Why Was the Ruger Old Army Discontinued?


PDA






Timthinker
January 11, 2008, 07:28 PM
Several days ago, this subforum was buzzing with news that the ROA had been dropped from production. Now that a little time has passed, does anyone know why Ruger executives made that decision? I know that some very diehard Ruger fans have telephoned the company over that decision and I wonder if any further information is available at this time. Thanks.


Timthinker

If you enjoyed reading about "Why Was the Ruger Old Army Discontinued?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
mykeal
January 11, 2008, 08:54 PM
Sales were not meeting and were not projected to meet the minimum goals set by company management as necessary to support the costs of production. Simple business decision by new company management committed to making money for it's stockholders.

BlkHawk73
January 11, 2008, 09:44 PM
A company is in business to make money - period. They do so by utilizing thier resources to yield the highest profit from their investment. The Ruger Old Army isn't exactly one of thier highest sales mdels so the time and materials used in production of the Old Army could be better used for other more popular models whcih in turn will provide a higher return in sales & profits.

Always amazed at how folks get all up in arms about a model being discontinued. If a person has the model that's no longer made, great you got one, enjoy it. If you haven't gotten one and it's gotten you that upset, maybe it should've been a bit more of a priority when they were in production. Had all those that get upset about a model being discontineud actually bought the gun, maybe they wouldn't be dropped from production.


In the case of the Old Army, I rarely see new ones on dealer's shelves but I always see plenty of used ones. They've been made for a looong time so it's not like they're to be a rare commodity anytime soon.

Ed Ames
January 11, 2008, 09:48 PM
Yep... new management culling the less profitable products.

Here's the problem: As much as I like my ROA buying one is a marginal way to spend $500ish.

Dienekes
January 11, 2008, 11:12 PM
I like them--promptly nailed down two when I got the news--but considering they were in production for 36 years and are almost indestructible, their discontinuance is not all that tragic. With any care at all the ones now in existence should be functional for another century at least.

And as a stockholder who used to use the dividends to pay property taxes, I am definitely in favor of those dividends being paid again. As pointed out, the object of the exercise is to make money.

I just wish they would come up with something to make the Glock obsolete overnight. I might not buy it, but it would sure help their bottom line and mine as well.

ArmedBear
January 11, 2008, 11:40 PM
There are many reasons.

When I was a kid, I shot black powder, because I thought it was neat, and because I could afford it. I recently ran the numbers, and while I still shoot some Black because it's fun, I can probably shoot factory .38's for the same money. If I bought a new $500 Ruger single action revolver these days, it'd be a Blackhawk.

When I was a kid, most replicas were junk. The ROA was so much better than just about anything on the market, people were willing to pay for it. Replicas have come a long way in terms of accuracy, quality and durability, they provide a genuine "old-fashioned" shooting experience, they're still not too expensive, and they look better than ever.

When I was a kid, SASS was something your momma slapped you for. Shooters with historical interests now have a huge "scene" and a lot of competition, friendly and serious, in the world of CAS. Ruger now sells a lot of New Vaqueros, not ROA's, to the demographic in question.

In sum, Ruger had a great product and could get a high price for it, 36 years ago, when I was a kid. Ruger's product stayed the same, while everyone else's improved. There wasn't anything wrong with the ROA, but whoever wanted one probably already had one. There has been a shift in demand for a modern redux of a 19th-century revolver from black powder to cartridge, and Ruger has been there to cash in on that demand. The production line is more profitable making New Vaqueros.

Now I'm not saying what they should do, but I figure those are some good reasons...

Maybe I should buy some Ruger stock, while it's in the toilet. Seems like the management wants to run a business, again.

tkendrick
January 11, 2008, 11:59 PM
Being something of a traditionalist, myself, I've never quite understood why any one would want one.

Still, hate to see any well designed gun vanish, but what would you like to bet that they'll come out in a few years with a re-introduced (ala the bearcat) ROA in a few years.

They'll limit production to a few thousand pieces, charge twice the going rate then shut down productio...then do it again....and again...and

Timthinker
January 12, 2008, 05:03 AM
Gentlemen, thanks for the replies to my inquiry. Perhaps the most comprehensive answer I have read comes from ArmedBear. Ruger has profitted from the cowboy shooting events with its Vaquero revolvers. Most likely, the current Ruger management team decided to allocate the resources previously devoted to the ROA toward the Vaquero line. This makes sense to me. After all, I owned a Vaquero revolver for some time and was impressed by it. Thanks once again for your opinions.


Timthinker

DMZ
January 12, 2008, 11:01 AM
"That's a revolver I really like, the finest percussion revolver ever made, and we'll never discontinue that revolver--not if I can help it."

The Ruger Old Army died with William Ruger Sr.

Zeke/PA
January 12, 2008, 12:01 PM
I have submitted quite a few positive posts about the ROA on this forum.
Blued model, and accurate I've taken lots of various small game with the pistol and one morning a very large whitetail doe.
It's sad to see , for economic reasons, the pistol's demise.
Hope the folks at Ruger don't do the same to the #1 Single Shot another one of my favorites.
Zeke

DMZ
January 12, 2008, 12:20 PM
I too have an old Blued ROA. It was one of the very first ones made. I used to groom snowmobile trails the Cascades,with a Thiokol groomer and always carried that revolver in the survival bag I carried with me. My wife and I were not well off in those days and the grooming job provided a small income to our household. My Old Army provided many snowshoe hares to the stew pot during those long winters. I also carried it when I hunted deer and many a Blue grouse were taken with a .454 round ball fired from that revolver.

