By Daniel English

One day soon after purchasing my first gun, I was at a local sporting goods storing purchasing .22LR ammo when a Heritage Rough Rider caught my eye. I was interested in getting a handgun, and the price tag fit my college student budget a little easier than just about everything else on the shelf, so I decided to give it a try. I expected to have fun with it, but I certainly didn’t expect that several years and many other firearm purchases later, it’d still be one of my favorite handguns to take to the range.

The Heritage Rough Rider is a single-action .22 revolver that will only set you back about $150. There are several models of the gun that provide different grip colors and styles, sight options, and even different chambering (some models include interchangeable cylinders for .22LR and .22 Magnum). The version here is a basic model with a 6.5” barrel, fixed sights, and a .22LR cylinder.

First Impressions

The Heritage Rough Rider looks like it belongs in an old Western, with a design reminiscent of the classic Colt Single Action Army revolver. The wooden hand grip, aluminum frame and steel barrel give the gun a substantial, sturdy feel.

Overall I’m impressed with the build quality, especially at this price point. After thousands of rounds and countless cleaning sessions, the finish is starting to wear off on the front of the cylinder on mine, but beyond that I have not had any issues with the gun’s long term durability.

RoughRider02

It’s relatively small size, combined with the classic shape and style of the hand grip, make the Rough Rider decidedly less ergonomic than most of my more modern guns. It’s not especially hard to hold the gun correctly, but it doesn’t fall into my hand as naturally as I’d normally like for a handgun. I’m typically not a revolver shooter, so maybe that’s a learned taste.

Loading and Firing

Unlike modern revolver, the cylinder on the Rough Rider is fixed in place and doesn’t swing out for loading. Instead, to load the gun you first pull the hammer back to a half-cocked position that allows the cylinder to be rotated by hand. Then, you swing open a hinged loading gate on the right side of the frame and insert rounds one at a time, rotating the cylinder and repeating the process until all six chambers are full.

It sounds like a tedious process, and it could be for some, but I actually enjoy the mechanical actions necessary to load the Rough Rider. It’s a nice change of pace from the simple, utilitarian style of a semiautomatic handgun magazine. The main downside is that it’s time consuming and prevents the use of a speedloader for rapid reloads.

RoughRider03

This is also a good time to mention that ejecting spent shells from the Rough Rider is a similarly mechanically intensive process. To unload the Rough Rider, you again bring the hammer back to the half-cocked position, open the loading gate, and pull a small spring-loaded plunger located under the barrel to eject each spent shell. To eject all six, you have to pull the plunger, release it, turn the cylinder, wash, rinse and repeat until the gun’s empty.

Suffice it to say that loading and unloading a Rough Rider isn’t an operation that you would want to perform when seconds count.

RoughRider04

Once the Rough Rider’s loaded, it’s fairly easy to shoot. The gun has a manual safety lever to the left of the hammer; once it’s been flipped down to the firing position, you simply use your thumb to bring the hammer back to the fully cocked position and pull the trigger to let her fly.

The simplicity of a single-action design usually results in a decent trigger, and the Rough Rider is no exception. The pull weight is average (Heritage specs it at six pounds) but I was happy with the lack of take-up before the break. The trigger barely seems to move rearward before the gun fires, making it easy to shoot accurately.

RoughRider05

The sights on my Rough Rider are built into the frame and consist of a small notch in the rear of the frame just forward of the hammer and a slim metal blade at the business end. Both the front sight and rear notch are the same color as the frame — basic black — and can be difficult to pick up in the dimly lit environment of an indoor range, especially when aiming at a dark target. The sights are non-adjustable and aftermarket sights can’t be mounted without some gunsmithing.

RoughRider06

With its long sight radius, the Rough Rider’s plenty accurate. Even in the aforementioned shooting conditions at my local range and shooting bulk .22LR ammo at a fairly rapid rate, I was able to achieve a surprising level of accuracy at ten yards. The Rough Rider is easily accurate enough to make for a fun shooting experience.

RoughRider07

Being chambered in .22LR and weighing almost two pounds, the Rough Rider has effectively zero recoil. Of course, being a single action only affair, you’ll need to to re-cock before launching each round, which will require you to realign the sights and generally limits the rate of fire.

