Ruger’s first LCRx was a snub-nosed LCR .38 with an exposed hammer. Huh? Why would Ruger put an exposed hammer on a snubbie, especially one equipped with one of the best out-of-the-box double-action triggers on planet earth? So buyers can shoot it more accurately.

So you might think an exposed hammer makes even more sense in a wheelgun with a full-size grip and a 3-inch barrel. And you’d be right! Just not this wheelgun.

 

With a frame fashioned from aerospace-grade 7000 series aluminum, the Ruger LCRx 3″ .22 LR weighs-in at 17.3-ounces. That’s a lot less schlepping than carrying an all-steel 30-ounce Ruger SP101 .22 LR. So what’s not to love? The LCRx .22 LR’s billion pound double-action trigger pull.

The gunsmith at The Range at Austin deployed his electronic trigger pull measuring thingie on our behalf. It maxed-out at 12 pounds. Further research revealed that this LCRx has a pull weight somewhere between 18 to 20 pounds. It’s so heavy that weak-handed shooters may not be able to fire the LCRx .22 LR at all. 

The Ruger SP101 in .22 LR shares the exact same affliction. But the LCRx .22 LR’s combination of a world heavyweight champion double-action trigger and a strawweight frame makes it incredibly difficult to pull the LCRx 3″ .22 LR’s lever without moving the eight-shooter’s muzzle off-target.

Shooting the LCRx .22LR freehand in double-action, neither Dan nor I could get better than a 1″ group — at three yards. Modesty prevents me from showing you the target at 25 yards, which looked not unlike a particularly large block of Swiss cheese.

Like Dan, all my shots pulled right — until I held the featherweight firearm like grim death. Granted, I suck. But aside from the Jerry Miculeks of this world, who doesn’t?

[Note: Precision shooters have a better chance of staging Springtime for Hitler than the Ruger LCRx .22 LR’s gas pedal.]

Assuming you want to hit where you’re aiming, the Ruger’s exposed hammer makes perfect sense. The single action fired results are a lot less laughable. But still not great. Even at three yards.

In its defense, the LCRx 3″ .22 LR’s Herculean trigger pull guarantees that Maxwell’s silver hammer reliably fires any and all brands of baby bullets.

It must also be said that the LCRx .22 LR’s double-action trigger pull is smoother than Ray Donovan, using the same friction reducing cam that makes the LCR and LCRx .38’s such a joy to shoot.

The longer sight radius is a good thing, too — despite the lack of space on either side of the [properly positioned] front sight. The rear sight’s adjustable (for pulling right in double action?) and the front sight’s easily replaceable.

Yes but — do you want to swap sights on a gun that’ll set you back $579 MSRP? And once we’re shopping . . .

Given that the LCRx’s osmium-class double action trigger pull makes single action operation is the default option, why not buy a single action only .22 caliber revolver?

North American Arms offers Lilliputian .22 single-action revolvers (with even worse accuracy). Heritage’s Rough Rider’s scaled-down 22 single-action wheelguns “puts shots where you want ’em.” And the aforementioned medium-sized Ruger SP101 in .22 LR (with hammer) will git ‘er done.

If you want a really lightweight perfectly proportioned 3″ revolver that fires both double and single action accurately, I reckon the .38 caliber LCRx (with its nine-pound trigger pull) is the way to go. A gun that reliably runs reduced recoil loads.

I’m having a hard time thinking of a suitable case use for the .22 caliber version. Maybe because there isn’t one? Anyway, I love the ergonomics and the matte black finish. So there is that.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Grip:Hogue® Tamer™ Monogrip®
Front Sight: Replaceable, Pinned Ramp
Barrel Length: 3 inches
Cylinder Finish: PVD
Twist: 1:16″ RH
Rear Sight: Adjustable black blade
Finish: Matte Black
Weight: 17.3 oz.
Height: 5.80″
Overall Length: 7.5 inches
Capacity: 8 rounds
Grooves: 6
CA Approved: No
MA Approved & Certified: No
MSRP: $579.00

 

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * * *
With its full-size Hogue grip the LCRx .22 LR 3″ feels great in the hand.

Ergonomics Carry: * * *
So light it might blow away in a stiff breeze. Stars deducted for the potential problem of hammer snag.