It is over 30 years old and is still as accurate and tight as it ever was, though shows lots of holster wear. It is semi-retired now, and I plan to hand it down to my son.

emperor2084
January 30, 2008, 06:35 AM
I very recently purchased a Stainless Old Army with a 5.5" barrel. It seems like they are hard to find new in box...is that the case? It was a bit pricey, but I think it will be a great piece to hang onto in brand new condition.

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 30, 2008, 07:13 AM
Has anyone (or will anyone) ever face up to the question or try to answer the question straight on as to how come there are so many used ROA's for sale out there? I mean, these things are everywhere you look....

pohill
January 30, 2008, 07:52 AM
Has anyone (or will anyone) ever face up to the question or try to answer the question straight on as to how come there are so many used ROA's for sale out there? I mean, these things are everywhere you look....

I don't know if that's true or not. You can look and find anything for sale, anywhere, and if you're not looking for anything in particular, you won't find it. You could say the same about any type of gun.
Bottom line - I like my ROA. It was made in 1973 but it looks new.
I also like my Paterson, my Walker, my 1849 .31, my Ruger SpeedSix, etc.

tallpaul
January 30, 2008, 07:56 AM
Has anyone (or will anyone) ever face up to the question or try to answer the question straight on as to how come there are so many used ROA's for sale out there? I mean, these things are everywhere you look....
GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL is online now Report Post

Its not that tough to figure out there mr charcoal...

as it has been said they have been made for decades and have great quality so they do last. They are also like any other CB revolver. They take WORK to shoot and quite a few have been bought to be different or have "the best" and they just don't get used. Modern revolvers are just way to easy. Quite a few guys buy them and decide its not worth it to them- it has VERY LITTLE to do with the guns themselves if anything. It takes a dedicated CB man to shoot them often and consistently. I have one that dad bought 30 years back and we have shot twice maybe... I almost bought one and my dealer offered me a Gold Cup custom instead for a price I could not turn down so it came home instead. I still would pick one up and be happy with it although I have absconded dads stainless version. They are great guns and you appreciate the older designs more and that is fine but there is nothing wrong with the old army. The replica guns you seem to love come up for sale often and I bet more of them are outright trashed and litterally thrown away than the ruger old army...

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 30, 2008, 08:10 AM
////

Shawnee
January 30, 2008, 08:22 AM
Likely right on target there TallPaul, but you forgot to mention all the limp-wristed types who run out and buy the ROA only to discover it's too much ham for their eggs and they have to go trade it in on a Colt Walker, Dragoon or some other gallery-model.

;)

tallpaul
January 30, 2008, 08:32 AM
Shawnee- I have no issue with mr charcoal liking the old style better- for him. They have a rich place in history etc. I can appreciate my two Shiloh sharps for what they are but to say they better than a modern more lightweight design is just as irrelevant.

I can appreciate his love for the old style but can not for the life of me can not understand his apparent hatred of a gun that helped bring more true believers into the sport he loves...

Shawnee
January 30, 2008, 08:46 AM
Hi TallPaul...

LOLOLOLOL !! :D I just wanted to make sure he woke up without having to drink too much more coffee !

;)

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 30, 2008, 09:13 AM
I don't 'hate' the ROA. I don't want one and that's a fact, but I would be hard pressed to say I hated anything Ruger built.
Actually, I got up this morning, got me a good cup of coffee and sat down here in front of the computer and there it was. 'Why Was The Ruger Old Army Discontinued?' I couldn't resist it. I knew that would get a rise out of somebody!....
'Modern' dosen't even enter into the equation. I use a CVA .45 Inline. Damned good rifle to, I don't care what anybody say's......

Pancho
January 30, 2008, 10:52 AM
I realize that the bean counters rule the business world and the proof is in the fact that Ruger discontinued the gun just as CAS is gaining popularity. While the Italians are in a great position to cash in Ruger decides to opt out. Only bean counters would ignore the prestige of making the most affordable if not the only C&B revolver built in America.

Pancho
January 30, 2008, 11:00 AM
Based on the growing popularity of CAS I'm surprised that the Chinese have beat the Japanese at getting in on the market. The Chinese are making a knockoff of the Winchester pump shotgun and I think it has been approved by the CAS assoc.

tkendrick
January 30, 2008, 11:37 AM
I realize that the bean counters rule the business world and the proof is in the fact that Ruger discontinued the gun just as CAS is gaining popularity. While the Italians are in a great position to cash in Ruger decides to opt out. Only bean counters would ignore the prestige of making the most affordable if not the only C&B revolver built in America.


American made or not, show up at my local CAS shoot with one, and they'll laugh you out of the country.

Ed Ames
January 30, 2008, 11:46 AM
...show up at my local CAS shoot with [a ruger old army], and they'll laugh you out of the country.

Why is that?

Pancho
January 30, 2008, 11:47 AM
tkendrick, sorry they feel that way.

sundance44s
January 30, 2008, 02:07 PM
Maybe in 100 years give or take the Itilians will make a copy of the Ruger Old Army ....who`s Army ?

Old Fuff
January 30, 2008, 02:07 PM
Why is that?

Cowboy Action Shooting is a game, designed, developed and intended to further interest in the Frontier West and the firearms (or replicas thereof) that were used during the 19th century.

While the Ruger Old Army is (or was) an outstanding revolver - and perhaps the best of all cap & ball handguns of this kind, it was not a replica or reproduction of anything used during the 19th century - and it wasn't intended to be. As such it didn't fit into the picture CSA was trying to project. I have no problem with that, and I don't believe it reflects on the superior features that the Ruger offered.

Ed Ames
January 30, 2008, 02:57 PM
Isn't that (not fitting the repro image) why Ruger went to the 5.5" barrel and topstrap rear sight in stainless/"ivory"? From a distance they look more retro?

