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This Ruger Model Old Army was manufactured by Sturm, Ruger in 1995 according to the company records. It is a 6 shot, single-action percussion revolver that is chambered in .45 caliber. It has a bore diameter of .443" as measured between the lands, and a diameter of .451" as measured between the grooves, with a suggested bullet diameter of .457". This revolver which is made from chrome-molybdenum steel and has a 7 1/2 inch barrel with 6 grooves with a right hand twist making one turn in 16 inches. The Patridge type sights include a front sight that is mounted on a ramp and a rear sight that is adjustable for both windage and elevation. This revolver with its deep blue finish is 13 1/2 inches long and weighs in at a hefty 2 7/8 pounds. The grip panels are a smooth American walnut and include the Sturm, Ruger company logo. The nipples are made from stainless steel and use the standard #10 percussion caps. The design of this revolver is based on the older three screw Blackhawk lockwork and actually uses the same grip frame. Production began in 1972 and continues to this day.

The revolver is intended to be used with traditional blackpowders such as FFFG, Pyrodex P, or Triple seven FFFG powders, and should never under any circumstances be loaded and used with smokeless powder. The Ruger Old Army revolver has become the cap and ball sixgun to beat at cowboy action shooting events and could possibly be the finest percussion handgun ever produced.

  

A brief history of the Sturm, Ruger company.

After WWII in 1946, Ruger rented space in a barn in Southport, CT where he formed the Ruger Corporation. He started the company with the goal of producing sporting firearms. Shortly thereafter he perfected the design of the Ruger .22 caliber target pistol and obtained $50,000 in financing from the Sturm family. In October of 1949, Sturm, Ruger officially opened for business. Alexander Sturm who was a graduate of Yale Art School is responsible for designing the company's trademark. Later, an article about the new company in the American Rifleman brought in the first orders. Soon thereafter, the Southport post office was forced to expand just to handle the mail that the Ruger company was receiving. Within a year, Sturm, Ruger had repaid the Sturm family's $50,000 investment; this was also the last money that the company ever borrowed. Sturm died in November of 1951 at the young age of 29 from viral hepatitis. Ruger took over control of the company's management, while Sturm's estate retained its interest in the company. William B. Ruger continued to direct the company until his death in 2002.

William B. Ruger's credo was "Arms Makers for Responsible Sportsmen." He created firearms not only for hunters and target shooters, but for folks who purchased guns for their esthetics and their precision. The company stock has been publicly traded since 1969, then starting in 1990, Sturm, Ruger began trading on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol of "RGR". So far, the Company has made a profit every year of its existence. Ruger has manufactured well over 20 million firearms for both sporting and law enforcement use. Today they have branched out into other endeavors such as the  automotive parts market and manufacturing the cast titanium golf club heads for the BIG BERTHA drivers. The Company's corporate headquarters are still located in Southport, CT and that barn where it all started, well it is still standing today.

It would not be fair if I did not as well mention the controversy that Mr. Ruger created with his letter to members of the House and Senate on March 30th, 1989. In short, it is thought that his letter was the genesis for some parts of the legislation that was drafted 5 years later in the Assault Weapons Ban. Not only that, but in an interview with Tom Brokaw, Mr. Ruger went on to say that "no honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun" and "I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20 and 30 round magazines". These comments brought down the wrath from angry gun owners even though Mr. Ruger had actually advocated for a 15 round magazine limit. Still, it shocked the firearms community to hear such comments coming from an important firearms manufacturer. Today, the Ruger company no longer stands by this line of thinking and is actively selling high capacity magazines to the general public.  

The picture on the left shows the top and bottom of the revolver, while the photograph on the right is of the front and back of this Ruger Model Old Army.

There is a two line inscription stamped on the top of the barrel in the picture above at the top left. The first time that this mark appeared on the Ruger Old Army was in 1978. While difficult to see in the picture, the first line of this inscription reads as follows, "BEFORE USING GUN-READ WARNINGS IN INSTRUCTION MANUAL AVAILABLE FREE FROM". The second line reads as follows, "-----STURM, RUGER & CO., INC. SOUTHPORT, CONN. U.S.A. -----". While this revolver was manufactured a number of years ago, the instruction manual is still available free of charge from Sturm, Ruger. The company has also made available a free down loadable version on their website.

The serial number is found on the right side of the receiver under the cylinder. There is also the last three digits of the serial number scribed on to the front of the cylinder.  

The picture on the left is of the inscription that is stamped on the left side of the receiver and directly below the cylinder. This stamp reads as follows, "RUGER OLD ARMY ®". This inscription identifies Ruger as the manufacturer along with the model of the firearm. Next to the model of the revolver is the trademark symbol of the letter "R" inside of a circle.

The photograph on the right is of the left rosewood grip panel showing a close up of the Sturm Ruger logo. In November of 1951 when Alexander Sturm died from viral hepatitis, Mr. Bill Ruger ordered the color of the company’s logo forever changed from a red eagle to a black one, in memory of his friend and business partner. While there have been some changes, a silver eagle on a black background has become the standard. The red in the logo has returned with a few special editions of Ruger pistols such as the NRA Endowment model and the 50th Anniversary model, but in these cases the eagle is silver with a red background.  

This revolver does not utilize the transfer bar ignition system as seen on the Ruger New Model Blackhawk, but it does employ the traditional single action, half cock hammer position that is familiar on the older three screw Blackhawk lockwork . 

The Ruger Old Army has notches that are located between each chamber of the cylinder to allow for safely resting of the hammer nose out of contact with the percussion caps. These hammer safety notches can be seen in the picture at the left. They are located at the rear of the cylinder and are situated between the silver colored nipples. They are very similar to the Fordyce Beals September 14, 1858 patent design for Remington, as is the frame forward of the cylinder. The strip resistant stainless steel nipples are hex headed for easy removal. The hammer nose to nipple tolerance distance is .005" and has been designed this way to allow enough standoff from the nipples to allow for safe dry firing.

The photograph on the right is of the side of the cylinder and in this picture the deep blue finish on this revolver can be appreciated. The cylinder is stamped twice as follows "FOR BLACK POWDER ONLY". This warning label or a portion of it is visible at every cylinder position.

  

  

Resource:

Ruger Model Old Army instruction manual

Ruger 1997 catalog

Ruger and his guns by R.L. Wilson

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. website located at http://www.ruger.com  

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