Review: Ruger Wrangler Single-Action Revolver, Initial Impressions

When I first heard about Ruger’s Wrangler, I was intrigued. Introduced as a less expensive version of the Single-Six, the Wrangler is a single-action 22 long rifle revolver that has an MSRP that’s just under $250! We’ve had a few come into the store, so I grabbed one to get a better look.

The Wrangler is available in three different colors, Black Cerakote (Model 2002), Silver Cerakote (Model 2003) and Burnt Bronze Cerakote (Model 2004). The 30 ounce gun has what appears to be a cast aluminum alloy frame/parts with a steel cylinder (blued) and barrel.

To meet the Wrangler’s competitive price point, Ruger blended modern manufacturing techniques with an old design. Note the use of TORX® drive screws holding the frame together, not something I would typically expect to encounter on a single-action revolver. With the exception of the hammer forged barrel and the cylinder, the majority of the parts appear to be either cast or metal-injection molded.

The steel, 6-shot removable cylinder is blued, while the rest of the gun is Cerakoted.

The breechface area of the inside of the frame is aluminum alloy and does not appear to have a steel insert. I suspect this would be a primary wear area during extended use.

The barrel and ejector rod housing are both Cerakoted steel. Behind the barrel, note the take down button running perpendicular to the cylinder pin. Depressing this button allows the pin to be removed. With the loading gate open, the shooter can slide the cylinder out of the frame.

The molded hammer has an nicely shaped spur. The trigger pull of the Wrangler was fairly crisp, breaking at a consistent 5 pounds 5 ounces, a little heavy for a single action revolver, but not bad at all considering the price point.

Like many other firearms, the Wrangler uses a transfer bar safety mechanism (located behind the firing pin in the picture above). When the trigger is not engaged, the transfer bar is in the down position, shown above. If the hammer fell forward, the hammer would not strike the firing pin and the Wrangler would not discharge.

When the trigger is pulled, the transfer bar slides up (image above) and when the hammer drops, it hits the transfer bar, which in turn hits the firing pin, causing the cartridge to discharge.

The loading gate and transfer bar have a mechanism that prevent the transfer bar from moving when the loading gate is open. This helps to avert an accidental discharge while the Wrangler is being loaded and unloaded. Note the ejector rod protruding from the rear of the cylinder. If you haven’t used a single action revolver, you wouldn’t be familiar with this feature. On a single-action revolver, each chamber is loaded (and the spent cartridge unloaded via the ejector rod) by rotating the cylinder in line with the loading gate.

Also note the groove in the top of the receiver in the picture above. This groove is aligned with the front sight blade and produces a decent sight picture. Unfortunately, I don’t shoot revolvers well enough to share accuracy data.

The Wrangler uses Single-Six style grip panels, offering readily available aftermarket options to the consumer.

I like the Wrangler a lot, especially for the money. During my limited testing, the gun handled and shot very well. I was joking with my friend earlier, for a little over $400, you could buy a Wrangler, optics ready 10/22 and 1,000 rounds of standard long rifle ammunition and have a blast at the range. The Wrangler is a great little gun!

You can purchase the Ruger Wrangler from Brownells.