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Old April 15, 2011, 08:12 PM   #1
RedneckFur
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what can you tell me about Vaquero's and the 45 colt cartridge?

Had an Ak around the house that I simply didnt shoot much anymore, especially after getting an AR.

Traded the AK with a local fella for a stainless 'old' model Ruger Vaquero in .45 colt.

I'd been wanting a big bore handgun for a while, and orginally was holding out for either a 45acp or a 44mag, but the Vaquero was just too nice to pass up.

I've had some experience shooting single action only revolvers, so operation of the ruger seems fairly simple.

Any pros and cons for this revolver? Anything I should watch out for? I've heard that the 'old' style vaquero can handle stout loads aproaching 44 magnum power, but the 'new' vaquero cannot. Is this true?

Havent had time to take it to the range yet, but I'll try and update with some pics and a range report soon.
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Old April 15, 2011, 09:22 PM   #2
Daryl
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Really not much to tell you. I've had one since back around '02, and they're built solid as tanks. Yes, the original Vaquero will handle loads up to 32,000 psi, and the New Vaquero needs to stick with more traditional pressures.

Loaded mild or wild, the .45 Colt is a fun cartridge to shoot. I hope you enjoy your's as much as I've enjoyed mine!

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Old April 15, 2011, 09:51 PM   #3
chiefr
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I think you got a good deal. The old model is better suited for reloading and stout loads as you put it, plus the longer cylinder will allow for longer bullets.
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:37 PM   #4
timothy75
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Vaqueros are cool guns but sometimes dont hit the same place as the sites are aimed. On your first outing take a big piece of cardboard and shoot from a solid rest at 50 yards. This will tell you right away where its hitting and let you know what you can use it for in the future. Good luck and have fun.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:23 PM   #5
jmortimer
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I have owed both old and new and the old models had crappy tolerances but are built like tanks. The new models are perfect in every way as far as I'm concerned and tolerances are right on. New and old are both worth owing.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:31 PM   #6
Jim March
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Yeah, couple of points.

Yes, it's built on the 44Magnum-class frame. Yes, it can take very gnarly 45LC+P. Some of the factory loads exceed the power of most 44Mag ammo.

The bad: Well, shoot it . If it shoots good, enjoy.

If it doesn't...you'll either have "point of impact" problems or group size. Or if you're having a very bad day, both.

Point of impact is corrected with a small file and some care. Since this is a fixed-sight gun, pick a bullet weight range and dial in your elevation to match. If you're into very heavy loads (300gr or more) you might have to add a taller front sight, dovetailed to the barrel or on a custom base. I personally would see how it shoots with 270s - if it's OK there, it'll be decent with anything between 250 and 300.

On windage, if it's off, filing a bit of the inside of the rear sight can help if it isn't too bad.

Groups: if the group size is ugly, you need to sort out why. Start with the "revolver checkout" post, this forum, stickied on top. That'll tell you if anything is very screwball. If that's OK, next thing, push soft lead slugs through each cylinder chamber and measure them. They may be too small, and/or they may vary between chambers. Somebody like this can do a cheap correction:

http://www.cylindersmith.com/
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Old April 16, 2011, 09:17 AM   #7
rclark
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One of the problems with the Vaquero was the cylinder throats are usually tight for shooting lead bullets. This can cause leading and some accuracy problems. Testing is easy. Get a .452 lead bullet and try to press in from the front in each throat. Should go in with light finger pressure. If it feels like you are going to need a hammer to get them to go, then they are to tight. Easy to solve by sending to cylinder smith, or as I did, I bought a throat reamer from Brownells. I've done four .45 Colt revolvers so far. In my Vaquero doing this simple job, cut my group size in half. No kidding. I also also changed my forcing cone angle to 11 degrees which is good for lead bullets. Again it helps to limit leading.

As Jim says above, you can adjust windage by filing the rear sight on the left or right depending. If shooting low, the front sight can be filed down. Out of luck if shooting high (well, pick a different bullet, load hotter, or live with it) . Do a bunch of shooting first though before starting the process and 'pick' a load. With fixed sights you are really limited to 'one' load with fixed sights.

