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Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver Not only is it chambered for affordable .22 LR ammo, the Ruger® Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver with Black Cerakote® Finish is the perfect sidearm for life on the ranch or the farm. It’s great for taking care of varmints and pests that complicate life in the country. Thanks to the cold hammer-forged barrel with 1:14 rifling, it has the accuracy needed to hit scampering pests. A black Cerakote finish protects metal surfaces from rust and corrosion, while an aluminum alloy frame offers a quick-drawing, lightweight feel. Its checkered synthetic grips provide a confident grip and extra shooting control. Its transfer bar and loading gate interlock virtually eliminate accidental discharges. Line up the blade front and integral notch rear sights and experience the straight-shooting accuracy of the Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver.
Manufacturer model #: 2002.
Chambered for affordable .22 LR ammo
Perfect sidearm for life on the ranch
Takes care of varmints and pests
Cold, hammer-forged barrel with 1:14 rifling
Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish
Aluminum alloy frame
Checkered synthetic grips
Transfer bar and loading gate interlock
Blade front and integral notch rear sights
Gun Review: Ruger Wrangler Single-Action .22LR Revolver
The legend of the Wild West exists in the heart of every American. It’s our heritage and our birthright. Ruger knows that the spirit of the West belongs to each and every one of us and has released a new gun that has all the ruggedness of an old cowboy, but at a price we all can afford. Today we will be taking a look at the new Ruger Wrangler in .22LR
With an MSRP of only $249 and a retail price well under two Benjamins, the Ruger Wrangler is one hell of a deal. I will get into the features of the gun in a moment, but I first need to address the introductory price of this piece. I often hear that guns today are too expensive and that many companies have a very high potential customer exclusion rate. While I think that everyone should own the best guns they can afford, that line is different for everyone.
Not everyone can afford a $900 pistol or an $1,800 rifle with thousands in optics and support gear, but the person who can should be applauded, not shamed for their investments. Likewise, a man who owns a ‘cheap’ gun shouldn’t be shamed either for not buying into all the bells and whistles.
The idea that the rimfire Ruger Wrangler is a ‘cheap’ gun is false. While it’s inexpensive relative to other guns, it is not at all of poor quality. There are certainly some terrible guns out there that you can buy for a couple of bills, but this isn’t one of them. I would say that this gun is of equal quality to most of Ruger’s revolver line and is better than most all of its competitors in the same class and feature range.
The class of gun we’re talking about is something of interest here as well. The Wrangler is a full-size revolver with a 4.6” cold hammer-forged barrel and 30 oz of heft. This puts it just under the same weight and size as a Single Action Army revolver.
The only area where the Wrangler is truly smaller than the old .45 is in the cylinder and aluminum alloy frame. The rest is fairly comparable in size, which means that it will not feel like a tiny gun to adult shooters while being comfortable for kids and newbies at the same time.
Some features are identical to the old SAA while there are some differences. To load a traditional SAA, you need to put it into half-cock and open the loading gate. The cylinder only spins clockwise. Insert your cartridges and then close the gate.
Make sure you don’t lower the hammer on a live round or it could ruin your day. Many people load five in a sixgun for safety with the hammer down on an empty chamber. I do this when carrying a traditional sixgun in the woods.
The Wrangler rimfire revolver is a bit different. Opening the loading gate disables the hammer and allows the cylinder to spin freely in either direction. SAA fans will know that if you miss a chamber, you have to go all the way back around to get it again. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
The good news is you can safely load all six rounds in the Wrangler, which has a transfer bar firing mechanism. That means the firing pin is retracted until the act of firing. On an original SAA, the firing pin is always active as it’s fixed to the hammer and can come to rest against a live primer if the shooter isn’t careful, which is why most carry on an empty chamber.
The Wrangler has the same ejection rod as the SAA and empty cases must be manually extracted. The sights are also similar in that they are a fixed blade front sight and a simple notched rear sight. The sights are not adjustable.
So how did the Wrangler perform? I tested it for accuracy and reliability and put about 500 rounds through it from a mixed bag of ammo. I had no issues to speak of as far as reliability goes.
Accuracy was seemingly built in at the factory. I had a great time shooting it and just couldn’t miss at ranges out to 35 yards. The gun shot right where it was aimed and steel rang just about every shot. This revolver is the very definition of fun.
As the Wrangler is a relatively heavy .22 long rifle revolver, it exhibits virtually no recoil, making it a very pleasing plinker. I could have shot it all day long with not a hint of discomfort. The trigger is excellent. You expect a good trigger in a single-action revolver but the Wrangler’s is exceptionally crisp with a light, clean break.
That’s an important feature for young shooters who are lacking in finger strength as well as those looking to build marksmanship skill at a low price of entry. Nothing is more frustrating than having to send a factory gun off for trigger and action work. It is nice that, after centuries of manufacturing, mankind is able to deliver a good factory trigger on an affordable gun.
