The Ruger Mark III Hunter

The Ruger Mark III Hunter
The author draws a bead with Ruger's new Mark III. Note the crowned muzzle and HiViz front sight.

Bill Ruger's original creation returns in a superb heavy barrel redux.

The late Bill Ruger built his handgun empire using the adjustable-sighted Mark I Target Pistol as the foundation along with a fixed-sight Standard Model, both of which were introduced in 1949.

The solidly built Mark I remained in the line until 1981 when it was succeeded by the Mark II, which incorporated an automatic bolt lock after the last shot was fired. Since then, there has only been room for the most subtle of variations.


But now, just when it seems that this 56-year-old classic .22 can't get any better, Sturm, Ruger & Co. has introduced the new Mark III Hunter, its best-balanced and most attractive semiauto yet.



The elegant, nonreflective, matte-finished stainless steel Mark III with the reddish mahogany contrast of its semicheckered cocobolo grips is attractively showcased in a fitted hunter-green protective case. The gun comes with six interchangeable fiber optic green-and-red front-sight "LitePipes," a stainless steel Weaver-style scope-base adapter, a key and a spare for locking the gun's action, and a separate gun lock. Oh yes, two 10-round magazines are included, along with an operating manual and the obligatory (for some states) fired casing.

The cosmetic and mechanical improvements of the Mark III Hunter are readily apparent. Most dramatic is the gun's 67?8-inch, full-fluted bull barrel with its target-crowned muzzle. The graceful, "Buck Rogers"-style fluting is not only attractive but practical; it brings the semiauto's weight down to 41 ounces, making it the lightest of the current Mark III heavy-barreled offerings.


The day-glo fiber optic HiViz front sight can be easily replaced with any of the inserts provided, although I stuck with red as being the most practical. The rear of the receiver is scalloped inward and tapers into the serrated bolt tabs, which makes manually cocking the gun much easier than in past models.

A loaded-chamber indicator bar lies flush within the left side of the receiver; one end pops out when a cartridge is chambered so that the indicator can be felt as well as seen. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for affixing Ruger's separate scope mount, although I saw no reason to hinder this sleek gun's appearance--or balance--with a scope.

To be sure, the practical range for this little gem is anywhere between 15 and 25 yards, and to prove my point I took it out to Angeles Shooting Range (www.angelesranges.com), along with a variety of .22 Long Rifle ammunition-- some old, some new. The Mark III Hunter quickly became the center of attention for anyone who happened by my shooting station. Seems there had been a lot of rumors about Ruger's pending introduction of its new Mark III, but no one had yet seen one.


As my fellow shooters stood by and watched, the gun did not embarrass me as I put more than a few holes in 15- and 25-yard targets. Ruger's new microadjustable wide-V rear sight (click-adjustable for elevation, drift-adjustable via a dovetailed slot for windage) and the day-glo fiber optic front sight made getting a sight picture almost instantaneous. This became dramatically evident halfway through my shooting session, when a cloud bank rolled in and the day suddenly went gray. But the front sight still sucked up all the light needed to maintain a highly visible bead that almost glowed as it settled in the rear sight. There was a scant 3/32-inch takeup travel with the comfortably curved, serrated trigger, which then broke cleanly at three pounds, 10 ounces.

My test gun was perfectly zeroed in right out of the box. My first shot punched a hole at 6:30 right on the 10-ring circle, and my next shot was touching it. I had originally planned to shoot a five-shot group, but I was having so much fun that I ended up emptying the 10-shot magazine into the target, shooting offhand. My first five shots produced a 5/8-inch cluster, but by popping off another five rounds, I ended up with a one-inch group. After a little new-gun stiffness, the Ruger functioned flawlessly throughout the day.

Although it is called the Mark III Hunter--and it is certainly up to that task for any manner of small game--I also see this as the ultimate plinker for those who simply want the best. Also, assuming one can ignore a crowd of bystanders and is allowed to concentrate on his shots, I suspect this newest Ruger can hold its own in competition as well.

Recommended for You

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is producing a limited-edition 25th anniversary K9. Industry

Kahr 25th Anniversary K9

J. Scott Rupp - July 19, 2019

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is...

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw. Training

Perfecting the One-Handed Draw

Richard Nance - July 02, 2019

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while early 1911

Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

See More Stories

More Other

A new mini 9mm leads the list of new products from the oldest name in American Other

Springfield's Sub-Compact XD

Wiley Clapp - January 01, 2009

A new mini 9mm leads the list of new products from the oldest name in American

It was Dave Spaulding who gave me the idea, and in fact I bought a gun entirely due to a piece he Other

Head for the Hills

J. Scott Rupp - June 10, 2011

It was Dave Spaulding who gave me the idea, and in fact I bought a gun entirely due to a piece...

Springfield shrinks the grip frame to make the XD-45 more suitable for concealed carry.

Gun Other

Springfield Armory XD-45 Compact

Doug Larson - October 17, 2007

Springfield shrinks the grip frame to make the XD-45 more suitable for concealed carry. Gun

See More Other

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.