Just wondering. Ruger revolvers are strong. I mean, the Redhawk, Blackhawk, and Vaquero are much stronger than the S&W N-frame, Uberti, and Colt revolvers.
Is the Ruger Old Army unusually strong for a black powder pistol? Can you "hot load" it at all?
Just curious. In any case what kind of performance do you get out of it? Bullet weights and velocities, I mean.
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January 24, 2003, 09:08 PM
I have a mid-1970s vintage Old Army. The frame is a modification of the Super Blackhawk, and it is produced with modern steel. The maximum load with a round ball in an Old Army is 40 grains of powder, vs. ~30 to 35 with a Colt M1860 or a Remington M1858. So, it's potentially a bit more powerful than replicas of those guns.
However, Colt Dragoons will take up to 50 grains of powder, and Walkers up to 60 grain with a round ball.
I also have an Uberti replica of a Second Model Dragoon and I've shot it with full loads. Even though it weighs over four pounds, there is a lot of muzzle flip. And it's really loud. :evil:
Keep in mind that all black powder revolvers, including the Ruger Old Army, should only be loaded with black powder or Pyrodex, never smokeless.
January 24, 2003, 09:28 PM
In Bowen's book, he wrote that the Old Army is based on the old .357 3 screw frame size (essentially the same as a SAA), not the .44 Super Blackhawk frame size. He goes on further to explain that it limits what you can do in terms of custom jobs, i.e., no 5 shot .50 caliber cap & balls, leastways not with an Old Army. He does have a pic or two of some custom cap & ball revolvers set up using Super Blackhawk frames! No loading lever, the cylinders are removed for loading.
Myself, I was with you, up until reading that, I was certain an Old Army was based on the .44 frame. But it doesn't much matter in any case, as you wrote, you can only use black, pyrodex, etc, so the chamber size is the limiting factor.
Hate to say that whatever amount of black you can squeeze in an OA is OK, but it does pretty much work out that way, without undue compression of course. Anyone desiring more is going to have to use a Dragoon or Walker, just as you suggest.
January 24, 2003, 09:45 PM
I have a Stainless Old Army, and I love it! It is accurate as hell, and strong too. The manual says that it is impossible to overload it ,(as long as you`re using blackpowder, or equivelent). My revolver shoots best groups with Lee`s conical bullets, (home cast). Its the Cadillac of Cap N` Ballers!!
January 24, 2003, 10:08 PM
What kind of bullet weights and velocities do you get? What about with a Walker or Dragoon?
January 24, 2003, 11:35 PM
The maximum powder charge for the Old Army is what you can stuff down it. Foolish me tried it and the gun took it with no problem. Years later I asked that very question at the factory and they told me it can safely discharge what 3F powder it can hold.
Mind you, what I did was a big waste of powder and not at all conducive towards accuracy.
Also good for New Years. I use foil balls. They're harmless and open up after a few feet. Low and authorative boom and a big fire ball (do it at night).
January 24, 2003, 11:38 PM
COOL...I want one now.
I don't suppose anybody ever chronographed a shot, though, huh?
January 25, 2003, 10:17 AM
Has anyone fooled around with that replaceable cylinder for the Old Army that lets you shoot 45 Colt? I'm interested in how well it worked.
January 25, 2003, 11:06 AM
Never used the replacement cylinder, but I have been maening to buy the latest Old Army variation for some time now.
Check out the 5.5" barreled version with fixed sights over at Jeff Quinn's site: http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger_OldArmy5_1-2.htm
I really think these are the best looking of all the Old Army variations....
January 28, 2003, 10:50 AM
One is a 76 model and the other is a more modern "Vaquero" version. (I too am currently looking for one of the SS 5.5 " models - anybody know of one for sale anywhere?) I also have a R&D conversion cylinder in 45 long colt. These are a lot of fun and work very well. Allowing shooting of smokeless loads in the ruger. (only light cowboy loads are recommended by the manufactureer but given the materials used in the manufature of both the cylinder and the ruger revolver I would guess any load that would be safe in a SAA would be fine - (JMHO Your on your own here) Mine is easy to use and accurate and works as designed.
Now as to the strength of the ruger. somewhere on my computer I have a letter or article on the testing of the OA by ruger. The article describes loading the cylinder with all manner of powders tring to see if it would blow. THEY COUYLD NOT BLOW UP THE CYLINDER WITH ANY POWDER THEY PUT IN IT INCLUDING FILLING IT WITH BULLSEYE SMOKELESS POWDER (MODIFACTIONS HAD TO BE MADE TO THE NIPPLES TO GET COMPLETE IGNITION WITH SMOKELESS POWDER LOADS OTHERWISE THE FLAME WAS NOT ENOUGH TO IGNIGHT THE COMPLETE CHARGE. DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF THESE WERE TESTS TO SEE IF THE GUN COULD BE DESTROYED BY INCOMPEMNTANT USERS NOT TO RECOMMEND THE USE OF SMOKELESS POWDERS IN THIS GUN.
By the way the gun passed with fling colors - you may not be able to bore it out to 50 caliber but in its factory setup its well nie industructable.
January 28, 2003, 10:53 AM
with the conversion cylinder installed
RON in PA
January 28, 2003, 02:26 PM
The story about the Ruger company filling the cylinder with Bullseye is also found in Wilson's book on Ruger.
The Old Army is IMHO the best cap n Ball revolver ever made. You can shoot 40 grains of BP (any granulation) and make lots of smoke and fouling or drop down to 20 grains plus corn meal fill and shoot as accurately as any modern revolver. The 40 gr. load goes about 950-1000 fps with the .457 soft lead ball. I usually use about 28-30 grains 3fG plus a Wonder Wad under the ball for an easy to load range load that has some umph but is also accurate. In my more hungry competative days I used the target load and won lots of goodies.
Just recently got a R&D conversion cylinder from Midway (also sold by Brownells and Taylors). A load of 7.8 grs of Unique and a 255 grain swaged .454 lead ball works fine. Going to try some black powder loads next with SPG lubed bullets.
:D :D :D
January 29, 2003, 09:34 PM
Oh, boy! I haven't seen these cylinder conversions before. I'm heading to the Midway and Brownell's site now.
Brownells has the best price: $233.34 for the stainless. Blued is $206.67. It'll have to wait a bit, since I just brought home a new 3" SP101 this evening. :)
February 11, 2003, 01:56 PM
Using the R&D drop-in cylinder for the Old Army, I wonder if the gun can withstand the pressure of smokeless CCI Blazer 200 grain .45 LC JHP loads, which have a velocity of around 1,000fps. Has anyone shot this kind of load using the R&D cylinder?