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Ruger Old Army - CONVERSION CYLINDERS - Kirst vesus R&D

This is a discussion on Ruger Old Army - CONVERSION CYLINDERS - Kirst vesus R&D within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; 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 ...


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Old January 26th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #1
 
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Ruger Old Army - CONVERSION CYLINDERS - Kirst vesus R&D

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of previous posts on this topic and have come to the conclusion that either some of the previously posted info is now out of date on this topic or there are people posting erroneous (that could never happen here) info because they aren't up to speed on the topic.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?



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Old January 30th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemBert View Post

----------------------------------------------------snip-----------------------------------------------


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?
I have the R&D. I haven't tried the Kirst, but have read good reports. For me, the advantage of
the R&D is the six firing pins - break one, you still have five left.

Quote:
2. Is the Kirst SS design really SS? Or is it nickle plated as the Kirst website indicates?
Probably nickle plated. The home page states ALL Kirst cylinders are machined from 4140 steel. CNC machining stainless steel is pretty expensive if done from bar stock. Ruger uses castings and finishes them.

Quote:
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?
Looks like the R&D is on it's last legs. Looked at Taylor's site and they don't even list it correctly any more. Mine is an early one from just after Taylor's took it over and eliminated the safety slots. It's plated.

Quote:
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?
These cylinders should NOT be dry fired. The pins are relatively soft and designed to slowly mushroom. This is because the hammer isn't designed to hit a floating pin but the relatively soft copper cap. They don't last forever even if not dry fired.

Quote:
5 Does the Kirst's non-rotating back plate rattle or is it very tight fitting? What about the R&D rotating back plate?
Don't know about the Kirst, but the R&D is loosie-goosie. Has to be to keep it from binding.

Quote:
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.
Don't know about the Kirst. The R&D is adequate. Fit fine. Shoots great! Have seen the fluted cylinder. It's awful.

Quote:
7. What kind of ROA do you have and does the finish on your conversion cylinder match the finish of your ROA.
High gloss stainless fixed sights. No, but it's good enough.

Quote:
8. Finally, what did you pay for your conversion cylinder and did it drop right into your ROA and function without problem?
About $230 four years ago.

[/QUOTE]

.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 05:19 PM   #3
 
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Another Question

I have a question about conversion cylinders as well. Are the firing pins spring loaded or free floating on the various cylinders being made?

Thanks,
ADP3
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 07:28 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADP3 View Post
I have a question about conversion cylinders as well. Are the firing pins spring loaded or free floating on the various cylinders being made?

Thanks,
ADP3
This thread might help: Ruger Old Army - CONVERSION CYLINDERS - Kirst vesus R&D
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 07:30 AM   #5
 
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mousegun...thank you for your reply and detail. appreciate it!
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #6
 
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I just went through the Kirst website. Their product is nickel plated. For an extra $50 they will give it a matt finish.

The R&D one at Midway says it's made from 4140 and 4150 steel. Both of those are chromaloy IIRC. 4150 is some seriously tough steel too; very difficult to machine.

I did not know theses things even existed! And they only cost a bit more than double what I paid for the gun!

My question: Are they worth it? Can you get the cylinder off, take it apart, use a stick to push out the empties, but in new cartridges, put the parts back together and then put the unit back into the gun faster than you can reload the cylinders with BP?
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemBert View Post
...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...
You are confusing frame with grip frame. There were some earlier ROA revolvers made with brass grip frames, but the main frames were steel.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 05:31 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew458 View Post
My question: Are they worth it? Can you get the cylinder off, take it apart, use a stick to push out the empties, but in new cartridges, put the parts back together and then put the unit back into the gun faster than you can reload the cylinders with BP?
Quick answer, YES!

Long Answer, You should only be using so called "cowboy" loads in these cylinders. I haven't loaded a cowboy load yet that has swelled the brass so much it even takes a stick to push the emptys out. Just remove from the gun and tip and they all slide out. You can get a much stronger load loading the BP cylinder if you are concerned about energy.

I use mine for CAS when I am in the mood for shells instead of cap and ball. Work great and I love the old 3 screw action. Last year we had 2 reload matches where you fire both pistols empty and then reload one and fire through again. I placed second in one in the whole field due to cylinder switch. Those gamers with tricked out Vaqueros sure turned green watching that
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Old April 7th, 2012, 10:50 AM   #9
 
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Thr Kirst has one firing pin that remains a 12 o'clock and a flat part on the back plate sits at 6 o'clock,goes in easy and no rattle.Wonder if a part of the back plate could be cut out to create a loading gate since it is stationary?
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Old April 7th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #10
 
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I know nothing about the Kirst. I purchased the R&D for around $230 and was perfectly satisfied with quality, fit, and performance. I believe mine to be stainless...it matched my stainless ROA perfectly as far as I'm concerned...looks great, feels great. It is not sloppy, and it was a true "drop in" for my ROA. No modifications or adjustments were needed...took it out of the box, dropped it in and began enjoying my ROA in a different way. Before I purchased mine I did read that others had issues with it not being a true "drop in" but I took the chance and in my case it worked out. It cannot be dry fired for reasons previously stated...it is a six shot but should be carried on an empty chamber not fully loaded. I cannot speak for others, but for me, loading it is quicker with the cartridge cylinder than it is with cap and ball. It's not a replacement for the cap and ball in my case, it's just another way to enjoy the same pistol. I'm glad I bought the R&D ...mine is well made....and a lot of fun to play with. I also agree with the earlier advice to use cowboy loads only, although I personally would not be afraid of a hotter load, but I don't find a need or reason to do that....and the R&D instructions recommend Cowboy Loads only. I did not get the fluted cylinder because I wanted to keep the looks of standard ROA. I have heard a lot of complaints about the fluted looking bad though. I feel that having the conversion cylinder with my pistol enhances the gun by giving me options at the range....can't have enough toys
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