Ruger Wrangler .22lr Review (lots of pictures)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by <*(((><, May 2, 2019.

  1. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Just wanted to give an initial impression review on my recently acquired Ruger Wrangler in .22lr. As most of you may know Ruger just put out what many are considering direct competition to the Heritage line of .22lr SA revolvers. Before Ruger came out with the Wrangler I was about to purchase a Heritage based on my brothers, which is a decent SA .22 for the money. When I saw the initial release from Ruger on the Wrangler I knew I wanted to try it out as their press on it seemed like it is worth the extra $50 over the Heritage. And on initial impressions my hunch was correct.

    I will get out and shoot it hopefully this weekend as I’m too busy with work and home projects to get much free time during daylight hours but thought I would post my impressions.


    First Glance – has a good look about it, albeit the barrel does have a chunky look to it compared to other .22 SA revolvers but don't feel it is really that much different, the finish from hands distance away looks very nice if one can look past the nostalgia and glamour of blued or stainless steel. Just looking at it gives the impression it is a revolver that will last and serve it’s user well.

    Handling Impressions – the first thing I noticed when I ran my hand over the finish is that it has a slight rough feel to it, not abrasive by any means but definitely not smooth. I can see that this will more than likely attract grime from ones hands, as I’ve already noticed the metal schmutz on my hand from handling some metal before grabbing it adhered to it. It wiped off easily enough but it I have a feeling it will show grime and soot from firing. It has good balance to it, the grips are your basic set of plastic grips (one can see daylight through the front - see picture below with pencil point it out) which will be much improved by replacing them with an aftermarket set (and I believe initial reports are that Single Six grips will work with the Wrangler which is a big plus). There was no sharp edges or corners, and all the radius' were very well machined for a budget revolver, a testament to Ruger’s investment casting; they really do do a great job at it (one casting line can be seen like many of Ruger's revolvers under the cylinder when removed - see picture below with pencil point it out). The knurling on the hammer is nice balance between good control and not too aggressive. Trigger reach and hammer manipulation feels about right. The cylinder gate is a little stiff, but should lighten up with use.

    Trigger and Hammer – The trigger and hammer had a little bit of grit to them initially, but after cocking and thumbing the hammer down about 200 times it has smoothed out significantly. The hammer has lightening cuts on the side, which are only slightly noticeable when the hammer is uncocked.

    Cylinder and Ejector – The cylinder makes up a significant amount of weight of the overall firearm, after taking out the cylinder it was very obvious the substantial nature of the cylinder. All the cylinder mouths were recessed and lacked any obvious burrs and seemed in good condition. The ejector rod is steel and has a nice chamfer to aid in guiding it into the spent casing.

    Sights – The rear sight has a nice concave portion just behind the notch to aid in drawing the shooters eye into the notch, this was appreciated by me as small detail they got right. The front sight is narrow enough that the shooter at shooting length away from their eye has gaps on either side which should make for greater precision than a front sight that fills the notch gap.

    Fitment and Lockup – the fitment of the frames together is overall really good for a $180 revolver, there is a slight alignment issue from grip frame to cylinder frame but is hardly worth mentioning but is there to the naked eye. I’ll get a picture to show what I’m talking about.

    Cons – one thing I noticed on my particular piece is if one is looking from underneath the grip frame is slightly out of alignment from the receiver frame (it isn’t even enough for me to worry about, but wanted to point it out for the sake of the review). The finish attracting grime and soot should be considered a con, I’ll let one to judge how much of one that is, and will base my judgements after a good deal of shooting and what it takes to clean.

    Overall - I think Ruger will sell a boatload of these revolvers once they get out into peoples hands, barring no hiccups in function, as I haven't shot it yet. But it is a very nice revolver for $180. In my opinion I see no reason to buy a Heritage if this shoots as well as it looks and feels. If I want a nicer .22 SA revolver I would look at older H&R's with some of their case hardened looking receivers or a Ruger Single Six, Ten, Bearcat or Uberti. There are some nice options out there but none with the value it initially seems is in the Wrangler.

    I’ll get my calipers out and see if I can give some details on how thick the barrel sleeve is, I can barely make out on the muzzle end the transition from steel to aluminum. Edit: it seems now that it is a solid steel barrel, when taking a magnet to the barrel it has a strong pull, stronger than I feel it would be if it was a sleeve, the pull is very similar to the magnet on the cylinder


    Left%20Side%20edited.jpg

    Right%20Side%20edited.jpg

    Back%20looking%20down%20edited.jpg

    Cylinder%20door%20open%20edited.jpg

    Top%20angle%20edited.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2011%2059%2033%20AM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2012%2000%2037%20PM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2012%2000%2049%20PM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2012%2000%2058%20PM.jpg

    Ejector%20edited.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2012%2002%2054%20PM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2011%2059%2008%20AM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%2012%2002%2029%20PM.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  2. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Feel free to post pictures of your Wranglers when the come in, would like to see some good pictures of the other finishes.
     
