Ruger Wrangler Review: First Impressions

The Ruger Wrangler single-action .22 LR revolver is a simple, affordable option for plinkers, trappers and Ruger enthusiasts alike.

Ruger Wrangler Review: First Impressions

Ever since Sturm, Ruger & Company announced the release of the Wrangler single-action .22 LR revolver back in April, I’ve been eager to get my hands on one. Finding one locally in the finish I wanted proved to be a difficult task, a testament to the high demand for a Ruger-made, budget friendly revolver.  

The Wrangler is a six-shooter with an aluminum alloy cylinder frame and a 4.62-inch cold hammer-forged barrel. It’s available in three Cerakote finishes: Black, Silver, and Burnt Bronze. The Wrangler features a transfer bar mechanism and loading gate interlock that prevent accidental discharge, allowing it to be safely carried loaded with six rounds. It comes with checkered synthetic grips that can be swapped for Single-Six panels and will fit in a holster made for the Single-Six with the 4 5/8-inch barrel. The sights are fixed, with a blade up front and an integral notch rear sight. 

What I like most about Wrangler is its simplicity. There is no cumbersome safety to fiddle with. With the loading gate open, the cylinder spins freely. This can make loading and unloading a little clumsy at times, but not enough to matter to this shooter. Because the cylinder spins freely, once it’s loaded and the loading gate is shut, you need to spin the cylinder one way or the other, so it indexes on a shell. Like I mentioned earlier, there is no need to carry the Wrangler on an empty cylinder thanks to the transfer bar safety. 

While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a pocket gun, it does fit in the larger pockets of most work and hunting pants. It measures 10 inches overall and weighs 30 ounces. You won’t forget it’s in there, but at least it fits. 

What About Ammo?

Like most revolvers, the Wrangler will function well with just about any type of .22 ammunition. It isn’t offered with an interchangeable .22 mag cylinder, though it performed flawlessly with the several brands and configurations of ammunition I tried. Unlike semi-autos turned single shots by low powder “quiet” rounds, the Wrangler just keeps on shooting these hearing-friendly rounds. No doubt they’d also perform well with the bird shot cartridges for barn rats and snakes. 

The accuracy of the Wrangler was better than I expected from a set of fixed sights with a relatively short sight radius. I was regularly hitting soda cans at 20 yards. While I wish there was an adjustable rear sight or fiber optic front sight post, either of these upgrades surely would’ve increased the price. I made one minor modification by adding a little fluorescent green paint to the front sight post to make it stand out better.

My Wrangler has the Burnt Coyote Cerakote finish. Because I plan on using it mostly on the trapline, I knew right away I would need to paint the front sight post to be able to aim properly. The brown front sight didn’t stand out enough against the brown rear sight grooves, especially when looking at a brown target. 

The Wrangler is a work horse. It’s available at a reasonable price point and seems durable enough to take some abuse. I plan on putting mine through the paces this fall as a trapline gun, which could result in it being dropped in the mud, the lake, or at the very least getting bounced around in a bucket of traps or the back of my truck. I wouldn’t treat a Single-Six that way, but because it’s a Ruger, I’m confident the Wrangler is up to the challenge. 

The Ruger Wrangler has an MSRP of $249.99, although it can be picked up for a fair bit less if you're willing to pre-order one or catch it on sale.

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