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With regard to single actions, I have only had Ruger Blackhawks. Never even fired a vaquero. However, I have an opportunity to obtain a 5-1/2" Stainless version of a Vaquero in .357 at a pretty reasonable price.

For those of you that either own both or have shot quite a few of both, in a particular chambering (to keep it apples to apples), do you have a preference of one over the other? And, if so please describe why you have that preference.
 

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I prefer the looks of the Vaquero, but I don't like having a pistol with fixed sights. I have shot both the Blackhawk and the Old and New Vaquero's and I have no real preference for the feel or handling. I now own 3 Blackhawks because of the adjustable sights. I have a SAA which I love, but I only have found one load that shoots to the exact point of aim. I hope you are aware that there are two models of the Vaquero, the early model and the current new model. The early models have the same strength as the Blackhawks, the new models have a lighter frame and shouldn't be shot with the "Blackhawk ONLY" loads, as they are not as strong as a Blackhawk.

Gary
 

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DWB,

"I prefer the looks of the Vaquero, but I don't like having a pistol with fixed sights"
I feel the same way but I choose fixed sights most of the time.

I own, and have owned, a bunch of these and have my own theory , of course. Here goes:

Most of mine have been 357 mag because its the best cartridge ever. ;)

I have found on Single Sixes (not your choice but still in the family) it is better to have adjustable sights because of the two chamberings.

If you plan to hunt with the Blackhawk 25-50 yards or shoot different loads, it pays to have adjustable sights.

If you shoot at ranges less than 30 yards and stick with one load or a plus P 38 load the Vaquero is great. I've found very few vaqueros that didn't shoot POA out of the box and I promtly sold them.

I will say the 357's are night and day different in balance than the 44's or 45 colts.


I love my 32 Vaquerito the best and my 357 Stag gripped Montado the same.

 

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DWB ...

I have had several of both and even had a SBH Hunter ... all in .45 colt. After gifting a few over the years, at the present time I have a 1987 4 5/8" Blackhawk and a 2003 5.5" Bisley Vaquero to use for comparison's sake here. Without a doubt, I have been much more accurate with my BH's than the Vaqueros that I have owned and I have run a lot of loads through both.

This has been my experience as far as accuracy goes. However, I think everyone should own at least one Vaquero. I really like the Bisley configuration more but both are real fun guns. A .357 mag Vaquero would be very nice to own.

bjm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If I get this 5-1/2" Stainless Vaquero in .357, it will certainly be a change of pace from the 6-1/2" Blackhawk (.357) or the 5-1/2" Super Blackhawk (.44) that I have. I did like the balance of it, but will have to double check on whether it is an "early model" or a "new model" -- is there a particular way to distinguish between the two?

Either way, this .357 won't be for hunting per se, most of my .357 loads are no where near max, and if I get this (& depending on how well it shoots my current pet loads) most of the carrying/shooting will be on a range, as opposed to a serious carrying piece in the woods.

Stopped by the LGS on my lunch break and may have to go take a second look at this Vaquero. Looking doesn't cost anything... At first. ;) ;D
 

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I've had quite a few Blackhawks in .45 Colt, 2 Vaqueros in .45 Colt (still have the 5.5" one) and two Bisley Blackhawks. I went through quite a few of them because none of them ever had the accuracy I would have expected, including a beautiful 7.5" Bisley-framed Blackhawk .45 Colt. I had a 7.5" Vaquero that was nothing as a shooter, I traded it for my current 5.5" Vaquero which is about as inaccurate but I kept it because it is a handy camp and work gun.

I do prefer the Bisley grip over the standard Blackhawk/Vaquero grip, it just fits me better, I don't necessarily care for the curved Bisley trigger, though. Some years ago, the planets aligned and I got one of The Guns on The List... A stainless Bisley 5.5" in .41MAG. I have not fired a round through it as of yet, it came (brand new) with a cylinder so loose on the base pin it fairly rattles. I was always going to send it back to Ruger but never did, but I think I found the solution in the Belt Mountain base pin... ;D
 

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The best shooting handgun I ever had was a 44mag blued vaquero 5.5" barrel. That was because the trigger pull and cylinder indexing were spot-on. Not because of the sights.

Still kick myself for trading that gun away. :'(
 

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I go with the BH, because of the adj. sights and the trumpet handle, just feels good in my hands.

Here's an analogy I use when talking about fixed vs adj. sights. A reporter once asked Jack Nicklaus if he uses a tee even when the hole is short and he is using an iron. His reply was, "Why wouldn't I give myself a perfect lie if the rules allow me to do it?" You can always use adj. sights like fixed ones, but you can't do the reverse. That's my opinion.

