Barrels Loosening or Rotating in Frame
Over on the Ruger Forum a correspondent expressed concern over this happening and if it were unique to Rugers. I've probably experienced this as much, if not more, than anybody on this forum. This has happened to me for several reasons: (1) I have shot very heavy loads (2) I shoot my guns heavily, (3) I've been around a lot longer than most on this forum.
This problem isn't unique to Rugers, I've had it happen to Smith & Wessons as well. I have not shot Colts so heavily, nor with such heavy loads, so this has not happened with Colts. Also, older Smiths have their barrels pinned so this does not occur with them.
One gun, my Ruger Blackhawk, recently had the barrel turn and loosen in the frame. This gun, a .357 Magnum, has had just under 14,000 rounds fired through it, these full power .357 Magnums, mostly lead bullets, with a good sprinkling of JHPs. I have had this gun forty-eight years. All other of my guns have had their barrels removed and replaced. This for refinishing or re-barreling.
Two of my guns, both .44 Magnums, one a Ruger the other a Smith, suffered cracked barrel stubs which required barrel replacement. The Smith had a retro-fitted 5" full lug barrel that cracked. The replacement barrel turned in the frame. Another 6" full lug barreled gun was a retro-fit at the factory and pinned while there. I had the 5" gun pinned by a local gunsmith.
Of all my other Rugers that had this problem, all were .44 Magnums that had been reworked.
The 5" Smith cracked at about 5,000 rounds, and its replacement barrel turned after another 1,000 rounds having been fired. The other guns had their barrels rotate after firing around 10,000 rounds. Again these were mostly lead bullets.
The bottom line? Moderate loads fired through the original factory installed barrel seem to last forever. Heavy use, and powerful ammunition, will take their toll.
I wouldn't have done anything different, though.
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