Monday, May 10, 2010

My Ruger LCP is Going Back To Ruger

I took down my LCP for inspection the other day. I do this periodically, especially if the gun is a carry weapon. While inside, cleaning out the guts and looking at the moving parts, I noticed a very small flange (not even .001") forming on the leading edge of the barrel block, where it sits just aft the slide. Strange. That wasn't there before when I polished it. It must've occurred in the last 150 rounds of firing, and I must've not caught it. I took a look at the underside of the slide hood and noticed the bluing had worn off where the barrel started "peening". There was also some metal starting to deform in the same spots.

At the very front, you can see the "peening" as the metal is flanged upward.

Under the slide hood, you can see where the barrel is making contact.

At first, I thought this could be normal wear and tear. I decided to go online and do a little research, however, to be sure. What I found basically indicated that this condition is called "barrel peening", which is where the metal of the barrel begins to deform due to repeated blows to it. Normally, I'd just knock off the area of the barrel block that has flanged upward, but I decided to call Ruger Customer Service (RCS) and seek some advice. The only reason I did that is due to another "issue" that I've noticed which is where the primer strikes occur on the back of each cartridge fired. They aren't dead center. They are close, but not completely centered.

When I called up RCS, I described the evidence of barrel peening. I asked if it was normal, and he responded that it was not normal wear and tear. He immediately said afterward that he was going to send me a free shipping label so I could send the gun to Ruger for inspection. He asked about any other issues, and I related to him the alignment of the firing pin on the spent cartridges, and that I had experienced a couple failure to fire issues in the 300 rounds I've shot downrange. He instructed me to include a note with the issues, identifying the peening issue, the firing pin alignment issue and even the light strikes and what ammo I've shot.

Now, I'm not surprised that Ruger is taking the initiative on this. I didn't ask to send the gun back for inspection or repair. The thought never even occurred to me. But I am happy that Ruger immediately did the right thing and did what any good company would do: stand behind their product.

Now, the gun hasn't gone off for inspection yet. I'm going to wait on the shipping label to be mailed to me. However, I have read in many places that Ruger customer service and support is top notch. With this barrel peening issue, it is most definitely something that the factory needs to inspect because there could be an issue with the hardness of the metal or some other manufacturing problem that may have caused bad alignment. I have faith that whatever issue this is will be resolved.

In the meantime, it looks like I will carry the Ruger SP101 again. And I mean, c'mon. Is that really a bad thing?

-James

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