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Ruger VAQ BHG 45LC SA 3.75SS
by Randy R Date Added: Monday 06 May, 2013
Typically excellent Ruger quality and functionality. Subjective comparison between this model Vaquero and an 1873 reveals the Vaquero to be beefier and heavier. Of course being a Ruger it also has a superior, never-fail lock-work that might mimic the original pattern, but certainly gives one piece of mind when facing down a dangerous situation. The "Gen II" Vaqueros are smaller than the originals as Ruger's market clearly expanded to justify manufacturing two distinct frame sizes, however the Vaquero is still built like a truck and handle's standard pressure .45 Colt ammo without issue.
While the fit and finish is excellent, the grip panels seem a bit oddly fashioned. Instead of being smoothly sculpted into the grip frame, the panels instead of thick, raised edges with bold "corners" - like "slabs" of wood rather than panels! Because this is so anathema to how an original Bird Head 1873 is crafted one initially recoils from the apparent design oversight, but then, after direct comparison to an original the purpose of leaving the grip panels thick around the edges becomes obvious. While an original makes use of a rather bulbous swelling in the grip wood to stabilize and located the gun in the palm, the Ruger's thick panel design accomplishes the same thing with a relatively "flat" grip. The panesl also have a recess that seems to match the location of the hand and middle finger when gripping the revolver.
The gun functions like a Swiss watch - as expected. Loading and unloading requires only flipping the gate down which acts internally to depress the cylinder stop, allowing the cylinder to rotate freely for loading without the need to manipulate the hammer. Additionally, the transfer bar ignition system allows the shooter to carry the gun with all six chambers stoked with zero chance of an errant discharge due to mechanical interface. While the "purist" will decry Ruger's departure from early 1800's technology, the "practicalist" will appreciate a strongly built, over-engineered rendering of all business SIX-gun. While we all enjoy handling our 1873's and faithful reproductions at home and on the range, when we reach for a powerful single-action to carry in harm's way Ruger's version is most often the grab because every modification by Ruger resulted in a superior, more technologically advanced, more reliable single-action!
The greatest "truth" about single actions is found in the reality that most people "baby" their 1873 pattern revolvers, yet shove top-loads into their Ruger without hesitation!

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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