Picture of Ruger Mark III Pistol Take Down and Assembly
Taking down and assembling a Ruger Mark III .22 caliber pistol for cleaning is not difficult, if done in the proper steps.  If not done properly, it can be frustrating.  If I let a long time pass without doing it, I forget how to do it.

Items needed are: a Mark III pistol, a paper clip, as soft plastic hammer, and a needle nose plier or a small screwdriver.

If I am not mistaken, the procedure is the same for a Ruger Mark II pistol. 
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Step 1: Safety first

Picture of Safety first

Remove the magazine.  The magazine release button is under my left thumb.  Hold it down and pull the magazine from the bottom of the pistol handle.

I am working on newsprint to protect the table surface and to protect the gun parts.
jrfiala949711 months ago

Sliding the bolt in - have you found any details on steps - I've been stuck with the bolt sliding 90% of the way in - about 1" short of being fully in. I've read the manual a couple of times - not clear what is stopping it so close to be fully in.

Phil B (author)  jrfiala949711 months ago
It has been a while since I have handled my pistol, and I am away from home for a couple of more weeks, yet. However, I am confident something is not where it should be and is making an obstruction. Although I am certain you are feeling quite a bit of frustration, I expect you missed some small detail or something like the hammer moved without your notice. When I was preparing this Instructable I ran the various steps over and over to take note of what could go wrong and to provide the most foolproof progression of steps and precautions I could. Still, it is easy for some small thing to go unnoticed and suddenly something especially the hammer, is not where it should be and then the gun will not go together correctly again. My advice would be to start from the beginning and see if you missed or misunderstood something.
samirbanbo1 year ago
glorybe4 years ago
No Way! You can not dry fire a rim fire pistol. You risk the pin being rammed into the receiver assembly resulting in a totally ruined Ruger. Read your Ruger manual. I owned one of these pistols and they must never be dry fired!
Ruger Mark III manual (PDF)
.  Page 20, step 5: "With the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, push the safety to the “off” (F) position and pull the trigger to decock the pistol. The pistol can be dry fired as long as the firing pin stop is in place (see NOTE in step 5 on page 25)."
Phil B (author)  NachoMahma4 years ago
Thank you, NachoMahma. I had been out of town for a couple of weeks and could not check my pistol's manual to respond with more detail to glorybe. His comment made me afraid I had missed something, had given bad information, and would be responsible for causing damage to numerous Ruger pistols.
glorybe Phil B4 years ago
I suspect that there may have been changes to the Ruger assembly over the years. The one that I owned had a manual that was adamant about not dry firing the weapon. Apparently other folks had MarkIII pistols that could be dry fired. I don't know why the firing pin was ever made in such a way that any event would allow it to ram into the surrounding parts of the weapon. I can also say that it was not my favorite weapon as about every 15 rounds or so I would have to clear a non fired cartridge from the weapon. My other complaint would be in the difficulty of disassembly of the pistol. I have a 9mm now that I can disassemble so easily that it is almost a joke. It is a DA 9mm and apparently is patterned after a Beretta design.
bmwsid glorybe4 years ago
I also have one of these. I will NOT dry fire it. Like all things mechanical, your pistol just didn't like the particular ammo you were feeding it. Mine don't like Federals, but will fire any other brand I give it. I had an awful time trying to take it apart, so I didn't. I have had it since 1977, and it still functions fine, long as I don't put Federals in it! Wht take it apart!!! Leave it alone, and it will serve you fine.
Phil B (author)  bmwsid4 years ago
That is interesting that your gun does not like Federal ammunition. I have always used Remington because it was available. I had not considered never dismantling the gun. I know the hammer gets powder residue on it in use, and have always believed it is necessary to clean as much of the insides as I can access. From other comments, there seems to be a difference in what procedures will or will not damage the gun based on the time of manufacture.
. You might want to add a sentence or two advising people to check that the pin is installed before dry-firing. Maybe not - it doesn't look like something that would just fall out.
. Dry-firing any gun makes me slightly nervous. Both for safety (all guns are loaded, even if I just checked them) and mechanical reasons (it's bound to stress the firing pin if only a little bit; that stop is a lot harder than brass).
Phil B (author)  NachoMahma4 years ago
I added a note about safe dry firing in step 2.
justin_ glorybe4 years ago
Just to back up everyone else that responded, I have a Stainless Steel MK III and in the manual it says specifically to dry fire it.
Ruger even says to do it in their video in the "extras" section on the website:
Phil B (author)  glorybe4 years ago
I do not like to dry fire any gun, but the bolt will not come out if the gun is cocked. I will check the manual again. Thank you.
justin_4 years ago
Thanks for the great instructible! Had I found this before I took apart mine for cleaning the first time I would have one less scar on my hand!
Phil B (author)  justin_4 years ago
Thanks. I did this Instructable for selfish reasons so I can remember how to do it myself. My hands also have plenty of marks from all sorts of misadventures.
TheBigNil4 years ago
I like to use a disassembled Bic pen or similar to slip onto the latch. It helps give some leverage too
Re-design4 years ago
Nice job. One of my favorite pistols.
mrdepo964 years ago
Thank you for this great ible! i have the same Ruger, i do believe it's newer though.
kill-a-watt4 years ago
Why isn't this a featured instructable yet? I'm adding it to my faves.
Phil B (author)  kill-a-watt4 years ago
Thank you for your compliment and for adding it to your favorites. Oddly, it has been featured, but only within "Outdoors," not within "All." In fact, I cannot even find it listed under "Recent" in "All" as a published Instructable. has changed their way of listing featured Instructables, according to an editor's response to my inquiry. I am not sure I understand it, but it seems to be according to however an editor chooses to do it.
Phil B (author)  Phil B4 years ago
Correction: I finally found it in "Recent" under "All" as a published Instructable, but about 15 pages back. It did carry a "Featured" banner across it.
skunkbait4 years ago
Good job Phil! It took me a quite a bit of study, the first time I took one of those (mine was a MkII) apart. I've got an older MkI now, but this'll still come in handy next time I clean it. Thanks!
Phil B (author)  skunkbait4 years ago
Thanks, Barry. My poor pistol begs to be used more. When I do not use it, I forget how to take it down. I hope this helps me remember and gets me started the next time I have to do it. I do have a CO2 pistol almost identical to the Mark I and II. I tell myself often I will practice shooting straight with it, but never quite get to it.
kill-a-watt4 years ago
Thanks for such a great instructable. I'm glad you emphasized safety first.

I think it's really important to stress to the n00bs that you need to check to make sure the firearm is unloaded, and that the muzzle is kept pointed in a safe direction.

You don't really get to all of them because this is just a cleaning tutorial, but I'd like to list them for the sake of completeness:

The Four Rules
1. All firearms are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it

It's been noted that you usually need to break two or more rules to really screw things up, so I try to instill  good habits that are so ingrained that I feel funny breaking even one of them.
Phil B (author)  kill-a-watt4 years ago
Thank you for your very appropriate comments. I bought this pistol during a National Rifle Association approved pistol safety class that would qualify me for a concealed carry permit, had I applied for it. During the time of the course I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law in another state. He wanted to show me his .45 cal. automatic pistol. A loaded clip was sticking halfway out of the handle when he handed it to me. I knew to pull the clip out of the gun while keeping the barrel pointed safely at the floor (nothing but dirt below the floor) and to pull the slide back to check for chambered rounds (there were none). When I told that story to my instructor, he was real happy about what I had done. I also kept my finger off of the trigger, even though I had just checked it for bullets.