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Ruger Wrangler Review

Posted 06-01-2019 at 11:05 AM by Kestryll

After just over a month of waiting for my 'pre-ordered' Ruger Wrangler I was finally able to pick it up, now the question is 'was it worth the wait?'
For the 'TL : DR' crowd, yes it was!

For those who aren't familiar with the Ruger Wrangler it is variation on the classic Ruger Single Six. Some will call it a 'budget version' but while there are definite cost cutting changes and the cost is substantially less than a Single Six I'd hesitate to call it a 'budget' handgun'.

Some of the cost cutting changes are a zinc alloy grip frame, aluminum frame, an un-fluted cylinder and most notably a Cerakote finish instead of stainless or blued steel. Aluminum and zinc alloy are easier and less expensive to manufacture than steel and provide ample strength in a .22LR handgun.

Yes, .22LR only. One of the concessions to substituting aluminum and zinc for steel is that unlike the Single Six the Wrangler does not come with a .22 Magnum cylinder and as of now there's no plan to offer one. I'm sure some will see this as a detraction but I'm okay with .22LR only. If you ask most people who own a Single Six with a .22 Magnum cylinder they'll tell you they hardly ever use it. The net gain from a 4.85" barrel really isn't that great and the extra cylinder would raise the very attractive price of the Wrangler more than it's worth.

Since we've poked that bear let's talk price. I bought mine as a pre-order for $179.99, after taxes and DROS it was $233 out the door. I'm seeing regular pricing listed as anywhere from $179.99 - $199.99 before tax and DROS. Frankly at this price I'd forgive some flaws, fortunately there are very few and those are very minor.

Okay, enough talk, let's get to the pictures.

The Wrangler comes in three Cerakote finishes, black, silver and burnt bronze. I went with silver because I like the two tone look. The Cerakote finish is well done, consistent and clean.






Disassembly is exactly what you would expect for a single action revolver, open the loading gate, press the base pin latch, pull the base pin and remove the cylinder.






The sights are fixed in the classic single action style, the rear is machines in to the top strap and the front is a basic blade.




The ejector rod is amply long enough to fully eject spent casings.





The Wrangler is the same size as the Single Six but with a shorter 4.85" barrel.




While the fit and finish are what you would expect from Ruger there are two very minor things that stand out.
First is a visible seam in the grip frame from casting. It's visible but unnoticeable in the hand.
Second is a slight gap between the grip and the frame on the left side, again visible but unnoticeable when shooting.









The day after I picked up my Ruger Wrangler I took it to my local indoor range, The Firing Line, to test it. I brought five different brands of ammo in varying velocities; American Eagle, Federal Champion, Winchester Super X, CCI Stingers and Wolf Match Target.



I started by running three cylinders of each ammo through the gun, mainly just looking for malfunctions or mechanical problems. Over the course of my time at the range I fired roughly 200-250 rounds through the Ruger Wrangler, this may not seem like a lot but then again this isn't a semi-auto so each of those rounds was loaded and ejected manually. I'm happy to say I did not experience one single malfunction, misfire or problem with the Wrangler at all. I did note that for some reason a few of the CCI Stingers were hard to load in to the cylinder, I suspect it was the ammo as I was able to load another round of the CCI Stingers in to the same chamber with no problem.

'Accuracy testing' was done with 12 rounds at 7 yards unbraced and two handed except for one target with 24 rounds shot one handed. It is a 'cowboy gun after all so I wanted to see what it would do just having fun.
Below are the targets from each ammo, the ammo is noted in the upper right of each target.
AE = American Eagle, WSX = Winchester Super X, FC = Federal Champion, CCI = CCI Stingers and Wolf = Wolf Match Target.
Yes, the writing is rather bad, I forgot to bring a pen so I used the lead tip of a CCI Blazer round I had in my range bag as a 'pencil'.














A few things to take in to consideration when viewing these targets; this gun was brand new and I did not clean it prior to the range trip, all of these were fired free hand with no bracing or support and frankly I've never claimed to be the best shot in the West.
In spite of all that The Wrangler did well in the hands of an average shooter and surprisingly the one handed 'dueling pose' target was much better than I expected.

For having paid under $235 out the door I am very happy with the fit, finish and function of the Ruger Wrangler. Accuracy is nebulous, could it do better in a rest or in more capable hands, I heavily suspect it could but I'm reserving final judgement until I can get out where I can test it's real purpose in life.
Making aluminum cans dance in the dirt.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Just saw this model being displayed in various gun publications as advertisements. Nice to know understand how they were able to offer a budget friendly .22 LR.

    Questions:
    1. Is this on California's handgun roster? I did a search and was not able to find it.
    2. Does is weigh less than a Single Six?
    3. Just curious: Why is the red highlighting on the targets not always centered?

    Otherwise, a good and informative review.
    Posted 06-02-2019 at 8:39 AM by sar43 sar43 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Zorba's Avatar
    Best review I've read of the Wrangler, and I've read them all!

    I was able to get one (Bronze) - by sheer luck - 5 weeks after they were announced and they're still very hard to find. In any event, I'm an enthusiast of this gun, and mine's a tack driver at 25 yards on steel. I took it to a shooting event, and several others there tried it out. They're all planning on purchasing one for themselves.

    Oh, and I purchased a set of Altamont made, Ruger sold, Single Six rosewood grips - they fit perfectly and look great!
    Posted 07-13-2019 at 12:10 PM by Zorba Zorba is offline
 


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