Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR Revolver Review

Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR Revolver Review

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.

[Note: If you’re looking for a nice Thumb Break type holster for the Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR Revolver then take a look at this one on Amazon.com! It’s a nice holster for the price.]

 

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.

Heritage Rough Rider .22lr pistol review

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 take 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!

Heritage Rough Rider .22lr pistol reviewed

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 Review

Related:

If you have any questions or comments please let me know. Free the mind and the body will follow.

Jesse Mathewson

Arizona since 86', lifetime prepper, camper - criminal justice advanced degrees, numerous certifications, 1+ million rounds (shooting for decades), prior contractor, instructor, current volunteer, disabled, honest, father of two husband of one - all budget and prepared. Jesse Mathewson reviews because regular people need someone in their corner as well!

29 Responses

  1. Greg M. says:

    Jesse, Thank you for a great review. This Heritage .22 pistol seems like a legit, fine piece of workmanship.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Greg it really is, like I said if you are aiming to be a “cowboy” pass and spend the money for a Ruger Single Six- however, if you want a reliable, non threatening solid handgun in 22lr and 22wm – I am sold and buying more this week!

      • Greg M. says:

        Jesse, what do you think of the various firearms dealers in the S.V. area? Any recommendations? I have dealt with T.B. on Fry and they seem legit, not dealt with any others.

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          Greg M., I avoid TB *they have been blacklisted by many of us due to their extremely abusive behavior unless you fit a certain demographic- I prefer the following places and people-

          Kings Armory
          Black Metal Firearms and
          Chosin

          In Tucson my preferences are

          Climags
          Liberty Pawn *they sell new and are honest people
          Murphys

          I do not use any of the others based on personal interactions over the course of decades now

  2. JP in MT says:

    I have handled a number of these and I have no issue with them. You are right, they are not a Ruger. But with the cost of 22 LR handguns these days, you can be smart about your buying and get 2 of these for under $300 new. I think a new Ruger is going for $550+.

    Many that are sold as just a 22 LR come with a voucher for buying the extra 22 Mag cylinder for $50.

  3. Jack says:

    Nice article Jesse, you have showcased a fine piece of workmanship I knew nothing about. When my children graduated safety training and basic marksmanship training with a single shot pellet pistol and were ready for their first firearm we chose the Ruger single six in stainless steel. My first wonderful bride often left a permanent fingerprint on metal so anything she would regularly use was purchased in SS. If these sweet little Heritage firearm had been around at that time, each child would have inherited one. Thank you for your great review.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Jack, I started looking at them seriously when I couldn’t find an HR trapper like I had grown up on!

  4. Thor1 says:

    Its a beautiful looking revolver JM. Can you fan it??? LOL

    • JP in MT says:

      Thor1:

      Yes. With a circluar or hand-held fan. Airflow always helps.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Thor1- thanks to Hollywood people actually believe the myths of the gunfighter (obviously there are some amazing trick shooters) I would suggest not doing so unless you have a custom built trick shooter

  5. Daddio7 says:

    I am not much of a gun collector. I have my Grandfather’s Remington .22 single shot rifle that is older than me, I will be 66 Monday. My 45 year old M1 carbine, a Taurus .38 revolver, An FNS 9mm, and a 40 year old H&R 622 .22 revolver. I probably have fired more rounds with the .22 revolver than all the others combined.

    My question is why use a single action for .22?

    • Izzy says:

      Daddio7; I learned to shoot with a .22 single shot rifle. Loved pinking cans with it. And it is older than me and I am older than you. 🙂

      If a person takes care of a gun, it lasts lifetimes.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Izzy, exactly 🙂

      • Thor1 says:

        Izzy, same here, an HR pioneer 22lr. Very accurate and won a competition with it over people who had much better rifles even military grade.

        A friend of mine, who was a SEAL sniper had one of the same 22lr I have, and we shot groups an inch apart. It is a Marlin bolt action with a 7 rnd mag. Extremely accurate…….

        I love 22LR…….

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Daddio7 single action firearms like single shot firearms force concentration and can have a huge impact on a persons accuracy or at very least their attempt to be accurate

  6. Old Country Boy says:

    Spot on with the review. I bought one several years ago for use on a trap line. Have not purchased the mag cylinder as the ammo around here for it is near extinct. Just starting to see 22l. Great hand gun and fun to shoot.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Old country boy, exactly- I am grateful to have been able to stock enough 22lr so we as a family could shoot 500 rounds a month – a hit to our practice but still it’s a good thing. It is nice that it’s coming back at a pretty good clip!

  7. I just recently purchased a rough rider combo in the 4 3/4 barrel size. I brought the gun home and was only able to fire 3 cylinders of ammo and then the hammer broke and would no longer lock back and the cylinder locked up also. I have returned the gun to Taurus and they informed me that it could be 12 weeks before I get it back. If its not up to par when I get it back I will have to sell it for a loss and look for a used single six instead.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Herman, I have heard this happening- sadly it does occur in all human designed and made items.
      Again, I have had failures in every firearm I have ever owned over time, some faster than others- one of the most dangerous for myself personally was my Ruger GP101 and a timing issue almost out of the box.

      Hope they get it fixed quickly- wondering, were you using it normally?

      • Of Course I was using it normally. Ive shot single actions in the past and never had a problem with a new gun like this before. What ever happened to quality control?

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Addendum, it sounds like the same issue I had with my Ruger GP101, either a bad spring, or unfortunately something loose in the internals where it advances the cylinder *not abnormal for revolvers*

  8. Mechanic says:

    Jesse
    Like the condor knife! What model?

  9. KBinKY says:

    I really like the Heritage, it’s fun to shoot And doesn’t set you back a lot to do it.

  10. Rod says:

    I purchased a birdshead Heritage revolver 3 years ago, very attractive price plus I liked the interchangeable cylinders. I bought it because I like to hike into lakes and streams and wade through high weeds and brush and who knows how many snakes. I also got a couple of boxes of shotshells in both lr and magnum and keep the first two bullets in each cylinder loaded with the shotshells. For those interested, the little revolver patterns very well with shot. I love it, bought a nylon holster for it, fits great.