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1911 Extended Mag Release for the Ruger 22/45 Mk II

The OEM magazine release on the 22/45 is fine for an unmodified frame, but when you install 1911 grips, especially these fat target style Pachmyrs (see this page), your strong hand thumb just can't find the release without a lot of fumbling and muttered bad words.

Originally I had intended to drill and tap the Ruger release for this Ed Brown oversized button, but I didn't realize how hard the steel was, and I wasn't able to drill a hole using my drill press without destroying my bits. If you want to use the screw, you will need to find a gunsmith with a lathe and ball end mill, as described on the packaging. Since all I was doing was burning up drill bits, it was time for Plan 2.

Click here to see the button at MidwayUSA: Ed Brown Oversize Checkered Magazine Release Button 1911 Blue

The Ed Brown button lying upside down next to the field stripped frame. The button has a slight recess in back - I'm not quite sure of the purpose, other than to perhaps help center it on a 1911 release. The ID of the recess is slightly larger than the OD of the Ruger release. Before removing the Ruger release, I tested the operation of the button by holding it in place and ejected several mags - one would eject, the others would not. The button was not allowing full travel of the Ruger release. Using a dial caliper, I measured the travel of the right side of the Ruger release, where it projects from the frame. I discovered that the button was restricting full travel by about 0.014".

At this point I could have done two things - file the back of the button approximately "0.020+" to give extra travel, or shim the inside of the button so that it sticks out a little further. Since these Pachmyr grips are quite chunky, I decided to install a shim. If you have thinner 1911 grips, you might chose to remove material from the back of the button. The pics toward the bottom of the page will help you decide.

I found a small 0.030" stainless washer that would work as a shim. The button recess is 0.035" deep, the total height of the button is 0.202". This pic, showing the screw, was taken before I burned up all my drill bits ;(

The next step is to remove the OEM mag release. Field strip the pistol if you haven't already, and grab a strong flashlight and a small flat bladed screwdriver (long shank works better). If your gun isn't really clean, flush out the gunk and glop using a polymer safe spray cleaner and blow it dry. Look inside the frame at the mag release, and on the right side you will see a hair spring going straight down the right inner surface across the back of the release. This is the retaining spring. CAUTION: in the next step don't lose the small plunger and coil spring! To remove the release, lever the spring to the rear enough to clear the recess in the release, and push or pull the release out the left side of the frame (three hands help!). Keep an eye on the plunger and its spring - the plunger will probably fall off, the spring will be stuck inside the release. BTW, Don't worry about installation back into the frame - it's pretty easy.

Close up of the mag release, plunger and spring. I had to extract the spring using a fine dental pick. Be sure to remove the spring and set the small pieces safely away (I used a small zip bag).

Since I couldn't drill the release, I decided to use regular JB Weld (not the quick set - Look HERE). I have had really excellent success with this stuff, as long as the parts are roughed up and squeaky clean, and the parts are allowed to set overnight without disturbing them. I sanded the top of the release and the inside of the button, and both sides of the washer, with 100 grit sandpaper, then cleaned them with lacquer thinner and blew dry with compressed air.

I clamped the release vertically in the padded jaws of my bench vise. I applied the epoxy inside the button, laid the washer in the center, added more epoxy, and carefully laid the button on top of the release. While holding it there I wiped off the excess from underneath and also inside the bottom of the screw hole, and then visually aligned the button by sighting from 90 degree angles. Then I let the epoxy kick off (about 3 hours)

I mixed some fresh epoxy and used a mini screwdriver to dab the screw hole until it was nicely filled. The fresh mix flowed out nicely and left a smooth, concave shape - I really did NOT want it to get into the checkering. In spite of my care, a little did get into the grooves, so I used a 10x hand lens and an Exacto knife to remove all traces of epoxy there. Then I let everything sit overnight,

Installation is easy. Grease the tiny coil spring and install in its hole. Grease the bottom (turned down part) of the plunger and install it inside the spring - it should stay put. Orient the release so that the cut away part aligns with the half hole on the right side of the frame and push it in. The retainer spring will be visible in the half hole, from the outside, preventing the release from going in all the way. Lever the spring to the rear using a small screwdriver or scribe, and then push the release into position. Check the operation with some mags. Lube your moving parts and install the upper and the 1911 grip.

The finished installation. I colored the epoxy inside the screw hole with a Sharpie felt tipped pen. Sharp eyed Ruger fans may notice that I also sanded off the irritating casting nub from under the trigger guard.

This fuzzy shot shows the height of the button - it is still lower than the thumb swell of the Pachmyr grip. The distance from the frame to the top of the button (including the 0.030" shim) is 0.280". Without the shim it would be right at a quarter inch.

Normal firing position.

I can "just barely" work the mag release without shifting my grip, if I press really hard. If I shift my grip slightly and rotate the gun a few degrees, as in this pic, it works great.

If you want information on the 1911 Grip Mod, go here: 1911 Grips for the Ruger 22/45

Page new June 05, 2009