Davidsonís Exclusive Ruger New Vaquero 45 Colt/45 ACP Convertible Single Action Revolver


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 14th, 2011


YouTube Video





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Davidson's exclusive Ruger New Vaquero 45 Colt / 45 ACP convertible.





Like all Ruger New Model sixguns, the New Vaquero has Ruger's transfer bar safety.





Cylinder throats are perfectly sized to snugly accept a .4515" diameter bullet.



A 45 ACP auto pistol magazine makes for a handy way to carry spare ammo for the sixgun.



Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel load features a full-wadcutter 225-grain cast bullet, and can be used in any modern 45 Colt revolver.



New Vaquero exhibited excellent accuracy at 25 yards.









Almost seven years ago, Ruger introduced their New Vaquero single action revolver. A bit smaller in size than their very successful original Vaquero, the New Vaquero replicated the handling qualities, balance, size, and feel of the beloved Colt Single Action Army revolver, but uses Rugerís improved New Model lockwork, which is stronger, more durable, and safer than the original Colt design. The Ruger New Model design has been proven for many years, and is the top choice of competitive single action revolver shooters who need a strong, dependable, and accurate sixgun for competition. The Ruger New Vaquero is also an excellent choice for a working and hunting sixgun, carrying well on the belt in a good holster, but having enough heft to shoot well.

I wonít go into great detail on the New Vaquero design here, as I have covered that before in several other articles, which can be found in our Archive section. However, I will note that the New Vaquero action is one of the best single actions ever designed, and shown here is another variation of that dandy sixgun. The New Vaquero featured here is an exclusive variant that Ruger builds for Davidsonís, a large firearms wholesaler.

The New Vaquero shown here is chambered in 45 caliber, and comes with two interchangeable cylinders; one chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge and the other chambered for the 45 ACP cartridge. Both are excellent cartridges, with the 45 ACP being well-suited for hunting medium-sized game, as well as for defense and plinking. Good 45 Colt ammunition costs anywhere from sixty cents to twice that per round, while comparable 45 ACP ammo is about half that cost. Shooting much ammunition, the savings add up quickly, comparing the cost of shooting the two cartridges. Another way to look at it is that you can afford to shoot twice as much shooting 45 ACP as you can 45 Colt. Having the extra 45 ACP cylinder included with this Davidsonís New Vaquero pays for the extra cost of getting this variation compared to the New Vaquero with just the 45 Colt cylinder within shooting a couple of boxes of ammo.

Critical specifications for the Davidsonís New Vaquero are listed in the chart below. Linear measurements are listed in inches. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of force. SA is the single-action trigger pull.

Weight 41 ounces
Overall Length 11.02 inches
Overall Height 4.9 inches
Cylinder Length 1.615 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.68 inches
Barrel Length 5.49 inches
Trigger Pull 3.25 pounds
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.003 inch
Chamber Throats 0.452 inch

I tested for velocity with my chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, with an air temperature of sixty-three degrees Fahrenheit; with a gusty breeze in the ten mile-per-hour range. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. WC is a hard-cast lead wadcutter bullet. Bullet weights are listed in grains. Group sizes are the average group size for each type of ammunition, measured center-to-center of the widest-apart bullet holes in each group. Accuracy was tested at twenty-five yards, with the revolver secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest, to eliminate all human error.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy


Buffalo Bore WC 225 1125 1.75"
Handload #1 LSWC 285 778 2.00"
Handload #2 LWSC 285 771 2.30"

45 ACP

Handload LWSC 200 1069 2.50"
Cor-Bon JHP 230 951 2.25"
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1111 1.75"
Cor-Bon JHP 185 1201 2.13"
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 1011 1.75"
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 1013 1.88"
Buffalo Bore JHP 200 1121 1.80"
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1223 2.63"
Stryker FMJ 230 853 1.88"
Remington FMJ 230 848 1.38"

As can be seen in the chart above, the sample gun exhibited fine accuracy with every load tested. The revolver was very well-fitted. I especially appreciate the tight barrel/cylinder gap, measuring only three one-thousandths (.003) of an inch. This tight gap contributes to the superior accuracy, and enhances velocity over a revolver with a larger gap, everything else being equal. The sights on the New Vaquero placed 230 to 255 grain ammo on target for me at twenty-five yards, with the lighter-bulleted loads impacting slightly lower. The crisp three and one-quarter pound trigger pull contributed to good practical accuracy offhand as well.

I carried the New Vaquero on my hip in a Simply Rugged leather holster that fit the sixgun well, and offered excellent protection in the field, while still allowing quick access. The leather holster is well-crafted, with just enough border tooling to make it interesting. It fit my belt very well, and allows comfortable field carry for working or hunting, keeping the sixgun high and out of the way.

The Davidsonís Exclusive Ruger New Vaquero Convertible is available in either blued steel or polished stainless finishes, and with a choice of four and five-eighths or five and one-half inch barrels. This New Vaquero comes with a hard plastic storage case, padlock, both cylinders, keys for the internal lock, and instructions. It is backed by Rugerís excellent customer service, as well as Davidsonís GuaranteeD Lifetime Replacement Warranty.

The Davidsonís Exclusive Ruger New Vaquero Convertible is available only at a Davidsonís authorized firearms retailer, or if you prefer, you can order the sixgun online. To order the Convertible New Vaquero online, go to www.galleryofguns.com and click on the Gun Genie tab. Inputting your ZIP Code will give you prices from several dealers in your area, where you can pick up the revolver conveniently.

To order high quality leather goods at reasonable prices, with fast delivery, go to www.simplyrugged.com

To order quality 45 Colt and 45 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.luckygunner.com, and www.theamericanmarksman.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


This New Vaquero comes with interchangeable 45 Colt and 45 ACP cylinders.



The New Vaquero rides well in this Simply Rugged leather holster.







Checkered hard plastic grips fit well, provide a secure hold, and are very comfortable.



Internal key lock is hidden under the grip panels, and securely locks the New Vaquero's action.