Ruger Mark III Pistol Take Down and Assembly

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Introduction: Ruger Mark III Pistol Take Down and Assembly

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

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. 

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Safety Continued

Pull the bolt (rear end of the barrel) back about 3/8 of an inch and look into the receiver to be certain there is no bullet in the chamber.  This pistol has no bullet.  See the yellow arrow.

The Mark III has a thin wedge on the left side of the receiver that protrudes from the side of the gun if a bullet is in the chamber, but I prefer to look, anyway.  A red dot is visible on the wedge when a bullet is in the chamber. 

If the pistol cocks when you pull back the bolt, pull the trigger*, or you will not be able to remove a vital part in the next steps.  If the bolt does not return to its closed position, find and press the bolt (or slide) release at the top of the left side handle.  Then pull the trigger, if you have not already released it.  You may need to insert an empty magazine to accomplish this.  Remove the empty magazine when the pistol is no longer cocked.

*Note: While dry firing a firearm is very much discouraged, the Ruger's manual says it is no problem to dry fire this gun if the internal lock is disengaged, the safety is in the F or "off" position, and the firing pin stop has not been removed from the bolt.  See the manual for further details on any of these items.

Step 3: Open the Mainspring Housing

The mainspring housing is located in the pistol's handle.  It's latch is the point of metal in the oval indentation.  See the tip of the yellow arrow. 

Step 4: Open the Latch


Hook the round end of a paper clip over the mainspring latch and pull toward yourself.  It pulls a little hard.  Use the thin nose pliers to pull the paper clip.

Step 5: Latch Released

Here you see the mainspring latch fully extended (yellow arrow).  Notice the red arrow.  This points to part of the mainspring bolt stop assembly as it begins to protrude from the pistol handle after the latch is released.

Step 6: Remove the Bolt Retainer

Grasp the whole mainspring bolt stop assembly as shown and pull it downward as shown by the yellow arrow to remove it from the pistol.  It comes out fairly easily, but will require a little force.

Step 7: Remove the Bolt

Pull the bolt out of the pistol in the direction shown by the yellow arrow.  If it binds and will not come out, the hammer or hammer strut may have moved to make an obstruction.  See step 8 to resolve this.

Step 8: Clearing the Way

The hammer and hammer strut tend to move around as the pistol is held at different angles.  This can obstruct the removal of the bolt from the barrel. 

The view in the photo is into the back of the pistol's handle.  The yellow arrows identify the parts.  Much of the hammer is in shadow.  When the hammer moves, the hammer strut easily falls forward of the crosspin.  Push the hammer in the direction of the red arrow.  The tips of the needle nose pliers or a small screwdriver work well for this.  Point the barrel of the gun upward so the hammer strut can fall toward the rear of the gun out from in front of the crosspin (as shown in the photo).  Now the bolt should be free to slide out if it was not before.

Step 9: Remove the Barrel From the Pistol Frame

Use a soft plastic hammer to remove the barrel from the pistol frame.  Pound in the direction of the yellow arrow.  Pound in the area marked by the green line.  Pounding in the area marked by the red line means you are pounding on the pistol frame, which will not remove the barrel from the frame.

When the barrel releases from the frame, it will do so quickly and will fall.  Grasp it between your knees or hold it low over the table to prevent damaging anything.

Step 10: Position the Hammer Before Installing the Barrel

The photo shows the top of the pistol frame.  The yellow arrow points to the hammer.  It should be pushed down so it is flat and level with the top of the pistol frame.

The safety should be set to its lower position so the "F" shows in the opening.  See the red arrow for the location of the safety.

Step 11: Pound the Barrel Onto the Frame

Use the soft plastic hammer to pound the barrel back onto the pistol frame.  There are two wedge-shaped catches between the frame and the barrel.  Begin with the barrel a quarter inch or so forward of where it will be when seated so the catches engage.  Pound fairly forcefully. 

Step 12: Align Barrel and Frame

It is critical that the rear end of the barrel is even with the rear of the pistol frame.  When pounding the barrel back onto the frame in the previous step, the barrel probably went a little farther toward the rear of the frame than is desirable.  Pound so the hammer face overlaps both the rear end of the frame and the rear end of the barrel to make them even with one another.  The reason why can be seen in the next step.

Step 13: Hole Alignment


The holes in the frame and the barrel for the bolt retainer pin must align or the bolt retainer pin will not go into place.  The bright metal in the hole is from the pistol's bolt and this piece has some freedom of movement.  It is not a problem.  Hole alignment is the reason for the previous step.

