April 08, 2023
We here at Shooting Times like to report on “fun guns” and have done so many times over the 30 years that I’ve been editing the magazine. For me, there’s simply no gun more fun to shoot than a .22 revolver. Heritage Manufacturing makes a lot of .22 revolvers, and one of its newest models is the Rough Rider Tactical Cowboy. While the name has a rather serious connotation, I think it’s darn fun to shoot.
Two key features of the Tactical Cowboy are the six-slot Picatinny rail on the topstrap and the threaded muzzle (1/2-28). You’ll find those features on just about every tactical carbine and a lot of tactical semiautomatic pistols these days. Obviously, on those guns, the rail and the threaded muzzle are for installing an optic and a suppressor for use in tactical situations.
But in case you think they are somewhat gimmicky on a single-action .22 rimfire revolver, I’ll have you know that I’ve installed a lot of scopes and red-dot optics on many of my personal .22 rimfire revolvers. In fact, I spent a lot of time and energy setting up my very first brand-new handgun for a scope, and it was a .22 double-action revolver. The year was 1977 or 1978, and the gun was a Smith & Wesson Model 17 (I still own it). That was before S&W started drilling and tapping the topstraps at the factory, so I did it myself, fitting a Burris scope mount to the revolver. The scope I used is a special 1X Burris pistol scope with a black dot and fine crosshairs reticle that my then-boss Gil Hebard partnered with Burris to create. I still have the scope, too, and I used it for the shooting session with the new Tactical Cowboy. Obviously, the top rail made installation much easier.
I live in Illinois where we aren’t allowed to have suppressors, so I can’t say much about that feature, but I know from participating in many industry shoots where they are allowed that shooting a .22 rimfire with a suppressor is just about the most fun you can have with a gun. Someday, I’d like to find out how effective a suppressor is on this rimfire revolver.
The Tactical Cowboy’s other features include a six-shot cylinder, a 6.5-inch barrel with a 1:14 right-hand twist, carbon-fiber simulated grips, black oxide finish, and a fiber-optic front sight. By the way, the top rail is notched to provide a rear sight channel, and it aligned nicely with the revolver’s front sight even when the handgun scope that I used was installed.
I won’t go into the details of how well the Tactical Cowboy shoots because you can see the results in the accompanying chart. Suffice it to say, the gun is plenty accurate for hunting small game and for plinking.
For anyone wondering, with that old Burris 1X pistol scope installed, the Tactical Cowboy’s hammer was easily cocked. The hammerspur is traditional in shape, but the scope did not interfere with thumbing it into the cocked position. A shorter red-dot optic would fit even better.
I don’t know if anybody will put the Tactical Cowboy to use in a tactical situation, but I’m pretty sure a lot of plinkerers are going to want to buy one.
Rough Rider Tactical Cowboy Specifications
- Manufacturer: Heritage Manufacturing, heritagemfg.com
- Type: Single-action revolver
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Cylinder Capacity: 6 rounds
- Barrel: 6.5 in.
- Overall Length: 11.85 in.
- Width: 1.50 in.
- Height: 6.0 in.
- Weight, Empty: 32.1 oz.
- Grips: Carbon fiber simulated
- Finish: Black oxide
- Sights: Groove rear, fiber-optic front, Picatinny rail
- Trigger: 3.25-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Manual thumb safety
- MSRP: $212.88