View Full Version : How to tell Ruger Vaquero new or old style?

August 25, 2007, 03:21 PM
I wonder how you can tell the difference by looking at a Vaquero
if it is new or old style. I think it is the new style.

It is in 45 colt. What is the best bear round that I can use with this
gun if it is the new style? In other words the hottest round with
deep penetration, safe to fire in this gun.


August 25, 2007, 03:30 PM
If I am not mistaken the "New Vaquero" actually says Ruger new Vaquero on the left side of the frame just below the cylinder.

As far as hot loads for it, I couldn't tell you.


August 25, 2007, 03:38 PM
What is the best bear round that I can use with this
gun if it is the new style? In other words the hottest round with
deep penetration, safe to fire in this gun.The New Vaquero was designed and manufactured with a heavy emphasis on appearance related issues for the Cowboy Action crowd who shoot mostly very light loads.

If bear defense and heavy rounds are your goals there are certainly better choices out there.

August 25, 2007, 03:40 PM
I looked at it and it only says Vaquero, nothing new on it.

So far so good maybe one can use hot rounds for a woods

News Shooter
August 25, 2007, 03:40 PM
I do not pretend to be a load expert, but the NRV is not as tough as the OMV.
I would be very careful about hot loads and check with somebody who knows for sure before trying it

August 25, 2007, 09:59 PM

I found this web site, on the bottom it shows the design of the ejector rod
button for new and old vaquero. The round design is for the old style, which
my friend has. So can use the hotter rounds.

Thanks All

August 25, 2007, 10:41 PM
Also, the New Vaquero is designed so that when loading the cylinder, the chambers will lock back in the proper position to load a round, whereas the older Vaqueros had to be turned completely around another rotation if you let the charge hole go to far. I probably didn't say that well. There is a term for the feature which escapes me now. You can also look under the grips and see if there is an integral, internal lock. Found on the new Vaqueros but not on the original. Factory grips on the original Vaquero are XR3-RED and on the new Vaquero are the slightly slimmer XR3 grips. Lastly, the original is on a .44 Magnum frame and the new frame is smaller.

August 26, 2007, 08:28 AM
Laz, Ruger calls that the reverse indexing pawl. The old Vaquero, like the Blackhawk and all, had the problem that once you turned the cylinder until you heard a click, you'd gone too far to put a cartridge in the chamber. It was a fairly common modification to them to put in an aftermarket pawl that (I think) let you turn the cylinder backwards too, as long as the loading gate was open. Ruger's "reverse indexing" was their own answer to that complaint.

Other than that:

Old Vaquero, big, bulky, heavy, New Vaquero, a bit smaller-- about matches the Colt SAA
Old Vaquero came with smooth wood grips, New has checkered black plastic
Old Vaquero, take off the grips, look at the mainspring, and it has no gun lock mechanism built into it. The New Vaq has a lock built into the mainspring assembly.
Old Vaquero came with the regular grips but also bird's head and Bisley. It also came in some chamberings other than .357 Mag and .45 Colt. The New Vaquero comes with the standard grip only and only in .357 and .45.
The New Vaquero blued models have a "color case hardened" frame. Does anybody know if the Old Vaq had that too, or were they solid blued?

August 26, 2007, 08:38 AM
The Old Vaqueros were a bit larger.

August 26, 2007, 08:49 AM
Hafoc, thanks for that information on the "reverse indexing pawl". Regarding the finish, the original Vaquero blued models did have the case-colored finish on the frame. I don't think I ever saw a completely blued model. I have seen a limited run of blued models without the case-coloring on the new Vaquero, though, through one of the distributors.

August 26, 2007, 08:52 AM
The old model does come with the color case hardened frame.

It does really depend on the person as to which model people like best. Since I don't do any cowboy action shooting and my hands are fairly large. I prefer the old model. However, the new model is an outstanding pistol. Ruger deserves credit for acting on what there customers asked for so quickly. I will probably end up with one of the new models just to have a brother in the safe for my old model.


August 26, 2007, 02:12 PM
I personally like the old model better, depends on the useage, I wonder why
couldn't ruger keep both models in production?

August 26, 2007, 02:18 PM
The old model also came standard with a shorter/lower hammer spur that some with shorter fingers/smaller hands prefer--yes an odd combo with the larger grips...but you can always slim the grips or get slimmer ones like Eagle Gunfighters, etc. The hammers are interchangeable BTW from one model to another for those wanting to cross-tune their guns. Have heard different stories as to whether the original transfer bar (regardless of model) needs to be carried over to the other, however.

August 26, 2007, 02:51 PM
Mine says:

Ruger New Vaquero
.45 CAL.

on the left side of the frame.