Step 14: Insert the Bolt


The factory manual warns against damage to the firing pin if the bolt is installed without the firing pin stop.  This is a pin that runs from one side of the bolt to the other.  I have not yet disassembled the bolt.  Unless you do, this will not be a problem to watch.  The bolt will not go into the barrel upside down.  There is only one way it fits.

If the bolt does not slide into the barrel, wiggle it a little.  If anything obstructs it, check step 8.  Turn the pistol handle up and see that the hammer and the hammer strut are not in the way.

Step 15: Install the Bolt Retainer Pin

Hold the gun with the barrel pointing to the floor.  Check to be sure the hammer strut is above the crosspin, not forward of it, that is below it.  Insert the bolt retaining pin into the holes for it and push on it until fully seated.  (Notice how the rounded end of the bolt retainer pin extends above the top surface of the barrel.)  Also, place an empty magazine into the pistol's handle.  Snap it into place.

Step 16: Finish the Process

Now hold the pistol with the barrel pointing upward.  Pull and hold the trigger.  Rotate the mainspring housing stop assembly back into the handle.  Close the latch.  This should all go smoothly.  If the mainspring housing stop assembly does not swing easily back into the pistol handle, the hammer or the hammer strut may not be properly positioned.  See step 8 again.  Close the latch when all is as it should be. 

Any problems I have had in the assembly of the pistol or in its operation have been due to the hammer or the hammer strut being out of their proper place. 

Finally, wipe away any fingerprint oil you might have left on the gun. 

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    36 Comments

    0
    blhassman
    blhassman

    Question 10 months ago

    It appears I can’t follow instructions or something is different! When I get the gun back together the mainspring will not close all the way with the magazine in and will close easy with it out?? Cannot figure out what is going on. Only lacks about 1/16 of an in from snapping in. Cannot cycle pistol with or without magazine. Ruger22/45 target pistol. Very frustrating to deal with. One of the hardest I have ever done but must be missing some little detail??
    Please advise

    0
    haddoxl
    haddoxl

    Answer 7 days ago

    Insert empty magazine, point in safe direction, pull trigger, remove magazine. Now, when you close the bolt retainer you should feel spring tension right before it is pressed into the hand grip.

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Answer 10 months ago

    I had not handled my pistol for quite some time and decided I need to clean and oil it to protect from rust. I had the same difficulty you are having. But, I had missed a detail in steps 12 to 16. I do not remember now which detail, perhaps pulling and holding the trigger. Pointing the barrel up or down as directed is also very important. I am sure you are certain you have done everything correctly. I was. Then I found I had missed one little thing.

    0
    haddoxl
    haddoxl

    14 days ago

    I have had a Ruger Mark III for several years now and used to have difficulty reassembling it after cleaning. I tried all the different tips below, e.g. point it down, point it up, but they seldom worked. So, I sat down and tried to figure it out myself, and I came up with this simple process that requires no tools whatsoever.

    No matter where in reassembly you have difficulty or how many times you have difficulty, do these 3 quick steps. They take all of 3 seconds. Memorize them if at all possible. You will see them again and again.
    1. Insert empty magazine
    2. Pull trigger
    3. Remove magazine

    When you attempt to reattach the barrel to the pistol grip, but the hammer is in the wrong position, preventing the barrel from lining up with the pistol grip, do these steps.
    1. Insert empty magazine into the pistol grip,
    2. Point in safe direction and pull the trigger,
    3. Remove the magazine,
    4. Push the hammer back/down into the pistol grip,
    5. Reattach the barrel to the pistol grip,
    6. Insert the bolt retainer.

    If the bolt retainer won't fold down into the grip, do these steps.
    1. Insert empty magazine into the pistol grip,
    2. Point in safe direction and pull the trigger,
    3. Remove the magazine.

    If there is no spring tension when folding the bolt retainer back into the grip, do these steps.

    1. Insert empty magazine into the pistol grip.
    2. Point in safe direction and pull the trigger,
    3. Remove the magazine.

    Now, you'll feel spring tension when folding the bolt retainer, now close the clip.

    Check assembly by doing these steps.
    1. Insert empty magazine into the pistol grip.
    2. Pull bolt to the rear.
    3. Press bolt release, letting the bolt go home.
    4. Point pistol in safe direction, pull the trigger
    5. Remove magazine.