But like the loading process, I found that I enjoyed the feeling of cocking the gun before each shot, probably because it made me feel like John Wayne. Even though I’m from Texas, I never felt the urge to wear a cowboy hat…until I started shooting the Rough Rider at the range, that is. It’s a fun gun to operate and shoot, and I think I just like the feel of manually operating the gun as a contrast to my semiautomatic handguns that only require me to squeeze a trigger.

Reliability and Cleaning

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As .22 ammo is typically a bit more finicky than centerfire calibers, and I’ve experienced a number of failures to fire when shooting the Rough Rider. The frequency, though, is in line with every other .22 rifle or handgun I’ve fired, which suggests that the failures are due to inconsistencies in the ammo rather than the fault failing of the gun.

One advantage to a revolver over a semiautomatic .22 handgun or rifle is that there are no concerns about the gun reliably cycling with different brands of ammo. I’ve fed a wide range of .22 into the Rough Rider, from bulk boxes of Remington Thunderbolts to higher grade CCI Mini-Mags, and have achieved generally reliable performance with all of it.

RoughRider09

Cleaning the Rough Rider is simple, as the cylinder can be removed by taking out a single pivot pin. Wiping down the exposed surfaces of the cylinder and frame and running a few swabs through each chamber and the barrel is sufficient to keep the gun operating smoothly. It’s also worth noting that Heritage provides a large range of replacement parts on their website, along with the .22 Magnum cylinder and replacement grips.

Use Case

The Rough Rider has a number of plusses and minuses. It’s well-built and pays homage to a classic design, and you’ll probably have fun shooting it if for no other reason than that its manual operation is a change from most modern semiautomatic handguns. It’s accurate enough that you can hit what you’re aiming at, and it will work well with any brand of .22LR or .22 Magnum ammo you can find. I love it as a fun, casual gun to take to the range.

On the flip side, the sights aren’t wonderful, and the gun’s manual nature means you won’t be firing or reloading very rapidly if that’s a consideration. The Rough Rider would be a poor self defense weapon.

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My primary use case for the Rough Rider is as a way to introduce new shooters to handgun shooting, a roll in which it really excels. Its appearance is fairly non-threatening too noobs compared to most semiautomatic handguns, and everyone I’ve taken to the range has enjoyed learning how to operate and shoot the gun.

The lack of recoil makes it more fun than scary to shoot for a novice, which is highly conducive to learning proper shooting fundamentals. For those reasons, it will always have a place in my collection, and it manages to find its way into my bag on just about every range trip.

Specifications: Heritage Rough Rider

Caliber: .22LR or .22 Magnum
Capacity: 6 rounds
Barrel Length: 6.5”
Barrel Material: 1215 Steel
Frame Material: Aluminum alloy
Grip: Laminate wood
Sights: Fixed, non-adjustable open style
Trigger Pull Weight: 6 lbs.
Weight: 33.4 oz. empty
MSRP: from $200 to 300 depending on model; as low as $150 in stores

Ratings (out of five stars):

Build Quality * * * *
Surprisingly high build quality for the price. The finish may wear off of the front of the cylinder after many cleanings, but the gun is rock-solid.

Loading and Firing Ergonomics * * * *
Four stars because it’s fun to load and shoot. The fixed cylinder makes ejecting spent shells and loading tedious, but somehow still enjoyable. It has a decent trigger, as well.

Accuracy * * * *
Despite the rudimentary sights the Rough Rider was plenty accurate in my testing.

Defensive Capability *
While you probably won’t want to use the Rough Rider for self-defense, it beats throwing a shoe at an attacker. Still, there are far better choices in defensive firearms.

Overall * * * * *
The Heritage Rough Rider is a great value for the price. It’s an amazingly fun range gun and a particularly good choice for introducing new shooters to the hobby. Highly recommended.

149 COMMENTS

  1. My Rough Rider has been a great little shooter and I am almost shocked to report that the finish, as cheap as it is, has lasted quite well despite 3 years of use. I expected it to look a little rougher right now.

    I despise the safety on mine and the ejection rod can be quite a challenge depending on how wedged in the brass is in the cylinder. Despite that, it’s remarkably reliable. I’ve never had an issue that wasn’t the fault of the ammunition. I almost expected, due to its low cost, to have similar light primer strikes as some of my semi-autos, but that hasn’t been the case at all.

