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Old November 15, 2012, 06:25 PM   #1
TennJed
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Ruger Vaquero Bisley vs plow handle

I have a "standard" Vaquero and I am thinking of adding a Bisley model to the stable. I am honestly not too famliar with it and have never shot one. Can someone share their expeirence with both. What advantages do each have over the other. Also side by side pics would be nice!
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:01 PM   #2
Flyboy_451
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Jed,

I own Ruger single actions with both the plow handle and the Bisley grip frame. The biggest difference is in how they handle recoil of the big boomers. The Bisley grip frame allows for a higher grip to reduce the amount of leverage that the uses against you in recoil. The more vertical angle also keeps it from slipping and rotating in your hand like the plow handle does. This can be either good or bad.

I tend to prefer the Super Blackhawks Dragoon or hunter grip frame for anything up to a stiff, but not heavy, .44 mag load. The longer grip fits my hand well and the slipping actually reduces the felt recoil. When the recoil increases, I find the Bisley much more comfortable. My .475 Linebaugh with a plow handle grip frame will literally rotate so forcefully with heavy loads that the hammer will dig into the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and first finger and draw blood, unless your grip is very firm.

In a New Vaquero, I don't think you will see any real benefit in the Bisley grip frame unless you simply like the way it fits your hand. Some like it, and some don't. Give one a try. if you don't like it, I guarantee you can find someone that will swap you a standard grip frame for you Bisley. Good luck!

Justin
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Old November 15, 2012, 08:53 PM   #3
Bob Wright
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For all heavy handgun loads I prefer the Super Blackhawk grip frame. I set up some .44 Magnum and .45 Colt Rugers years ago and tried them with varying loads. I had 4 5/8" and 7 1/2" guns set up as Blackhawks, Super Blackhawks, and Bisleys. I shot everything from 180 gr. bullets to 350 gr. bullets. After all my shooting was done, my pick was the Super Blackhawk.

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Old November 15, 2012, 08:58 PM   #4
Crunchy Frog
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I shot DA revolvers for years. I had never fired a SA revolver before my first cowboy match. My match revolvers are New Vaqueros with the standard "plowhandle" grip. It took me a while to get comfortable with them.

Earlier this year I bought a Bisley Blackhawk; it's built on the same cylinder frame as the New Vaquero but it has a very different feel. To me it feels more like a DA revolver with target stocks.

I have a friend who swears by the Ruger Bisleys for heavy loads.
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Old November 15, 2012, 09:12 PM   #5
Flyboy_451
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Crunchy,

Unless I am mistaken, which is certainly possible, the only recent production Blackhawks that are medium framed, are the flattops. Even these are not the "same" frame, they are only similar in size.

If it is a standard Blackhawk of recent production, it will be one of the large frame guns if I am not mistaken. Would you mind clarifying exactly what Blackhawk you have? I was not aware that any of the medium frame guns were available with the Bisley grip? Once again, I could easily be wrong as I have not kept up with all of the changes in recent years to the Ruger lineup. But I am certainly curious.

Justin
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Old November 15, 2012, 09:29 PM   #6
jmortimer
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"I was not aware that any of the medium frame guns were available with the Bisley grip?"
"New" Vaquero Bisley
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Old November 15, 2012, 09:57 PM   #7
TennJed
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Thanks guys. I have another question for all you smart people. I have an "old model" vaquero in 45 colt I use to shoot some pretty stout handloads. The next gun on my list to get is a new model vaquero in 357. It sounds like if I do like the bisley grips, I might be better off with them on my heavy 45 colt. Could I swap grip frames from my old vaquero 45 and a new vaquero 357? My understanding is the new models are smaller and I assume I could not switch them. It might be ideal if I could. And if I could how much trouble would it be?
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:49 PM   #8
Crunchy Frog
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Yes, my Bisley is a flattop Blackhawk. Mine is in .44 Special.

I wasn't aware of this model (I had only seen the larger frame Bisley Blackhawk and was considering one in .41 Magnum) until a friend of mine bought one. He brought out his large frame .45 Colt model and his new .44 Special on the medium frame; I liked them both but decided on the .44 Special.
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:56 PM   #9
Crunchy Frog
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I can't help you on the interchangeability of grip frames between the Vaquero and New Vaquero. I know that the latter's grip frame is smaller, though.

Ruger makes a Bisley version of the New Vaquero; there is only one finish (stainless) and barrel length (5.5 inch) available but you can get them in .357 or .45 Colt. Here's the link on Ruger's website: http://www.ruger.com/products/vaqueroBisley/models.html
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Old November 16, 2012, 01:50 PM   #10
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I find the SBH and Bisley grips very comfortable, especially with BearPaw Grips. I've got a 41, 44spl, 45LC, and 22 Bisleys and a sqaure trigger SBH. I give the nod to the Bisley because of the Special and LC.
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Old November 16, 2012, 02:09 PM   #11
Bob Wright
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So far as I know, all grip frames on Ruger Single Actions are interchangable, with the exception of the Bearcat, or course.

Even with a little tinkering, New Model and three screw model grip frames interchangable. Even with a little more work, Colt trigger guard/backstrap assemblies can be made to work.

Such is the glory of the single action.

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Old November 16, 2012, 04:42 PM   #12
TennJed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
So far as I know, all grip frames on Ruger Single Actions are interchangable, with the exception of the Bearcat, or course.

Even with a little tinkering, New Model and three screw model grip frames interchangable. Even with a little more work, Colt trigger guard/backstrap assemblies can be made to work.

Such is the glory of the single action.

Bob Wright
Thanks Bob, is it something that would normally need to be done by a gunsmith?
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Old November 16, 2012, 07:15 PM   #13
Nanuk
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I prefer the Bisley grip. I have owned and shot Ruger's since my first single six in 1975.
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:48 PM   #14
Bob Wright
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Tennjed said:
Quote:
Thanks Bob, is it something that would normally need to be done by a gunsmith?

Depends on a couple of factors. Brass frames can be fitted with careful use of file, emery paper and/or Flitz metal polish, if any fitting is in fact needed. Stainless steel easy also. Blued steel needs to be polished and reblued.

Some swaps are simple remove/replace propositions, some require fitting, maybe thinning down to match frame thickness.

Most Ruger take-off frames (from another Ruger) are simple switches. New frames, especially carbon steel, are oversize and in-the-white, need fitting, polishing and blueing.

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Old November 17, 2012, 08:57 PM   #15
TennJed
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Thanks for all the help guys. I did handle a Ruger Bisley and to be honest and think the plow handle fits me better, but I love the hammer on the Bisley. Can you purchase an after market Bisley hammer and switch the standard Vaquero hammer ?
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:39 AM   #16
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It can be done, but it isn't a drop in. You need a Bisley trigger and have to modify the hammer slot in the grip frame.
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