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Old January 29, 2011, 12:18 PM   #1
FoxtrotRomeo
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Vaquero Question

Looks like the old man wants a Vaquero. He keeps eyeballing them while we're at the shop.

I'm wondering which "flavor" to get him. So here are things to concider.

1. He's retired, he has arthritis in his shoulder so his shoulder is more felt recoil sensitive than it used to be

2. He grew up on Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Mostly Roy Rogers. So he's Old School and the more historically correct in terms of ammo, the more he will probably like it.

3. He can't see as good as he used to so as long as it leaves a bigger hole than a .22 or .25, that'll be great.

4. I'd like for him to be able to afford ammo on a regular basis. He probably wouldn't like the 20 bucks a box I spend on .45 ACP for an example.

5. He likes accuracy. He takes his time at the range. He loved my 460V loaded with .45 Colt. Pin point accurate and almost no recoil. He did not like the weight though. I understand, it is a hunk of steel. He may not like the price of .45 Colt ammo though. He should see what I have to pay when I want .460 Magnum ammo

This is the type of guy I'm trying to pick one out for. 30 years of service at UPS, the man has worked his ass off for the family, time to give back.
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Old January 29, 2011, 12:24 PM   #2
strong45side
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45 Colt is much more expensive than 45ACP. Unless he reloads hes not going to find any boxes of ammo in the 20 dollar range. Recoil is not bad with cowboy loads. The 357 model would be a cheaper choice, though a box of 357 is still arond 20 dollars or more around here at least, you could shoot .38 special cheaper and easier on recoil.
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Old January 29, 2011, 12:50 PM   #3
Jim March
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Yeah, my vote is for a 357 version shooting 38 most of the time. That'll be the lowest-recoil setup.

You want the "NEW Vaquero" model, not the original or "Old Vaquero". The new ones are fairly authentic size/heft/feel clones of a post-WW2 Colt SAA.

The New are sometimes referred to as part of Ruger's "mid frame" series. The Old were built on a 44Magnum-class frame, that was basically oversize for most SA shooting needs. The newer mid-frames are also built better, on average, than the previous versions because when they set up the mid-frames in 2004 they revised *how* they were built, esp. at the all-important cylinder. Old Vaquero cylinders were reamed with six bit/reamer sets going all at once; the mid-frames (and large-frames from roughly 2007 forward) have all chambers drilled with the same bit/reamer set used in sequence - eliminating variances between bores.

The Old Vaquero variants were cancelled before this new process migrated to the remaining large-frame specimens.

The mid-frame Rugers are still not "weak" guns. Mine is a 357Mag NewVaq, and when I compared the cylinder to a friend's GP100 it was clear that my cylinder was "beefier" in every direction. Iit wouldn't surprise me if it can withstand a double-charge of 38Spl from a messed-up cheap reload, although I've never had to put THAT to the test!

Now...if you can find one, get the Ruger "Montado" variant in 357. It has a barrel just under 4" long and a factory-installed lower hammer similar to a SuperBlackhawk hammer...same shape, just different checkering on the thumbpad. I've had a Super hammer on mine since very shortly after purchase in 2005...highly, highly recommended either as a factory-installed setup or one you drop in later for about $35. The Montado is otherwise same as a NewVaq.
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Old January 29, 2011, 12:55 PM   #4
Jim March
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One more thing: if you DO decide on a 45, there's a special distributor run available of 45LC/45ACP convertibles - double-cylinder guns. In 45ACP the recoil will be pretty mild, and cheap milsurp ammo is available if you don't reload.

http://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/d...&zipcode=85706

They have a few stainless left and a fair number of blue. NewVaqs in blue are now "all blue", no more of that horrid fake case-color chemical process that used to attract rust . Ruger's blue looks pretty good.

Shooting 38Spl can be cheaper yet; you can get 500-packs of cheap reloads from Georgia Arms in 38Spl for about $140 or so.
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Old January 29, 2011, 02:28 PM   #5
FoxtrotRomeo
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Yeah, pops doesn't reload which is a shame. He doesn't go shooting that much to really warrant it. Only time he goes is when I drag him to the range with me. He decently knows his way around a firearm though, he's an old hunter. I still have to tell him not to hook his finger into the trigger guard if he doesn't want to fire.

