Vaquero customization ideas?

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Hankus

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Florida Gulf Coast
I picked up a Vaquero Bisley in .45 LC last weekend at a VERY good price. The cylinders and bore are in like-new condition and the lock-up is tight. I’m an old soldier and could only find the smallest amount of carbon in it. Unfortunately a previous owner left it sitting in a wet location for quite a while and it has some (mostly) light pitting on the color-case hardened frame, and a couple of worse spots on opposite sides of the blued cylinder. Because of the pitting, and because it also came in a box from a stainless Super Blackhawk it doesn’t have any collectors value, so I want to use it for a customized shooter. I bought it mainly because it is an original large-frame, large-cylinder pistol and can therefore handle the heavier Buffalo Bore and Cor Bon loads. I would like to have the barrel shortened to 4 or 4-5/8”, get it refinished, and have some action/cylinder/forcing cone work done. Depending on cost and feasibility I would also like to have it rechambered for .454 Casull and eventually have it fitted with an additional.45ACP cylinder. I have also seen where people have occasionally mounted S&W adjustable rear sights to the topstrap on Vaqueros. Does anyone know of a gunsmith or shop in the Tampa/Sarasota area that could handle this work? Or even a custom shop elsewhere?
AC885E52-5C53-4B09-B91D-585C39A8AFC8.jpeg
 

UbertiBob

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 27, 2022
Messages
17
Location
USA
IMO only - This 45 colt can be hot loaded to 44 mag standards in this revolver ("old" vaquero), don't shoot 454 casull in that cylinder bored out. Not strong enough period. No way, no how. Is the frame? Maybe, maybe not (but not for long) (speaking of full loads). I would simply load up hot 45 colt loads for it. Trust me, the recoil will be enough with only that LOL. If you download the 454, then what is the point? Just my opinion. Don't do something stupid and be later called Mr. Two Fingers.......
BTW - I'm all in on hot loading when safe. 454 in that revolver is not safe at all, period. You may even kill someone. Again, don't be stupid !!!!!!
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
22,126
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Welcome to the Forum!

Congrats on a fine score. Have you shot it yet to see how it shoots? I have the attitude that I won't start changing stuff until after I see the need to improve the accuracy level.

But let's address the cosmetics first.
Since you mentioned shortening the barrel, and refinishing,, I'd strongly recommend "Tyler Gun Works" in Texas. Bobby Tyler can easily do both operations at one time. He can also do the action work if desired. I'd ask him about the different sights too.
You mentioned the cylinder & forcing cone work. A member here, (2dogs) can do this. And another member here, (and over on the cast boolits forum) DougGuy also does excellent work on those areas. Both offer that service at a reasonable price.
Do you plan to shoot cast bullets? If so, slugging the barrel & checking the chambers of the cylinder is paramount to achieving proper accuracy.

Now,, the idea of a re-chamber to .454.
That would require a total different level of gunsmithing. Even Ruger only does it in a 5 shot cylinder. As such, not many gunsmiths will do this conversion unless they re-work it to a 5-shot, and that become time consuming & a more serious expense. Most of the GOOD gunsmiths doing such work are booked 1-3 years out.
My PERSONAL thoughts would be to leave it alone in the caliber dept, and if a 454 is desired,, look for a Ruger Super Blackhawk already done.

And since you mentioned shortening the barrel,, again, this is just my PERSONAL thoughts. A big bore, with the desire for more power,, in my opinion gets better use of such ammo with a bit longer barrel. That gun looks to be a 5-1/2" bbl, and I'd personally leave it as it is,, to enjoy a bit more efficiency of those heavy loads.

UbertiBob, you are also a bit new here, so I'll GENTLY point out we try hard to be very respectful here on the Ruger Forum. Calling someone stupid, or inferring it,, when he's asked an honest question is not polite.
 

UbertiBob

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 27, 2022
Messages
17
Location
USA
And if it was not said directly and to the point? It is kinda rude to let someone blow off their hands or kill the guy next to them. I will gently point that out. Have you ever seen it happen in person???? I have no gentle way of saying it beside the raw truth. So that's that. I have been shooting for 45 years and seen many stupid things. What if another had told them so in advance? I didn't call him stupid. I pointed out facts and said "Don't be stupid". Big difference Sir.
 

