Bird's Head Sheriff Model SAA


February 14, 2007, 06:46 PM
I have a wicked hankering for a short barreled SAA clone with a bird's head grip.

At first I was thinking about the Beretta Stampede Marshal in .357 (I already re-load and shoot .357 so it would be nice to avoid another caliber) but I am also considering a Ruger Vaquero Bird's Head in .45 colt.

My wish list is for something that does not exist.

1.) Transfer bar safety so I can carry a full compliment of 6 rounds
2.) Bird's Head grip. I tried one ans I am in love
3.) Prefer .357 but I will consider other calibers
4.) Would really like stainless but as long as it is pretty and durable blue is fine
5.) Must have functioning ejector

I guess the option exists to have a .357 SS Ruger Vaquero converted to a bird's head grip and shortened but I am looking for an off the shelf option.

How good are the Beretta's? I know that they are Uberti but my understanding is quality is tip top.

I like to shoot alto, and I plan on packing this as a trail gun so I want a drop dead reliable and durable revolver.

Please let me know your thoughts.


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Jim March
February 14, 2007, 11:04 PM

Jim March
February 14, 2007, 11:07 PM
I'm looking in the same direction.

First, understand that the Marshall grip frame is technically not "Bird's Head" - it's a "Lightning" derived from an early Colt DA design of 1877 and only in modern times adapted to SAs. It doesn't roll in the hand well and if subjected to serious horsepower (full-house 357 and up) it can tear the living hell out of the web of your hand between thumb and palm.

The true Bird's Head was a period modification to the Colt SAA single action grip frame and is now fairly faithfully copied by QPR (now "MK Technologies") and from there adopted by Ruger:

The brass version was never stocked by Ruger but is fairly cheap and is easy to fit to a Ruger with basic hand tools. And in either Ruger or QPR/MKT flavor, they take the same grip panels and handle recoil surprisingly well, often up to mid-range 44Mag horsepower. The shape is derived from the SAA grip and retains the "roll in the hand" ability. Always run them with smooth grips versus checkered!

A blue New Vaq with a 4.68" barrel, brass BH grip frame and black grips would look very bada$$ :).

If you start with a Ruger, you have a much wider selection of drop-in hammers. The SBH hammer fits with no mods, the even lower-slung Bisley will drop in with a bit of grinding on the back edge (nothing related to the sear, transfer bar or hammer face functionality).

The New Vaquero will take "New Model" grip frames, but you also have to swap the mainspring, mainspring strut and "keeper", part numbers 33, 34 and 35 at this page:

(Tip: get them in stainless no matter what the gun is.)

These cheap parts are needed because the New Vaq has a lock which acts as an overlong "keeper" ("seat") and mandates shorter mainspring parts.

Personally, I think it's worth it to mod the New Vaq versus start with the factory setup on the larger frame. You'll get a more compact piece with the SAA-sized New Vaquero and the average quality of the New Vaq (and it's only adjustable sight cousin, the mid-frame 50th Anniversary 357 Flattop) than you will on the older large-frame series.

I love my New Vaq 357 and am strongly considering a brass BH swap. I think it's a much better gun than the Beretta and is far more amenable to mods by owner.

February 14, 2007, 11:15 PM
Howdy Pard, your a man after my own heart. Like them short barreled bangers. Might try the Ruger Birdshead, they make a .357 in a 4 5/8" length and a .45 in a 3 1/2" I beleive. I wanted a shorter barrel so I bought a Ruger Sheriffs model, 3 1/2" .357 and a Birdshead 4 5/8 and swapped the grip frames so now I have a Sheriffs model birdshead, along with my other two regular Sheriffs model .357. Anyway, they make um, you'll like um. Executioner

September 8, 2007, 04:34 PM
Is this the same "Executioner" that makes the best grips on the planet??

January 20, 2011, 06:24 PM
The New Vaquero will take "New Model" grip frames, but you also have to swap the...

Taking a shot in the dark on this old thread...

I'm interested in putting a bird's head grip on my New Vaquero, too. I found a factory replacement part at Midway ( but I'm not sure it will fit.

Gunblast has a nice page for Ruger Grip Frames ( that I have been trying to use to figure out if it will work.

The Midway part description says it will fit a New Model Single Six and Vaquero (Large Frame) so my question is will it fit the New Vaquero as well?

I understand I will have to switch out some parts in the grip such as springs and such, I'm mainly wondering if the screw holes will line up and the outside dimensions will be flush.

Any info would be greatly appreciated because I'm becoming somewhat obsessed with this idea.

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