Quantcast

Older Ruger Vaquero .44 Mag Stainless - Redux

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Viper1357, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    MN
    Some time ago I acquired this used older (1996) Vaquero .44 Magnum, stainless steel, 7.5 inch barrel, with Ruger medallion faux ivory grips, and also a nice Ruger flap holster for a fairly low price. The catch was, cosmetically this old single action was looking a bit rough. Mechanically excellent but looking kind of beat up, and for me that was a great deal for some 'sweat equity' and low price, I thought I could make it look pretty close to new again.

    When I first took it apart at home I was hoping for only a little cleaning and polish, but as always there's more wrong than meets the eye. In this case besides a lot of scuffing and scratches, I noticed (during some prelim hand polishing) the front sight was actually feeling loose and the brazing/soldering (which turned out to be an old repair) was broken loose. Then I also found the ejector housing screw was hard to get out, and then the housing tube itself as well. Turned out the threaded hole in the barrel was cross threaded a bit, and there was a lot of epoxy(?) type glue, rust and other gunk that was holding it together. Yeah the tube was also glued to the bbl...Oh my.

    So I used a bottoming tap to fix the threads, cleaned and re-soldered the front sight, and super cleaned, hand polished with multiple grits of fine files and paper, and of course some metal polish, and got it looking good again. While I put in a ton of time hand refinishing and polishing, I did not try to give it a mirror polish. The overall finish I went for was in between a brushed and bright polish stainless. There were several surface blems that I just couldn't get all the way out, so a mirror polish would have made them way too visually obvious. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but I still think it was worth it.

    I made a short 4 minute YT video which is actually is a gallery of pics (my Picumentary) showing the before and after of the blemishes and issues, and then the fixed and cleaned up images.




    44vaquero530.jpg
    44vaquero537.jpg
    44vaquero563.jpg

    44vaquero674.jpg

    44vaquero583.jpg

    44vaquero619.jpg
     
  2. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    18,106
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    Well done!
     
    theotherwaldo and Viper1357 like this.
  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Michigan (Gods country)
    Looks good. Sweat equity is always a good thing when it turns out well.
     
    theotherwaldo and Viper1357 like this.
  4. Kookla

    Kookla Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2015
    Messages:
    809
    Great job. I wish I could find a .44 Vaquero in the same configuration.
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  5. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    5,686
    Location:
    Arizona
    I can't remember the last time I saw one of those holsters.

    I remember them not being cheap and balancing the cost of one of those against ammunition and the holster lost. Silly decision at the time.:evil:

    Todd.
     
    theotherwaldo and Viper1357 like this.
  6. LaneP

    LaneP Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    564
    Nice save. A great looking 6 gun.
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  7. czhen

    czhen Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    899
    Great work on a great six gun.

    CZhen
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  8. tbob38

    tbob38 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    317
    Location:
    Utah's Dixie
    Errr, the music sounds a bit like a funeral dirge.:cool: Great job on the restoration though.
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  9. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    777
    Beautiful job!
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  10. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    MN
    Well think of it "The Resurrection of the..." , then maybe it's not as bad. But seriously, the choices you get for free use music on YT for certain time durations is a painful tedious (many selections worse than this) process and are tough to pick from especially late night/early morn when I can upload. Anyway, it sounded good at the time comparatively speaking.;)
     
  11. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    5,686
    Location:
    Arizona
    This photo alone.... even without acknowledging the repair work done by the OP, is a joy to behold.

    It'd make a nice medium sized poster in its own right.

    Of course, I'd have to blur the doggone *billboard*.:evil:
    Todd.
    44vaquero674.jpg
     
    Viper1357 and theotherwaldo like this.
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    20,416
    Viper1357

    Great job restoring that vintage Vaquero! Looks as good as new and better because you did the work yourself and you did it right!
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  13. czhen

    czhen Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    899
    Viper
    Paying a second review to the pics you have done a very nice job soldering the front sight.
    Thanks God mine sound solid, however do you mine to tell us how you did it.

    CZhen
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  14. If1HitU

    If1HitU Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,250
    Location:
    L/ville Ky.
    It's a a beauty now for sure.congrats.:thumbup::thumbup:
     
    Viper1357 likes this.
  15. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    MN
    Best as I remember, (wish I would have saved more pics I originally took) the condition I got it was apparently loose/broke as it moved while I was wiping it down. As I really looked at it, I noticed a thin silvery brass colored slag type look all the way around the base of the front sight. Didn't look that close when I bought it. Using a 10x loupe it showed a crack all around plain as day. I just treated it like a loose tooth I had as a kid and wiggled it out with finger strength only. It was obvious who ever or however it was originally fixed(?) it appeared to have had loctite or glue, maybe both and then brazed or soldered without cleaning the parts up first. See the first pic.
    44vaquero563.jpg

    I used a flat needle file (carefully) and picks to remove the slaggy metal from the blade sight and the notch in the barrel, and then stiff brushes acetone and steel wool to remove the loctite/glue residue. See the second pic.
    44vaquero570.jpg

    They fit together nicely with just a smidge of play, so using an acid based flux and some med-hard silver solder I quickly and lightly tinned both parts. This created a friction fit for tapping the blade into the notch before final soldering.
    Looking at the sight blade I noticed like an undercut on the center of the bottom edge, so I cut a tiny piece of solder slightly smaller than it and put it in the center of the notch in the barrel. Applied a little more flux and tapped the blade into the notch with a leather mallet until it was in to the max depth. placed a couple slices of solder in the top lines of connection, fired up a mini torch and carefully heated the area until the solder flowed all around. It was a bit much as I am not an expert solderer, but I'd rather have enough the first time and then clean and polish off the excess, than have to keep re-heating and adding I guess. I done it this way a couple times before on other pistols and it's held up. Time will tell in the long run. See third pic.
    44vaquero573.jpg

    Then it was time for a very very careful and time consuming removing, blending and polishing the area. Believe it or not, it was all (carefully and slowly) done by hand with needle files fine grit sandpaper and fine steel wool in my state of the art finishing center. That would be my basement laundry tub..lol See fourth pic.
    44vaqueroMisc.jpg

    The fifth pic with the green background is mostly cleaned and rough blended.
    44vaquero580.jpg

    The last pic with the red background was the final result blended and polished (took a couple hours..lol) by hand only. Not bragging about not using machines, but frankly I have more control by hand. I can and have used fiber wheels, buffers, dremels for a lot of stuff from time to time, but a lot of the time I just like to go slow by hand. It's kinda therapeutic sometimes, anyway..
    44vaquero674.jpg


    So, like I said, I'm no expert nor do I even know if it's the correct way or not, but I've done it a couple other times like this over the years and those sights are still on after being fired many times since.
     
    CaptHank likes this.
  16. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,268
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Nice job on a great revolver. I used two stainless Vaqueros in .45 Colt for SASS matches. Terrific guns.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice