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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon all,
I have a Ruger Vaquero (Not new style) in 45LC with a blued steel bird's head grip frame that sadly does not fit my large hands very well, so I am looking to switch it over to a larger, standard grip frame.
From all my research on this, I thought I found that I needed an XR-3RED grip frame to fit the older style Vaqueros, so I found one on Gun Broker, received it, and found my trigger is too wide to fit through the cutout in the frame. Now I'm thoroughly confused as to what grip frame I actually need to do this conversion.

I've looked at Bill's fantastic article on Ruger grip frames at gunblast.com, but I still find myself unsure of what the proper frame is for my specific revolver. Do I need a super blackhawk frame? Or are there different versions of the XR-3RED frames with wider trigger cutouts? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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aschordine, You got the right grip frame, however there are a few kinks. Your Birdshead Vaquero came with a wider trigger so you have two options …. either replace the trigger with a standard Blackhawk trigger, or widen the trigger slot in your new grip frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for your help. I also noticed the grip frame I bought is considerably lighter than my bird's head, so I'm assuming it's aluminum rather than steel. This makes me a little nervous about widening the trigger cutout as I don't want to compromise the structural integrity of the frame. Has anyone done that without a problem? I suppose the easier option is to just replace the trigger with a standard one.
 

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Widening the trigger slot won't hurt the integrity of the frame but if it were me I'd probably replace the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the help guys. I found a trigger on eBay and will swap it out once it arrives.

Thanks again.
 

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Well, it's sorta closing the barn door after crossing the bridge, but the grip frame used on the Super Blackhawk shorter barreled revolvers is the one you likely would have rather had.

It is of the XR-3RED configuration and is of steel rather than aluminum alloy.

The 7 1/2" and longer barreled Supers have the Dragoon style, square backed trigger guard, while the shorter barreled guns have the more familiar plow handle grup frame.


Bob Wright
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info Bob,
I had a feeling the SBH grip frame is what I actually wanted (primarily for the extra length of the grip) but settled on the standard frame before realizing there were different trigger widths to consider.

Regarding the aluminum grip frames, has anyone run across balance issues with these larger revolvers using aluminum frames? My first thought was the gun might feel too top heavy with the large, steel cylinder frame sitting on top of a lighter, aluminum frame. Does anyone have experience with that?
 

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aschordine, All blued Blackhawks (except Bisley models) have aluminum alloy grip frames so it's certainly nothing new. This includes 30 Carb, 357 Mag, 41 Mag, and 45 Colt plus of course 22 cal and 32 cal Single-Sixes.

Balance is definitely affected by a steel or brass grip frame versus an aluminum grip frame where a 6 1/2" barrel seems to balance the best but with an aluminum grip frame a 4 5/8" barrels feels more balanced. Most people tend to shoot a gun better when it is "muzzle heavy" versus balanced which is why Blackhawks are so popular.

Super Blackhawk grip frames …. the Dragoon style with a squared trigger guard is indeed a larger steel frame with taller grips. Steel grip frames used on 5 1/2" or 4 5/8" Super Blackhawks are the same exact size as Blackhawk aluminum grip frames and use the same grip panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Iowegan. Since my bird's head frame was steel, I just assumed the majority of Ruger grip frames were also steel; I didn't realize the aluminum frames on the higher caliber 45's and 44's were common.
That's good to know though since my Vaquero is a 4-5/8" barrel, so I'm definitely not concerned about the balance anymore.

I also didn't realize only the square backed SBH grips were actually longer than the standard grips and not the round trigger guard version too. So really the only advantage I would have had getting the rounded trigger guard SBH frame was not having to swap the trigger out.

Thank you all again for all your help. I greatly appreciate it. I'll update this post again after I get my new trigger and mount the new grip frame onto my revolver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Amazing price, yeah. I knew I could swap out the grip frame if I wanted to relatively easily, so I wasn't too concerned about what was already on it. Also, I didn't get a real good sense of the feel of the bird's head until I used it a few times. After the third or fourth trip out I decided the smaller grip really wasn't for me.
 
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