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New Ruger Vaquero vs Uberti Cattleman both 45s

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Charles A. Wood, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Charles A. Wood

    Charles A. Wood New Member

    I recently won a Uberti Cattleman Revolver (45 colt) in a gunshow raffle. The pistol has NRA carved on the grip in old english style print. I like the Ruger New Vaquero very well. What is the opinion? Should I keep the Cattleman or trade for the new Vaquero? I know that Ruger makes good stuff - but I know nothing about the Uberti Cattleman. Is is a good product? Please reply. Thanks.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2007
  2. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    The KEY difference is that the automatically engaging safety in the Ruger is good enough to allow safe carry with all six rounds loaded.

    The Uberti safety isn't. It's a slight step up from the "zero safety at all" of the 1873 Colt from which both guns are basically derived, but it's just not enough.

    Uberti is now owned by Beretta. Beretta also sells a single action revolver made by Uberti but to Beretta's specs, WITH the same sort of transfer bar ignition as Ruger has. The Beretta-labeled SA (called the "Stampede") is the second of the three transfer-bar-equipped Colt SAA near-clones, the third being the Taurus Gaucho which is getting a lot of problem reports here and elsewhere. Strongly recommend you avoid the Gaucho.

    The Ruger New Vaq is a recent Ruger design. It's smaller than the original Vaqueros, isn't as "tough" (can't take 44Mag-class pressures) but it's also better made than previous Ruger SAs. The New Vaqs are built to tighter tolerances, we're seeing zero differences between cylinder chambers on a given cylinder now that the manufacturing process has changed, and *finally* the chambers line up under the loading gate each time the cylinder "clicks" while being spun. Previous Ruger SAs clicked when the chamber was halfway, which was way annoying.

    Now. Your Uberti with the NRA markings is somewhat desirable. You may be able to trade it on a slightly used New Vaquero straight up, or with a minimal amount of money involved on a brand new specimen. Try posting in the classifieds here, or at the sassnet.com forums. Cowboy action shooters tend to like late-model Ubertis as the quality is good (very close to Ruger levels) and the "cowboy games" only allow five-up loading so as not to give the non-safety guns a disadvantage over the safety types.

    If you're not into the cowboy games, the Ruger can be modified to hell and gone very easily :). Parts from the rest of the Ruger SA product line drop in - including hammers, triggers, grip frames and action parts. My 357 New Vaq sports a lower-slung SuperBlackHawk hammer and I may convert it to a Bird's Head grip frame.

    What else...short form, a transfer bar just means that unless the trigger is pulled all the way back, the gun flat cannot go off. The hammer is unable to hit the firing pin unless a piece of metal is jammed between them "transferring" the hammer's energy to the firing pin. This "transfer bar" is activated by the trigger. If the hammer is struck or slips off the sear without a deliberate firing trigger stroke, it can't go "bang".

    The Ubertis have a very small hammer block mechanism but it's a bad joke and NOT something you'd trust your life to. Hence "five beans in the wheel" and carry with the hammer on the empty chamber.
  3. Mr.V.

    Mr.V. Well-Known Member


    how are the Beretta stampedes? In particular how is the .357 caliber one? I liked that one a lot when I saw it at Turners.
  4. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    My understanding of the Stampedes, not having owned one:

    * Quality and reliability is pretty good. Better than Taurus.

    * The lower-end models have a fake color case same as a Ruger, and that's one of Ruger's downsides (in the "blue" models). There's a higher-end Beretta Stampede with a better finish, I believe. If this matters to you do some digging. Ruger is doing a special all-blue with white Micarta grips distributor run that looks REAL good, or just go stainless.

    * Beretta/Uberti customer service isn't as good as Ruger.

    * The Ruger New Vaq can use a lot of other Ruger parts. If you're into customizing, the Ruger is the answer, period.

    The Ruger New Vaq is probably stronger than any other SAA-sized gun, barring perhaps the new STI (claimed to be strong enough for 44Mag-power-level 45LC+P). Some New Vaqs have been customized to six-shot 41Magnums with just a barrel swap and chamber reamer, and apparently none of those have blown up yet. That's more power than you're supposed to feed an SAA, new or old. I am NOT recommending this conversion, just sayin' it's supposedly been done.
  5. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Well-Known Member


    I know that you are fully entitled to your opinion, but I am the very happy owner of a pair of 5.5" CCH .45 Taurus Gauchos. They have given me 16 months of troublefree CAS shooting so far, and unlike my various Rugers they didn't need any tune-up to play the game. I have shot both 200 and 255 loads, and don't "wimp load" them like some. They feel good, are very slick, and have real CCH. I even like the stock hard rubber grips.

    Maybe I received the only good pair, but I doubt it.
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Get the Cattleman and put Wolff springs in it ($20 mail order or so).

    You'll have a REALLY slick shooter and a solid gun. I have a Cattleman in .357 for snakes, etc. Love it.

    The Rugers are truly great guns, but if you don't want to carry six, the original, simple SAA mechanism with decent springs and a bit of oil just feels so good!

    My opinion, though I'd get both guns if I were so inclined. A few copies of each, money permitting.:D
  7. Mr.V.

    Mr.V. Well-Known Member

    For the new vaqueros, is the 5-1/2" barrel better or the 4-5/8". I read on some sight the original colt SAAs came in 7", 5-1/2", and 4-3/8" (1/4" shorter than the new vaqueros) (as well as some other custom lengths).

