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Discussion Starter #1
I have heard many shooters here shoot 200-2000+ rounds through their guns. What my question is when do you start replacing components and what needs replacing and when? I have an SR9 and a 10/22 Has anyone started to replace components on these guns after a high volume of shooting and what components were replaced?
 

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Of course it depends on the quality of the gun but I would say that if they're used for other than self defense keep shooting until they give problems than get them fixed. For self defense guns I wouldn't shoot the heck out of them but reasonably practice with them and after 3,000 or 4,000 rounds have a Smith look at it if you desire.
 

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I am one of the few that likes to keep stuff in working order. All of us know that we need to maintain things in order for them to perform like new.
 

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Thanks Ned. Just one of the answers I was looking for. A friend of mine has a 77/22 rifle after 20+ years all it needed was a deep cleaning because it would not fire.
 

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Advice from an Armorer

I'm speaking as a factory trained Armorer for Ruger, S&W, and Remington, and have worked on countless other guns in my 30-year long career when I give this advice, as follows:

Given proper maintenance, firearms do not wear out. Period*. Read what I said again.

Given proper maintenance, firearms do not wear out. Period.

*Bores of high powered rifles of course are subject to erosion, directly related to chamber/bore ratio and pressure.

That being said, certain parts are subject to wear and should be given particular attention and inspection, and replaced as needed, and only as needed. However, no part should be replaced simply because it's old or has been subjected to X-number of rounds. Period. That may sound contradictory, but it's not.

Military and police Armorers know what to look for when doing a run-through inspection of a gun. Watch a S&W or Ruger wheelgun Armorer do an inspection of a gun and it will look like a trick gun twirling exhibition to the casual onlooker. In about 15 seconds, he has checked the gun for ratchet/pawl engagement and wear, lockup of cylinder, endshake, wink of hammer to the rear and wink lowered, trigger movement, single action and double action pull weights, correct hammer fall (you can hear a weak hammer after a while), cylinder rotation, cylinder release and swing. If it's an auto, he has gone through a similar routine, running dummies through and tossing some downrange for function, checking the landing pattern of the cases. If you have a service gun, you want brass landing somewhere on the county line. If it's a target pooper, and you care not for every shot fired, dribbling onto your shoetops will suffice, but then, we're only talking paper or steel for fun.

He won't ask how many rounds it has fired, because it has nothing to do with anything. I say again, it has nothing to do with anything.

The only thing that's relevant is how the gun works. If it passes each test, it is returned directly to the owner. If not, the screwdriver goes to work and the repair is done, returning it to factory specs like new in less than five minutes. I have seen virtually new guns that required an overhaul, while guns that fired thousands of rounds that required nothing but a dusting with my camel hair parts brush. What the gun requires typically has to do with the person looking over my left shoulder and relates to how he cared for, or didn't care for, his gun. Ironically, the guy who shoots all the time and cleans his gun has the one that requires nothing, while the one who never removes it from his holster and has traffic detail pavement embedded in his gun that needs an entire overhaul.

Then, there are the self-proclaimed gunsmiths who get their knowledge from reading old issues of Guns, and the kitchen table witnesses the sins of ill-recommended handiwork. I've been there, and seen that, I can tell you. I've seen spray painted guns. I've seen green ammo that I had to drive from a gun. On too many occasions, a weak spring was not a weak spring at all until it was clipped or the tension screw of a S&W mainspring was backed off or "tweaked" with a file to give it that nice DA that was so buttery soft that even the primer didn't know it was being slapped. Every so often, we'd change brands of ammo at the department, made with slightly harder primer cups, and suddenly get complaints of misfires. "Hey Sarge, this is bad ammo!" Really. :rolleyes:

The same goes for autos I've worked on. More than any other gun mechanism, they are spring creatures. Modern day springs made in the USA are fabulously made and can be compressed for extremely long periods with no ill effects. For instance, a new 1911 recoil spring will "set" a small percentage of its length when first compressed, and that's a known factor which the manufacturer calculates. After that, the spring will remain stable indefinitely. Magazine springs, ditto. These are inexpensive parts costing a couple of bucks so it's good doctrine to replace springs that are subject to constant compression every three years or so, if relied upon for life-saving service, but in all likelihood, they're none the worse for wear when removed, and could probably remain in the gun for another twenty years. Springs got their bad reputations when they were heat treated with antiquated methods and made of lesser steels, but that's not the norm today.