Reliability: * * * * *
The LCRx ate everything I fed it without a single click (sans bang): CCR, Federal Premium, Remington and a smorgasbord of loose .22’s that had been gathering dust at the bottom of my range bag.

Customizable: *  
You can easily replace the front sight. A [not currently available] laser might help here, but probably not.

Style: * * * * *
Black is sooo slimming and the proportions are perfect.

Accuracy *  
Given a trigger pull heavier than trigonometry class, the 3″ LCRx’s exposed hammer is a necessity, not a luxury. But even in single-action, the handgun’s light weight works against you.

Overall * 
Great looking reliable gun featuring the world’s heaviest trigger pull. With a 3″ .38 LCRx available that fires reduced recoil loads, I have no idea what this one’s for, exactly.

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48 Responses to Gun Review: Ruger LCRx 3″ .22 LR Revolver

  1. My take on a da/sa .22 revolver is this.

    It’s a single action revolver with a swing out cylinder for easy loading and unloading, and has the OPTION of double action fire in the rare case where it’s needed/wanted.

    When thought of this way, the This Ruger, the Taurus 94, and others like it make a lot more sense. The only reason I haven’t bought one of those heritage revolvers, is i cant stand loading and unloading them.

    • That pretty much describes every DA/SA rev olver. The were never originally intended to attempt accurate shots in DA. That idea came around much later (100+ years?) and was probably started by the am mo companies since it takes a few crates of am mo to develop Miculek skills.

      • I own plenty of revolvers, including an SP101 with a bobbed hammer and various Smith & Wesson wheel guns. All in larger calibers.

        They all have terrific, controllable double-action triggers. Which is just as well as I sometimes open carry a revolver for personal defense.

        • So are you saying that you can shoot them just as well in DA as SA or that many modern DA revo lvers have light enough and smooth enough trig gers to make acceptable accuracy possible with practice?

          Just my personal philosophy, but DA is great for inside of 10 yards and SA is preferable past that. At 25 yards I can easily put 6 rounds in a 12″ ta rget in 4 seconds in SA (offhand with my EDC), in DA it takes twice as long if I’m going to keep all my shots on targ et. Granted, with practice I could eliminate that discrepancy, but I can’t see what the point of that would be unless I get both my thumbs shot off in a gunfight.

        • Guv. In my youth I could put 6 rounds from a k frame model 15 in a cloverleaf group double action at 25 yards. A lot of the guys I knew back then could do it or better.

          It’s how you get to Carnegie hall from here. Practice. Practice. Practice.

        • I can say that I am a better shot with double-action than single with my revolver. This may be due to the years of double-action only shooting, of course, but a smooth double-action travel just seems to get the sights lined up just right and steady as opposed to the very short travel of single-action.

        • I’ve owned several double action revolvers with excellent DA triggers as well. But they were all centerfire guns. Rimfires need more whack to reliably fire. I’ve heard of rimfire revolvers with good triggers but never shot one.

        • JWM, Hannibal – No doubt the DA tri gger can be mastered with practice. But, for a guy like me that gets to the ran ge maybe twice a month and has a dozen other fi rearms he likes to take out from time to time, mastering the DA trig ger for longer distances just doesn’t seem like a practical use of my time and am mo budget. The vast majority of self defe nse situations occur at distances that don’t require much practice in DA and it’s easy enough and quick enough in SA at longer ranges to nearly eliminate any advantage the DA pull would have given extensive practice. I’d rather spend my time and money extending my ran ge out to 100 yards + from a rest. I think the odds are greater that I’d have to engage an adversary at 100 yards off the hood of a car than the likelihood of taking an extra second to empty a cylinder into a targ et at 25 yards being meaningful. For the time being, shooting in SA is much faster than staging a DA pull, and I’m pretty much fine with that.

          Anyway, my point was that accurate shooting in DA was never part of the original design goal, and the whole concept came around 100+ years later, not that it isn’t possible with enough practice.

      • Gov, you wrote, “I think the odds are greater that I’d have to engage an adversary at 100 yards off the hood of a car…” Unless you’re in Afghanistan with the US military, I can’t see you having any kind of odds (much less “greater” odds than 25 yards) of needing to shoot someone from 100 yards away.