    Also I read on Ruger's site that the MSRP is $609 for the new vaqueros (stainless steel). What should one expect to pay at a gunstore (without including the jim-crow taxes in California that is =) ?
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

  9. eliphalet

    eliphalet Well-Known Member

    New Vaquero's can be had at or just above the $400 mark if you do a bit of searching on Gun Broker or Auction Arms. Plus shipping and what you will need to pay a local FFL's transfer fee. One here will do that for $10 but in some areas it is a lot more.
  10. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Regarding the Gaucho...I spent 10 minutes with search:

    That's in a few minutes checking. I've seen even more on the CAS/SASS forums.

    They're not all bad. But I've seen nothing like these reports on the Rugers.
  11. sixgun MAK

    sixgun MAK Well-Known Member

    If authenticity means anything to you, forget about the Ruger.

    I own both Colts and Uberti's and the Colts are much nicer. However, the Uberti's are great also.

    Uberti customer service has gotten bad reviews, but my experience with them has been great.

    For what it's worth, I traded two Ruger Vaqueros for my two Uberti's with ZERO regrets. They are SOOOO much more accurate (44-40) than the Vaqueros (45 Colt) were.

    I know tons of guys love their Rugers, and I know I am in the minority, but I'll take an Uberti Cattleman over a Ruger Vaquero anyday.

    I have owned four Vaquero's over the last dozen years. NO MORE! None of them really impressed me.
  12. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member


    The New Vaqs are better made than the originals. The new mid-frames (Colt SAA size, also includes the adjustable-sight 50th Anniversary 357 Blackhawk) are made on different machines, different processes.

    The BIG difference is at the cylinders. The "Old Vaqs" that displeased you had cylinders bored all-six-chambers-at-once on a machine with six drill bits. They were notorious for not all being the same dimensions. This was most evident with the 45LC but affected all calibers.

    The New Vaq cylinder bores are drilled one at a time by the same drill bit, spinning the cylinder in sequence. Variance between bores is simply not happening. Better yet, because it's easier to check and change that single bit more often, the staff seems to be doing so much more often. Chambers are clean and tight.

    There appear to be similar QA improvements across the board, but that's the BIG one.

    There's also functional changes. The loading gate lines up with each bore at each click-stop, not halfway between. There's a much nicer crescent ejector button. The new version of the fake color case...well, it's just as cheesy lookin' but it's not *attracting* rust like the Mk1 version was. And we're seeing windage dead on in most guns - my own included. I improved the sights on mine with a custom dovetail/Novak setup but not because I was forced to due to hideous windage.

    I agree with you: the Old Vaq had issues, many of which weren't as bad on adjustable-sight models because you could compensate at the rear sight adjustments.

    The New Vaq is a different gun.
  13. sixgun MAK

    sixgun MAK Well-Known Member


    I should have mentioned that my experiences were with the old models. As far as the new, I have not even had one in my hand.

    I said I would be in the minority. I know tons of cowboy shooters that just LOVE their Rugers of all models.

    I just appreciate the authenticity factor of the Uberti.

    I hope I didn't offend Ruger lovers. Not my intention.
  14. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    No offense taken here - we actually agree, the Old Vaq wasn't really that good a gun, though it was tunable into something pretty sweet.

    I believe the New Vaq should be judged on it's own merits, which are considerable.
  15. Charles A. Wood

    Charles A. Wood New Member

    :) Well, I sold my Uberti stampede yesterday and bought the Ruger New Vaquero (45LC) with the 7 1/2 inch barrel. I am very pleased. I like the apperance and handling of the NV better. I have the old vaquero (44mag) for bears. It is a good gun. With the solid lead special bear round it's good enough. I live in Alaska and I never go hiking or camping without it. I've never had to use it. I had one bear encounter while camping near Seward, AK but it was a peaceful one. He went his way and I went mine. I'm glad, for I would have hated to kill it. I kept looking over my shoulder for the next 2 or 3 days but everything turned out ok. In my opinion the only thing better for bears is a max loaded 12 guage 3" mag or maybe a 10 guage. But it's hell to carry one around, especially in bush country.

  16. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Cool. Yeah, for a gun you're going to carry, the transfer bar makes sense.

    Thinking out loud here....

    Suggestion: Tim Sundles of Buffalo Bore posts around here. Buffbore makes a 45LC load that is as hot as you can go and still be compatible with a recent Colt SAA or an equivelent like the New Vaq. I'm wondering how it will perform out of a 7.5" tube. Specs:


    He has data for a Colt 7.5" barrel, about 1050fps with a 255gr slug. Ruger barrels tend to shoot faster than Colts...you might pick up 50 or even 100fps over Colt spec. Maybe. Yo Tim, whaddya think?

    That's black bear medicine, somewhat marginal...for Griz, way marginal but placed right, better than nothin'.

    You could also take the 200gr JHP and fill the cavity with JB-Weld for a "poor man's AP round"...

    There have also been successful conversion of the New Vaq to 41Magnum. Take a 357 cylinder, ream it, add a 41Mag barrel (same as fits the Old Vaq fits the New).

    Now look what you get:


    The 265 may be too long for a New Vaq-length cylinder but even sticking with the 230gr hardcast, power is WAY up over the 45LC. We're over 1,000ft/lbs energy. And THAT is an "Alaska gun".
  17. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    I've had an "old "Vaquero and now have a "new" model (I hate the way Ruger decided to differentiate between "old" and "new" models- you can buy a new "old" model or an old "new" model, confusing to say the least ) and I like the new Vaq much better. Sights were almost dead on and it's amazing how much different (in terms of feel and authenticity) a few millimeters in size make.

    In deciding between which Colt SA repo to buy, I think the main reason Cowboy Action shooters have opted for the Ruger in the main is because of how tough and nearly indestructable it is. And now the new Vaq looks and feels like a Colt as well as most any other repo (certainly as well as a Gaucho or a Stampede do). When you also take into account Ruger's superior customer service record, for me, the choice was easy.

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