Would a shorter Barrel for "Old" Vaquero

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Anonymous

Hi all,
This is my first post, and I'm looking for a little advice. I have a .45LC Vaquero I purchased about 6 years ago with a 7.5 inch barrel. At the time I really wanted the long barrel, but I find it very cumbersome and heavy to carry afield as a back-up side arm while hunting or fishing. I would really like to fit it with a 3-3/4" or 4-5/8" barrel. My question is would it be better to have the barrel cut down, or have the barrel replaced. Any idea of the cost for such a job would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

tek4260

Buckeye
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
1,883
I would rather have the original barrel cut down rather than try to fit another barrel and have to possibly set it back, index, etc. Not to mention the stress on the frame of changing the barrel.

Cost... Have no idea as I do my own. A factory Blackhawk sight costs about $6 from Brownells. The sight is easily soldered on. Make an alignment pin as well. IMHO this adds alot of stregnth to the sight. If the gun shoots correctly for windage, simply align the sight with the original sight and mark it before you cut. Get an 11 degree crowning tool with the 45 pilot while you are at it. It will finish the job nicely.
 

skip

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
250
Go to magnaport.com they have resonable prices...cheaper to have it cut than have it replaced...
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
There's a few considerations here. *Usually* chopping it is the best answer.

* IF the gun shoots well now with the long tube, it will shoot well with the short.

* If the gun is stainless, a barrel swap can be "iffy". It's easier to damage the threads. Chopping is even more strongly preferred in stainless.

* If the gun does NOT shoot well now, a barrel swap starts to look better. If the barrel-to-cylinder gap is too large now (esp. over .007") then the swap job will involve resetting and correcting it. You need to sort out why the gun shoots poorly and figure out if a barrel swap might be part of a solution.

* However, sometimes poor accuracy happens because somebody used a steel cleaning rod and dinged up the muzzle end of the inside of the barrel. In which case a chop job will help with accuracy - bigtime. Again: this is why you have to sort out what's wrong (if anything is wrong!) before making a decision.

* Finally, when chopping you have the option of doing a different front sight. "Different" can be "mild to wild". My first round of sight modifications involved a new conventional dovetailed front and the rear sight channel milled a bit wider to match:

vaqhawk.jpg


I later went a hell of a lot wilder than that!

3630584151_db71ea1b65_b.jpg


:)

A more subdued (some might say "sane") approach might be:

http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_NewSight.htm

This would still give you windage adjustment on the fly and elevation adjustment from having a few different front sight heights around, without screwing up the basic "Vaquero-ness" of the piece. And as a bonus, if the gun is blue it won't have to be completely re-blued after the dovetail is cut - a bit of cold blue in the dovetail and new crown will be fine. If you solder a front sight onto a blue gun, it will absolutely need a total re-blue.
 

tek4260

Buckeye
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
1,883
High stregnth solder, as sold at local parts houses is plenty strong and will not need a reblue. Here is a 44 I cut to 4 5/8 and resoldered. There were marks on the sight from me checking the joint with a pair of vice grips. I had them tight enough to mark the sight and they slipped off as I twisted and tugged. I then filed the sight back smooth and cold blued the sight only. I have 4 that I have done like this and they all have held up to 3 lbs worth of H-110 and 300 to 325 gr hard casts!

101_1087.jpg


101_0944.jpg


The bottom pic is before I fixed the marks on the sight. The blue is still perfect because it only takes about 700 deg to melt the solder, and it is plenty strong especially with the locator pin soldered in place.

The dovetail would be nice as well. I may try it on my New Vaquero. It is about as involved as cutting and resoldering.

Another toes picture :lol:
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Howdy

If you go to the Ruger website and click on Customer Service, then Service Fees, you will see they charge $80 to rebarrel a single action revolver. If it wuz me, that is the route I would follow, rather than messing around with trying to cut down the barrel and reinstalling the front sight. Looks like they charge $30 to ship the gun back to you. Worth a phone call.

http://www.ruger-firearms.com/service/serviceFees.html
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
And God only knows what your barrel/cylinder gap is like. Sorry. No way, not if my gun was solid with a tight gap to begin with.
 

CraigC

Hawkeye
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
5,197
Keep in mind that most gunsmiths remove a barrel to shorten it so that the crown can be cut on a lathe. I'd still rather have a barrel shortened than replaced with a factory take-off. If the barrel gets replaced, I'd rather spend just a little more and get a premium barrel. It will be much more consistent and accurate.
 

edlmann

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
785
tek4260":1rhqhxpa said:
I would rather have the original barrel cut down rather than try to fit another barrel and have to possibly set it back, index, etc. Not to mention the stress on the frame of changing the barrel.

Cost... Have no idea as I do my own. A factory Blackhawk sight costs about $6 from Brownells. The sight is easily soldered on. Make an alignment pin as well. IMHO this adds alot of stregnth to the sight. If the gun shoots correctly for windage, simply align the sight with the original sight and mark it before you cut. Get an 11 degree crowning tool with the 45 pilot while you are at it. It will finish the job nicely.

