Ruger Old Army .44 percussion revolver

This item is HIRE ONLY for use by a recognised Film, TV, Commercials or Theatre production company.




The Ruger Old Army is a black powder percussion revolver introduced in 1972 by the Sturm Ruger Company of Newport, New Hampshire.

This revolver is unusual in that, unlike most percussion revolvers on the market, it is not a copy of a historical design, but is a modification of Ruger’s Blackhawk model which was in turn based upon the cartridge firing Colt Peacemaker.

The Old Army, incorporates many modern design features though still requiring antiquated black powder component loading.

To load this pistol, the powder would be measured into each chamber from a powder flask, a lubed lead ball would then be seated firmly on the powder by the ramrod and finally, once all chambers were loaded, a small percussion cap is pushed onto the nipple of each chamber. When struck by the hammer, the cap would detonate the black powder charge, the massive expansion of gas, propelling the ball down the rifled barrel.

The loading of revolvers of this type, was a fiddly and time consuming process, taking at least 4-5 minutes typically.

After several shots, each chamber would have increasing residue and fouling from the fired black powder making subsequent reloading increasingly difficult until the chambers was cleaned by scrubbing out with hot soapy water and bristle brush, dried and oiled.

Not always convenient to do of course, there could be more alarming matters to attend to, but historically, a sobering point to note.

Although based upon the Blackhawk, the styling of the Old Army is heavily influenced by the Remington Model 1858 cap and ball pistol. The term ‘cap and ball’ relates to the use of percussion ‘cap’ fixed to the nipple on each chamber and the ‘ball’ that was fired.

The Remington New Model of 1858  was a percussion revolver manufactured by Eliphalet Remington and Sons in .36- (Navy) or .44- (Army) caliber revolver used during the American Civil War of 1861-1865.

Helpful Info

Foxtrot example shown here is a Ruger Old Army model, a 6 shot, percussion revolver in .44 calibre. It is made almost totally of stainless steel, has adjustable sights and is fitted with hard wood grips.

Film Set Notes

Black powder gives a slower burn than smokeless loads, resulting in a bright muzzle flash with sparks, accompanied by an amount of smoke, always a dramatic look to black powder weapons.

Actors will require specific artiste training in their use beforehand to accustom them to the unusual characteristics and specific handling requirements to avoid misfires and delays on camera. They are quirky but look great when fired.