Which is why I told him about the Vaquero. Transfer bar safety is better for him. If he loads all the chambers it won't be such a big deal as it would be with a Colt SAA.

Probably a New Vaquero, he looks at any of them with the Vaquero name really.

I'm thinking .357 would be more him. He could go .38 special and save some cash.

What's the accuracy on a Vaquero with the Artillery model barrel length?
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Old January 29, 2011, 04:41 PM   #6
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I have a 45 colt Artillery length. It shoots pretty well and since I reload I can make them soft or standard power. Its pretty accurate but to be honest I wish I got the 4 5/8th's or the 7 1/2.
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Old January 29, 2011, 07:38 PM   #7
Jim March
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My NewVaq357 can do 2" groups at 25 yards with factory JHPs off of sandbags.
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Old January 29, 2011, 07:58 PM   #8
FoxtrotRomeo
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Quote:
My NewVaq357 can do 2" groups at 25 yards with factory JHPs off of sandbags.
Should I expect POI on the spot, high or low in respect to point of aim vs. poi?
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:33 PM   #9
Jim March
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Well...heh. I'll be honest, that's a wee bit of a crapshoot.

OK...what you really want is for windage to be dead on. If it's off just a hair, you have an easy fix available: file the inside of the rear sight channel in one direction or the other. If it's worse than that, it'll have to either go back to Ruger or have a local gunsmith turn the barrel a bit to line things up.

On elevation, it's going to be set "somewhat high" in case you're running extra-heavy loads. In a 357 variant, it should be close with bullet weights in the 158 to 170/180gr range. You're supposed to try different bullet weights, see where it's zeroed to from the factory and if you want to run lighter loads, you'll probably have to file the front sight a bit. This is a normal part of the SA process.

Heavier bullets need a taller front sight. It doesn't seem to matter much what SPEED the bullets are moving at. A 158gr load will print to about the same elevation whether it's a 38Spl or full-house 357 load.

I keep my sights on my 357 dialed to about 140gr or so, which means it's workable from 125gr through the 158gr range. Mine was dead-on for windage from the get-go. I've seriously (no, *wildly*) upgraded my sights to a bizarre degree, but that's because of what I wanted, not what the gun absolutely needed due to defects.

Upshot: serious windage issues are a pain, and with the NewVaqs we're seeing fewer of these. Light windage issues not as annoying. The front sight is supposed to be too tall in case you want to run heavy loads, and then you dial it in to whatever you need.

One option for fixing major windage issues is to remove the front sight completely and have a dovetail cut for this sight, which you can get several of and shave for different bullet weights and front sight heights:

http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_NewSight.htm
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:49 PM   #10
Alden
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Get him a .357 Vaquero and one box of .357 magnums and two boxes of .38 Specials and let him go to the range and have fun!

It's hell of a nice gun. You can also get custom grips and holster/belt combos, if he wants to be a cowboy with it.
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Old January 29, 2011, 11:29 PM   #11
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+1 Jim's and others' comments on the New Vaquero, and +1 on the .357/.38 suggestion as well. One thing to keep in mind, with its smaller hole(s), the .357 "gets" a little heavy in the longer barrel lengths (my definition: 5.5 and beyond). The 4-5/8" and even Montado mentioned are no lightweights as it is but are what I'd be looking at in that chambering. Yes it's an "accuracy" or sight picture tradeoff, but IMO a minor one. I'm a long time 5.5'er but in this cartridge wish I'd gone 4.62" (and indeed did get my shorty in the form of the Montado later anyway). Fabulous guns, all of 'em. If your dad's shooting time is predominately range, and especially with rest, then the barrel length isn't as much an issue of course.

