You would think that after many years as an outdoor writer I would have crossed paths with most of the single-action revolvers on the market, but I wasn’t familiar with the Heritage Rough Rider that showed up at my office. It brought back memories of my teenage years on the farm, a gun holstered to my side. I learned the company offers almost two dozen models with an assortment of barrel lengths—from 3.5 to nine inches—grips, finishes and variations to include an extra cylinder for the .22 Magnum.
With an all-steel construction, at 34 ounces the gun has the heft that most like in a handgun. Decorated with the American flag, the grips seem to be a bit oversize, which is great for adult hands, and with the longer and serrated hammer spur, you get that Old West feeling.
While the revolver has the lines of older guns, its looks are somewhat hampered by a modern safety lever to the left of the hammer. Leave it up for Safe, down for Fire. Even with the safety, it’s advised to follow the old “load one, skip one then load four” to keep an empty chamber under the hammer.
For the price point starting of around $200 or less, you get a lot of bang for the buck, though. The gun has a nice finish to it, being polished and blued for normal use. The barrel, cylinder and frame are finished as though it was polished on a traditional wheel before the final coat of blue was applied. The frame, however, does not have this smoothness due to the “lost wax” process of manufacturing, but this is not a bad thing as the savings can be passed on to the consumer.
Pulling the hammer back to the half-cock position allows you to rotate the cylinder for loading and unloading. Cleaning the gun is easy. Just remove the cylinder, swab out the barrel and charge holes and you are ready to go again.
Trigger pull on my gun broke at five pounds without any take-up or slack before the sear broke. The trigger face is serrated for a non-slip surface and fits naturally around your trigger finger.
The long 6.5-inch barrel length makes a good platform for sighting. Just like the guns of old, the rear sight is nothing but a gutter affair machined out of the topstrap, while the blade front sight is typical of this model gun no matter its year of manufacture.
For the .22 rimfire enthusiast, the Heritage Rough Rider offers a well-built revolver with the ability to chamber anything in the .22 rimfire family if you purchase a .22 Magnum cylinder. It is the perfect vehicle for teaching, small game hunting and, of course, plinking.