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...my friend's brace of SS New Model Vaqueros.!
Right there, what are you referring to, a Vaquero or a New Vaquero? Calling the New Vaquero a "New Model Vaquero" is a great example of exactly what I'm talking about.


I don't know if that phone tech was accurate, on mid framed 44 Mag. Birdsheads, and their first run may be so small that even collectors missed that train.
If the tech told you that, he/she was wrong. Period. End of discussion. Plain and simple. I know exactly what guns you're talking about and Whitworth has one for testing. It is a large frame.


But I do remember watching a dude shoot his 44 Mag. mid frame, three screw Ruger Blackhawk.....
I'm saying never. You remember it wrong, plain and simple. As I've said multiple times now, the original .44Mag Blackhawks were built on a new large frame, completely different from the mid-frame .357. Production ran from early 1956-1962. Word has it that Ruger made three mid-frame prototype .44Mag's but when one blew during proofing, they scrapped it and designed the larger frame. NONE were ever shipped. Never. Ever. The Super Blackhawk that debuted in 1959 was not larger or stronger than the .44 flat-top. It used the same sized frame with the added rear sight ears. The cylinder is the same diameter, just unfluted. It only 'seemed' larger and stronger due to the longer grip frame and greater weight.


I don't have my late brother's New Model Blackhawk with it's 7.5" bbl. for the simple reason that I don't want anything that large and clubby. Not then, not now, and not in my future.
This is rather comical. Because that .45 you refer to as "large and clubby" was the same physical size but a few ounces lighter than the .44Mag flat-top that you thought was a mid-frame.
 

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carpooler--
That was a .357 Blackhawk found by a fisherman in the Colorado River. I bought it (after a NCIC check) for $20.
Hamilton Bowen was just getting started and wanted to do this treatment for Ross Seyfried's .475 project and wanted me to weld the frame up by TIG. We 'conspired' on how best to prevent warping and expected shrinkage. He devised a 'blue print' plan to measure what happens and I welded an experimental BH. He came back with the figures and we devised a fixture to help and then I welded the .357 Max frame for Ross' gun and this one at the same time. The fill is all melt metal, there is no filler piece that's welded in. Hamilton found a source for two leaf sights just after I'd made this one. :(
This gun was way 'crooked' from the factory and welding on it actually helped some, but I still had to bore the center pin holes straight and broach the breech face to square it with the barrel threads and the rest of the gun. It's not as perfect as one of Hamilton's guns, but its hard to tell just what 'Ruger' it might be. Nothing says Ruger...

There's a couple quarts of elbow grease invested in this gun. The barrel is cut from a 2" Douglas blank with the front ramp integral. The steel ejector rod was made from scratch. The Super grip frame was cut 5/16 shorter and the sheep horn grips made from a salvaged horn. Of course everything was stoned flat and rust blued. It was done in '86.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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The only Vaquero I see on Lipsey's site is a Colt top, not a flat-top. I did NOT know Ruger was making a Colt top .44, though.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Yep, I wouldn't want to try to hang onto it though, it's just only a 3 3/4" barrel.

Talo distributor exclusive #10596 birdshead, #10598 regular grip, both weigh in at a WHOPPING 39 oz.

Nowhere on Ruger's website did I see a Flat top Vaquero though. :confused:

RJ
 

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One of Elmer's detractors once said Elmer's strategy in a gun fight was to set the grass on fire with his hot loads. :)
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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More like his hot air :rolleyes:

But I digress.

RJ
 
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Discussion Starter #28
Birdshead New Vaquero is now tuned up by Diamond T Gunshop

I have to dodge heavy highway construction to get up to Shaun's shop, but I'm going there ASAP.

I will be taking my Lipsey's FLAT TOP 44 Spec. Blackhawk to trade off for it's new reduced springs to match my Birdshead Tuneup.

