Heritage Rough Rider SA .22 LR Revolver
The Heritage Rough Rider (RR22B6) is a traditional single action, .22 LR only, six shot, fixed-sight revolver with a matte blued finish. It is modeled on the famous Colt SAA with about a 7/8 size frame more appropriate for .22 rimfire cartridges. It is also available as a convertible, with both .22 LR and .22 WMR cylinders.
This inexpensive .22 revolver may soon be achieving classic status among those of us who are prone to occasional jaunts in the woods or to the gun range. It is American made and, while it does not exhibit the first-class fit and finish of higher-dollar counterparts, the Heritage represents a good value for the money.
My used Heritage .22 LR revolver cost me $100 in December 2014, purchased from a private party. In February 2015, I discovered that my latest acquisition had suffered a broken cylinder hand before I purchased it and that the front sight was slightly bent to the right. It shot low and about eight inches to the left of the bulls-eye at 25 yards. To avoid some of the frustration that I experienced, refer to Buying a Used Handgun.
Heritage Manufacturing has been acquired by Taurus USA and it has become increasingly difficult to get in touch with folks at either of these firms. Sadly, original Heritage Rough Rider revolver parts are getting hard to find, so I suggest you contact Big Al's Gun Parts on e-Bay to find what you need. Al is a disabled Vietnam veteran and a prince of a fellow. A drop-in replacement cylinder hand, installed by my local gunsmith, cost me $29.50.
To raise the point of impact, the front sight can be filed down. (Draw filing is the best technique.) The front sight can be bent to the right or left slightly to compensate for windage. (Adjust the front sight in the opposite direction you want to move the point of impact.) Filing or bending should be done in small increments, with extreme care. Check the results by shooting after each adjustment.
Lowering the point of impact is a much more difficult proposition, as the height of the front sight must be increased. This can only be done by an expert, normally requires refinishing the gun after adjustment and is economically impractical for an inexpensive revolver. It is better to just buy a revolver with adjustable sights.
If you do not feel competent to modify the front sight yourself, take your revolver to a competent gunsmith for adjustment. The low retail price of the Rough Rider makes this possible for most shooters.
With all of this being said, the fixed-sight Heritage six gun is surprisingly accurate. This is the crux of the matter for most recreational shooters and it depends, in large part, on the type of .22 LR ammo used.
My revolver likes the cheaper US brands of ammo. I can get a one inch group or better at 10 yards on a standard paper rimfire pistol target, and I wear rather thick prescription lenses. At 25 yards, I can hit an eight-inch steel gong with 90% accuracy, with groups opening up to about 2.5 inches. At 50 yards, it gets hard to see the bulls-eye clearly with 50 year old eyes and fixed sights, but I can still achieve a 50% success rate.
A bit of quick-drying, high-gloss, red fingernail polish applied VERY sparingly to the tip of the front sight blade can go far toward improving the sight picture in low light conditions. It also aids quick target acquisition.
Incidentally, new Heritage convertible guns come with .22 LR and .22 Magnum cylinders and a gun lock. However, with a fixed-sight handgun, be aware that the point of impact for .22 Magnum and 22 LR ammo will be different. So will different brands and loads in the same caliber. Bench rest testing will reveal your revolver's ammunition preference.
In terms of fit and function, the Rough Rider's rosewood grips are nicely mated to its frame. The cylinder goes in and out more smoothly than with some of the higher priced revolvers I have owned in the past.
The fixed sight Rough Rider is a plinker, not a target gun. At ranges from 10 to 50 yards, it should be suitable for its intended purpose most of the time. If one desires adjustable sights, save about $250 and buy the new adjustable sight version. This is equipped with a two-dot, click adjustable rear sight and a Williams Fire high-visibility, fiber-optic front sight.
The Heritage Rough Rider has a hammer-block safety system mounted in the recoil shield. The red indicator on the hammer block gives a readily visible warning that the safety feature is disengaged and that the gun will fire once the hammer is cocked and the trigger pulled. (Far better and safer is to load five cartridges in the six shot cylinder of a traditional SA revolver, leaving the empty chamber under the hammer. -Editor.)
Although the Rough Rider can be safely dry fired with the hammer-block safety engaged and the cylinder empty, I do not recommend extensive dry firing with any rimfire revolver. Put snap caps in the chambers if you want to dry fire a rimfire revolver.
One final observation: If I were a small-game handgun hunter or a survivalist on a budget and looking for a last-ditch, bug-out gun, I would definitely give the Heritage Rough Rider revolver with a 5-1/2 inch or 6-1/2 inch barrel consideration. The available Smooth Silver Satin finish might be preferable for this application, as it is more rust resistant than its blued counterpart. In the field, the report of a .22 is not excessively loud and the Rough Rider can easily take small game, provided the hunter gets close enough for an ethical kill shot.
The Heritage Rough Rider is an affordable, close-range plinker and occasional varmint-getter. If you try one, I am betting you will like it.
Copyright 2015 by Walton P. Sellers, III and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.