New Vaquero revised question.

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Bullrydr85

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
12
From what I can tell the reverse index pawl is not needed. Anyone ever remove theirs for good? Any side effects from doing so? I feel it causes wear on the ratchet and want to just remove mine.
 

KWYJIBO

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
609
I haven't done it, but I understand it is easy to do and there are no side effects--how can there be? When you open the loading gate on a new model Ruger it retracts the bolt, so the only thing holding the cylinder is that little pawl. With that pawl gone, the cylinder is truly free-spinning.

I'm kind of shopping for Vaqueros right now, and if I end up getting an "Old" one, this is the first thing I'll modify on it. Of course, if I get a NV, it indexes to the loading gate, so I'll probably leave it in place.
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Howdy

Straight from the box, the New Vaquero does not have a free spinning cylinder. Practically speaking, straight out of the box, the New Vaquero does not have a 'free spin pawl'.

The 'original model' Vaquero had a pawl (or hand as most manufacturers call it) that was fairly similar in operation to a Colt hand. With the loading gate open, and the bolt retracted, the hand was retracted almost all the way, but a tiny bit of it protruded and engaged the ratchet teeth on the cylinder, preventing the cylinder from rotating backwards. This is really no different in operation than a Colt, except that the Colt bolt was lowered by the hammer being at half cock. Whatever the reason the bolt is lowered, the cylnders on both the Colt and 'original model' Vaquero (New Model Blackhawk too) will not rotate in reverse. Frankly, Colts have been like this since 1836 and I fail to see the need for a cylinder that spins in either direction.

The beauty of this arangement on a Colt is that when the hammer is set at half cock, the hand pushes the cylinder around just enough so that the chambers line up perfectly with the loading gate. Keeping the hammer at half cock speeds the loading and unloading process by indexing the chambers exactly where they need to be for easy operation. The problem with the 'original model' Vaquero was there was no half cock position on the hammer. So there was no way to ease the hammer back just enough so that the chambers indexed to the loading gate. Which is by the way why I installed half cock hammers in my 3 Vaqueros, so the chambers would line up perfectly, but that's another story. But with a stock Vaquero (original model) the gun had an annoying tendancy when loading or unloading for the chamber in question to slip just a tad too far past the loading gate, and then the pawl would engage the next tooth on the cylinder, making it completely impossible to load or unload that chamber without going around again. This could be very annoying. Again, that's why I installed half cock hammers, so the chambers would line up with the loading gate, just like a Colt, without that annoying tendancy to slip just too far.

When the New Vaquero was designed, Ruger had a great idea. They changed the pawl ever so slightly, so that until the hammer was drawn back a tiny bit, the pawl did not engage the ratchet teeth at all. That's your 'free spin pawl'. Then they did something truly brilliant. They installed a tiny spring plunger in the frame, postioned precisely so it would pop out and index the chambers directly to the loading gate, just like a Colt, making loading and unloading much easier than it ever was on the 'original model' Vaquero.

That's what you hear clicking when the cylinder spins, the little spring plunger is being shoved out of postition and popping back every time a ratchet tooth goes by. If you have ever spun the cylinder of a Colt at half cock, the Colt has a much sharper, clicking sound than a New Vaquero, the New Vaquero sounds kind of mushy to my ear. Removing the little spring plunger is what will give you a true 'free spin pawl'. With the plunger still in place, you have perfect indexing to every cylinder.

Frankly, like I said, I don't see the value of a free spin pawl. When I put the half cock hammers into my Vaqueros, I could have added a free spin pawl for much less money. But that's not what I wanted, I wanted the chmabers to line up automatically with the loading gate. I often see guys spinning their cylinders on the line at CAS matches. Or on the rare occaission a reload is needed, they can pop a live round into the empty chamber, and advance it to the left for a quick shot. Reloads like that are so rare I can't remember the last time I encountered one.

Like I say, Colts have spun only one direction since 1836, and that's fine with me. I like my Rugers to only spin one way too.

As for wear, unless you hook up your cylinder to a drill and spin it at 360 RPM for hours at a time, you are not putting any significant wear on it with the little spring plunger. Spinninig cylinders uselessly is a good way to increase wear, the little plunger ain't going to add much.
 

StanMemTn

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
214
Great post Driftwood. Really a very good explanation of the mechanism of the New Vaquero/50th Anniversary mechanism.

For the original poster, here is a link to thread in which Jim March details how to convert to true free spin, you may already know how to do this:
(the 5th post down the page)

http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtop ... pin+remove


-Stephen
 

SAJohn

Hunter
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
2,300
Driftwood, After reading your post, the next time you speak I am darn well going to listen.