        There is nowhere in the United States where shooting someone at 100 yards off the hood of a car with a revolver could be considered self-defense. Are you expecting a horde of zombies to attack? There’s no other reason to be shooting people from 100 yards away with a revolver unless you’re facing a horde of zombies, and if you’re being attacked by zombies, there’s no reason to take cover behind the hood of a car rather than getting in that car and driving away. Shooting someone from 100 yards away is not self-defense in any situation other than in a war, especially since you’re expecting to have a car — which you could use to take cover or drive away from the threat.

        Maybe you’re a cop, or imagining yourself as a cop, facing a sniper in a tower with a rifle, but any cop facing a sniper who had a rifle would be foolish to engage the sniper from 100 yards away with a revolver. At that range, a cop would either take cover (behind the afore-mentioned car), drive away (in the afore-mentioned car), reach for his rifle, or call SWAT.

        Handgun hunters MIGHT shoot from 100 yards, with the right equipment, but you said you expect to “engage an adversary at 100 yards off the hood of a car”, which means you’re not a handgun hunter (unless you find deer an “adversary” and hunt from your car). The only people who need to shoot other people from 100 yards away with a handgun are soldiers, murderers, and police, but shooting “off the hood of a car” excludes soldiers, and police would use call use their long gun (not a revolver) or call SWAT, so that leaves murderers as the only people who need to “engage an adversary at 100 yards off the hood of a car” with a handgun.
        Well, also video game players, keyboard commandos, and mall ninjas, I suppose! LOL

    • ” . . .this LCRx has a pull weight somewhere between 18 to 20 pounds. . .”

      Any handgun with this kind of trigger pull is obviously intended more for display purposes and not for actual self defense. It’s the perfect “weapon” for people who don’t really intend to hit anything with their firearm.

    • Rimfire revolvers have heavier triggers because they need a heavier strike to ensure primer ignition vs. centerfire. This was the same way back when as well. My 85 year old S&W K22 has a much heavier DA pull than its slightly newer cousin K38 (.38 Special) and they’re otherwise the same, pretty much. If you can master that trigger you’re good with anything.

      • Exactly you touched all the finer points. My LCR with any kind of 38 loads is damned accurate out to 50 feet, just nice to shoot. I have a 617 Smith that is a joy to shoot and accurate but other 22 mag revolvers I have need the single action as the double action with the heavier hammer spring fall is like taking lug nuts off with my fingers.

  2. Now, NAAs are SAO, but it doesn’t take Hercules to cock and fire it.

    Is there *nothing* that can be done to lighten up the trigger to something reasonable, like 10 lbs?

    How about using physics and crafting the hammer from something nice and dense like Tungsten (or a Leftist’s head)?

  3. I’d like to know the rationale for having such a heavy trigger pull. Is it for reliable strikes? I’d think Ruger could come up with a better solution than putting all the force in the trigger.

    Perhaps an update with a quote from a Ruger rep?

    • I’m curious if this is a normally functioning fir earm. If I had bought this I’d be making a call to SR&Co.

      • TTAG did a review a while back on the SP-101 in .22lr, and it had the same brutal trigger pull.

        Apparently, 22 rimfire requires a rather ‘authoritative’ hammer-strike…

        • The SP101 in .22 LR was just as much of a bear to fire in DA. I had the trigger modified for that review. (Added a reference and a link in the post. Thanks for reminding me!)

          FWIW the SP101’s weight helped keep the gun on target, especially in single-action mode. And the sights were far superior.

        • Doubt it. I have a S&W model 63 from the 70s in .22 and it has a fairly silky DA trigger pull under 10 pounds. Never a miss fire or light strike. Perhaps Ruger is using too large a firing pin surface?

    • I hope…
      When announced via press release I became excited.
      THIS was the gonna be the modern “trainer” I ‘ve been waiting for.
      Alas, I am forlorn…

      C’mon Ruger, man up and make this right!
      Not just this specific gun, but the entire model run!
      I WANT to buy this gun. But will not if it’s crap.
      Sold my LCR22 for this very reason; crap!

      (And this is coming from a Ruger fan-boy)

  4. I was highly interested until the trigger pull…
    The search for a “fishing” gun continues. Lots of those “rattle headed copper moccasins” where I bank fish.
    I need a light weight .22 stoked with snake shot.

  5. I can’t fathom a revolver with an 18 pound trigger pull that was made in 2017. Does the SP101 .22 LR have such a heavy trigger? Or the GP100? What about S&W’s 317 Kit Gun?