If weight's an overriding issue, another neat new choice is the above, including a Montado-like variant called the Sheriff, in the new .44 Special New Vaquero via Davidsons. Doesn't resolve your ammo price issues, but if he doesn't shoot that often maybe not so great an issue (buy a batch of Georgia Arms new-loaded ammo and forget about it), and sure is a charming package. Otherwise, in a big bore the aforementioned 45/45 ACP combo makes a lot of sense too.
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Old January 30, 2011, 01:20 AM   #12
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If he really likes Roy Rogers I'd suggest getting a stainless Vaquero with the 4-5/8" barrel and stag (real or fake) grips. That's as close to Roy's actual gun as you can get with a Vaquero (Roy Rogers carried a number of guns, but one of his favorites was a nickel SAA with 4.75" barrel and stag grips). I'd personally go with a .357 if price of ammo is an issue, and shoot .38s.

Hope that helps,
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Old January 30, 2011, 01:21 AM   #13
strong45side
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Im sure he would love a 357 new vaquero. I own plenty of firearms, lots of semi auto handguns, ak47's, ar15's and plenty of other fancy semi autos and my vaquero is probably my favorite piece. Such a masterpiece.
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Old January 30, 2011, 10:15 AM   #14
FoxtrotRomeo
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I probably should get him the 4.62 inch revolver. But yeah I was thinking about the stainless one. He probably wouldn't mind not having the stag grips (he's a humble guy and a pain to get gifts for, he's the type that's happy with socks for christmas because he might need new ones that year) but he's getting them anyway cuz I like a bit of flash and glare myself and if the Cowboy King had them, he's going to as well for all the crap he's done for the family. I'm just that way.
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Old January 30, 2011, 11:26 AM   #15
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I dont have Vaqueros in the calibers that have been discussed here but I do have a nickel Colt SAA in 357mag and a 5 1/2" barrel and have found that barrel a little easier to shoot for accuracy with my aging eyes. A set ofElk grips from Patrick Grasshorn would set you back $130.00 and look real nice on a stainless New Vaquero polished up. I'm understanding that this will be more of a range gun than a trail gun.
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Old January 30, 2011, 12:09 PM   #16
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I know you are asking about vaqueros, but you mentioned he liked the 460....
what about a blackhawk 357/9mm dual cylinder? shoot 9mm all day w/o breaking the bank!
factory only in blue, but i bought a stainless 357 and sent it back to ruger to fit a 9mm cylinder. cost around $200 if i remember right.
just my 2c
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Old January 30, 2011, 12:16 PM   #17
dpetreikis
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Wow....

all this talk about Vaqueros is making me want one.

Thanks, guys.. I can feel my wallet getting lighter already....
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Old January 30, 2011, 12:22 PM   #18
FoxtrotRomeo
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Quote:
I dont have Vaqueros in the calibers that have been discussed here but I do have a nickel Colt SAA in 357mag and a 5 1/2" barrel and have found that barrel a little easier to shoot for accuracy with my aging eyes.
That is something else to consider. He does like some barrel length to a pistol for the very reason you mentioned. He said the barrel length on my 460V puts the front sight far enough away that he can focus his eyes better.

At least the new Vaqueros have less mass than my 460V so weight would be less of a problem.

Quote:
A set ofElk grips from Patrick Grasshorn would set you back $130.00 and look real nice on a stainless New Vaquero polished up.
I've been looking at a few Stag style grips and it does seem the Elk ones are a bit less expensive. I've also looked up a pic of a SAA commemorative Roy Rogers pistol with Stag grips for comparison (engraving listed the year 1990) and both standard stag and Elk would be very close to each other in color and contrast.

Quote:
I'm understanding that this will be more of a range gun than a trail gun.
Most likely. He's thought about a carry permit for trail walking and being out in the woods but he likely won't do it. I don't think he could justify it to himself to get a permit since he doesn't do much trail walking right now though he would probably like to.
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Old January 30, 2011, 03:08 PM   #19
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Though I too like the idea of getting the .357 for all of the good reasons previously offered by other posters in this thread, if, as you say, your dad is "Old School and the more historically correct in terms of ammo, the more he will probably like it" and he "doesn't reload which is a shame. He doesn't go shooting that much to really warrant it. Only time he goes is when I drag him to the range with me", then getting a New Vaquero chambered in .45 Colt might be the best option. He doesn't shoot much, which makes the cost of the ammunition a little less relevant, and he appreciates the historical significance of period correct ammunition-you don't get much more "historical" in terms of ammunition than the .45 Colt.
I, too, like the idea of the polished (pseudo nickle) s/s finish on the Vaquero with proper stag grips. It seems to me that your deserving father has good reasons to be proud of his son, FoxtrotRomeo.
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Old January 30, 2011, 04:47 PM   #20
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Lemme throw one really odd option out there.

