A surgical clip applying apparatus comprises an actuator device, a ratchet mechanism, a locking mechanism, and a clip driving device. The actuator device comprises an interior and a cam mechanism disposed therein. The cam mechanism comprises an axial cam surface. The locking mechanism is movable by the actuator device within the interior in a distal direction and in a proximal direction. While moving in the distal direction, the locking mechanism contacts the axial cam surface, thereby causing the locking mechanism to engage the ratchet mechanism to limit movement of the locking mechanism in the proximal direction. Continued movement of the locking mechanism in the distal direction causes the locking mechanism to move off the axial cam surface, thereby enabling the locking mechanism to bypass the ratchet mechanism during a return stroke.