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Old June 19, 2012, 08:26 PM   #1
North East Redneck
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Ruger Old Army spring kit

I've an ROA made in '76-'77, stainless. The hammerspring seems weak. It comes to full cock at about 15 pounds, this was tested with a fish scale so it may be off. I believe stock is 23 pounds. I ordered a spring kit from Brownells. It is an RSA-108 kit made by Wolff. Supposed to be a 19 pound hammerspring. I haven't tried to install it yet because this spring is about 8 coils longer than the one that is presently in the gun. It also came with a 25% reduced power trigger spring and an increased power base pin latch spring. So what do I have here? Will it work in the ROA? The hammer spring is really my only concern at present.
Also, can I cut coils off if its too long? How many?
Looks like the new spring has about 28 coils.
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Old June 20, 2012, 07:43 AM   #2
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Trigger pull is what is important. As long as the ROA was on the market I never heard complaints about the trigger pull. Mine were just fine. I had two.
If the trigger feels OK to you just leave it alone.
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Old June 20, 2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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What Rifleman1776 suggested. If it works, leave it alone. Second, I won't buy aftermarket springs so long as factory ones are available. I'm not going to second guess the factory engineers on a gun's lockwork and how things functions.
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Old June 20, 2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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Thanks,

Guys thanks for the input. I totally agree with not second guessing the factory. However, where could I find original springs for the ROA? I emailed Ruger, they said they have no parts for ROA's, they directed me to Numrich (which I had already checked with) most of their ROA stuff is out of stock.
Is it possible to use old model 'hawk springs in the ROA? I would guess so. But then again I guess incorrectly most of the time.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:55 PM   #5
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UPDATE

I put new Butler Creek nipples in it today. One #11 CCI cap fired on the first hammer strike. Four #10 Remington caps fired on first strike.
In contrast, my 1858 fired #10 CCI, #11 CCI and #10 remington caps all on first strike. I really think its a lack of hammer pressure causing this.
Perhaps I should have been more specific in my original post. That said, what do you guys think?
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Old June 20, 2012, 10:22 PM   #6
B.L.E.
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Quote:
Looks like the new spring has about 28 coils.
My Old Army's mainspring has 20 coils also but I took the grips off one of my Ruger Vaquero cartridge revolvers and that mainspring has 28 coils. Otherwise, it almost looks like the mainsprings will interchange. It's possible they do interchange but I don't have the time to try it at the moment.

It's possible that the Vaquero mainspring just works on a ROA and Wolff is simply avoiding re-inventing the wheel. Try it as is and just see if it works first before cutting off coils.

Also, the new style spring used in the Vaquero is made of thinner wire so it needs to be longer to get the force needed. A less stiff spring with more preload.

Last edited by B.L.E.; June 20, 2012 at 10:54 PM.
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Old June 21, 2012, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
I emailed Ruger, they said they have no parts for ROA's,
That is uncomprehensible to me. Not doubting your experience. But, the Ruger Old Army is really just based on the Blackhawk. That Ruger would not have parts just doesn't seem right. I would make a phone call. I used to buy parts for almost anything from Brownell's but they seem to have gotten away from serving gunsmiths in recent years.
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Old June 21, 2012, 02:23 PM   #8
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With the exception of Owner's Manuals, Ruger maintains no parts inventory for the Old Army. Many Blackhawk parts are in fact interchangeable with the Old Army, but Ruger does not categorize them that way. You have to order the part as a Blackhawk part.

You can find out if the part you're seeking is a Blackhawk-compatible part by looking it up on Brownell's catalog; they list all models a part supports.
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Old June 21, 2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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Thanks again

B.L.E.- Thats what I was thinking too, I could try it, see how it works as is with 28 coils, if it will fit.

RifleMan1776-
I just got off the phone with Ruger, they claim to have nothing that will fit. Got the same info, try Numrich, Brownells etc.
I asked if a BlackHawk or other modern production gun had parts that would fit, was told no.
So are they BSing me because they cant recomend a different part? Maybe, guess I have some more research to do.
I certainly didnt feel like a valued customer after that call, guy sounded like I was annoying him.
The exact response I received from them to my email on 1 June was-
"We no longer have parts for the Old Army. You can try Numrich Arms or Moyers Gun Repair."

mykeal- will do on the brownells check, thanks.
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Old June 21, 2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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Vaquero spring update.

I had time to kill today so I took the mainspring and hammer strut out of the Vaquero and compared the Vaquero and ROA parts side by side.



For all I can tell, they are identical except for the ROA strut being stainless steel and the Vaquero strut being regular steel. The Vaquero has a 28 coil spring made of smaller diameter wire. This would reduce the stiffness of the spring but I suspect the Vaquero spring has a longer free length and is under more preload when installed.
I never took the springs off the hammer struts because putting them back on involves cussin' and tools and searching on your hands and knees for where that spring went when your pliars slipped.

Here's the Vaquero mainspring and hammer strut installed in the ROA.



Not only does it fit like it belongs there but the hammer cocking force feels normal and the lock works normally.

