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I typically object to companies making minor tweaks to their products and calling the result a “new” gun. In this case though, Ruger gets a pass. Their line of rimfire semi-auto handguns is legendary, often the first gun a new shooter will encounter and one of the more fun and shootable models on the market. The only quibble with them: the complexity involved in taking them down for cleaning and maintenance.

Until this year, that is. The updated Ruger Mark IV — featuring one button takedown — was the runner-up in this year’s Reader’s Choice award voting. But the TTAG editorial staff think the Mark IV is the perfect pick as our Editors Choice Best New Firearm of 2016 award. Congratulations, Ruger.

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  1. I have a Mk III Hunter & have no problem with cleaning it. However, the Mk IV 22/45 Lite Bronze is my next gun. Can’t wait. Definitely perfect choice for ‘Best New Firearm”

    • Well, my Mk III Hunter’s trigger is beyond reproach from the factory with nothing done to it. From 25 yards you can barely see an empty 12 gauge shotgun shell, but this things picks them right off (no scope). Might scope my new Mk IV Lite Bronze when I get it.

  2. I have a MKII. Personally I don’t think the take down is a big deal but you have to do it a number of times before you get used to it and popping out that lever is uncomfortable on the fingernails. I generally use a paper clip.

    • That’s what I do.

      I can have a MkII or III detail-stripped in about 90 seconds. Putting it together takes, at most, five minutes.

      The secret is knowing that you have to tip the muzzle upwards to get the strut to line up correctly when you’re putting that lever back into the grip. Most people try to get them to go back together with the muzzle pointed horizontally or down, and that’s just going to lead to frustration.

      • That strut thing can be picky about placement but once you figure it out the whole thing is a breeze. It might take a few tries but it’s not hard.

        That said, when mine was brand new removing the upper from the lower as per the instructions was impossible. A vice and repeated blows from a heavy rubber mallet were required the first time. After that it was fine.

  3. Squeeee! Yay, Ruger!!!
    No reason to upgrade from my 1978 Mark I target model though, still works just fine! 🙂

    • Cleaned up & went over a Mk I from 1967 for a friend of mine; it was his dad’s gun. The original mag was even worn out it had used so much. Got a new mag from Ruger for around $30 bucks & the gun worked like new. Still was accurate, everything.

    • Heck yea I have my dads mki target from 74. Love it to death and it only cost 60 bucks whee he bought it new.

      • Ever hear of inflation? $60 in 1974 is same as $320 today, so price is relatively the same for a basic model.

  4. I ended up buying two Brownings because CA doesn’t allow the Rugers (or the new S&W). In fact, CA is so bad that I could buy a 9mm Luger but was denied a .22cal Luger. How stupid is that?

    • My alternative headline: After six decades plus, Ruger modernizes a timeless classic that has withstood the test of time. Good for another 60+.

  5. Why didn’t the serial number move to the lower so you can swap uppers easily like on a Buckmark? And where’s the threaded versions of the all metal MK4s?…I’m not interested some cheap plastic grip frame. And why isn’t anyone besides me asking obvious questions like this? BTW, the bead blasted stainless finish on the target models is a clear downgrade from the brushed stainless finish.

    • Brushed stainless = Scotch Brite and a pneumatic tool.

      Bead blasted = bead blasted in a cabinet.

      I’m not really seeing the difference.

  6. That’s it, the one excuse to oneself to buy another Ruger .22, of course the 10/22 take-down lite is also on the list.

    • Great Video. I have always said that working on Ruger Marks is NOT hard. However, the number of people I know that are ‘mechanically challenged’ is huge; I often wonder how they make it thru a day. Couple of months ago someone gave me a shotgun to try to fix for him that had taken apart 15 YEARS ago. He had partially reassembled it & totally jammed it, barrel was still off & a box of parts. Within 1/2 an hour went to him & said that there were pieces missing; he found all but one. One hour total time after being given the gun we were firing it, but without the extractor working. Fabricated the missing part the next day & it worked like new. This was done without insulting the internet or looking anything up & I had never worked on his make or model.

  7. Thanks but no thanks! I will keep my S&W Victory

    I want to add, there would be NO updated Mark IV if it was not for the booming sales of the Victory which to me makes the Victory the winner.

    • Absolutely WRONG. How the hell anyone can assume this substantial redesign can be done overnight is bewildering. This is a multi year endeavor & was in the works long before Scrap & Worthless brought out the so called Victory. I have heard of one recall so far on the Victory also. Would turn down a bushel basket full of Victorys for ONE of my Marks.

  8. I think the Victory is totally inappropriately named; yes I have tried it. ‘Loser’ or ‘4th Place’ comes to mind.

  9. Good choice for TTAG’s BNF. A year ago when I decided I wanted a 22LR pistol, the Mark III 22/45 Lite was my choice. Then I learned that the People’s Republic of CA won’t allow its sale.

    So I ended up with a Buck Mark Lite Grey. Lite refers to the 28 oz weight, with grey fluted alum barrel. A great pistol and very accurate. Though I think some of the mechanics are a little primitive. For example, I hate the magazine with its welded-on base, so you can’t pull cleaning rags thru. And the mags (all 4) won’t work properly unless they are super clean because the follower is prone to sticking.

    About those CA firearm requirements. Supposedly, a pistol must have: a chambered round indicator, a striker or internal hammer cocked indicator, and a mag-trigger interlock. My Buck Mark is a special CA legal model, but it only has a mag-trigger interlock. Not that I want CA to ban Buck Mark sales, but it seems that the CA regs are NOT about firearm safety features. Is it a screw Ruger et. al. policy?

  10. This line of pistol was one of the first I shot as a kid. I need to go pick one up. My wife commandeered my M&P .22 as hers.

  11. I own several 22 pistols including Browning Buckmark, High Standard Dura-Matic, Walther P22, Colt 1911A1-22, Beretta M9-22, and the Ruger Mark IV. The Ruger Mark iV is now my favorite and the only one I take to the shooting range. I leave the others at home! The Ruger Mark IV is the most accurate out of all these! I have never had a failure-to-feed after 1200 rounds and it’s the easiest to clean. That’s all anyone could want!! Ruger wins hands down!

    • I own a Mk III Hunter that is insanely accurate. Have a $40 Red Dot on it & can regularly pick off empty 12 ga hulls from 25 yards (you can barely see the hull from that distance). And no, I do not spend the $ on expensive match ammo. The Mk IV 22/45 Lite Bronze has my name all over it. Think I am going to scope the Mk III & put the red dot on the Mk IV. I guess I qualify as a Ruger ‘super owner’, absolutely love all my 100% American Made Rugers.

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