The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 27, 2008, 10:49 PM   #1
9mmhpfan
Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2007
Posts: 85
difference between old and new model vaquero

What is the difference between the old and new model Ruger Vaqueros? Why is the old model more desirable than the new?
9mmhpfan is offline  
Old December 27, 2008, 11:00 PM   #2
redlevel42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2007
Location: South Georgia
Posts: 302
I don't know that the old Vaquero is necessarily more desirable.

My understanding is that the New Vaq is more nearly the same size, weight, and grip style as the old Peacemaker. I guess this is more acceptable to Cowboy shooters.

I am pleased with the configuration of my Old Vaquero. It is very comfortable with my all-around plinking/hunting/defense load of about 9.5 grains Unique and a 255 grain SWC.

I haven't handled or fired a New Vaquero.
__________________
Georgia on My Mind
redlevel42 is offline  
Old December 27, 2008, 11:19 PM   #3
Laz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 1999
Posts: 1,004
I'm not a Vaquero expert but my take is this. The Vaquero built on the larger frame was over-built for .357 but wonderfully suited for hot-loaded .45 Colt loads. The New Vaquero is probaby better-sized for .357 loads in that it will handle anything you would want to shoot in it but the New Vaquero in .45 Colt is not beefy enough for some of the hot-rodded .45 Colt loads. It is plenty strong for more traditional .45 Colt loads, however. It's feel and balance is preferred by many shooters because it is more comparable to a Colt. I have had both, like them both, but for me the New Vaquero is a better match. Some folks like the XR3 grip of the New Vaquero (I am one) and some prefer the XR3-RED grip of the Vaquero.

There are some other differences. The New Vaquero has a "stop" or whatever that indexes the cylinder more precisely for loading a chamber which the Vaquero did not have. Reportedly the way the chambers are bored is different on the New Vaquero and supposed to be more uniform. There is not that much difference in weight but the feel is different. There is definitely more "beef" in the Vaquero cylinder. New Vaqueros are no longer offered in .44 Magnum as were Vaqueros due to the smaller frame and cylinder. I don't think one is "better" than the other except for particular uses.

Oh, and New Vaqueros have an internal lock hidden under the grips at the base of the mainspring.
__________________
Laz

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.

Last edited by Laz; December 27, 2008 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Lock
Laz is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 02:44 AM   #4
Jim March
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,329
I own a NewVaq in 357, one of the first that came out in 2005.

It was Ruger's first new "mid frame" SA since the class was dropped in 1973. The new mid-frames are still "new model" two-screw Ruger actions with a transfer bar, and unlike the Old Model pre-'73 mid-frames the new ones load and unload with the hammer fully down same as all post-'73 Ruger SAs.

The main action difference with the new mid-frames is that when you open the loading gate and spin the cylinder, each "click" marks a position where the chamber is right perfect centered in the loading gate. Nice.

The mid-frame cylinder is shorter and less beefy horizontally than the large-frame (but the mid-frame cylinders are also beefier than a GP100 so they're not "weak"). All mid-frames use a grip frame close to identical to the Colt SAA, and their handling/heft is otherwise similar to a Colt of the same caliber. They fit in Colt holsters fr'instance.

Mid-frames to date:

New Vaquero in 357, 4.68" and 5.5" barrels.

NewVaq in 45LC, same barrels as above plus 7.5".

50th Anniversary Blackhawk Flattop in 357, 4.68" barrel.

UPCOMING: distributor run of the Flattop in 44Special, unknown barrel length options.

Why did I buy the NewVaq?

Because when Ruger designed it, they also re-designed the manufacturing process. On average the mid-frames are better quality guns. The cylinders are made with a new process that drills each cylinder bore one at a time with the same reamer/bit set, rather than the six-at-once process with the large-frames. The variations between bores is eliminated in the mid-frames, and since one bit/reamer set is easier to check than six the uniform bore we get is very good.

We're also seeing fewer "bad monday guns" and an overall better assembly job.

When I picked mine out I did a checkout of three at the dealer. All three passed with flying colors; I picked mine purely based on the fake case pattern being the most muted. At the range it shot well right out of the box including windage being dead on, which is a good thing in an SAA-class.

The large-frame SAs are all built on a 44Magnum-class frame and cylinder. If you don't need that horsepower level, I strongly recommend the Ruger mid-frames as you're more likely to get a better gun.

One more advantage: you can now get 22LR SAA-class "trainer guns" fairly cheap, including the new Cimarron Plinkerton. I recently picked one up; it shares the same type of crescent-head ejector as my NewVaq and fits perfectly in the same close-molded Kydex holster I made for the NewVaq. The Plinkerton isn't a high-end gun by any means and nothing I'd trust my life to - but it's a damn good trainer for the NewVaq with near identical handling and muscle memory development while eating cheap 22s.

No such trainer exists for the large-frame Ruger SAs.
__________________
Jim March
Jim March is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 10:11 AM   #5
CraigC
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2001
Location: West Tennessee
Posts: 4,300
Firstly, both sixguns are "New Model" Ruger single actions. "Old Model" is an official factory designation for all Ruger single actions produced from 1953-1972. Those lines do not need to be blurred. Vaquero and New Vaquero, simple.

