It’s tough to find a gun that offers shooters more fun than a 22 LR revolver. Two big companies producing affordable .22 LR revolvers are Ruger and Heritage Manufacturing. They have targeted the cowboy market with the Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider and the Ruger Wrangler. Both companies have aimed to produce affordable plinking options for shooters of any age. Today we are dissecting the Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider and the Ruger Wrangler to figure out what’s the best option for you.
Fit and Finish
Fit and finish refer to the outward look and appeal of the firearm. While Heritage provides a competent revolver, the finish looks akin to a pray paint finish! Well, I’m exaggerating a little bit. However, the finish on the Rough Rider is rough. Plus, Heritage prints a paragraph worth of text, warnings, and other silliness on their guns, and it severely takes away from the curb appeal of the firearm.
The Wrangler looks cleaner and is applied evenly without a pile of text imprinted on the firearm. It looks better all around. The Wrangler also comes with a wide variety of cerakote finish options. There are tons of different options available for the Wrangler ranging from standard black to burnt bronze and even silver.
These revolvers are very similar. Both the Wrangler and Rough Rider utilize a single-action design that requires you cock the hammer between shots. Both guns are very similar in size, shape, and function in a similar manner. The grips are pure cowboy and provide that SAA vibe.
Both are plenty comfy and useable. However, there is a slight difference and an advantage that goes to the Wrangler over the Rough Rider. The grip height and angle make it easier to cock the hammer without having to shift your hand. This makes it faster to shoot and makes your faster-fired shots more accurate.
It’s a slight difference, but one worth noting. The Wrangler uses a transfer bar design that’s proven safe. Heritage Manufacturing goes with a weird manual safety that I kind of despise. It seems silly on a single-action revolver, and I don’t care for it. It kills the look of the weapon. There is not a transfer bar inside the weapon, and the manual safety is a must-have for carrying the hammer down on a loaded cylinder.
Both guns use pretty plain jane sights. The front sights are simple blades with a rear trench over the top of the backstrap. This simple design makes it fairly simple to shoot and accurate enough with good ammo and a steady hand. Heritage does make a Rough Rider with adjustable and proper iron sights, as well as a red dot-ready option.
The Wrangler only comes with stock SAA iron sights. For the stock model, it’s a pretty fair comparison, and there isn’t a clear winner. Both the Wrangler and Rough Rider hit accurately enough to be fun shooters, small game hunters, and so much more.
Trigger-wise, there isn’t much of a difference. The lack of a transfer bar makes the Heritage trigger alittle smoother. However, the difference is minimal and not likely to affect accuracy.
What the heck does power factor mean when it comes to rimfire revolvers? Well, I’m glad you asked. The Wrangler and Rough Rider both come in the plinker’s favorite, the 22 LR. However, the Rough Rider has an interchangeable cylinder that allows you to fire 22 Magnum out of the gun.
The Wrangler has no such accommodation. As of this writing, the only caliber the Wrangler fires is the 22 LR. Is this a big deal? For many, not a big deal, but it’s worth noting. The 22 magnum adds some oomph and makes the weapon a fair more powerful for hunting predator-sized game and larger pests.
This is an interesting category to judge these two revolvers on. The Wrangler has a tighter and smoother cylinder spin with a much more pleasant-to-work hammer. You can feel the difference when you cock the hammer of either revolver. Does the action make a big difference? Not that I know of. Both guns still go bang when the weapon is fired.
However, I enjoy working the hammer and action of the Wrangler more so than the Rough Rider. When it comes to loading and unloading, cocking, firing, and more, the Wrangler feels tighter and of higher quality.
Options and Options
The Ruger Wrangler comes in two barrel lengths, one caliber, and a few different colors. You can choose between a 4.62-inch barrel or a shorter 3.75-inch barrel with bird’s head grips. That’s it, that’s all the options you can choose from.
Heritage, well, Heritage goes hard with a wide variety of guns. You can get a ton of barrel lengths—some as short as an inch and others as long as 16 inches. You can get adjustable sights, an optic’s ready model, and a ton of different grip options. Heritage and the Rough Rider have way more options than the Wrangler.
When it comes to prying open that wallet, the Ruger Wrangler requires you to pry out a little more cash. The Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider comes in at a fairly low price point. The MSRP for the Rough Rider can be as low as 149.94. The Ruger Wrangler comes in at $269 or so.
Both are cheap plinkers, but the Rough Rider is considerably cheaper. That being said, the Ruger Wrangler provides a better-built gun with a higher quality finish, look, and feel to it.
Both the Wrangler and the Rough Rider are great guns. They are fun plinkers with subtle differences that are worth noting. Is the extra money worth it for the Wrangler? Do you want one of the many variations of the Rough Rider? That will be up to you!