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Old Army Cylinder Question

This is a discussion on Old Army Cylinder Question within the Black Powder forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Hello All, This is my first post on the Ruger Forum. Last weekend I purchased an Old Army at a local gun shop. Its was ...


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Old January 28th, 2017, 08:41 AM   #1
 
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Old Army Cylinder Question

Hello All, This is my first post on the Ruger Forum. Last weekend I purchased an Old Army at a local gun shop. Its was an older gun but was in good condition and the price was very reasonable. When I got home I looked up the serial number on the Ruger website and discovered this was a first year production pistol (1972). This was a very nice surprise. The gun came with some cast round balls. I measured the round balls and they were 0.451-inch. Thinking to myself these balls are too small (not a joke), whoever owned this pistol probably got rid of it because it did not shoot well. Every knows that Ruger's take a 0.457-inch round ball...right? Next I removed the cylinder and measured the bores in each of the charge holes. They measured 0.450-inch and appear to have a slight taper, getting smaller as you move toward the nipple. I believe the bore diameter of the barrel is 0.452-inch, although I have not slugged the bore. I've read on the internet at a website that makes replacement cylinders the diameter of the charge holes should be 0.453-inch.

My question is has anyone else encountered this before? If you have, did you do anything to resolve the issue?



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Old January 28th, 2017, 10:45 AM   #2
 
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Welcome from Arizona
My blue and stainless cylinders measure close to .451" but I use the .457 lead ball and it will shave a ring of lead when pressed into the cylinder.
Checked some bullets I removed from a "loaded" Old Army I bought and they measured .451".
Never had an accuracy problem shooting the .457" lead ball and have one with the .45 Colt cylinder that shoots great also.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 10:56 AM   #3
 
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I always use 457 roundballs for best accuracy. I found 451 to be not very accurate and 454 okay.Welcome from New Jersey.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 11:54 AM   #4
 
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Welcome from California's High Desert and to the forum.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 02:55 PM   #5
 
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How did you measure the chamber diameters?
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Old January 28th, 2017, 10:09 PM   #6
 
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Hello Firescout, I used my Starrett small hole gages to measure the chamber diameters. I appreciate the feedback from the other members. I have not fired this revolver yet. I purchased some Hornaday 0.457-inch round balls and I will use these when I go to the range.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 11:21 PM   #7
 
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Yes my friend, every stinking one of them. I don't have a clue as to where Ruger came off with the .457 suggestion. Now go and buy a combo mold from Lee (conical and round ball) and watch them come out on the slight fat side of .457. Different molds (other makes as well) will cast as .458. It would seem that one day Bill Ruger had a press release (this following a morning brunch with all the press cronies eager for a new Ruger release) and told each and every one of them "If you come away from this meeting/announcement with anything, please come away with the notion that it was built around the .457 projectile.

That must of happened and everyone took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Now know that I've owned as many Old Armies (in every configuration) as I now own guns (and I've got a few. Too many if my wife is asked). I also started with lead from whatever source I could reliably count on and that did NOT involve purchasing pure lead ingots at sky high prices not to mention the shipping it would have been several years back. No such thing as "flat rate box prices". So we're talking wheel weights, hillside bullet scrounging, etc. The last one did account for a large percentage of my total lead supply so I always figured that it was once a "bullet alloy" and it will be again, right? Linotype as well as a military wing ballast piece (75 pounds on that one alone) round out my lead supply. Let's just say my lead runs a bit denser than your average bullet supply and certainly much more than expensive pure lead.

But in spite of my desire to cast my own, I did indeed invest in store bought round balls of .457 diameter as well as a box of conicals that very same diameter. The .457 round balls were difficult to load and the conicals were impossible to load. I got more than a few stuck halfway in. I'd have to stop and disassemble the gun, remove the nipple and get a rod to poke out the bullet. What a large pain in the keyster. I've had absolutely no problem whatsoever using hand cast .451 round balls and with that equipment (two pistols actually) I got my start in SASS shooting. A newbie shooter that almost had a perfect shoot (no missed targets period, I only missed just one) when starting cowboy shooting and that done with the .451 round ball and two Old Armies. You'd think that from the posts I'd of had at least one pistol that would have not shot too well, but not what I found to be.

