3 Ruger New Vaquero Problems You Must Be Aware of

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I’ve recently had the chance to put the Ruger New Vaquero through its paces, spending some quality time in the field. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of fun with this revolver, but during my time with it, I’ve encountered a few problems that need addressing.

In particular, I ran into three noticeable Ruger New Vaquero Problems that I think you all should be aware of. First up, there’s an issue with cycling that’s worth noting. Second, the revolver had a couple of misfires. And lastly, there was this annoying case burning issue.

This article aims to discuss these problems in more detail. I’ll break down each issue and offer some handy solutions that have worked for me.

Overview of Ruger New Vaquero Problems & their Solutions

ProblemsQuick Solutions
Cycling IssuesSend it back to Ruger for a complete check and possible parts replacement.
MisfiringSwap back to the factory hammer and test again.
Case BurningUnderstand it’s usually soot from low-pressure loads; contact Ruger if it bothers you.

Top 5 Ruger New Vaquero Problems & Solutions

1. Cycling Problem

Alright, let’s dive into the first problem: cycling issues. So there I was, out in the field, pulling the hammer back to cycle the cylinder. And guess what? It locked up on the same one or two cylinders. Just wouldn’t budge.

It was super frustrating. Trust me, in a situation where reliability is key, this is not something you want happening. I even tried swapping out the base pin with two others to see if that was the issue. 

No luck. Checked the transfer bar and firing pin, and everything seemed fine there. In short, it was a real headache and put a damper on my day.


So, what’s the fix? After going through all the troubleshooting, I decided to send it back to Ruger. 

The good folks at Ruger Customer Service took care of it. They replaced the pawl, the cylinder latch, and the cylinder itself. After getting it back, I put it through the rounds, and lo and behold, it worked like a charm. 

No more lock-ups or any other problems. It’s not ideal to send your revolver back for repairs, but sometimes, it’s the best solution. And in this case, it worked wonders.

2. Misfiring Issue

Okay, let’s talk about the second problem: misfiring. Yep, you heard it right, and trust me, this one was a real puzzler. So I took my Ruger New Vaquero to the range, armed with three boxes of factory ammo from Federal, CCI, and Winchester. Firing away, and boom—or rather, no boom. It misfired. 

What’s more confusing? It was consistently misfiring in just one chamber. So, I even went as far as numbering the chambers with a Sharpie to keep track. 

I tried shimming the hammer spring with a washer as a temporary workaround, but no dice. The misfiring persisted, regardless of the ammo brand.


Now, what did I do to solve this? The first thing that came to my mind was returning to basics. I 

swapped the factory hammer back in to see if that would do the trick. 

And guess what? It worked! If you’re facing a similar issue, I’d recommend starting with the simplest solution before diving into more complicated fixes. 

In this case, reverting to the factory hammer made the problem disappear, and now, the misfires are a thing of the past.

3. Case Burning Issue

Now, let’s get into the third issue: case burning. So, I was out shooting with a variety of loads, from cowboy loads at 750fps with 200-grain lead to the heavier 255-grain Winchester Super X at 860fps. 

Guess what I noticed? Unpleasant burning marks on the outside of my spent brass. Weird, right? These burns were only covering about a fifth of the circumference of each round and not even in the same location on each cylinder. 


After some head scratching, I realized this “burning” is often just soot. The case might not expand enough to fully seal in lower pressure loads, letting gases slide down the exterior.

It turns out this isn’t too uncommon, and different guns react differently. But if this is something that really bugs you, your best bet is to contact Ruger. In my case, understanding the nature of the problem put my mind at ease. I’m not overly concerned now, but it’s good.

Final Verdict

All in all, the Ruger New Vaquero is a pretty solid gun. It’s got that classic feel and a lot going for it in terms of design and functionality. But like anything in life, it’s not without its issues. 

The cycling problems, the misfires, and the case burning were all bumps on the road that needed ironing out. Thankfully, Ruger’s customer service is up to snuff, and they sorted me out. I got it back from them, took it out to the range, and it performed beautifully. 

So yes, despite the problems, I’d say this is a gun worth having, as long as you’re willing to tackle any issues head-on. 

Just remember, sometimes the solution is as simple as returning to the basics or contacting the manufacturer. So, for anyone who’s eyeing this firearm, go ahead and give it a shot, but be prepared to do a little fine-tuning.


Is the Ruger New Vaquero a good gun?

Yes, it’s a good gun with improved action and finish for speedier handling.

Did Ruger discontinue the Vaquero?

No, the original was produced until 2005; the New Vaquero is still in production.

What is a sass Ruger Vaquero?

It’s a Ruger Vaquero designed with a larger crescent-shaped ejector rod head, ideal for SASS competitions.

What does a Ruger Vaquero shoot?

It’s chambered in .357 Magnum and also accepts factory .38 Special cartridges.

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I'm Micheal, an avid shooter and hunting enthusiast from Texas. I'm a recreational shooter who loves to spend time at the range and enjoy learning about new firearms and gears. I love to write about guns and share my passion for shooting with others.

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