        • I just got mine to and i also got a holster and belt. Which are both very nice–so far i really like it. Have not fired any magumns in it yet but that is coming up soon

        • Calling someone an idiot, because they shot themselves, is pretty cruel. First of all, was it an accident, or intentional? Depression is a terrible thing, and a lot of people have no clue, what it’s all about. So next time before calling someone an idiot, check out the facts. A little compassion goes a long way. Just my opinion.

      • that is not the guns fault . Guns will shoot a person only when people pull the trigger . You cannot blame the pistol and this one especially . They do not go off on their own and this type of .22 is a very safe platform and do not have misfire incidents for the most part . This brand even adds a manual safety to prevent accidental shootings . Guns have no power we do not give them . Your sons story is sad but the gun did not do that to him. I am sorry for your loss but I do not blame the pistol in anyway and neither should you . There are no evil guns out there no matter what the media tells you . I am sorry about your son but I also hope you do not use that event to demonize firearms because they are not the cause of suicides only the tool . I would be willing to buy that pistol if you do not want it around after all that .

  2. I don’t know great it is, but I saw one yesterday priced at $134.00 at my local Fred Meyer store. Maybe I’ll pick it up.

      • Hey man sorry but you seemed the most reliable person in this forum to ask. I have a rough rider 22 I got it for protection as my family and I don’t live on a good side of town and it was cheap with mostly good reviews. A week ago me and my buddy went shooting and it must have jammed over 10 times. Yea a revolver f ing jamming to where the hammer us stuck cylinder will not rotate. The only way to fix this is to take out the cylinder. U thought it could be the ammo I mean I know 22 is dirty anyway but I then got some more high quality rounds and still the same. Sometimes I couldn’t even fire once. I’ve looked all over the place and got different results. No one seems to know. But it’s really bummed me out seeing as it’s for some minor home defense. If you have any links or any advice I would much appreciate your time thank you.

        • Get a 12 or 20 gauge Pump action shotgun for home defense. Put birdshot in it, not buckshot or slugs. You don’t want to accidentally shoot your kid in the next room. Dickinson makes a decent 6 rd 12 ga. Pump for under $150.

        • JAmmed ? Jammed how ? Are you sure you are using the correct ammunition . Like you are not putting .22 mag in the .22 LR cylinder ? Using the word jam is hard to understand in this style revolver . Is the mechanism jamming as it cams the cyclinder over? Jamming is almost impossible for a revolver so I tend to think it has to be user error . Remove the cylinder and make sure you are using the correct ammo for the cylinder first . Then check the little lever arm that catches the grove on the side of the cylinder to rotate . If that is jamming a cleaning and oil will solve your issue . Outside of those two things a revolver cannot jam . especially a single action . My guess is user error . I tell you what . Sell it to me and ill fix it myself .

    • I saw one at the local Bi-Mart just last week for $129. It wasn’t even a sale. That was just the everyday price. It was the short barreled 22lr only version. That is a steal!

      I paid $129 for my 6.5″ 22lr a year or two ago (on sale, not Bi-Mart). It is a great gun for the money.

      I still like my 6″ 22lr NEF R92 9 shot DA with the swing out cylinder better though.

      I’m tempted to pick up one of those Bi-Mart guns.

    • I have a rough rider .22 Cal revolver it was used in fort American and spanish war ruff riders was volunteers in that small war and the US army issued the guns to them there was only so many made I did my homework on this I have one myself but some dumb ass cut off the barrel little bit there is some work to do on it but it could be up for sale if anybody’s interested you can go to Donna kill 68 at yahoo.com that’ll be all little letters send me e-mail and maybe we can talk that also the barrel is a gold color in the middle which means it shows that it’s a older gum than what people think it is back then there was no safety put on these guns nor was there any serial numbers they only had a model number and I have the model number on it and when I looked it up I was shocked how old this gun actually is.

  3. Costs much less than a Ruger single six, which I have been eying for years. Maybe not worth the price difference?

    • If you hold the two side-by-side, it’s pretty obvious why the Ruger costs more. The Rough Rider is one of those guns where the phrase “for the price” are attached to a lot of the praise. “For the price, it’s a great gun.” That doesn’t mean it’s a bad gun, but it probably won’t make it down through three generations of your descendants like a Single Six will.

