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The Heritage Rough Rider revolver has the same classic design and precise action as its big-bore cousins but it’s chambered in either 22 LR or 22 WMR. So is this a good revolver to add to your collection?
Heritage Rough Rider Revolver Pros & Cons
- Great entry-level revolver
- Perfect for learning to shoot a revolver
- One of the most affordable revolvers on the market
- Perfect for plinking and fun to shoot
- Comes in many designs and customizable parts
- Options for both a .22 LR and .22 Magnum cylinder
- Cost-cutting in some of the materials used
- Cheap blued spray-on look
- Finish and fitting isn’t exactly clean
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The Heritage Manufacturing Inc.
Heritage Manufacturing has been making rugged, high-quality rimfire revolvers since 1992. They were acquired in 2012 by Taurus, but well before their acquisition, they were known in the firearms industry for making high-quality replica revolvers. Today, Heritage Manufacturing has become the largest revolver maker in the US.
Heritage Manufacturing is known for its small-bore and carbine Rough Rider models. The Rough Rider Revolver series is known for existing as an aesthetic homage to the old west. They’re an affordable yet stunning replica of the famous Colt Single Action Army. You’ll find Heritage Revolvers in many different colors, grip styles, barrel lengths, and finishes, with new designs based on the same basic Rough Rider concept.
Who is the Heritage Rough Rider Revolver for?
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned .22LR revolver to shoot around or an excellent display and backup gun to take to the range, this is an excellent revolver to add to your arsenal. The Heritage Rough Rider Revolvers are marketed as fun, old western style guns that are unique and customizable.
The best part about this revolver is the price tag, with some models going for as low as $130. They have a wide variety of color options and material finishes and the ability to customize your firearm out of the factory. So it’s really for people looking for a standout, personal side piece, or just a fun-looking firearm.
Other Heritage Rough Rider Variants
Two-Tone Rough Rider
Two-Tone Rough Riders come in four and six-inch barrel profiles. The cylinder is nickel-plated with the trigger and hammer to achieve the two-tone look.
Bird Head Rough Rider
The shortest of the group, the Bird Hear Rough Riders, are small .22 LR / .22 WMR revolvers that come in three or four-inch barrels. They’re designed for maximum concealability, while the bird head grip creates comfortable leverage for cocking the hammer, especially for small-handed shooters.
9-Shot Rough Rider
The 9-Shot Rough Riders come in 4 and 6-inch barrel lengths and either a .22LR or .22 Lr / .22 WMR Combo cylinder. They have the same profile as the 6 Shot rough rider but are designed to shoot and accept nine rounds instead of the conventional 6.
6-Shot Rough Rider
The 6-Shot Roughrider is Heritage’s direct nod to the Original Western Colt Single Action. It’s excellent for pinging steel and simple pest control. The 6-Shot Rough Rider is a low-cost single-action revolver that makes a perfect option for those looking for a unique and fun firearm.
16″ Rough Rider
As an homage to the legendary 19th Century Colt Buntline, the Heritage 16″ Rough Rider is a long-range, single-action revolver built for more modern times. The longer barrel will give you better accuracy at longer ranges, and to complement that, Heritage has released both a fixed and adjustable sight option for their 16″ Rough Rider.
The Heritage Rancher Carbine is Heritage’s version of a rifle revolver. The grips are reminiscent of a hunting rifle, and the included leather slings make it easy and comfortable to carry. It also comes with adjustable buckhorn sights for a quick and precise target sighting.
The Heritage Barkeep is a mini-revolver with an Old West style. It features fixed open sights for rapid action and a crisp sight image. Also, it offers several grip options that complement the black oxide or case-hardened frame finish.
