Volquartsen Bolt Tune-Up Kit for Ruger Mark Pistols
My quest to continue improving my trio of Ruger Mark pistols lead me to the Volquartsen Bolt Tune-Up Kit. This $38 kit contains a firing pin and extractor for the MKI, MKII, MKIII, MK IV, and 22/45 models. While I’ve been able to shoot most ammo without issue, once I added a suppressor, reliability became a concern. Especially with lower velocity or lower quality ammo. Tuning via their Recoil Rod and Spring Kit helped, but there were still some issues. Lower velocity equals lower bolt speed. Less energy on the strike, and less on the extraction cycle. So why not see if a new firing pin and extractor would help?
SureStrike Firing Pin
First up was replacing the factory firing pin with Volquartsen’s SureStrike Firing Pin. Unlike the factory stamped part, it is EDM machined. This process uses electrical current to make very precise cuts, even in unusual shapes. Tight tolerances can be achieved with this way, as it’s almost laser-like in accuracy. Although it would seem logical to match factory specs, the SureStrike is actually 0.004″ wider than a Ruger firing pin. The logic behind this is that preventing side to side movement contributes to consistency.
After cutting, and shaping the point, the firing pin is hardened to 56-58 on the Rockwell scale. Volquartsen selected A2 tool steel, as it can be hardened deeper. A conventional case hardened steel is really only hard on the surface, and not much below it. The end result is a more effective striking area, which hits the case more precisely, and wears exceptionally well.
Exact Edge Extractor
I have written quite a bit about 10/22 extractors, which are exactly the same as the Mark pistol’s extractor. In theory. Volquartsen takes every detail, and improves upon it. Like the SureStrike Firing Pin, the Exact Edge Extractor is made from wire EDM cut A2 tool steel, and hardened to Rockwell 56-58. Where the SureStrike is wider, the Exact Edge Extractor is, well, exactly the correct size. Because that EDM process allows them to keep tolerances to as small as +/-.0001″.
Unlike a firing pin, which just needs to deliver energy to the primer, an extractor requires a bit more finesse to grab the empty casing and pull it from the chamber. Which is why Volquartsen designed theirs so that the hook is 0.005″ closer to the rim of the cartridge. That seems to be just the right amount to make a difference. So it’s also durable, and that sharp edge yanks the empties with authority.
Installing both is pretty easy. With the bolt removed and the recoil rod taken out, push out the cross pin that holds the firing pin in place. I then use a dental pick to pull down on the extractor spring, so that the extractor can be removed. Wear eye protection, and go slowly. I still have not located the old extractor after it flew out with some force. Swap in the new extractor. Then replace the firing pin. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials out there that are done far better than I could explain this. Since the parts are direct replacements for the factory pieces, any video that shows how to remove and replace them will suffice.
With it all back together, all I had to do was make another trip to the range. The day I went, some (misguided?) parents were trying to teach their kids to shoot. I have no problem with that, but these kids were maybe 8-10, and struggled with a 9mm. It was too heavy, and both the noise and recoil were not well-received. So I politely offered to let them shoot my suppressed Mark IV. And I am happy to say that it went bang and spit out empties every time.
Usually, you can expect one or two out of a hundred or so rounds to not fire. That’s the nature of rimfire ammo. But with these kids burning my precious ammo, there wasn’t a single malfunction over several hundred rounds between us. That includes standard and lower velocity ammo. Even as the gun dirtied up from all that nasty ammo and the suppressor, it kept going. With no noise or recoil, I watched them burn up mag after mag of my ammo. And when they were done, these polite kids cleaned the bench and threw away my empty boxes before I could take a photo. Oops. Anyway, it was a mix of CCI Sub-Sonic, and some cheap (but not inexpensive) Winchester bulk.
Was it a pre-Christmas miracle? Nope. But if you want to make your Ruger Mark pistol as reliable as it can be, the SureStrike and Exact Edge are clear improvements over the factory parts. Better ignition, better extraction. Throw that spring kit in there so that you can tune it for your ammo, and you’ve got a winner. Not everyone is going to need these parts. But if you have a fussy pistol, they should change that.
I’d like to thank Volquartsen for sending me their Tune-Up Kit for this review. Although they offer some really high-end competition firearms and accessories, they still look after the enthusiast. This is something they’ve been doing since 1974. And these are parts anyone can replace at home with minimal tools and skill, in a stock pistol. To learn more, visit Volquartsen.com. Pro tip: Sign up for their emails. Not only will you get useful info and offers (without a ton of spam), but you’ll also get free shipping. Definitely worth it.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried out the Volquartsen Tune-Up Kit for their Ruger Mark series pistol? Feel free to share below.