I say, don't read any more Ruger .457 stuff and shoot what your gun seems to be happy shooting. Welcome aboard by the way and happy shooting. Smithy.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 05:11 PM   #8
 
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As far as I am concerned with ball size, as long as when you seat the ball, it shaves a nice ring off the ball to get a good seal (and hold under recoil) your good to go. Ball should not be 'loose'. That is why I prefer .457 pure lead ball in mine. Nice and tight and not hard to seat. I don't use messy crisco/lube over the top like some do. Powder, Cream of Wheat, ball. All I have ever used in my ROAs. Oh, I've used .454, but recall liking the .457 better.

I can imagine trying to seat the .457 conical due to the bearing surface! You'd want a bullet much closer to the throat size. Ouch! Never have used them myself.

Quote:
shoot what your gun seems to be happy shooting.
And that goes for 'any' gun! Not just BP firearms.

Last edited by rclark; January 29th, 2017 at 05:22 PM.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 10:06 PM   #9
 
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OK RClark I got it for you. I must ask though (you're not the first person I've heard of using that stuff, butt) what, and maybe why is the cream of wheat used and what's its purpose??? I've also seen folk "cream of wheat", seat a pure lead ball with a nice complete ring of lead, followed by a liberal application of Crisco over the top. I suppose it's a wonder how that fellow ever got his wife's pantry supplies out of his gun? By the way, what type of powder are you using and does it come up so short you "have" to use the CoW over the powder (I just remembered what the CoW was used for). I was going with around 35 grs. and it was a nice compression load as I recall?? I'm old though and may have my wires crossed a bit??? Love to hear the particulars if you don't mind? Smithy.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 10:42 PM   #10
 
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I started out shooting Speer and Hornady swaged lead .457 round ball. I soon got into casting .457 round ball from stick-on lead wheelweights (nearly pure lead) and a Lee double mold. No problems loading or shooting any of the .457 balls.
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Old January 30th, 2017, 06:51 AM   #11
 
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If you want to shoot conicals, get the Lee mold made for the O.A. It is the 456-220.
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Old January 31st, 2017, 06:13 PM   #12
 
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Smilthy, I shoot ~40g of powder (3F or 2F) in my ROAs (If I remember right, you can get almost 45g in the chamber). But Cream of Wheat acts as the wad. After the powder has been poured, I dump enough CoW in to 'almost' be level with the mouth (1/32 to the lip?). I use Lee dippers (yeah I know, not period correct, but works well on the bench, 2.5cc is close to 40g by volume). Then press the ball home. The powder I normally use is 777 as it is common around here. I've also used other substitutes as well like Black MZ, and Pyrodex. Also Blackhorn 209 in .45 Colt cartridge. I don't have any experience with 'real' BP as I've yet to see a can on the shelf over the years I have been shooting. As for why CoW? Well, it works great as a filler, no need for wads, also 'may' prevent chain-fires. Sort of double insurance. Also have some around too and is cheap. Some say it helps scrub the barrel (I guess I don't really see that but maybe). For me it works, and .... no mess to wipe off, no greasy wads. All dry. Accuracy has been decent, so I don't knock it.
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Old February 6th, 2017, 01:00 PM   #13
 
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I used to use CoW also and even further back used Crisco. Now I just use a felt wad, it makes it much quicker to reload.

I do question the previous posters description of loading with CoW however, if you put in 40gr of FFF and then fill to "almost level with the mouth" can you really seat the ball ? I can't imagine you could compress the charge by that much as to seat the ball. Either that or you are really pushing down on the loading lever and crushing the BP.

I cut my 40gr. spout on my powder flask so I can barely feel the powder being compressed by the loading lever with one felt pad between powder and ball. Never measured it but its likely to be near 35gr. plus or minus one or two grains. I have really good accuracy with that load and I know that I have no space between the powder and ball, but the powder is slightly compressed, not crushed.
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Old February 6th, 2017, 06:19 PM   #14
 
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The powder is probably 'crushed'. Never seemed to be a problem. The ball stops moving just below the lip of the chamber. Definitely no 'air space' under there . I did check the load before I posted (to make sure) that by pouring the dipper into a measure set at 40g and that is what it is... Not much different than filling the chamber and pushing the ball home which I've done to see what the maximum load possible would do. Even when I was loading 30-35g I'd load the same way. Might be 1/16 from the top. I just eye-ball when pouring the filler.
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