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Old May 21, 2009, 09:33 AM   #1
olmontanaboy
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Ruger Old army grip frame Questions

I looked at a blued Ruger Old Army last week, It was an early model without the barrel warning, it had an aluminun grip frame. Did the later blued models have steel grip frames and if so, could I replace the aluminum grip frame with a steel one? Are the grip frames hand fitted or a simple swap with no fitting requried?
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Old May 21, 2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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Yes, Ruger changed the original aluminum XR3-RED grip frame used on the early Old Armies to carbon or stainless steel. There are also aftermarket brass grip frames available.

Any Ruger XR3-RED grip frame will fit an Old Army with no extra effort. This grip frame is also used on the Blackhawk.
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Old May 21, 2009, 11:44 AM   #3
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Good info, Thanks
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Old May 21, 2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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http://www.decadecounter.com/vta/art...w.php?item=441


check this out, all about the ROA and variations



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Sturm, Ruger & Co. 'Old Army' BP-7
Written by Accutron on 2007-06-18

When discussing percussion revolvers, there are three categories: Antiques, Replicas, and Old Army.

In 1972, Sturm, Ruger & Co. released the Old Army BP-7, a percussion revolver built with modern steel and a modern lockwork design, while retaining the classic lines and basic functionality of a Civil War-era firearm. Designed as a hunting pistol, the Old Army is legendary for its power, accuracy and indestructibility, and ranks as the third most powerful percussion revolver ever produced, out-pow(d)ered only by Colt's problematic Walker and multiply-revised Dragoon revolvers, both of 19th century design and manufacture. The Old Army is also one of the most accurate pistols ever produced, capable of extremely tight 0.75" shot groups at 25 yards with the proper load.



The Old Army is aesthetically modeled after the Remington-Beals 1858 military revolver, but with a larger frame and other enhancements. About 130,000 units of the Remington-Beals revolver were manufactured during the U.S. Civil War, outnumbered only by the Colt 1860 Army, of which 200,000 units were produced. Due to its lower cost and high quality, the Remington-Beals eventually outpaced the Colt 1860 in sales, distinguishing itself from the open-topped Colt with the addition of a top strap.

Though created in the image of the Remington-Beals design, the Old Army is built upon a Ruger Blackhawk frame, with the original 1955 three-screw Blackhawk action and 1962 'XR3-RED' grip frame. Unlike virtually all other percussion revolvers, the Old Army employs a coil spring mechanism instead of a much more typical, failure-prone leaf spring mechanism. Secondary enhancements include an adjustable rear sight and a positive-latching bullet rammer. The Old Army's rammer delivers superior loading leverage, and is immune to the incidental unlatching problems (and consequent jamming problems) seen in other revolvers.



The Old Army was first released in 1972, with adjustable sights, 7.5" barrel and a blued finish. In 1976, Ruger introduced the stainless steel KBP-7, which has since become the iconic variation. In 1995, Ruger introduced a variant with classic fixed sights, to meet with the rigorous competition requirements of cowboy action shooting. In 2002, Ruger added the availability of a factory 5.5" barrel, historically a very common aftermarket modification.

The example pictured in this article is the traditional 1973 BP-7 configuration, now discontinued: 7.5" barrel, adjustable rear sight, 'XR3-RED' aluminum grip frame, 95%+ blued finish, walnut grip panels, 140-prefix serial number dated to 1977. The 1973 issue BP-7 is nearly identical to the original 1972 BP-7, but has the standard Old Army frame profile instead of the rarely seen flat-top profile of the 1972 issue.



Before 1972, all of Ruger's revolvers used a conventional unblocked direct-strike hammer mechanism, standard to the Colt Single Action Army and other single-action cartridge revolvers that Ruger modeled their Blackhawk after. This traditional configuration required the operator to carry the weapon with one chamber empty, and the hammer down on the empty chamber. This meant that the hammer had to be fully retracted to its armed locking position before a loaded chamber would be moved into firing position. The technique was widely accepted, endorsed by the gun industry and shooters alike. Despite this, a few injuries were attributed to Ruger revolvers being carried with all six chambers loaded. The subsequent litigation pressed Ruger into modifying the firing mechanism on all of their single-action cartridge revolvers to prevent accidental discharge from a partial hammer retraction.

Although Ruger continues to have their old three-screw cartridge revolvers on product recall with an offer of free safety 'upgrades', the Old Army retained the highly esteemed three-screw mechanism throughout its entire production lifespan. The transfer bar system is unnecessary, because the Old Army makes use of Remington's innovative notched cylinder concept, with deep safety recesses milled between each nipple, in which the hammer can safely rest. This innovation was not an original component of the 1858 patent, but was added in 1862 at the request of the U.S. Ordinance Department.



