.22 revolver?


Sep 11, 2013
The Great American Desert
Thinking of buying a .22 revolver for plinking, etc. Smith & Wesson, Ruger & Colt all have beautiful .22s, but...stratospheric prices! I'm thinking perhaps Taurus, Charter Arms, and maybe Rossi. Nobody around here ever seems to have used .22 revolvers, or any of the "better, cheaper" ones in stock and I am hesitant to do an on-line purchase.
What advice can you give a novice revolver buyer?
I bought a Heritage mainly for kids but now their grown so its hardly shot. My BIL has a Ruger 22. I only paid about $120 for it but within 7 to 10 yards the price diff isn't worth it to me. I guess if you shoot a lot it is, or need a higher quality gun, or just don't want the embarrassment. Ruger is much better quality no ands ifs or buts. Honestly the Heritage is an ok gun though for just having some fun, plus is shoot magnums. But I am cheap. Besides that left money left over for a good gun - like a Luger


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Do you want a single action or a double action? Is this for plinking, something for the hiking trail, or as a trainer for another revolver?

For single action, skip Heritage, their warranty sucks. Ruger's is better, they make a Super Wrangler .22 Mag/LR convertible with adjustable sights and believe me, you want adjustable sights. It may not be the best single action .22 revolver, but it's certainly the best bang for your buck.

For double action you have the choice of a gamble with Charter Arms (their quality is bad these days), Taurus, and the Ruger LCRx. The Ruger is gonna run you $550, it's light as a paper clip, but it's a good shooter. The Taurus 942's can be hard to find and I have no idea how the triggers are on them, and the sights are inferior to the Ruger. The Taurus Tracker .22's are impossible to find and will cost a pretty penny.

Charters... people here who have owned them have had positive experiences, but those are from guns bought years ago. IDK how well Charter is making .22's now, I don't trust the brand's current production, but you could look for older models, those are higher quality.
Single action or double action?

Unfortunately, even in these days of inflated prices, we get what we pay for.

If a single action is acceptable, a Ruger Single Six or one of the Colt commemorative .22s will give good service and retain their value.

If you prefer a double action, a used Smith & Wesson model 17 or 18 will be dandy. And expensive. But worth it.
1) Ruger Wrangler-New
2) Ruger Super Wrangler-New
3) Ruger Single Six-Used
4) Ruger Super Six-Used
5) S&W Model 34-Used

I still have my eyes on a H&R Modell 999 Sportsman 9-shot top break .22 at the LGS

Being a "top break" precludes the possibility of a second cylinder for .22 Magnum. This is why I have a Ruger Single Six with the 6" barrel that I bought about 25 years ago. It is single action only but very accurate even with "bulk" ammo. I shot a squirrel through the neck at 10 yds. many years ago holding the gun in just one hand as my left was holding my 12 gauge.
No pictures unfortunately but my Ruger single 6 (4 5/8”) has been a fantastic shooter over the years. Thousands of rounds with no issue and damn accurate in my hands. I’ve handled a Wrangler and it’s fine but not a Single Six.
The Ruger super Wrangler seems like a nice gun, at least the one I handled. I've got a birds head grip wrangler and a couple of heritage 22's . All are decent guns. But my all time favorite 22 revolver is my S&W model 18. Got it last year of GunBroker for just over 500 total. There are deals out there. Just be patient and keep looking.
I never fail to check out the used gun section. That's where you find the real gems. I bought a couple of Rough Riders new, but I think they're the only 22's I've ever bought brand new. Rugers, Smith and Wesson, Colt, Dan Wesson, Harrington and Richardson, High Standard, Taurus, and some others I don't remember off the top of my head came from the used counter.

The Heritage Rough Riders I've owned were good guns. They were quite adequate as plinkers and bum around the woods guns. No they're not as nice as a Ruger, either a Single-Six or a Wrangler, but they usually cost even less than the Wrangler. I always sort of considered them as disposable. If they ever broke, and they never did, I was just going to junk them and get another one. I never had to, but that's they way I thought of them.

