Ruger NM Vaquero, smallish chambers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by NorthBorder, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. NorthBorder

    NorthBorder Member

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    Last year I bought a NM Vaquer in in 45LC. Checking the chamber throats using Hornady 250 gr XTP's to see how easily they would go thru the cylinder it required a mallet and a dowel. Not the gentle push as described in other threads. But they did go thru. Does it sound like the cylinders need to be reamed, and if so, is that the work of any competent gunsmith? Some on the forum talk about renting a reamer and DIY job. Is it simple enough for a layman with little gunsmithing experience? Or can you recommend someone to send the cylinder to (my preference)?
    Right now the gun shoots low and left 3-4 inches at about 15 yds. using 8.5 grs Unique and the XTP. Hoping I can get it to shoot straight if the cylinders are correct dimensions.
    Thanks in advance
     
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  2. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Ahhh...welcome to the world of Ruger revolvers. I went through the exact same thing with a New Vaquero 45 Colt and had the Cylindersmith open the throats. You can find him on Facebook and his price is cheap enough that it wasn't worth messing with, to me. The next thing you're going to be dealing with is a very common problem known as "thread choke". This is a tight spot in the barrel where it screws into the frame. I fire-lapped mine and it took over 60 rounds and even then it was reduced rather than completely removed. If you're going to be shooting jacketed bullets only, it might not be much of a problem, but it will play hell with cast bullets and accuracy.

    As to POI, the elevation is simple enough, just remove a little from the front sight, BUT make sure you know what load you want to shoot. I went through the shooting left thing too, and I bent the front sight trying to correct the problem. At the time I was pretty new to revolver shooting so it took me a while to figure out that the revolver wasn't shooting left, I was.

    35W
     
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  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Shooting low left is very common for right handed shooters and is caused by too much finger on the trigger. Make sure you are only placing your fingerprint on the trigger. This may or may not be your problem but is worth a try. And it's free!
     
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  4. NorthBorder

    NorthBorder Member

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    I'll look for that. Thanks.
     
  5. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    This.

    I actually used Cylinderhone on FB... he did a good job on the cylinders.

    I've gone through about 8 Ruger SA pistols... none of which exhibited reasonable accuracy, including a beautiful .41 Bisley, and a .44SPC Flattop. I sent the cylinder for the .44 to my man above, and while he fixed the cylinder, there was the torque bulge in the barrel Whelen describes. I was not prepare to worry it to death, and sold the pistol shortly after. My man also reamed my Vaquero .45 Colt cylinder... it improved the accuracy of it, for sure, but it's a knockabout pistol, not a target pistol, but it was worth the cost to get it sorted out.
     
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  6. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I suppose I have been lucky in that most of my Rugers have had very good dimensions. I rarely have had to fool with Ruger throats, although I will admit that nearly all of my SA Rugers have had bore choke. I just assume that any new SA revolver will need to be firelapped.

    A key point, though, is that perfect dimensions are important primarily to the user of cast bullets. Jacketed bullets are much more forgiving, due in large part to their "springiness". Once a cast bullet is sized down by an undersized throat or a choke in the bore, it is almost certainly going to stay that way. A jacketed bullet, though, can be squeezed down by a thousandth or two and still "re-expand" to fit the bore reasonably well.

    All of this, though, has to do with "repeatability", i.e. sending bullets to the same place every time. The author does not tell us how well his gun is doing that. It is quite possible that fire lapping, throat reaming, and all of the other tricks will tighten his groups, but that they still will be low and left. That trouble is more likely a sight issue, a shooter issue, or both.
     
  7. AK103K

    AK103K member

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    I had sort of a similar issue recently with a SS NM Blackhawk 357/9mm convertible. I figured that I got a gun that must have been the last one on the cutters, as it would not dump fired 357 cases without you manually pulling them out. Didnt matter how hard or fast you punched the ejector either.

    The 9mm was very picky about any ammo that it might perceive to be a smidge out of spec or even if it was in spec, causing them to not fully chamber, but, would allow them to turn past the cylinder lock, so you couldnt bring the cylinder back to get it out, and it wouldnt go forward, because it wasnt fully chambered. Had to pull the pin and remove the cylinder to get the round out. Big PITA.

    Ive had a bunch of Ruger guns over the years and have sent a number back to them for this or that. Yea, they took care of the problems, but its annoying I had to send them back and have things that never should have left the factory fixed.
     
  8. NorthBorder

    NorthBorder Member

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    FB is Facebook? I don't do that. Can you explain who/what cylinderhone is?
    Or any gunsmiths to recommend?
     