Hankus

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Florida Gulf Coast
IMO only - This 45 colt can be hot loaded to 44 mag standards in this revolver ("old" vaquero), don't shoot 454 casull in that cylinder bored out. Not strong enough period. No way, no how. Is the frame? Maybe, maybe not (but not for long) (speaking of full loads). I would simply load up hot 45 colt loads for it. Trust me, the recoil will be enough with only that LOL. If you download the 454, then what is the point? Just my opinion. Don't do something stupid and be later called Mr. Two Fingers.......
BTW - I'm all in on hot loading when safe. 454 in that revolver is not safe at all, period. You may even kill someone. Again, don't be stupid !!!!!!
Okay, so .454 Casull is out. I have recently watched a video describing their new Super Blackhawk chambered in that caliber. They said they started offering this model because of the demand after people started rechambering their pistols to this caliber. No worries, I’ll be carrying this on our hunting land in GA and the biggest predator I’ve ever seen up that way are black bear and a couple sizable hogs. Hot .45LC loads are sufficient. I have my first heavy caliber Super Blackhawk Bisely 7-1/2” in .44 Magnum if I ever need it for larger game again. I bought that one in ‘93 after seeing an article about Stoney’s Pistol Palace in Sarasota while I was stationed in Korea. When I was home on leave I bought it and had him customize it, and carried it while bow hunting in Colorado while I was stationed there.
 

Hankus

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Florida Gulf Coast
Welcome to the Forum!

Congrats on a fine score. Have you shot it yet to see how it shoots? I have the attitude that I won't start changing stuff until after I see the need to improve the accuracy level.

But let's address the cosmetics first.
Since you mentioned shortening the barrel, and refinishing,, I'd strongly recommend "Tyler Gun Works" in Texas. Bobby Tyler can easily do both operations at one time. He can also do the action work if desired. I'd ask him about the different sights too.
You mentioned the cylinder & forcing cone work. A member here, (2dogs) can do this. And another member here, (and over on the cast boolits forum) DougGuy also does excellent work on those areas. Both offer that service at a reasonable price.
Do you plan to shoot cast bullets? If so, slugging the barrel & checking the chambers of the cylinder is paramount to achieving proper accuracy.

Now,, the idea of a re-chamber to .454.
That would require a total different level of gunsmithing. Even Ruger only does it in a 5 shot cylinder. As such, not many gunsmiths will do this conversion unless they re-work it to a 5-shot, and that become time consuming & a more serious expense. Most of the GOOD gunsmiths doing such work are booked 1-3 years out.
My PERSONAL thoughts would be to leave it alone in the caliber dept, and if a 454 is desired,, look for a Ruger Super Blackhawk already done.

And since you mentioned shortening the barrel,, again, this is just my PERSONAL thoughts. A big bore, with the desire for more power,, in my opinion gets better use of such ammo with a bit longer barrel. That gun looks to be a 5-1/2" bbl, and I'd personally leave it as it is,, to enjoy a bit more efficiency of those heavy loads.

UbertiBob, you are also a bit new here, so I'll GENTLY point out we try hard to be very respectful here on the Ruger Forum. Calling someone stupid, or inferring it,, when he's asked an honest question is not polite.
Contender, no worries, I’m an old soldier with thick skin and UbertiBob’s comments didn’t offend. I’ve ruled out rechambering to .454 based on everyone’s comments. As I stated in my reply to him, hot loads in .45LC will be sufficient for my needs. I’ve been a recreational shooter since I was ~10, so coming up on 50 years. I was also a “professional” shooter for just shy of 15 years, in the Army, and have qualified with every small arm in the inventory, and familiarized with many more.
 

UbertiBob

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 27, 2022
Messages
17
Location
USA
Okay, so .454 Casull is out. I have recently watched a video describing their new Super Blackhawk chambered in that caliber. They said they started offering this model because of the demand after people started rechambering their pistols to this caliber. No worries, I’ll be carrying this on our hunting land in GA and the biggest predator I’ve ever seen up that way are black bear and a couple sizable hogs. Hot .45LC loads are sufficient. I have my first heavy caliber Super Blackhawk Bisely 7-1/2” in .44 Magnum if I ever need it for larger game again. I bought that one in ‘93 after seeing an article about Stoney’s Pistol Palace in Sarasota while I was stationed in Korea. When I was home on leave I bought it and had him customize it, and carried it while bow hunting in Colorado while I was stationed there.
I have a 454 Super Redhawk. Great fun to shoot and reload for. Recoil is not that bad considering. I would love to have the Bisley Super Blackhawk though. Can't say I want to drop over a grand on it though LOL. I think you will love shooting 45 colt "magnums". I have shot plenty out of my Redhawk with no illness to it. BTW - I don't think you are stupid either LOL. I didn't know if you were new to guns or an older feller like me ;). I didn't want anyone to get hurt being too polite.
 