My time with the Wrangler was well spent. I like that it has everything you could hope for in a gun with a street price less than $250 new. I am pleased with the sample I got and, intent to play with it a bit more and see just what extra fun I can squeeze out of it. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
If you’re wondering why companies keep making single-action revolvers in the current day and age, you need to take a look at just what makes us who we are. The single-action revolver is part of America’s cultural heritage and it’s as important to how we see ourselves as the sword is to the Japanese or tea is to the English. The martial culture of America is centered on the single-action revolver and you can own a fun, affordable part of that with the Ruger Wrangler.
Specifications: Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Revolver
Finish: Black Cerakote (Silver and Burnt Bronze available)
Capacity: 6 rounds
Barrel Length: 4.62”
Overall Length: 10.25”
Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
Reliability * * * * *
I had no issues with the Wrangler. The firing pin is robust and cylindrical and strike marks were deep and consistent.
Accuracy * * * * *
The gun simply puts lead where you aim it. I tested a variety of ammo and the gun produced groups on paper at 25 yards that averaged 2.75” for ten shots. Shooting it against steel was a hoot.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The single action revolver, particularly those resembling the Single Action Army, have always been known as some of the most comfortable and sculptural guns ever made. The grip size and weight make for a great day at the range.
Customize This * * *
Sadly, there is not much that can be done to alter this gun without sending it out for work.
Aesthetics * * * *
While maybe not the prettiest revolver out there, there’s a charm to the ruggedness and no-frills attitude the Wrangler displays. The clean, even Cerakote finish on my sample is black, but it’s also available in silver and burnt bronze.
Overall * * * * *
If the price isn’t enough to catch your interest, the features should do the trick. The Ruger Wrangler is a solid, reliable gun that has a great number of end uses. Many here see a fun gun for plinking at the range. Others see a good kit gun for their fishing adventures. This gun can be whatever you want it to be and that is the beauty of it.
Ruger Wrangler Review
Nostalgia can be an important factor in successful gun making and few firearm designs evoke as much sentimentality as the enduring Single Action Army (SAA). Ruger is a brand that has always paid homage to previous firearm designs.
Although seeming inspired by the German Luger and influenced by the Japanese Nambu, Bill Ruger gave us the Standard .22LR semiautomatic pistol, which has evolved into the Mark series we know today. Then there was the Farquharson-esque No. 1 single-shot rifle. The Blackhawk revolver improved on the Single Action Army (SAA), and other Ruger single-actions also offer fun twists on classic revolvers. We’ve enjoyed the Vaquero and the Single-Six rimfire revolver dating back to 1953. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
Ruger distinguished itself in the firearm industry by collecting talented engineers and developing innovative methods to produce quality firearms at an affordable price. Most notably, Ruger first championed investment casting through its subsidiary Pine Tree Castings located in Newport, New Hampshire, which had been producing affordable products for other industries, along with a range of applications, including power tools and medical equipment. These traditions continue and are evident in the new single-action Ruger Wrangler.
What will make the Ruger Wrangler a hit with lasting mass appeal goes beyond nostalgia as a fun single-action .22. It’ll be the price. At a very attractive $250, the Wrangler is less than half the price of Ruger’s Single-Six and Bearcat models.
The Wrangler looks like it could be a scaled-down Vaquero, Ruger’s popular fixed-sight sixgun, but it’s akin to the Single-Six, which starts at $630 and from which it borrows its internals from. What distinguishes the Wrangler are the unique materials that include zinc and aluminum alloy, used strategically to keep the gun’s weight and price to a minimum. (It feels so light.)
The Wrangler frame is machined from cast aluminum alloy, which is both lightweight and easy to manufacture. The barrel and cylinder are made from steel, of course, but the grip frame is cast from a zinc alloy. This combination of component materials almost goes unnoticed, beyond the light weight and handiness of the revolver. Further, unlike the machine marks we’ve observed on the Wrangler’s closest competitor, Heritage Manufacturing’s Rough Rider Revolver ($180), Ruger has elevated the Wrangler’s appearance with a skillfully applied Cerakote finish that is compatible with each of the metals used. The initial release featuring 45⁄8-inch barrels are available in either black, silver or burnt bronze colors.
As mentioned, the Wrangler was developed on the same scale as Ruger’s Single-Six so that it could share many of its internal components. The Wrangler uses the Single-Six’s hammer and trigger, as well as the small bits. This also means that holsters, grips and other accessories for the Single-Six are compatible with the Wrangler’s. Black plastic grips are standard on the Wrangler and help keep the price down, even featuring a molded version of Ruger’s phoenix-logo medallion.
I own and shoot many Ruger single-action revolvers. I’ve built custom guns on several, so I’m pretty familiar the nuances of each design. The Wrangler is faithful to the Bearcat, Blackhawk, Bisley, Single-Six, Vaquero in terms of style, it features and design elements that make it a Ruger. If you’ve ever used a Colt or Remington single-action revolver, operation of the Wrangler will be a familiar process. The Wrangler’s unfluted cylinder rotates clockwise on a removable base pin and is charged using the loading gate on the right side of the frame. Empties are ejected one at a time using the spring-loaded ejector rod. The hammer is cocked manually, making the handgun ready to fire. There is no manual safety lever as there is on the Heritage Rough Rider series.
