Blackhawk vs Vaquero

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by ozark75, Oct 9, 2019 at 10:51 AM.

  1. ozark75

    ozark75 Supporter Supporter

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    So, I'm still looking for another 4 inch wheelgun in .357. I think I really, really need a single action Ruger.

    I like both the New Vaquero and the New Blackhawk. I'm just not sure which will be best for me. I won't carry it daily (SP-101 goes in my front pocket everywhere, everyday). I won't be hunting with it (although I could if necessary). Mostly just take it to the range and do a little woods walking. The main reason I am looking is, well, Ruger Single Action. Enough reason for me.

    Vaquero-smaller frame, lighter weight, available in stainless. But a little more expensive.

    Blackhawk-9mm convertible. Probably won't ever shoot 9mm, but worst case scenario, in the event of some sort of economic/society/political collapse, 9mm ammo will probably be one of the last available rounds. So, this adds a level of "security". One gun 3 calibers.

    So, what say you? If I was buying the gun for you, which would you prefer and why?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 11:02 AM
  2. quietmike

    quietmike Hardwoodsman Supporter

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    Blackhawk convertible all the way. It's on my short list as well.
     
  3. Boomstick

    Boomstick Supporter Supporter

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    I have the vaquero in .45 colt and it’s one of my favorite revolvers. I also have the Ruger super Redhawk in .44mag and wouldn’t trade that for anything either.
    I have shot a .357 Blackhawk and was impressed with it but holding one of the newer Blackhawks doesn’t feel the same as the one that I shot some time ago.
    It feels for me like an unnatural tilt downwards and I would really have to put some rounds through it to get use to it.
    I guess that’s a long winded way to say I vote for the vaquero.
     
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  4. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    I have both...
    If I had to choose one, it would be the Vaquero, hands down!
    The finish is better, the balance is better, the cylinder stop actually lines up with the ejector rod, and at the end if the day, it's just damn sexy!
    The only upside to the blackhawk is adjustable sights, however you can regulate the fixed sights on the vaquero with a little work.
    I dont have any issue hitting what I point my Vaquero at.

    Screenshot_20191009-091728_Instagram.jpg
    20191009_091801.jpg
     
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  5. urazmusbdragn2

    urazmusbdragn2 Scout

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    For average everyday use I'd take the Blackhawk. Better sights for a better sight picture. Adjustable for getting a good zero. Also for different weight bullets if you try some bear loads besides the standard 158 gr loading.

    If rough service is coming into play then the Vaquero, Fixed sights not easily moved if it takes a hard landing, never get out of adjustment.

    For either I'd go with the 4 5/8's barrel, full length ejector rod for clearing cases without fussing with it.
     
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  6. Madwell

    Madwell Supporter Supporter

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    I would go with the Blackhawk. I like the convertible cylinder it makes for cheap range sessions. I have an old model Blackhawk in 45LC/45ACP. I pretty much always shoot 45acp because it’s cheaper and very soft shooting.
    AE5CD6F2-14A6-457A-8294-A38B0CF5B140.jpeg
    I’m sure whatever you get you’ll be happy. These guns are fun to shoot and in my experience super accurate.
     
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  7. ozark75

    ozark75 Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for the replies so far! So, I'm kinda leaning towards the Vaquero. The only two things pushing me toward the Blackhawk are price and the 9mm cylinder.

    Is the Vaquero really worth more than the Blackhawk? Is the 9mm cylinder anything worth considering? I really am kinda stuck on the one gun 3 caliber solution with the Blackhawk.

    And by the way, I think the Vaquero is a waaaayyy better looking gun!
     
  8. Capin JRo

    Capin JRo Scout

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    The ajustable sights and the availablity of improved grips is the reason why I went with the Blackhawk over the vaquero.
     
  9. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    Is the Vaqueto worth more?
    I think so, and clearly a lot of people do, or they wouldn't sell them.
    There is much more refinement I. the finish of a vaquero vs the blackhawk, especially a stainless model.
    .38spl is pretty cheap to shoot, and available everywhere.
    I could see the 9mm benefit if you're already shooting 9mm.

    What grip could you not find for the vaquero?
    Please dont tell me a big rubber grip! :p
     
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  10. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    In regards to the sights.
    If you blackout the rear sight it makes picking up the front sight easier, and that stainless blade is a big benefit in low light. My blackhawk is hard to shoot at dusk or low light due to the black sight blade.
    The stainless blade on the vaquero can cause some glare in bright light, but that hasn't been much of an issue for me. If my vision gets funky and that becomes an issue, I'll just put some serrations on the back of the blade.
    20191009_114937.jpg
     
  11. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Ive had both and always liked the BlackHawk more.

