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Old February 10, 2018, 05:39 PM   #1
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Ruger Old Army percussion cap question.

I am having a problem with a ROA and wonder if others are having similar problems. The percussion caps just seem to explode and binds the cylinder on almost every shot. The caps will separate into several pieces and stay in the nipple area preventing the cylinder from rotating.

The components I am using are:
Remington # 11 caps
20 grains of Hodgdon 777
Lubed wad
Cream of Wheat filler
Hornady .457 RB

I have tried to use CCI # 10 caps and they are too small. No stores in this town sells CCI # 11 caps. A Pietta revolver I have, and use an identical load except it uses # 10 caps, does not cause the caps to separate as much. It only hangs up periodically.

Do any of you guys have any ideas about how to correct this problem? The ROA is a used stainless one that I just bought.
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Old February 12, 2018, 03:16 PM   #2
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Mr. Obvious here with the suggestion you try some different caps.

I've had a limited experience with the black powder Ruger Old Army. I seem to recall there was a distinct lack of uniformity as to size with percussion caps from different companies. But this was about 35 years ago.


P.S. We used to shoot it with just the cap and powder and ball with Crisco added on top of the ball.

Last edited by DaleA; February 12, 2018 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Added a P.S.
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Old February 12, 2018, 05:18 PM   #3
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Check out the replacement Ruger nipples from

For Ruger Old Army : designed for Remington #10 caps.

It appears these nipples are designed for Remington #10 caps just like your Pietta revolver, with these nipples both guns should use the same #10 caps.
Save the factory nipples for back up or if the correct size nipples can be obtained.
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Old February 13, 2018, 05:26 AM   #4
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The two Old Army revolvers that I've owned both tended to have the caps explode leaving bits of them hanging on and around the nipples.
I can not say that I recall any bits ever actually hanging up the cylinder and preventing it from advancing but it could've happened.

I did change the nipples out a couple of times in my first revolver, (think I got caught up in the notion of 'hot shot' nipples back in the day), but my current revolver has factory nipples to my knowledge.

No idea what different brands of caps I've used through the years, but most needed to be pinched a bit out of round to make sure that they stayed on the nipples securely prior to being fired.
Some were tougher than others to get on the nipples admittedly, but I've never run into one that wouldn't actually go on.

Changing the nipples as suggested is a good idea, if not for a specific size cap then to at least know what nipples you've got, (mainly insuring that they're factory or to factory specs).
Then trying different percussion caps as also suggested.
I just can't see any consistently binding the cylinder as you've described.
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Old February 13, 2018, 01:37 PM   #5
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My Old Army works flawless with:

* Treso Ampco-bronze nipples

* CCI #11 caps

No need for the "magnum" caps with a short/direct flame channel like you have on the Old Army.

Hope it gets better for you!

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Old February 13, 2018, 02:39 PM   #6
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Back in the day, when I had a couple of Ruger Old Army's, I was having problems with #11 caps falling off of charged chambers during recoil. Then I found RWS #1075 caps. As the number suggests, they are sized 10.75 or "ten and three-quarters" and they are ribbed. This ribbing expands slightly, when pressed onto a #11 nipple, and therefore fits very snug & secure. If I recall correctly, they also provided nice hot ignition, which was helpful when I experimented with other black powder substitutes, like .44/.45 Pyrodex 30gr pellets, which are harder to ignite than real black powder.

Keep your powder dry, Dave.

PS - Many original cap & ball pistoleros, used to raise the muzzle of their revolvers vertically after recoil, as they thumbed back the hammer for the next shot. This enabled any pieces of caps to fall away and not bind up the cylinder.
Watch your top-knot.

Last edited by BluRidgDav; February 13, 2018 at 02:48 PM.
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Old February 13, 2018, 03:13 PM   #7
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Then I found RWS #1075 caps. As the number suggests, they are sized 10.75 or "ten and three-quarters" and they are ribbed.
They may have worked for you but RWS 1075 are a #11 cap. RWS 1055 were a #10 cap. Almost all the cap manufacturers use different dimensions, sometimes the dimensions change between lot numbers.
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Old February 14, 2018, 02:59 PM   #8
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I changed from CCI #11 to Remington #11 when the CCI caps no longer fit for some reason. Took two hammer hits to get them to fire sometimes.

was having problems with #11 caps falling off of charged chambers
Before putting a cap on a nipple, I usually slightly bend the percussion cap with my fingers so that it fits tight over the nipple. Helps keep 'em on.

The caps will split and sometimes tie up the cylinder. Ie, you have turn the cylinder by hand to clear it. Nature of the beast. When you turn the cylinder most times they'll fall out.

Might want to increase your charge a bit. I like 40g of 777, but 35g works good too. No need for the wad as the Cream of Wheat acts as your wad. powder->cream of wheat->ball.
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Last edited by rclark; February 14, 2018 at 08:06 PM.
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Old February 14, 2018, 06:17 PM   #9
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Use a more stronger mainspring to keep the cap from "bouncing" off the nip as it explodes.
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Old February 14, 2018, 06:58 PM   #10
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Tip the barrel up

My Pietta target does that as well. I use a wood dowel to seat the caps. Caps are quite variable.

I always point my revolver straight up or almost straight up when i thumb the hammer back.
There are few things we can truly depend on these days, gravity is one of those few things.

Try it, it works.
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Old February 14, 2018, 07:12 PM   #11
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I changed to the Tresco ones, and use RWS 1075s, and bits of broken cap jamming things up is almost a thing of the past.
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Old March 4, 2018, 11:13 AM   #12
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Confirming- cap brand, size, and nipples is important

I’ve owned a Ruger Old Army and probably about five other Italian and other cap and ball revolvers. All good fun but I had to keep a notebook in my range box to try to remember which cap brand and size went on each gun, and for some guns and some caps size was more of a guide than a rule.

I changed the nipples on the Old Army and found caps that worked for that gun. Once that was dialed in, the Old Army was Mr. Reliable.

Your mileage may vary, but for me it was part of the fun of cap and ball... it takes a lot of fussing until you learn its ways, and a range box full of caps that are the ones that work for each revolver.
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Old March 6, 2018, 02:08 PM   #13
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Thanks to all of you fpor your comments/suggestions. I changed the nipples and now the ROA never misfires or hangs up. I guess the original nipples were just worn out.
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