Like the Single-Six, the Wrangler’s grip is a scaled-down clone of the SAA, which means that for shooters with large hands, the pinky finger will ride below the grip frame. The SAA grip is among the greatest ever created, particularly among handguns that have little recoil. The arrangement makes the Wrangler point very naturally and gives the impression that its sights want to find the target. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
The Ruger Wrangler wears fixed sights in the style of a SAA. The .070-inch front blade is barrel mounted, and a .100-inch rear notch is cast into the topstrap frame above the cylinder. Not only are these sights economical to produce, they are extremely durable and provide a good sight picture.
Mechanically-speaking, this gun is a fixed-sight Single-Six without the steel frame. Like the classic SAA featuring a spur hammer, the front sight can be aligned with the topstrap notch when the hammer is cocked. It’s fair to note, there is no half-cock position on the Wrangler’s hammer and it must be loaded with the hammer forward.
Opening the loading gate on the right side of the frame not only provides access to load and unload the cylinder’s chambers, but it releases the cylinder so that it can be free wheeled in either direction. This means that if the cylinder is turned too far while loading or unloading, you don’t have to spin the cylinder a full revolution to make the necessary alignment. Free-wheeling cylinders on previous Rugers required the installation of a free-spin pawl to hold the bolt away from the cocking notches when the loading gate was open. This conversion usually required the work of a custom gunsmith or — at a minimum — a $55 aftermarket part. I consider this to be another value-add for the Wrangler.
The cylinder has a six-shot capacity and recessed chambers, which allows the cartridges to fit flush rather than having the cartridge rims headspacing on the back of the cylinder. The blued steel cylinder fills the frame window, and only a trace of light is visible at the rear. A .007-inch feeler gauge would just slip through the barrel to cylinder gap. The cylinder can be removed by depressing the base pin latch on the frame and sliding the base pin forward. The loading gate is then opened, and the cylinder comes free. This is as much disassembly as is recommended; any further takedown would require tools and know-how. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it is always best to leave things alone.
The metal-injection-molded (MIM), stainless steel hammer is cast with a built-in checkered pad that prevents a shooter’s thumb from slipping when the gun is being cocked. The transfer bar, a standard feature on Ruger single actions since 1973, allows the revolver to be safely loaded with six shots rather than the old practice of letting the hammer sit on an empty chamber to prevent accidental discharge. The trigger is also made from MIM stainless steel, and our test example measured consistently at 4¼ pounds after some subtle creep. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
Ruger Wrangler Fit & Finish
I don’t mind inexpensive guns, but, as someone with a real appreciation for skilled gunmaking, I can’t stand guns that look and feel cheap. The Wrangler is utilitarian, sure, but it looks, feels and handles like a gun that should wear a higher price tag. The fit and finish on our test guns were good and the mechanical performance was flawless.
The Wrangler comes with a Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a polymer-ceramic-composite finish that has become a popular firearm coating. However, the metal must be prepped properly, the finish formulated by the applicator exactly, and must be sprayed and cured evenly for lasting adherence. Available in a many colors, metallics and sheens, Cerakote is resistant to chemical solvents, corrosion and wear when applied correctly, and can adhere to various substrates. It’s not cheap, so the fact that a $250 revolver includes a Cerakote finish increases the Wrangler’s value proposition.
At the Range
This gun was incredibly fun to shoot. The Wrangler will see plenty of use as a plinker, so I couldn’t help but to start by shooting offhand at an MGM Rimfire Know-Your-Limits Plate Rack ($130, mgmtargets.com). The smile couldn’t be wiped from my face as I shot until my thumb went numb from reloading. G&A Editor Eric Poole was among several evaluators who had already put over 1,000 rounds through the very gun I was testing. Hence, I cleaned the bore before testing accuracy.
The 25-yard accuracy results published with this article followed a torture test. I tried ammunition ranging from Norma’s Match 40-grain target velocity ammunition that averaged 854 feet per second (fps) to Remington’s high-velocity Golden Bullet plated round nose load that left the muzzle at 990 fps. Points of impact were similar with each load, and the slow-moving Norma bullets printed an inch lower than the high-velocity rounds at 25 yards. My standard target for evaluating handgun accuracy is a 2-inch black square and, with a 6 o’clock hold, the majority of the hits from all the loads tested were in the black. Norma’s ammunition provided the smallest groups by a significant margin.
“We wanted to bring single-action shooting to more shooters by making a gun that is more accessible,” Product Manager Graham Rockwell told G&A. “It’s all about having fun and not worrying about ballistics. Just draw the gun from the holster and enjoy it. It’s a great handgun for first-time shooters, too.”
After spending some time with the Wrangler doing just what Graham described, I couldn’t agree more. The Wrangler will no doubt become a popular and enduring choice. Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Rimfire Revolver
Type: Revolver, single action
Cartridge: .22 LR
Capacity: 6 rds.
Overall Length: 10.25 in.
Height: 4.85 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 14 oz.
Barrel: 4.62 in.
Material: Aluminum (frame); steel (barrel, cylinder); zinc alloy (grip)
Grip: Checkered polymer
Trigger: 4 lbs., 4 oz. (tested)
Safety: Transfer bar
Sights: Fixed blade (front); fixed notch (rear)
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