    The sights. BlackHawk work for me, Vaquero do not.

    I have not owned one since the latest frame size came out. All of mine were the "orignal" New Model.
     
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  12. Capin JRo

    Capin JRo Scout

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    [QUOTE="Birdman,
    What grip could you not find for the vaquero?
    Please dont tell me a big rubber grip! :p[/QUOTE]

    Yes the rubber ones, I carry my Blackhawk for a hunting sidearm, so it just works better in the wet weather.
     
  13. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    Traffic cone.jpeg

    Ive had both, sometimes the fixed sights shoot close enough to get them on with some file work, sometimes not. I had one 22 vaquero type Ruger that was so far off elevation wise there wasnt any possible way to get it zeroed without a new taller front sight.

    Im not a fan of stainless, so no comment on any particular model in stainless, id nearly always choose blued over stainless regardless of models. Both have their own issues with sights, both can be improved hugely with bright colored nail polish or paint. I dont like either stainless or blue in their natural color, fortunately its simple and cheap to fix.

    Its funny, in the 1980s I was thinking what it would take to make a regular blackhawk into a fixed sight gun similar to a Colt Single Action Army. Now, many years and a number of Vaqueros later, I think about what it would take to put adjustable sights on the vaquero.

    The flat top blackhawks are the same slightly smaller frame as the newer vaqueros. I would be interested in the flat top, but my choices obviously arent what others like or for the same reasons. I dont recall what the grip frame material is on the flat tops, but the blued blackhawks use an alloy grip frame, the stainless ones use stainless, so there will be a change in balance and weight. The blued vaqueros use steel grip frames. The alloy grip frame will obviously be slightly ligther to carry, balance is subjective. ive swapped them out on various guns, its not a big deal, but they often arent a perfect fit since they are finish polished mounted to the gun frame. That hasnt bothered me much, it never enters my mind when using them. As it is, the flat top blackhawk 357 is the only new Ruger that comes to mind as being interesting to me.
     
  14. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    I just cant bring myself to do the painted front sight. Even white looks odd to me. Takes away from the classic looks.
    Another option for "adjustable" sight for the Vaquero is having the barrel cut for a 3/8 dovetail.
    It's cheap to have done(my 'smith will do it for $60), and gives you the ability to swap sight heights for elevation, and gives you windage adjustment.
    Looks damn good too.

    IMG_4993.jpg
    IMG_5009.jpg

    Dont get me wrong, the Blackhawk us a damn good gun. That's why I own one.
    It's just not a pretty gun. Lots of hard edges, ugly sight base, etc.
     
  15. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Scout

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    024F6470-924C-4FA1-A4BE-CABF865859E0.jpeg I have 6 inch Blackhawk convertible 357/9mm. It’s a beast of a gun. 9mm and 38 special are a dream to shoot. No noticeable recoil. I have not tried to carry it in a holster yet.
     
  16. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    When doing daily dusk walks, I got tired of the sights not being visible. I got over whatever objection to perceived looks when the practical usability went through the roof in comparison. The Traffic Cone with white base coat is also much more visible than fiber optic sights ive compared it to.

    Ive painted all my pistol sights and lever carbine sights.

    I agree on the ugly Ruger adjustable sights. I flat topped a couple blackhawks, on one I had a small block type front sight made similar to the old Colt Flat Top Target models. I wish I could find someone to make me a bunch of them, my reasonable priced machinist moved away.

    I have a picture somewhere but cant find it.

    Edit: Found some
    IMG_5858.JPG

    IMG_5856.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 4:59 PM
  17. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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  18. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    I've had several Blackhawks and two Super Blackhawks. I'm waiting for my finances to improve in a month or two then I'm in the market for a Vaquero in .45 Colt. I love the molded look of the Vaquero rather than the Blackhawk's blocky form. The Vaq came out long after I purchased my Blackhawks.

    I've always been a sucker for single action revolvers in the 'cowboy' style. They're instinctive to aim and shoot accurately once you know how to hold them. Holding these firearms in a gentle grip rather than a 'white knuckled death grip' significantly reduces felt recoil and improves accuracy. The so-called 'plow handle' design of the grips allow the gun to roll back in your hand and this is what reduces the recoil.

