Fixing the Problems on a Ruger 22/45 Lite

I recently got a Ruger 22/45 Lite with the intention of putting a suppressor on it as soon as the ATF approves and sends me my stamp. But while waiting for them, I decided to shoot it a little without the can to see how it ran. Here it is:

And here is the important part. A threaded cover covers the threads on the end of the barrel where the suppressor will screw on.

I ran only about 30 rounds through it, using two different brands of ammo and had two failures to feed/extract. On top of that, the trigger was simply bad. Long, gritty, and stiff.

I read a thread on my favorite forum where improvements to the Ruger 22/45 were discussed. I especially appreciated the post of my friend Leisure_Shoot talked about some improvements he had made to his pistol. He even conveniently listed the after-market parts he ordered and installed to make the pistol shoot better. I ordered the parts and waited until they had all arrived.

Once they were here, I called my buddy Liem to get some help. Liem is a pretty good gunsmith and I am not. I may have some skills, but as Dirty Harry reminded us, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know mine.

Now, before we start, a disclaimer: I made the decision to make some modifications to my pistol by installing some after-market parts. I am not responsible for anyone else doing such a thing to their pistol. Make your own decisions about what you want to do, as you are totally responsible for your own decisions and actions.

Liem showed up with his tools and we got started. We first measured the trigger pull on the factory pistol. It was almost 7 gritty pounds. We will see if we can make that better.

Leisure_Shoot recommended that the following be ordered (along with his original comments):

Volquartsen Loaded Chamber Indicator Filler for Ruger MKIII LCI – this immediately fixed the feed issues, the “feeler” that rubs against the round to indicate a loaded chamber caused all of the feed issues, and removing it solved the problem 100%. I’ve not had another failure to feed since removing it. ($18)

Volquartsen Custom Exact Edge Extractor for 10/22 and Ruger MKIII ($16)

Hammer Bushing for Magazine Disconnect – fits Mark III & 22/45 LITE – this was the greatest improvement to the trigger. ($10)

I ordered all three parts.

We started by disassembling the pistol as per factory instructions.

We removed the bolt and removed the spring.

We then drove the pen out that held in the extractor.

This allowed Liem to use a dental pick and hold the spring back to remove the extractor. He placed a plastic bag around it as it has a tendency to “sprong” and get lost.

We then replaced it with the Volquartsen Custom Exact Edge Extractor with no problems.

We then removed the grips on the frame and placed a piece of masking tape over the lower drift pin to keep it in place as we worked on the next part.

Liem tapped on the back of the upper with a plastic hammer to move it forward for removal.

On this picture you can see the drift pin that holds the Loaded Chamber Indicator in place. It is supposed to just come out easily, but it was not moving (as Leisure_Shoot warned me in an IM). We put some Kroil on it and set it aside to soak while we did the next part

This is the hammer with the factory magazine disconnect next to it.

You can’t just remove the magazine disconnect as it will leave a big space where it was. So, you have to remove it and install the Hammer Bushing for Magazine Disconnect. Here it is before installation.

It fit in easily and we put things back together.

It was time to get back on the retaining pin for the loaded chamber indicator. We tried a magnet. No joy. It was not sticking up enough to grab with pliers. So Liem just banged on the frame with a plastic hammer until the frame “backed off” of the pin and it was proud enough to grab with pliers and remove.

The replacement filler has a threaded hole to use a supplied threaded screw to hold it in place. It went right in, no problems.

Here’s the factory part on top, and the new filler on the bottom.

I don’t need a “Loaded Chamber Indicator” because I know and follow the First Rule of Gun Safety.

It was time to reassemble the pistol. To tell the truth, we had the most trouble reassembling the pistol than any other part of the project. Putting one of these pistols back together makes you want to strangle Bill Ruger. But we finally got it back together.

We tested the trigger again.

It was now a little over 3 ½ pounds, a BIG improvement.

I had also ordered a red dot sight for this pistol. I am not running this weapon as a Delta Force Operator and didn’t need a $500 red dot. I bought an $85 red dot which will be plenty good enough for playing around with this “toy”.

Here it is. It is a Truglow red dot. It actually has different reticles and can be either red or green. Very nice and easy to use.

It was easy to install on the rail that comes with the pistol.

I headed to the range to sight in the red dot scope.

It was easy to adjust and get to hit where I wanted it to hit. Here is the target where I sighted it in. I started low left and walked them up to where I wanted them to be.

And here are two targets. The left one was with Winchester Wildcat ammo and the right one was with Wolf Match. Ten shots in each group.

Ran 100% with three kinds of ammo today. Not a single problem.

I am going to enjoy shooting this one and can hardly wait for the stamp to arrive so I can pick up my can.

I will report on that when it arrives.

Until then, remember: It’s fun to shoot stuff.

