This tip comes from our friend Dino Longueira, Gunsmith Extraordinaire and Master of Majestic Arms.
I was talking to Dino one day about another matter when I mentioned that I had launched and lost the safety detent plunger from a Ruger MKII .22 pistol. Since I was modifying three of the guns for Ruger Rimfire competition I also mentioned that I had ordered four of the shifty little buggers from Brownells. He laughed and said Ruger says they are the most often lost part in all of their guns. I hadn’t exactly felt like the Lone Ranger on this before, since most people I know who have worked on these guns have lost their share (you know who you are, enough of you have called me about them!). I also didn’t hate Dino for laughing at me (if I hated everyone who has laughed at my ineptness the list would look like the Los Angeles phone book) because he is one of those unusual people who sounds as if he’s laughing with you . . . yeah, I know, what a talent.
Anyway, he says he knows a simple fix that costs practically nothing. Now I’m all ears. He asked if I had any of the 1/8” ball bearings that are used for making a crane lock for S&W revolvers and the staking punch for them. Well, I AM the Tool Guy, so of course I do. He said that the plunger was also 1/8” in diameter and to put one of the balls on top of the plunger spring and stake it in just like in a Smith crane. Well, Duh!, I felt even dumber than usual. I tried it out and it took less than a minute and worked like a champ. Not only that, but the safety operates smoother as well.
You can order the ball bearings from Brownells for a pittance (#713-035-001), and the staking punch (#713-035-000) as well. You can get away without buying the punch by just using an automatic center punch around the edge of the hole while holding the ball in. Use the automatic (available from Harbor Freight for less than $5 on sale) because you don’t need a third hand to hold the ball in, the center punch, and a hammer. Thanks Dino, “Whatta Guy!”