I'm Torn: Blackhawk, Vaquero or Stampede?


Dirty Dawg
July 23, 2008, 11:23 PM
I thought I had this pretty well figured out. I've had the bug for a revolver and was convinced that the Blackhawk was the gun for me. Then I got to lookin' at the Vaquero and today I got to handle a Stampede. I like em all but haven't got that kinda dough so I'm torn. Would some of you more knowledgeable folks mind giving me the pros and cons of each? I'd be mighty grateful.

There's a gun show this weekend and I hope to go into it with a better understanding of these guns, as well my feeler gauge and a printout of the revolver checkout sticky. :evil:

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July 23, 2008, 11:27 PM
It depends on what you want to do with it.

Gary A
July 23, 2008, 11:37 PM
Tough to say. I have all three and like all three very much. The Stampede is a bit more "traditional", though it does have a transfer bar system. If I could have only one, I would get the Ruger for its all coil springs and (I think) better transfer bar. Then it would come down to whether I wanted fixed sights or adjustable. Even if you're on a budget, I doubt that your first single-action revolver will be your last. They're all good so it comes down to what you want it for and which one you like the most.

Dirty Dawg
July 23, 2008, 11:50 PM
Well, I have to say that it would likely spend most of it's time knocking cans off split rails or tearing holes in silhouettes. I might try knocking down the occasional varmint and would probably carry it in the woods on occasion as well.

I have to say I really liked the feel and action of the Stampede.

Gary A
July 23, 2008, 11:58 PM
Dirty Dawg, I have to say I like my Stampede very much and it is prettier than my Rugers. (Glad my Rugers can't read...I don't think.)

Dirty Dawg
July 24, 2008, 12:12 AM
Thanks Gary. I've just been looking at the Stampede Bisley and am thinking with my big hands that might also be a good choice. Too many choices but like you say I don't imagine this will be my last revolver.

July 24, 2008, 12:13 AM

For what you want, I'd recommend the Blackhawk. The adjustable sights will make it a better choice for hitting small targets and you'll be able to adjust them to whatever load you'd prefer to use.

July 24, 2008, 12:18 AM
I'm sort of in the same market right now...

The main difference in those guns is that the Blackhawk is a larger gun overall, and has adjustable sights.

The New Vaquero and the Stampede are a bit smaller - on the scale of the Colt SAA. Grip shape is a bit different too. The Stampede is more like the Colt than the NV is.

At a gun show you are likely to see old model Vaqueros too - they are the size of the Blackhawks, and really are blackhawks with fixed sights. New Vaqs have "New Vaquero" on the frame.

I have some blackhawks and like them fine - have shot them a lot. I really prefer the Colt-ish size frame and grip structure, and so I am yearning for a 45 in one of those - for me it will most likely be the USFA Rodeo.

As mentioned, the Stampede has a transfer bar - you will probably see some other Colt clones that don't, and have to be carried with the hammer on an empty chamber. That's something to consider. Rugers have the transfer bar too. If I were choosing between the guns you mentioned, I like the Ruger New Vaquero best.

July 24, 2008, 12:28 AM
If you might ever want to hunt, like adjustable sights, or might one day load your own ammo I'd check into the Blackhawk more carefully.

Otherwise, if you just loking for cowboy style shooting fun, any of the 3 will do.


Gary A
July 24, 2008, 12:55 AM
LOL, that's the way it goes. Everyone is giving you good information and good reasons for any of the possible selections. It would be nice if there was a slam dunk answer but it still comes down to the one you like best. I've been messing with these things for a little while and I still go through the debits and credits, pros and cons. I try to hold to a budget also. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to know for sure is to buy something and find out, so there seems to be a certain amount of trial and error over time. Thank goodness for forums like this. Drives me crazy, but it's part of the fun.

Dirty Dawg
July 24, 2008, 12:05 PM
Thanks for your opinion Zip but you're killin' me! Now I have to throw the USFA revolvers into the mix. I've only seen pictures of them but really like them too. My head is spinning. I wonder how much I can spend before my wife goes through the roof? I'm with you Gary, it's driving me crazy.

I guess in the end it's going to come down to which pistol I can find and at what price. I'm not made of money so the bottom line is going to be a factor. Hopefully there'll be some selection at the gun show this weekend, otherwise, the Stampede is ahead of the crowd.

July 24, 2008, 12:11 PM
To my mind a big part of the choice between fixed and adjustable sights is how much the ablility to use different loads and the ablility to place them on my precise POA factors into how much I want/need it for most in of the things I plan to use with it most.

It's no biggie to regulate fixed sights for a particular load, but it's rare for them to put anything different into the same place on target.