Personally I think it's a real shame when that sort of pointless squabbling descends to the point of laughing at people. There's always the guy with $3000+ to throw down on a genuine colt or the like... should he laugh at all the guys with uberties and berettas? Should the guy with the fluted cylinder on his repro C&B laugh at the folks with roll-engraved "navy" cylinders on "army" guns? Everybody laughs at the guy with the henry lever action?

Is the competition really about how much money you have to spend? I know the guys toting genuine antiques would like to say so but is it really? Should it be?

pohill
January 30, 2008, 03:38 PM
If they laugh at a Ruger Old Army, what's it like in the men's room?

Jim K
January 30, 2008, 07:34 PM
Isn't it odd that people never seem to want something until they can't have it any more? If all the folks who now say they wanted discontinued guns had bought them when they could, they wouldn't be discontinued.

Jim

RJM
January 30, 2008, 09:03 PM
Being in the market for two blackpowder percussion revolvers, the Ruger doesn't make the list. As good as they seem, they are pricey and not a reproduction, which is really what I am after. I want a quality reproduction revolver, not only a quality percussion revolver.

Ed Ames
January 30, 2008, 10:24 PM
Isn't it odd that people never seem to want something until they can't have it any more?


I have no idea where that came from.

I wanted them. I've got two.

They are still discontinued.

What did you mean?

John C
January 31, 2008, 01:56 AM
I think the real problem is that there are so many out there after 35 years of production that Ruger now has to compete against its own used market. Look on Gunbroker or Gunsamerica and there are at least 40 ROAs on there either NIB or in excellent condition, all for much less than probably the wholesale price. I buy guns to shoot, so I'd rather buy a gun in 98 or 95% condition, since it's going to quickly end up in that condition after shooting it a bunch. What's the point of buying new? Even if a gun is popular, eventually the market is so flooded with used guns that you can't make money on them.

-John

drdirk
January 31, 2008, 04:42 AM
It is a shame that they are discontinued. I can see however that people were reluctant to pay over $500 for a new one. I bought two of mine used for less than the 1858 are going new and it is a much better cap and ball revolver. Maybe not accurate but better, which is what I want. I am planning to buy a brand new one to add to my collection and leave it NIB for my estate to sell some day. Over all these years, I have never seen gun prices move down for long and I am sure long term the ROA will be a nice collectible especially unshot, NIB.

Happy shooting

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 31, 2008, 08:40 AM
Well, every time I try to say something about a Ruger Old Army I get piled on. (Incidentally...
I don't quite believe my carbine or '58 will make it through 17 inches of solid oak, but they will shoot through the 2 inch part of a pine 2x4 at 12 yards with no problem. I figure if they'll do that then they'll knock a pretty good hole in somebody's ass if I ever had to)(hope I don't)

I know people on here love the ROA. I understand that and I appreciate it, but I still think something is not right somewhere up and down the line.

Maybe it's just me. I spend a lot of time agonizing and researching and burning up the phone line before I buy a gun. I already know everything there is to know about it before I ever even get my hands on it. I don't have many guns. I do have a lot of spare parts to take care of the ones I settled on. The idea of selling or trading one of my pieces, especially the Walker, would be like selling or trading off my son or my daughter.
The idea of lying there in bed at night thinking about how someone else had their hands on my Walker, well, they don't make enough sedatives and sleeping pills to make me rest good.

What I'm getting at here I guess is how come there's so many used ROA's for sale out there. I can understand that a few people here and there might have bought it as their first blackpowder gun and decided they didn't like shooting blackpowder and got rid of it. I can also understand that a few people here and there needed a new transmission in their car or their children was begging for a new X-Box or something. Those happenings are not enough when they're added together to equal the number of used ROA's out there by a long shot. There's something else going on here somewhere.

I read a post by someone on here (a regular) who really like's the ROA but I also read where he said he couldn't hit a milk jug with it at 100 yards. If it was the gun and not him then I consider that piss poor performance on the gun's part.

I know we (some NRA members) were firing Able Dog targets on a Marine Corps base several long years ago, and the performance of the ROA past about 80 to 85 yards was sorely lacking. Past 100 yards (we were counting in yards, not meters) it wasn't worth a s*** period, and that's the truth. The bulls-eye on these targets measured about 6 feet across. (rifle targets) There was one type of blackpowder handgun out there that day that handled those targets out to our maximum range of 200 yards like nobody's business but I'm not going there.

I read somewhere years and years ago (hell it may be in some paper work I still have put away somewhere) that someone high ranking there at the company asked Bill Ruger something about the range on the ROA. Bill Ruger got a little testy and told the person the ROA was built to 'comform to normal handgun working range' and that 'if they wanted something stronger and with better range they would automatically move up to a Blackhawk Magnum'. (quote, unquote).

Well, something's just not kosher here when everything is all added together. That saying people use about how the ROA is built so good that it is indestructable and that's why there's so many used ones out there dosen't address the question at all.

Furthermore, (although I may be wrong about this. I may have to go back and call Remington again, but I'vd got a pretty damn good memory even though I am getting a little older now) I think the Remington 1858, along with the Pietta and Uberti models of it came (come) from the factory ranged in at about 70 yards which make's good sense to me. That would explain why when people first start with one and are shooting out to 15 to maybe 25 yards they complain about the revolver shooting high.

