New Vaquero Convertibles

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Rainman

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Mar 13, 2009
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I noticed Gallery of Guns (Davidsons) received 67 5.5" New Vaqueros convertables in 45 Colt/ 45 ACP today. Even though they are in stock, it says they are allocated and a Davidson's exclusive.

Maybe the 44 Special Vaqueros won't be to far behind????

Dan
 

gak

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Regarding a .44 Specal NV, we can only hope. A .44 Sp/.44-40 convertible would seem to be a no brainer as well.
 

maxpress

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Dec 27, 2008
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i have been waiting along time for the .44spl. thanks for the heads up i think i with order the convertable.
 

Driftwood Johnson

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A .44 Sp/.44-40 convertible would seem to be a no brainer as well.

Howdy

It may seem like a no-brainer, but I doubt it will happen. When Ruger first brought out the New Vaquero they looked into chambering it for 44-40. 44-40 rims are a bit larger in diameter than 45 Colt, .520 vs .512 if memory serves. Anyhoo, when they did a tolerance analysis they realized they could not produce a cylinder for the 44-40 that would guarantee that the rounds would chamber without the rims interfering with each other. While it is true that some gunsmiths have rechambered the New Vaquero for 44-40, they are relying on the fact that most 44-40 rims do not meet the SAAMI max diameter, so there is no problem with the rims interfering with each other. But Ruger must adhere to SAAMI specs and will not produce a revolver that may not be able to properly chamber the entire range of SAAMI spec ammo.

At least that is the way it was told to me by a former employee of Ruger.
 

gak

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Driftwood, I seem to recall that discussion as well. If "true," would've been nice for them to have considered from the get-go? The supposedly near-identical regular little ol' SAAs, USFAs (which admittedly have larger cylinders anyway) and Italians seem to have chambered the -40 with no problem. We now know what some folks might mean by "near"! Again, if true, maybe goes as well for the .38-40-?-which I've also thought would make a great .40/10mm convertible, missing from the Ruger SA line up for awhile--but maybe pressures are an issue there also (with the more modern calibers)? Isn't a .38-40 "just" a necked-down .44-40?
 

Olsherm

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Feb 16, 2007
Messages
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I have a New Vaquero in 38/40 rechambered from .357 mag and case hardened ect. Done by Clements Custom Guns and there is no problem in the rims touching. Wish I could post a pic of it. Maybe later when I am more computor educated. lol Looks like Jeff Quinns .44 spl except it a New Vaquero.
 

Driftwood Johnson

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As I said earlier, yes, some custom gunsmiths will rechamber a New Vaquero to 44-40 or 38-40. The reason you are not having a problem with rims interfering with each other is that most modern 38-40 and 44-40 rims are a bit smaller than the SAAMI Max for the cartridge. So you can get away with it with most commercially available ammo. But as I said earlier, as a major manufacturer, Ruger is constrained by SAAMI specs and will not manufacture a revolver that might have a problem accepting the complete range of SAAMI spec ammo.
 

flatgate

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gak":1nhvp00s said:
Regarding a .44 Specal NV, we can only hope. A .44 Sp/.44-40 convertible would seem to be a no brainer as well.

I'm no expert with tapered cases, but, isn't the .44 Special designed to utilize a 0.429 and/or a 0.430 bullet whereas the .44-40 runs with a 0.427 bullet?

If I'm on track, then could someone explain to me how's dis gonna work? You KNOW Ruger's only going to use their standard .44 mag. barrel.....

Sure, soft bullets will obturate during firing, but.......

Just call me curious,

flatgate
 

gak

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It's better than the other way around! .44-40 purists will (understandably) wish for .427, but most diameters are spec'd at .429 these days anyway--and many bullets designed accordingly across the .44 line....whether to accommodate dual chamberings or other manufacturing efficiencies. I'm sure there are some important points I'm missing or over-generalizing or worse here, but .429 seems to reign supreme these days--even, I believe in factory (non-custom) guns with a discreet .44-40 chambering.
 

Driftwood Johnson

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Howdy

Yes, when first developed by Winchester in 1873, 44-40 groove diameter was supposed to be .427. However in truth, 44-40 groove diameters were all over the map. They ran as small as .425 and as large as .430 or even more. However .427 was the standard.

I have two old rifles, a Winchester Model 1892 made in 1894 and a Marlin Model 1894 made in 1895, both chambered for 44-40 and they both slug out at .427 on the nose. I also have an Uberti replica of a Winchester 1873, made in the 1980s, and it too slugs out at .427. The '73 was my Main Match rifle for Cowboy shooting for a number of years. I could fire bullets of .427, .428, and .429 diameters out of it with no problems at all. However chambering got a little bit sticky with .429 bullets. The 'large' diameter bullets expanded the necks just enough that they were beginning to have seating problems in the neck region of the chamber. Not so much though that the bolt wouldn't shove them right in when the lever was closed. Since I only shoot Black Powder through that rifle, and since I cast my own bullets for it out of pure, dead soft lead, I decided to size them all to .427. It worked fine, the dead soft bullets may have been 'bumping up' in diameter in the bore, I don't really know.

