Handguns

Range Report: Ruger Super Wrangler Single-Action Revolver

Woman on the range riding a horse with a Ruger Super Wrangler on her hip in a holster

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.

Ruger Super Wrangler, right profile
Note that both the .22 LR and .22 Magnum cylinders are unfluted.

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.

Wrangler Design

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.

Ruger Super Wrangler, with bronze Cerakote finish
The bronze-colored edition is eye catching.

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.

Ruger Super Wrangler, with silver Cerakote finish, with additional .22 magnum cylinder
Offering a dual-cylinder revolver in both .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum makes for excellent versatility.

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.

checkered hammer spur on the Ruger Wrangler
The Wrangler’s hammer is nicely serrated making for easy cocking.

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.

Specifications

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
Grooves: 6

Range Testing

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.

Accuracy at 7 and 25 yards
The Ruger was fired at 7 and 25 yards, each in offhand fire. This is good small game accuracy.

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.

Load

Velocity (FPS)

5-Shot Group (inches)

 

.22 Long Rifle

 
Remington Thunderbolt9801.4
Winchester M229701.5
Aquila 40-grains9552.0
CCI Mini Mag1,0011.5
 

.22 Magnum

 
CCI Mini Mag1,2901.25
Winchester 40-grain FMJ1,1991.4
Armscor 40-grain1,3251.6
Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense1,2551.3

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.

Ruger’s Super Wrangler is sure to be at the top of any shooter’s list, but how does compare to your favorite pew-pew? Share your answers in the Comment section.

  • Woman on the range riding a horse with a Ruger Super Wrangler on her hip in a holster
  • Accuracy at 7 and 25 yards
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, with silver Cerakote finish, with additional .22 magnum cylinder
  • front sights on two different revolver barrels
  • Side by side comparison of the rear sights on the Ruger Super Wrangler and Ragler
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, with silver Cerakote finish, right profile
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, with bronze Cerakote finish
  • RUger Super Wrangler (top), Ruger Wrangler (bottom)
  • Revolver on a paper target with bullet holes in the pink center
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, with silver Cerakote finish
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, right profile
  • The Super Wrangler, above, compared to the original Wrangler, below.
  • checkered hammer spur on the Ruger Wrangler
  • Ruger Super Wrangler, right quartering
  • target peppered with CCI birdshot from a .22 Magnum

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. @BILL HOYT. “I wore out my single six (1970 vintage) and am interested in a replacement.” You may have just mastered an impossible feat! It is hard to believe a Ruger Revolver could ever get worn out. Question: How many rounds does it take to wear out a Ruger Single Six? LOL If it were me, I would contact Ruger and tell them you wore out one of their Ruger Single Sixes, just to see what their response is. There may be fanfare and an award for doing so. You may even be the first. LOL. I wouldn’t be surprised if they request you send it in, they make it like new again, and send it back with documented paperwork (1st official worn out Ruger Single Six). Or you can just frame it with a tombstone, and keep it as a trophy, and still get that replacement. LOL

  2. I wore out my single six (1970 vintage) and am interested in a replacement.
    How does the accuracy of the super wrangler compare to single six ?

  3. For ruger to come out with the wrangler was a let down. Heritage has had dual cylinder revolvers for years. The ruger super wrangler offers an excellent.revolver with all the same features as the single six for a lot less money.

  4. Have not shot the Wrangler , or Super Wrangler , looking forward to trying them out as soon as possible !

  5. I bought my wife the Ruger “New Model” Super Six KNR-6 Stainless in 1974.
    Still have it NIB (but lightly used) with both cylinders.
    Same time I bought me a Ruger SA Blackhawk .45 Colt with both cylinders. – Sebbie

  6. “Why do we need the introduction of another revolver.” Where have you been? Under a rock? I have had mine for at least a couple of years. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. Accurate and cheap to shoot! When I got mine it was only $129.00!

    1. Hey Rob,

      Ruger introduced the Wrangler a few years ago and it is a great firearm. The Super Wrangler is new for 2023. Thanks for reading!

      -Alex Cole

  7. I have been a Ruger fan for many decades, and I think when I was about 10, a guy let me fire, what I believe was a Ruger Bearcat at the time, and it was like love at first pull of the trigger, and like that Allen Jackson song: “Drive”, I felt like I was the Lone Ranger. Fast forward to the 70’s, and I was looking for a .22LR Single Action, and did not know about Ruger’s “transfer bar system”, and picking up a Ruger Single Six, and also a Colt New Frontier, both with adjustable sights, and .22 Mag cylinders, well I thought because the Ruger did not have the four clicks when cocking the hammer, I thought there was something wrong with it, and so opted for the Colt. The Colt is a true Colt, in that yes, it has the four clicks when cocking the hammer, as well as: “Best carried with five rounds, and the hammer on an empty chamber for safety”. Also true to Colt, it had a case hardened frame, and Colt deep bluing, absolutely beautiful, traditional Colt standard dressing. The LR cylinder was fluted, while the Magnum cylinder was non-fluted for quick identification. Did I make a mistake not getting the Ruger? As it turns out, probably not, as Colt only made the New Frontier for a few years, and now they are collectibles. It actually got old enough, that I was concerned the “flat springs” Colt seems to be in love with, would fail, and I had no way of replacing them. That is until recently finding some “new” old stock on the internet, and with those as a backup, I am back to enjoying the little Colt again. That said I found the Wrangler interesting, and now the Super Wrangler even more so, and nice to see Ruger did something about the pricy single six. There is no better firearm to break in a newbie, at any age, than a .22LR Single Action. Magazine dumps can come once the basics are firmly imbedded, and nothing does that better than a .22LR Single Action.

  8. How about a comparison of the Super Wrangler and the Diamondback Sidekick? Other than the different capacity, the appear to be very similar

  9. I like SAAs. Have had many Colts, from 1st to 3rd Gens & like them. But…disagree with the best pointing. Fords vs Chevys, I guess, but a 1911 & S&W revolvers, especially the N frames, point better for me. I do a lot of tactical point shooting & the 11s & Ss, are by far the easiest to put hits on the 6 & 8″ steels, from the holster & multiple run & gun shots. FWIW, just my experience.

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