Ruger has a full-size stainless Blackhawk with a 5.5" barrel (built on the 44Mag-class frame) that's an EIGHT shot in a new caliber, 327Federal.

This is a stretched version of the 32H&RMagnum, which in turn is a stretched, 32S&WLong, which is a stretched 32S&W . And these guns an also eat 32ACP no problem, which is likely the lightest recoil gun he'll EVER own.

Weighs quite a bit through - 48oz I think! And it's adjustable sights instead of fixed. In full 327 mode it's almost as potent as a 357.

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-327s.htm
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Old January 30, 2011, 07:48 PM   #21
FoxtrotRomeo
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I, too, like the idea of the polished (pseudo nickle) s/s finish on the Vaquero with proper stag grips. It seems to me that your deserving father has good reasons to be proud of his son, FoxtrotRomeo.
Well let's just say I have a lot to be thankful for everyday I wake up.

Quote:
.45 Colt might be the best option. He doesn't shoot much, which makes the cost of the ammunition a little less relevant, and he appreciates the historical significance of period correct ammunition-you don't get much more "historical" in terms of ammunition than the .45 Colt.
I thought about it from that perspective. However, I also know he doesn't want to pay 20 bucks for 20 rounds of .45 Colt at a dollar a pop. lol He's a penny pincher which is the reason he has retired and payed off all loans (Including the home mortgage) before he retired. The man is set for the rest of his old age. Which is also the reason why I own a collection other people I know would love to have. We both spend less than we make but I'm a touch more extravagant than he is. Like I said, I have a lot to be thankful for.
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Old January 30, 2011, 07:57 PM   #22
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Two New Vaquero shorties - .357 Montado with Sack Peterson's elks, and .44 Special Sheriff with Carl "Pvt" Schultz' American hollys.



SS New Vaquero - great gun regardless of caliber.

Last edited by JohnKSa; January 30, 2011 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Fix Image
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:21 PM   #23
Bear Claw Chris
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I recently bought a stainless steel New Vaquero in .357, and the guns weight really soaks up any recoil, .38 specials feel like shooting a .22lr Single Six.
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:33 PM   #24
Jim March
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What he said. A NewVaq357 is 42oz; any of the Italian SA clones will be pretty similar. And 357 versions weigh more - there's more meat in the cylinder and the barrel walls are thicker. It really makes a difference. A 5.5" barrel 45 will feel about as "muzzle heavy" as a 4.68" 357.
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:51 PM   #25
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I have a New Vaquero in 357 - all I can say is I LOVE IT. I have the 5 1/2" barrel model in blue. I have more fun with it than any of the other pistols I own. I'm of the same era as your hubby so I know where you're coming from. I mainly shoot targets, paper plates and a wicked dead pop can once in a while . . . unless a woodchuck comes along. I shoot regular old 38spls. in it - the reason I went with that is that I'll eventually get in to reloading them. The recoil is quite manageable - in fact, I could shoot it all day and probably not be bothered too much. I also have some vision problems - I enjoy shooting my 22 revolvers but I like the "bigger hole" as well. I didn't go with the 45 because of the additional recoil and cartridge cost. The New Vaquero is fun to shoot, very accurate - in fact, I just can't say enough good about it. I'm even giving some thought to getting another one in 357 but getting it in the shorter barrel length - kind of like a "little brother" and a "bigger brother". Whatever you decide on, I'm sure that your husband will be very happy and appreciative. You sound like a wonderful couple. Good luck!
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