View Full Version : Old Army - Kirst Konverter - "Ruger Only" Loads

March 5, 2009, 06:51 PM
OK, I have some Old Armies and I would like to add some extra versatilty through the use of a Kirst cartridge conversion cylinder. The Old Army is based off the old 3 screw frame and as such is quite a bit more gun than the new models. Those OM frames were the ones that all that "Ruger only" ammo came out for. Keep in mind that I want the abilty to shoot black powder cowboy loads for SASS and I know the cylinders will work, but if I can shoot a smokeless .45, great. My question is can I shoot those hotter "Ruger only" loads that were made for the OM Vaqueros and Blackhawks because they were stronger and heavier?

March 5, 2009, 07:30 PM
hey William, the conversion cylinders are sold as "cowboy loads only" , for liability reasons, but they are considerably stronger and can handle just about any factory loads, but I wouldn't suggest any "Ruger only" loads in them, the frame may be able to handle it, because it's Ruger made, but the cylinders are not, Flathead

March 5, 2009, 07:36 PM
these are 3 R+D conversions I have, 2 Rems and an ROA, they're great!!!



March 6, 2009, 02:07 AM
Lots of weird stuff going on here. Firstly, no, the Old Army cannot be loaded with "Ruger-only" loads, buy a Blackhawk. Yes, the Old Army is based on Old Model Blackhawk lockwork. "Old Model" as in Ruger's factory designation for single actions produced before 1973 with three screws in the frame and a half-cock notch, no transfer bar.

The Old Model .45's were only produced for a couple years before the New Models were introduced. Up until the New Vaquero and 50th anniversary .357 Blackhawk, all New Model Blackhawks and Vaqueros were produced on the same large frame as the Super Blackhawk. Also the same size as the Old Model Blackhawk .45Colt. So Ruger-only loads are safe for any .45 Blackhawk.

There are no Old Model Vaqueros. The original Vaquero was introduced in 1992 and is a New Model single action featuring the same "New Model" action and large frame as the other 1973-up guns. The New Vaquero is also a "New Model" single action introduced in 2005. The New Vaquero .45 is the only Ruger that can't handle those special "Ruger-only" loads up to 32,000psi.

Confusion such as yours is precisely the reason why Vaqueros should not be referred to as "Old Models".

March 6, 2009, 02:07 AM
I gotta say I fancy my ROA .45 Colt/ .45 Schofield Conversion...

March 6, 2009, 09:44 AM

Okay, so there are Vaqueros and New Vaqueros. New Vaqueros and 50th Aniv. Blackhawks are built on the same small frame. OM Blackhawks and Vaqueros are built on the large frame.

Large Frame guns can handle the Ruger Only loads, small frames can't. Got it. Back to Kirst conversions.

Do either of you guys have Kirst Cylinders or just R&D cylinders. What are your thoughts on the two side by side. I am going stainless.

March 6, 2009, 09:59 AM
I`ve got both the Kirst and R&D ....they both work well .......BUT ...the big difference is the fireing Pin /Pins .....The Kirst has one fireing pin and it is spring loaded , so it is more forgiveing if you forget how many shots you`ve fired and happen to dryfire once ..........The R&D has 6 floating fireing pins ..dry fire once and it will warp ..( replacement pins are about 2 bucks ea. ) so no big deal ...but if it happens and it has happened twice with my wife shooting mine .. sometimes she forgets to count her shots ...She has done it with the Kirst once or twice with no ill affects ...Both companys say do not dry fire ...but it can happen .
The Kirst cylinder feels heavyer than the R&D but the Kirst is a 5 shot and the R&D is a 6 shot and the back plate is thicker on the Kirst also .
The empty chamber spot on the Kirst has a cut out so the fireing pin won`t hit steel when you lower the hammer . ( it`s not a chamber just a blank spot )

March 6, 2009, 10:13 AM
Those OM frames were the ones that all that "Ruger only" ammo came out for.

The conversion cylinder is going to be the limiting factor. I would consult the manufacture. You may want tread lightly with "Ruger Only" loads.

March 6, 2009, 10:46 AM
All .45 Blackhawks are built on the same large frame, New and Old Models. My point is that the large frame Ruger .45's (including Redhawk and Super Redhawks) are the only ones proven safe for use with "Ruger only" loads. Period. End of story.

Back to Kirst conversions.

I believe I already addressed that.

Firstly, no, the Old Army cannot be loaded with "Ruger-only" loads, buy a Blackhawk.

Consider it enough that you can fire SAAMI-spec .45Colt smokeless ammo in your Old Army. To fire ammunition loaded to 32,000psi in a blackpowder gun is foolish in the extreme!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you do decide to proceed, let us know which hospital to send the flowers to.

March 6, 2009, 12:12 PM
I thought the Kirst for the Ruger is 6 chambers.

That is good to know on the dry firing aspect of things. I hate to admit it, but I am guity as well from time to time of trying for that 7 hole group.:)

I think I am going to stear away from smokeless powder in general. Besides I don't think those cartridge thingies are ever going to catch on. :P

So then the R&D backplate spins with the cylinder, and the Kirst stays put and the chambers rotate. Do the backplates ever get misaligned or do they lock up pretty tight with no play? I would think they would get moved a bit and then the pin wouldn't hit the firing pin.

March 6, 2009, 01:17 PM
The back plate stays in place good on the R&D ..never had a problem with that on any of mine ........It has a line up pin and once in place the plate won`t move around ...
I don`t know about the Kirst being a 6 shot in the Ruger cylinder ...they are just a 5 shot for the Remingtons ...which is the ones I have . I only have the R&D cylinders for my Ruger ROA.
Now you don`t have to shoot smokeless only ...I load my 45 LC cases with black powder , and they are a hoot to shoot ....But probally expencive and hard to find , unless you reload.

March 6, 2009, 01:26 PM
That's what I was thinking, was reloading my own cowboy loads. It's not like I'm trying to take down a deer with these, just make the metal clang.

I would like to know more about reloading 45 cases for black powder. I had given the reloading section of my local store a perusing, but it was all smokeless stuff. I assume there are some guys on here that reload BP cowboy loads that can point me to a shopping list and discussions on the topic.

March 6, 2009, 03:01 PM
There is some good reading here for loading 45`s with black powder for CAS type shooting ....http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/board,19.0.html

March 7, 2009, 09:31 PM
The Kirst Konverter for the ROA is 6 shot. BTW, you might find this thread interesting.

Ruger Old Army - CONVERSION CYLINDERS - Kirst vesus R&D (http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=46028)