Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Packing Gun

I’m looking forward to using the .45 Colt Ruger New Vaquero on a daily basis and all I need to do that is to develop a single load to use in the gun and to acquire good leather in which to pack it. As noted earlier, I think I’ve got the leather deal worked out for daily packing by getting a Sourdough Pancake (don’t you just love the humor in that) from Simply Rugged run by Rob Leahy.

Rob’s shop is just north of Anchorage, AK and I’m sure he gets to test his stuff on a regular basis. If pretty is what you want, you know, with all the floral carving, etc., well this might not be for you. But, if what you want if performance and comfort I think, based on comments by users, that you’d be well pleased. Prices are VERY reasonable for high quality leather. Rob’s talked about getting his own boat and I’ve done a bit to help out by already forwarding my order for holster, new belt and cartridge slide (I just might need more than 6 rounds). All I need to do now is wait.

While waiting, perhaps I can work up a good load for the gun that will be accurate, repeatable (components will be easy to replace) and effective. At least that last will be relatively easy to accomplish as the large caliber is effective without depending on expanding bullets. Big holes in and big holes out equal effectiveness. However, one must put those big holes in the proper place.

Properly placing those big holes is why accuracy is a goal. We should at least remove the firearms system (gun and ammo) from the causes of inaccuracy. Put it all on the shooter! Fortunately, preliminary testing with the Winchester Cowboy loads indicates that there is potential for excellent accuracy. That’s very heartening. All one has to do is find bullets of the proper hardness and size (diameter) to work in this gun. The first thing to do to that end was to measure the chamber mouth. The chamber mouths on this gun measure .4516” to .4517”. Stupidly, I didn’t measure the bore but as most revolver shooters know, the chamber mouth and barrel leade must work together for best accuracy. Widely varying measurements, differences from the bullets and many other things can affect accuracy. It is very important that a bullet be sized to correctly fit both chamber and bore. I believe that a .452” bullet which hasn’t been cast to be overly hard will probably work. We won’t really know until we try. Sometimes one has to fiddle around a bit to achieve the best possible performance. Not just any bullet design will do.

Some bullet shapes aren’t conducive to accuracy and some aren’t as effective as they could be. A broad meplat makes an effective bullet. This is particularly important with non-expanding bullets. I had the idea that I’d love to use a genuine Keith bullet for a couple of reasons. First, they’re effective. I think they have a proven record. Second, they’re appropriate to the gun. What better way to load the .45 Colt SA than with the first really improved cast bullets as used by Mr. Keith? Third, this bullet will visually identify these loads as different from those loads for the EMF/Rossi 92. This is important as the NV loads MUST be within SAAMI specifications. The loads for the 92 will probably destroy this revolver. Not a good thing. These bullets can be difficult to find.
However, after a bit of a search, I think I’ve found the bullets that are most like what I want to use AND most likely to be successful in this gun. From Mt. Baldy Bullets in Cody, WY, I finally found a 250 gr. Keith style bullet of the proper hardness (11 BHN). I’ve placed an order for 400 (to really ring them out) and now await delivery.

Colt 1991A1 Government, Colt Combat Commander and Ruger New Vaquero are all caliber .45 guns and of similar size. The New Vaquero's size is comparable to the more "modern" pistols.

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