    Steve
     
  19. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    The reduced perceived or felt recoil makes them eligible for geezer gun status for me. When I tore a ligament in my right thumb shooting a 500 Linebaugh Maximum, I couldnt shoot anything right handed for a couple years, then I could shoot 22s, then 38s, then 44 light loads in Smiths, but I could shoot 45 Colts in an SA long before I could shoot light 44 loads in the Smith.

    Rather than going to 38s or 32s in a DA for a geezer gun, Id rather have a 45 SA and still be able to shoot it. If that becomes problematic, Im certain I could shoot hot 38s or 357s in an SA long past the time I could in a DA revolver.
     
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  20. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Supporter Supporter

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    I used to really not like the Blackhawk's style, but heck, Ruger's been around long enough that they're an American institution too. The Blackhawk has grown on me and many others by earning it's humpy looks.

    I've had both, The Vaquero was prettier in an Old West way, but it's gone. I like shooting the Blackhawk more- it might be THE quintessential backcountry gun.
     
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  21. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    Flattopping my blackhawk is on my to-do list. That looks damn good!
     
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  22. heldfast

    heldfast Tracker

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    Lipsey’s had a run of convertible (9mm/357) new vaqueros, #5161, with a 4.62” barrel. That’d be my preference as I prefer the bisley grip and hammer spur and the size of the new vaquero is yummy. I also don’t find the fixed sights a limitation on a “short” barreled SA revolver once you get them set. Unless you plan on using it for IHMSA field pistol or hunting past 25 yds?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 5:42 AM
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  23. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    The barrel length doesnt matter too much within reason, I carry and shoot the 4 5/8" Rugers, and shoot them to 300+ yards as much as anything closer. Good sights are good sights. My inclination is I cant see much reason to knowingly handicap myself for sights.
     
  24. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Vaquero would be my choice. If I'm carrying something heavier it would be my FA .454 but I prefer the Vaquero.
     
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  25. Nightflyer

    Nightflyer Supporter Supporter

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    Vaquero all the way for me. Has the classic look of the Colt peacemaker, and in stainless, mimics the look of the old nickel plated revolvers. Mine is in .45 Colt, which I chose for historical reasons as well as the stopping power. It points like your finger, and once I figured out how much front sight to pull up, it’s extremely accurate. A fun gun to fire!
    590BEC2F-CA2C-4636-A51D-BE281931A524.jpeg
     
  26. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    Beauty! I've been watching for a stainless 5.5" .357 to go with my birdshead.
     
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  27. ozark75

    ozark75 Supporter Supporter

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    Argh...so you guys are really moving me towards the Vaquero. I really do prefer the looks and size of the Vaquero. I was hoping you all could convince me that the Blackhawk convertible was the way to go. Keep the input comming. There is a gun show this weekend. Hope to find one of each so I can do a good side by side comparison (and maybe a good deal). Stay tuned.....
     
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  28. Robert Highhawk

    Robert Highhawk Scout

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    Both vaqueros I've had I had to file the front sight. I sold both and got Blackhawks. I just like the Blackhawks Those vaqueros do point good thou.
     
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  29. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'll add that while I don't have a 9mm for a .357 wheel gun I do have a .45ACP cut cylinder for my FA .454, in a gun that large those auto calibers are like shooting a noisier .22 pistol. Kinda nice for plinking or training a new shooter.

    Also, you can find cylinders on gunbroker. There's a 9mm cylinder right now that would fit an old model Vaquero and several aftermarket companies would probably be willing to sell one, I dont know if Ruger would or not.
     
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  30. urazmusbdragn2

    urazmusbdragn2 Scout

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    If you can get inexpensive or free 9mm ammo it's worth getting the convertible, IMHO.
     
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  31. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    I love my Vaqueros. I would have a Blackhawk for hunting.
     
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  32. Grouse870

    Grouse870 Scout

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    Blackhawk all the way. With the amount of ammo from .38 special wadcutters to 180 grain hardcast .357 magnum (not to mention standard 9mm and +p stuff) adjustable sights make more sense to me.
     
  33. GoodPhotos

    GoodPhotos Father, Husband, Patriot, Entrepreneur Supporter

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    Can I get a Blackhawk in .44-40 with this convertible 9mm cylinder? (This is the first I've heard of any revolver being available in 9mm...though I haven't been paying much attention.) :)
     
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  34. heldfast

    heldfast Tracker

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    In a word, no. 9mm works on a 357 because the caliber diameter is close and they can share the same barrel. They made a 44mag/44-40 convertible once, since the diameters are within .002 of each other.
     
