4F in a ROA ?


September 18, 2008, 02:43 PM
I haven`t been the proud owner of a Ruger ROA for very long ..but was reading the instruction booklet it says it`s ok to use all of the different gr size powder includeing 4F ...anyone ever use 4F in theirs ? These are great shooting well built pistols ..I suppose it wouldn`t hurt it ..I`m thinking maybe for a hunting load .:confused:

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September 18, 2008, 05:13 PM
I would not use 4F for a hunting load. The pressure curve would be too steep...I would not risk the damage.

On the other hand, it should be OK for a 10-15 grain target load. Use something like Cream of Wheat as a filler.

highlander 5
September 18, 2008, 05:18 PM
Ruger wouldn't put a statement like that in the owner's manual if they didn't think it was safe. If the Old Army is built anything like the rest of their line it's a tank and you'd be hard pressed to hurt it.

September 18, 2008, 05:30 PM
I tend to agree with Mike. A hunting (read "hot") load is a higher pressure load, and that means higher temperature, which in turn means the powder will burn faster than it did in a lighter load, which in turn means a higher and sharper pressure spike. That's why modern heavy magnum loads use the slowest powders.

BP has less variability, as only the grain size is altered and not the chemistry, but still, there's no reason to want to use 4F in a heavy load. It's only purpose was for the priming pan on a flintlock. 3F or even 2F would be more prudent for your hottest loads.

September 18, 2008, 05:40 PM
I`m thinking it must be tested for it ..or they wouldn`t have put it in the manual as being ok to use ..
Anyone else notice this in their manual ...
I sure wouldn`t try it in any of my reproduction revolvers ...my heavyest load of 3f seems tame in this revolver ...It`s is a horse of a different color .. I would like to see what it clocks through my crono .

September 18, 2008, 06:16 PM
The “Old Army” is a muzzle loading, percussion revolver intended solely for use with Black Powder. It should never, under any circumstances, be loaded with any type of smokeless powder as the result could be damage to the revolver and injury to the shooter or bystanders. Black Powder is usually classified by powder grain size, with “Fg” being the largest granulation and “FFFFg” being the smallest granulation normally available. Any granulation within these gradations could be used in the “Old Army”; normally, however, “FFFg” is the preferred grain size. Replica black powder such as Pyrodex may be used, so long as suggested loading data is strictly adhered to.

It is safe to use as much Black Powder as the chamber will hold, leaving room for the bullet. This maximum loading is not usually the most accurate loading, however.

*Taken from the Ruger manual. Highlights are mine.

Seems to me that Ruger is confident that the pistol can handle heavy charges. It doesn't say that if FFFF is used to reduce the charges so.... You can decide yourself though. I personally believe that it will handle it.

September 18, 2008, 06:49 PM
I read an article in which the testers stuffed a chamber on an ROA full of Bullseye, rammed a ball on top, then pulled the trigger with a string from a respectful distance away. The gun wasn't damaged at all, though the blast from the nipple blew off the cap and cocked the hammer.

September 18, 2008, 09:22 PM
I can't think of any good reason to, but if I were to do it, the ROA is the only percussion revolver that I would load (and shoot) with ffffg black powder. And I wouldn't be concerned about the size of the load (by that I mean I would use the same amount of ffffg as fffg, which is 25 gr).

September 18, 2008, 09:36 PM
In Dennis Adler's book COLT BLACKPOWDER REPRODUCTIONS & REPLICAS, he talks about the ROA: "The gun was of incredible strength, as Bill Ruger insisted it be, but the trial by fire, so to speak, proved just how strong the Old Army was. The test firing of the revolver was conducted at Sturm, Ruger & Co., using Bullseye smokeless powder, "definitely not recommended to the public!" notes Sefried. Even with the cylinder filled, the Old Army could not be blown up (Again, not to be tried at home!)"

September 18, 2008, 10:34 PM
It's all I use.....they've always maintained the gun safe with as much sporting-grade blackpowder as it could hold.....sure, pressures will be higher.....so will be the velocity....I've clocked just shy of 1200fps with ball out of my gun, a below ffffg pressure query thread I tried lists a little more conservative result from the older Lyman book....I've been looking for my book since that thread.....sigh.....as for strength, the cast cylinder is very strong, but I personally know a guy who blew one with a duplex load, and know of several others.....I know Bowen played with them, too, as I talked to him 10-15yrs back about maximum effort/fun ROA loads.....stay away from smokeless, and you'll be just fine.....

September 18, 2008, 11:33 PM
ha!....found my book....they show 41grs/4f/1036fps/143gr ball....compared to 40grs/3f/917fps/143gr ball....

Interestingly, they modified their import .44cal revolvers for pressure testing, 37grs/4f/960fps/138gr ball/7420LUP, along with the 28grs/4f/885fps/155gr conical/8480LUP....

All the above using circa '75 Goex powder....those are listed as maximum loads for the imports, which assumedly were based on Euro-proof maximums....the Ruger loads are just top loads due to no more powder could be fit, as there's no maximum load "*" next to them.

September 19, 2008, 02:41 AM
Test Gun.......................Ruger Old Army 7 1/2" bbl...
Projectile.......................R.B. .457" 143gr
Charge..........................41.0gr ffffg G-O powder
Velosity (FPS)................1036
Muzzle Energy (FT./lbs.)...340

Not bad, I have had this book some time Copywrite 1975.


September 19, 2008, 06:41 AM
Thanks for the data guys ....I wouldn`t have even suggested the 4F had I not read it was ok to use in the owners manual ...something I normally don`t read ..I have noticed how well it does tame ..what I`d call a stout load in a reproduction revolver .....I`m impressed .....so impressed I bought another ROA ,,,,Never split a pair .

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