      As to whether that makes the Ruger worth the price difference to you, it depends on what you want the gun for. Just plinking and messing around? The Rough Rider will probably do. If you like to enjoy well-built mechanical objects for their own sake, the Ruger will be a much more pleasing choice. There’s a place for both.

      • Yes, you’re entirely correct. The Rough Rider is “made to a price,” much like a Charter Arms is “made to a price.” That price doesn’t allow for much finishing.

        The Single Six is a very well made revolver, brutally strong and built like a tank for a .22LR/.22WMR revolver.

    • I always found the Single Six to be overpriced for what it is. The Rough Rider is a decent enough gun, definitely worth the price, but I’d like it if there was a pistol that split the difference. Something with a little more quality than the Rough Rider without the high price tag for a pistol I consider to be mostly a plinker and field gun.

      • There are a number of single-action .22 revolvers in the gap between the $150 Rough Rider and the $500 Single Six. EAA imports the Wierauch Bounty Hunter, and it can be found for around $300. Traditions has the Rawhide, which comes with both .22LR and .22WMR cylinders (10 shots, not 6) for around $400. I think it’s made for them by Pietta or Uberti. Both have transfer bar triggers, which eliminates the goofy-ass manual safety that the Rough Rider has.

        • To be honest, I like the safety. It looks a bit bad but if I were concerned with looks I wouldn’t have bought a sub 200 dollar gun.

          The reason I like the safety is because you can dry fire it with the safety on and not worry about damaging it.

      • A couple of used Hi-Standard Double-Nine revolvers caught my eye at the gun store recently. They’re a higher quality pistol than the Rough Rider, but not a lot more expensive. They are capable of double action fire and have a swing out cylinder, but maintain the traditional western look. The swing out cylinder means faster reloads and easier cleaning if you’re not a single action purist. The double action trigger pull sucks IMO, but the single action pull is probably at least as good as the Rough Rider. One feature that is kind of neat is that what is normally the ejector rod on a SA pistol serves as the cylinder release on the Double-Nine.

    • Ruger single six is one of the finest .22 single action pistols ever made . Rough riders are made from pot metal and sticks by comparison. However for the money they are a good option . Just never compare the two ever again !

  4. Loading and firing a single action revolver like a single shot rifle slows your roll down. In the more casual pace of these systems you can more easily concentrate on the basics and get the shot right. I have found that people have a tendacy to replace quantity for quality when using semi auto”s. I’ve had a number of single actions in different calibers and from different company’s.

    Currently the only one I own is a Ruger single six convertible. I’m happy with it.

  5. They also come in 9 round cylinders for .22LR/.22Mag. I would say 9 rounds of quality .22 Mag JHP fired from 4 to 6 inch barrel is plenty of power for defense.

    Problem is finding the .22 Magnum ammo.

    • Yeah I would definitely get a 22mag cylinder. Varmint shooter and home defense in a pinch. Lots better than regular 22…

      • I bought the mag cylinder but I only used it once. I found the mags to be painfully loud and the ammo expensive and hard to find. I feel like I wasted my money buying the mag cylinder. I love it in LR.

        • The magnum cylinder is not a waste of money with any of these combos if you are going anything over a 7.5 inch barrel since a 22 magnum FMJ 40 grainer CCI load will penetrate a class II armor at 15-20 feet from these longer barrel revolvers . At 20 feet a head shot with this configuration will drop a full grown buck instantly and 22 WMR may be a little pricey and sometimes under supplied but I’ve had no problem acquiring and maintaining a 20,000 round inventory . You have to be determined .

        • Since I’ve never been within 20′ of a buck facing me and 22 is not legal for deer hunting where I live and in most other places, it’s not an issue with me. I find my 1911 in 9mm a better and cheaper choice with better availability than 22 mag.

        • I was within 20 feet of a two year old last weekend on my four wheeler , just stood there and blinked at me . My farm , my 22 magnum on my side , if I had been hungry , wouldn’t have hesitated , but O.K. , just making conversation .
          I’ve never encountered another animal wearing armor either , right ?