As for the small parts, there are only a small number of parts actually subject to wear on any guns, provided they're been cared for. I've replaced my share of endshake screws on S&W revolvers (poor design) that have dug into the endshake button of a yoke (crane, to Colt and Ruger fans), and have fit over-sized ratchets on wheelguns. I've seen loosened ejector rods that people bent trying to tighten with pliers, and I know that slides and frames on autos can become cracked, but have yet to see one get that way unless it was abused. Parts on American made guns are properly hard, and military spec guns are uniformly made to a particularly rigid level of perfection to ensure combat performance. As for Ruger, they are not only properly hard, they are wicked hard. Ruger uses very good steel. Anyone who thinks that cast parts are junk does not know about Ruger cast parts. I will demonstrate to anyone just how tough a Ruger is, inside and out, and compare it to anything made for durability. Ruger revolvers rewrote handloading manuals, and permitted handgun pressures never seen before at the Lyman labs. So much for "weak" cast parts.

To make a long story short, your gun will last for ever, and will require only such parts as are worn, when they are worn, and no sooner. You may feel free to help keep Wolff springs in business by having extra springs, if it makes you sleep better, but if the cartridges are feeding and ejecting like day one, it's because they are working like day one, and are not inclined to develop into something less just because the calendar turned. If your cylinder or slide are functioning, and the gun is firing like it aught to, that's because it was made to do just that.

Now, before some military expert writes and tells me about replacement schedules, let me say this... The military schedules replacements because they can, bless your tax Dollars that permits such fun. When a five ton Army dumptruck is loaded with old magazines and they are piled sky high in the sun, it's simply because a new shipment was ordered to replace faded equipment or improved specifications, or so the commander's unit would look good. Rarely does a scheduled replacement have anything to do with wear.

By the way, if you want a reliable gun, stick with factory parts. Otherwise, put anything else in. It might work!
 
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I'm speaking as a factory trained Armorer for Ruger, S&W, and Remington, and have worked on countless other guns in my 30-year long career when I give this advice, as follows:

Given proper maintenance, firearms do not wear out. Period*. Read what I said again.
Looks like an expert opinion to me. :)

My 870 Special Purpose is about 30 years old, one of the first made, and has massacred truckloads of clay pigeons, a couple hundred deer (used for crop damage permits), and flocks of turkeys. I strip it after a long day of rain, but otherwise it's wipe down and a patch through the bore in the off season. Works like the day I brought it home. My MKI is the first handgun I owned, in 1972. Some years it saw -10K rds, some 500rds. It gets stripped down for a good clean every couple years. It still looks new with minimal wear appearance, and also gets wiped off for storage, but not much more. My SBH is from the late 70's, shot lots, and the bore is deleaded afer every session, every few years I strip it down to get the stuff that accumulates like powder residue and bullet lube. I have spare parts for my guns, and have replaced exactly one extractor on a M700V that wore out two barrels first. I'm thinking GunBlue is likely correct.
 

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I pretty much agree with most of GunBlue's post, however I have seen a good many guns wear to a point where they are not economically feasible to repair. Usually these are guns used in competition where many thousands of rounds finally took their toll, guns that were misused, or when people think they have to reload to nuke levels. For several years, I had contracts with large local PDs and Sheriff's Deps where guns were abused by being dropped, poorly maintained, or thrown in the trunk of a car and left to rust up. Many times these LEO guns were not old nor had they been fired a lot ... just neglected .... certainly not a normal "wear out" issue.

