dumb ? - can I vaquero-ize a blackhawk?


August 4, 2011, 09:32 PM
Maybe this is a dumb question but here goes: Can I take a stock Ruger Blackhawk ( 45 colt ) and a file and round-over the topstrap and maybe the base of the front site? My goal is to smooth over the right angle edges to make it look more like a Vaquero. Assuming that I dont go too crazy with the file would these mods significantly affect my use of Ruger-only loads?


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Dave T
August 4, 2011, 10:58 PM
Not sure about the "Ruger-only" loads...how much were you planning to file off?

One thing for sure, you will destroy the value of the gun unless you are a master at hand filing. And, if you pay some one to do it professionally you will have more invested than just buying a Vaquero out-right.


August 4, 2011, 11:01 PM
Save yourself the money, time, and voided warranty. You want a Vaquero, trade or sell/buy to get into one.


August 4, 2011, 11:27 PM
By a Vaquero and have both. They are fairly inexpensive and it will save you a lot of ag as previously stated.

August 4, 2011, 11:29 PM
I'd agree that it would make more sense to sell the Blackhawk and buy a Vaquero. The "Old Model" Vaquero used the same size frame give or take as a Blackhawk... and they were beefy. I'd imagine some metal could be taken of of a Blackhawk to dehorn it, but if you like that look and the adjustable sights, maybe you could have S&W sights installed on a Vaquero. Or if you want "adjustable" sights, you could have a dovetailed front sight fitted to a Vaquero. IIRC, Hamilton Bowen does that kind of work.

Red Cent
August 4, 2011, 11:30 PM
I'm afraid those big ol' adjustable sights may give you away:evil:.

The three screw Blackhawk was/is a favorite of the fast draw crowd. They go a little farther. They cut off and weld back, grind and file, sand and blue, and come up with a Cuger. 4 clicks. Half cock. Firing pin is in the frame saving ripped thumbs by the hammer mounted firing pin of the Colt. And, the same size as a Colt, is a tank. And it looks like a Colt.

I appreciate the "just because" questions. But I would consider it " why in the world" :cool:.

August 5, 2011, 01:08 AM
The original Vaquero (prior to 2006) is just as strong as the Blackhawk and will handle the heavier loads. I own a Bisley model of the original Vaquero in .45 Colt and it's probably one of the last guns I would trade/sell, it's a great revolver...


August 5, 2011, 01:18 AM
Save yourself the money, time, and voided warranty. You want a Vaquero, trade or sell/buy to get into one.

It is my understanding that Ruger does not techically offer a warranty. Has something to do with a legal loophole, but they do "make good" for their customers.

I have been considering having bisley hammers put on all my blackhawks. If it is true and they do not have a warranty, does anyone know for sure if Ruger would provide service on a gun with a replaced hammer?


August 5, 2011, 01:26 AM
I'm not Ruger so I can't say 100% sure but I see no reason why they wouldn't service their product if you only change the hammer. In actuality you didn't modify the gun with something not offered by Ruger.

August 5, 2011, 03:37 AM
I have heard of guns with lightened trigger pulls or spring kits being restored to "factory" condition by Ruger if they're returned for repairs. Something to do with liability. It's also true that Ruger doesn't do a warranty, but even on used guns they've offered to work on them for me for free. They have excellent customer service in my opinion.

August 5, 2011, 04:42 AM
The affect on the resale value doesnt concern me. At present, the difference between a new Blackhawk and a new Vaquero is around $100. Sometimes I see used Blackhawks priced right that tempt me. The rounding of the sharp corners on a Blackhawk sounds like a fun project that I think would improve the appearance of the gun. BTW, I already have a OMV and a NMV. Thanks everyone for the responses!

August 5, 2011, 05:49 AM
The original Vaquero is a Blackhawk with fixed sights. You can recontour the frame, but you'll still have that blocky rear sight that'll look like it was stuck on as an afterthought...ven if you recontour it, too.

The Vaquero frame is actually a little stronger than the Blackhawk's due to lacking the square cut at the rear for the adjustable sight...even though the topstrap isn't as massive.

Unless you just want a project, the best approach is to just find a Vaquero. These things have a way of becoming the tail that wags the dog.

August 5, 2011, 08:13 AM
Randal, it would be much easier to find a used OMV;)


August 5, 2011, 11:15 AM
Buying the gun you want is easier/cheaper and almost always better than making the gun you want. Especially when it is a reasonably priced, production model.

Buy your Vaquero

August 5, 2011, 11:36 AM
You certainly could but I would wager the farm you'll end up with a destroyed mess of a good sixgun. Silly to even consider since the Vaquero is so widely available on the used market.

Rest assured, if you install a Bisley hammer on something that isn't, Ruger will replace it with whatever it came with if sent in for service. It's not a drop-in swap either, you have to grind off the rear of the hammer to fit the slot in the grip frame.

PS, "Old Model" is Ruger's official designation for those single actions produced before 1973 utilizing traditional half-cock lockwork. "New Model" is Ruger's official designation for everything produced thereafter. Since the Vaquero is a New Model single action with New Model lockwork, there is no such thing as an "Old Model" Vaquero. There is simply the Vaquero and the New Vaquero (that is, not the new model Vaquero, new Vaquero but "New Vaquero").

Vaquero is large framed.
New Vaquero is mid-framed.
York is in Great Britain.
New York is in the US.

August 5, 2011, 02:06 PM
I too have been somewhat put off by the rather flat and blocky look of the top of the frame on the Blackhawk and SBR. There's no doubt that slightly arcing or chamfering the top flat surface would help the looks of the gun a lot. But I won't be the one to try it on MY SBR which I hope to use for shooting its share of full power .44Mag rounds over its time under my care. And I'd never even consider the idea of removing the rear adjustable sight and carve away enough metal to produce the sight groove of the Vaquero/Colt style in addtion to the arc shape to either side of the groove

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