If Shaun figures I'm wrong on this, I'll get back and admit it. My reasoning is that there has been one NEW MODEL Ruger Blackhawk after another. Big Frame/cyl. Blackhawks, three and two screw Blackhawks, and now lately a smaller midsized, LARGE CAL. Flat Top Blackhawk, along with this newbie NEW VAQUERO, including my TALO Birdshead 45 acp. But these posts with suggested loads will linger for decades on this forum, God willing and the creeks don't rise. How many more NEW, NEWER, and improved models will have been trotted out by then???

Bowen Custom Arms lists a five shot 50 Guns Int. ( 50 GI ) conversion to either the 44 Spec. Flat Tops, 45 Colt/45 acp Flat Top Convertibles, or my TALO 45 acp Birdshead, along with it's New Vaquero Bros.

If Ruger sees a market niche for a five shot cylinder in these Flat Tops, or New Vaqueros, it will really muddy the waters for posting reloads on this or any other firearm forums.
So I'll stick for the time being in referring to my Birdshead New Vaquero as a field version of the new mid sized frame, Flat Top Blackhawk. If Shaun looks both of these over and says that I'm the one causing discord, then I'll give it up.

For what its worth, the loading gate recess in my birdshead 45 acp seems to need some enlargement and chamfering to readily eject the 45 Colt rimmed 45 Cowboy Special brass cases. But Mr. Bowen gets the larger diameter, rebated rimmed 50 G.I. to come back out of his five shot conversions O.K. I can trim back 45 Cowboy Special brass in custom ordered, L.E. Wilson Q case holders to about the length of a 45 G.A.P. case. And as such, the stubby ejection rod will completely push them clear of the cylinder chambers.

But my rule of thumb will be to never make up handloads hotter than what comes in the 45 acp cartridges, made for 1911's, or maybe?? the 1917 acp revolver, per the 45 Auto Rim factory loadings. Starline wrote me that their 45 Cowboy Special brass is only made to standard, and not for any Plus P level loads. The rationale here is to use good roll crimps to keep long heavy slugs from walking out of the cylinder mouths, and tying up the revolver. This above all, requires dedicated bullets with crimping grooves made for revolvers. Most molds for 45 acp lead bullets DO NOT have these roll crimp, grooves.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Don't confuse what Bowen, and other custom gunsmiths like Jack Huntington, are doing with their creations, vs. what Ruger ships from the factory. They usually run the largest diameter cylinder possible, and sometimes open up the frame window slightly. And of course open the loading gate, if need be. And so on.

Dimensions of (unmodified) guns will tell the tale as far as what 'size' it is. The easiest thing to measure is the cylinder diameter. That measurement will tell you how large of a cartridge will fit, in either 5 or 6 shot configuration. The remaining wall thickness will determine safe pressures.

Some of the cartridges like the 50 Special and so forth (Jack was working on some similar things at one time) don't necessarily run at very high pressures. 40,000 PSI isn't needed for performance, if the bullet diameter is big enough. Something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I won't try any Bowen mods, on my own.

I'm with you on that. My 44 Spec. Ruger Flat Top gets 720Fps out of my old Colt N.F. load using my 316 gr. SWC custom slugs. Smaller dia., but better nose profile. If it would stabilize, I think it's a wash with the Bowen 50 G.I. 240 gr. SWC's loaded up to max, seem to fly true out to 100 yds.

But my old Colt N.F. had a custom quick twist bbl. ( i in 12? ) and it was there to print all six bullet holes into a paper plate, over a rest, out to 200 yds. And to do this at factory 44 Spec. pressures, not souped up Keith loads. Keith admitted in print that round nosed 44 Spec. ammo shot true, out of his S & W Triple Lock revolver, but he wanted to shoot SWC's for better terminal performance. My custom 316 gr. slugs are an inch long, An AZ. shop makes suppressed Ruger 44 Mag. carbines, with 12 inch long barrels using this quicker twist, while the suppressor takes up the rest of the room in a saddle scabbard. They guarantee accuracy out to 300 yards with the scoped version, with jacketed S.P. bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
My understanding is that they say a 300 gr. subsonic jacketed bullet goes where it's pointed, out to at least 300 yards. This short barreled, suppressed, carbine fits in a scoped or regular saddle scabbard, made for the stock Ruger 44 Mag. carbine. It's for saddle use, not bench resting. But mid range trajectory must be something else.