John
 

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I only agree to that if you are using different loads. All of my Vaqueros shoot POA with my loads of choice and they are just as accurate as my Blackhawks. I've been real lucky with most of my Ruger fixed sights shooting POA which is more than I can say for my Colts.

If you get a good Ruger, you got a good gun.
 

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I prefer the Blackhawk vs. the New Vaquero, as it is a bit stouter.

Personally, I've never had an issue with fixed or adjustable sights.

Jon
 

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My comments about adjustable sights are valid IF you shoot multiple loads in your pistols. I shoot 38 spl hb wad cutters for practice, and these loads are running about 650-700fps. When I shoot steel plates with my buddies, I change over to 38 spls with SWC's at approx 900fps. When I carry the pistol for hunting I use full throttle .357 Mags with 158 gr SWC's. None of these loads hits even close to the same POA. If you are shooting one load, you really don't need the adjustable sights, if it hits where its aimed. I have fixed sights on my defensive carry guns, because they are rugged and I only shoot one load in them. My comments about the frame strength is moot with the .357 Mag, as even the New Vaquero is plenty strong for any sane .357 load.

Gary
 

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While I've always found the Vaquero's to be stylish and attractive, I've never owned one. I've owned quite a few Blackhawks and still own a few. The reason I prefer the Blackhawk is that it has adjustable sights, that way when I change loads I can reset my sights. I use several different loads in my single actions and it's easier to readjust for them in the Blackhawks.

MM
 

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I currently have Two Ruger New Vaquero in 45 Colt with the 7 1/2 inch barrels, and I for one love them. 8) The Fixed Sights versus the Adjustable of the Blackhawks is a big deciding factor I agree. And Like mentioned above if you reload the Blackhawks will handle more pressure then the New Vaqueros, at least that is my understanding. I shoot SASS where the pressures on the loads is not much at all, compared to what you could load the rounds too. I have also installed "Wolf shooters pak springs" Here is a picture of mine ;D Along with a group shot with my current Trail Boss load.



 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow. Great photos, great groups.

The Vaqueros are nice, all of them that I have looked had pretty good fit and finish. There were a couple that had been modified, had seen considerable use, but were wtill priced pretty high. The few Blackhawks I looked at were also pretty nice, perhaps not as well finished as the Vaqueros, but a bit less expensive. The demand created by the Cowboy Action shooters must be part of the reason for that, I expect.

I have been eye-balling a NIB 4-5/8" Blackhawk 50th Anniversary model. It sure is nice. Just need to come up with some more dough before I make any real decisions and take another plunge. The price on it is about the same as the rest of the Blackhawks I saw. Were there quite a few of those made, or is one that is NIB a collectors piece? I wouldn't want to spend the money on something, take it out and blast away, only to find I had killed the value of it as a collector. It sure is a nice pistol though.
 

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DWB the 4 5/8 guns carry easier, come out a little faster and are less muzzle heavy but I prefer the longer barrels such as the 6 1/2 in the .357 and the 7 1/2 in the 45 Colt. I find them easier to shoot accurately because of the longer sight radius. I'm really not sure if the anniversary models have any collector value right now, but they certainly may down the road so that is a consideration. If you want a great gun for less money see if you can find a good used one, they're fairly common in the pawn shops and at the used gun counters. The one thing I always recommend is that you change out the factory base pin and replace it with a Belt Mountain Base Pin. If you plan to use heavy loads I'd recommend the locking model, it prevents base pin spitting under heavy recoil. The .357 in the Ruger Blackhawk is a whole new experience in .357 because of the great strength of the gun.

MM
 

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DWB,
I have had two old style vaqueros in 45 Colt. One with a 5 1/2" barrel the other with the 7v1/2". Both have shot well, however I stupidly
sold the the 51/2" I once had a Blackhawk in .357. With loads shooting cast bullets of 250-290 gr. at velocities of ca. 900 fps, these two
Vaqueros have been plenty accurate for field use. I like the fixed sights. My big Vaquero goes with me over steep terrain, over rocks and through
nigh inpenetrable chapparel. Sometimes I am crawling or slidding and this kind of activity can do interesting things to adjustable sights if they
are at all exposed. With the vaquero I don't have to worry, and it is not an issue if dirt and twigs and other debrie get into the holster.
Back east in the woods the Blackhawk was great. Plus I also shot 38 specials with it, so having adjustable sights was great.
ET
 
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