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unfired Ruger Old Army

OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
A Contender barrel deal that fell through turned out great! I mentioned to one of the guys I was talking to that I had been looking for a Ruger Old Army. It turned out he had this one & sold it to my for $275. Complete with holster, a package of spare nipples & a box of balls. He bought it new years ago for "about $300". I had a trigger job done on it before I ever saw it. It's not going to be unfired for very long. Probably not past Saturday. This is going to be fun :)

I hope these pictures work-




  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,525 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Congratulations! Those are made better than any other cap and ball pistol.
  • HandgunHTR52HandgunHTR52 Member Posts: 2,735
    edited November -1
    Nice looking piece!

    Be very careful with it as they are extremely addictive and have a tendency to multiply in the safe when the wife isn't looking![;)]
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks guys, I like it a lot :) Unfortunately it's still unfired since it's cold here today & the wind is blowing way to hard to enjoy shooting, especially a black powder gun, let alone trying to shoot groups. We're going fishing tomorrow so it might be next weekend before I can shoot it. I'll post when I get it shot & see what kind of groups I can get with it.
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The ROA isn't unfired any more. It shot three cylinders full today. It shoots great. No misfires or issues at all. I didn't really have time to do all the things I wanted to do, like get chronograph numbers & group sizes with different loads but that's ok. It shoots great & from shooting only six at paper I can say it should shoot pretty well once I learn to load it consistently. I had three touching at 25 yards, two about two inches low & two inches apart & one that opened it up to about 3 1/2 inches OA. I think it will do better when I get a serious load.
    My buddy Bob that owns the land that I shoot on was in the area so he went with me into the draw & we both shot it. I ran six through it, then he ran six through it & went back to work. So I shot it one more time at various targets of opportunity.
    I learned something-
    I usually fold a towel & lay it over my sandbag when I'm shooting a revolver to keep the gap blast from screwing up the bag. Guess what? This thing sets the towel on fire! Every time! It's quite a shaboom! Even with only 20-25 grains of 3F there's a lot more sparks, gap blast, smoke & whatnot than I'm used to. Pretty cool! :) We would shoot & then put out the fire, then shoot again & put out the fire again, etc. That's why I went to shooting rocks :) I need to get a piece of leather for shooting any revolver off the bag anyway I guess.
    The first cylinder full I filled the holes with Bore Butter but it took quite a bit with only 20 grains of powder so after that I just used Crisco. It's a pretty messy setup in general but it's great fun to shoot.
  • sockssocks Member Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Try some wonder wads and you can forget the crisco! No mess.
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'll try to pick some up Sunday on the way back from the IHMSA range. Thanks.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,525 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You see so many guys recommending loading up the cylinder with Crisco.
    I just don't get it.
    Do you think Civil War troopers rode around with grease dripping down their holsters and running down their legs?
    No they didn't.
    The Civil War troopers' lives depended upon their cap and ball pistols, and they used over powder wads made of felt and soaked with beeswax and mutton tallow.

    You can do it like the experts did and buy mutton tallow and beeswax at Dixie, it comes in a can and is named Old Zip Patch Grease.
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Maybe it was this from the loading section of the Ruger Old Army instruction manual-

    <F. Using one of the commercially available bullet greases or other stiff
    grease (some automotive water pump greases have proven satisfactory),
    apply a liberal coating of grease to each chamber mouth so as to cover
    the bullet and seal the chamber. The purpose of this is twofold:
    1. To decrease leading and barrel fouling, and:
    2. To reduce the possibility of multi-chamber discharge ("flash over")
    when firing.>

    I think I'll go with the Wonder Wads anyway.

    So what *was* that stuff running down their legs? :)
  • Underdog2264Underdog2264 Member Posts: 164 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:So what *was* that stuff running down their legs? :)
  • sheepdipsheepdip Member Posts: 3,124
    edited November -1
    Ruger dropped the "Old Army" from its line.

    May want to keep that one.

    I got mine.

  • 03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have two Ruger Old Armys. One 7-1/2" stainless and one 7-1/2" blued.

    They are a real joy to shoot and about the finest cap & ball revolver money can buy.

    When it comes to accuracy both of mine prefer loads on the low end. 20.0 to 30.0 work well but above 30.0 the accuracy starts to fall off. At 40,0 to 45.0 they bucket shooters only.

    I am one that does not enjoy the stink, fouling and clean up required when using FFFG black powder. I have gone to using American Pioneer FFFG and it works great, makes plenty of smoke. It leaves very little fouling and cleans up easily. American Pioneer powder will not cause the gun to rust like black powder and I have left both of mine for weeks after firing with no ill affects other than looking a bit messy.