Robb Barnes

Hunter
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
3,918
Location
Dallas, OR US
I have had Vaqueros with S&W rear sight, steel inserts on the rear sight, 5 shot 500 Linebaugh Vaqueros and several others. Other than brontosaurus hunting, an original large frame 45 Colt bisley Vaquero will handle anything around. I’d just pick someone like Bobby Tyler or Andy Horvath to clean it up, redo the finish, give it an action job and maybe to a dovetail drift adjustable front sight sight with a vertical white line. Have a nice set of grips made by the smith or Zane at Lone Star Custom Grips and call it good.
 

eveled

Hunter
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
4,420
.454 is a no go, but your idea of a .45acp cylinder is a good one. I’m a huge fan of .45acp in a single action revolver.

Good luck with your project you have an excellent starting point. (Its a beautiful gun as is.) Be sure to post lots of pictures.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
8,313
Location
Dallas, TX
I like the Vaqueros with the S&W rear sights like you mentioned. Like Contender said, Bobby Tyler could do the work, I get the frame color case hardened, do the sights, new grips. What about Bisley grip frame? Oh! Or a brass grip frame? How about an octagonal barrel? Definitely a custom front sight if you change the rear sight. Free spin prawl? Belt Mountain Base Pin? Scalloped recoil shield? Nitril Blue pins? Those look so sharp on revolvers. 11° recessed crown on the barrel?

I say go for it! But you probably should shoot it first just a few times to appreciate it when you get the custom gun back.
 

ProfessorWes

Hunter
Joined
May 13, 2007
Messages
2,674
Location
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Love the idea of the S&W sight conversion, shortened barrel and general action clean-up and tune. For the finish, I'd want a high-gloss blue and genuine case-hardened finish on the frame. I've been following Turnbull's FB page, and some of their work - classic restorations as well as custom modern iron - is just mouthwateringly beautiful.
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
356
Location
FL
I’d make sure the front sight (barrel) is properly clocked. I don’t think I own a Ruger that has the barrel / front sight properly clocked. So I’d be sure to include that in the list. If you can first see what load it shoots the best, then you can also have the front sight regulated for elevation to shoot your load where you want it. Action job, tightening, and ensuring bore-to-chamber alignment is good would be nice. Get some grips that fit your hand (might be thicker or thinner) so it feels good in your hand world be nice, too. You want it to feel like an extension of your arm and like you never want to put it down. Just my $0.10 worth. If you can get it reblued or (?) that would be good, too, but bluing just wears off anyway with use.
 

Hankus

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Florida Gulf Coast
Soooo, .45ACP cylinders have dried up. I bid and lost on several last month. What caliber(s) would be good candidates to be re-chambered to .45ACP? .357 Magnum? .41 Magnum?
 

Robb Barnes

Hunter
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
3,918
Location
Dallas, OR US
you can go as wild as you want with your pocket book on the larger framed vaquero. Dustin Linebaugh is finishing one for me with an octagon Damascus barrel, dovetail front sight, 5 shot 475 Linebaugh cylinder, and bighorn grips and a few other touched. I have anothers one with octagon barrel, rebored 357 max cylinder in 45 Colt that wears a S&W rear sight and musk ox grips. Ben Forkin built this one. Like I said, it all depends on how wild you want get.

Robb
 

M'BOGO

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,952
Location
METRO DETROIT
Soooo, .45ACP cylinders have dried up. I bid and lost on several last month. What caliber(s) would be good candidates to be re-chambered to .45ACP? .357 Magnum? .41 Magnum?
Your best bet from those choices is the .41 cylinder.. Try to get one that matches your cylinders measurements.
 

Hankus

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Florida Gulf Coast
Sooo, I just ordered a pair of elk antler grips. I took it to the local indoor range the day after Christmas and it shoots point-of-aim at 25 yards with some Ammo Inc. 250 grain TMC rounds I picked up from PSA. I‘m still looking for a .45 ACP cylinder, but might “pull the trigger’ (pun intended) on a .41 Magnum cylinder soon if I can’t find an ACP cylinder … then it will be time to start seriously looking at gunsmiths to work on it.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2022
Messages
83
Location
Dallas, TX.
To be honest, everyone needs that one gun they can take out, shoot the hell out of it, and never have to worry about it getting beat up. Yours just happens to be beautiful as is. I’d probably ensure the cylinders throats are sized correctly and hit up Chad at Chig’s Grips for some perfectly fitting grips. If you insist on pouring money into it, look up Bobby Tyler at Tyler Gun Works. He has my flat top Bisley 44 Special as we speak.
 
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