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  3. MidRoad
    • Contributing Member

    MidRoad Contributing Member

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    Nice review thanks. Is that the silver version? It looks like a "gun metal gray" which I think looks great.

    I need to stop opening the Wrangler threads. I can't be buying anymore guns right now.

    Thanks for the review, looking forward to the range report.
     
  4. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    You mention sleeve in relation to the barrel, it's an aluminum cover over a steel barrel? I don't recall this being mentioned anywhere before in relation to the Wrangler, just the Heritage, but maybe I missed it. Are you able to get a photo of the separation line?

    Good luck with it!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
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  5. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    That's interesting. If so it explains the diameter.
    The J.P. Sauer & Sohn .22 SAA that I owned had an alloy barrel with a steel bore liner.
    That gun was all alloy including the cylinder, which had steel chamber liners, and had steel internal parts, and stood up very well to many years of shooting with little apparent wear, except the cylinder notches. But, since I bought it third hand I have no idea what kind of use or abuse preceded my ownership.
    Still, based on this, an all-steel cylinder is a wise choice.
     
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  6. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    @Bones741 yes it looks more like a gun metal grey, which I too like.

    It does look like I can make out a faint steel sleeve liner. I’ll try and photo it but I highly doubt you’ll be able to make it out, I can barely see a line myself in person.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  7. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Here is the ring you can barely make out, looks like a sleeve to me, what say you all? The finish work before the cerekoting looks to be hiding it well. I suppose it could be lathe marks instead?


    barrel%20sleeve%20mark.jpg
     
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  8. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Wow, that's really hard to tell. Why not just touch a magnet to the barrel to see if it sticks with any force?

    Or, if you don't mind, you could buff all of the finish off the muzzle for us for a closer look. :p
     
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  9. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Great review. Thanks for that. I knew someone would have one up as soon as they had one in hand.

    The Ruger spec sheet says the barrel is "cold hammer forged". I don't think you can forge a barrel liner. It looks to me like a drag mark from where the barrel was faced off or cut from a length of barrel. If Ruger forges the barrels I bet they don't forge a 5" section of barrel but a long piece of barrel stock and then cut the length they want. And it doesn't look like they are turning a taper on the barrel either. If you have some calipers measure the front and rear of the barrel. I bet they are the same and that eliminates one more production step.

    And yes try the magnet. I bet its all steel.
     
  10. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    ya by any chance you have a bondo checker
     
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  11. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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  12. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    Looks to me like plenty of room for six .32 caliber holes in that cylinder... Certainly enough for a .22 magnum version too...
     
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  13. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Looking at your pictures it looks like the grip frame to main frame is a better fit than the single sixes I own that have the aluminum grip frames. Every single six I have ever looked at with an aluminum frame has been slightly proud on the left side of the gun. Maybe not my old made in 1961 gun(I will have to look) but the two 32 mags and the new super single six have and the SSS I sold my bud all have a slightly canted grip frame. There was a Ruger rep at Cabelas many years ago and I asked him about it. He told me to send it back. But I suspect Ruger would just say its in spec. The steel grip frames and stainless steel frames are all very good proper fits.
     
  14. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    No I don’t you reckon it would work on the barrel?
     
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  15. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Do they sell these in a blued version? That ceracoat finish just doesn't do it for me on a Single Action.
     
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  16. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    No they don’t, it wouldn’t turn out as these are comprised of three different metals.

    The cylinder and hammer is steel.
    The cylinder receiver is aluminum.
    The grip frame is zinc.

    They did what they did to hit a price point. It works for me, as there are plenty of options for blued SA .22lr. But I love the blue as well, so I know your feeling.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  17. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    i would think, if the barrel is all steel, i think it is. you could compare to other steels.
     
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  18. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    I’ll have to see if my brother has one. We don’t get rust where I live so most of our cars don’t get the cancer; so little need for bondo unless a dent.
     
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  19. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    ok. have you pulled the grips off yet, i wounder how the coat coverage is.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  20. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    I’ll have to check with an auto body friend of mine and see if he has one, I would think so.

    Good idea Troy.
     
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  21. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Yes I have just didn’t take pictures. I’ll pull them off here in a few and get some pictures up for you all.

    Coverage was like the rest.
     
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  22. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    Sweet!

    Thanks for the review and the GREAT pictures.
     
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  23. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Here are the pictures with the grips off:

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%209%2017%2043%20PM.jpg

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%209%2017%2050%20PM.jpg
     
  24. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    I mentioned earlier how there was a slight alignment issue with the grip frame to cylinder frame transition. It doesn’t bother me but thought I would post a picture for those who are considering one. You can see the side of the grip frame closest to my hand there is more of a reveal than the opposite side, maybe 1/64” off center or so, no big deal though.

    Photo%20May%2002%2C%209%2017%2058%20PM.jpg
     
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  25. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    Got my drywall anchor snap caps in and must say I’m impressed by the trigger for $180. Very short take up (maybe 1/16” of movement), no wall to speak off but breaks really good.

    If it shoots as good as it feels and looks, I’ll be buying several more of these when I catch them on sale.
     
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