Ruger released nine known major variants of the Old Army, all of which are now discontinued:

BP-7 (1972): Blued, 7.5" barrel, adj. sights, wood grips.
BP-7-B (1972): Like BP-7 but with brass grip frame and squared trigger guard; beware modified BP-7's with aftermarket grip frames.
KBP-7 (1976): Stainless, 7.5" barrel, adj. sights, wood grips.
BP-7F (1995): Blued, 7.5" barrel, fixed sights, wood grips.
KBP-7F (1995): Stainless, 7.5" barrel, fixed sights, wood grips.
BP-5 (????): Blued, 5.5" barrel, wood grips.
BP-5F (2002): Blued, 5.5" barrel, fixed sights, wood grips.
KBP-5 (????): Stainless, 5.5" barrel, adj. sights, wood grips.
KBP-5F-I (2002): Stainless, 5.5" barrel, fixed sights, ivory grips.

Other production variations include a '200th Year' USA bicentennial KBP-7 with scroll engraving and carved grip panels, and a change in 1985 from aluminum to steel grip frames on the blued models. Another change introduced to all of Ruger's firearms is the addition of their infamously verbose safety warning stamped on the side of the barrel, a warning which garners such adjectives from gun owners as 'ugly', 'nasty' and 'sissy'. The safety warning was added to Ruger's entire product line over the course of a few months, from late 1977 to early 1978. The BP-7 pictured in this article is a pre-warning example, manufactured in early 1977. Such pre-warning Rugers command a modest premium over otherwise identical post-warning examples. For more details on earlier Old Army variations, refer to the table below, originally published in The Ruger Collectors' Journal, June 1980.



As of January 2008, the four actively produced variants of Old Army, the KBP-7, BP-7F, BP-5F and KBP-5F-I, were terminated due to declining sales. Criticisms of the Old Army include excessive size and heft, poor balance and a lack of historical accuracy per 19th century revolver patterns and technologies.

The Old Army is typically loaded with .457 round lead ball and a maximum blackpowder or equivalent charge of 40+ gr. Because of its modern steel construction and inherent chamber volume, it is impossible to overload the Old Army when using blackpowder. Though the Old Army can anecdotally withstand extremely small smokeless charges, the author strongly advises against any field experiments to confirm this information. With a hot-running blackpowder substitute like Hodgdon 777, the Old Army can deliver muzzle energies in the range of 700 ft-lbs @ 1200 fps, twice the energy of a standard .45 ACP cartridge, and 20% more velocity.

The author's recommended target load for the Old Army is 20 gr. of Hodgdon 777 FFFg equivalent, Ox Yoke 'Wonder Wad' and Hornady .457 cold-swaged lead ball. An excellent hunting load is 35 gr. of 777, and a 220 gr. .456 conical bullet. Such a recipe is capable of magnum-like performance, and is supposedly powerful enough to penetrate the full length of a wild boar, should the need arise. 777 is preferable to blackpowder and traditional sulfur-based substitutes because it produces higher chamber pressures, generates less fouling and is relatively non-corrosive. The author uses CCI #11 magnum percussion caps, and has found them to be reliable, with a consistent, proper fit.



Because of its large frame size and under-barrel rammer, finding a holster for the Old Army can be difficult, especially if you aren't in the market for some silly custom-made cowboy holster. For a quick-and-dirty solution, the author recommends an Uncle Mike's 'Sidekick', size 9 (8109-1, 8109-2 for left-handed use). For something a little better, try a size 7 holster from Sportsman's Corner. The size 7 is custom-built for the Old Army, and is an excellent holster once a few usability modifications are made, namely the removal of a poorly designed utility pouch.

Ruger 'Old Army' Instruction Manual (PDF 1,275K)
Ruger 'Old Army' Parts Booklet (PDF 126K)

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Old May 21, 2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Any Ruger XR3-RED grip frame will fit an Old Army with no extra effort.
The Old Army is only compatible with Old Model Blackhawk and Single Six grip frames. Of which none were made in steel, except of course the Super Blackhawk.
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Old May 21, 2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
The Old Army is only compatible with Old Model Blackhawk and Single Six grip frames.
And which grip frame is that?
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Old May 21, 2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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The XR3 or the XR3-RED. New Models can be stamped with either. Actually some stainless New Model XR3-RED's are marked XR3.
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Old May 21, 2009, 05:20 PM   #8
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So, I'm confused. What was wrong with my post:
Quote:
Any Ruger XR3-RED grip frame will fit an Old Army with no extra effort.
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Old May 21, 2009, 06:20 PM   #9
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Now I'm Cornfused!!!

The XR3 grip or the old grip is the one that the grips are closer to the Frame...right?
I have two pair of White Pearl grips that gap at the frame of my two ROAs. One is Blued with a painted aluminum grip/triggerguard a Series 145-556xx. and the other is a Stainless Steel ROA Series 145-167xx with a Stainless steel Grip. Dated about 1977, both are clearly not the XR3 grip do to a short front fit.

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Old May 21, 2009, 06:30 PM   #10
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Brownells used to sell an aftermarket brass grip frame.
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Old May 21, 2009, 08:25 PM   #11
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>>>Brownells used to sell an aftermarket brass grip frame.<<<

Looks as if they still do:

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/ns/sto...0GRIP%20FRAMES

Oly
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Old May 21, 2009, 09:39 PM   #12
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The aftermarket brass grip frames have not been available for several months. No word if they well become available again in the future.

