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Cannon

44-40 Vaquero oddity

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I recently bought a Vaquero on line. It didn't have the best picture. Short story is it's a 6.5 inch NRA model and I was hoping for a 5.5 inch model in CCH. I already have one in 5.5 and was gonna make a set. It's in great shape but I would say it has been shot.

 

Are the NRA models collectable? I just want a shooter and now I'm on the fence about using this one. I don't want to open up the rear sight and put a sbh hammer on this among other changes if it is truly a rare gun.

Another issue is my holsters are set up for 5.5 old models and I'll need a new holster for the purchase. Not a huge deal but just another thing against modifying it.

 

What do you think?

 

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I think they only made 500 6.5 in Vaqueros. But I could be mistaken.

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These were made in 1996 in quantity of around 550 for the NRA banquets. No other 6.5" barrel Vaqueros were ever made in 44-40 caliber (the retail models were 4-5/8", 5.5" and 7.5"). Ruger inserted a special NRA grip medallion in the right panel of these guns instead of the normal Ruger eagle.


 

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Cut it off and enjoy it. Unless it truly has a significant value. (I let my Blue Book of Gun Values subscription run out or I'd look it up for you).

or have it re-barreled and it can be changed back if you want.

 

That information and $0.02 will get you two cents.

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You must be coming over to the Black powder side. ;)

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2 hours ago, Cannon said:

 

Another issue is my holsters are set up for 5.5 old models and I'll need a new holster for the purchase. Not a huge deal but just another thing against modifying it.

 

What do you think?

 

If your holsters don't have a toe plug I say try it with the short holster if you don't hang up the front sight... like Steve McQueen in Magnificent Seven!

Occasionally I shoot my 5.5" with holsters cut for 4 3/4" guns. Not all appliances have to be a perfect match in CAS matches!:)

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If it has never been fired it could be worth a lot to a collector. If it has been fired or if the cylinder has developed a turn ring it will hurt the collector value.

 

Odds are you can easily get enough out of it to pay for the revolver you actually are looking for and still have some change left over.

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I'm trying to remember the last time I heard Ruger and collectable in the same sentence.

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Cut it and shoot it is going to be the simplest route.  If you really want to see about "collector value", head over to the ruger forum and ask what they think its worth.  They stay on top of the less common models and if it's "just the thing" for one of them you may get a offer to trade it off for more money or what you really wanted in the first place.  Of course, after shipping and what not, it'd have to be a pretty good offer.....  I suspect, if you bought it online, you paid about what it's worth and you might as well go ahead and "make it yours" and modify and shoot as you originally intended.  It takes a long time for Rugers to become significantly more valuable than their shooter value.  Even guns 50-60 years old are hardly worth more than a new Ruger, unless there is something pretty unusual about the gun(weird serial numbers, odd factory features not commonly found, factory seconds, truly unusual chamberings,  etc.).

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Thanks for the opinions. I'm still kinda on the fence, but I'm leaning to modify it. I know Vaqueros are not really "collectable" to some people. I will say that I had an active search on gunbroker for 2 years before I found a set of 38-40 convertible Vaqueros. I paid less than you can get New Vaqueros at todays prices. The guys at the gunshop kinda razzed me. Not a big deal to me because I was smiling the entire time! In fact, I'm still smiling! The prices for them have really gone up since I found the set I have now. So maybe they are hoarded or just really desirable to a small group of people. Not necessarily collectable, but the market is thin with inventory. I'm not gonna jump to fast in this instance regardless. Maybe I will find another 6.5 model or something. IDK. I guess this is just another part of the game that is fun to me.

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You will want to check the cyl throats for size.

Ruger let a bunch out that were .425 dia or smaller..........

OLG

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You could try any find a replacement Barrel.

Swap out the Barrel with a 5 1/2  . That way you will still have the original.

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17 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

You will want to check the cyl throats for size.

Ruger let a bunch out that were .425 dia or smaller..........

OLG

True! Slug the cylinder THROATS!  Personally, I have both my .44-40 OM Vaqueros with .425" throats.  I shoot .429-.430 hardcast (BHN 17-22) commercial bullets and get excellent accuracy.  How can that be?  Because they are hard, the bullets compress going through the throats, but because the dwell time is short, the compressive stress in the bullet metal doesn't have time to dissipate as heat, and the bullets re-expand in the barrel.  That is why I have not had the chamber throats reamed out.  But most folks will.  Before they discontinued the .44-40's, Ruger did open the throats in the later issues.  Best is to check the diameter of the throats and then decide.

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Shoot it.

I had 2 of those nra 44-40's. Both required I  open the cylinder throats to .429 to shoot well and cleanly with soft cast bullets. Once I did that they were great.

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It is one inch of difference...  I would shoot it as is along side the 5.5" model and see if it really made a difference.  If I noticed a difference then I would probably try to sell or trade it off.  Or look for another 5.5 and simply keep the 6.5 as a backup.

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What are the first two numbers before the hyphen on the serial number?  The 55- through some of the 57- serial numbers had tight throats.  But even Ruger didn't keep records of when they started opening up the throats!

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I think it's 55. Not looking at it right this moment. Here's a pic compared to the 5.5.

 

20190909_180630.jpg

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2 hours ago, Cannon said:

I think it's 55. Not looking at it right this moment. Here's a pic compared to the 5.5.

 

20190909_180630.jpg

The 55-XXXXX series definitely had the tight (.425") throats.  Some of the earliest ones, including mine, actually had enough variation in the chambers themselves that you couldn't chamber a round in some of them!  Ruger finally replaced the cylinder but the new one still had the tight throats!  In the meantime, I had a Super Blackhawk cylinder fitted and the two cylinders retimed so as to be interchangeable.  When SASS went to two pistols, I found a Vaquero in .44 Mangle-em and located a 55- cylinder, which I had timed with the Maggie, so I have a pair of convertibles.  I have loads in both cartridges that match ballistics, though the magnum cases require less powder because of smaller capacity. 

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On 9/10/2019 at 9:12 AM, PaleWolf Brunelle, #2495L said:

These were made in 1996 in quantity of around 550 for the NRA banquets. No other 6.5" barrel Vaqueros were ever made in 44-40 caliber

 

I don't know about yall, but I am constantly amazed at how easy it is to make me want a gun.  I like to think of myself as an independent thinker who can see through cheap marketing tricks like this. 

 

Well ... maybe I can see through them and the problem here is that I don't want to. 

 

 

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