View Full Version : Ruger Old Army
June 20, 1999, 05:06 PM
Any of you BP guys have any experience with this gun. I want to give the BP pistols a try and this looks like a good one. I found one at a good price and thought it might be fun to use on Turkey and our small Whitetails here in Florida. What kind of equipment would I need to start shooting one of these? I have been using a Lyman Great Plains .50 for a long time but have never tried the revolvers. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
June 20, 1999, 08:40 PM
I have an Old Army. They are a little unsettling - not quite a traditional revolver, not quite a modern one. But they shoot fine. I think they take a .452 ball, but the instruction book should have that info. I got some balls and bullets a while back and they fit OK, but I forget what they miked.
A pistol measure that throws 28-30 grains of fffg should be good for a moderate load, but you can go higher with safety. Cleanup is pretty easy as everything is stainless. I take out the nipples when cleaning and use plain old hot water in the barrel and cylinder. You can shoot cleaner with Pyrodex or one of the other black powder substitutes. No smokeless powder, needless to say; the gun is modern steel, but not designed for smokeless.
If you are loading cartridges, I recommend black powder; I have had problems with the substitutes as they don't seem to burn hot enough.
June 21, 1999, 12:32 AM
I've the SS Old Army with the adjustable sights. Ruger recommends a .457 ball and with good reason. When you ram the ball down into the cylinder, it shave a thin ring of lead off. Unless there is a flaw in the ball, the tightness of the ball in the cylinder would preclude flash-firing with all cylinders going off with one shot. Still, out of habit and as a safety measure, Crisco or some lube is placed over the ball.
Using only blackpowder, Ruger says you can stuff it to the max and shoot it safely. They also said you can cram almost anything down the cylinder as a missle. Haven't tried glass (and won't) or rocks or nails myself.
Equipment that you need? A powder flask and powder measure (for safety) is a good start. In my younger days, it was straight from the flask to the cylinder. Proof that God does look over the dumb ones.
Not necessary but nice to have would be a straight in-line capper for your No. 11 percussion caps.
The gun will come with a very sturdy nipple wrench and I don't recommend any aftermarkets nipples. Stick with Ruger as they are well made and strong. I've had the same nipples on my gun since I bought it in '76.
I use a cornmeal filler (in lieu of a modern wad) and for a scoop use an empty 9mm cartridge case which has been glued onto a stick.
I bought a Saeco 4 bullet .457 round ball mold for mine. Almost any other make would do so long as the balls are .457 and will leave a shaving of lead.
A revolver loading stand is nice, but I still don't have one.
You may want to buy some ZigZag cigarette paper to try to roll your own cartridges. I did and it was time consuming and I have yet to master it. I am given to believe that paper cartridges were used during the (un)Civil War.
My only complaint is that the grips are too small (even for my small hands) and it feels like the gun wants to slip forward. Larger wood grips would solve the problem and I believe the grip frame is the same size as the SuperBlackhawk.
The Old Army is accurate and a blast to shoot. On New Year's Day or the 4th of July, I load it with foil balls (they don't go anywhere and are harmless) and shoot it at night. 6' muzzle blast and a loud bang. Better than firecrackers.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt
June 21, 1999, 07:41 PM
Definitely use the .457 round ball, I cast my own but can's get the accuracy that I get with the swagged commercial round balls. The cast balls are okay but the swagged seem to be just enough better to win the matches. Once shot a 98-7X at 25 yrds at the same time the best I could do with the cast was in the 90-94 range. The charge that my gun prefers for accuracy has been 20gr. 3F; with a corn meal filler (1/2-38spl case dipper)Just barely seat the ball below the chamber mouth and lub with crisco or similiar, don't use the petro based lubs as they will form too much carbon and grease build up. If when seating the ball you don't cut off a small lead ring go to a bigger ball.
I have tried the .457 minie ball designed for this gun, might just as well shoot the shotgun.Good luck, I think you will be happy with the gun if not I can always use another one.
June 22, 1999, 06:20 PM
I make cartridges from nitrated paper, but most (un)Civil War revolver cartridges were skin or foil.
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