First Impressions

Debember 16, 2004

The box arrived with 2 Ruger New Vaqueros in it, 4-3/4", blue, CCH, .357, with a ticket saying, "N/C".

Unfortunately the "N/C" was to Richard Young, Tequila, 5 times Modern World Champion using Rugers and host of the new "Cowboys" TV Show. Tequila sent them to me for evaluation and an article for the Cowboy Chronicle and the Wire. So I have to send them back to him when I'm done.

Too bad. They''re pretty much ready to go out of the box. This is great. I have 2 (old style) Vaqueros, but they have a long list of things done to them:

Eagle Gunfighter Grips

Power Half-Cock Hammer and Trigger kit

Wolff Springs

Belt Mountain Base Pin

Crescent Ejector.

Add that to the price of the guns, and there's some money there. Two guns that don't need grips, don't need a new hammer and trigger, don't need a base pin, an ejector, maybe not springs sound pretty good. Everything I shoot has visited a gunsmith at least once.

These arrived with a 62 oz. trigger on one and 56 on the other. Cocking effort was reasonably light. I might have a gunsmith lighten and smooth things, but for a "combat" gun, it's ready to go. I can rapidly cock it with one hand with little effort.

Comparison guns

To compare things, I have a new,in the box Cimarron Model P, Blackpowder frame, same size and caliber. It has a 48 oz. trigger, and cocking effort is reasonable, but you feel all 4 notches in the hammer. I also have a "control" gun, one with perfect action and trigger, actually 2, SASS Colts with Peacemaker Specialist actions and trigger jobs. The trigger pull is 24 ox., and cocking it is effortless and smooth. Nice, but not neccessary for what we're doing.

Sight Picture

The Ruger wins the Sight Picture comparison. The front sight is untapered and mikes .084 with my shaky hands operating the digital calipers. The rear sight has a nice, wide 0.10 notch. The Ruger Old Armies I just got back from Lee's Gunsmithing have 0.16, even better. The Cimarron, of course, has a V-notch and is in dire need of an end mill, but it is an authentic blackpowder frame. Thus I'll probably leave it alone. The Colt rear sight measuered .09. The front sight of the Colt is .069, while the Cimarron tapers to .051. Ruger wins.





Wide rear notch


The photo below shows the subtle differences in the hammer shape compared to Colt and 1st Generation Colt. It was improved for our use, to make it easier to cock, and the springs were redesigned, both good things. It doesn't match the contour of the 1st Generation hammer on the Cimarron. Both feel good and work well. The trigger, being Ruger, is further forward and wider than the Colt and Cimarron. I can wrap my finger around the trigger and get the second joint to it, but it's quite easy to put the center of the first pad on it like they taught at Ft. Knox.



Top: Colt SAA .45

Middle: Ruger New Vaquero .357

Bottom: Cimarron Mod P., BP frame, .357

Fit, Finish

Fit and finish are typical Ruger, which is to say excellent, black bluing, and dark (faux) CCH. The grips fit perfectly. (They're virtually perfect for competition. I can wrap my little finger under the bottom. They're very "grippy", and, of course, they have a neat Ruger emblem on them.) Everything worked like it should. Removing the base pin and cylinder was smooth. Replacing same was a snap. The loading gate operation was smooth.


With the new pawl design, unloading is a snap, now. When it clicks, roll back on the cylinder, and the hole is lined up with the ejector


According to the wife's postal scale:

Colt (.45), 2 lb., 9 oz.

Cimarron Mod P. 357 2 lb. 11 oz.

Ruger .357 3lb.

Size is now definitely Colt-like, but it's obviously still built like a tank.



Nothing to pick until I fire it. I'll have it at the Texas Historical Shootists Society match this Sunday, and it will be at the Tejas Pistoleros match Jan 1 and 2. Since the range is open after the match there, it will be available for others to test fire.

Thanks to Wally at Black Dawge/Goex for enough BP rounds to shoot both matches. If you want to shoot smokeless, BYOA. For that matter, if it is as popular as I expect, bring your own because I'll run out of Black Dawge ammo. (Really nice looking ammo, by the way. New plated cases!)

So far I want two, .357, stainless, 5-1/2"

Go to Page 2 for a comparison with the Vaquero.

Firing Impressions and more in Page 3 and Page 4