John
 

street

Hunter
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
2,449
SAJohn":gk3bs3mp said:
Driftwood, After reading your post, the next time you speak I am darn well going to listen.

John

Not only does he know what he is talking about, but he gets it across so that there is no doubt he knows what he is talking about. I wish I could write that well.
 

Bullrydr85

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
12
Thanks Driftwood, I am new to Single Actions and learning a lot but will more then likely think up a million more questions. I decided to leave the Vaquero stock as it is more of a pleasure gun. I was always one of those guys that likes to tinker with guns but I think this one is safe. Thanks all.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
It ain't Rocket Science here. Close inspection of the drawings in the owner's manual will tell the story.

Of course, if I buy a Ruger to shoot, as opposed to the Safe Queens I occasionally acquire, the first thing I do is tear it a part and inspect the lockwork.

YMMV,

flatgate
 

KWYJIBO

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
609
Thank you, DJ. As always, you have given an excellent explanation.

And I guess I was wrong in my belief that the original Vaqueros had that spring plunger, which could be removed to allow the cylinder to spin backwards? (I have seen it on the New Vaq. in front of the hammer, right below the transfer bar, but it's been a while since I handled an "old" one.)

Does this mean if I buy a Vaquero I will have to either spend the dough for a half-cock hammer or else live with the chambers not always lining up on the first pass while loading/unloading? Dang! the new ones are looking better all the time.

I was not gonna make a final decision until I could handle an original Vaquero again and assess how it feels, but on paper, I like them--only a little bit bigger and heavier, but they can shoot the "Ruger Only" loads (which I sometimes put together on my press).

Now I have one more factor to consider.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,266
Yes, you were wrong the spring plunger.... but no you don't have to 'spend the dough' to go to a half cock hammer for the Vaquero. Just make it a free spin. It is simple, and I did it to mine. Turns out you don't even have to disassemble the gun to make this modification. Here is what the modification looks like :

http://marauder.homestead.com/files/FreeSpin.html
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Two additional comments on free-spinning the mid-frames:

I bought my NewVaq357 around mid-2005 and it's seen a fair amount of shooting.

I did the "free spin" plunger removal trick only recently.

Others have been reporting wear to the cylinder's ratchet teeth caused by the steel plunger in high-mileage mid-frame guns. So I took a closer look at mine and yeah, sure enough, I'm damned glad I removed the plunger. The damage isn't anything serious but that plunger WAS accelerating the wear.

Past tense. 'cuz it's gone now. That's as good a reason to rip it out as the free-spin itself, which is useful now and again.

There's another reason to free-spin, and it admittedly borders on silly...but not quite. I carry my NewVaq daily as my CCW piece. Reloads are a pair of Bianchi speed strips. Now, it is HIGHLY, incredibly unlikely that I'll ever have to crouch behind cover after an exchange of shots and quietly reload so as not to give away position or the fact that my gun is dry...but, in theory anyways, it could happen. A gun I can silently reload with some care not to drop the empties is just a tiny bit of a good thing.
 

Bullrydr85

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
12
Well last night that little fella in my head that seems to make me tinker with shooters got the best of me. I did a lot of online research and the wear caused by that plunger is a concern shared by many and I went ahead and took the plunger out. To me that is not the ideal spot if any to accelerate wear and tear.
 

KWYJIBO

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
609
Rclark":z8xiuwoc said:
Yes, you were wrong the spring plunger.... but no you don't have to 'spend the dough' to go to a half cock hammer for the Vaquero. Just make it a free spin. It is simple, and I did it to mine. Turns out you don't even have to disassemble the gun to make this modification. Here is what the modification looks like :

http://marauder.homestead.com/files/FreeSpin.html

Thanks, Rclark, for the link, and thanks to Ruffbird for the original page. This looks like something I could accomplish (if I get a Vaquero). I'm so glad there are people here who have figured out all these tricks and passed along what they learned for the rest of us.
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
For those just tuning in: the "rip out the spring and plunger" gag is for mid-frames: New Vaquero, 50th Anniversary 357, Montado, 44Spl and I'm told the 50th Anniversary 44Mag may be the only large-frame with this setup.

The "modify the pawl" stunt:

http://marauder.homestead.com/files/FreeSpin.html

...is for (most?) of the large frames post-1973 such as the "Old Vaquero", most post-'73 Blackhawks, Supers, Hunters, etc.
 

Big Bubba

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
112
Been shooting two .45 Colt New Vaquero's for some time now, and the spring plunger for indexing the cylinder has never been problem. No wear on the cylinder latches.

I feel it is really a non-issue. The spring plunger is very easy to remove. With or without, the New Vaquero is one fine handgun. My two are very well fit, polished, and with correct cylinder thoat demensions.
 

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