We all like cowboy revolvers. The history of the Old West is a big draw for shooters.
While none of us would really have wished to live in those times and circumstances, there is a certain romance to the era.
Recently, I tested a new version of the .22 Single Action from Traditions.
How It Compares
This revolver, the Rawhide version at least, is designed to be as affordable as possible while offering good value.
While Ruger and Heritage also offer good .22 single-action revolvers, the Traditions Rawhide .22 is a different revolver in most dimensions.
Other revolvers are smaller than the Single Action Army, though the Traditions revolver has the same size and dimensions as the centerfire SAA and weighs a bit less.
This makes for good handling and makes the Traditions revolver a good understudy for centerfire SAA .357 and .45 revolvers.
While an understudy is a good idea, the .22 is a good choice all on its own.
Traditions Rawhide Rancher .22 Design
The Rawhide Rancher is a six-shot .22. The index is positive as the revolver is cocked. The cylinder locked uptight.
When placing the piece on half-cock, the cylinder moved and indexed properly and there was no problem locking the hammer into half-cock.
This is a transfer bar ignition revolver.
This is a kind of add-on transfer bar (added to the original design), and it certainly works as designed as after firing it rebounds the hammer to a safe position.
The hammer cannot touch the firing pin until cocked and the trigger pressed.
A feature I really like on such an inexpensive revolver is a hammer spring tensioner. This is a neat piece of engineering.
What About Performance?
During the firing test, the Traditions Rawhide Rancher performed well.
I used primarily Winchester ammunition, mostly the affordable .22 Wildcat loading, but also some of the Super X hollow point for accuracy testing.
The action is smooth and in firing offhand, the Traditions revolver exhibited little-to-no muzzle flip.
The balance is much closer to the traditional SAA revolver than most .22 caliber revolvers.
The Traditions revolver loads and unloads like all single-action revolvers.
To do so, open the loading gate, place the hammer on the half-cock notch, and then load the cartridges one at a time, indexing the cylinder to the next chamber as you load the revolver.
Close the loading gate. Cock the hammer and press the trigger to fire.
After firing, open the loading gate, place the hammer on half-cock, and rotate the cylinder in line with the ejector rod — one spent cartridge at a time — to unload.
I spent much of my time engaging in pleasant recreational shooting with the Traditions revolver.
It isn’t difficult to quickly point the hand at a tin can or bottle a few yards away and get a fast hit.
I have fired the revolver from a solid bench rest.
For a five-shot group at 15 yards with the Winchester Super X, loading the revolver would group five shots into two inches, sometimes less.
The sights are well regulated for 40-grain loads at 15 yards.
The Traditions revolver is reliable, affordable, accurate enough for most chores, and makes a great revolver for introducing shooters to plinking and informal target practice.
What’s your favorite revolver of all-time? Let us know in the comments.