I've researched a number of previous posts on this topic and have come to the conclusion that either some of the previously posted info is now out of date on this topic or there are people posting erroneous (that could never happen here) info because they aren't up to speed on the topic. So...in the interest of an updated thread on this topic I want to rehash a few things. Specifically, I'm only going to talk about stainless steel type conversion cylinders because I own a SS Ruger Old Army. Blued versions are available but I'm trying to get clarification specific to SS. If you have a blued version with useful info then by all means jump in.
As far as I know there are only two companies manufacturing conversion cylinders for the Ruger Old Army revolver. Those two companies being: Kirst Konverter (phone number?) and R&D Gun Shop but now called Howell Old West Conversions (608-676-2518).
The Kirst design IS a 6 shot cylinder NOT 5 shot as some have reported. However, they do make 5 shot cylinders for other BP revolvers. The ROA design can be seen here: http://www.kirstkonverter.com/rugerarmy.html
. There is only one firing pin than stays stationary relative to the barrel. It is claimed that Kirst cylinder IS made of stainless steel. However, on their website it states "All Kirst Cartridge Konverters™ are precision CNC machined in the USA from 4140 Steel and heat-treated." I can't tell if this statement only applied to the Blued version and not the SS. While unknown to me it appears this cylinder is a gloss stainless finish and there isn't a brushed stainless finish to match the older Ruger Old Army stainless steel revolvers. It appears that it would match the newer ROA SS with gloss SS fairly well. Kirst does not have a load gate design for the ROA whereas they do for other BP revolvers.
The R&D design (aka Howell Old West Conversions) IS also a 6 shot cylinder. It can be seen here: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=955694
. There are six firing pins; one for each cylinder that rotate with the cylinder. From the previous website the claim is that the cylinder is made of stainless steel. Indeed a number of websites that distribute this product make this claim. An example is: http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...ION%20CYLINDER
. However, on this website it also says "SPECS: Steel, blue, polished finish. Old Army - Blue, polished or nickel plated, brushed finish. Chamber length - 1.625" (4.1cm). May require fitting to base pin." We also have this reference here: http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/produ...ders&startat=1
. In addition there are conflicting posts from owners of the R&D design. Quite a few state that their R&D conversion cylinder for their ROA is brushed nickle plated steel and a few others claim theirs is made of SS. Whatever it is it would appear that the R&D design would match the older SS ROA revolvers that have the brushed SS.
It is my understanding that a conversion cylinder should not be used on BP revolvers made with a brass frame. While rare, there are some early model (circa 1973) ROA revolvers with brass frames.
Now that I've given some background info from my research I have some questions. If you could be so kind as to answer these questions with specific detail I would appreciate it and I'm sure other newbies would too. It doesn't help much to answer the questions if you aren't pretty darn sure you are right and have info to back it up. Also, I know some of you have non-Ruger BP revolvers but this thread is specific to the ROA. Thank you in advance. My questions are:
1. Which design is better...the Kirst or R&D design? Specifically, why is one better than the other?
2. Is the Kirst SS design really SS? Or is it nickle plated as the Kirst website indicates?
3. Is the R&D SS design really SS? Or is it nickle plated as some owners have stated? Did R&D switch from nickle plating to SS perhaps at some point?
4. Can the Kirst or R&D designs be dry fired? They can't because you think it is bad or it can't because the designers state not to do this?
5 Does the Kirst's non-rotating back plate rattle or is it very tight fitting? What about the R&D rotating back plate?
6. Is the finish on the Kirst design of high quality? What about the R&D design? I've heard several people complain that the fluted version of the R&D design looks like an amateur with a Dremel tool carved the flutes.
7. What kind of ROA do you have and does the finish on your conversion cylinder match the finish of your ROA.
8. Finally, what did you pay for your conversion cylinder and did it drop right into your ROA and function without problem?