Battle of the SASS Revolvers: Colt SA Army vs Ruger Vaquero

Battle of the SASS Revolvers: Colt SA Army vs Ruger Vaquero

The Colt SA Army and Ruger Vaquero are two popular options for those looking to wet their feet in the world of Single Action Shooting Sports. With a variety of wheelguns at their disposal, what is it about these two that is so appealing for SASS shooters?

Introduced in 1873, the Colt SA Army was immediately adopted by the U.S. Army. Colt manufactured the guns until 1941 when production ground to halt in order for the company to better support the mounting war effort. At the close of WWII, the SA Army’s design was deemed obsolete with Colt closing the book on the SA Army. The revolver’s story, however, wasn’t over just yet. The 1950s gave rise to many western themed cowboy shows, resulting in the resurrection of the SA Army due to high demand. Colt introduced its second generation of SA Army in 1956 and continued churning out the revolver until 1974 when Colt, again, pulled the plug.


  1. razorseal on November 12, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Too bad no Vaquero in 44-40 🙁

  2. Jimmy Ruger on November 12, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    very informative for 5 minutes. Im a Ruger collector, but did not know all the details and years that he explained about the Colt history. I bought a Vaquero new in the box at a show 2 weeks ago for $500. had NO problem getting an offer for $ 600.

  3. Thunder Breath on November 12, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    Hi John,
    I own a set of unfired 5.5" barrel Uberti SASS in .45 LC with lowered, wider (maybe short stroke?) 4-click hammer, and wish to sell them, I just don’t know where best to list them.

  4. Max Swain on November 12, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    filmmaker Sergio Leone visited the Uberti factory in the 1960s to procure replica Civil War and Old West revolvers for use in all his Western films including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West and that’s good enough for me!

  5. Blue Duck on November 12, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    My vaquero bites my finger everytime. Thats the only thing i do not like about it. Other than that, its highly accurate, extremely rugged, reliable. Bill Ruger really knew what he was doing. He was a very gifted engineer.

  6. Kennith Franklin on November 12, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Then there is the Vaquero vs the New Vaquero, which has more in common with the Colt SAA in terms of dimensions than the Blackhawk.

  7. Topgunz81 on November 12, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    He didn’t mention what the colt clones go for $$$?

  8. One Doomed Spacemarine on November 12, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    I really love that Cowboy movies brought the 1873 back from the dead.

  9. Glenn Hummell on November 12, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Hey Skinny, just found this, good review pard !

  10. Mr D on November 12, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    I can’t afford a colt unfortunately. So i opted for a heritage 22 and 45.

  11. Maximilian Ullrich on November 12, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    a ruger is like a kuckucks-watch

  12. Villy Vassel on November 12, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Elvis action shooting the king loved guns,

  13. Terry Smith on November 12, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you. Cheers

  14. MM53 on November 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Standard Mfg SAA are very well built may be the best SAA on the market

  15. Vincent Lok on November 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Rugers have transfer bar safeties in them. I think one version of the Colt SAA might have as well, but in anycase, with the Ruger, you can safely load 6 rounds in the gun. With (old SAA) you should load only 5 and leave the hammer on the empty cylinder. I believe Colts also have the firing pin on the hammer? Correct me if I’m mistaken.

  16. Walks Fletcher on November 12, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Cowboy Shooting actually started more then 35yrsago.

  17. Maverick Fox on November 12, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I have a Ruger New Vaquero in .45LC.

  18. Richard Flaherty on November 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to create this informative video. I have a Henry rifle in 45 Colt and wanted to get a revolver in the same caliber. Your video was helpful.

  19. B Ray Sanborn on November 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Years ago the "old" Vaquero was to large , Colt cost to much so I bought consecutive # Uberti Cattlemans case hardened In 357, slicked them up..eventually engraved and griped them in Stag . I think they are beautiful shoot great and
    they have been great guns to me for several years .Still love these things !
    To each thier own .

  20. Ragemutt on November 12, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    I just happened to be sitting here holding my Ruger New Vaquero when I clicked on this.

  21. Villy Vassel on November 12, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    The Vaquero would be my choice,

  22. Ozark Living on November 12, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    I bought a ANIB never fired Colt SAA 45LC John Wayne commemorative yesterday. Ordered ammo this morning and I’m going to take it to Busiek Woods outdoor public range and fire it .

  23. Roger Childs on November 12, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    without guys like you history would be getting buried forever, thank you guys for what you do

  24. The Joker on November 12, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Lol, as much as I hate Colt (mostly for how they treat their customer base)… this isn’t even a fair contest. Colt Single Action Revolvers are (*imo*) the more iconic single action revolvers ever made. So as much as I’d love to give it to Ruger, or really anyone but the scumbag corporation that is Colt, but this isn’t even a fair matchup. Maybe the Ruger outperforms the Colt in every measurable way… but you don’t buy a single action revolver for home defense, you buy it to do some cowboy action shooting. In which case, you’ll look much cooler shooting a Colt Single Actions, much as it pains me to say lol.

