If your Ruger Mark pistol is picky about ammo, you can tune it with this Recoil Rod and Spring Kit from Volquartsen. My three Mark IV pistols were pretty reliable, until I attached a suppressor. Lower velocity ammo generally equals lower power. And I started to experience some cycling issues. Luckily, I had already purchased a spare factory bolt from Volquartsen. This was done with the plan of running a lighter spring in it. That way, I could just swap the bolt in and out of whichever pistol was wearing the suppressor that day. After a quick email exchange, Volquartsen provided the kit for this review.
Note that this is not a “how-to” on tuning your pistol for your favorite ammo. But I do cover how easy it is to install this, and swap springs. And at the end, I’ll offer up some compelling reasons to consider this product, even if you don’t have a suppressor, and your pistol currently runs fine.
The kit itself consists of a new recoil rod and a set of three springs (photo above). Unlike the factory Mark IV 22/45 rod, the Volquartsen one is threaded. This allows easy replacement of the springs. There is a bright finish spring already installed. This is the standard spring rate. Ideal with a wide variety of ammo. In a separate bag is a gold spring. It’s the heavy spring, for high velocity rounds. Finally, there is a dark spring, with reduced power. It softens recoil, but is also the choice for shooting subsonics.
Volquartsen does note that the standard spring should work with subsonic to high velocity. But the purpose of the different springs is to tune your firearm for best performance with the ammo you’re most likely to use. They also point out that even with the reduced power spring, .22 Short and CCI Quiets will not cycle.
Being the latest model of these pistols, the factory guide rod just has a mushroom crimp, like someone hit it with a hammer. Not exactly ideal for replacing the spring. The Volquartsen rod has a slot for a screwdriver on the end by the bolt face. The U-shaped part at the opposite end is the piece that comes off. I just held the end, and carefully unscrewed. There’s not a lot of tension on the spring, but some extra care (and perhaps eye pro) is in order. Pull the spring off, replace with a different weight. I had no trouble compressing the spring and threading it all back together. For the whole process, it was under a minute.
Since I have Mark IV 22/45 pistols, the swap is incredibly easy. Remove magazine, rack slide. Verify it’s not loaded. Flip safety up. Press the button under the bolt, and tip the barrel and bolt off the grip frame. Pull the bolt out of the back of the barrel. Either pop the recoil rod off by hand, or use a flat blade screwdriver to pry it out. Take the new assembly, and drop it in. No tools are require to get the guide rod back in place, as there isn’t much tension on the spring. Once the bolt is back in the barrel, assembly is a matter of hooking the front of the barrel in place, and dropping it down until it locks.
Yes, this kit is designed to tune your pistol for specific ammo. But really, I just wanted better performance out of lower velocity ammo when using my suppressor. Because I’d like to get it as quiet as possible, while still cycling reliably. I’ll take a bit more “pop” over having to rack the slide every round. So knowing that the replacement spring had reduced power, I wasn’t interested in how it would perform with ammo rated “high velocity”. That meant some suppressor-specific subsonic ammo. In this case, I had CCI Sub-Sonic (1050 fps), CCI Suppressor (970 fps), and Remington CBEE 22 (740 fps) on hand.
My test plan was simple. Go shoot a few magazines of each, and see at which point it would no longer cycle reliably. As expected, the CCI Sub-Sonic was quiet, and cycled every time. When I tried the CCI Suppressor, I had three failures out of five magazines. By the time I got to the Remington CBEE 22, I had dampened my expectations. While it was cool to hear a click, followed by the bullet hitting the backstop, I couldn’t get through a full magazine without a few failures. Of course, I have a limited supply of the CCI ammo, and it’s not looking like that will change any time soon. Which is the perfect lead-in to my conclusion.
This was a very un-scientific test. But I still got a lot of value out of it. And this is where things get helpful not just for me, but anyone else with a Ruger Mark pistol. It’s no secret that even rimfire ammo has been getting a bit more difficult to find lately. I grabbed a box of Winchester recently, only to find it’s rated at 1280 fps. Maybe next month, it will be lower velocity ammo available. With this Volquartsen Recoil Rod and Spring Kit, I’ll be able to tune my pistols to whatever ammo I do end up shooting, suppressed or not. And that is the real value. Knowing that no matter what ammo is available, I should be able to get it to cycle, and not batter my pistol to an early grave.
So this isn’t just for competitors, or those that like their rimfire quiet. If you’re not able to locate your favorite ammo, and want to ensure reliable function, check it out at 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 on larger orders. Definitely worth it.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried out the Volquartsen Recoil Rod and Spring Kit? Feel free to share below.