Ruger Old Army Fun

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Kentucky Colonel

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Oct 28, 2015
Messages
1,645
Dueling Pistols: A Tale of Greed and Friendly Competition

Sometimes, the best thing about friends is... they encourage you to get into trouble.

My friend Spartan got a nice stainless Ruger Old Army .45. (He wanted a blued one, but found a nice deal on a stainless with the 
interchangeable Colt .45 long modern cylinder) It was his first black powder acquisition ever. 

Spartan's stainless .45 ROA. I confess, I was a little green

I was tasked with helping him acclimate, gather accessories, and prepare a suitable load. This was made more 
difficult by his preference for modern, hot super-loads and the enormous variations possible with the ROA. (Napalm would be 
right up his alley) ROAs are remarkably well built and can handle pressures that normal black powder pistols can't. 

Long story short? I dove into ROAs pretty hard. 

THEN... A Forum Member posted a Ruger Old Army FOR SALE! In the classifieds here! A known, trusted source... A fair price... A pristine pistol... one that has been on my 'bucket list' for a very long time... 

But, Christmas expenses were coming up... this was an unplanned expense... my wife might not be happy... trouble... What to do!?

It was a blued one in unfired condition! 

I bought the pistol. 

Can you call buying a pistol you have been watching from afar for years an 'impulse buy?' My wife forgave me. Spartan? He was a little green when I showed up. :lol:


Hodgdon products burn cleaner than the Holy Black (I know... heresy!)

The load I ended up with for the ROA was a simple one. I used 30 grains of Hodgdon 777, 3F, a felt wad for .45 (Cabelas sells similar ones), Remington <a href='/tags/11' rel='nofollow' title='See all tagged subjects with: #11'>#11</a> percussion caps, and Hornady .457 round balls. This set up also has the advantage of being easier to find than some other combinations. 

First shot with the ROA. I confess. I giggled with delight. My lucky first shot gave me a perfect bullseye at 20 yards. That was my ONLY bull. :D  I was a bit all over the paper. 

My friend Spartan did not know it, but I was on the range testing loads before he even got to shoot his. He was too busy trying to track down exotic loads. It got so bad that I sent him a care package with all of the above plus a few other sundries to streamline and simplify things. 

Meanwhile, as much as I loved the new pistol, I did begin to discover a few downsides and I made a significant mistake. But, first, the up sides... 

Ruger Old Army

The ROA is a sturdy, sexy pistol that would look at home in a holster in the old west. But, it is built upon the modern Ruger Blackhawk frame. (A friend held it and said, "I feel like I'm a cowboy. Where's my horse?") It looks so at home in the past that some movies have been shot using the ROA instead of actual period correct firearms. But, it is much stronger than the old west models were. It is also much more flexible.


Numrich Gun Parts carries an affordable option for holsters usable for the ROA and Super Blackhawk- the Polish PM63

The ROA can be used with a conversion cylinder that turns the pistol into a truly modern weapon using modern cartridges. When using the normal cylinder, there are a wide range of different loads that can be explored for different accuracy, penetration, powder, and impact. You can truly tailor the load to your needs and preferences. 

Spartan ended up shooting with a 220 grain .457 conical from Arlington Cast Projectiles. This looks a lot like it.


Ruger Blackhawk

The downside? Ruger. Ruger. Ruger. I am a bit annoyed with the company. They are not making parts! Not even basic ones! No factory nipples, nipple wrenches? Really? Nipples flatten and need replaced. They are going for $25 dollars! Getting a company made nipple wrench? Also over priced. Ruger even released a limited run of NEW ROAs for 2018 because they recognize the immense popularity, but failed to build any new parts supplies! This is just consumer abuse. Make the parts for your consumers and fans! People are gouging on parts sales.

This brings me to my mistake. I was cleaning my blued ROA with my home brew cleaning fluid when I got called away. It was such a nice pistol that I was determined to leave it super clean. I accidentally left the three parts of the lever assembly in the solution. When I got back, I discovered that my home brewed cleaner had stripped most of the bluing! I cursed myself out in a couple languages.