As GunBlue mentioned ... proper routine maintenance is the key. I had many guns come into my shop for repairs that had either been poorly maintained or had been damaged by some kitchen table gun smith. Most owners tend to use way too much oil on their guns. In time, the oil will turn gummy and actually increase friction rather than reduce it. This is when parts tend to break or wear faster. Additionally, when guns are over oiled, they collect powder residue that turns into a very abrasive paste and can actually wear out parts quite fast.

Replacing parts "just because" is almost always counter productive. The exception is recoil springs on semi-autos where indeed they do weaken with use and magazines that get dropped or damaged from normal use. With Ruger and many other brands, some of the parts are factory fitted and are not sold to the public or even to gunsmiths. Generally, if these parts wear out or get damaged, the only recourse is to send the gun back to the factory for repairs. Even then, the factory may not be able to repair the gun, especially if the part is the serial number source ... typically the frame.

Here on the Ruger forum and every other gun forum, you see many different cleaning regimens and maintenance suggestions. Here's what I found time after time in my shop ....some gun owners are not very mechanically inclined and do more damage to their guns when trying to maintain them than if they never cleaned them at all. The best thing a gun owner can do is to learn how to at least field strip their gun and do a decent cleaning after each shooting session. With the invention of compressed air and powder solvent, there's really no need to totally dismantle any gun ... just hose it down with powder solvent, let it sit for a few minutes to let the chemicals work, then blow it out with compressed air. Cleaning the bore with any of the many different gun products and regimens will suffice. Use the absolute minimum of oil then wipe off any excess. For those more mechanically inclined gun owners, a periodic full disassembly, a thorough inspection, and detailed cleaning is suggested. However, if you don't have the skills for this, you will likely do more damage than good.

Just about every gun on the market has an "Achilles heal" of some sort. As an example ... revolvers in every brand will peen the lock notches in the cylinder if the shooter pulls the hammer back to briskly in SA or pulls the trigger too fast in DA. Additionally, this will also wear the cylinder ratchets, pawl (hand), cylinder latch (stop), and the frame "windows" for the pawl and cylinder latch. No amount of oil will prevent peening. So in addition to proper maintenance, proper operation is also a big factor for wear.

Last and certainly not least is ammo. Hot loads or even factory magnum loads will wear a gun much faster than reduced power loads. I know a lot of people think if they buy a "magnum" revolver, it should last forever with magnum ammo. This is not true, however if that same magnum revolver was fired with less powerful "special" loads, it will extend the life of the gun by many times over.

In conclusion, all guns are mechanical devices that can and do wear. It's just a matter of operation, maintenance, and ammo that may extend or shorten the usable life of any gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Regardless I think everything including guns are subject to wear and tear. Sooner or later something's gotta give. Friction and stress is bound to wear something out. But proper maintenance will provide longer life to anything we take care of.
 

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As far as Rugers go I had to replace 1 pawl & 1 transfer bar in the many thousands of rounds fired.

I STRONGLY AGREE with GunBlue & Iowegans posts !!

A periodic or scheduled maintence is warranted ,even for anvils !!

In Iowegans post he spoke of proper operation of firearms , speaking on revolver wear & tear , well I had a chance at a practically "unfired" GP recently but the pawl & cyl slots were beat to heck & back , he admitted to sitting & while watching TV dry firing it 10s of thousands of times !!!
 

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Proper maintenance has always been an important issue for me. Great thread ... thanks to GunBlue & Iowegan for the info.
 

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I would rather have a revolver with a few thousand rounds through it, than one with 6 rounds but 10's of thousands of "dry fires".......

I have a CZ-85b that I used to routinely take to the range and put 1,000 rounds of cheap 9mm through. That gun must have 10's of thousands of rounds through it and it's still tight as new.

I also have a S&W 67-1 that I used to run tons of .38 through...........For years, I only had two handguns.......the CZ85b and this 67-1. I still have both and they are as tight as the day I got them.

Many of us stress way too much about the durability of our guns..........99% of us won't see the day when we wear a gun out from shooting. Many more guns are ruined from kitchen table gunsmithing, overzealous cleaning with aggressive methods or shooting overloaded handloads.
 
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