      • If anyone is foolish enough to break into our home at 3AM intending to go harm, he’ll be looking down the barrels of TWO of these, loaded with .22 mag hollow points. At 2200fps, I’d say it’s as good a defensive choice as almost anything out there. Especially with TWO guns

        • You know, it does happen. You really have no expectations that it would-and that is how it happens. You wont have warning, you will wake up with someone already staring down at you. By the time you figure it out-too late. You will never be able to draw on them even with it under your pillow. What are you going to say…”hold on and let me get my gun”. Most homeowners end up getting shot by their own guns in that situation. When the bad guy broke into my house while I was home, he instantly had gained the same access to my guns that I had. My only safety was to exit and shelter at a neighbors home.

        • Don’t get on the defensive about it. It isn’t necessary to justify a .22 as a home defense weapon. As the man said it beats a sharp stick. As a NRA life member I have a stack of old Rifleman magazines and I like to read the armed citizen column. Don’t ask me what issue it was but I read two back to back accounts of an armed intruder being killed by a .25 automatic.

        • That is what I have by my bed is a heritage rough rider with the 22 mag loaded with critical defense 45 grain FTX bullet mine is very accurate. It may not be a high priced 🔫 but I would buy another one I like them

    • Hmmmm…a quick perusal of Ballistics by the Inch reveals an actual test of a Heritage with a 4.6 barrel in 22magnum. Not bad with the right ammo.

      • The review didn’t mention it, but it shoots shorts, longs and even colibris too. Colibris are about as loud as a .177 pellet rifle…maybe even quieter!

  6. Yes! More gun stuff like this please!

    I’m looking for a good 22 plinking pistol, and haven’t liked any of the ones I’ve tried. I want a semi auto but most of them are minute or ugly. Sometimes both.

    • Which pistols have you tried and not liked? I’m sure the assembled minds here can make some suggestions.

      • Walther P22 and Ruger SR22 (way too small). Ruger 22/45/Mark 3 and Browning Buckmark, just not a fan of the look. Smith 22A, weird magazine release, seemed unreliable.

        The only contender is the M&P 22 Compact, which is a good medium size and doesn’t look awful.

        • If you want something more like a centerfire semi-auto, Beretta makes a .22 version of the M9 now. Browning has some pretty nice .22 1911-style guns, and the CZ Kadet is a .22 version of the CZ-75.

          There are also plenty of great .22 revolvers out there, in both single- and double-action, though the DA ones tend to have pretty hefty trigger pulls to give rimfire primers a really hard smack.

  7. The author sounds surprised by the features of this firearm, however, I find it all to be old hat. The only thing new is the safety which I would find an interference if I were into Cowboy Action shooting or I was out camping and surprised a rattler which needed to be terminated immediately XPD. I’ve been using the features of this .22LR since the 1950s in .22 and heavier calibers. This style revolver is essentially what I started with in my early teens. I always found them to be fun to shoot, and good enough to take rabbits and other small game. In this day and age, you can hardly beat the price. I would see it as an excellent beginner’s gun which, as the author indicates, it’s still around long after more modern ones have come and gone. Of course, I will need to find out if it is legal here in the California Gulag.

      • Single action revolvers are exempt from Kommiefornistan’s roster. The Blued 6in version retails for less than $200.

        Was my first handgun purchase. I have since found Gun Broker.com and now have 6 handguns, with a single action canon on the way.

    • If I anticipate trouble as in around my camp with coyotes I carry mine with the safety off and on the “1st click” safety position. Draw, thumb hammer, aim and pull trigger. No removal of safety needed. If holstered the hammer should never be struck in such a way as to make the gun go off and if in my hand i’ll be pulling the trigger anyway! Love those .22 magnums……….

  8. The loading and unloading are faithful to the revolvers that the Heritage Rough Rider emulates but the safety is a modern addition. I might have to consider adding one to my collection.

  9. I actually broke the spring on the cylinder hand this past weekend. It’s kind of tough ordering parts from heritage.

  10. I picked one of these up last Christmas for my dad. LGS had them on sale for $99! Plus I went to school with the owner’s daughter, so that knocked me down to $85 out the door.

    These things are great- we haven’t fired it all that much (him not being the volume shooter that I am) but 100+ rounds we’ve put through it together have done fine. No light primer strikes or anything.

    This revolver is exactly what others have said it is: a great intro gun for beginners or just for nostalgia (if you’re like my dad). Feels great in the hand; sights don’t seem all that great until you take a few shots and realize that they get the job done.

    Definitely a fun gun and not for SD. Maybe if you wanted to have a little something hidden in a kitchen drawer for if you need it, but definitely not a primary SD weapon.