  35. GoodPhotos

    GoodPhotos Father, Husband, Patriot, Entrepreneur Supporter

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    Dagnabit.
    "You can't always get what you want!"

    I use a Winchester 73 in .44-40. That would be handy. :)

    9mm/.357/.38 probably makes more sense tho. All three are a LOT easier to find than .44-40.
     
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  36. jstert

    jstert Scout

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    i had a new vaquero in 45lc/acp but never got used to birdshead grips so it went away. now have 4.6” blackhawk convertibles with plowhandle grips in 45lc/acp and 357/38/9mm. both are superbly essential pieces for any handgunner depending on one’s favorite semiauto pistol ammo, but if i must choose just one it would be the latter. a 357/38/9mm blackhawk is the ultimate shtf survival piece: up to handling just about any chore in the lower 48, great for ammo scrounging and cheap fun too. mine are shooters so they get rubber pachmayr grips.

    182D1D75-86B6-44DE-AF51-3318B79C3B19.jpeg 13EF98B5-4D14-4822-8CC4-6B4FD7BBF803.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 8:23 PM
  37. RackinRay

    RackinRay Scout

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    To complicate your decision, one Distributor had a batch of New Vaqueros made as convertible with the 357 and 9mm cylinders. https://www.ruger.com/products/vaqueroBlued/specSheets/5161.html
     
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  38. ozark75

    ozark75 Supporter Supporter

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  39. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    It’s not a question, is has to be a Vaquero!

    And to get the best feel and balance it needs the big 45 LC hole in the barrel.

    Also, the stainless sounds hollow compared to the same gun in blued steel.
     
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  40. Ken Delano

    Ken Delano Tracker

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    I like the Blackhawk, but prefer the old three-screw guns. Smaller frame than the new model, good sights. To me an old model Flattop in .357 with the 4 5/8" barrel is a mighty handy gun. Not too big or heavy, handles snake loads to .38 wadcutters to full-power heavy cast swc or flatpoints. Not too many handgun chooses can't be handled somewhere in that range...
     
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  41. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    With the Vaquero you can hear the "A Fist Full of Dollars" theme, when you draw it. :50:

     
  42. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    I don’t have a vaquero but I do have that poncho draped over my banister. It makes the same sound when make it to to top of the steps!
     
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  43. akbound

    akbound Guide

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    If you really are having trouble deciding, maybe grab the first one you see that’s a really nice deal. In the end, if you’re like many of us you’ll end up with both models (in more than one caliber too)! Why fight it?;)
     
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  44. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Supporter Supporter

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    Yeah, I always think of these threads as 'which one should I buy FIRST?' threads...;)
     
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  45. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    Then after you solve which gun, then you have to decide which leather... :p
     
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  46. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    That’s the first decision imo!

    If you’re thinking cowboy, it’s vaquero in a low sling rig like this,
    https://www.americasgunstore.com/tr...stern-drop-belt-and-cheyenne-western-holster/

    If you’re thinking sportsman it’s the Blackhawk in a crossdraw holster like this,
    https://www.americasgunstore.com/triple-k-115-keegan-crossdraw-holster/

    I better stop reading this topic as it’s making want to get a vaquero! In which case it would be 45 LC birds head grip with a Cheyenne cross draw holster.
    https://www.ruger.com/products/vaqueroBlued/specSheets/5153.html
     
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  47. Birdman

    Birdman IG: @ChasingTheBackcountry Supporter

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    Or get Cowboy style with sportsman utility in a Huckleberry rig. ;)

    Screenshot_20191011-125004_Instagram.jpg
     
  48. RackinRay

    RackinRay Scout

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    Of course if one is fun, then two can be double fun!

    Kirkpartrick Rig Redux.jpg
     
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  49. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    There's the Threepersons option... :59:

    IMG_1963.JPG
     
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  50. Greebe

    Greebe Non ducor, duco. Supporter

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    What about an offspring between the two? Here is one that a guy on the Ruger Forum posted years ago. Think his name was ShortBarrel. Anyways he did some really neat work on making a Vaquero into an adjustable sighted sheriff shorty. He scalloped the blast shields and did the hammer weight reduction cutout with a dremel. He then had a old style S&W adjustable rear sight fitted by milling the top strap. I have always really like how it turned out because for me it is the best of both the Blackhawk and the Vaquero combine in one.

    SherrifsModelVaquero.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019 at 10:02 PM

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