simulatedjim, Even though we know what you mean .... and just to avoid confusion ... Old Model and New Model relates to the older Ruger SA revolvers that didn't have transfer bars and the new ones that do. All Vaqueros have transfer bars. The "New Vaquero" (marked as such on the cylinder frame) is the current production model and as Bud White stated, they have a lighter frame and cylinder than the heavy frame models.
If you buy a 357 Mag, it really doesn't make much difference. Both will shoot the same loads. However, if you get the 45 Colt version .... big difference. I own a couple heavy frame 45 LC Vaqueros and really like them. I'd gladly put up with a little extra weight in order to safely be able to shoot much more powerful loads.
Here's my Heavy Frame Vaquero Convertible 45 LC/45 ACP.
i have a new model and enjoy it very much a few advantages are that the ugly afety message has been moved to the bottom of the barrell so that it is not in plain sight like it is on the old ones , you can buy them new when i was looking for mine i couldnt find any thing used.
I am wanting a .45 Colt so I guess I better start looking for an "old model". I can always get a new later on. Oh and I started the SA Ruger collection, just picked up a little Super Bearcat "old model".
I have 2 new model stainless Vaqueros; one in .357 with the 5 1/2" barrel and the other in .45LC with the 4 5/8" barrel. I doubt I could ever part with either. I don't hunt (other than whistle pigs every now and then) so using nuke loads in .45LC isn't an issue for me and the cowboy loads are just plain fun! I've shot some pretty hot loads in the .357 with no issues at all. I consider Double Tap to be hot since I don't reload myself. Still, with Double Tap 125gr Gold Dots it's an all-dayer.
targetshootr, I would consider your gun but until my regular FFL regains their license I am not having anything shipped to me due to cost of transfers. Maybe in the future if you still have it. Thanks.