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

Sometimes you just want a fun gun. We hands-on review the Heritage Arms Rough Rider 16" .22LR Revolver for everything important and it comes out a winner.
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    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, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube channel!

    Table of Contents


    The Origin of the Rough Rider

    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.

    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.

    at BattleHawk Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    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.

    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    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.

    Heritage Rough Rider 16″ Gun Deals

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    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.

    at BattleHawk Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    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

    Heritage Rough Rider 16″

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    13 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Jc regan

      Is it ever possible to talk to anyone at heritage about purchasing parts. I have tried numerous times with no luck. What a joke.

      November 30, 2020 7:47 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Okie shooter

        You can buy all of the parts that you want on their website.

        June 11, 2022 10:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      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

      September 8, 2020 3:45 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Donald Bradley

        We just have the 6.5 inch barrel, but it is so nice to leisurely load,shoot,unload,repeat...I've seen the 16 inch, but right now there are several other firearms higher on the wishlist...even with the shorter barrel, I've had a couple folks ask to try it out - of course I allow it because the more guns sold the better...the heritage is an excellent firearm to teach with...

        December 10, 2020 10:19 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      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.

      July 24, 2020 10:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      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.

      July 24, 2020 6:03 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Grant Price

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

      July 23, 2020 6:45 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Very cool!

        July 24, 2020 10:30 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        James Broll

        How do I find the stock and hand guard?

        July 24, 2020 3:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      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."

      July 23, 2020 5:34 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Rex T. Dog

        True that...we have fed the nastiest bulk into ours and it begs for more...also use the gun to retry rounds that do not go bang in our other .22's...rotate and fire, if still no bang the round is definitely a dud, plain and simple...the most accurate ammo we have tried over the years is the CCI short rated 1080fps, of all things...we are in the crowd that loves these guns...

        September 10, 2021 6:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      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.

      July 23, 2020 5:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

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

      July 23, 2020 5:05 pm
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