  25. Leverguns 50 on November 12, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    The Ruger vaquero is one of my favorite guns, thanks for sharing with us

  26. Mk on November 12, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    I truly love the look and feel of the real Colts and even their Italian clones, I love the feel and sound of the action with the distinct clicks and am used to the half cock to load and unload. Saying that the Ruger is probably the better gun, stronger, safer especially with six loaded and so easy to load and unload by simply opening the loading gate. I have both, a Ruger and a Cimarron 1872 Open Top and a Uberti 1873 Colt in 22 LR. I enjoy them all. Great video, Thanks!

  27. EnjoyPool on November 12, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Why Colt doesn’t update the internals (Keep the 4 click), and keep the external the same is beyond me. Colt should own SASS competition; John Wayne never said "Draw that Ruger!". Although credit Ruger the new vaquero is very nice. To bad Ruger doesn’t offer a nicer finish and rubber grips like the Colt.

  28. Villy Vassel on November 12, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Or better the New Vaquero,

  29. B Thompson on November 12, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Vaquero isn’t close to a colt 1873 uberti is

  30. Eileen McCort on November 12, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Whats the difference from a SASS Rugar to Rugar that does not say SASS on it?

  31. Villy Vassel on November 12, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    You can load 6 shells safely in the Ruger,

  32. Khorsathedark on November 12, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    The powder charges used in Cowboy action are one of the things that has always kept me away.

  33. Bigwu on November 12, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    A real colt fanboy. Totally useless video.

  34. Bloo Eagle on November 12, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    I’d buy the Vaquero first. If they are the same firearm, you are paying for the Colt name. I can wait to own a Colt.

  35. Lake Ratatouille on November 12, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Spaghetti westerns and Italian manufacturers. Makes sense 🍝

  36. Shane K on November 12, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Does colt currently make a gen3 or do they still make a single action at all?

  37. SC Vandy on November 12, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    When viewing the two models in profile the first thing I notice is the placement of the trigger on a Colt Single Action Army is nearer the rear the trigger guard whereas the Ruger Vaquero’s is closer to the middle. Re the latter this might present a problem when gloved hands OR extremely large hands’ large trigger / index fingers compromise the shooting experience. You will also notice the difference in trigger’s placement within the trigger guard with some of the contemporay Italian Colt Single Action Army clones whose internal adjustments eliminate one of the four, traditional, century-and-a-half old ‘clicks’ — when pulling back the hammer.
    Speaking of differences relevant to purists and/or Cowboy Action Shooters 20 inches was the barrel length on the carbine version of Winchester’s infamous 1873. Then, why oh why, is nearly ever contemporary ’73 clone manufactured with 19" barrels? In contrast the 20-inch barrel on carbine versions of Winchester’s Model 1892 are duplicated — 20 inches — with the Italian and Brazilian clones. What in the world — U.S., Italy, Brazil — is behind those differences?!

  38. Slick Sixguns on November 12, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    Owned and shot both I prefer the new vaqueros for competition as they have stronger springs and are quite customizable for speed of the game if I want to be more traditional and historically correct I would choose a Colt SAA that does not mean they can’t be fast I just see more options with a vaquero

  39. deVaras on November 12, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    I wish I could afford Colt, I can buy two Rugers for same price as a cheap one and it has the best warranty in the gun market.

  40. ARRL Member on November 12, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    I don’t compete in Cowboy Action events, but I do work on my guns. Therefore I prefer the Colt type (Uberti) because it is so easy to take apart and reassemble, besides many of the parts are interchangeable with the 1851, 1860 & 1861 Colts. Since I do not compete, the Ruger I prefer is the Blackhawk with adjustable sights for several reasons. One reason being that I have Henry Big Boy rifles in .357, .44 & .45 LC and Ruger Blackhawks to pair up with them. So I like both the Uberti Colt clones and the Ruger Blackhawks, but not the Vaquero.

    One of these days I may introduce my Uberti clone to my mini mill and put adjustable sights on it, but I would NEVER do that to a real Colt. I know better than to ruin it’s value.

  41. LateNite on November 12, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    With the Colt you’re paying for the name, no thanks.

  42. George Geeseman on November 12, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    You might as well use wax blanks.never understood using a full size strong pistol with girly loads.

  43. Axis Of Energy on November 12, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Great high quality video

  44. Lee T. Walker on November 12, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Three words: Transfer bar safety.

    Ruger wins. Next video.

  45. southernexposure123 on November 12, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks. You answered all the questions I knew I should ask at this point in time,

  46. Jeffrey Elliott on November 12, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Although not a Colt SAA revolver Colt also made a clone of they’re own catering to the cowboy action shooting sports and it was called the Colt Cowboy Colt .45colt !!! It was a single action revolver shooting 6 shots in 4 3/4 , 5 1/2 and also the 7 1/2 in barrels !!! It was made for only 5 years during 1999 to 2003 !!! This model is going up in value as well if you find one new in box for $1600 to $1800 dollars you’re doing good !!! And the 3rd generation Colt .45 SAA today is running in the $2500 to $3000 dollar price range !!!! I was happy to pick both of mine up years ago for $800 dollars and $1000 dollars !!! So I feel pretty good with that investment purchases !!!! Oh yes and I did have a former world champion fast draw gunsmith trick out my Cowboy model !!!! And the best for the SAA model was tricked out by the late great Bob Munden himself before he passed away !!!!

  47. Carol Anne Sparkman on November 12, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for the video!

  48. Chuck Crooks on November 12, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Hooooooooooooooooooooo Skinny!