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Birds Head 45LC Vaquero

This is a discussion on Birds Head 45LC Vaquero within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I have decided on a Ruger Vaquero 45LC Birds Head in Stainless Steel. I would like to get a convertible but more interested in the ...


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Old November 5th, 2013, 06:13 PM   #1
 
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Birds Head 45LC Vaquero

I have decided on a Ruger Vaquero 45LC Birds Head in Stainless Steel. I would like to get a convertible but more interested in the "right gun" and could use some advice.
I have found that there are "older" and a "newer" versions that apparently different frames. Please advise why one would be better than the other. An older one may be harder to find although I am sure that they are out there but if I should order a New Vaquero so be it, again the "right gun" is more important than a convertible.



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Old November 6th, 2013, 01:44 AM   #2
 
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Hello prairieschooner and welcome to the forum. I think you have focused on a great SA revolver and either version would be fine. They are different frames as you know with the older version ("heavy frame") built on the Blackhawk frame and the newer version ("medium frame") a bit slimmer and more akin to a Colt SAA. As to which is better than the other - that's a subjective thing and opinions will vary. Obviously Ruger felt it was worthwhile to tool up the medium frame version and drop production of the heavy frame so they must have thought that was "better" but the heavy frame guns have their fans too. And from the collector interest angle the heavy frame guns aren't made anymore so they have some value perhaps above a new production gun, but not to suggest they are rare or highly valuable - just a bit harder to come by.

I have both and shoot both and enjoy them both. I don't particiapte in SASS or other shooting sports related to these guns so I can't comment on whether one is better suited than the other for such purposes.

The heavy frame version can handle higher pressures if you reload so you may consider that if that's important to you.

Good luck in your quest for the "right gun"!

"Heavy Frame" Vaquero



"Medium frame" New Vaquero

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Old November 6th, 2013, 05:28 AM   #3
 
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Welcome to the forum, prairieschooner. Waveform has pretty much covered the differences between the frames. However, you mentioned that you wanted a convertible.
The short barrel stainless birdshead is available in either .45 Colt or .45 acp. but, to my knowledge, has never been offered as a convertible in either frame size.

To achieve a birdshead convertible you would have locate the "extra" cylinder and hope it would "drop-in" or, have it fitted. Or, you could buy a stainless 4 5/8" .45 Convertible and change out the plow handle grip frame to a bird's head.

Good luck with your search let us know what you decide.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 05:35 AM   #4
 
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Thanks for the quick responses.
I was only thinking of a convertible since ammo is getting harder to find lately. If they don't exist then no worries just makes the search easier. I have held both frames but not at the same time so that should be next.
That "Heavy Frame" sure looks right!
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Old November 6th, 2013, 10:27 AM   #5
 
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Welcome to the forum Prairiescooner.

I think I'd pick the New Vaquero over the older one. It's a bit smaller & lighter which for me makes it easier to pack. I don't worry about the extra strength as I load only Colt level loads anyway. I've found that a .455 260gr lead SWC at 820+fps will settle almost anything I run across. It's an easy load to shoot too.
Another thing is the New Vaquero is built to index the chambers in the loading gate so you can easily load & unload or top off. The older Vaqueros don't index quite right & I have to hold the cylinder so the chamber line up to load & unload.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #6
 
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I think I'd pick the New Vaquero over the older one.
Me too for what I'd use it for. Like Frank says, 800-900fps 255g bullet ... Not much can stand up to that ... and you can still go a bit warmer if you felt like it (Tier 2 loads). Of course the short barrel is going to limit velocity somewhat.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 06:16 AM   #7
 
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Well hehe, (I snicker a bit because there are those here who will relate to this very well..) It kinda goes like this.. If you want to shoot factory loads in either caliber, the new medium framed Vaquero is a great choice. Normally you could send one back to Ruger and have them fit a different cylinder to it and have your convertible in whatever style you choose.

However, if you are thinking you might want to explore the full house loads of the .45 Colt then definitely source out an older Vaquero which will stand loads in and slightly beyond the .44 magnum power range.

The fallacy of the single action, is that no one gun seems to do it all, and so having more than one becomes a means of accomplishing bigger and better things, and these things are HIGHLY addictive, so don't be surprised if you find yourself owning more than one.

The Vaquero itself is about as slick a modern sixgun as you will find for the money you will spend, which in turn makes it affordable enough to have more than one..
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Old November 9th, 2013, 04:08 AM   #8
 
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I miss my ol' Birdshead in 45ACP...



I'm now reloading for 45Colt, and have two revolvers in that caliber....
BUT, were I to get a new Birdshead......I'd still get one in 45 ACP.....
Loved that caliber in a Birdshead!
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Old November 9th, 2013, 07:32 AM   #9
 
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If that is/was a 3.75" barrel & you still have that holster AND you would be willing to exchange it for monetary value - pls let me know!
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Old November 9th, 2013, 10:32 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by MCPO View Post
If that is/was a 3.75" barrel & you still have that holster AND you would be willing to exchange it for monetary value - pls let me know!
Gun and holster are gone, but DM Bullard has some of those Bodyguard models in stock for Ruger Montado, which will fit ANY Ruger with a 3.75" barrel.
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Old November 9th, 2013, 02:55 PM   #11
 
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Thanks, I just found one of my Christmas gifts
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Old November 11th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #12
 
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Question about Birds head convert

I own a New Blackhawk in 44 special 4&3/4 barrel blue. It is the .357 mag frame.
I believe that frame is the same as the new Vaquero .

I am buying a 45ACP blued Birds head with the 3&3/4 barrel.

Can I switch the grip frames and hammers so I can have the birds head grip on the 44 special ? I know the barrel is an inch longer and wonder if that will throw off the balance .

New at this with single actions so just need some pointers.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 05:48 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbuzzard View Post
I own a New Blackhawk in 44 special 4&3/4 barrel blue. It is the .357 mag frame. I believe that frame is the same as the new Vaquero . I am buying a 45ACP blued Birds head with the 3&3/4 barrel.

Can I switch the grip frames and hammers so I can have the birds head grip on the 44 special ? I know the barrel is an inch longer and wonder if that will throw off the balance .
Yes, if your .44 Special is the Flattop, you can switch grip frames between those two guns. There's another option if you want to convert your .44 Special to a bird's head grip. Simply buy a bird's head grip frame and a set of grips and accomplish it that way. As to bird's head / barrel length, most folks here believe that a 4 5/8" barrel is maximum length aesthetically speaking. As far as handling and "balance" it should feel just fine.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 01:11 PM   #14
 
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Prairiescooner

Did you find the one you want yet? Be sure to let us know.
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Old November 14th, 2013, 04:55 AM   #15
 
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convert birds head

thanks Quiet 1
HAve considered the purchase of a birds head grip.
Any suggestions/recommendations on a good one?

If I did that then I can keep the 45ACP original .
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