Ruger Old Army

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Blake Marsters

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My brother picked up a Ruger old army from a friend of ours , I remember it was bought back in the early 90ty . I thought it was a 44 Cal from what I read it is 44cal or 45cal there are marking on the gun stating what caliber it is and everything I have read say it should be loaded with 45cal round. Can I get some help on this thank you.
 

TFoley

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As Henry notes, the nominal bore diameter doesn't matter a hoot in the case of the ROA, the recommended ball diameter is .457", no matter it reads .44cal or .45cal on the rollstamps.

However, it led to a LOT of confunglement here in UK, as many folks who had applied to buy a .44cal BP revolver found that the guns they were jonesing after on their LGS were marked as .45cal, especially if they were buying new, and had waited to get their Firearms Certificate or even a variation to one they had, for up to a year.

Get a Lee mould, and it states, right there on the box - '456" dia. for the Ruger Old Army'. You really can't go wrong.
 

Blake Marsters

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As Henry notes, the nominal bore diameter doesn't matter a hoot in the case of the ROA, the recommended ball diameter is .457", no matter it reads .44cal or .45cal on the rollstamps.

However, it led to a LOT of confunglement here in UK, as many folks who had applied to buy a .44cal BP revolver found that the guns they were jonesing after on their LGS were marked as .45cal, especially if they were buying new, and had waited to get their Firearms Certificate or even a variation to one they had, for up to a year.

Get a Lee mould, and it states, right there on the box - '456" dia. for the Ruger Old Army'. You really can't go wrong.
Thank you TFoey!
 

Old Hawkeye

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Get on line & print out the owners manual. It's free! Most "44" cal cap & ball revolvers use a .454" diameter ball, but the ROA requires a .457" ball, as clearly stated in the manual. The under sizes balls will not seal the ROA cylinder chambers properly, which can lead to a chain fire, & the gun will not shoot accurately. GET THE MANUAL & all your questions will be answered.
 

rodwha

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Reproductions state .44 cal just like older Rugers but have a .45 cal barrel according to how we measure now (groove to groove diameter vs old way of land to land). All of the repros use a .45 cal ball.
 

Pietro

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.

I successfully used .457" RB's, using the BP cylinder - and .45 Colt Cowboy loads in a conversion cylinder.
 

steg49

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ROA are nice pistols, I have two that I use in cowboy action, both cap and ball and also with the 45 long colt conversion cylinder. When loading the cap and ball you need the .457 ball to seal the cylinder. As you push the ball into the cylinder you will see a small ring of lead shave off for a nice tight fit. Soft lead works the best as you are cutting the lead. Two small of diameter bullet (and I have tried .454 conical bullet in the cap and ball) will back out with the recoil and the stop the cylinder from rotating. For the conversion cylinder I use a standard cowboy load with the .454 round noise bullet, but I prefer the cap and ball. Also I load my cylinders by taking then out of the pistol and using a lever type loader, much easer on the hand. Have fun they are great shooters. steg49
 

Woodnbow

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Your Ruger is .45 caliber. The bore is .450 and the groove diameter is .454” many of the ROA’s I’ve measured have chambers in the neighborhood of .452 or .453”. The .457“ ball leaves the chamber slightly under groove diameter but larger than bore diameter. As it proceeds down the barrel it obdurates into the grooves and accepts the spin imparted by the rifling. This system works very well. Ruger old army revolvers are as accurate or more so than most factory pistols.
 

TFoley

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The diameter ball you insert gets resized down substantially going into the cylinder, then again going thru the forcing cone into the bore. A 44 cal bore diameter is .429, just to make things "interestinger". So what caliber is the gun???
A cartridge-firing .44cal handgun IS .429", but we are not talking about that kind of gun here. Old-style BP guns often measured the barrel diameter from the bottom of the groove to the bottom of the groove, which is why the .303 British rifle shoots a .311" bullet.
 

rodwha

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Here’s my 2013 Pietta NMA:

C9E854C7-6161-4002-939E-53E0B9B42DCE.jpeg


And the lands, but that’s not the “bore”:



Still much larger than .429” but shows it’s this measurement they used to measure.
 
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Notchy Bob

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As noted above, I believe Ruger recommended a .457" ball for the ROA. I think the thing to do is get the recommended ball size and go with it.

Regarding caliber designation, it's a matter of semantics and what you measure. The bore diameter of muzzleloading rifles, rifled pistols, and cap & ball revolvers is measured from land to land. "Modern" breechloading rifled firearms are measured from bottom of groove to bottom of groove. So, that old .44 caliber Colt cap & ball revolver had bore dimensions of .440" land to land, with a groove depth of .006" - .007", giving a groove to groove diameter of .452" - .454". Put a cartridge conversion cylinder in that .44 and it becomes a .45.

Please also see the post by @Woody Morgan, #6 above. If the revolver didn't come with its paper manual, the online version is available via the link Woody provided. The manual is well worth reading.

Good luck!

Notchy bob
 

Dude

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And remember, when using the rammer - make sure it's locked in place! If not, the arbor will most likely get bent. I haven't done that, but did have to repair a gun with a bent arbor.
 
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Last year I bought a pristine, supposedly never fired ROA of 1990s manufacture and to my dismay Hornady .457” round balls from two lots (and all measuring properly) were a loose fit in the chambers and the balls crept forward under recoil even with light charges. I got rid of it soon after, I’d of had to use custom molded or grossly oversized commercial balls.
 

TFoley

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And remember, when using the rammer - make sure it's locked in place! If not, the arbor will most likely get bent. I haven't done that, but did have to repair a gun with a bent arbor.
Been there, done that. Got a replacement AND a spare and off E*** after trying to get a local shop to make some - 'sure', they said, 'the first ten we can do for $80 apiece....' :eek:
 
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