Swapping finished grip frames on Rugers may not always have a perfect fit. If your going to a steel frame get a unfinished and fit it, then blue or plate.

I have an old unfinished brass Dragoon frame for a ROA in my get to it box.
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Old May 21, 2009, 11:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
So, I'm confused. What was wrong with my post:
Because the XR3-RED spanned both Old and New Model production to present. Only the Old Model version will fit as the trigger return springs are completely different and the New Models have wider triggers.
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Old May 22, 2009, 05:10 AM   #14
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My pictured ROAs have one of each ...narrow trigger on the Blued Rev, the wide trigger on the Stainless one. Both grip frames have a gap where the XR3 Jay Scott Pearl grips meet the fame. The stock wood grips are a nice tight fit.
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Old May 22, 2009, 08:11 PM   #15
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Grips

I bought a SS ROA and it had some Ruger fake white grips along with the wood ones-
I do not think the white ones fit near as well as the wood ones- Sure would like to get the wood ones or another set that look as good as almost all of the Uberti 1860 grips look for this ROA.

From reading the post above am I to conclude that most grips that fit the super blackhawk frames will also fit the ROA??

Mark
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Old May 22, 2009, 09:02 PM   #16
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I'm confused, did Ruger ever make the Old Army with a factory blued steel trigger guard and backstrap or are they just aftermarket parts?
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Old May 23, 2009, 03:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Ruger ever make the Old Army with a factory blued steel trigger guard and backstrap or are they just aftermarket parts?
Your lookin' at an all blued ROA above...but the grip/guard frame is aluminum on mine,stock Ruger...
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Old May 23, 2009, 07:27 AM   #18
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Yes, as I said in my first post, Ruger did sell the Old Army grip frame in blued carbon and stainless steel. Don't know where CraigC is coming from on this. Here's a link to the production lineage of all Ruger handgun grips:
Ruger Grip Frames on Gunblast.com

and here's a schematic of the difference between the XR3-RED, XR3 and Super Blackhawk grip frames:

This image was originally posted by CaryC on Rugerforum.org.

Last edited by mykeal; May 24, 2009 at 05:10 AM.
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Old May 23, 2009, 08:08 AM   #19
olmontanaboy
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Quote:
Yes, as I said in my first post, Ruger did sell the Old Army grip frame in blued carbon and stainless steel.
Thanks, that link you posted is great.
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Old May 23, 2009, 08:31 AM   #20
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Captain (post #4)

You are full of good stuff mate, that link is brilliant

thanks mate
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Old May 23, 2009, 08:51 AM   #21
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That pictures shows the grips, the grips interchange. The grip frames between Old Models and New Models DO NOT INTERCHANGE. So a New Model XR3-RED grip frame WILL NOT FIT AN OLD ARMY. So no, "ANY" XR3-RED grip frame will not work, it must be an Old Model grip frame. New Model grip frames are setup for their long wire trigger return spring. Old Models and Old Armies have a coil spring and plunger right behind the trigger. Completely different, not interchangeable.

A New Model grip frame will not work on an Old Army without significant gunsmith modification. I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH MORE CLEAR I CAN BE AND YES, I AM YELLING!!!!!!
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Old May 23, 2009, 12:33 PM   #22
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Thank you Mykeal, I din't know the differance in XR3-RED and XR3. I thought they meant the same. And thanks for the Diagram... now know I need an XR3 grip frame for a proper fit to them Pearl Grips on both Revs... maybe they'll just keep wood grips and sell the Pearl/Jay Scott grips (XR3).
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Old May 23, 2009, 01:21 PM   #23
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I just picked up three original XR3 grip frames for prices ranging from $25 for a modified beater to $100 for a really nice one. They can get up to $150 for one in mint condition. Bearing in mind of course that they're all made of aluminum.
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Old May 23, 2009, 07:01 PM   #24
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It was my understanding the 'New Blackhawk' grip frame was marked XRN-3RED, rather than XR3-RED, to remark the difference in trigger return spring design, and while it is dimensionally identical to the XR3-RED it is not thus identified. That was the basis for my statement; apologies if I had that wrong.

And apologies for discussing the design details of a smokeless powder revolver in a black powder forum.

(...intentionally refraining from yelling)
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Old May 23, 2009, 09:05 PM   #25
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It's really not a good idea to go strictly by the frame stampings. For example, the stainless grip frame for the New Model guns, in the XR-RED pattern like the one that came off my short barrelled Super, is marked KXR3. Even though they are not the XR3 pattern. The stainless Old Army grip frames are marked the same way but the two are not interchangeable. It's better to know what you're looking at, rather than rely on the stampings, there is little logic behind them.


Quote:
And apologies for discussing the design details of a smokeless powder revolver in a black powder forum.
This is also the cowboy action forum and we discuss smokeless guns and loads all the time.
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