    The Ruger Old Army like any other black powder gun should never be fired with an air gap between the ball and the powder and best accuracy is had when the ball is seated closer to the chamber mouth. The Ruger rammer is too short to properly seat a ball with minimal compression of the powder using 20.0 to 30.0 grain charges, it leaves an air gap. At 35.0 grains with most powders you can get some compression of the powder, too much compression is not recommended either.

    As for the use of greases over the seated ball, it is great for lubricating the entire exterior of the gun and the shooter, plus there are better ways to prevent chain fires.

    My two Rugers shoot extremely well using 20.0 to 25.0 grains of FFFG American Pioneer powder. It is a very light and very pleasent load to shoot.I have used dry lubed and plain dry wads over the powder to fill the space between the powder and the ball. Greasy lubed wads are not good, they tend to contaminate the powder. The wads are just enough to provide a little compression of the powder when the ball is seated. I have since switched to using corm meal instead of the wads. It is much cheaper and provides the benifit of scrubbing the bore with every shot. No leading, no fouling, just a spanky clean bore all the time. Cream of Wheat can be used just as well. Wads, corn meal or cream of wheat fillers prevent chain fire also.

    The type of cap you choose to use will have a great affect on accuracy. I have found the Remington caps to be the worst and accuracy was all over the place with them. The Remington caps have very inconsistent ignition. The CCI and German caps both work fine.

    I premeasure all of my powder and filler charges and put them in small plastic vials. It makes for more accurate charges of each and speeds up loading a lot.

    I found accuracy starting to fall off some with my American Pioneer loads after firing about five five shot groups (25 rounds). Since the bore was perfectly clean, I looked at the chambers. I found as more rounds are fired there is a thin film of fouling in the lower part of the chambers some of which gets knocked to the bottom during loading. I thought this may be enough to affect igniton if some was over the flash hole of the nipple so I started using a dry brush in the chambers after every 20 rounds fired and accuracy remained very good no matter how many rounds I fired.

    Enjoy shooting your Ruger Old Army's, they are way to fun to shoot to just sit around.
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for all the info. I'll try some American Pioneer & corn meal. Less powder mess would be a good deal & corn meal would be a lot cheaper than Wonder Wads at fourteen cents a bang(!). I bought some tubing today so I could cut my own wads but I'm going to try the cornmeal first. If that works out for me I can return the tubing. I needed three inches of tubing & had to buy three feet :/
  • 03lover03lover Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1

    I used the standard black powder volume type measure at first for my 20.0 and 25.0 grain charge of FFFG American Pioneer powder. Then I weighted them for the actual average weight on a regular powder scale.

    The 20.0 grain by volume of FFFG American Pioneer had an actual weight of 19.2 grains. The 25.0 grain by volume had an actual weight of 23.8 grains.

    Then I did the same thing with the corn meal I am using. The 15.0 grain by volume of corn meal had an actual weight of 13.8 grains on scale. The 17.0 grain by volume of corn meal had an actual weight of 14.8 grains on scale. The 20.0 grain by volume of corn meal had an actual weight of 16.2 grains on scale.

    My actual loads that perform best for me are:

    20.0 grains of FFFG American Pioneer by volume or actual weight on scale of 19.2 grains and 14.8 grains by actual weight on scale of corn meal. This combination provides the correct minimal compression of the powder while the rammer will be very close to maximum stroke.

    25.0 grains of FFFG American Pioneer by volume or actual weight on scale of 23.8 grains and 13.8 grains by actual weight on scale of corn meal.

    If the corn meal you use differs from mine you may have to adjust the amount of corn meal up or down a little to feel out minimal compression on the powder. If the rammer bottoms out easily use a little more corn meal until the rammer requires a little extra pressure to seat the ball before the rammer bottoms out.

    I use the .457" dia balls that are required for the Ruger Old Army. I cast my own now and they work just as well as the factory swagged ones without the high cost. I use CCI #11 caps.

    I picked up a used RCBS powder measure at a gun show and I use it for measuring the corn meal. Surprisingly it throws very consistent weight charge of corn meal and speeds up the process of filling vials with the proper amount of corn meal while providing accurate weights.

    There are powder measures designed for use with black powder, but they are a bit costly. Some are using regular powder measures with American Pioneer, but with a loud and clear caution that a grounding wire must be used to properly ground the measure so no static discharge type spark can ignite the entire cylinder full of powder. I intend to go this route when preparing larger numbers of premeasured powder charges.
  • OregunnerOregunner Member Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I looked for American Pioneer powder but we don't have any in town. I'll have to look at a better stocked store. I'm on the lookout for some small containers to hold charges or powder & corn meal as well. I took back the ten dollar piece of tubing.
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