In this day of tack-driving, semi-automatic rimfire handguns capable of deploying 20 rounds of ammunition or more, some may simply wonder, “Why do we need the introduction of another revolver.” And a single-action at that. The fact is, nothing feels quite as good in the hand or points as naturally as the single-action revolver, and among the top contenders is the Ruger Super Wrangler.
A small-frame rimfire revolver is a joy to fire and use. It is a fine game getter as well. Add Ruger’s reputation for durability and service, and you’ll have an exceptional value in the Ruger Super Wrangler. For less than $300, you’ll have a revolver comparable in every way to the much more expensive Ruger Single Six.
Don’t get me wrong the Single Six is a great revolver. There is no more rugged handgun ever built. But for many of us, two Super Wrangler revolvers for the same price as a Single Six may make more sense.
A few years ago, Ruger introduced the Wrangler single-action revolver. You can get away with nonferrous alloy in a .22 rimfire handgun. By using a stronger alloy in the high-stress areas, you’ll produce a reliable and useful handgun for non-critical chores.
The Wrangler is a fixed-sight revolver, with transfer-bar action, and a six-shot cylinder. It is only offered in .22 Long Rifle. The .22 Magnum is deemed too hot a loading for use in zinc-alloy frames.
With a full-size Single Six-type grip frame and 4.62-inch barrel, the Wrangler is well balanced, reliable, and accurate. The simple trough and post sights are usually properly sighted for 40-grain bullets at 15 yards. The Super Wrangler features a Cerakote finish that provides corrosion and wear resistance, at a price that is less expensive than a blue finish. Ruger has introduced several colors of Cerakote, a 3.75-inch barrel version, and birdshead grip versions. A long-barrel version (that I have yet to see) is promised.
The Wrangler is a good revolver, however, it isn’t a viable alternative to the Ruger Single Six on two counts. While there have been fixed sight versions of the Single Six, the Single Six features a well-made set of adjustable sights. Super tough and highly adjustable, these sights — including the Ruger Single Six’s removable and replaceable ramp front sight — are accuracy enhancing features.
The Single Six also features a spare cylinder for .22 Magnum use. The Wrangler is accurate and reliable, but accuracy potential cannot be realized at all distances when fixed sights are used. The Super Wrangler is a true outdoorsman’s revolver, while the Wrangler is more of a plinker for recreational use.
.22 LR and .22 WMR
The .22 Long Rifle cartridge has been around a long time, about 135 years. The .22 Magnum is a more modern cartridge with some 66 years of age. The longer and more powerful magnum uses a crimped-in-place jacketed bullet, rather than the lead heel-based bullet of the .22 Long Rifle.
Originally designed as a rifle cartridge, the .22 Magnum increases short-range killing power and extends the range of the rimfire. While useful, the .22 Long Rifle is affordable and offers a great deal of utility. By offering a spare cylinder in .22 Magnum, the Super Wrangler increases the usefulness of the revolver.
The new cylinders will not fit in older Wrangler revolvers. The Super Wrangler is a stronger revolver than the Wrangler. The steel frame is also stronger than the Wrangler’s alloy frame. A 5.5-inch barrel delivers good velocity for a revolver. The balance and heft of the revolver are good, very good.
On another note, unlike the .44 Special/.44 Magnum and .38 Special/.357 Magnum combination, the .22 Magnum isn’t simply a longer .22 Long Rifle. Dimensions and design are different enough that the two cartridges demand a different cylinder. A warning… while .22 Long Rifle will usually fit — not properly, but fit — in the .22 Magnum cylinder and fire, the case will rupture and become stuck in the chamber.
It requires a gunsmith effort to remove, so don’t try it. Add quality, adjustable sights to the Super Wrangler, and it may be properly sighted in for a wide variety of loads. This is a considerable advantage over the original fixed-sight Wrangler.
Construction and Durability
As for the Super Wrangler’s construction, it isn’t quite a Single Six. However, it is stronger with more steel than the Wrangler. The grip frame is constructed from a nonferrous material, the ejector rod housing is aluminum, but then, so is the Single Six. The grips are inexpensive checkered plastic grips.
The trigger and hammer are MIM types. The Super Wrangler features transfer bar ignition. When the hammer is at rest, a bar between the hammer and firing pin prevents the hammer from moving forward to strike the firing pin.
The hammer is cocked for every shot. As the hammer is cocked the transfer bar moves into place and as the hammer falls. The transfer bar is smacked by the hammer and fires the cartridge under the hammer. This is a safe and reliable system.
The Wrangler and Super Wrangler (as well as all modern Ruger revolvers) may be safely carried fully loaded. To load the revolver, open the loading gate and rotate the cylinder as you load one round at a time. To eject spent cartridges, the chamber is aligned with the ejector rod, and the rod is pressed to eject the cartridge.
Grips: Checkered synthetic
Front sight: Ramp
Rear sight: Adjustable
Barrel length: 5.50 inches
Overall length: 11 inches
Weight: 37.7 ounces
Capacity: 6 rounds
Cylinder frame finish: Black Cerakote
Cylinder frame material: Alloy steel
Twist: 1:14 inches RH
I have a particular procedure that I follow when testing a handgun. I begin at 7 yards and check sight regulation. I don’t exactly live in the boonies, but I do occasionally encounter reptiles and rodents. I have dispatched a few of these and like to keep a .22 revolver on hand for such use.
A short-range zero is desirable. I can account for a revolver that fires high or low, I simply must confirm its regulation. I also tested the Super Wrangler with CCI .22 Magnum shot shells. While not particularly impressive, they offer a sure means of dispatching reptiles past arms reach and offer a degree of safety.
The trigger action was smooth and crisp. The action is at least as smooth as a Ruger Single Six that I had on hand for comparison. Trigger compression was a smooth 3.5 pounds. The Super Wrangler has all the makings of an accurate combination.
I rounded up a good mix of .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum ammunition and gave the Super Wrangler a good workout. Most of the accuracy testing was conducted at 50 feet, just a bit past 15 yards, but more reasonable for most handguns than 25 yard testing.
5-Shot Group (inches)
.22 Long Rifle
|CCI Mini Mag
|CCI Mini Mag
|Winchester 40-grain FMJ
|Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense
Sight regulation happily worked well enough when changing cylinders and using 40-grain loads in either caliber. I like the Super Wrangler a lot. For fun shooting, it is difficult to top a single-action .22 caliber revolver. I think this handgun has a bright future.