Well, ya'll pile it on. But I wouldn't buy a Ruger Old Army with that many of them floating around out there, especially when for all I know right now the Pietta 1858 New Model .44 will shoot and carry just as well as the Ruger. Hell, it may carry a little better on out there. I know to me it look's better than a Ruger but that's just me.
That part about it being made in the USA dosen't carry that much weight nowadays. I drive a Mercury Cougar and I like it a lot, but I doubt if 25 pieces of that car was actually made in the USA.......

robert garner
January 31, 2008, 09:07 AM
I have a brace of ROA"s First shot one in '73, been shootin'em since, my standard target for most of those yrs. was a plastic milk jug at 100 yds,
till seein the sights became a problem hitting the jugs was never one.
I do wonder where all these used ROA'S are at not around here I assure you, and if and when one doe's show up, it is at a decided premium! Yes I do admire the colt copies, have one here now,but the ROA will be here long after(hopefully) I am gone,it is the last pistol I will give up as its utility is such that there is nothing I require from a pistol that it can't cover, and well.
robert

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 31, 2008, 09:53 AM
robert garner..Understood, and respect your opinion and knowledge of the ROA.....

DuncanSA
January 31, 2008, 10:05 AM
Thats what I like about this forum. If we disagree we do so politely and respect the other person's point of view. This cannot be said for a number of other fora which I no longer visit. Life would be very boring if we all thought the same!

tkendrick
January 31, 2008, 12:06 PM
Isn't that (not fitting the repro image) why Ruger went to the 5.5" barrel and topstrap rear sight in stainless/"ivory"? From a distance they look more retro?

Personally I think it's a real shame when that sort of pointless squabbling descends to the point of laughing at people. There's always the guy with $3000+ to throw down on a genuine colt or the like... should he laugh at all the guys with uberties and berettas? Should the guy with the fluted cylinder on his repro C&B laugh at the folks with roll-engraved "navy" cylinders on "army" guns? Everybody laughs at the guy with the henry lever action?

Is the competition really about how much money you have to spend? I know the guys toting genuine antiques would like to say so but is it really? Should it be?


I don't think that's the point at all.

I have been involved in some re-enacting clubs at various times. There are various levels of "authenticity" expected at most of these organizations, and most of it depends on the type of event. I don't think it's pointless arguing at all. If the organization is as much about history as it is shooting, then it becomes very important.

There are those people who are more vocal about it than others as well. I don't really care to get all that involved in that aspect of the game, in fact I get a little tickled at some of the antics they go through. One of my friends is DEEEEEEP into civil war re-enactment, and there are people in his group who wil get upset if the stich count on their uniforms isn't correct.

Back to the point however, the ROA is a good gun. I used to have one, but traded it off for a "real" cap and ball gun. (Read that however you want)

But it isn't representative of ANY 19th century weapon.

If you were to walk into a CW re-enactment camp with a 45-70 trap-door,
walk around one of the Williamsburg events with a cap lock of any kind, show up at a WWI event with a Garand, or anything similar, and sooner or later the "stitch-nazi's" are going to bite you.

Some people get upset at that, that's their privilege. But it's also the right of these organizations to set the rules they want their club to abide by. If they want authentic styled weapons, then they should get them.

A lot of these events feature target shooting as part of their program. Allowing an ROA in an event open for 19th century cap revolvers would be no different than allowing a target grade in-line. They are all muzzle-loaders, but they aren't the same.

It would be like showing up at a Model A collectors club with a Corvette and getting upset when you didn't win best in show.

My local CAS club decided years ago that you could compete with any gun you wanted, as long as you can prove it was something you could buy off the shelf or have made during the frontier period. They have seperate competions for ML and cartridge guns, as well as "as-issued" and "modified".

Some of the "target" 1858 repro's don't make the cut either, since those target sights were not available in that time frame.

We go through this discussion at least once a year, for various reasons and for various guns. We also have a group that shoots in 19th century dress, and believe me, some of those discussions can get heated. HINT: Blue jeans are NOT Periond Correct.

Anyway, a long explanation for a simple statement.

The ROA isn't going to cut it in most CAS programs I'm familiar with. Most of the "real competitors" don't shoot cap and ball at all, but those that do aren't going to go to that trouble and then show up with a non-traditional piece.

Ed Ames
January 31, 2008, 01:04 PM
It isn't really a Corvette in a Model A competition issue
though.

It's a "we've got hot rods that are built from kits but have old ford style drive trains and you've brought a hot rod that looks simlar but uses a Chevy S10 drive train" issue.

The real problem is that different folks want different things out of a given sort of sport. Some want to dude up and have sepiatone photos taken, others want to practice the skills and participate in the sport of shootin balloons while riding a horse.

From my perspective (I have all four types of gun... antique, reproduction, kit repro done in semi-modern style, and modern C&B) once you have a bunch of people shooting at paper plates and latex balloons the whole "19th century authenticity" theme goes out the window.

But that's just me.

JJBlanche
January 31, 2008, 03:22 PM
I guess I'm one of those few people here on THR that just has a thing for black powder. I'm not into CASS or anything similar (although I don't have anything against those that are, and think it's kinda cool in some ways). I've always admired the Ruger Old Army, and have always wanted one. I was about to buy a Kahr and keep the Old Army on the back burner, but the recent discontinuance prompted me to get a NIB stainless, adjustable 7.5 (which is in the mail to my house as I write this).

From what I've seen and what I've read, the ROA is the highest quality, most solid [production] C&B revolver one can get. From my perspective, it was never, ever meant to be a repo in any way (and that includes aesthetics). The 5.5" models and fixed sights were only an afterthought by the new management to appeal to the CASS crowd, and those that happen to like shorter barrel lengths, and/or fixed sights.

Thus, I think the ROA was Bill Ruger's pet project. Considering how fast firearm technology was advancing in the 19th century, the C&B revolvers had only about 50 years of evolution before they were phased out. Given what I've read about Ruger, my extrapolation centers on the fact that he had a liking for C&B, but saw many flaws in the original designs. Back in the 19th century, there was not enough time/technology devoted to C&B to perfect them. Thus, Ruger decided to market the ideal C&B, the pinnacle of evolution. It may not have been a sound business strategy (although I'm sure they turned a profit over the years), but it's what he wanted to do, and he did it.

