Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We select and review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission, which help support our testing. Learn more.

Ruger Wrangler Review: Single Action .22LR Fun

The Ruger Wrangler is too much fun for $200. We hands-on test the single action revolver for accuracy, reliability, ergonomics, and bang-for-the-buck.

    A plinking gun is a great thing to have.They’re fun, cheap, and great to train new shooters.

    But not all plinkers are made the same and many of them are so cheaply made they defeat the goals of having one!

    Ruger Wranglers and ammo

    That’s why when Ruger announced they were going to release a cheap version of their Single Six, I was trepidly hopeful.

    Not to be held back though, I pre-ordered two of them and then spent a lot of range time with both to see just how they did–and the results are outstanding!

    Table of Contents


    What Is The Ruger Wrangler?

    In a nutshell, the Wrangler is a cheap version of the Ruger Single Six.

    However, the Wrangler isn’t Wal-Mart brand chips vs. Lays, it’s more like the Toyota Tacoma Vs. the Toyota Tundra.

    Tundra Vs Tacoma

    Smaller, lighter, and a whole lot cheaper.

    How To Make Something Good

    To really understand the Wrangler, you need to know a little about the Single Six since, without it, the Wrangler wouldn’t be here.

    Ruger’s Single Six is a rimfire revolver modeled after the classic Colt Single Action Army and has been around since the early 1950s, although with some changes over the years.

    A pair of Ruger Single Six, sold at Rock Island Auction

    Today, you can get a Single Six in a whole bunch of models and shooting .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR–and nearly all of the models come with at least two cylinders, letting you shoot at least two of the options.

    Steel alloy frame, steel alloy cylinder, cold hammer-forged barrel, adjustable rear sight, ramp front sight, and will cost you around $550-600 retail.

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    It’s a great gun, but that is also a fairly steep price tag for what most people will only ever use as a range toy plinker.

    How To Make Something Good… But Cheaper

    The Ruger Wrangler answers the problem of price but also cuts down on the features.

    First off, no more second cylinder and as of now, there isn’t any upgrade or conversion cylinders out.

    Other than that though… you don’t really miss out on much.

    Ruger Wrangler, two of them

    The steel alloy frame has been replaced by aluminum alloy, fixed rear sight, blade front sight, and a Cerakote finish instead of blueing.


    The cylinder is still steel alloy and the barrel is still cold hammer forged. And these are the true heart and soul when it comes to long term durability.

    Best of all… this little guy is running a fraction of the price.

    Ruger Wrangler 22LR Gun Deals

    Palmetto State Armory Save $130
    Grab A Gun
    Firearms Depot
    Kentucky Gun Co
    Available Coupons
    Ammunition Depot

    On The Range

    After a crapload of ammo, a sore thumb, and a lot of old-timey reloading, I’m here to say that this gun is awesome.Period.

    Right out of the box, everything fits and functions perfectly. Nothing about this gun says “cheap” when you look at it or use it.

    The Single Six is 32oz, the Wrangler is 30oz. I love that it feels like a good little gun should. Not too heavy, not lightweight either though.


    If you’re looking for precision fire with a <5″ barrel in .22LR… you might be asking a bit much.

    But for the size, I was actually very pleased with my Wrangler. It is consistent and is more than able to put shots where you want them at a fairly reasonable range (for .22LR and a <5″ barrel).

    Ruger Wrangler Group

    However, the groups were a little odd. Ignore that bottom right corner, that was me shooting my CZ 97b… review on that coming soon!

    All of the groups shot were at 10-yards, a nice plinking range.

    Aguila Super Extra

    Aguila Super Extra is my plinking .22 LR ammo of choice and it performed very well in the Wrangler.

    Wrangler Colored and clippped

    Point of aim was the middle of the red diamond and it was only a touch low and a very tight group.

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    One thing to note, Aguila Super Extra bullets are dipped with a very thin copper coating – these made them a little tight and a little sticky to load, but really caused no problem at all.

    Aguila 22lr ammo (2)

    CCI Subsonic

    The grouping was lower and more open, but they were SO SOFT to shoot.

    If you were wanting to train a new shooter or let a young kid have a go, CCI Subsonics would be a great option with how soft and quiet they are.

    at Lucky Gunner

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Sadly, you can’t mount a suppressor to the Wrangler so that is out.

    Federal Target Match

    I had to shoot this grouping twice because half of the first grouping wasn’t on paper.

    I don’t know how but these were even lower shooting than my Subsonics were.

    Wrangler Colored and clippped

    First group was aimed at the red diamond and the first shot clean missed the paper, I rose a little and clipped the paper, rose again so I was aiming two 1-inch squares above the diamond and finally landed some shots in a row.

    The second group was all on paper, but the point of aim was a full 3″ high of impact. 3″ low at 10-yards was…surprising. But they all fired, they all loaded with ease, and were fairly consistent once I knew the POI Vs. POA.

