When firing any revolver, be sure all persons are a safe distance to the rear of the shooter. When fired, all revolvers discharge gas and particles through the clearance gap between the cylinder and the rear of the barrel. These particles of lead, powder grains or lubricant are projected broadly sideways at high speed and thus can injure a person who is standing too close to the revolver. When firing any revolver, always be certain that nothing - including either of your hands - is in the path of the hot gas and particles which are discharged from the front and sides of the cylinder. Safety glasses must be used by shooters and bystanders when loading and firing the "Old Army", or any percussion firearm. Small pieces of the percussion cap are frequently blown away when a percussion arm fires. Always wear hearing protection when firing any firearm, in order to avoid permanent hearing damage.
HOT GASES EXIT BARREL/CYLINDER GAP AND NIPPLES
DRY-FIRING: Going through the actions of cocking, aiming, and pulling the trigger of an unloaded gun is known as "Dry Firing." It can be useful to learn the "feel" of your revolver. Be certain the revolver is unloaded and that the gun is pointing in a safe direction even when practicing by dry-firing. The Ruger Old Army can be dry-fired without damage to the firing components.
"FANNING": NEVER fan the Ruger Old Army revolver. Fanning is an unsafe way to fire a gun and it is abusive to the revolver mechanism.
TO 'UNCOCK' (DECOCK) THE REVOLVER
If your revolver is cocked, and you wish to let the hammer down to a notch in the cylinder between nipples, proceed as follows: USE EXTREME CARE WHEN ATTEMPTING TO DECOCK THE REVOLVER, AS THE THUMB SLIPPING DURING THIS PROCESS CAN RESULT IN AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE IF THE TRIGGER IS HELD TO THE REAR.
1. Make certain that the revolver is pointing in a safe direction (See Rule 2, Page 35).
2. Make certain both hands are dry and not impeded in any way - gloves, bandages, cold, etc.
3. Grasp the revolver (if right handed) so that the thumb and forefinger of your left hand are firmly holding the frame, forward of the trigger guard. Thus, your left hand is in full control of the revolver (See Figure a, p. 18).
4. Place your right thumb firmly on the hammer spur and, with your thumb securely in control of the hammer, squeeze the trigger only enough to permit the hammer to 'break free' of the trigger. Keep the trigger pulled only until the hammer clears the loading notch ("half cock") position. At that instant, IMMEDIATELY RELEASE THE TRIGGER and then slowly permit the hammer, STILL SECURE UNDER YOUR THUMB, to move forward into one of the notches in the cylinder between the nipples. NOTE: It is imperative that finger pressure be removed from the trigger just as soon as it is free of the loading notch in the hammer. Then, properly, the trigger and hammer will move towards their forward positions together (See Figure b, below).
Practice this important gun handling skill with an unloaded revolver until you have developed the proper control and 'touch' to decock your revolver safely. The key to safe decocking is having the weight of the revolver controlled with one hand, while the thumb and forefinger of the 'shooting hand' control the hammer and trigger.
Remember - Never lower the hammer fully down onto a percussion cap or loaded chamber! See "Handling Warning", p 15.
DECOCKING (UNCOCKING) THE REVOLVER
a. With the thumb controlling the hammer as shown above (1), squeeze trigger to permit hammer to 'break free' (2).
b. When hammer is free, IMMEDIATELY release trigger (3). Then lower hammer slowly to its resting position completely into a notch between each nipple (4). Never lower the hammer so that it rests on a percussion cap!
(Keep revolver pointed in a safe direction)
It is much easier and safer to fire all chambers in any muzzle loading firearm rather than attempt to unload it. However, if this is impossible, the revolver may be unloaded in accordance with the following steps.
1. Be sure the revolver is pointing in a safe direction.
2. Carefully lower hammer into a notch in the cylinder and then pull the hammer back one "click" to place hammer in half-cock loading notch. (See Fig. 6) Keep fingers away from trigger!