These are unlisted barrels sold by the West Virginia Co. that this Az company cuts in half. I was trying to buy the end off of one, but no go. They come from Douglas, even if not made by him, at around $150 for a 24 inch blank.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Slicked up Birdshead

Shawn nailed it. So slick I asked him to retro a Bisley hammer in my 44 Spec. Flat Top along with the spring set. Now I can shoot 45 Cowboy specials in both my 185& Remmie. C&B revolver.
I note Lipsey’s now shows ad copy using “mid sized Flat Top Rugers”!
Personally Ruger could have solved this by using 4 & 3/4” bbls.
Oh dear, that would be too simple!
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Now Taylor's & Co. has come on board.

Currently, Taylor's & Co. is offering a snubby 1860 Army percussion, with an available converter cylinder that has the classic saw handle birdshead grip frame of the old 1877 38 D.A. What got my attention is that they list this as; " Flat Top Birdshead ". Personally, all I see is an Open Top Percussion Colt, but this one is a very, very, nice Open Top Birdshead. But FWIW, I don't see the barrel's rifling twist listed. So it's probably still only rifled for a round ball.

As Winston Churchill once publically quipped; "Trust the Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else".

This is one very neat 1860 Colt snubby, with a lot of thought put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #35 (Edited)
If it doesn't fit, you can't convict

But in my case, I dug out an old tooled leather, RH holster into which the Ruger Birdshead Vaquero fits very nicely indeed. Now this holster is stamped with Fred Warren's Sport Shop, Lewiston, Idaho, above "Blackhawk". Not even any mention, at all, of Ruger.

Back in Freddie's day, and he's now long gone, these revolvers were simply "Blackhawks". But the new?? mid sized Blackhawks and New Vaqueros, fit into it like a glove. So do my pair of ASM Colt Peacemaker clones, which are also in the original Blackhawk 357 Mag. chambering.

Now back to Shawn. He got almost all of the creep out of my Birdshead's trigger, and trued up the six chambers in the cylinder. I provided a couple of 0.002" base pin shims, but Shawn said they made things too tight. The best I can mic with leaf feelers is 0.007 to 0.008 inch clearance on the cylinder to barrel gap. Then with a rimmed Cowboy Special case in a chamber, maybe 0.004-5 " of an inch at the back end of the cylinder. with a 45 acp case inserted, maybe 0.008 to 0.009".

My desire here, was to duplicate any roll crimped 45 Auto Rim lead reloads, but using the equal length 45 Cowboy Special cases. I did find that shortening these rimmed Cowboy Special cases to around 0.800 to 0.770" really sets up allowable powder charges/densities, and minimizes internal airspaces.

On paper this all sounds pretty good. I'll get back here after I shoot a box or two at Lewiston's indoor range. I think LCWC's Tom Beal Rd. range is still locked down.

edit; I finally found some notes on the initial Ruger Blackhawk 44 Magnum. American Rifleman, Aug. 1956 has the original advert. Between 56 and 63 there are several modifications, before the Super Blackhawk Debuted. A Gentleman named Hamm wrote on Gunblast.com a detailed genealogy of these with neat expandable photos. Only three known prototypes made from 357 Mag. redo's, but Gunwriters were given samples of pre production Blackhawks. Hamm suggests Elmer Keith was one of them. It was still only a Blackhawk, as the SBH only arrived in 1963. These Pre SBH's had a lot of teething problems, like base pins auto ejecting out of the frames. But one by one Ruger solved these hiccups. So do a search for Pre Super Blackhawk 44 Mag. Revolver, and look for the Gunblast.com link.
 

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