Blackhawk v Vaquero

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sjs

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I am looking at buying a Ruger SA, SS, 4.75" barrel in.357mag. I am undecided about whether to get a New Model Blackhawk or a New Model Vaquero. I have neither one available at any LGS to look at and handle so I must go sight unseen with the internet.

Obviously, the Blackhawk has adjustable sights and the Vaquero has fixed. I understand the advantages of adjustable sights but I have both and I enjoy shooting both.

Other than that are they identical? Same balance and feel? Or are there some other differences?
 

Rclark

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Well remember the New Vaquero is on the medium frame (more Colt like) and also has XR3 (smaller) grip frame. The standard BH is on the large frame and has the slightly larger XR3-RED grip frame. The grip frame and ejector housing are steel on the New Vaquero. Alloy on the BH. So they will feel different. Also the hammers are different too. Oh, yeah, the New Vaquero has the reverse indexing pawl which is nice as when you here the click, you are lined up to load a cartridge. Now, how much different 'feel' is really an individual thing! The fixed vs. adjustable is again your call as you have both already. There is a Lipsey's .357/9mm flattop floating around that is on the medium frame (where .357 belongs IMO) with the reverse indexing pawl also. It has the smaller grip frame. Get both, or all three, and see ;) . Ha!

BTW all Vaqueros are New Models (post 1973) . There was the original Vaquero (large frame) and the New Vaquero (medium frame). Ruger never offered an Old Model Vaquero.
 

Hondo44

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Just one further clarification: as posted above the Flat Top model available is also a Blackhawk, meaning it has the adjustable sights as well. It's medium frame and grip size are also Colt like; the Colt New Frontier target model to be specific.

Given the choice, I would not recommend buying a Ruger .357 in the large BH frame, nor w/o the cyl indexing for loading/unloading that RClark described above.
 

seasterl

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You might want to be prepared to deal with an under- or over-clocked barrel on the fixed sight Vaquero. And since the sights are made a little taller (so you can file it down for your favorite load and shooting distance), your first shots at 10-15 yards from a rest will likely be low and left (or low and right). Working through that can be frustrating abs I sold my first Vaquero because I didn’t want to deal with that. Well, that was about fifteen years ago and since I’ve bought (and kept) several Vaqueros. Depending on your motivation to work with the Vaquero and local gunsmith assistance, I’d probably suggest the adjustable sight Blackhawk. You might have a look at the Bisley-gripped models, too, as an option.
 

sjs

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Thanks much guys, that is great info and very helpful. I am going to go with the smaller Vaquero.
 
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sjs said:
Thanks much guys, that is great info and very helpful. I am going to go with the smaller Vaquero.

Good choice! My 357 Vaquero is an all time favorite single action. Let us know what you think when you get yours. By the by, I never had to alter the front sight on my at all and it shoots great!
 

seasterl

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sjs said:
Thanks much guys, that is great info and very helpful. I am going to go with the smaller Vaquero.

Great choice! That’s turned out to be one of my favorites. I had to adjust my front sight a little and outfit it with some thicker, hand-filling grips. But afterwards, it’s just an awesome “keeper” of a gun. Here’s mine after the dust settled with grips and action job: (Side note: Since the bore is small and the barrel is heavy, I wouldn’t go any longer on barrel length than this. This length balances perfectly.). Enjoy your gun when you get it!

Before and after pics:



 

Rclark

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Looks like you also changed out the hammer :) . Nice ... but Ruger forgot to case-color/blue the revolver before selling it ;) ha! . I have the .357 5 1/2" flattop and it balances ok for me. Don't own any .357 fixed sighted revolvers though in any brand (Ruger, Uberti, etc) though. All my original and New Vaqueros needed the barrel tweaked to get them to shoot straight horizonally. My sheriff .44 Special shot high, so nothing I could do there, the others got a filing on the front sight to bring up to POA.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Thanks, SJS! I post these for your benefit since it’s what you want. I had forgotten to mention (but RClark noticed) that I did swap out the hammer since I’m very fond of the wide-spur hammer used on the Super Blackhawk. You can see / compare that here with the factory hammer and grip panels (which are very thin).
 

SteelBlue

Single-Sixer
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Apr 13, 2017
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Here's my Vaquero with factory case coloring:

VAQUERO.jpg
 

SteelBlue

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Apr 13, 2017
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seasterl said:
SteelBlue said:
Here's my Vaquero with factory case coloring…

Very nice look! Is that a brass hammer?

It is gold plated, as is the trigger. All factory. The only thing non-factory on this revolver are the grips which I had made of desert ironwood.
 

SteelBlue

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I am the original owner, bought it new. Ruger made a special run of these a year ago and had them case colored by Bobby Tyler (oven baked) in Texas. They were a Talo special order. They made 500 of them.
 

Hondo44

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SteelBlue said:
I am the original owner, bought it new. Ruger made a special run of these a year ago and had them case colored by Bobby Tyler (oven baked) in Texas. They were a Talo special order. They made 500 of them.

Well Bravo, that explains it then, it's a Distributor Exclusive Edition!

If I'd had to guess on the after market Color case hardening, I would have said that it was done by Tyler. Genuine CCH is clearly a cut above the Ruger factory imitation Case Coloring.
 

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