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The Rimer LCP: common problems with Ruger's Lightweight Compact Pistol and getting it up and running.

by RK Campbell

The Ruger LCP is a very popular handgun, being small, flat and concealable. The rub is quite a few folks load it, fire a magazine through it, and never practice again. The shooters that do practice with the LCP sometimes find it comes up short on performance. After a few brushes with the pistol, the cures are now standard and were simply common sense.

As an example, among the first problem areas that began showing up with the LCP were dents in the ejected case and nicks in the case rim. Positive extraction and ejection is all good but that wasn't the problem. The problem was that the aluminum portion in the polymer frame needed to be properly trimmed and lowered as it was protruding just below the extractor and spent cases were contacting this area. This type of defect might also be responsible for poor feeding. A combination of filling and polishing away some 1/8th of the sub-frame cured this problem neatly.

When examining the Ruger under magnification it is obvious how rough some cast and aluminum parts can be. This is simply part of modern production. By carefully polishing these areas and removing burrs and rough areas, you will decrease friction and make for a smoother and more reliably operating handgun. When polishing a handgun it is good to strive for a smooth surface but when addressing the feed ramp it is best to remove any sharp edges or tool marks. The LCP will usually feed the Remington 102 grain Golden Saber load and the Hornady 90 grain XTP, while other loads with a wide mouth may be more problematic. It is best to begin with 600 grit sandpaper and carefully polish the feed ramp. Do not work the feed ramp too much but carefully place the sandpaper on the end of a wooden dowel and sand carefully, going back and checking for ridges or rough edges on the feed ramp. For a true ledge or ridge, no matter how very small, sometimes a jeweler's file is the best starting point.

When polishing the feed ramp do not neglect the chamber as there can be reamer marks. Also polish the barrel hood as the bullet nose sometimes connects with this ramp. Polish the barrel hood and breech face where they meet. This is a standard procedure with all but the very finest self loading pistols and makes for smoother feed and function. Do not actually remove enough of the barrel hood to affect the locking of the hood into the slide. Be certain that there are no raised edges around the firing pin channel. At the rear of the slide where the hammer meets the slide, take a look and polish any rough areas as this is a common rough spot.

It can be desirable to polish the trigger bar. I am not certain this helps the trigger pull weight but it does seem to smooth the action. When it comes to trigger action there have been several complaints revolving around the short = trigger action, pinched fingers, and a generally uncomfortable trigger face. While all hand sizes are not involved, the problem is more serious for some users. For those that need it, replacement triggers are available.

I have used a unit from RTK Triggers (rtktriggers.com) with great success and entrust it in my other half's LCP. The procedure is simple. The trigger responds well, giving better control and comfort. To install it, first triple check to be certain the pistol is unloaded and field strip it. I used a punch through the hole in the back strap to release the spring cap, which takes a little prying to remove. Next, use a loop of string or a paper clip to grab the back of the hammer spring. By pulling up you will release the spring into the magazine well. Using a small punch, drive out the two pins holding the trigger in place. This also releases the internal frame from the polymer receiver. The frame lifts out of the receiver. Release the trigger spring and remove the link bar (it is not quite a draw bar.) There is a hole in the back of the LCP's plastic trigger. Use a punch to push the trigger pin up. This allows the trigger, pin, spring, trigger pivot and trigger to be removed. Compare the old to the new trigger and proceed.

The next step is to assemble the trigger assembly and verify fit before installing it into the frame. Sometimes the trigger pin will not insert into the trigger. Some factory pins, according to RTK, are larger than others. You may sand or file the bottom last 1/8 inch of the pin and it will slip in readily. Very little work is done to accomplish this fit. The trigger assembly is then placed into the frame. The trigger spring tail will fall at five o'clock. Press in the spring as you insert the trigger pin. Make certain that the trigger pin is fully seated. It may take some effort but do not use a punch or anything of that sort as finger pressure does the business.

The link bar is installed next and the trigger spring is tensioned against it. Take a close look and locate the hammer block. Near the hammer block is a small hole on the right side. The hammer block is pressed forward and a thin item such as a paper clip is inserted to keep the hammer block in the forward position. Feed the trigger into the frame first and the hammer spring will be in the magazine well. When the trigger is seated, release the hammer block. Partially insert the retaining pins. Ascertain that the trigger cycles smoothly. If the action is correct, drive the pins in place. A slight tap is all that is needed. Install the spring retaining pin using the string or clip and tension the hammer spring once again. Reinstall the spring cap.

Once you have installed the slide, checking for function is pretty simple. After once again checking the chamber and the magazine well to be certain the pistol is unloaded, press the trigger. If the piece dry fires you are good to go. If not, back out the lower set screw in the trigger. If, when releasing the trigger you do not hear two reset clicks, run the top screw in sidewise. I am getting to the point where I do not always hear these clicks as well as I should, but I can hear the Ruger's clicks just fine.

The best way to adjust the trigger is to set lower the set screw until the Ruger just barely catches and fires, then turn it counterclockwise a full turn. Unscrew the top reset screw until the second reset point is audible. If the trigger does not reset you have eliminated too much take up. A failure to fire is the result to too much limitation of overtravel. Once the trigger is properly set secure the screws with blue Loctite. If the Ruger works properly but then begins to malfunction, the screws were not properly secured.
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Title Annotation:WORKBENCH
Publication:American Gunsmith
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:1194
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