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Old November 23, 2008, 02:19 PM   #1
kevinarmstrong
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Ruger Vaquero - Is it weaker than other Rugers?

I am trying to decide on whether to buy a Vaquero or a Blackhawk. I really seem to favor the looks of the Vaquero, but I am worried about it taking a steady diet of full-house .357 rounds.

Sometimes I make up and test a few hot reloads. I usually run these real hot loads out of my GP-100, though.

What do you think... Is the Vaquero that much wimpier than the Blackhawk, or my GP-100?
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Old November 23, 2008, 02:32 PM   #2
Lashlarue
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Find an old model Vaquero, they are larger and stronger, I had one in 44 mag that could handle any of my handloads, even though my hands didn't appreciate it. They were meant for my 1894S carbine and packed quite a wallop in my 5.5" Vaquero.
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Old November 23, 2008, 02:48 PM   #3
CraigC
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The Vaquero was built on the same large frame as the Super Blackhawk and every other New Model Blackhawk except the 50th anniversary .357 model. The New Vaquero is a scaled down version that is more the size of a Colt SAA, Old Model Blackhawk .357 and 50th anniversary .357. In the .357 chambering, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. They are stronger than the GP-100.

The only issue is that the New Vaquero in .45Colt is not strong enough for often published "Ruger only" loads that approach 32,000psi intended only for the large frame .45's. It, the Colt SAA and its replicas, should be relegated to standard loads only in .45Colt. Although they can be pushed to the neighborhood of 20,000psi.

"Old Model" is a factory designation for those single actions produced before 1973 with a traditional half-cock action. Easily distinguished by the three screws in the side of the frame that serve as the hammer, trigger and bolt pins. The Vaquero is a "New Model" single action with the "New Model" action introduced in the 1990's so there are no "Old Model" Vaqueros.
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Old November 23, 2008, 05:11 PM   #4
Daryl
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Quote:
"Old Model" is a factory designation for those single actions produced before 1973 with a traditional half-cock action. Easily distinguished by the three screws in the side of the frame that serve as the hammer, trigger and bolt pins. The Vaquero is a "New Model" single action with the "New Model" action introduced in the 1990's so there are no "Old Model" Vaqueros.
The "old model" designation is for blackhawks, super blackhawks, single sixes, and maybe a bearcat (never got interested in the bearcats).

Since Vaqueros didn't come along until way later than the new model blackhawks, the "old model" designation doesn't count, and should confuse no one.

If you want to be picky about it, call them "original models", so that all the collectors won't get 'em in a wad over it.

I shoot mine, and couldn't care less what you call 'em. I'm more concerned with frame size and strength than I am about the 3 screws getting comfused with an original vaquero. When someone says "Vaquero", my first thought is "the original or the new?". It can make a big difference in what they can handle when it comes to loads, much like the OP asked in this thread.

As stated above, it's most likely of little concern with a .357 mag; more of a concern with heavy .45 Colt loads. The full sized Ruger SA's are stronger, though.

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Old November 23, 2008, 05:19 PM   #5
kevinarmstrong
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New Vaquero

I guess I should have said NEW Vaquero (brand new). The one I am eyeballing is a stainless, 4 5/8 bbl .357 (model KNV-34).

Are these things really as tough, or tougher, than my GP-100 4in stainless?
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Old November 23, 2008, 05:32 PM   #6
kraigwy
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I have no ideal if they are as strong as the older ones or not, I dont load 45LSs hot. If I want a hot load I have my model 29 smith.

I will say mine is a shooter, one of the best shooters out of the box I ever had. I've always like Rugers but for some reason they just dont fit me like my smiths.

The NV is differant. one of the smoothest, nicest shooting revolvers I have.

Personally I just dont see the need for a magnum 45. but that just me.
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Old November 23, 2008, 06:33 PM   #7
CraigC
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Double post...
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Old November 23, 2008, 06:36 PM   #8
CraigC
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Yes, the New Vaquero .357 is indeed stronger than the GP-100 in every way. Single actions are stronger than double actions of similar size because of the solid frame anyway. The New Vaquero's cylinder is larger in diameter than the GP, even slightly larger than the Colt SAA on which it is based.


