May 2014

Two Shiny Six-Shooters: Ruger New Vaquero, Traditions Frontier

Carrying a six-shooter loaded with six rounds is possible with these two SAA revolvers — both have transfer-bar safeties.

Single-action-revolver purists cringe at the thought of a transfer bar in a six-shooter. The fact is, classic single actions are usually five-shooters rather than six-shooters. Reason: For safety, the loading regime for a classic single action is to load a chamber, skip a chamber, and load the rest, which allows the hammer to rest on the empty chamber. Some single actions have built-in transfer bars that are raised into firing position as the trigger is pulled to the rear. When the hammer falls in this design, it hits the transfer bar, which in turn transmits energy to the firing pin. Thus, these transfer-bar revolvers can be carried fully loaded without the risk of an discharge if the revolvers are accidentally dropped on their hammers. The ability to load six rounds appeals to plinkers, hunters, and home defenders, but to a Cowboy Action Shooting competitor, the advantage is moot — only five rounds are ever loaded at a time during CAS competition.

Accordingly, we evaluated two transfer-bar designs in 38 Special/357 Magnum chamberings more broadly than as pure competition guns. They were a Traditions Frontier Series 1873 Single Action Model No. SAT73-126, $609; and a Ruger New Vaquero No. 5108, $739. Here’s what our mild bunch encountered with these transfer-bar single-action revolvers.

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