    Customer service seems to be a little behind the times. When I bought it, there was a coupon/order form that you have to mail in to get the .22 mag cylinder for $30.

    I tried ordering online or by phone but the lady told me that sending via mail was the only way. Still arrived in good shape and reasonable time frame, but this day in age I’m always a tad leery sending a check or credit card info via mail.

    No big deal though. These babies are definitely worth the money. I see ’em listed a lot for $170-199 but typically any time there is a sale, these revolvers always get marked down. Go for it and have fun.

  11. “Unlike modern revolver, the cylinder on the Rough Rider is fixed in place and doesn’t swing out for loading.” The reviewer needs to learn the difference between a single action revolver and a double action revolver. It’s not a modern thing. My case hardened finished Rough Rider has been flawless and accurate in the three or four years I have had it and it still looks and shoots like new.

    It’s very similar to but not as nice as a Single Six but it 1/3 of the price. I feel sure my Rough Rider will last far longer than I will live. It was a good choice to go with my Henry Lever Action 22 Rifle with the leather western style holster I found on Ebay for $22.

  12. “The rough rider would be a poor self defense weapon.”

    Interesting how it has all the “safety” features that the “common sense” folk want to impose, because “Who needs that?” Almost like they want to make citizens’ guns “poor” for self defense.

    I do wonder what, exactly, they want so much, that they’re willing to let other people get shot up to have. Getting killed because scary looking guns are scary looking isn’t good enough for me.

    • Rather harsh comment for a simple statement made by the author. Few people who have any gun knowledge at all will refute that the .22 is not the best defensive round. Even the much maligned .380 is a better defensive round than the .22. The author recognizes that it’s better than nothing.

      As for the rest of your post you seemed to ramble. Are you saying this isn’t much of a gun and should not have safety features? If so, I disagree: this is a firearm as dangerous as any other and should have every available safety feature applied to it.

      Who is “they” that wants everybody shot up?

      • Unfortunately Pro-Gun lobbyists are so misinformed and bull headed that they offer no real solutions, just criticism for trying to solve a big social problem. This lack of overall cooperation from both sides is why we have really stupid gun laws. It is possible to have good legislation that would benefit the objective without giving up to much in return. A small and practical concession drawn from knowledge would go a long way to securing our true rights and help eliminate this ‘ignorance-based’ idealism.

      • “THEY” are the ones that are trying to control us and are everywhere. THEY occupy our stores, schools and in our houses of worship. THEY are in casino hotels and atop grassy knolls . THEY slither and hide sub-terrain, traveling the country by an immense underground network of highways accessible only by secret caverns hidden under the showroom of your local Volvo dealer. Now I must grab my guns and flee for my own safety after exposing THEM like this but the truth must be told !

    • I would think a semi auto 22lr that jams is worse than a revolver that almost always shoots-mine always has. You can shoot those bullets out pretty fast for six rounds, too.

  13. Bud’s sucked me in on the July 4th Chiappa Puma 1873 sale ($149).

    After selling my beloved but unused Single Six Convertible to finance a CZ 75, I’m anxious for the best plinker / pest control for the least money.

    Before dropping the CC online, a quick internet search seemed to place the Puma just above the Heritage RR, but the Buntlines were just too nose heavy, so 4 5/8″ should do the trick.

    Everybody needs a Single Action, like a 10/22 or SxS 20 gauge; just part of our 2A heritage (no pun intended).

  14. Nice review and write-up! I’m always noticing these at Academy, and if I see them back below $150 I’ll commit.

    • Academy has them on sale every year on Black Friday at $99. That’s where I got mine last year. But they have only a limited number in every store, so you may have to get up early and stand in like like I did.

      Our local Academy put a limit of one per person on these guns during last year’s Black Friday sale so they could accommodate as many people as possible. I’m very pleased with it so far. It is well built and accurate, and I expect to enjoy it for decades.

  15. My Colt Peacemaker.22 is all a fun gun can be. Just that famous four-click action is entertaining enough.

    • The Heritage is a 4-click revolver…C-O-L-T, half-cock notch for loading. A great gun for the money, and a great gun to turn a non-shooter into a gun owner!

  16. I bought one 20 years ago. If you loaded all six chambers, the cylinder would not turn. The internals were pot metal. I tossed it into a pond.

