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ROA caliber

This is a discussion on ROA caliber within the Black Powder forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Last week I was able to aquire a Ruger Old Army revolver after only recently (maybe a year) of becoming aware of them. It seems ...

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Old November 10th, 2012, 04:45 AM   #1
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ROA caliber

Last week I was able to aquire a Ruger Old Army revolver after only recently (maybe a year) of becoming aware of them. It seems to be in exceptionally good shape, very clean and crisp. But, I was curious as to why the caliber is not marked on the gun? I was already aware of the required ball size and printed a copy of the manual off of the Ruger website to become as familiar with it's operation as possible, as the gun came only with a smile. I plan on some range time today to have some fun. I already have a couple of muzzle loading rifles so I am not a true beginner in this area of firearms, but I am new to the BP revolver. But again, why no caliber mark?

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Old November 10th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #2
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That is a weird one for Ruger not to engrave a full page warning add including caliber as they have done on so many of their guns. I'm guessing that since it's a black powder revolver that no caliber markings were required by law so they didn't feel a need to do so.

Reading articles about the ROA and you'll get even more confused. I've seen it equally listed as a 44 or a 45, with the latter term being more correct as to barrel groove and land dimensions and the same for the cylinder. One thing to note on round ball size is that if you have anything except pure lead, expect to have some difficulty in loading. Most of my lead had a fair amount of Antimony involved as well as tin and other trace ingredients. It was hard enough that I had to go to a .454 round ball to ease the loading sequence. I still was able to obtain a nice completed circle of lead when I rammed the ball home so I was not afraid to use that sized ball in my home cast molds. But conical's? Forget it!

The Ruger Old Army is built like a tank and as long as you are using black powder or a sub that uses the same volume measure as true black, It's been said that you could load the chambers full of powder and crush the ball on top of the chamber compressing some of the powder and still be OK pressure wise. Also noted was the fact that that kind of loading would not produce the most accurate load at all. I usually stuck around 25 to 30 grains of powder and had great success.

My last two ROA's I ever owned were cylinder converted to shoot black powder 45LC rounds in cowboy shooting ie. SASS. Those were the first guns I shot that sport with and they were a lot of fun (although a bit slower at the loading and unloading tables). But the conversion to 45LC even more so defines the caliber one's talking about when it comes to Ruger Old Armies. One thing that I did do in that conversion that if you ever think of doing that is to take your black powder cylinder and 45LC cylinder to a gunsmith or a good machinist and have them turn material off the breech side of the cylinder to get it to fit if you find it's not a drop in fit. Between my two ROA's the cylinders were off by seven thousandths in length on the Ruger vs. Ruger cylinders. So my machinist had to trim off different amounts from one cylinder to the other and NO the cylinders were not interchangeable between guns. The other thing I had him do was to cut a safety notch 180 degrees away from the cylinder's alignment pin. That way with six rounds in the cylinder I still could safely carry the gun fully loaded and without it I'd be resting on a primer (not a good situation).

Best of luck to you and your new toy. NEVER sell it for any reason! They aren't being made anymore and you'll end up kicking yourself forever if you let this one get away from you. I know, I speak from experience. Smithy.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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rclark is a jewel in the roughrclark is a jewel in the roughrclark is a jewel in the rough
NEVER sell it for any reason! T
Except to me . I'm still looking for a few variations ....

.457 ball is what is called for in the ROA. But why they never labelled them as such either .44 (which are really .45s or as .45) ... who knows. As far as I know they never made them in .3x caliber.... So maybe they didn't feel that had too. Just look at the bore and you can 'guess' pretty much what you need .
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