I've only got two 22's now. A Smith and Wesson K-22 Masterpiece from 1951, and a Ruger Single-Six 50th anniversary. I paid less that $700 for the Smith and Wesson a few months ago, and $325.00 for the Ruger...30 years ago. A good one has never been inexpensive.
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a few trips to the range with different ammo left me extremely dissatisfied with a wrangler. found a single six used but unfired so the trade in was a break even deal....group sizes and point of aim was immediately successful....... just saying.
I'm another one for the single six. I've got 2, both over 40yrs old, a blued and a stainless. They are more accurate than I am with just about whatever I put in them. I also have a 4"Colt Diamondback. It isn't bad, a bit more picky about what ammo it likes, and I'm not so sure it's as or anymore accurate than the Rugers. I know it would sure be more expensive, although I scored a real good deal on this one.
I've heard mixed reviews on the Wranglers, some say they're great for the price, others not so much. YMMV. My only advice would be to put a little more in the budget and grab a nice single six used. Sure used it'll be more than a Wrangler new, but you won't be sorry you went that route. Pretty much last forever and a day
I plan to get a Taurus 942 with a 3" barrel at the next good opportunity.

I will report back on how it goes.

Sounds like the OP is looking more for mid-to-budget level revolvers, preferably in DA mode. Not a lot to choose from brand-new nowadays. Some people don't want single action. Some people also don't want to take a chance on an older H&R with possibly limited parts availability. I don't think I've seen a good used Single Six under $400 anytime lately.
I think I've owned a total of eight .22 LR revolvers over the years. My first was an FIE single action very similar to the Heritage offerings. Not great in the accuracy department. I had double actions from both a Rossi and Taurus. The former also wasn't especially accurate, and the latter sheared a pivot pin on the transfer bar within about 300 rounds from new. Not a fan of either anymore.

The first .22 revolver that gave me good accuracy and reliable function was a used Uberti/Interarms Virginian with an adjustable rear sight. I still have that gun and probably will never sell it. It didn't cost very much, and outshot all three of my Ruger single action rimfires (two single sixes and a Bearcat.)

My other .22 revolver keeper is a S&W K22. If I had to do it all over, I would have just bought the S&W -- it was worth the higher price.
Diamondback firearms sells a neat da/sa .22/.22mag revolver with a 3" or longer barrel. Nine shots and all for about three hundred is not a bad deal. Almost like a old high standard revolver of the 79's
I have 2 DA .22lr revolvers, both of which have decent triggers and good accuracy.

They are the Taurus 942 and Rossi R98 Plinker. Of the 2, the Rossi has a ligther trigger, but it also has at least 1000 more rounds than the Taurus. The sights are windage and elevation adjustable on the Rossi. The Taurus is windage only.

The Taurus looks better to me, and I DO NOT like the Rossi "ribber" grips.

I would buy both again and would recommend either.

Do NOT buy a Taurus 94 thinking it will be similar to the 942. The trigger in the 94 is bad, and it has the hardest trigger pull of any gun I have owned. The hammer is also very difficult to pull back. Lightening the springs just makes misfires.

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I have a Taurus tracker in 22 and 22 mag. Its big, accurate and is good trail gun. Those " ribber" grips are gross. I fitted a pair of old S&W grips to it and fitted that nasty ribber thing to my broom handle Mauser.
I bought a S&W 617 not long ago and the action was so bad and the rate of misfires so horrible that I sent it back to the factory.
They fixed it, but the DA is super-heavy.
From what I've read, S&W has pretty much stopped doing quality-control checks, thinking that it's cheaper to fix bad guns than do QC.
I did action jobs on several S&W 686s last fall and winter and they all came out of the box with terrible actions.
If you're willing to go to the trouble and expense of getting an action job on a new revolver, you can't come close to what you'll get with a Smith with the other brands.
I've owned a bunch of them. Here are some I remember off the top of my head:

Taurus 942 - stiff trigger, didn't know enough to change the springs
Taurus Tracker 22 - stiff trigger, didn't know enough to change the springs
High Standard Sentinel - one cylinder shot a flier every time
FIE single action - gave it to a friend who broke it via dry firing
H&R double action - roughest trigger ever

Heritage Rough Rider - it feels like a $150 revolver, but it goes bang and hits roughly where you aim it

Ruger Single Six - excellent single action revolver

S&W K22 Masterpiece - all of the other 22 DA revolvers I've shot since I got this one feel like junk

My friend has a Ruger Super Wrangler. It seems like a good shooter and it has nice sights.

If you're not hunting, 22 magnum doesn't seem to serve much purpose, other than costing way more money for putting the same hole in things.
he Taurus looks better to me, and I DO NOT like the Rossi "ribber" grips.
The Rossi is a hidden jewel among DA 22 revolvers but agree about the grip. Get an aftermarket from Pachmyer that fits their circuit judge that uses the same grip frame. It make the little Rossi into an entirely different gun.