    I’ll finish out this box of Federal Target Match but I don’t think I’ll be getting more.

    Wear and Durability

    Coated in Cerakote, these guns are designed to last longer than the average cheap plinker should last. So far the Cerakote is holding up outstandingly well, although I do have a couple of scratches from where I set it down too roughly on concrete.

    Ruger Wrangler wear after several hundred rounds

    I’ve put a little under 500 rounds of .22 LR through it so far and the cylinder looks to be in great shape, exactly what I would expect from steel-alloy with Cerakote on top.

    Zero marks in the steel itself, while the coating on friction surfaces is clearing away as expected.

    Quirks, Heat, and Transfer Bars

    While the Single Six and Wrangler were modeled after the Colt SAA, they’ve come a long way since then and have a number of features that the old Colt doesn’t.

    The big one is the use of a transfer bar safety.

    Transfer Bar Safety

    Quickly speaking, the transfer bar is a safety feature that prevents the gun from firing if the hammer is hit while resting on a live cartridge.

    Ruger Wrangler transfer bar (2)

    Instead of the hammer with an integrated firing pin or the hammer striking the pin directly, there is a bar between the two.

    The hammer hits the bar, the bar hits the pin, the gun goes bang.

    And that bar is only in place to be hit when you’ve fully depressed the trigger. Cool, right?

    Loading Gate and Cylinder

    Secondly, the cylinder lock-up system is different–how and why isn’t that important or interesting, the key thing to know is that when the loading gate is open the cylinder can rotate BOTH directions. This makes loading and unloading nicer.

    It also means that the loading gate isn’t just a loading gate… the loading gate is connected to the cylinder lock-up so opening the gate cams a pin down to let the cylinder rotate.

    Side view of Ruger Wrangler

    This makes for a VERY stiff loading gate to open, but adds a level of safety.

    Heat Build-Up

    Since this is a plinker and since it requires more manual manipulation than most guns, I wanted to try and see how hot it would get and how quickly.

    Bottom line–even with trying my best to shoot and reload as quickly as possible, in 100-rounds I still wasn’t able to get it hot enough to be uncomfortable to handle.

    Ruger Wrangler chamber wear after several hundred rounds

    The barrel was toasty and the cylinder was warm, but both were still cool enough that it didn’t hurt or feel like it was getting too hot.

    You have a lot of things working in your favor here, first is that .22 LR isn’t super spicy. The cylinder and barrel are both steel and are fairly beefy for being a .22 LR gun.

    And… it’s a single action. You can’t exactly speed load or mag dump with it!

    Who Is It For?


    Plinking gun at the range, great shooter to introduce people to firearms with, maybe even some small game hunting if you’re feeling quick and sharp.

    Everyone, Gary Oldman

    If you want a cool pistol that you can put an obscene amount of rounds through, you won’t go wrong with a Ruger Wrangler.

    By The Numbers

    Accuracy: 3.5/5

    The sights are very… classic. They are a little small but they do their job well enough to get by.

    sight picture of Ruger Wrangler
    sight picture of Ruger Wrangler

    Compared to the Single Six they are a lot worse, but sacrifices have to be made.

    Ergonomics: 4/5

    A little on the small side, the grips are clearly not made for super large hands but more of a middle ground. I thought I would have more problems with them than I did and actually, once I found my grip, it was fairly firm and comfy.

    Looks: 5/5

    I love it. Cerakote wasn’t my first choice, but after getting it in hand I’m very pleased with how smooth and even it is, Ruger did a great job. Plus everything seems to be holding up really well.

    A pair of Ruger Wranglers

    Customization: 1/5

    The grip panels for the Wrangler are the same as the “New Model” Single Six, so there are actually grip options out there! Other than that though, you’re out of luck. I really hope Ruger puts out some conversion cylinders or something, but I don’t have my hopes high.

    Bang For Your Buck: 5/5

    MSRP is only $250, street price is commonly around $180–I paid $175 before tax and such. You don’t have many options lower than this and NONE of them can hold a candle to the quality and durability of the Ruger Wrangler.

    Overall Rating: 4/5


    The Ruger Wrangle is a great .22LR for an affordable range toy. It’s got a great finish and styling, and it’s pretty hard to beat a wheel gun for reliability. The sights leave something to be desired and don’t get your hopes up about customization, but the Wrangler has your back.

    The sights aren’t the best, but they are good enough. And the loading gate is really stiff, although it has started to break in a bit.

    My hold out hope is for more cylinders, but even with just .22 LR I’m very happy with it for the price I paid.

    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    What is your favorite plinking gun? Got a Single Six? Let us know in the comments! For a rifle to pair with your awesome Wrangler, take a look at the Henry Golden Boy!

