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4 Fg in Ruger Old Army?

6048 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Alice Cooper
I wasw thinking about getting one of these revolvers and I was thinking about the best powder to get optimum velocity. I know that they reccommend 3 Fg but I was wondering if the 4 Fg would give it a little more power.

Any suggestions or comments?
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Strong as a Ruger may be, 3fg is the recommended propellant. 4fg burns too fast, and is only for priming a flintlock pan. I believe the Ruger cylinder is a casting, not made like the cartridge gun parts.

I shot Hogdon's 777 in it, and if you want more power, try that, it's about 10% stronger than 3fg Black Powder and stronger than Pyrodex. 35 gr supposed to give almost 1000 fps, check Hogdon's website for loads. It is significantly stronger than Cleanshot. Also the least corrosive, easiest to clean and cleanest burning of any of them.

Flint's right...stay with the 3F. That's all I have shot in my Old Army and I've put a lot or rounds through it. I fill each cylinder with 35g. of 3F, then add a wonder wad and finish it up with a .457 ball. Compresses nicely and I am pleased with the accuracy. The 3F should give you all the power you will need.

Be Safe! ...Chris :D
S. Falda

lists 4fg loads in his BP book; but I never tried them. Just got a bigger gun. He does go in to say that TC scout class pistols (50-54) would be needed for big game.

I own/shoot a TC Scout too. TC recommends 2F BP only. Max 2F load for the .54 is 120g....depending upon the projectile used.

Believe me...after you put several balls down range loaded to the max, your done for the day. It's a lot of fun to shoot...and it punches BIG holes and turns a lot of heads!

Be Safe! ...Chris :D
Chris said:

I fill each cylinder with 35g. of 3F, then add a wonder wad and finish it up with a .457 ball. Compresses nicely and I am pleased with the accuracy. The 3F should give you all the power you will need.

Be Safe! ...Chris :D
I thought you had to put some grease in the cylinder after the bullet goes in. Maybe to lube it's way down the barrel and to help seal against a chain fire or whatever it is called.


GB, lots of people now just use (lubed) Wonder Wads over the powder. Actually doesn't lube as well as over-ball grease, but helps keep it cleaner, and prevent chain fires. I use both Bore Butter over and Wonder Wad under the ball. I can get through an entire CAS match without freeze-up.
FFFG in Rugers

Ruger frames are castings. The cylinders are machined from bar stock...very strong! They are not forged, but they are not fragile by any stretch of the imagination.

Over the ball lube keeps things running longer than under the ball wads, but for field use the wads are the best choice. For the bench and target range, they are wasted. Fouling will quickly bind the cylinder and pin, and a healthy dose of bore butter or a similar lube on the cylinder bar and over the ball coverage will make the gun stay in operation longer. Still and all, about 3 cylinders full is about all anyone will get with real black powder before they have to break the components down and wipe them off.

ffffg isn't necessary for pistol velocities, but I doubt seriously that the Ruger old army pistol would suffer any damage from a 30 grain dose under a ball. It's just not necessary or advisable.

Dan c
Lyman did a lot of pressure testing some years ago and 4f was used in a number of revolvers. The Black Powder Handbook (c) 1975, IBM 9847251, shows that smaller grain BP may or may not produce higher pressure.

Generally the smaller grain size produced slightly higher pressure and velocity but not to a significant degree.????????? In some cases the larger grain size produced the higher pressure.

Confusing to me, perhaps others have an explanation.
BigBore- FFFFg would give you really nasty rock hard burned on fouling
dramatically accelerated chamber erosion and less velocity the FFFg Swiss
which might even be a mite too stout for full loads in your Ruger, it certainly is in my Uberti Walker Colt, I use FFg Swiss and it's muy powerful. fredj
"Generally the smaller grain size produced slightly higher pressure and velocity but not to a significant degree.????????? In some cases the larger grain size produced the higher pressure.

Confusing to me, perhaps others have an explanation.[/quote]

BP is a surface area type of propellant, the FFFFg is likely too small
a particle to allow for fast and efficient ignition and combustion but will doubtless produce excessive heat and chamber erosion, as in this application it's pushed way beyond it's PODR (point of diminishing returns)
where it's long ceased providing a velocity increase but the rate of increase for fouling heat and recoil are increasing at an increasing rate
believe me those BP rules of thumb are there for a reason.
ffffg in Ruger Old Army

