So educate me on blackpowder revolver.


July 26, 2003, 08:35 PM
Local Dealer has Ruger Old Army's for a steal-----is it a hassle or a hoot to play with these??

Can I load magnun charges??-----etc.........

Educate me. I have no experience with black powder.



Ooooppps----just noticed there is a blackpowder section----wrong forum----Sorry.

If you enjoyed reading about "So educate me on blackpowder revolver." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Mike Irwin
July 26, 2003, 09:52 PM
"Magnum charges"?

No, you can load only black powder, and you're limited by the amount of powder that you can get into each chamber in combination with the bullet.

I THINK, in the Ruger Old Army, that's about 35 grains of FFFg powder, which is a pretty hefty charge no matter what, really. With a conical bullet you're in the same power range as BP .44-40 or .45 Colt loads from yesteryear.

What's your local dealer asking?

Are they stainless or blued?

Old Fuff
July 26, 2003, 10:09 PM
If you want a shooter, and don’t want an exact duplicate of a 19th century revolver the Ruger “Old Army” is by far the best black-powder revolver you can buy, Hindsight being what it is the Ruger eliminated many of the problems found in clones of original Colt’s, Remington’s, etc.
As for magnum loads, no you can’t. This is a cap & ball BLACK POWDER gun. But magnums aside, they are a hoot too shoot.

July 26, 2003, 10:37 PM
The Old Army is the strongest revolver on the market, so in terms it will be the magnum amoung the BP revolvers (except maybe a Dragoon).
If you don't mind the mess and cleanup associated with shooting BP then they are most definately a hoot to play with.

July 26, 2003, 11:28 PM
They had 10 NIB--cardboard box and all---behind the glass case for $259 each------all blued ---no stainless left.

I'll give the name of the place on Monday----after I put one on lay-a-way------closed Sunday.

Mike Irwin
July 26, 2003, 11:44 PM

That is a killer price for the Old Army!

Where is this shop located?

The best I've seen one going for here in Northern Virginia is close to $350.

July 27, 2003, 01:03 AM
Had one, it's a hoot.
Can take as much black powder (Pyrodex, Clean Shot, etc.) as you can put in the cylinder and fit the ball or bullet in.
Used a .457 round ball weighing 143 gr.
With a full house load, I punched a hole in one side of a hollow cinder block at 15 yds. (This was before gelatin testing :))

My old 1975 Lyman Blackpowder Handbook gives the following info:

143 gr Ball 41.0 gr ffffg 1036 f.p.s.
185 gr Bullet 35.0 gr ffffg 905 f.p.s
It was very accurate - able to punch holes in quarters at 25 yds. :D


Jim March
July 27, 2003, 06:23 AM
The weird thing is, at moderate ranges (out to at LEAST 25 yards if not more) the "round lead ball" actually has a lot of stopping power. Aerodynamics suck wind (literally), but by the same token, once they hit flesh...well, they're not QUITE hollowpoints but the net effect isn't that far off.

Somebody did some gel testing with a 36cal C&B, and found wound channels not far off from decent 9mm fodder.

And that's a 457 :eek:.

Upshot: if you need a "no paper trail" defensive gun...the Ruger C&Bs aren't all that crazy.

Jim March
July 27, 2003, 06:26 AM
Stupid question: what happens if you use a 185grain Gold Dot JHP sized 454 (available as a reloading component)? 900fps is enough to get those to expand :D.

July 27, 2003, 10:59 AM
If the Gold Dot completely seals the chamber and provides enough tension to the chamber to allow the black powder to burn then it should work.

July 27, 2003, 01:18 PM
The Lyman Handbook also listed .454 lead bullets for use with the Ruger "Old Army" Revolver: Lyman #45467 and #45468.

Best loading of a Cap & Ball is with a ring of lead being shaved off as you ram the ball into the cylinder. This helps insure against a flashover causing multiple cylinder discharges. Covering the end of the cylinder with lard or lube completes the protection.

That said, I wouldn't be afraid to try a .454 jacketed bullet but I would look closely at the fit when I rammed it and use plenty of Crisco or lube to cover the cylinder hole over the bullet.


Mike Irwin
July 27, 2003, 05:56 PM

You don't need bullet tension or crimp for black powder to burn. Unlike smokeless powder, which is progressive burning, BP burns at a constant rate no matter whether it's in the open or under pressure.

July 27, 2003, 11:03 PM
Ok, let me reword it then.
The tension, which is the results of the bullet sealing the chamber, allows the full force of the burning gases to propell the bullet to the bore of the barrel.

Mike Irwin
July 27, 2003, 11:52 PM
OK, you're talking about the base of the bullet swaging into the tapered chamber.

Yep, you're right. That's going to be tough to get a jacketed bullet to swage into the chamber.

That brings up not only the issue of gas leaking around the bullet, but also the issue of the other chambers may not be sealed, either, making a grease top wad over each chamber ever so much more important.

July 28, 2003, 12:25 AM
Got one and it is a really fun shooter!:D

Be advised ,however, shooting Black Powder gives new meaning to the word "FILTHY!" :evil: That's the beauty of Stainless = take off the grips and drop the whole thing into a deepsinkfull of hot soapy water for cleaning :evil:

July 28, 2003, 01:01 AM
I once saw 2 chambers go off when the trigger dropped on a repro .36 Navy. It was not a pretty sight. The revolver somehow survived (it was just scarred), but the shooter needed several stitches and lead was removed from his hand and arm.
Please Please seal those chambers, Crisco is real cheap.

July 28, 2003, 01:12 AM
now, for true charcoal nirvana, get a Walker replica, which holds something like 60 grains of FFFg under a roundball. Mine was quite accurate, at least until the barrel started leading. Come to think of it, it usually was accurate for only the first cylinder full of shots.

