Gun Tests Grade: A-
The Wrangler revolver illustrated is one of three cerakote finishes available. We tested the No. 2003 version in the June 2020 issue. Ruger designed the Wrangler around the Ruger Single Six in dimensions. The grips are the same, and the Wrangler will fit Ruger Single Six holsters. The Ruger Wrangler will accept standard Single Six grips and upgrades, such as those available from Hogue and Pachmayr.
|Action Type||Single action|
|Overall Length||10.0 in.|
|Overall Height||5.0 in.|
|Maximum Width||1.5 in.|
|Weight Unloaded||32.0 oz.|
|Weight Loaded||35.8 oz.|
|Cylinder Gap||0.060 in.|
|Barrel Length||4.62 in.|
|Frame||Zamak-finished aluminum alloy|
|22 Magnum Cylinder||NA|
|Frame Front Strap Height||2.0 in.|
|Frame Rear Strap Height||3.0 in.|
|Grip Thickness (Max)||1.6 in.|
|Grip Circumference (Max)||5. 5 in|
|Front Sight||Fixed blade|
|Rear Sight||Grooved receiver|
|Sight Radius||6.0 in.|
|Trigger Pull Weight Single Action||3.8 lbs.|
|Trigger Span||3.0 in.|
|Safety||No manual safety|
The steel ejector rod and barrel are well finished. The barrel is 4.62 inches long. The cylinder pin, many of the assembly pins, and most of the action parts are interchangeable with the Ruger Single Six. The six-shot cylinder looks nice, but on the other hand it is less expensive to manufacture a cylinder without the machine flutes. All Ruger single-action revolvers manufactured since 1971 have the transfer-bar ignition system. The hammer cannot contact the firing pin when at rest, making the revolver safe to carry six rounds, or a round under the hammer. When the trigger is pressed, the transfer bar moves into place to allow the hammer to smack the transfer bar and fire the revolver. In most single-action Ruger revolvers, the loading gate is opened to load the individual chambers in the cylinder. The Ruger Wrangler has a free-wheeling pawl. While this isn’t a big deal and saves a few dollars in manufacture, we like the Ruger Single Six system better. The action is smooth enough in general; however, the loading gate was stiffer to open than a Single Six, which we had on hand for comparison. It was also stiffer than the other revolvers to open. The frame and loading gate are high-grade aluminum. The grip frame is of a non-ferrous alloy, probably zinc. Both the hammer and the trigger are metal-injected-molded stainless steel. The revolver greatly resembles the Ruger Single Six, as intended. The Wrangler simply uses less expensive materials.
The finish used on the Wrangler was surprising considering its modest cost. Only time will tell if this Cerakote finish holds up with use, but many firearms are finished in Cerakote for hard duty. Cerakote is a ceramic and polymer finish that is sprayed on and then baked to ensure it adheres to the gun’s metal. This finish is a nice bonus. The fit and finish of the revolver cannot be faulted. Surprisingly, neither can the even blued finish of the Heritage revolver. The Wrangler, by comparison to the Ruger Single Six, is 2 ounces lighter as a result of the composite material used. We liked the balance of the Ruger Wrangler.
The Wrangler features fixed sights. In common with the Heritage Rough Rider, the Wrangler’s fixed sights were properly zeroed for 40-grain 22 Long Rifle high velocity ammunition. During the speed firing trials, the revolver never balked or stuttered, there were no rough spots, and the revolver handled well.
In speed shooting the Ruger held its own with the Heritage and Chiappa variants. In absolute accuracy, the Ruger was the most accurate revolver tested. There were no real faults. We hoped the sticky loading gate would go away, but after opening and closing the gate at least 100 times in loading and handling, it remained stiff. The Ruger was rated down a half grade on the sticky loading gate.
Our Team Said: We would buy the Wrangler. Ruger fans will like this handgun, and so will anyone looking for an affordable 22 revolver.
22 LR RANGE DATAAt right are our test guns. Top to bottom are the Chiappa 1873 No. 340.250 22 LR, the Heritage Rough Rider RR22MB6 Combo 22 LR/22 WMR, the Traditions Rawhide Rancher 22 LR, and the Ruger Wrangler No. 2004 22 LR.
|Fiocchi High Velocity |
40-grain Plated LRN
|Average Velocity||1026 fps||1003 fps||989 fps||1053 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||93 ft.-lbs.||89 ft.-lbs.||87 ft.-lbs.||98 ft.-lbs.|
|Small Group||3.0 in.||2.5 in.||2.0 in.||2.3 in.|
|Average Group||3.5 in.||3.1 in.||2.3 in.||2.7 in.|
|Winchester Super X |
|Average Velocity||1014 fps||1022 fps||1000 fps||1017 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||84 ft.-lbs.||86 ft.-lbs.||82 ft.-lbs.||85 ft.-lbs.|
|Small Group||3.5 in.||2.6 in.||1.9 in.||2.3 in.|
|Average Group||4.4 in.||3.4 in.||2.4 in.||2.6 in.|
|Federal Hunter Match |
40-grain Lead Hollowpoint
|Average Velocity||1062 fps||1050 fps||1031 fps||1044 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||100 ft.-lbs.||98 ft.-lbs.||94 ft.-lbs.||97 ft.-lbs.|
|Small Group||2.7 in.||2.8 in.||2.4 in.||2.5 in.|
|Average Group||3.9 in.||3.6 in.||2.8 in.||2.9 in.|
I owned one but sold & purchased a Heritage Rough Rider because of the STIFF loading gate. I saved $50 in the process.
The Ruger Wrangler is the only revolver in the bunch made in the USA. Plus, Ruger has great customer service. Mine is the silver Cerakote finish as I wanted a front sight that had good contrast with a black bullseye.
Scott, Perhaps I missed it, but didn’t see at what distance your accuracy tests were done on the SA .22s. Personally, I think 15 yards reflects how close I can get to a varmit,,,