The nice thing about the Vaquero is you can heat up the loads if desired with 'Ruger Only Loads'. Your reloading manual will have data on these. I don't load mine hot ... but the option is there. Oh, no such thing as .45 Colt +P loads either.... At least SAAMI doesn't specify any. Anyway here is a link to help you : http://www.customsixguns.com/writing...g_the_myth.htm . This data applies to the Vaquero and .45 Colt BH. Not the New Vaquero.

Getting the semantics correct, there is no 'Old Model' Vaquero. Only 'old' Vaquero and the New Vaquero. 'Old model' refers to pre-73 3 screw revolvers.

Oh yes. Go out and 'enjoy' your Vaquero. Lots of fun!!!
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Last edited by rclark; April 16, 2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:12 AM   #8
Uncle Buck
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I have an old SKS in excellent condition I am willing to trade for a Vaquero. I own two New Vaqueros and I love them.

I mainly target shoot and do not need heavy, battleship sinking rounds, but it is nice to know you could shoot them if you had the old Vaquero.

(I had a friend who bought 250 rounds of .45 Colt ammo from Georgia Arms. It is called the "45 Colt Deer Stopper" and is a hollow point bullet. It says on the package it should only be used in A Ruger, Freedom Arms or T/C Contender. I am too lazy to pull the bullets and figure I will wait until I can find a Vaquero I like and buy it.)

The round is actually a lot of fun to shoot and I also load mine with black powder. I do not own a chronograph, so I could not tell you what velocities I am getting. I load mainly lead bullets and seem to have the best luck with 255 grain Semi Wad Cutters from Missouri bullet Co. (http://www.missouribullet.com/)

My wife bought me some custom head stamped cartridges for my New Vaqueros.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 45 Colt.jpg (221.4 KB, 37 views)
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:43 AM   #9
Jbar4Ranch
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"File the rear sight" to adjust windage? It could be done, I suppose, but the normal way to regulate windage is to remove the cylinder and ejector rod assembly, clamp the barrel in a set of barrel blocks in a vise, and turn the frame on or off the barrel a tad with a frame wrench or even a hardwood hammer handle through the frame window. I've made several sets of barrel blocks out of oak by clamping two blocks together and drilling a slightly undersized hole through them at the junction. Sprinkle some rosin in the cavities, clamp them around the barrel, and turn the frame. Don't try to bend the front sight, as you will break the solder joint and the sight will fall off. Before you even start, find the load you're going to use first, then regulate the gun to point of impact. Think it through before you start - turning the frame ON to the barrel moves the front sight to the LEFT which moves point of impact to the RIGHT.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:37 PM   #10
Jim March
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JBar: most of the Vaqueros (and NewVaqs) could use a wider rear notch regardless. So yeah, very minor windage adjustments can be made with a file - say, 3" at 25yds. More than that and yup, barrel turning is the answer...or, to be honest, if the grouping is OK I'd rather replace the front sight than turn the barrel. Over-tighten it and you risk producing more of a constriction at the back of the barrel, something Ruger 45s get a fair amount of.

Here's a great alternative to barrel turning:

http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_NewSight.htm

FA will sell these to anybody.
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Old April 16, 2011, 08:36 PM   #11
RedneckFur
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thanks for all the info. It's been very helpful to me. I'll see what I can turn up in some reloading maunals and online too, before I start rolling out 45 colt ammo.
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:37 PM   #12
rclark
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Quote:
"File the rear sight" to adjust windage?
Yep. Works good. If you look at the Vaquero(s) the notch can be opened a little bit. If your only off by an couple of inches at 25 yards it doesn't take much filing. Then hit the filed area with a bit of Casey's Blue and it blends right back in.
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A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:56 PM   #13
Jbar4Ranch
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I've got an even 20 Vaqueros and 3 New Vaqueros, and have regulated the sights on several of them, but never by filing the rear sight notch. To each his own, I guess.
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Old April 17, 2011, 09:41 AM   #14
tazbigdog
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I took my New Vaquero .45LC to the range yesterday and had no problems hitting the steel at 30+ yards.
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