I've been a Ruger fan for years, and always got an odd feeling when I saw the ROA in the product catalogues. Although I loved it, and thought it was a fantastic addition to their line, it just didn't seem to belong. It's hard for me to articulate this, but it just seemed strange that a major manufacturer was (and had been for years) turning out a C&B revolver...and not just one that was made by the italians and had a stamp on it, but a genuine, in-house product.

I suppose this is how Ruger's son felt when he took over, albeit without the appreciation I have for the ROA. He saw it as the odd man out. It probably wasn't making a ton of money. Plus, the resources that went into producing the ROA could have been allocated elsewhere.

Rather than cut and run, given that he had the tooling, Ruger Jr. most likely tried to garner newfound interest in the ROA with the 5.5" models. I certainly took notice, as did a few gun rags and online bloggers. However, that was, what, six years ago, maybe more? Interest has again fallen to nominal levels, and the ROA just isn't selling in bushels.

Therefore, in January '08 Ruger pulled the plug. Given the above, I can't say that I blame him. After all, I want Ruger to do well, just like the next guy. If there's a leak, you gotta patch it. But I can't help feeling the loss. The ROA was like having a libertarian in congress: you know they probably shouldn't be there, but you're glad for it just the same.

Thus, I can't say this is necessarily a sad day for the firearms community. The ROA slipped through the cracks for decades, and many people are the happier because of it. But time, progress, and the free market caught up to the Ol' Army, and those of us in the C&B community will just have to deal with it.

classicballistx
January 31, 2008, 04:35 PM
A few of us will probably be interested to hear what comes from the pundits who will doubtless grill the Ruger folks at the SHOT show.

Shall we start a betting pool on some aspect of the topic? It would have to be more interesting than taking a flier on the presidential nominations.

Wisent
Classicballistx.com

ArmedBear
January 31, 2008, 04:47 PM
I don't think it will come up.

I think what WILL come up is, "What's with the 20% per year price increase on old products with lots of competition? And why would I tell a customer to get an investment cast gun when it's more expensive than a forged gun, anyway?"

Bottom line? There's not much market for a "modern" Jambalaya-style cap-n-ball revolver. Buyers of BP revolvers want something different; buyers of modern single actions do, too.

What I always wanted? Quality, affordable replicas that shoot well. And you can get plenty these days, for a lot less than the ROA cost (add 20% to the last price, if they still made them, to get current price).

RJM
January 31, 2008, 06:16 PM
One thing is for sure, the price of new in box ROAs are going to go up. Best way to make something more desirable is to discontinue it. Maybe every 5 years they should run a certain number of limited ROAs and sell them at a premium.

I disagree that the ROA is the ultimate cap and ball revolver. That honor is definately taken by the 1860 Army. ;-)

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
January 31, 2008, 06:54 PM
RJM, I don't have an exact number but I damn sure know of one who would agree with you. His name was John Wesley Hardin...

tkendrick
January 31, 2008, 07:40 PM
From my perspective (I have all four types of gun... antique, reproduction, kit repro done in semi-modern style, and modern C&B) once you have a bunch of people shooting at paper plates and latex balloons the whole "19th century authenticity" theme goes out the window.

Yes, I agree. Arizona should allow me to walk down to the range, deliver a gang-banger or a (gasp) indian for me to duel with, and which ever one of us is still standing after the shoot-out wins.

That's where your logic goes.

I do not now, nor have I ever intimated that the ROA isn't a good gun. Quite the opposite. I would argue that it is a far superior arm when compared to the 1860 Army, the Dragoons, etc. So much so, in fact, I would place it in the same category as an in-line rifle instead of a repro Hawken. The ROA was designed from the start to be a modern single action handgun (coil springs, adjustable sights, modern materials) that employed old ammo technology. The only thing they have in common is the ammo.

Would you put a Ruger convertable 9mm Blackhawk in the same category with a Berreta M92, or a .30 cal C96 Mauser in the same category as a CZ-52? After all, they use the same ammo.

It's a "we've got hot rods that are built from kits but have old ford style drive trains and you've brought a hot rod that looks simlar but uses a Chevy S10 drive train" issue

The only way your drive train analogy works is if my model A kits are made with drive trains that are so close to the original factory specs that the parts fit in the originals. And you are still showing up with an S10 with a Model A kit body. They may look similar, but the performance isn't ever going to match, and no matter what you say, yours is not even a Model A replica.


I don't like to do the re-enactor dress-up thing, and never have. But if those who do want to, power to them. Since you obviously don't play the game, why does it bother you that they won't use your toys?

ArmedBear
January 31, 2008, 08:17 PM
So much so, in fact, I would place it in the same category as an in-line rifle instead of a repro Hawken.

You mean it's a gimmick to attract people who resent shooting black powder to begin with?

I suppose nobody who doesn't want to shoot a BP revolver, buys one. Hence, there's no market for the ROA, compared to the in-lines.

(I'm assuming you're referring to a good repro Hawken; there's junk out there, just like there are some junk inlines.)

tkendrick
January 31, 2008, 09:32 PM
You mean it's a gimmick to attract people who resent shooting black powder to begin with?

I suppose nobody who doesn't want to shoot a BP revolver, buys one. Hence, there's no market for the ROA, compared to the in-lines.

I honestly don't know how you could read what I wrote and come to that conclusion. A quality Hawken repro is not the same as a quality in-line gun.

I was simply referring to the two technologies.

Take the Walker and the ROA. They both fire BP, use caps, load the same. Neither uses self contained carridges. They are similar in appearance. Close enough in caliber as to be considered identical.