14 Comments on Fixing the Problems on a Ruger 22/45 Lite

  1. Chris Brosnahan // June 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm // Reply

    Been a follower of yours for a long time…missed the e-mail and wondered if you were still ‘with us’…luckily I found you here on FB…I did pretty much the same thing back in the early 90s with my MK II Gov’t model – I replaced all the factory parts with Volquartsen parts and mounted a red dot onto a B-square mount…I added a thumb safety extension and a slide racker – both via Brownells…If i had the money, I’d buy one of these light weight 22/45s…thanx for the articles AND pictures, my friend…

  2. Good read and a great fix for that hard as heck trigger. While I have had no feed issues with mine, but reducing trigger pull 15-20 pounds would be wonderful.
    Thanks a bunch,

  3. Why not just buy a nice stock Buckmark? Everyone I know with a Mark xxx does the Volquartsen thing. Mine, 1994 Target, shoots great out of the box. Trigger is adjustable, currently tuned at 2.5 pounds for competition. Looks like stainless but is really nickel coated. Sweet shooter.

  4. Sushigaijin // July 24, 2016 at 11:48 pm // Reply

    Nice to see that aftermarket parts exist for this now. I own an early 22/45 and did essentially the same modifications – removed the LCI and just left the whole wide open, and replaced the magazine safety with a stack of brass washers. Stock extractor always worked fine for me. The other bit of buggery I did was tap and thread an overtravel screw through the trigger, which cut maybe a mm of overtravel off of the trigger pull. Fun toys!

    • I have a 1994 Target too. Cool gun. 2.5 lb trigger. I don’t go for the Valquartzen thing either. I like I buy it and shoot it. Mine runs all ammo flawlessly.

  5. Wayne Lovell // August 8, 2016 at 10:44 am // Reply

    I am glad to see a fix, I purchased this pistol several months ago and it would not feed. The dealer’s only help was send it to Ruger. After several weeks it came back form Ruger with the comment that if had been improperly reassembled (it had never been disassembled) and now worked fine. It still doesn’t function. I will try this fix.

    I will never purchase another Ruger product and would think and hard before accepting one as a gift. I think quality control and customer service died with Bill Ruger.

    • The problem with .22s is it could easily be the ammo some guns dont tolerate certain rounds well. Try a couple of brands to see what it likes. My tiger hated cci and remnington GB’s but loved the Winchester stuff it would Fail to feed with the Golden bullets allot with the golden bullets the

      Get the LCI and magazine disconnect deletes as that can help as well.

      As for ruger and their CS they’ve always been pretty good with me and will replace things as best they can I mean they supported ac556 owners well after the MG ban and emptied their parts supply to keep those guns running.

      Bill Ruger is the reason that the mini didn’t have decent 20 round mags, is the reason the folder for the mini is insanely hard to find and the reason ruger never produced high cap pistols he wasn’t a friend to gun rights because ‘noone needs any more than 10 rounds’ and the Ruger of today is a much better gun and company than back then.

      They now produce an AR some amazing concealed carry guns, high cap magazines, have admitted that the mini14 is not as accurate as it should be by a long shot even produce cans and threaded barrels for their guns.

      His views could have cost us dearly and did cost us allot because the anti gun dems watched with glee as he sold out millions for short term profit and gave them a symbol to wave at us about ‘reasonable gun owners’ to justify bans.

      Iv honestly found ruger QC and CS better now than the reports from the 90s at least noe they admit that 8moa isn’t acceptable for a rifle sold as a hunting and self defense tool.

  6. Thanks for this post. My model looks exactly like yours and I too have had feed problems. I found that this could be overcome by violently slamming the magazine into the well.
    I will applying the fix listed here as well as hammer bushing. Thanks for the report.

  7. jimmie mason // November 11, 2016 at 8:37 pm // Reply

    I ended up with a sr22 pistol instead of the 22/45, have to say I love it. It was my first suppressed gun. Had to buy a 2nd one for the wife because she tried to claim it. I do love the colors you can get in the 22/45 and all the after market stuff. Glad you’re has worked out for you.

  8. I have been a die hard Ruger fan most of my life. I have several Ruger rifles and handguns including a 22/45 I purchased in 2002. It’s a 6 inch stainless target model that has never failed me. I had to buy my wife one to keep mine. It’s one of my favorite toys. I’m glad you got yours slingin lead properly. Keep on shootin stuff. Like you always say it sure is fun.

  9. There is something in Ruger weapons, they were always so easy for me to fall in love with em.

    I am glad you got yours up and running and shooting of course. Sure looked like you went through a hell of a trouble disassembling and assembling your Ruger because you wanted to strangle good ol’ Bily.

    Rugers can be a pain to reassemble but that still won’t make me retract the love for them.

  10. I bought a new Mark 4 yesterday 22/45 lite The only problem is the mags. You cant put over 4 rounds in both mags. Anything over 4 and the rounds lay flat and will not feed. I called Ruger and they are sending me 2 new mags. Hope that solves the problem. But I have already ordered the Volquartsen parts. Hope to end up with the same results as you have gotton

  11. Just finished working on a customers 22/45 for feeding problems. Reworked magazine To eliminate any issues. During this process I found that magazine’s would not lock in place. After comparing this Ruger with additional one I have in shop. Found something else was the problem. When frame was molded this 22/45 was longer in magazine area. Removed approximately .045 thousands from bottom of frame where magazine seats. Now when you insert magazine you hear a very positive click. This requires only minimal pressure even loaded. Fixed this one.

  12. Tuned many Ruger Mk pistol through the years. This was the first 22/45 that I’ve seen with frame molded too long. Generally speaking this model has always been more of a challenge than steel frame Mk 22s.

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