3. Carefully remove percussion caps from all nipples. (See Fig. 7)
4. Using the nipple wrench supplied, carefully unscrew the nipple from the chamber aligned with the cutout on the right side of the frame. (See Fig. 8)
5. Carefully elevate the muzzle and dump the powder out of the rear of the cylinder into a container. (See Fig. 9)
6. Repeat for each chamber.
8. Place some lubricating oil into each chamber. Now place a rod into the rear of a chamber, taking care not to damage the nipple threads. Gently tap the rear of the rod until the ball comes out the front of the cylinder. (See Fig. 11) Repeat for each chamber.
9. An alternative unloading method is to remove the percussion caps and remove the cylinder as described below. Then, use the nipple wrench to remove the nipples, dump the powder out of the cylinder, and follow step #8 above.
WARNING: Never attempt to remove a capped and loaded cylinder. If the cap is struck, the cylinder will fire even if it is not in the gun. See "Capped Cylinder Warning", p 11.
1. Starting with the hammer fully forward, pull it back one "click" to the half-cock loading notch. (See Fig. 12) Keep fingers away from trigger! Be sure that the cylinder rotates freely.
2. On the right side of the frame, forward of the cylinder, you will see a large slotted pin that resembles a screw head (Part #CB02800). With a suitable tool turn this pin counterclockwise until it stops (about 160o). (See Fig. 13)
3. Unlatch the rammer lever and swing downward 90o. (See Fig. 14)
5. The cylinder may then be removed from the left side of the frame. (See Fig. 16)
To reassemble, simply reverse this procedure.
5. The cylinder may then be removed from the left side of the frame. (See Fig. 16)
A WARNING - DISASSEMBLY
Never clean, lubricate, disassemble or work on a revolver while it is loaded. Never install or remove a loaded cylinder. A loaded cylinder can discharge if dropped or struck. Read instructions before disassembling gun.
UNLOAD BEFORE CLEANING OR DISASSEMBLING
The user of a RUGER® OLD ARMY® cap and ball revolver should carefully read all disassembly directions and study all the illustrations and the Parts List in this manual before attempting to take the gun apart. Know the names and location of the parts before removing any of them. Although the revolver mechanism is composed of only a few parts, it is essential that the disassembly and reassembly operations be carried out with knowledge and care.
Only a few tools are required: A screwdriver or two to remove the grip panel screw, grip frame screws, and to remove the hammer and trigger pivot screws.
The tip of the screwdriver blade should perfectly fit the screw slots. A tip too large will scrape away metal, while too small a tip will damage the screw slots.
Before taking the gun apart, set up to do it properly. Cover the work surface with a soft cloth so that the gun finish (and sights) will not be damaged, and provide a tray into which the parts can be put as they are removed from the gun.
(Make Sure Revolver is Unloaded!) DETAILED DISASSEMBLY:
1. Remove cylinder (see "To Remove Cylinder" p. 20), rammer assembly and base pin.
2. Push base pin retaining pin through from the left side.
3. Remove grip panel screw and lift grip panels away from grip frame.
4. Bring hammer back to full cock position and insert any convenient nail or pin into the small hole at the lower end of the hammer strut; then press the trigger and permit the hammer to move to a forward position. (It will be observed that the pin which has been placed in the hammer strut hole serves to confine the mainspring.)
5. Remove the five screws which fasten the grip frame to the cylinder frame. In separating the grip frame from the cylinder frame take care to prevent loss of the pawl spring and plunger. These parts are located in a hole drilled from the rear face of the cylinder frame, adjacent to the upper left screw hole.
6. Remove hammer pivot screw and hammer by unscrewing counter-clockwise.
7. Remove trigger pivot screw and trigger by unscrewing counter-clockwise.
8. With a small screwdriver free the fixed leg of the cylinder latch spring from its anchoring hole on the left side wall of the cylinder frame.
9. Remove cylinder latch pivot, cylinder latch and spring.
10. It will be noted that the trigger spring and plunger are positioned in a hole in the grip frame at the rear of the trigger guard bow. The innermost coil of the trigger spring is enlarged to prevent its loss during disassembly and reassembly, and care should be observed in removing the plunger and spring to prevent deformation of the spring.
11. The hammer plunger is retained in the hammer by means of a pin which may be removed by means of a small drift.
The revolver is, at this stage, disassembled as far as it needs to be for major cleaning and maintenance.
