Go Ahead And Give your Ruger a Makeover. You Can do It!
Introduced in 1949 at the princely price of $37.50, Ruger’s Standard and Target model .22 pistols have been the best selling rimfire autoloaders for 64 years, and sales of this fine handling, reliable gem aren’t slowing down one iota. In fact, every new generation of the Ruger pistol, which now is at the Mark III level, improves on the design of its predecessors, but there’s always room for improvement.
That’s where Dino and Joanne Longueira of Majestic Arms come into play with a line of ingenious parts and accessories that not only improve the basic Ruger pistol but are designed for problem-free installation by the owner.
Because of the hassle involved in removing the Ruger bolt from the rear of the frame, I suspect 95 percent of Ruger owners clean their pistols from the muzzle end. It’s a solution but not ideal if you care about keeping that all-important crown at the muzzle perfectly protected and unmarred.
If you’ve never fieldstripped a Ruger, here’s what’s involved. At the rear of the backstrap is a takedown-latch. Prying open the latch allows you to rotate the mainspring housing and attached bolt-stop pin down and out from the frame. The bolt-stop pin, which is that big, dome-shaped, pin protruding through the top of the frame to the rear of the back sight, is what retains the slotted bolt in the frame.
Once the mainspring housing assembly is removed, the Ruger bolt can be withdrawn out the rear of the receiver, permitting the owner to clean the bore from the chamber end. What causes a lot of people grief is reinstalling the complete mainspring housing assembly properly in the frame and so they end up cleaning the pistol from the muzzle.
Dino Longueira of Majestic Arms came up with a better solution. Why not design a 2-piece bolt-stop pin that can be unscrewed from the top of the frame, freeing the bolt so the bolt can be readily withdrawn out the rear of the frame without having to remove the complete mainspring housing assembly?
Bingo! Longueira calls it his “3.2 Conversion Speed Strip Kit,” and he sells a jillion of them. The kit will fit all Ruger .22 auto pistols and consists of two assemblies: a 2-part, stainless steel bolt-stop pin with Allen wrench and a new stainless steel hammer and hammer pivot bushing. Replacing the solid, factory bolt-stop pin with Majestic’s 2-piece, fast-dismount pin is a snap, making removal of the bolt and cleaning from the breech end fast and easy.
Next, why replace the hammer with its improved pivot bushing which requires removing the receiver from the frame, punching out some retaining pins and transferring the existing hammer mainspring strut to the new hammer? The answer is that Majestic’s new hammer and pivot bushing reduce the take-up of the 2-stage trigger by 65 percent and permit the owner to eliminate the magazine disconnect feature of the Mark III. The installation of a new hammer might sound a bit imposing, but Majestic supplies a well-illustrated set of instructions that will walk you successfully through the process. They also offer a “Quick Strike Firing Pin” to reduce lock time. And that’s just the beginning of Majestic’s Ruger renovations.
The bolt stop pin retains the slotted bolt in the receiver. Majestic’s 2-piece bolt
stop pin allows the bolt to be removed without further disassembly.
Majestic’s hammer and bushing reduces trigger take-up by 65 percent. The factory
hammer strut needs to be moved to the new hammer. A bench block is handy for
driving out the pin.
Majestic’s large, checkered bolt release is much easier to manipulate.
The Ruger factory bolt release is really skimpy and slick. It’s an adequate release, I suppose, if you wear your Ruger in a very, tight-fitting, leather holster, but if you don’t, get Majestic’s extended bolt release which gives your thumb a solid, 90-degree, checkered platform to press down on.
Same goes for the factory magazine releases on the Mk I, II and III. They’re there, but the Majestic Arms replacement releases are more tactile and easier to operate.
Speaking of magazines, if you own a Mark III model, you’ll find a hump at the top of the magazine. It’s fondly referred to as the “California hump.” I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not the point. The hump is mechanically connected to an arm on the trigger so you cannot seat or remove a magazine if your finger is on the trigger; however, you can accidentally insert a Mark III magazine backwards. If you do, the hump slips over the inside of the frame and the only way to remove the magazine is to rip it out, destroying the magazine in the process.
Majestic Arms offers two solutions: their own brand of Mk II and Mk III magazines which eliminate the “hump” and feature an improved follower spring and extended aluminum base pad. On the bottom of the base pad is Majestic Arms’ engraved logo featuring a prominent arrow pointing in the correct direction for inserting the magazine. The second option offered is an extended, arrow engraved, base pad by itself that can be installed in seconds on existing Mk II or Mk III magazines. As Dino Longueira puts it, “Majestic points the way!”
If you’re the owner of a Mk II or Mk III .22/45 Ruger, you’re not forgotten. Majestic offers both their own make of magazines with extended base pads or the base pads themselves for the Mk II and Mk III .22/45 models.
And if you buy an economy pack of two Majestic magazines of any design, they throw in a neat loading tool.
One of the easiest, Ruger upgrades Majestic Arms offers is checkered, cocobolo grips available with either a thumb rest for right-handed shooters or with ambidextrous swells on both the left and right sides. Cocobolo is a richly grained wood, and it really dresses up a Ruger.
Finally, for 10/22 and Charger pistol owners, Majestic Arms offers a unique, lightweight “Aluma-Lite” barrel in a smorgasbord of color finishes. The Aluma-Lite barrel consists of a precision, Lothar Walther, rifled, steel liner encased in an aluminum shroud. I haven’t yet shot one, but Majestic claims the accuracy potential is 1/2-inch groups at 50 yards.
New products currently under development at Majestic Arms are a competition trigger and an extended slide racker for the Ruger pistol.
Of course, if you don’t feel particularly handy or just don’t have the time to fiddle with your Rugers, Majestic offers a complete line of inexpensive gunsmithing services. In fact, all of the modifications discussed can be carried out on the frame alone so by removing the serial numbered, barreled receiver, the frame can simply be shipped to Majestic Arms directly by the owner.
Neat company, neat people and a neat line of products to upgrade a neat pistol.
By Holt Bodinson
Majestic Arms Ltd.
101A Ellis St., Staten Island, NY 10307