Heritage Rough Rider Revolver
We’ll be looking at a 6-Shot Rough Rider Revolver, specifically the 4.5″ Rough Rider .22 LR / .22 WMR Black Standard Cocobolo revolver.
|Caliber||.22 LR/ .22 WMR|
|Action||Single action only|
|Lands and Grooves||6 grips|
|Weight Unloaded||30.5 ounces|
|Overall Length||10.03 inches|
|Barrel Length||4.75 inches, 6.5 inches|
|Trigger Pull||3 pounds|
|Grip||Cocobolo wood panels|
|Rear Sight||Notched rear|
Heritage Rough Rider Revolver Hands-On Review
The design and outer colorway of the packaging may change depending on the rough rider model you purchase. However, they all come in the same type of relatively thin cardboard mailer box.
Inside the box, you’ll find a user manual, safety pamphlet, heritage tag, safety lock, the revolver with cocobolo wood grip side panels and .22 LR cylinder, and if you get the combo, an extra .22 WMR cylinder.
The Heritage Rough Rider is an old western-themed firearm that comes in many appearances. The Cocobolo variant I have is just one of the dozens of personalizable revolvers. From a distance, this gun looks neat and dated. However, up close, it’s rough around the edges.
The finish isn’t as clean as other weapons, and to be honest, it looks relatively cheap. The aluminum barrel and cylinder are covered in a sprayed-on blued coating that will mimic high-quality blueing, but you’ll notice an uneven coating if you pay close attention. Also, some of the fittings aren’t as clean and tight as I wish they would be, but the little aesthetic details aren’t so significant at its price point.
Even with Heritage’s cost-cutting methods, the Rough Rider is great to carry and feels solid in your hands. It’s a well-balanced revolver and tends to point naturally. It feels like a simple extension of your shooting hand.
It might be difficult for you to cock and shoot if you have huge palms, and the action might feel uncomfortable. However, the handle and grips generally feel good enough to shoot for an extended period.
The Heritage Rough Rider is a fairly simple revolver without many modern features. There’s a swing-out loading gate on the right side behind the cylinder to load the cylinder one cartridge at a time. On the bottom of the barrel towards the muzzle, you’ll find the spring ejector, which you can use to remove the spent casing one at a time.
There’s a modern thumb safety on the left side of the hammer with a red dot indicator to indicate the safety is off. You can also lock the hammer into four positions, the first click for the original safety, the half-cocked position for loading and unloading, the full-cocked firing position, and the fired position.
Taking it Apart
Check out the video below to learn how to strip and clean the Heritage Rough Rider.
Let’s look at the two guns now. I took a few photos to show how these things are put together. We’ll look at how this revolver looks like first.
Note the cocobolo grip panels, a rather exotic wood. You can buy these from the Heritage store.
Notice the Bainbridge address — that’s where the new Taurus plant and HQ are located.
It warns us to keep an empty chamber under the hammer, but the hammer block action really precludes this need. Also, note the front sight height which is sufficiently tall for most loads.
Notice the red dot on the left. That’s the indicator that the gun is off safe, ready to fire. The safety lever is right below the dot — raise it to put the gun on safe. To allow dry-firing, a no-no with most .22 handguns. The hammer strikes the hammer block, not the firing pin.
Shooting the Heritage Rough Rider Revolver
You’ll have no issues with aiming with the Rough Rider if you’ve shot the Colt Single Action before. Accuracy-wise, the Rough Rider tends to follow in the footsteps of the Colt Single Action in that it usually shoots low or high. You can request a rough rider model with adjustable sights.
However, an easy fix would be to file down the front sights and notch the rear sights a little to recontour them. Once you’ve remedied it and have it fairly centered, you’ll notice the gun shoots fairly accurately at sub 30 yards.
Here are the targets.
4.75-inch Revolver using CCI, Remington, Federal, Winchester:
The revolver did fairly well. The only issue I had with it was that it shot a bit to the right. This is a common thing with single-action revolvers and is usually fairly easily fixed.
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Shooting the .22 LR out of the rough rider is a piece of cake. You don’t get any significant recoil that you wouldn’t expect from the .22 LR, which is a very light controllable snap up from the revolver. It’s easily manageable.
The .22 WMR, being a much more powerful round, might give you more kick. But there’s nothing you wouldn’t expect when shooting the Rough Rider.
The Rough Rider revolver is for slow shooters. This revolver is not for you if you’re trying to shoot as many bullets as possible. It’s one of those guns you have to pace yourself with and take time.