So therefore they are the same gun: ergo, the Walker is equal to the ROA?

I don't think you are saying that. If you are, then why pay twice as much for the one over the other?

Someone early on said they could not understand why the ROA's sales were down with the growth of cowboy shooting in the country.

To which I made a simple statement:

American made or not, show up at my local CAS shoot with one, and they'll laugh you out of the country.


They probably would not be rude, nor mean-spirited.

But none-the-less, you would be taken aside and told that your ROA is not "traditional".

And that means very few sales to the Cowboy shooters, very few of whom shoot cap and ball anyway. Which means even fewer sales.

I frankly don't understand why this bothers anyone. If you choose to compete in National High Power Matches, you would expect to shoot with a proper gun, wouldn't you? If you decided to take up skeet or trap, and got serious about it, your going to buy a serious shotgun for the sport sooner or later even if it isn't "required"

There's a lot about the CAS crowd I don't understand or agree with either. The Vaquero, which is allowed, makes the same arguement as the ROA, which isn't.

I guess I'll just say two things then move on:

I can't explain it any better than I already have. If you don't understand because of me, then sorry, my words are inadequate.

But if you understand it and want to argue with me about it, I'll tell you the same thing I used to tell my kids-Don't whine to me about how you think it ought to be...I ought to be rich...there ought to be world peace....

I'm just telling you how it is.

JJBlanche
January 31, 2008, 11:13 PM
tk: I think the reason why Bear disagreed with you is the in-line analogy. You're essentially saying 1860 colt is to ROA as Hawken is to In-Line. Although I understand what you're getting at, the in-line is a complete departure from the hawken. They're as different as a Garand and an M-60, despite the fact that the latter two shoot a thirty caliber bullet. The ROA and the 1860 Colt really aren't THAT different. The Ruger still manages to preserve the basic firing style/mechanism, while introducing modern advantages. It's like a classic Hawken compared to a new T/C hawken with modern sights, the fire storm, the whole nine.

Regarding your local shoots: I sourced all my loading and cleaning info from this guy: http://www.curtrich.com/frontiersmen.html He seems to do quite well with an ROA in SASS, etc.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that there are repo men, and there are ROA men. Both have their reasons. Neither are wrong.

arcticap
February 1, 2008, 12:54 AM
It's ironic that just as one company starts to roll out a new product line, another company folds a similar product line.
The U.S.F.A is about to take off at 2 or 3 times the price and Ruger is turning off the faucet.
Yet Ruger just announced a new 10/22 pistol to cut into the benchrest pistol .22 specialty "custom" market at 1/2 the specialty "custom" price.

Who can compete against the 1/2 price that the Italians charge for their reproductions?

Just look at nearly all of the TC sidelocks that have been discontinued while Lyman/Investarms and what marketplace is left goes to Traditions/Ardesa to fill the void of a shrinking traditional BP rifle market. Who really wants or needs to pay double or triple the price for an American made sidelock rifle now days anyway?

At least when the inlines came onto the marketplace, it was dominated by America's Knight and TC rifles.
It's all a competition/strategy thing. Now Ruger will start to cut into some other gun maker's line of business to make up for any loss of market share even more.
Ruger stopped making a modern .22 DA revolver, while S&W and Taurus both have 9 or 10 shot revolvers in their line up. You know what people pay for a S&W 10 shot .22 revolver? They're close to $700! :eek:
That's what I expect Ruger to come out with soon, a new high capacity .22 revolver. With the high cost of ammo, .22's are one of the most popular calibers right now.
Shooting BP revolvers is getting more and more expensive, so people buy the cheaper Italian repro. imports and switching to cheaper rimfire guns & ammo too.
Inlines aren't cheap to shoot, but people hunt with them and can still buy the basic Spanish models for much less money.
So it's the buying public who really decides which guns are going out of style and will go out of production. Younger folks like to shoot centerfire semi-auto pistols, surplus rifles, inlines and rimfires.
Guys who really want to spend the money will buy the U.S.F.A.'s or other high end European repro.'s. Ruger will find a way cut into the European or other gun lines where they have either lost to the competition in the past, or are doing well and are on the verge of doing even better. ;)

TimboKhan
February 1, 2008, 06:49 AM
"That's a revolver I really like, the finest percussion revolver ever made, and we'll never discontinue that revolver--not if I can help it."

The Ruger Old Army died with William Ruger Sr.

You won't find a bigger fan of Ruger firearms than me, but Bill Ruger wasn't god. He built some good guns, of which I currently own 9, with plans for at least one more for sure, and who knows how many more by happenstance.

That he had the power to keep the ROA on the line doesn't mean he should have, to put it another way.

Also, despite my respect for what he did, By the time Bill Ruger died, Ruger had sort of turned into a stodgy old company. They still made good guns, but I think we can all agree that "innovation" wasn't exactly a buzzword at Ruger. I hope the new management keeps the key elements of Rugers ideals, but I also hope that they continue to roll out new products that actually get people excited.

Mac Attack
February 1, 2008, 09:52 AM
I read on another thread that used Ruger Old Army's are selling in the range of $200 - $300. I can't find a used one anywhere here....heck I can't even find a new one in the state of GA. Where are these $200 - $300 Rugers?

ArmedBear
February 1, 2008, 11:49 AM
Look, the reason that the in-line is popular is because a lot of hunters -- the vast majority of hunters using them -- figured that they could get another season and another tag without actually having to become proficient with a primitive firearm. They are not muzzleloading fans; if anything, they consider BP to be nothing but a PITA and wouldn't ever shoot a BP gun other than to sight it in for muzzleloder season -- see some threads here.