About three years ago I bought a brand new Uberti replica of the Model 1860 Henry. Chambered for 44-40 of course, I wouldn't own a rifle chambered for 45 Colt. This one, slugs out to .429, which threw a slight monkey wrench into my 44-40 reloading. I am now sizing all my 44-40 bullets to .428. These work fine in the .427 guns, and they do not have chambering problems in the '73 chamber. The .429 Henry seems to like them just fine too, they may be bumping up in the bore to grab the rifling, I cannot say, but even though they are nominally .001 under rifling groove size I have no accuracy problems with them and I get no leading.

When Ruger was producing a convertible model 'original model' Vaquero with both 44 Magnum and 44-40 cylinders, they were using their standard .429 44 mag barrels. At first though, Ruger really screwed up, the chamber throats were way undersized, down around .425 or so with the 44-40 cylinder. This caused terrible accuracy with those early guns, the bullets were squeezed down coming through the chamber throats and since most shooters use modern hard cast bullets they did not bump up at all, so the 'resized' .425 bullets were not engaging the rifling at all. When some shooters had their chamber throats reamed out to .429 or .430, everything was fine. Why Ruger ever supplied such mismatched cylinders to their convertible Vaqueros is a mystery, but eventually they got it right and began supplying cylinders with proper chamber throats for a .429 barrels with the convertible guns.

However this highlighted a different problem. As I said earlier, .429 or .430 bullets in tight 44-40 chambers are not a good thing. Ruger 44-40 shooters discovered that loading .429 or .430 bullets in their 44-40 ammo created the same interference problem in their chambers that I talked about with my '73 rifle. The chambers were tight enough that the 'fat' bullets were expanding the necks of the brass enough that seating the rounds in the cylinders could be problematic. The solution was to either have the entire chambers, not just the throats, completely reamed out a little bit bigger, or use brass that had the thinnest necks possible. Winchester brand 44-40 brass has the thinnest necks of all the brands I have tried, down around .007 thick, vs .008 or .009 for some other brands. This would buy just enough leeway to allow some shooters to chamber rounds with 'fat' bullets.

That is the history of Ruger and 44-40 folks. Besides the fact that they just will not make a New Vaquero chambered for 44-40 because of the rim issue I already outlined, they would most assuredly use their standard .429 barrels, and even if they got the chamber throats correct there would probably be problems chambering rounds with .429 or .430 bullets.

Next question?

P.S. All those of you clamoring for a 44-40 Ruger, have you ever tried reloading 44-40? It can be a bit fussy because of that incredibly thin brass at the neck, around .007 vs .012 or so for 45 Colt. I ain't saying it is impossible, I have been doing it for years, but it can be fussy and your dies have to be set up just right to avoid crumpled necks when reloading 44-40.
 

gak

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Oct 13, 2007
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Driftwood, great post. My clamoring is for .44 Special, but have figured--even if not optimal for .44-40 shooters--a convertible model was about the only way they'd ever get to see anything close to their "dream" of a mid-frame .44-40 come true. (Same with .38-40 fans--as a convertible with one of the modern .40 rounds). Market-wise, likely the only way Ruger would consider these (nowadays) older chamberings. But, sounds like the Ruger-specific rim issue you mention may make the bore diameter issue moot anyway.


Colt (and I believe USFA and maybe other "clones") provides an, effectively, convertible chambering with .44-40 as the primary and spare .44 Special cylinder. They must have the same problems with .44-40 shooters, as I'm sure they're .429 as well?
 

M'BOGO

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Jan 18, 2009
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1,949
Driftwood,

I have no desire to lube pistol cases, I'm happy from a historic pov that the 44-40 is alive and kicking, and respect the folks that keep it so. I would be perfectly happy with the 44 spc Vaquero.
 

gak

Buckeye
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Oct 13, 2007
Messages
1,549
Just trying to be magnanymous and share :) :) Heck for awhile there, before the .44 flattops really took off, I was thinking a convertible was maybe the only way we'd see a .44 Special NV...numbers-wise, by Ruger combining a gun for both groups/markets! I'm (a little?) more confident now of a discreet .44 Special chambering coming into reality, at least.
 

Olsherm

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
557
Hey! I would go for a 44/40 or a 38/40 New Vaquero asap,if they made them. I would just load .429 bullets in it and bang away. I have an original vaq now in 44/40 and I shoot 429,s in it no problem. However I did have Clements to ream the throats a little as I was having a problem getting some of them(not all) to go all the way in. I think most of that problem was case trimming length. Not sure. I would have a 357 rechambered but just as sure as I do Ruger will come out with one the next day after I spend $500 on .lol
 

gak

Buckeye
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Oct 13, 2007
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Olsherm, same thoughts exactly about converting my .357 NV to .44!
 

Olsherm

Blackhawk
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Feb 16, 2007
Messages
557
Hey Gak! I forgot I have a new Vaquero converted from 357 to 38/40 by David Clements. Had it case hardened (real thing),action job and fancy walnut grips with big ivory stars where the medallions go by Bob Leskovic in Pennsylvania. Pretty thing. I have not shot it a lot but so far I have not found a cast bullet load I could shoot very well. Can't shoot very well anyway.LOL
 

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