He has a Vaquero - which brings up a whole 'nother set of issues.
 

gak

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
1,549
+1 Ruger factory route if the one poster is right about the cost. And talk about simplicity of the whole process. Especially on a Vaquero where presumably one of the main reasons for having it over the BH in the first place IS the "cowboy" sight configuration. Heck yeah, "put it on" Ruger. Custom barrels are great; in this case it sounds like the OP's main issue is "just" barrel length.
 

Dale53

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
925
Probably the most cost effective solution here is to sell your gun and buy another that meets your specs.

I bought a Vaquero 4 5/8" barreled revolver to shoot in black powder side matches at BPCR Silhouette matches. After using it for a while I realized that I did better with a somewhat longer barrel. At the same time, I wanted to try a Bisley grip. So, I sold my "tuned" Vaquero (that I had regulated the sights to shoot "dead on" at 25 yards) to a dealer for more than I paid for it. He was familiar with the revolver and knew it had a tuned trigger and the sights were regulated. I took the money and bought a 5½" Ruger Bisley Vaquero. Right out of the box, the Bisley Vaquero shoot to the sights. THAT was a happy accident.

So, at least in my particular case, the revolver swap was the economical way to go. Custom work can get pricy very quickly.

FWIW
Dale53
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
7,774
WTA, welcome to the Forum.......good question, and some good points above, mainly as to how GOOD/accurate the gun you are using now, really is ...if you like the gun you have, then the cost of the a swap, versus a cut down, would have to be figured out, in TOTAL.....yes, the parts, the work, the shipping back and forth ( unless you have a good guy locally, in your town...)
custom barrels, ie Douglas, or such can be quite costly and are usually applied to a "target" gun, adjustable sights, etc...your Vaquero is in a different 'genre', much easier, simpler to add a sweat on sight or even a screw on version, versus the rigid blade type ala Colt or Ruger Vaquero blade and then having to regulate it properly(shape& fit after its adjusted for the proper loads, bullet weights, etc.,,and MOST of the time the cost is cheaper just to sell yours, or trade it in, on another ,same model, shorter barrel...BUT the chance is there it may not shoot as well as the gun you already have, but who knows, it may shoot BETTER...two sides to that coin, as usual.
I'd call around, and yes, even call the factory, ask their customer service and get ALL the costs, that would be MY option, gotta find the proper , "Like" model barrel( but shorter)yes, they do turn up from time to time, on line, at the shops, even at a gun show....have a dealer or friend get a "price" on Ruger barrels, from Ruger or say Brownells, but then there is the cost of the "work" ( pulling, turning, set back or not turning or cutting any threads, relocating the ejector housing and its hole, it can and does snow ball, you can open a 'pandoras box').......call around, get some price quotes, the good guys are busy this time of the year, the REALY good ones are back logged, turn over may be lengthy, as well as the cost...and get any guarantees, up front and in writing............yes, the GOOD guys stand behind their work, and won;t let it out or back to you, unless its "right"..........good luck
 

powder smoke

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
6,338
IMHO one can always use an extra Ruger That said head over to your local shop and buy a short barrell Blackhawk or maybe a Vaquero if he's got one.
2 revolvers equal twice the fun.

Money invested in Custom work could go towards another gun Not a bad thing JMO ps
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
3,761
powder smoke":1qrfw03r said:
IMHO one can always use an extra Ruger That said head over to your local shop and buy a short barrell Blackhawk or maybe a Vaquero if he's got one.
2 revolvers equal twice the fun.

Money invested in Custom work could go towards another gun Not a bad thing JMO ps

++++++1 :wink: good advise IMO.
Terry
 

gak

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
1,549
PS +++++++1 - To me, custom gun should/would ideally have other/additional objectives ("I want a tack driver...possibly including a completely different sight package, other refinements" and/or a "special caliber conversion," and budget to match, etc)...which the OP has not said he has. Doesn't mean he doesn't or couldn't have - that haven't been articulated, ...but in this case, these are good options.
 

EDK

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 9, 2006
Messages
475
Easy for me to say, but I'd go look for a gun with the barrel length I want over at gunbroker or auctionarms. Original VAQUEROS in 45 caliber are the most available, BUT 7.5 inch barrels are the least common. Keep the long barreled gun and it will appreciate some. Re-barreling and shipping costs would be a start on the second gun.

Anything you sell or severly alter will usually be regretted sometime in the future. In 40+ years, I got a whole bunch of those T-shirts!
 

Tx gun runner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
264
You cut it down yourself

Picture686-2.jpg


Use a tubing cutter and scribe a mark around barrel , take a fine blade hacksaw and go around the line going deeper and deeper till you cut it half . Then take coarse sandpaper , use your thumb and keep rotate back and forth and turning the barrel till you get it smooth . Take a brass round head screw and chuck it in a drill and going in a circle to get the recessed crown . Shoot it and look at the star pattern on the muzzle and see if it is even . You can always buy $100 tool or take to a gunsmith and have it crowned for under $30 .
 

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