    Henry Golden Boy

    Ruger Wrangler 22LR

    Compare Prices

    Own this gun? Add your rating!

    Rating score


    3 ratings

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    29 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      I have the single six and just received a wrangler as a gift from my son. I never shoot the single six, not because it's a bad pistol, I just don't want to get my stainless dirty because it's one of my show pieces. The wrangler may not be a single six, but it's still a fine little gun that does everything I need or want from a 22 revolver. I'd recommended it to him for a cheap 22, but never dreamed I'd end up with one. I'm glad I did. Ruger did this one right.

      January 10, 2022 9:53 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sammie Burkes

        Hi, I've just put aside for purchase a slightly used Ruger Wrangler at the gunship where I'm employed as a firearm tech..Barely used, it was one of.the guns I cleaned last week. Can't wait to close the deal, get some decent .22lr ammo, and have some plinking fun for a change! Have wanted one of these since they were introduced a few yrs. back. Goaded my mgrs. to look into purchasing these for resale, they accommodated! Csnt wsit to launch some lead thru this wonderful little single action revolver!

        May 14, 2022 11:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I bought one last week and it is a lot of fun.. it doesn't feel cheap, very nice. It is also very safe being a single shot. You can't beat the price when compared to the other ones at the gun store. Unless you are entering competitive shooting why spend $1000 on a 22 when you can buy this. Jimmy

      November 8, 2021 1:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jim bryant

      I purchased a pair of these Wrangler in silver the first 1 could not hit water in the middle lake if you threw it in . So I put the 2nd one in action and does very well using Aguila super extra 22lr. I have been shooting 40 years and have alot of Ruger weapons so I brought the pistols home and was cleaning the first one that shot like crap and low and behold looking in the barrel it has chatter marks in it about 1 in up in the riflings so me and ruger gonna have us a chat. With that said I'm not happy at all but they will take care of the issue. On both of the pistols the tolerance is so loose before the Lans they need to be tighter to insure better grouping there alot of slop in there which will cause very in accurate grouping. Now I fired federal,Winchester Aguila ,cci blazer,cci standard velocity, Remington, only the second pistol had any groups using Aguila 22lr...

      August 8, 2021 5:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Awesome thorough review, very informative and well said. Thank you

      August 4, 2021 6:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Derek Bergstrom

      Hello, i was just shooting mine yesterday. I hit those orange bullseye stickers off of a steel plate at 30 yards and got five rounds to touch each other at 10. With browning ammo. (After a couple bricks of 500 and not cleaning it.) The rounds started to get more difficult to put in to the cylinder at this point and a quick scrub with plastic brush and gun oil after a single scrape around the rims with a dental pick, the rounds then fell right in. Back to shooting more stickers off of the target. To be super accurate you have to let the gun surprise you. I tend to want to over squeeze as i expect it to go off, and it causes fly rounds an inch or so away from where im aiming.

      May 16, 2020 9:23 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Fast Eddie

      It's just plain fun!

      April 27, 2020 11:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Snake Pleskin

      Ruger makes excellent forearms. They revolutionized the firearm indoustry with both investment casting and their willingness to try new designs. I have both Colt Peacemakers and Ruger Blackhawks ,old and new models...the Rugers are must tougher than the Colts, period. I own an Old Model Single Six and a Wrangler. The sights on the Single Six make tighter groups possible, but the Wrangler will shoot quite well too, better than most people can. If you put them in a Ransom rest...the accuracy is outstanding. That is the only true way to know if a firearm s accurate. by taking the human out of the equation. The Heritage i hear about is Ok, but it is rough, has machine marks, and please...a "safety"...!! and is favored by those who think all firearms are expensive if they cost over $100 which is totally unrealistic. The Ruger has a much higher quality look and feel to it. For those who whine about Cerakote, it is tougher than bluing and more expensive. An average firearm costs $150 to $250 to have it applied properly. Not by some garage gunsmith! I guess people who complain about it do not own any polymer pistols or rifles...yeah, right.

      April 24, 2020 9:09 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Weber

      I have the burnt bronze Wrangler. I wanted the all black one. Here's why I have the burnt bronze model, my wife who's not into guns fell in love with the looks of the burnt bronze one. I love the Wrangler and it pairs well with my Henry lever action. As for my favorite plinking hangun, it's a tough decision between the Wrangler and my Advantage Arms 22lr conversion unit for my Glock 19 gen3.

      March 24, 2020 9:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      My husband's had one for a couple months and we have shot the tar out of it. The range session lasts until it's so dirty, it's hard to poke the casings out. I do appreciate the nice sturdy ejection rod. I just got mine so now we won't be passing his back and forth. Now our sessions will be twice and long and the staff will probably be throwing us out at closing. What a fun range toy.

      January 9, 2020 11:10 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Awesome to hear! It is a great little shooter.