Want evidence? Muzzleloader season, even in some good hunting spots, once had few hunters. The in-line changed that. Sure, there are some guys who have sidelocks also and hunt with in-lines, but the vast majority of in-line sales have more to do with the people who never hunted with a muzzleloader before and have no interest in muzzleloading in general, hunting with historic gun designs, or anything like that.

Now you can think whatever you want about in-lines, in-line hunters, slob hunters, hardcore buckskinners, etc. but that's not the point. The point is that the bulk of sales in the in-line market are driven by the following promise: "Hey Elmer Fudd, you can hunt a whole extra season with a gun that shoots pretty much just like your trusty old centerfire! Just buy one of these!" And nobody uses them for target shooting or plinking, at least not that I've ever seen.

Now what about the ROA? Why would anyone without a real interest in cap-n-ball revolvers buy one? There's no special hunting season for cap-n-ball, at least anywhere I know about. Our F&G laws require single-shots.

Are there BP target competitions? Sure. Are there BP competitions that appeal to people who don't really want to shoot BP? No.

So, as I see it, the ROA market is limited to those with an intrinsic interest in shooting BP revolvers. Within that market, it's limited to those whose purchase is driven purely by the performance of the gun, as opposed to playing with historic gun designs and experiencing a bit of the past. And frankly, that market is pretty limited.

People buy replicas to shoot out of curiosity, and for reenactments, rec room decorating, etc., in addition to just wanting one to shoot like a S&W 686 or something. That's not true of ROA's. Only someone who has a very specific interest in shooting an accurate BP revolver would spring for one -- probably not just an occasional BP plinker or someone who takes his kids or buddies out to shoot BP once a year.

Sales of something like the ROA are not driven by the question, "Will somebody, somewhere, buy this thing?" They're driven by, "Will a bunch of people buy these things on a regular basis?"

The USFA can probably get by on "Will somebody buy this thing?" The answer will be "Yes!" That's one reason it's not cheap.

Pancho
February 1, 2008, 02:22 PM
Armedbear, you covered the subject well except for one thing, the one shot one kill group. My hunting experience is mainly with the muzzleloader and it has fostered in me the practice of never taking a "hail Mary" shot. I've hunted with those that thought that you shoot first to wound and slow down the prey and then you quickly shoot to finish it off. I've never been able to wrap my brain around that kind of hunting and muzzleloading has only reinforced my skills when I've got one in the chamber and two in the tube. I'd sooner burn my tag. At deer camp we've taken to nailing unused deertags to the wall of the cabin and it's become a wall of pride.
My post is not meant to do anything other than to state a matter of pride in our muzzleloading brotherhood even thought I get really bored when the conversation turns to 150gr. magnum sabot shooting 209 sparking synthetic stocked inlines.

Timthinker
February 1, 2008, 04:56 PM
ArmedBear, perhaps I am an exception to the rule, but I purchased an in-line Knight rifle for the purpose of target practice in the 1990s. It served me well in that capacity. In 1995, a friend who owned a Ruger Mini-14 challenged me to a shooting match at 100 yards. He believed his gun would easily defeat my Knight rifle. He was wrong. I beat him with every shot. Now, most people who own in-line rifles may purchase them for hunting, but I am sure some people own them for target shooting also. Their accuracy makes them well suited for that task.


Timthinker

ArmedBear
February 1, 2008, 05:03 PM
Tim, people do all sorts of things. But if they had to rely on you and both other people who bought one of the things for target shooting, Knight would be out of business.:) (Probably ditto for hunters who choose to use an inline where a centerfire rifle is legal.)

That's what I was saying when I wrote:
Sales of something like the ROA are not driven by the question, "Will somebody, somewhere, buy this thing?" They're driven by, "Will a bunch of people buy these things on a regular basis?"

mike101
February 1, 2008, 05:16 PM
"I read on another thread that used Ruger Old Army's are selling in the range of $200 - $300. I can't find a used one anywhere here.."

Here ya go. Good luck finding one for $200. :)

http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search/Category/593/Guns/Pistols/Ruger-Cap-Ball-Revolvers.htm

Timthinker
February 1, 2008, 05:31 PM
ArmedBear, I do not doubt that the in-lines were marketed primarily for hunters, but they do make great target rifles for those interested in BP shooting. Indeed, the accuracy claims of Knight and other in-line manufacturers brought me back to the world of BP shooting after some negative experiences with "cheap" BP firearms some years earlier. Are my experiences with BP firearms typical of others involved with this sport? Perhaps not, but I hope presenting my views on a forum such as this encourages others to think seriously about BP shooting. At the very least, I hope to provide food for thought.


Timthinker

Ed Ames
February 1, 2008, 05:35 PM
Tim,

You are far from alone. I've owned several MLs (including several inlines) and spent many an hour at the range target shooting with them. I've never been hunting and hunting was no part of my decision to buy a muzzle loader, inline or otherwise.

Pancho
February 2, 2008, 01:03 AM
Let's not forget one of the biggest differences between shooting all ML's whether they be sidelocks or inlines and cartridge guns. Muzzleloaders load and experiment at the range and use that knowledge to hunt. Cartridge gun people either buy or build their loads and then go to the range or to the hunt.

pohill
February 2, 2008, 02:13 AM
I ran into three inline muzzleloaders last fall, just before hunting season, at my gun club, that did not know a damned thing about BP, or guns. I fired off my Remington and one of them came over to me and said, "How'd you make it fire more than once?"

arcticap
February 2, 2008, 04:07 AM
No one has really mentioned just how popular the Ruger OA is in some of the European countries.
Maybe their markets have just about reached their saturation point too.

JJBlanche
February 2, 2008, 05:19 AM
Well, I guess you've gotta figure that they've been in constant production for 35 years, so there's more than a few of them out there. Granted, I assume a lot of them have fallen by the wayside, for one reason or other. However, I'd bet the good majority are still more than serviceable. It was a pistol built to last.