NOTE: Always use a good quality screwdriver which properly fits the screw slots to avoid unsightly deformation of the screw heads.
REAR SIGHT: The adjustable rear sight (on models so equipped) can be removed from the frame by drifting out the pivot pin (MR05600) and removing the elevation screw (MR05902). Unless it is essential, the rear sight should not be removed because there is a risk of losing the very small elevation springs. If the sight is removed, when reassembling it is helpful to put a very tiny dab of lubricating gun grease in the recesses of the sight base. The grease will 'hold' the springs upright when the sight is positioned on the frame as the rear sight pivot pin is being reinstalled.
(Make Sure Revolver is Unloaded!)
Simply follow "Detailed Disassembly" (see pp. 22 & 23) and then "To Remove Cylinder" (see p. 20) instructions in reverse order.
TO CLEAR A MALFUNCTION ("JAM")
If the revolver becomes difficult to cock, this can usually be traced to four basic causes (followed by the appropriate corrective action):
1. Accumulated black powder fouling (cease firing & clean gun).
2. Percussion cap fragments between cylinder & frame (carefully remove).
3. Percussion caps not fully seated on nipples (carefully reseat).
4. Projectile not fully seated into front of cylinder (carefully reseat after removing all caps from cylinder).
If it becomes necessary to disassemble the revolver for clearing a jam, be sure to unload it first. Never remove a capped cylinder from the revolver!
CARE AND CLEANING
Always be certain the revolver is completely unloaded before cleaning.
The chemical compounds formed by Black Powder residue are extremely corrosive; under some conditions of humidity rusting will begin within a very few hours after firing, if the revolver is left uncleaned. It is, therefore, important that your "Old Army" be cleaned thoroughly and without delay after each use.
Timely attention to the simple procedures which follow will ensure that your revolver remains in top condition for many years of use:
1. Be sure revolver is unloaded!
2. Remove rammer/base pin assembly and cylinder from revolver. (See p. 20)
3. Place cylinder, base pin and bullet rammer in pan filled with hot water and soap solution to soak.
4. Remove base pin retaining pin from frame (CB02800).
5. With muzzle pointed down so that water cannot enter the lockwork, flush the barrel from the inside of cylinder frame with warm water, until water runs clear from the muzzle.
6. Using a bristle or brass brush wetted with soap and water solution, thoroughly scrub bore to remove all traces of fouling. Then, flush bore again with very hot water. Do not permit water to enter the lockwork. Dry bore and barrel/frame assembly thoroughly with clean cloth and set aside.
7. Thoroughly scrub cylinder and other parts in pan, flush with very hot water, and then wipe dry.
8. Inspect all parts (including frame, hammer, etc.) to be sure that these are clean and dry.
9. Oil the bore and all parts thoroughly with a good quality gun oil, then reassemble.
NOTE: Several firms offer Black Powder solvents and these may be used in place of the soap and water solution. However, not all smokeless powder solvents will render the fouling left by Black Powder non-corrosive. Be sure you use a solvent specifically intended for black powder fouling.
Sometimes, lead build-up can occur in the chamber throats, in the forcing cone of the barrel, and in the bore. If 'leading' is noted in your revolver, clean it out before it builds up and interferes with reliable functioning and accuracy. A special 'lead removing' cleaning tool (for bore and chambers) is available from gun stores.
The revolver's internal mechanism can be lubricated without disassembly. A few drops of light oil recommended as suitable for firearms, applied periodically about the various frame openings, will work its way into the mechanism parts. The exterior of the revolver should be cleaned with a solvent and then wiped with an oily cloth.
Firing a revolver with oil, grease, or any other material even partially obstructing the bore may result in damage to the revolver and injury to the shooter and those nearby.
Do not spray or apply lubricants directly on ammunition. If the powder charge of a cartridge is affected by the lubricant, it may not be ignited, but the energy from the primer may be sufficient to push the bullet into the bore where it may become lodged. Firing a subsequent bullet into the obstructed bore may damage the revolver and cause injury to the shooter and those nearby. Use lubricants properly. You are responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your firearms.
IMPROPER LUBRICATION DESTROYS GUNS
Was this article helpful?