        January 10, 2020 9:24 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      That pistola looks mighty fine. I have been plinking with my heritage rough rider .22lr which I bought from crazy gun dealer for $99 just fine as well. Then added a 22 mag cylinder for it for under $50 for more fun.

      August 13, 2019 8:38 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jack Webb

      Wish it had a 22 mag. cylinder.

      August 12, 2019 6:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steven kelnhofer

      I got one of these for my 11 year old. I put the rosewood grips on it. It’s awesome. So much fun for him to shoot.

      August 2, 2019 10:28 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Caleb Johnson

        Small world, I am looking at this for my 11 year old as well. Good to know it's a good choice.

        August 4, 2019 9:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John W Weber

      I have a Ruger 50th anniversary single six it has a 4.62" barrel. I'm contemplating on if I need a Wrangler, if they come out with 6.5" barrel I will definitely get one.

      August 2, 2019 8:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      First pistol I ever bought was a Single Six 40yrs ago and I still have it. Tens of Thousands of rounds downrange and it still shoots like new. I have 2 Heritage .22lr but I'll be getting one of these.

      August 2, 2019 2:49 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Art out West

        I've got one of the Heritage revolvers, and a Ruger SR22, plus a Ruger Mark III.. Now I want to add one of these.

        August 7, 2019 10:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James Crum

      I got two, and like them.
      It will be hard to pass them on to my kids though...
      ** 36 grain Federal seems to tumble, but others are OK **

      August 1, 2019 9:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Clifford Bloom

      the first gun I purchased 45 years ago was a Ruger stainless steel single six from a dealer just over the Chicago boarder. I moved and have been living in rural Northern Illinois for the last 40+ years. With about 10 other handguns, Glocks, Springfields, Colts, etc., the Ruger is the primary "go-to" tool we use out on a farm. Rats in the chicken coup, check; coyotes in the chicken coup, check; wife uses it, check; teach grand kids how to shoot a handgun, check. Load with 22 long rifle or shot shells; check.

      August 1, 2019 6:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ron King

      I love Ruger. Nice looking single six. I have had a Texas Ranger single six for 30 years. It was a cheap well made single six. Two cylinders 22LR and mag. $75.00. I must have the Ruger.

      August 1, 2019 5:57 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ian VanVranken

      As for the 22 mag cylinders, I'm pretty sure I had seen a video with a ruger rep saying they had no plans for a conversion, something about the alloy frame not being strong enough

      August 1, 2019 3:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Im a Big fan of Ruger....& Especially their Revolvers...However I think they missed the mark big time on this 22 caliber Wrangler...Its not even close to being as good as the cheap Heritage 22 SA Revolver for a price of $130 to $180.00 and comes with an additional 22 Magnum Cylinder .
      The Ruger Shopkeeper is another excellent Ruger Revolver but it way way over Priced.Anytime a 22 cost as much or more than a Large caliber like a 9mm or 357 Mag than ya know its over priced and the sales suffer.

      August 1, 2019 3:01 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Why is it not as good as the heritage? I have one and I love it, but from what I can tell, the wrangler fit and finish is lightyears ahead of the rough rider...for not that much more $ Not trying to start a fight, just curious as to your reasons

        August 1, 2019 3:41 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          James Crum

          I agree - the Ruger is a quality looking - and feeling - pistol. Has real presence. The rough riders were just cheesy enough for me to hold off on getting a pair.

          August 1, 2019 9:22 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Art out West

          The Ruger is clearly superior to the Heritage. I own the Heritage, and I like it. The Wrangler is better.
          If you need the .22mag, on the cheap, to Heritage. Otherwise Wrangler.
          My Heritage didn't come with the mag and I don't think I need it anyway.

          August 7, 2019 10:09 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I purchased a Heritage Rough Rider in March of this year. Had it less than thirty days, before it started key holing every round. The barrel was so lose that I could move it a quarter inch with my thumb and index finger. Taurus, who owns Heritage has had the revolver eleven weeks now. They stated it would take twelve weeks to repair. Do yourself a favor and purchase the Ruger Wrangler.

        August 1, 2019 5:39 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Even though I’m quite fond of Ruger (I have six of various flavors) I’m with ya on the Heritage revolvers. Got two for $99.00 each NIB. One with the 4 1/2 in bbl, other with 6 1/2 in bbl. Then, ordered the mag cylinders from Heritage for, if I correctly recall, $37.00 a piece. Are they Rugers? No. Are they made well? Yes. Do they serve their purpose as plinkers well? Yes. With the mag cylinders are they able to take small game? Yes. So, I don’t have a need for a Wrangler. I’m good.

        August 2, 2019 8:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Try a Henry H001 with the Aguila Super Colibris. Quiet and fun for the back yard.

      August 1, 2019 2:51 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments