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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:07 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:01 am
Posts: 809
Location: PA
Is a New model Vaquero Hammer and Old Model Vaquero interchangable?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:57 pm
Posts: 214
Not sure, but I doubt it.

Main-frames are different heights.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:01 pm
Posts: 7348
Location: People's Republik of Kalifornia
Absolutely. As you know the original Vaqueros are all large frames. New Vaqs are mid-size frames except the recent New Vaq 44 Mag.

Therefore the old Vaq hammers can be slightly taller and actually fit better at the top of the hammer channel in the New Vaq frames.

Flat Top Blackhawk hammer with large base and narrow shank on .44 Spl New Vaquero 3 ¾” Sheriff Model. These work the best because the large base fits the larger back strap ears on the New Vaquero grip frames.

1. basically all model center-fire hammers swap except the smaller single 6 & 7 .32s of course.

2. very occasionally slight fitting to transfer bar may be needed. You likely know that already or for those instructions just ask.

3. Grip Frame Ear Changes to be aware of: the ear height around the base of the hammer varies on all grip frame ears slightly due to hand fitting at the factory, but there was one specific big height increase. To simplify production in 1997, Ruger increased the height of the standard cylinder frame mating surfaces on both sides of the hammer 1/16” to match the Bisley model frame ears so any style grip frame could be assembled to any main frame. Therefore the ears on all other standard grip frames after 1997 had to be made ~ 1/16” taller as well. So there's basically two sizes: as short as .530” pre 1997 and as tall as .590” after 1997 (for example: Original Vaqueros over serial range 56-XXXXX). Measure from the very top edge of the grip panel to the top of the ears. That's why swaps are simplified if any acquired grip frame matches the vintage of your Ruger that you want to put it on. This also affects the hammer base fit to the grip frame ears.

The grip frame ‘ears’:


Raised main frame surface:
Photo by medicdave

Ears & Hammer Base sizes: Ruger has only enlarged the hammer base to match the taller grip frame ears on the newly designed hammers introduced since 2005 such as the New Vaq standard ‘long horn’ and Montado hammers, the NM Flat Top Blackhawk hammers, (and the new .327 Single Seven hammers?). All other hammers designed prior to 2005 used on current model and Old Model guns are small base and do not match the post 1997 tall eared grip frames. Some people don’t mind. If I install a small base hammer in a post 1997 gun, I fit the grip frame ears to the hammer. I also have to do this every time I install post 1997 grip frames such as the N Vaq and Flat Top XR3 size steel grip frames or XRE-RED size steel grip frames on pre 1997 New Models, or on Old Model Rugers.

Not perfect, but a more proper hammer base flush fit to ears:

The top small base hammers 1.071” – 1.076” (measured in line with the two outside holes) predates the c. 2005 large base newly introduced model hammer designs. Measured on the centerline of the two large holes from back of hammer base to over the full cock notch.
Bottom hammer is a new Flat Top Blackhawk with large base 1.122” – 1.130” and narrow shank.
Image Mike Campbell photo.

Narrower shank hammers (except Montado hammers) coincide with the larger base hammer design on the New Vaqs and the 1st anniversary new mid-size in 2005 flat tops and 2006 and later large frame flat tops, and in my opinion are much better looking. I know of no other reason for it other than the improved looks. For many years I was relieving the shanks by hand.

Right hand hammer is after c. 2005 up to current production with large base 1.122” – 1.130” and narrow shank.

Image Mike Campbell photo.

Poor hammer to ears fit:

Image Mike Campbell photo.

Recognize, you do not need to hassle with the PESKY LOADING GATE SPRING, pull the trigger pin, OR trigger/transfer bar JUST to remove the hammer and pawl. Once you remove the grip frame, the hammer pin is the only other part you need to remove. After that, just pull the hammer back and all the way down, then depress the hammer plunger in the base of the hammer with a small tipped screwdriver to clear the trigger extension where the transfer bar connects to it. Let the hammer & pawl fall out. Install in reverse! Piece o’ cake.

Ruger single action "collector, accumulator, builder and shooter"
NRA Life

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