According to the Ruger manual any load of ffffg that will fit in the cly. .The Lyman BP Handbook lists 41.0grs. C&H ffffg a 143 grn.RB 1036 fps. .Lyman also lists a 190 grn. conical over 34 grs. C&H ffffg at 898 fps. longhorn 8) P.S. I like 35 grs. 777 wonder wad & .457 RB with CCI caps for a non-corosive package at 1000 fps. on my Chrony. 8)
The point was made that Wonder Wads do not discourage fouling as much as grease over the ball, so fewer shots are fired before cleaning is required.
I use felt wads --- whether home-punched or Wonder Wads --- almost exclusively.
Long ago, I decided that Wonder Wads were good but their dry lubricant needed augmentation. Thus, I soak my Wonder Wads in an authentic 19th century bullet lubricant recipe.
The recipe is:
1 part paraffin (I use canning paraffin, found in the cooking aisle)
1 part mutton tallow (sold by Dixie Gun Works for a pittance)
1/2 part beeswax
All amounts are by weight, not volume.
A kitchen scale is used to measure 200/200/100 grams of ingredients, which nearly fills a quart Mason jar.
Place the jar with its ingredients in three or four inches of boiling water. This double-boiler effect is the safest way to melt greases and waxes.
When all ingredients are completely melted, stir thoroughly with a clean stick or disposable chopstick. Allow to cool at room temperature; hastening hardening by placing in the refrigerator may cause the ingredients to separate.
To lubricate 100 Wonder Wads, place a thumb-sized hunk of lubricant in a clean tuna can. Place the can on a burner at the lowest setting. Don't cook the lubricant, you just want to melt it.
When melted, add the wads and stir them in the lubricant with the ubiquitous chopstick. Stir until all wads have thoroughly soaked up the lubricant.
Remove from burner. Allow to cool at room temperature. You can use the lubricated wads directly from the can, or transfer to a smaller container. In either case, snap a plastic, pet-food lid over the tuna can to keep dust out and moisture in.
Sharp-eyed black powder enthusiasts will note that paraffin is a petroleum product. Generally speaking, petroleum products and black powder create a hard, tarry fouling that is more difficult to remove and will affect accuracy because it clogs the rifling grooves.
However, a chemist-type once explained that paraffin is unlike other petroleum products. Something about the hydrocarbons, as I recall.
Anyway, all I know is that the use of paraffin doesn't create the hard, tarry fouling so often found with petroleum greases and oils.
In fact, I believe that the paraffin is of great value when this lubricant is used with felt wads. The paraffin stiffens the wad significantly, turning it into a good fouling-scraper.
Recovered wads show a good negative impression of the rifling around their edge --- and the bore of my cap and ball pistols is markedly free of black powder fouling.
Seat the lubricated wad in a separate operation, after charging the chamber with powder. This is a good practice because, if you forget to charge the chamber with powder, it's easier to remove a felt wad than a stuck ball.
Also, seating the wad and ball separately gives you a better feel for how pressure you're applying. Just be sure that you seat the wad firmly on the powder, and the ball firmly on the wad. Leaving a space between powder, wad or ball can create a catastrophic pressure spike.
Felt wads so lubricated will allow you to shoot longer than the standard Wonder Wad with its dry lubricant.
I live in the remote Utah desert, where temperatures can reach 110 degrees and humidity may be only 6 percent. On days such as these, I put lubricant over the ball as well as using the well-lubricated felt wad.
My favorite over-ball lubricant is CVA Grease Patch but you may also Crisco or lard. I hear Bore Butter is very good too; haven't tried it.
Using lubricant over the ball, after using a wad, is an exceptional circumstance. Most of the time, only the lubricated felt wad is needed.
I also use Wonder Wads lubricated this way in my .50-caliber muzzleloading rifle. I can shoot all day and never swab the bore. Just seat the well-lubricated felt wad firmly on the powder before seating a patched round ball.
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Now, I read this, but haven't had time to check up on it, so take it for what it's worth...
At the time of the designing of the Old Army, Bill Ruger wanted to be sure the gun could really take it, so they (presumably with suitable precautions) fired it with the chambers FULL of Bullseye! No damage!
As I said, I don't know if it's true... and now Bill's dead. Somebody must remember...?
Sheesh ...
Even if I had a signed, dated letter from Bill Ruger himself, detailing how they had done this, I'd never let the public know.
Some darned fool would try it!
Ruger warrants their Old Army ONLY for black powder or its equivalent (Pyrodex, etc.).
That's good enough for me. Sturm Ruger has all the pressure measuring equipment in a modern lab.
Frankly, I can't believe that the Ruger Old Army could take such a load. This same load would blow a .44 Magnum or .454 Casull to Kingdom Come!
Sounds like a dangerous Shooter's Legend to me!
i use 30 grs. of pyro-p and corn meal as a filler for plinking loads, and if i want serious power, i just fill the chambers flush full with powder, then press in a 457 ball, with a little grease on'll hop around a bit with that load, but you're not gonna hurt the old army with black or pyro...
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