If you want a full strength mainspring, just call up Ruger and say "I need a new mainspring for my (ahem) Vaquero".
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Old June 21, 2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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B.L.E.-
Excellent! Thank you!
I truly appreciate your time and effort on this topic.
It would appear that a guy I've never met, cares more about shooters than the company that produces the product.
I do understand that Ruger may keep info from consumers for their safety, however, Brownells is selling this as a replacement spring kit. Would be nice if Ruger backed companies that supply products for their guns.
I told the Ruger rep what I bought and where I purchased it from.Basically he told me to figure it out on my own.
Thankfully there are people on this forum that are willing to instruct/advise those of us with less knowledge.
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Old June 21, 2012, 06:32 PM   #12
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I'm glad I could help.
I think Ruger's real problem is that they have more lawyers than gunsmiths on their staff.
Their repair service is actually very good, but, if you have a target trigger or a trigger job on your gun, it will be returned with the trigger reconverted back to stock.
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Old June 21, 2012, 07:49 PM   #13
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B.L.E.-
I totally agree, too many talking heads, not enough people with real world experience.
I have also heard good things about Rugers repairs.
I've also been told to remove any after market parts before returning a gun to them.
Thanks again man.
I'm going to be busy next few days. As soon as I install the 28 coil spring, I will post to let you know how she works.
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Old June 21, 2012, 07:55 PM   #14
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B.L.E.-
My Vaquero (cough, cough) may in fact need a stock mainspring.
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:42 AM   #15
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Thank you B.L.E. It doesn't make sense for Ruger to create a myriad of parts when standardization reduces production expense, parts inventory, need for additional tooling or jigs. Hawg Haggen told me the ROA has the same frame as the XED-Red and the Single Six. There has to be a lot of common parts. (Note: this does not apply to most internal lock work parts since the ROA never had a transfer bar like the newer guns do).
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:32 AM   #16
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Wolff makes springs for MANY guns. They are top quality. In many instances superior to the factory originals.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:55 PM   #17
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In college, if I learned nothing else, I learned the two commandments of engineering.

1. Keep it simple, stupid. (KISS)

2. Don't re-invent the wheel.

It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that John Browning and Bill Ruger were the authors of these two tenets.
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Old June 22, 2012, 06:00 PM   #18
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Uh, that's XR3-RED. It's the grip frame. Used on old model Blackhawk, Single Six, Super Single Six, Hawkeye and Old Army. The stainless ROA grip frame was identical but marked as KXR3.

Redesigned in 1973 for new model trigger springs and transfer bar, called XRN-3RED. Same dimensions as XR3-RED. Used on new model Single Six, Super Single Six, Blackhawk, Vaquero and some Super Blackhawks.

The grip frame really doesn't impact many action parts, except of course the main spring and trigger springs. However, 4V50 Gary is correct about there being many common parts between the ROA and other Ruger SA guns.

Also, the ROA did not incorporate the transfer bar (as 4V50 Gary stated) nor the new trigger spring in 1973. Thus the XRN-3RED grip frame is NOT usable on an ROA despite being dimensionally identical.

If you'd like a little extra credit homework assignment, read and attempt to comprehend the Ruger SA revolver grip frame history in:
http://www.gunblast.com/Hamm_Ruger-SA-GripFrames.htm
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Old June 26, 2012, 05:45 PM   #19
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Still at a loss......

Gentlemen,

Well, yesterday I installed the 28 coil spring. Pretty much got the same results.
I broke down the gun today and found no problems inside.
I reinstalled the old 20 coil spring. Actually seems to give the hammer more power than the 28 coil spring did.
So now what? Treso nipples?
The hammer seems weak compared to my other BP revolvers. But perhaps I'm on the wrong track with that.
Some people seem to dislike the ROA nipples, should I go with Treso nipples?
I've got about $600 into this revolver, not really that much, but I really would like to enjoy it.
Any help would be great.

Thanks.
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Old June 26, 2012, 05:50 PM   #20
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BLE-

Thanks again. Your taking the time to break your guns down and post the pics was great. Being able to see them, I was feeling better about taking mine apart and installing different parts.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:04 PM   #21
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I love Treso's ROA nipples. They have a thinner squish zone so the hammer puts more pressure on the priming compound and the smaller flashhole means less powder fouling on the hammer and hammer channel.
On these guns, if too much fouling builds up in the slot the hammer falls through, it slows down the hammer blow enough to cause misfires.

Reduced tension springs are popular with the SASS shooters who want to be able to cycle the action as fast as possible. A lot of them cut coils off the spring to achieve this, if overdone, you get a revolver that only functions with the softest primers.
It sounds like that Wolff spring is a reduced tension spring meant for these guys.

The Ruger hammer spring is kind of marginal in my opinion. If the gun is clean and the caps are fully seated on the nipples, it fires reliably but a little fouling in the hammer port and caps not fully seated and you get failures to fire. Also make sure you hold the revolver in a way that does not have your thumb rubbing on the hammer. That can reduce the hammer blow enough to give you a failure to fire.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:12 PM   #22
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robhof

Does your gun have the factory grips? One of mine had after market grips and the grip screw was contacting the hammer spring and making the hammer throw light. I liked the grips so I ground down the grip screw where it met the spring and had no more problems. With one side off, check how close the grip screw is to the spring.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:46 PM   #23
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B.L.E.-
Yes, I believe the Wolff spring is 19LBS, 4 less than the stock ROA spring.
Guess I will try the Treso nipples. Thanks again.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:51 PM   #24
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robhof-
Good point, thanks for that.
My grips are not stock, they are faux bone/antler.
Unfortunetly, I tested mine with the grips removed, so that takes care of the screw interference problem. Wish it was as simple as that.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:55 PM   #25
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Would shimming the hammerspring mess with the timing of the gun?
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