Legally I have to write a disclosure here, I purchased the Heritage Rough Rider being reviewed here and did not receive anything in exchange for a review of any type.
Everyone needs a .22lr firearm. Specifically, one that is accurate and reliable, the Heritage Rough Rider is an accurate, reliable handgun! Now before we get any further, the Heritage Rough Rider is a single action handgun that comes in several varieties and barrel lengths. It will chamber the .22lr, .22 short and with a cylinder change .22wmr.
As with all single action handguns, accuracy is a matter of perspective and ability as well as understanding your individual firearm and ammunition combination. I originally purchased this handgun to have something that my son would enjoy. It is inexpensive running $136 after taxes from my local firearms dealer and easily $120-$145 depending on your location. This allowed for someone with limited funds to purchase a firearm without a large investment in the event it was not seen as a valuable addition to the family.
Heritage Manufacturing is held by parent company Taurus as of 2012. However the Heritage company has been building firearms since 1992, I first heard about them in 2004 when I was searching for a decent single action .22lr revolver. They continued to pop up on the radar as an extremely affordable, reliable, accurate single action revolver for the hobbyist, trapper or individual who needs a solid 22lr handgun. Now, this is not a Ruger Single Six or even an H&R trapper or similar, it is, however, quite a bit of gun for the money spent.
It comes in several variations, my personal favorite is the 6 shot 4.75” barrel. The other variations are the 6 shot 3.5” and 6.5” birds head grip, the 6 shot 4.75” and 6.5” standard colt peacemaker grip type in several colors and the 9 shot peacemaker styled setup. All of these options have the added benefit of cylinder swaps too 22 magnum for those who need it. As an avid shooter and tester of firearms and ammunition I would say it is an unnecessary addition in a handgun, however, not everyone will agree regardless the data supporting my assertions regarding barrel length and 22 LR versus 22 magnum.
The handguns are built on aluminum alloy frames with solid steel barrels and springs. The ejector paddle is made of polymer. I would suggest after the first 100 or so rounds do a quick once over with some Winchester Gunsmith Tools or my favorite regularly used Wheeler Gunsmith Tools and some BLUE not red LocTite! My handgun had no issues, however, the largest issue or complaint seen among other testers has been the loosening of the screws. (follow the directions sent with it and DO NOT remove the trigger/ hammer or main grip screws as it can get sticky putting things back!)
For those who care to know, the data shows that 22 LR and 22 magnum up too around 4 inches tend to run close in FPS for similar bullet weights. This being said, the benefit of having the added ability to swap cylinders is available and makes for a solid platform depending on personal taste and need. For myself, the diminutive 22lr has proven itself numerous times with snakes, coyotes, javelina, feral Russian hogs and other small and medium critters that needed put down. This, of course, leads into accuracy as experienced by myself.
Unfortunately, I only had a sample of one for this test. Regardless, taking my results and comparing them with a few dozen other reviews available I can say that you should be quite happy with the results overall. If you know handguns and especially know single action revolvers with blade sights and no drift adjustable features you will understand that accuracy is a general thing. For instance, my kids and self-had no problem nailing spent shotgun shells at 10-25 feet while the wife had some adjustment issues and was able to quickly master the use of this fine handgun.
It does NOT aim like a modern handgun, there is some fair amount of Kentucky “windage” involved, however, that does not detract from the overall success of the test. There was a small need to adjust vertical hold, the windage however was spot on! It grouped offhand into a 2” circle at 10 yards for test groups and it really does prefer 40 grn lead versus jacketed/ coated or larger or smaller rounds. The best groups were with Aguila Super Extra (blue box from LuckyGunner Ammo) and CCI 40 grn standard loads also found at LuckyGunner Ammo. Make sure to use the links if you need bulk ammunition!
We ran 500 rounds of CCI, Aguila, Federal Premium and Eley 22lr through the revolver had us all smiling by the time we called it a day. The net benefit of a single action revolver with a trap door feeding approach versus the swing arm seen in many modern revolvers tends to slow you down in shooting and 500 rounds takes a substantially longer time than it would with a modern autoloader or even modern swing arm revolver. I should mention again, it is a SINGLE ACTION ONLY revolver, it would not be my first selection for self-defense regardless of the caliber. It is plenty accurate enough for plinking, trap line running, small game disposal and hunting and range work or butcher work as needed. Now for the negatives!
It is NOT a trick shooting revolver, the cylinder will not spin freely it clicks solidly into each position and if you try to spin it you will end up breaking the gun. (honestly most firearms are not designed to replicate Hollywood stupid so please be careful!) Additionally, it is NOT designed to FAN the hammer for trick shooting. (see a trend here?) It comes from the factory timed and tested by a master gunsmith who has been testing and adjusting single action revolvers for over a decade with Heritage Arms and has been in the business for many many years above that.
That is something I really liked about this handgun, it has truly impeccable timing and did not flutter even once, additionally, the mouth/throat of the barrel facing the cylinder has been designed to allow for small variances when they will inevitably occur. (I’ve never had a revolver that didn’t eventually have small timing issues and need the mainspring, trigger spring etc, replaced and tuned – of course in all cases except my Ruger GP101 this occurred post 15,000 rounds of hard use)
Overall I can recommend this revolver for the survival enthusiast, trapper, hunter, farmer, rancher, woodsman, bushcrafter, homesteader or avid backcountry living person. 500 rounds of your favorite 22lr and this handgun (and some minor cleaning supplies) and you will be set for a couple years maybe more if you stretch it. The overall investment for my family day (test day) out with this revolver was $176 INCLUDING the revolver BRAND NEW. I am investing in at least one more, and will likely get the Birdshead grip this time (it just looks cool!) This handgun is easy to maintain, easy to own and the best part is, it costs $450 less than the Ruger Single Six.
Heritage Rough Rider 22LR / 22 Magnum
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.
Free the mind and the body will follow.
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