    Something tells me that something’s not right with this gun.

  6. I wasn’t schooled enough in rimfire/double action revolvers until I bought one. I got a Taurus 94 and it looked beautiful. I found the trigger pull to be way more than I ever expected to achieve any kind of accuracy. I then looked into changing out the springs and found that really would effect ignition and reliability.
    It is my understanding that this is a universal rule with rimfires and the double action. Therefore,it is an unfixable problem and my interest in anything rimfire will not be in a double action platform.

    That Taurus is my only regret in purchasing a handgun.

    • Your comment sums up why I went with the Ruger Single Ten for .22 LR; the trigger is just superb and so is the accuracy.

  7. This seemed to set up as kit gun like SW 317. Would be nice to compare the two
    I have older 63 all steel version an trigger pull in da is 10 lb or so

  8. Ruger 22lr rim fire are supposed to be heavy to make it go bang.

    Better choice might be Ruger SR 22lr semi with 10 round mags. Cock hammer on 1st round and sweet, very accurate.thereafter. It is my SD EDC.
    Tell me 5 rounds center mass & 5 to the eyes of CCI minimag won’t make bad dudes or crazy eyes women, rethink the plan

    • 10 rounds of .22 will stop the baddest of dudes. But them crazy eyed women? A cinder block between the eyes is the only sure thing.

      Or maybe a full size pickup parked on her face.

    • Also try CCI Stingers or Aguila Interceptor HP’s (damn hard to find though) in that SR22. Makes for a great combo.

  9. I’m still trying to figure out why so many companies are trying to re-invent the wheel…gun. Same with the 1911. It’s like re-introducing the Ford Model T now with polymer fenders and a scandium engine block.

  10. DA .22 revolvers are caught between Scylla and Charybdis where trigger pull is concerned. Rimfire cartridges are seriously hard to ignite, and reliable ignition requires an obnoxiously strong mainspring.

    I’ve owned two .22 revolvers, a 1980s Harrington & Richardson model 686 (no relation to the S&W 686) and a 1030s Colt New Police. Both of them had atrociously strong DA triggers, although the Colt’s was smoother and more ergonomic.

    In order to be fired effectively, both of them had to be employed in SA mode. Both pistols were capable of good, although not outstanding, SA accuracy.

    Every Taurus .22 I’ve dry-fired (not such a sin with their frame-mounted hammers) has required similarly Brobdingnagian finger strength to work the DA trigger.

    Unless and until .22 rimfire cartridges become a whole lot easier to set off, I don’t think this problem is going away.

    Ruger was probably smart to put an exposed hammer on this gun, to give it a reasonably accurate firing mode besides the ‘yank and crank’ suppressive fire of DA shooting.

  11. The ruger lcr 38 special is my fall/winter EDC, and I love it, but I wouldn’t mind seeing ruger come out with a LCR 357 with a 3″ barrel of the LCRx and the shrouded hammer of the LCR.

  12. Due to TTAG review of the 22 lcr and the sp 101 22, I went instead with the rough rider(also a TTAG review) and I must say for under 200 it’s a blast. I know that academy sells the 22lr only for less then 100 every Black Friday around here but I paid for a little more for the 22mag cylinder as well.

  13. I’d opt for the S&W Model 63 with 3″ barrel, 8-shot cylinder, stainless steel, 25 ozs. I fired with snap caps a few times at different gun shops…..I found the DA & SA pulls to be fine…..& I could slip it in my side pants pocket just fine.

    Sure, it’s 8 ozs heavier than the reviewed LCRx, but it’s really not heavy feeling at all.

    After reading this article, I’m now WAY more inclined to spend my several hundred bucks on the 63…..& not regret it.

  14. The only .22 revolver I have that does NOT have an atrociously heavy DA trigger is the S&W 17-3 from the mid-1970s. This trigger is just like my other K-frame triggers, which means just about perfect.

    I also have the current 8-shot 3″ Model 63 as described above. DA trigger is a little stiff but not too bad. It has smoothed out from usage. I had the original 2″ LCR-22 and sold it.

  15. Still not as bad as the double action trigger on my da/sa Polish Radom P 64 9 x 18, if I remember correctly the double action pull before I replaced the hammer spring was 23 to 24 pounds.

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