I gave mine to my brother, who was so mortified by the thing he sold it at the next gun show.

Has anyone tried the cartridge cylinder conversions for the Old Army? I have seen them in Brownells catalog - they allow you to shoot light .45 Colt loads in it.

4v50 Gary
July 28, 2003, 01:30 AM
$259 is dirt cheap. :eek: BTW, you can stuph those cylinders with as much blackpowder as it can hold and it'll still be safe to fire. In my young foolish days I learned this by doing it. :uhoh: Later, when I got to the factory for school, they told me it was OK.:) Get a .457 round ball mould to make it affordable. .457 will seal the bore and leave a thin ring of lead. Airtight.

BTW, I think Elmer Keith once wrote that you get multiple discharges when the percussion caps are loose. So, pinch the cap before you apply it to the nipple. That and either use a wad (wonder wad) or filler (I use corn meal or farina) to act as a safety barrier between the ball & powder and cover the ball w/Crisco (more safety and keeps the fouling down).

Final thought: I use to use my Old Army to clear out the pistol line and get shooting spots for my buddies. :) Somehow the non-BP crowd just didn't like the smoke and grease and mess I made.

July 28, 2003, 10:58 AM
blackpowder is great. Grew up shooting the stuff. Just crisco the heck out it when you load the cylinder so you don't have the hwole cylinder go off at once.

July 28, 2003, 11:43 AM
Go to the black powder section, there have been a few threads re: the OA and the conversion cylinder. That price is fantastic.

July 28, 2003, 09:09 PM
I decided to pass on it---didn't want to mess with the grease and clean up.

Anyway---its Guns Unlimited in Omaha that has those for that price---there were still as least 8 of them in the case---just tonight.

I went ahead and picked up a nice .30-06 for $375 NIB.

Also--if anyone is interested---they had NIB Beretta 92's for $470. And various other deals.

July 29, 2003, 12:21 AM
I have a BP Rem New Army copy (not a clone since it is one of the brass framed versions). It is work, but darn is it fun.

A ton of smoke and flash at every shot. I find I only shoot a few cylinder fulls per trip (it is a lot of work and it gets dirty after a while). However, it puts a smile on my face for that first few cylinders like few other handguns can ever do. It also seems to get a lot of curious attention when I shoot it at the one indoor range that allows it ("what the heck are you shooting" :what: ).

The price is great for the Ruger. However if you aren't sure if you'll really like shooting black powder (it is a lot of work) go with one of the cheaper brass framed Remington or Colt clones and you can get one for about $120-140 ($150 for one in a "starter kit" including most of what you need, minus the powder, to get started). Don't give up on blackpowder before you tried it. It is a ton of fun and for well under $200 to start it is worth giving a chance (heck if you don't like it use it in trade as a downpayment on another gun).

Hodgedons has a new powder out that is supposed to be about as clean burning as regular gunpowder yet safe in a blackpowder gun. I forget the name of the stuff and I don't know how accessable it is yet (I know that my last two Natchez catalogues had it), but it is out there. Also, the previous clean BP champ, Pyrodex, is quite easy to find. Not clean by any stretch of the imagination, but better than blackpowder.

4v50 Gary
July 29, 2003, 05:57 PM
Rugerfreak: are they fixed or adjustable sights and can you give us the phone #? I've got two (blue & stainless) already but there may be others who are interested. Thanks!

July 29, 2003, 06:37 PM
Hodgdon's 777 blackpowder substitute or the neat Pyrodex Pellets for the revolver, conical bullets, and over-powder WonderWads in lieu of the Crisco lube. Choices, choices! :D

July 30, 2003, 12:43 AM
They had adjustable sights.

They have quite a few in store specials right now---but I don't see why they wouldn't give that price for shipped orders too.

That .30-06 I bought is listed on their web page for $440.99-----but I got it for $375 plus tax.

I know this is a handgun section---but I have to mention another deal they have---Remington Syn 7400's in .280 Rem only----for $299----they appeared to have 6 or 7 sitting there---and who knows what's in back-----again NIB. I'm still pondering if I want one of those---just put it on lay-a-way.

4v50 Gary
July 31, 2003, 11:31 AM
Thanks for the info Rugerfreak. We have a member at the blackpowder forum who is shopping for a BP revolver.

August 1, 2003, 11:44 PM
I have 2 and hope to some dsay be able to afford a third ( I would love one of the new stainless 5.5 inchers but cant afford nothing right now illness has drained the bank accouts dry so no guns for a while perhaps a long while, oh well.
Deaf Smith

Tom Doniphon
August 3, 2003, 01:24 AM
Get it, if ya get tired of shootin cap and ball , get a conversion cylinder and shoot shells. Got a conversion for my 58 remington and its a blast.

August 3, 2003, 08:13 AM
The Old Army Blackpowder Revolver:
Harry Sefried Remembers


We finished the design, and it sat there for awhile, while we were preoccupied on other projects. After a couple of years, Larry Larson went over the possibilities to prepare for production.

The gun was of incredible strength, as Bill always insisted. I decided the logical way to test these was to do so with Bullseye smokeless powder-definitely not recommended to the public! I'd stoke the cylinders up, and pop the cap. You can't, however, ignite Bullseye with the spark from a percussion cap going through a tiny little hole in a blackpowder cylinder nipple. We opened these up, and boy, we were getting ignition! We found we couldn't get enough Bullseye in to blow the cylinder. Even if not filled up, we could not blow it with Bullseye powder! (Again, not to be tried at home!)

"Ruger & His Guns"
by R. L. Wilson
Page 126



4v50 Gary
August 3, 2003, 09:47 AM
Holy cow! :eek: Definitely not one to be tried at home.

If you enjoyed reading about "So educate me on blackpowder revolver." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!