If you reload to a standard formula in a particular cartridge for general use, you can regulate them for that. Or you can work up the most accurate combo in a piece and set 'em for that.

But either way most anything else is going to require either re-working or "Kentucky Windage/Elevation" to hit where you want them.

If you want to be able to experiment with different loads a good deal or use whatever you've got with the minimum of fuss and fiddling, then adjustables might be the ticket, especially if you're only going to have the one in a particular caliber and/or don't reload.

Just part of what I tend to think about when it's my money. YMMV.

July 24, 2008, 12:18 PM
I have a Uberti Cattleman (same as the Stampede, but with a Colt-style hammer, no transfer bar). I'd consider that, if you want "traditional". With some Wolff springs for $20, it feels REALLY good. Shoots very well, too, as well as my Ruger does. It's a .357, and it's sighted dead-on with .357 factory loads, but a good bit off with .38 Specials. That's something to think about: fixed sights are fixed sights, whoever makes the gun. You won't be able to tweak 'em with a small screwdriver.

My thoughts?

If you want traditional, look at the Uberti (aka Cimarron Model P). Uberti is now owned by Beretta and makes the Stampede -- the Beretta-branded version has the transfer bar, the Uberti-branded version has an original-style action.

If you want a transfer bar and the gun that's the most practical modern shooter, get a stainless Blackhawk.

July 24, 2008, 12:19 PM
For ME, the blackhawk is the only choice. I hunt, carry in the field, love the strength of the blackhawk and the adjustable sights for adjusting between light and heavy loads. If I did CAS, I might choose something else, only reason I can think of to not go with a blackhawk first unless you're just stuck on the cowboy look come hell or high water and disregard logic to that end.

July 24, 2008, 12:30 PM
Another thing... The Euro/Dollar exchange rate makes the Ruger more attractive by the day.

My Cattleman was $265 new a couple years ago. It's the beadblast finish, a .357 with a 4 3/4" barrel. Got the gun, belt, holster and aftermarket springs for a tad over 300 bucks, with the intent of using it in the dirt. It shoots well, it's simple and durable. They're not so cheap any more, though.

For all-around utility, I'm with MCgunner all the way, for all the reasons he lists.

CAS shooters have to follow rules about guns; the New Vaquero was designed to fit within those rules; the Blackhawk, OTOH, was designed to be the most functional single action Ruger could build for a reasonable price.

Believe me, when you shoot them, they feel pretty much the same, and equally rewarding. Shooting a single action is a special experience that I love. I have accumulated 6 plowhandle revolvers so far over about 25 years, including cap and ball, rimfire, and centerfire. Apart from loading, though, a stainless Super Blackhawk with modern sights feels VERY similar to shooting an 1858 Remington set up the way it was in the Civil War. The more things change, the more some of them stay the same.:)


July 24, 2008, 01:34 PM
Another + for the Blackhawk is that at a gun show, you are very likely to find plenty of them at a fair price. There are a lot around.

All of the arguments for the Blackhawk are good and if you don't already have one (I have 2) you should probably lean that way, but personally I think the Colt size guns and the slightly different grip fit me better and feel better in my hand, and that's why I am looking in that direction. Fixed sights are a minus to me...

If I do end up getting another Blackhawk, it will be the Bisley version I suspect. The only thing I don't like about the standard BH is the grip, and I do like them alright with Pachmyr presentation grips on them, but those aren't that attractive to me. Ruger's Bisley grip feels right to me - more so than the standard BH.

July 24, 2008, 01:49 PM
Neither the New Vaquero or the Stampede will handle +P ammo.* If that's a concern, buy an old model Vaquero or a blackhawk.

* I am specifically referring to guns chambered in .45 Colt.

Gaucho Gringo
July 24, 2008, 07:34 PM
You might want to check out the Taurus Gaucho as well. I really like mine and I have had it almost 2 years with no problems. I also have a Ruger Blackhawk in the same caliber(.357) as my Gaucho. The Gaucho has a better feel in my hand and looks better than the Ruger but the Ruger overbuilt and will last a lifetime and beyond. The Gaucho is also more accurate than my Ruger but then every gun is different.

Dirty Dawg
July 25, 2008, 01:51 PM
Thanks again for all the input guys. The gun show is tomorrow so we shall see what we shall see. I'm taking my son along too so if a nice shotgun presents itself, something that he could comfortable handle, then I might has to pass on a revolver. But lacking that, I expect to find something that will get the job done. So many good reasons to buy the Ruger and that's the direction I'm leaning but someone mentioned being hooked on the cowboy look and I have to admit that style does play a role in this decision right along with all the usual influences. Sounds kinda funny to me saying that because style has never had a place in any of my previous firearm purchases but this one is "different" somehow.

