Friday, April 10, 2009

Shooting the ROA...

This revolver holds a special place in my heart. I bought it a couple of years ago when I was teaching at a special education collaborative in central Massachusetts. I have read a great deal about the Ruger Old Army and wanted to own one . So on the way home I stopped at a gun shop in the area and spotted this behind the counter. It is a bicententennial model with the roll mark Made in the 200th year of Liberty across the top of the barrel. In addition, I bought some conical bullets and a small container of percussion caps. I did not shoot it for a while. The main reason was because I spent a great deal of time job hunting. There was a change in administration and many people who had been with the school did not have their teaching contracts renewed. Needless to say I was in the boat with those who would be looking for new venues of employment. That year was tough in plain English. Not to belabor the point but I was looking for a teaching position for several months. About the only good thing that came of it was that I had the whole fall off to hunt but that was about it. One of the things that was difficult was the mental anguish one feels when you are unemployed. You begin to feel as if you are useless and that the path you had undertaken in life was the wrong one. Well, that whole situation is worth a post of it's own.

It would be a few months before I actually got any range time with the Ruger Old Army. Here in Massachusetts it is difficult to obtain real black powder. There are only a couple of dealers that I know that sell black powder. Most sporting goods retailers sell substitute propellants such as Pyrodex and H777.

One of the things that I noticed right off was that this gun was built for shooting round balls. The front sight is low in profile and when I shot conical bullets they all appeared to hit six to seven inches high at twenty five yards. I knew that there would have to be some changes. Bear in mind that the rear sight was all the way down and could not be adjusted further. I bought some replacement blades but the bad thing is that no matter how hard I tried to put them in right there is a slight cant to the front sight. This will have to be remedied by a gunsmith.

At the range I shot some Buffalo Bore 190 grain conical bullets with a maximum charge of H777. The gun has some recoil and for a lack of a better term feels like a .357 or hot .38 . I did get some wonderful groups off the bench and adjusted the sights. My best group was less than two inches. A real feat. I figured that now it would be set and time for off hand practice.

One of the things that I have noticed with this gun is that you can shoot two to three cylinders before you have to clean the gun up a bit. After that you will get some misfires. They are quite discerning.

My next step is to create a field shooting kit for this gun. I want to buy or make a small leather pouch to contain some basic tools and enough components to reload three cylinders while out in the bush, so to speak. I'll let you know what I discover.

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