Quote:
...and should confuse no one.
Yet it does. We have already fielded questions on RugerForum about "Old Model" Vaqueros. Why don't they have a half cock notch, why don't they have three screws, etc, etc. Granted, Ruger really screwed the pooch on this one and should've given the new sixgun a new, completely different name. It is best to call them what they are. It is stamped right on the side. They have two different names, there is no reason to call them anything different. Vaquero and New Vaquero. Proper terminology is important and the "I know what you mean" excuse promotes ignorance.

It seems to work well enough for cities. Do you think the founding of New York, New Jersey and New Orleans prompted those who live in the originals to refer to them as "Old"?
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Old November 23, 2008, 07:57 PM   #9
Daryl
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Quote:
It seems to work well enough for cities. Do you think the founding of New York, New Jersey and New Orleans prompted those who live in the originals to refer to them as "Old"?
No, but I'd bet those in the "new" cities did.

Lots of people refer to the "new Vaquero" as simply "Vaquero". It's a lot more common than someone thinking that their Vaquero is a 3 screw. Call it ignorance, or just not wanting to type "New" in the name, but it happens. In my opinion, the lack of a half cock notch, or three screws is far less important than someone blowing up a New Vaquero because they forgot to say "New Vaquero" and used the wrong data.

I don't overload my .45's, but I do load them to the capabilities of the cartridge in my firearms at times. I see it as no different than loading a .44 mag or .357 mag to their capabilities. The .45 Colt at SAAMI spec's isn't suitable for some of the hunting I do, but the .45 Colt loaded with a 300 grain bullet at 1200-1300 fps is, and I happen to like the .45.

I try not to give folks a hard time about the terminology either way, and I've seen the posts over on the Ruger.com forum. Mostly I see threads turned every which way over someone using a term that others are apparently offended by, and the original question oft-times goes unanswered as a result.

I agree that Ruger sort of did the pooch on this one. Either way it's going to confuse people, and sometimes ignorance isn't bliss. It can get the unknowledgeable hurt, and hurt bad; especially if they don't know any more about handloading than they do about what firearm they have.

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Old November 24, 2008, 06:44 PM   #10
smitty3317
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birshead grip frame for old model Vaquero

New member,so bear with me if I am doing this wrong.I bought an old model Vaq.[brand new] in bright stainless.I wanted a birdshead grip but could not find one,so I purchased a birdshead grip frame from Midway USA.Unfortunately the finish on the grip frame was dull.It can be polished to match the rest of the finish for about $40 by a local gun restoration expert.I have looked everywhere and Midway is the only source for the birdshead grip frame to be found.Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old November 24, 2008, 07:16 PM   #11
Marshal Pb Slinger
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Smitty, what are you asking? If there is another source for birdshead grip frames, or whether you should have the Midway frame polished?

I've only found Midway as a source for birdshead grip frames. I wanted a birdshead Vaquero too but the cost to buy a standard Vaquero (large frame) and then buy the grip frame from Midway, have it worked, buy birdshead grip panels, etc. was more than I wanted to spend. I just waited until I found a birdshead Vaquero on GunBroker at the right price.

If you already have the gun and grip frame, you might as well have the frame polished and get a nice set of grips from Ajax...

BTW I like my Vaquero SAAs. Have 2 large frames (one in SS and the other in blue), 2 new Vaqueros in SS (used in cowboy action shooting) and of course the birdshead.
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Old November 25, 2008, 08:52 AM   #12
smitty3317
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Vaq. grip frame

Marshall,sorry for the confusion,but I was looking for both answers.I may send the frame back to Midway and just put new grips on the original handle.
Thanks for your input.
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Old November 28, 2008, 03:34 AM   #13
Marshal Pb Slinger
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Ruger Birdshead

Smitty, I ran across this site that has a Ruger Vaquero birdshead for sale.

http://guncanyon.com/viewlisting.php?view=452

I don't know the site, never been there before so....
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