    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 13 days ago

    Thank you for sharing. It will likely be helpful to some. I will try it.

    0
    4thhawkins
    4thhawkins

    10 months ago

    How to assemble a Ruger Mark 3

    1. The firearm is completely disassembled, except for the ammo eject
    1. Begin with the Bolt Stop Plunger Spring (B7) put it on the Bolt Stop Plunger (B6) into the hole on the front left side of the frame.
    1. Push both the Bolt Stop Plunger (B6) and Bolt Stop Plunger Spring (B7) overlapping with thing Bolt Stop Assembly (B5), in and the button through the frame holding this assembly.
    1. Insert the Trigger (B1) with the Trigger Spring (B2), Trigger Plunger (B3) and Disconnector Assembly (B13)

    1. Holding this assembly in the frame with the Trigger Pivot Pin (B8)
    (Caution keep track of the Trigger Spring (B2) and Trigger Spring Plunger (B3)
    as they are known to spring out during assembly)
    Take a Break
    1. Insert Sear Spring (B5) with the long leg of the spring under the Sear Spring Stop Pin (C6) and against the side of the gun.

    1. Position Sear (B16) with the short leg is behind the Shear
    1. Use Disconnector Assembly (B13) to temporary hold the Sear (B16). This will also compress the Trigger Spring (B2), Trigger Plunger (B3)
    1. Assemble Sear Pivot Pin C5 putting Bolt Stop Thumb Piece C25 on Sear Pivot PIN C5 on the outside of the frame.
    1. Use the Hammer Spring Plunger to temporarily hold the Sear pointing upward. The tension will hold both in place.
    If the pin is loose I put a small piece of scotch tape over each end.
    1. Place the Safety Spring (?) and the Spring Plunger (?) in the Safety
    1. While holding the frame pointed up insert the Safety assembly through the frame rotating the assembly counterclockwise.
    1. Push the Sear back with a pencil or such to allow the Safety Assembly hole to align with the pin hole in frame. This will release the trigger link that you assembled earlier
    1. Stop the pin just clear so the Safety Assembly (B9) Hammer Assembly (B10) and Disconnector Assembly (B13) can be installed together on the Hammer Pivot Pin.
    1. Install the items in the frame with the slope of the hammer faces back of the gun.

    1. Make sure that the dangling leg is free to the back of the gun.
    Caution See the dangle is free and the shear is in the correct position.

    1. Assemble the barrel to the frame.

    1. Install the Mainspring Housing Latch Pin. Make sure the dangle is in the proper place and install and lock C16.
    If everything is lined up correctly you should feel the latch spring.
    0
    Ed huggins
    Ed huggins

    Question 2 years ago on Introduction

    I am trying to assemble my Ruger mark lol pistol. I inavertablely pulled the trigger I don’t know if that is my problem or not but as I try to insert that spring in. Butt of gun it snaps back that catch on it will not hook and it comes out and I can’t secure it in the butt of gun.

    0
    Jolin2
    Jolin2

    Question 3 years ago on Introduction

    My mark 3 is in the S position. the bolt is closed, how can I unlock or free the action ?

    0
    braymond
    braymond

    4 years ago

    Holy cow. I was thinking about buying one of these. Now there's no way I'm going to do it. This is waaaaay too complicated.

    0
    Big4K7Huna
    Big4K7Huna

    4 years ago

    I am bewildered. I assemble the pistol, but the bolt will not retract and I cannot pull the trigger. So, can anyone send me a pix showing where the hammer strut is supposed to be before reinstalling the mainspring housing. I have the hammer strut lying on the cross pin. Any help is much appreciated.

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 4 years ago

    I do not have my pistol anywhere near and it has been a while since I have done the task. But, do be very careful to hold the pistol exactly as described step by step. If you do not, things inside do not fall into their proper place. Sometimes the pistol needs to point upward, sometimes downward. Take no shortcuts. Ignore no detail. You will not notice that something inside is out of place, but the pistol will have problems like you describe. II would have thought the photo in step 8 shows what you are asking.

    0
    jrfiala9497
    jrfiala9497

    7 years ago on Step 13

    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.

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 13

    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.

    0
    glorybe
    glorybe

    11 years ago on Step 3

    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!

    0
    NachoMahma
    NachoMahma

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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)."

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    0
    glorybe
    glorybe

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 3

    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.

    0
    bmwsid
    bmwsid

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    0
    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.