August 24, 2021
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Don’t let the low price of the Ruger Wrangler .22LR revolver fool you; you get a lot of gun for the money.
Currently, the Wrangler is offered in 12 variations; three are standard catalog versions, and the others are distributor specials. All but one configuration come with checkered black synthetic grips (grip circumference is 4.38 inches straight across from the trigger guard). The standard catalog guns have Cerakote finishes on the frames and barrels in black, silver, or bronze colors, and they have black oxide finish on their six-round cylinders. The distributor specials have black oxide cylinders and OD Green, Cobalt, Plum Brown, Stone Gray, Tungsten, Midnight Bronze, Crushed Orchid, Black Cherry, or Davidson’s Dark Earth Cerakote frames and barrels, depending on the distributor. The only offering with hardwood grips is the Talo special, and it also has the Cobalt Cerakote finish.
The cold-hammer-forged barrel for all Wranglers is 4.62 inches long, and the twist rate is one turn in 14 inches. The front sight is a fixed-blade type, and the rear sight is the traditional Western-style groove down the topstrap. Sight radius is 5.24 inches.
The grip frame is zink alloy, and it is the classic Single-Six pattern. The cylinder frame is aluminum, and the cylinder and barrel are steel. Our sample weighs 30 ounces unloaded, and it’s 10.25 inches long overall. The gun features a transfer bar firing mechanism and a cylinder loading gate interlock that prevents the loading gate from being opened unless the hammer is in the down position. Like the classic Ruger Single-Six rimfire single-action revolver, the Wrangler utilizes a coil mainspring.
To put the Wrangler to a test, I fired five, five-shot strings with five .22 LR loads from a benchrest at 25 yards. The results are listed in the accompanying chart, but briefly, the best-shooting load was CCI’s Mini Mag 40-grain CPRN, and it averaged 2.25 inches. Second best, with an average of 2.75 inches, was the Federal Gold Medal Target 40-grain LRN. Overall average accuracy for all five loads was 3.09 inches.
The Wrangler’s 0.29-inch-wide, smooth trigger broke at 5.0 pounds of pull on average for six measurements with an RCBS trigger pull scale. It was consistent, with less than four ounces of variation, and it was crisp. The checkered hammerspur is 0.29 inch wide, and upon hammer fall, the hammerspur does not obscure seeing the front sight when lined up with the grooved rear sight as happens with other fixed-sight reproduction single-action revolvers. That, of course, fosters better accuracy.
With its fixed sights, the Wrangler reminded me of a fun, old single-action Colt Frontier Scout .22 rimfire revolver I owned more than 30 years ago, except that Colt revolver showed a lot of wear and tear when I purchased it secondhand 30-plus years ago. Its finish was really worn, its cylinder was a little loose (but not unsafe), and its trigger pull was nothing to crow about. It had been ridden hard and put away wet, as they say, and it wasn’t all that accurate, either. But, boy, did I have fun shooting it! The .22 LR Colt Frontier Scout was produced for only about 13 years, so hopefully, the Ruger Wrangler will have a much longer run. It’s just as much fun to shoot as that Colt was.
Ruger Wrangler .22LR Revolver Performance
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle
Ruger Wrangler .22LR Revolver Specs
- TYPE: Single-action revolver
- CALIBER: .22 LR
- CYLINDER CAPACITY: 6 rounds
- BARREL: 4.62 in.
- OVERALL LENGTH: 10.25 in.
- WIDTH: 1.41 in.
- HEIGHT: 4.75 in.
- WEIGHT, EMPTY: 30 oz.
- GRIPS: Black checkered synthetic
- FINISH: Bronze Cerakote barrel and frame, black oxide cylinder
- SIGHTS: Fixed groove rear, blade front
- TRIGGER: 5.0-lb. pull (as tested)
- SAFETY: Transfer bar firing mechanism; loading gate interlock
- MSRP: $249