ArmedBear
February 2, 2008, 11:17 AM
Muzzleloaders load and experiment at the range and use that knowledge to hunt. Cartridge gun people either buy or build their loads and then go to the range or to the hunt.

Huh?

Handloaders I know have extremely in-depth knowledge of their loads, and experiment a lot. They may divide their fumbling between the range and the reloading bench at home, rather than doing all the fumbling at the range, but I really don't understand what you're saying at all. Ever met any BPCR guys? Serious varmint hunters? If they use muzzleloaders, they tend to understand them very well, too, and there's much to learn from these guys.

Most of the in-line guys seem to want to just drop in a few pellets and get on with things. It's hardly true that everyone who uses a ramrod has a lot of knowledge.

It all depends on what someone wants to do, either way.

Duncaninfrance
February 2, 2008, 05:26 PM
No one has really mentioned just how popular the Ruger OA is in some of the European countries.
Maybe their markets have just about reached their saturation point too.

Well here in France, although it is a Black Powder weapon it is not a reproduction of an 'OLD' BP weapon so instead of being freely available to buy without any paperwork it is classed as a category 4 arm that requires your club, the local prefecture and the police to agree that you can have one! Cat 4 =lots of paper and jumping through hoops = not many people bother to buy one. They have not been available 'off the shelf' for a long time. :fire:

Ed Ames
February 4, 2008, 09:57 AM
Muzzleloaders load and experiment at the range ... Cartridge gun people either buy or build their loads and then go to the range or ....

Dunno about that. I've known people who consdered a fine range day to be:

30-06 rifle.
100-pack of primers
handfull of bullets
pound of powder
Lee loader
a few loaded cartridges or cases from the last time you went shooting
optionally: small balance scale

Set up a target, set up your bench, and from then it's prime, measure, seat, fire, make your notes... knock out the primer and hammer in a new one, measure powder, seat a bullet, fire, make your notes... keep that up until you run out of time or materials.

Not sure where that gets us regarding the ROA though. :)

Pancho
February 4, 2008, 02:31 PM
Wow Ed, I thought we muzzleloaders hauled a lot to the range to shoot.

Pancho
February 4, 2008, 02:35 PM
ArmedBear, what I was trying to say is that it is hard to be casual about muzzleloading. Anyone that shoots muzzleloaders and keep on doing it has a little benchloader in him. We muzzleloaders just get instant gratification.

Ed Ames
February 4, 2008, 02:57 PM
Pancho,

It's actually not that much stuff. The lee loader, in its case, is about the size of a paperback book. You need a small hammer and a log, bench, or similar for pounding but that's not a big deal. Primers are no harder to carry than caps and the bullets are actually smaller/lighter. Powder is powder. A few cases aren't a burden either. You could carry everything to load and fire 250 shots in what would be a fairly small possibles bag.

ArmedBear
February 4, 2008, 03:58 PM
Uh, sure, whatever you say.:)

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/Item/21/54/63/i215463vr02.jpg

Pancho
February 4, 2008, 04:25 PM
Good God! ArmedBear it even looks like an arrow so you can figure out what end goes in first. I think I'm going to be sick.

Blue Mesa
July 17, 2008, 09:26 PM
Well with all this discussion on Old Army's, I have to ask, does anyone have one for sale?

Looking for a 5.5" barrel, stainless steel, fixed sights.

tnx

Blue Mesa

unspellable
July 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
The ROA has the same lockwork as the pre transfer bar Blackhawk. I had heard that when the transfer bar came out the tooling for the old Blackhawk was used for the ROA. At some point that tooling would wear out. Perhaps we have reached that point and the current sales don't justify new tooling? That and Rugers don't wear out.

Smokin_Gun
July 18, 2008, 12:19 PM
Where are these $200 - $300 Rugers?


Online Auctions, go get um...

SG

Dienekes
July 18, 2008, 06:30 PM
I think they have just been declared honorary tactical nuclear weapons under DC law.:eek:

After all, anything holding as many as SIX shots has to be a weapon of mass destruction.:neener:

mykeal
July 18, 2008, 08:41 PM
Nope, not tooling, although that's a good suggestion. It's the first thing I thought of.

The explanation from some long time Ruger fans and people close to the company is that the Board of Directors, and in turn the company management took a good hard look at the entire production philosophy of the company and made some major changes.

Ruger used to build large quantities of a given gun and store them for future sale, then change the line over to another model. While that philosophy had some cost benefits in keeping the number of tooling and production line changes down in any one reporting period, and in allowing greater time for tool refurb and repair between production runs of a given model, inventory costs both in terms of finished product and supplier parts were extremely high. They were also very inflexible with respect to the marketplace, and any unexpected parts shortages or equipment breakdowns were devastating, bringing the lines down without the ability to change over to another model.

The change was to run more models in parallel and to keep both parts and product inventories to a minimum - almost a 'just in time' production philosophy. In making that changeover they had to evaluate what models were the most profitable given the use of available assets - if you only had the machines and facilities to build, say seven models, which ones were the most profitable to build. The ROA lost out in that evaluation They simply felt that the market would not accept a price increase that would allow the ROA to compete with the Vaquero, Blackhawk, etc. for available production assets in terms of profitability.

dmb3006
July 21, 2008, 11:25 PM
I treasure my ROA 71/2 stainless steel revolver.I was lucky enough to find a extra Ruger gloss stainless cylinder that fits;and shoots very well in my gun.Can't wait to find a deal on another one.Also classicballistic makes a great after market percussion cylinder for the ROA.

If you enjoyed reading about "Why Was the Ruger Old Army Discontinued?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!