The three parts together should run about 40-45 dollars. But, the only new set I could find was on e-bay. Some nimrod was selling it for $125.00! On the up side? I now know how to cold blue. (Brownells has a good tutorial video and the products I used) 


The creme was effective if not perfect

You could easily build an entire new ROA from parts because it is so well and simply designed. It is a pistol you WANT to play with. But, wear without parts generates worry. GRRRR! Ruger, Ruger, Ruger! Get on the stick and fix this!

Other than that, I am very happy with my ROA. It is a sexy, fun, flexible, modern take on a classic BP firearm that has all the advantages of a modern pistol while channeling the romance and joy of the old fashioned. Get one! Just be careful not to need parts! 

As for our friend, Spartan? He shot one full cylinder with BP. He did not hit the paper. Then he changed the cylinder to the Colt .45 longs. Then? 

"I really don't like all these steps. It's too complicated. I want to close, click, and BOOM! I hate powder. It spills everywhere. Too much to keep track of. I want pellets. I want sabots. I want power, impact! I want a gun like Palehorse's for muzzleloader season. I am selling my ROA and buying a Knight Wolverine with a Leupold scope."

WHAAAAAT!!! :shock::shock::shock: Fickle much?


Spartan sent a pic of his new Knight Wolverine

BigAl was right when he said, "Spartan does not sound like he is patient at all!" 

On the upside, Spartan is very entertaining. I got a my own ROA out of it. I got all my Care Package back plus everything he bought to support his ROA- "I hate powder. I will never use it again. You can have it.

And, while I am definitely keeping my ROA? He is right about Palehorse's rifle set up. I ordered a Knight, too. :lol: :lol: :lol:  (What? It was on sale!) 
:geek:

I told you this was a story of greed. And, competition.
 

BigAl52

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Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Messages
667
Neat story Colonel. I have yet to shoot the stainless one I have. I just have to many irons in the fire and not enough time. More time is coming someday soon. I hope.
 

Buck Conner

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Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
4,601
BigAl52 said:
Neat story Colonel. I have yet to shoot the stainless one I have. I just have to many irons in the fire and not enough time. More time is coming someday soon. I hope.
Al with your schedule that "more time coming" is like the rest of us. When they throw that last shovel full of dirt in our faces. Don't waste a minute of your time.   :ttups:
 

Kentucky Colonel

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Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
1,645
BigAl52 said:
Neat story Colonel. I have yet to shoot the stainless one I have. I just have to many irons in the fire and not enough time. More time is coming someday soon. I hope.
Thanks, Al. And, thanks for the hand, btw. :D

I have a lot of older friends and family. All of them have been telling me in different ways, "Do it. Do it now. Do it while you still can. I wish I could still."

I listened. I am so glad I did. I had been waiting for things to slow down, for more time to open up, to win the lottery!

That stainless ROA you have is a lot of fun. Do yourself a favor. Take a day and play. Tomorrows are not a guarantee.
 

strong eagle

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Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
873
buy a howell 45 long colt conversion cylinder for it and then you can really have fun. it will be the best ruger cartridge revolver you could ever own. i had to hone down the back sight with a sharpening stone to get it to shoot to point of aim. but once their it was easy to reload and very very accurate with any load.
 

Kentucky Colonel

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Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
1,645
strong eagle said:
buy a howell 45 long colt conversion cylinder for it and then you can really have fun. it will be the best ruger cartridge revolver you could ever own. i had to hone down the back sight with a sharpening stone to get it to shoot to point of aim. but once their it was easy to reload and very very accurate with any load.
Thanks for the advice. Sounds fun. I will keep my eyes open for an affordable cylinder. (Chuckle) I have been spending too much money! It will need to be later. My wallet is hyperventilating.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Mossie

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FML Supporter
Joined
Jan 29, 2017
Messages
267
My ROA and the environment it lives in. Made the handy holster rig. Also have a 45 sgl underhammer pistol. Sold my orig 4 digit# Tingle made in Shelbyville last fall ( I know) I also had to raise front and lower back sights to get the ROA to point of aim. Love those Ruger wheel guns! Long time 3,800+ fps guy but now really getting into BP at 74. Too late? Naaaaa. out here.
 

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