  9. LOLBELL

    LOLBELL Member

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    There’s a guy that goes by “DougGuy” on the “Castboolits” forum that does throat reaming also. Another, “2Dogs” on the “Ruger.com”. Of the 50 some odd Ruger single actions I own one needed the throats reamed. DougGuy handled that and did a very good job. Reasonably priced, quick turnaround even touched up the blueing. I’ve not used 2Dogs but have heard nothing but good reviews on him.

    How does it shoot? Besides low and left, what kind of groups. If it shoots good groups leave it alone and work on point of impact. As it was stated above low and left can usually be corrected by “technique or tinkering with your load.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  10. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Yes, this guy takes a revolver cylinder and reams the cylinder throats out, making them 1) all the same size, and 2) the proper size to match the bore. When he did my .44 cylinder, he said there wasn't one throat that matched, and 2 were undersized for the bore. My particular guy does other stuff, too, like recrowns, cleaning up forcing cones and such.

    PM inbound.
     
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    There are two common diameters for bullets used for 45 Colt; .452 and .454. Originally, back in 1873, the groove diameter for 45 Colt was specified as .454 min, .455 max. After WWII 45 Colt groove diameter was changed to .451 to match the groove diameter of 45ACP. The .454 diameter bullets are meant for old Colts with 'large' groove diameters. Generally speaking, .452 is the correct diameter for bullets in a modern (post WWII) revolver chambered for 45 Colt. I know some guys in CAS who like to use .454 bullets, they think they get slightly better accuracy with the larger diameter bullets. I have always used .452 diameter bullets in all my revolvers chambered for 45 Colt; Colts, Rugers, and Ubertis. Ideally, the correct sized bullet for any revolver cylinder can be pushed through the chamber with gentle pressure. Too small and it will fall right through. Too big and it takes a lot of pressure to shove it through. Most of my 2nd Gen Colts have chamber throats a little bit on the large size, this was common with 2nd Gen Colts. My .452 bullets pretty much fall right through, but they have always given me good accuracy.

    I bought this New Vaquero slightly used a few years ago. It was made in 2013. I just measured the cylinder throats, they are all running around .4505 -.451. It does take considerable pressure to shove one of my .452 bullets through. However, my 45 Colt rounds chamber completely, they do not hang up at all when inserted into the chambers. I have no intention of opening up the chambers on this revolver, it shoots fine. It shoots where I point it, as long as I remember not to put too much finger on the trigger. Too much finger on the trigger tends to push my shots to the left. Yes, I am a righty.

    pnto28unj.jpg
     
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  12. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    Mine shoots dead on at 15 yards, but it is a .357

    8A58A8A4-557A-46E9-8F9A-AC578F05E717.jpeg
     
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  13. Pivot Dr

    Pivot Dr Member

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    Of my several 45 Colt revolvers the most accurate, by far, is a 4-5/8” Stainless Blackhawk. By far the worst I’ve ever owned was beautiful early stainless Vaquero. The short barrel Blackhawk has off bags and bench regularly put 6 holes in a circle the size of the bottom of a Coke can. 230 gr Lee Round nose tumble lube cast as 1/2 wheel weights and 1/2 soft lead. The Vaquero wouldn’t keep 6 shots in the lid of a 5 gallon bucket at 50’. On bags on the bench. Ruger said send us the Vaquero, we’ll take a look at it. Several folks I knew got nothing but a reply that it met their standards when test fired after sending theirs in. Luckily one day at a gun show I found a guy who couldn’t take another breath without owning my Vaquero. It stayed with him at the gun show and the new short barreled Blackhawk followed me home. Imagine my excitement when we got home and shot it off the bench at 100 yd. First two groups of 6 shot by two different guys were under 3”’ one under 2” except for a flyer that oppened it up to just under 3”. That was several years ago, can’t do that today, neither one of us can see well enough to see the sights and bullseye at the same time now. I’ve got a long barreled new model Vaquero and a Bisley that don’t shoot nearly that good, but not too bad for a single action 45 Colt.. My Anaconda is pretty good as is my X frame S&W 460 with either 454 or 460 length cases, but what little I’ve shot it with 45 Colt cases, it keyholes about 3 out of 5 at about 50’ over bags. Maybe it doesn’t like 250 gr cast bullets? I’ve got some 300 gr cast special for 454 and 460s coming from a guy in PA, we’ll see what they do at 3 different load levels.
     
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