Black Powder Pistol

Discerning Shooters’ Black Powder Pistol and Black Powder Revolver Depot

My thanks to Michael Shepherd of for permission
to reproduce the photo of an English Turnaround Percussion Black Powder Pistol

Dale Calder who hails originally from Whangarei, New Zealand has had an interest in handguns including black powder pistols over many years.
He has now reached a point in his life where he would like to indulge that interest further by participating in the firing of reproduction
black powder revolvers and pistols here in Auckland, the City of Sails, where he is currently residing.

Black Powder Pistol – A Salute to the Ruger Old Army

Black powder pistol shooters will have been saddened to learn that Ruger have now apparently discontinued production of their range of black powder revolvers.

I had aspired to own a new Old Army .45 cal cap ‘n ball single action model with 7.5″ barrel, all resplendent in stainless steel, which had as its basis the three screw Blackhawk models. But such was not to be.

All of the reviews I had read on Ruger, pointed to it representing the very pinnacle of achievement in the evolution of the cap ‘n ball black powder revolver. So I have decided to examine some of the other marques of revolver which might go some way to removing the void left by the loss of this auspicious handgun. In the final analysis, I was left with really only two choices .. although that is not to say that other revolver makes don’t represent fine value, but it’s the old maxim of “what you pay for, is what you get”.

In recent years the Italian manufacturers Uberti and Pietta have come to the fore, producing a range of models, in a range of calibers. And you can choose between brass or steel frame, or go for the more expensive stainless steel option. No denying it, brass looks real pretty .. but one needs to avoid overloading the powder in these pistols or you will see stretch. Although cheaper, they will certainly shoot loose over time .. the more so if full loads are used. Not what you are looking for.

Rather than conventional black powder you might like to consider Pyrodex which seems to have an affinity with these guns .. but do check the maker’s recommendation first.

My inclination would be to go for either a steel model with brass trigger guard to lift the aesthetics .. or if dollars permit .. stainless steel. Given that black powder is highly acidic, (it sucks water out of the air while settling on your pride and joy) it is imperative that you clean your black powder revolver immediately after firing and before storing away, so as to avoid corrosion and pitting. If for this reason alone, stainless steel comes up trumps; it just makes the whole task of cleaning that much easier.

Ok .. so .. Uberti or Pietta? In the past Uberti was seen to have the better quality control with respect to the revolvers they were producing, but now if you were to match both brands of revolver, produced in the same year, you would find it hard to discern any appreciable difference, quality wise. The Pietta models seem to have reversed the trend of a few years back when they were substantially cheaper than Uberti. Now the opposite seems to be true with a beautifully crafted Uberti 1858 New Army Black Powder Revolver selling for about $100 less than its Pietta counterpart. So, of the two, I figure I would be leaning towards the Uberti – which at just over $300 in the stainless version represents excellent buying if you are seeking top quality matched by price, in your choice of black powder pistol.

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12 Responses to “Black Powder Pistol – A Salute to the Ruger Old Army”

  1. I just happened to read your October post on the Ruger Army COlt.

    How bad do you really want one.

    I have what I believe you are looking for sitting in the original box, unfired to the best of my knowledge.

    It was given to me as a gift some 20 years ago, give or take 5 years.

    It you are interested, let me know and I will pull numbers for you so you can make me an offer I can’t refuse.


  2. Hi Jay ..

    No, I would have to pass on your offer .. but thanks. Just too many hoops to jump through getting it in to NZ from the States. Just acquiring one here through a licensed firearms dealer is quite a process.

    But if you would like to put up a new post with a more detailed description then I am only too happy to leave it up here, just in case there are others who would be keen to get in touch with you.

    No need to mention price .. but a detailed description may bring in some inquiry. In fact, I would be surprised if it didn’t.

    Thanks for making the approach..



  3. Dale,

    I have only recently heard of this tragic decision by Ruger. Just as I finally bought my own Old Army in blue. (Which I, unfortunately, need some replacement parts for.)

    Having shot both of my parents Old Army .45’s (since 1976), I can attest to their reliabilty and ease of use. Well, as easy as a black powder gun can be. 🙂

    One can hope that they will see the error of their ways and bring them back. But until then, I will be happily shooting mine.

    P.S. Get the SS model from Jay, don’t wait. It’ll be worth the paper work and headaches.

    KC; Ogden, Utah, USA.

  4. Jay if you stil have the Ruger Old Army Black Powder Revolver I would like to know what you want for it.
    Thank you, Doug

  5. John Firman Says:


    I have one (1) Ruger Old Army Black Powder Stainless Steet Revolver [Serial #145-55081] and one (1) Italian USMR .44 Black Powder Pistol [Patent # 817] for sale.

    If you’re interested let me know and I’ll send pictures along with prices.

  6. John Yes I would be Interested in your Ruger Old Army SS.
    How much, where are you and how old is it(what year is it?)?
    Thank you, Doug.

  7. Do let me know if you get the deal together, guys ..



  8. Brad Wiebe Says:

    Where are you based out of?
    I live in BC Canada.
    I have a Rugar old army 44cal. cap and ball SS ,with a custom old west cross draw holster, as well as a Uberti army (I think or navy? )cap and ball in 44 cal.that comes with a shoulder rifle stock.
    I haven’t used them since 2001 so it’s time to move them out.
    I will “NOT” do any shady deals ,permits and paper work must be above board.
    I was a S.A.S.S. (10540)member and W.F.D.A. and Fast Draw shoot and we did plays and skits in old west style …Time moves on and hobbies change … time someone else got to play with this revolvers.
    I also have a Davide Perdersoli 1874 Sporting standard “Sharps” to go too!
    e-mail for pic’s and prices!

  9. Ken Cornish Says:

    Looking for a Ruger Old Army SS With non-adjustable sights.

  10. Hi;

    I’m looking for a Ruger Old Army in either stainless or blue.

    Must be in Canada as the paperwork for import is just too much.

    Can anyone help?


    Bud Melless
    Ontario, Canada

  11. ROA’s a decent prices are getting hard to find. Too bad, I just can’t fork out the extra money.

  12. I have a black powder handgun. I know not a thing about guns. It has a what looks like a skull and bones in a sheild… then pn xxx ….. on the barrel it has what looks to be a stage coach and men on it. the handle has R ETE ITALY and 14977 on the underside of it. Do you know what this is…..

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