Additionally, reloading and unloading the gun takes time. So it’s more of a gun that’s fun to shoot a round more than anything else, and it’s solid and works just for that situation.
This gun will shoot 10/10 times. I don’t see you running into any major issues down the road, maybe with the cylinder eventually giving out since the actual gun itself isn’t made of durable steel, but it’s a cheap $30 replacement down the line, and you’re not precisely shooting large bore rounds anyways to worry about structural issues.
In my shooting sessions, it does what it’s supposed to do, and at its price range, it’s a lot more solid and reliable than I would have expected it to be.
There are many noteworthy Single Action .22 revolvers out on the market today, so what makes the Heritage Rough Rider stand out? Aside from the cost-effective price range, let’s take a look at some of its competition.
The Ruger Wrangler is one of a series of .22 revolvers released by Ruger over the past few decades. It’s an ambidextrous revolver that acts like the older Colt Single Action with modern innovations. The Wrangler is the affordable, lower-end version of Ruger’s famous Single Six Revolver.
Comparing the two revolvers, the similar .22 LR Rough Riders runs around $40 less than the Ruger Wrangler. However, the Ruger comes with a better and more modern reloading mechanism. Additionally, the base pin is much easier to remove on the Ruger Wrangler, making cleaning and swapping out barrels easy. The Ruger Wrangler also has a better, cleaner finish. Aside from a few aesthetic and functional differences, they perform pretty much the same. Is the $40+ extra price tag worth it? That’s for you to decide.
Smith & Wesson always comes out with excellent revolvers, and when you get a high capacity .22 revolver, you know it will be an enjoyable time at the range. The S&W Model 617 is not cheap, but they’re excellent revolvers for plinking.
Compared to the Rough Rider, the Smith and Wesson Model 617 revolver is an investment costing around four to five times as much as the Heritage Rough Rider Revolver. Although it has ten shots, you can also find a 9-shot rough rider for a quarter of the price of the S&W Model 617. However, with the Model 617, you get a more modern revolver than the Rough Rider.
Aside from the extra shots, the 617 has a double-action trigger, adjustable front and rear sights, a heavier duty steel body, and a swing-out cylinder which I find easier to work with, and of course, the reliability that comes with a large manufacturer and big-name like Smith and Wesson.
The Ruger New Model Single Six is a classic single-action stainless steel six-shooter. The frames and cylinders are all high-quality stainless steel and come with the .22 LR and .22 Magnum cylinders.
Like the Ruger, it’s loaded via a loading gate and ejected via an ejection rod built into the barrel. However, unlike the Rough Rider, the Ruger New Model Single Six has a transfer bar under the hammer as an added safety precaution when accidentally dropping the firearm and none of that crazy safety that some people find ugly on the Rough Rider.
Performance-wise there is not much difference between the two in terms of accuracy and reliability. The recoil on the New Model Single-Six is a little better than the Rough Rider, but is it worth the added price tag? I don’t think so. The Rough Rider is still a better and cheaper option if you’re still just going with a 6-shot plinker. But if you want a more modern, safer revolver, then it might be worth spending the extra bucks on the Single Six.
This beautifully handcrafted leather holster is the perfect complement to your unique sidearm to complete that cowboy look. The holster will fit any revolver with up to a 6″ barrel and comes with an ammo belt that can hold up to 24 rounds. It also comes with an adjustable hammer loop and leg tie straps to keep the holster and gun secured while moving.
Being a revolver, you can shoot just about any round in it without worrying about cycling your gun like you would with a slide action on a .22 LR pistol. Still, you always want to get the best ammo available to avoid any accuracy issues or just performance issues overall. Check out our list of best .22 LR ammo to pick the right one for your budget.
Overall, the Heritage Rough Rider Revolver is a great buy. It is affordable, accurate, and easy to use. Many gun owners are also trying to get their hands on this revolver as they have exceptional value for a .22 caliber revolver. The finish and hand-fitted grip panels are excellent, and you can add accessories if you want to upgrade your shooting experience.