[Review+Video] Heritage Arms Rough Rider 16″ .22LR: Dumb & Fun

Sometimes you just need some silly in your life, and during times like these maybe we need a little more silly than normal.

Well, if it’s comic relief you’re looking for, the Heritage Rough Rider with a 16″ barrel is exactly the medicine for you.

Rough Rider 16-Inch on some wood
Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR 16″ Barrel

We bought one and tried it out because we’re serous professionals, so from CCW to range plinking fun let’s take a look at this totally-not-the-Joker’s .22 LR pistol!

Batman joker revolver

Or if you want to see us doing some totally badass revolver tricks, watch the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube channel!

Table of Contents

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The Origin

Shockingly, the long barrel single action army design is… like a real gun, maybe. The Colt Buntline was, allegedly, a real thing — a Colt single action army with a 12″ barrel.

Buntline
Reproduction Buntline made by Colt in the 1950s

If you believe the writings of Stuart Lake, a novelist that helped propel Wyatt Earp to household-name fame, the Buntline was a commissioned revolver presented to 5 lawmen in 1876 by Ned Buntline, a dime-store novelist.

Supossidaly, Buntline commissioned the revolver as a thank you gift to the lawmen for the countless stories they had provided him.

The lucky 5 were Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, Charlie Bassett, and Neal Brown.

Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone
Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone

But… two of them weren’t lawmen in 1876 … and according to Lake, only Earp kept his in the stock 12″. The other 4 cut theirs down.

Colt has no records of the sale, and Colt keeps very good records, so the likelihood of this story is not high.

Still, it’s cool.

Heritage Rough Rider, But Long

If you’ve handled a Rough Rider before, then you basically know what you’re getting with this 16″ version. It’s modeled after a Single Action Army but has some changes.

First off, it has a safety!

Rough Rider 16-Inch safety
Rough Rider safety

Why we’re not really sure, but it’s there.

The action is smooth and reliable, simply cock the hammer and pull the trigger.

A half-cock notch allows the cylendar to spin freely for loading and unloading.

To load, open the gate the drop your rounds in one at a time.

Unloading is done by way of the spring loaded ejector rod.

Rough Rider 16-Inch ejecting case

When it comes down to it… this is a SAA replica with a really long barrel.

Range Report

Taking this out for fun and games was a good time. The Rough Rider runs well and ate all of the Federal Champion ammo we tried to feed it.

28.99
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Due to the fact that this has a huge barrel and weighs in at a thicc 3 pounds, it’s kind of awkward to shoot.

Rough Rider 16-Inch c clamp grip
C-Clamp not recommended!

If you’re expecting to just C-clamp the barrel, you should reconsider. The gap between the cylinder itself and the chamber means there is a decent amount of hot gas and crud that gets expended every shot.

C-clamping the grip means you get all of that shmoo blasted into your forearm.

Not fun.

And since this is so front heavy, trying to one- or two-hand the grip feels kind of weird also. But it works.

Rough Rider 16-Inch batman

As long as you don’t get into a gun fight with this, it’s totally fine for a fun day of plinking at the range.

What Is It Good For?

This is a fun gun. You get it to have fun.

Okay, if you really want to push it into a “role” you might want to take advantage of the cylinder conversion kit and take this .22 LR and turn it into a .22 WMR.

Rough Rider 16-Inch 22 WMR conversion
Rough Rider .22 WMR conversion — MORE POWER!

.22 WMR has some more punch and can help take advantage of the long barrel more effectively. But do you really want to be trying to put down rabbit with this thing?

If you do bag some game with this… let us know and send a picture!

As for the fun, it has it in spades. It’s a silly gun that is not pretending to be anything else.

Rough Rider 16-Inch getting some sun

And come on, for this price — that’s a lot of fun to be had for not much money!

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

Hey, it’s a single action army. It works!

Accuracy: 4/5

You can’t expect much from something like this, but we were able to ring steel at 100 yards so that’s a lot better than we thought!

Ergonomics: 1/5

Ugh. So front heavy.

Looks: 5/5

Wood grips, nice deep bluing, it’s a nice piece for the price.

Rough Rider 16-Inch blasting

Customization: 1/5

Sadly, we can’t find anyone that offers a stock for the Rough Rider. That would be cool though, maybe the crafty among you can knock one together.

Bang for the Buck: 5/5

This can normally be found for $170 or less, and for that price… it’s a great deal. You’ll get hours of fun with this every time you take it to the range with some friends.

Closer to $200 if you want the .22LR + WMR combo.

And around $125 for the standard 6.5″ .22LR version.

Rought Rider 6.5"
Rough Rider 6.5″

Overall: 4/5

Ya, we like it. We wouldn’t carry it or anything, but it’s a fun gun that delivers what we want from it.

Conclusion

The Heritage Arms Rough Rider 16″ .22LR Revolver falls squarely in the category of “fun gun.” It’s good value for the price but the long version is extra heavy in the front and loading/unloading 6 .22LR at a time gets tedious. But fun for the range and a bit of nostalgia it can’t be beat.

This isn’t the normal kind of gun we review around here, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in your safe. Shooting can be a sport as much as it is for self-defense or hunting, and sports should be fun.

So get out there have have a good time!

What is your favorite “fun gun”? What else do you do to just have a good time at the range? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re looking for a more classic SSA but still need to stay on budget, take a look at the Ruger Wrangler! Or if you need a real caliber — check out the Pietta 1873!

A pair of Ruger Wranglers
A pair of Ruger Wranglers

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Joe Williams

    I had to get one when I saw it in the case. Under 2 bills and it came with the .22wsm cylinder. I hide it and wait. There always seems to be a perfect time to walk out onto the range while everybody is just standing around chatting. Then the laughter starts and the the line forms to shoot it. I plink steel at 100yds with a two hands grip all day long. Love it

    1 week ago
  • Grady B.

    Heritage does make a 22lr revolver syyle rifle with a 16 inch barrel. If you add on the 22wmr cylinder, you've got a great hu ting rifle for small game.

    1 month ago
  • Andrew F.

    A couple of Christmases ago, I got a standard size Rough Rider for my daughter. Twice at the range, the little screw that holds the shell extractor rod and spring onto the barrel has come loose, sending a spring-loaded part flying. It’s easy to fix, but embarrassing. I guess I need some loctite to fix the problem. Fun gun, but not necessarily top quality.

    1 month ago
  • Grant Price

    You can 3D print a stock adapter and hand guard for it. Someone designed it. https://mobile.twitter.com/nguyenkvvn/status/1199937240912351233

    1 month ago
    • James Broll

      How do I find the stock and hand guard?

      1 month ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Very cool!

      1 month ago
  • History Fan

    "... and ate all of the Federal Champion ammo we tried to feed it." Ha! It's a revolver. I'd be surprised if it had issues "feeding."

    1 month ago
  • Max

    Well, I did laugh, but maybe I shouldn't, because I just built...for my wife...an LR-308 with a 7.5" barrel. Guess we tie for silly on this? What? Can't hear you...test-fired it yesterday...concussion's a bit much.

    1 month ago
  • Tom

    It's Buntline, not Bluntline. Great review as always!

    1 month ago
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