The original .357 Blackhawks were built on a smaller, Colt SAA-sized frame with the XR3 grip frame which closely resembled the Colt. In 1962 Ruger changed from the XR3 to the XR3-RED grip frame which allowed more room behind the triggerguard at the expense of handling. Since the New Model redesign, all Ruger's centerfire single actions (except the .32 Single Sixes) were produced on the large Super Blackhawk frame. For years lots of folks complained about the unnecessary bulk of those guns when chambered in .357Mag. Then as the cowboy action market grew, Ruger introduced the Vaquero built on that same large frame. CAS shooters had no need for the great strength of those guns and wanted for something that handled better. Something closer to one of the finest handling handguns ever produced, the Colt Single Action Army. In 2005 Ruger answered with the New Vaquero. Basically a scaled down Vaquero closer to the size of the famous Colt. The XR3 grip frame was also brought back and this time in steel. They also addressed another common complaint of the New Model guns in that at the audible "click", the chambers do not line up with the loading gate. They resolved this issue with a freespin pawl coupled with a plunger that contacts the ratchet teeth on the cylinder to properly index the chambers for easier loading/unloading. So in effect, the New Vaquero and the 50th anniversary Blackhawks, are all answers to customers' wishes.

The only downside, if there is one, is that the .45Colt New Vaquero is not strong enough for those heavy "Ruger-only" loads people have become so fond of. Although it is quite capable of 20-22,000psi loads in the 260gr@1100fps range.
CraigC is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 10:24 AM   #6
Sarge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2002
Location: MO
Posts: 4,911
Semantics.

The 'old', or 'original' Vaquero if you prefer, is a much more versatile handgun capable of handling loads that scoot 300 grain bullets in the neighborhood of 1300 fps. It will also handle anything lighter with equal aplomb. It was the perfect, hard use single action for serious hunters who understand the philosophy of 'one load/fixed sights' and those who roam the few remaining areas where something big and smelly might like to 'have you over for lunch'.

The ten-gallon hat crowd love the new Vaquero because they see it as a closer approximation of the Colt Single Action Army. Ruger obviously felt that this market share was more valuable to them, than the aforementioned woods-bums.

In this regard they may have been correct, but they abandoned the better field gun in the process.
__________________
I'm inclined to think if a man hasn't gotten his point across in 4912 attempts, 4913 probably isn't going to do it.
Sarge is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 08:45 PM   #7
CraigC
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2001
Location: West Tennessee
Posts: 4,300
Semantics and proper terminology are mutually exclusive. We are not debating the definition of words, rather trying our damnedest to use the correct words in the proper context. In short, what they should've taught you in school.
CraigC is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 11:00 PM   #8
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 3,088
Well jim and Craig have taken care of the definitiond how about a visual aid
Vaqueros on the left New Vaqueros on the right.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old December 29, 2008, 12:49 PM   #9
kevinarmstrong
Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2008
Location: NE OH
Posts: 93
I own a couple New Vaqueros. However, I have never been able to compare them with the pre-95 ones. Maybe I am going blind in my old age... but, I don't see a lot of difference. Thanks for the pic.
__________________
...There's a new sheriff in town. And he don't much like guns. Better get 'em while you still can.
kevinarmstrong is offline  
Old December 29, 2008, 07:08 PM   #10
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 3,088
Quote:
but, I don't see a lot of difference. Thanks for the pic.
if you look at the cylinders on the stainless guns you can tell it's bigger and longer.not much IIRC only about .070 dia. but that all goes toward thicker cylinder walls.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old December 29, 2008, 07:28 PM   #11
Hafoc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2005
Posts: 552
It's hard to see a difference between the two from a distance, but a detailed side-by-side comparison shows the New Vaquero is considerably smaller and lighter. This article shows the difference.

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-NewVaquero.htm
Hafoc is offline  
Old December 30, 2008, 07:29 PM   #12
Nero45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 7, 2008
Posts: 265
Well I have both and I find that I like the later model to the now model. Yes the now is closer to a Colt but this is also it's down fall in my observation. I first purchased two new models SS in 45 Colt 5 1/2 in. when they were just coming out and were ok but found the grips that they came out with were too thin and did nothing to help with recoil. I was able to find some fake ivory grips that helped and were thicker but still hard to shoot. It was then that I purchased a blued 4 5/8 45 Colt later model for 375.00. This gun was a lot of fun to shoot, easy to use, and recoil was much better. I then got a SS 3 1/2 45 Colt later model for 425.00. Also good, I love these more than the new ones but I think it is the grips that I love. I have small hands but find the bigger grips of the later better than the thiner now grips. I guess I need wood grips.
__________________
Nero45
Revolvers are a disease. Once you buy one your doomed for life!
Within temptation are our lives on this earth until we leave -me
Nero45 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09192 seconds with 7 queries