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I have a Ruger Police Service 6 in stainless with a 4 inch barrel. I bought it used and it functions well except that cartridge heads seem to drag on the recoil shield as they move into firing position. It doesn't happen with every round, it just seems the tolerances are very tight. I'd appreciate advice on how to deal with this.
 

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I have a Ruger Police Service 6 in stainless with a 4 inch barrel. I bought it used and it functions well except that cartridge heads seem to drag on the recoil shield as they move into firing position. It doesn't happen with every round, it just seems the tolerances are very tight. I'd appreciate advice on how to deal with this.
Use a bronze brush in an electric drill to clean the chambers. You most likely have some lead build-up that keeps the 357's from seating all the way. You may want to check your crimp too if you handload.
 

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Due to the restrictions on the indoor range at my club, I only shoot 38 specials in it. A poorly crimped round usually has to pressed into the chamber with some degree of force, I get this even when the rounds drop into the chamber.
 

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Here's several possibilities:
Note: Gap gauges are available at most automotive stores and look like a pocket knife with many blades of different thicknesses, typically .002-.030".

Headspace is the distance between the case head and the recoil shield and is measured by inserting the thickest blade of a gap gauge that will fit between the firing pin hole and the case head (no primer). Ruger specs are .008" minimum to .012" maximum, with .010" as optimum. Tight headspace can cause case head drag.

Though technically not headspace, it is very common in all Ruger revolvers to find a tight spot on the recoil shield where the distance between the case head and the tight spot are way less than spec. This could cause a case to bind up as it passes the tight spot. If the cylinder rotates freely when loaded with spent cases (no primers), then it is not your problem. If it binds up, take a .006" gap gauge blade and probe the entire recoil shield with all six chambers loaded with empty cases. If you find a tight spot, you can dress it down with a mill smooth file.

The next step is to look at your spent cases. Find a hard flat surface such as a piece of glass or a kitchen counter top. Stand the cases on their base and see if they "wobble". If the primers are "high", they will wobble when you touch them. If the primers are seated fully, the case will be stable and not wobble. If you do have high primers, there are two possible causes .... they weren't seated properly to start with or the powder charge is too light. When a cartridge is fired with a normal powder charge, the primer is blown back until it hits the recoil shield (same distance as headspace, in other words, the primer would stick out about .010"). Chamber pressure will force the case to the rear and reseat the primer. With a light load, there isn't enough pressure to reseat the primer so it will drag on the recoil shield. Firing a primer only case will make "proud" primers too.

Last is endshake. This is the amount of fore to aft cylinder movement. With a clean cylinder face, you can measure this by: find the thickest gap gauge blade that will fit with friction between the front of the cylinder face and the rear of the barrel. This will be your barrel-to-cylinder gab (B/C gap). Next, insert spent cases in all chambers then wedge the thickest gap gauge blade possible between the case head and recoil shield (like you did with headspace). This will force the cylinder forward and close the B/C gap a little. Measure the B/C gap again and subtract this reading from the first B/C gap reading. The difference is endshake. The B/C gap should be at least .004" but not more than .008". Endshake should not be more than .003".

If the B/C gap is too tight, the barrel may be dragging on the cylinder, especially after it gets fouled from shooting. If endshake is excessive, it will allow the primers to be pushed out so far that chamber pressure won't reseat them.

Give these tests a try then report back with your findings.
 
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