Anyway, if I come home with something interesting, I'll try to post up a pic.

July 25, 2008, 02:02 PM
Y'all "inspired" me.

Was at the range/shop last night nosing around the display case waiting for a lane. Picked up a Blackhawk .357 6 1/2" blued for $315 in 95% condition.

I hope I like it more than I miss the money.:)

Ammo for the Super Blackhawk is pretty expensive, though, so I'll probably "make the money back" fairly soon shooting cheaper ammo through the
"regular" Blackhawk...:uhoh:

Dirty Dawg
July 25, 2008, 03:20 PM
Was at the range/shop last night nosing around the display case waiting for a lane. Picked up a Blackhawk .357 6 1/2" blued for $315 in 95% condition.

That's the kinda deal I'm looking for. Hope I get lucky tomorrow.

July 25, 2008, 03:27 PM
Fingers crossed for ya, Dawg.:)

Dirty Dawg
July 27, 2008, 12:49 AM
Well, unfortunately for me I wasn't able to find a good deal on a revolver at the gun show today. I did find a couple of nice guns but they weren't really what I was after so I decided to hold out for the right gun, or at least something a little bit closer to what I'm looking for.

Maybe it's me, but it seemed like overall, the prices at the show were quite a lot higher than at my local shops. I guess the dealers expect everyone to try to talk them down so they set their prices higher to make up for it. Anyway, I was pretty disappointed overall. That said, it gave me an opportunity to fondle several different models. From what I saw, I learned that I'm not interested in a Super Blackhawk and that a Biesley fits my hand very well. I also really like the feel of a Vaquero and discovered the Cimarron SA. Had never heard of them but they looked pretty nice. I also saw more color-case pistols that were covered in rust than I could count, which made me think blued or ss is the only way to go. Is this unusual with this finish? Even with healthy rust, these guns were prices above retail IMO.

The good news is I found a nice Remington 870 for my sun but nothing for me to speak of.

July 27, 2008, 12:50 AM
ever consider a cimmeron?

July 27, 2008, 10:25 AM
I wondered about why it seemed like many of the regular vendors at the shows I attend often had been upping the ante on their offerings so drasticly from show to show in the past couple of years, too.

There are some whose stores I visit fairly regularly when I'm in the right area. In a large fraction of those I've seen what appears to be an exact item I saw on their show tables, but now with a significantly lower price on the tag.

It also doesn't seem to be unusual for the "show" price of some regularly stocked items to be $50+ higher than it is at the shop anymore.

I've made that observation to a couple of the fellas with FFLs and small-to-medium sized shops who're members at our club. While they naturally differ on some points as to what the biggest factors might be and the order they assign to their respective contribution, there's concensus on a couple of points I hadn't really considered much in my own musings.

One is that the prices per-table for space at a show have shot up by an entire order of magnitude or better at all of the venues locally in the last 4 or 5 years.

The 8'x4' piece of display area that cost about $25-35 circa 2003 now goes for $300+ at a big 'do' like the "1500". Multiply that a couple of times and the break-even point becomes exponentially more difficult to reach in just 2-3 days.

Perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, simply buying less space doesn't really make it any easier.

Unless, of course, you manage to always pick just exactly the right items to bring that the crowd will be looking for this time.

Choose everything correctly and show a modest net for the effort. Blow a just a couple of calls and end up spending a good part of the next few weeks or months trying to dig yourself out of a largish hole.

The inclusion of a 'rider' clause to extend their business and personal liability coverage off-premises isn't automatic anymore and the price for it has become huge. The choice isn't really optional if you're going to do any firearms business at a show these days, and it's another cost that has to be reckoned into every sale.

Other overhead factors are in there too, and they're not getting any smaller. Things like 2-way transportation costs, lodging, food and the time everyone spends in the whole process.

Add in that nearly everybody I know has seen the percentage of their total income that can be used for "discretionary" spending (like, for instance, new guns, ammo, accessories, reloading components, etc., etc.) shrinking almost daily and I've got to wonder how long some of the current dealers are going to be able to stay in the business at all.

July 27, 2008, 11:01 AM
like others have said the adujstable sites on the blackhawk make it my pick. I have a vaquero and am thinking of getting a blackhawk for the adjustable sites

Dirty Dawg
July 27, 2008, 06:48 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head Mainmech48. It's a shame but it seems to me that a gun show is not going to be the place to find a fair price on a firearm, unless you just happen to catch someone walking in with the weapon you are after.

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