    • I found mine submerged in an old cranberry bog. The acidic water gave the die casting such an interesting patina that the gun smithy I took it to for cleaning bought it off of me for $400 bucks. He then resold it for about $600 at auction. Since then I have been contacted by at least 4 major manufacturers all inquiring about my “process”. Now with a couple of Doughboys in my own yard I got me a little six figure industry going.

  17. I agree with everything the author said in his write up except for the number of stars in his ratings. Here are the number of stars that I think the Rough Rider has earned for each category:

    Build Quality * * *
    (average)

    Loading and Firing Ergonomics *
    (It is single-action and the trigger is heavier than necessary.)

    Accuracy * * * *

    Defensive Capability *

    Value * * * * *
    (I added this important category.)

    Overall * * *

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Heritage Rough Rider revolvers. In the end, they are inexpensive, single-action revolvers with acceptable build quality and decent triggers. That earns three stars overall in my opinion.

    • Hey, thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you agreed with most of the review. I can definitely see where you’re coming from with your suggested ratings; what I did (and maybe I should have been more clear about this) was try to rate the weapon in the context of what it claims to be and what potential buyers might consider using it for. So basically, instead of having a separate “Value” category, I rated all of the other categories with the price point of the gun in mind. With value taken out of the equation, I’d agree with the direction you went in with your ratings.

  18. As an ffl, I ordered one for a customer. My distributor wouldn’t ship it to Illinois because we have a melt law. First time I had ran into it.

      • Melt laws were imposed by some states like Obamastan (aka Illinois) which ban guns with frames that are made of materials with a melting point under a certain number of degrees. Supposed to stop the sale of so-called “Saturday night special” guns, which are often made of ZAMAK, a die-casting alloy composed mostly of zinc plus various proportions of aluminum, magnesium, and copper (in other words, pot metal). In reality, the laws are meant to keep affordable guns out of the hands of people who are too poor to afford high-priced guns to defend themselves. It’s a modern-day version of the “Army-And-Navy laws” passed just after the Civil War ended, especially in the South. Blacks and poor whites could often only afford the less expensive .31 caliber cap-and-ball revolvers like the Colt 1849 pocket, and their .32 rimfire equivalents. The “Army-And-Navy” laws prohibited the sale of any firearm that was not of “Army” (.44) or “Navy” (.36) caliber, which were more expensive and therefore out of the reach of poorer citizens. In other words, just another way for totalitarians to exercise control over those who are the elitists’ idea of “undesirables”.

  19. I’ve had mine for about 14 years and the all finish looks new, but it is the all steel one. Mine has seen service as a squirrel gun during walks during small game season, usually using the 22 mag cylinder or the 22 with head shots. The sights can be slightly adjusted by wrapping the barrel in a towel and gently locking the front sight in a vise. Once set, it doesn’t move. I’m accurate out to 20 yards or so, but since I’m just taking clear shots that I just just happen to come across, it may do better. I own many handguns but for hunting small game, it does what it was designed to do rather well.

  20. Nice gun however the ruger is all steel, has adjustable sights, better quality and is safer thanks to the crossbar safety.

  21. Could be fun to take to the Cowboy Action section of the local range. It would probably go down better than my wife’s beloved Ruger SR22. Come to think of it I should see if they do a rimfire class and get a .22 lever gun to go with it.

  22. I have pricier, slicker guns, but the Rough Rider has to be the most fun to shoot. The slow loading and unloading process is part of the charm for sure. It has good weight and decent wood stocks. I have to resist the urge to spin it at the range.

  23. If you can get 22short ammo, it will shoot them too.
    Quiet (and safe, if you respect the fundamental rules) even in restricted spaces.

  24. Nice to see a review on a firearm, EVERYONE can afford. Keep it up!

    It would be nice to see one of these in .38/.357 that did not cost an arm and a leg and while in fantasy land how about a top break?

    • Heritage makes a .357 it’s about 400 last i looked.

      For a top break you’ll need the Cimaron Schofield reproduction. Unfortunately only in .45colt. Retail is approx 1k

      • $400 puts you in pretty much the same price range as a Ruger Blackhawk. I’d take the Ruger in that case. Now, if Heritage had a .38/.357 in the $200-300 range, I’d think seriously about it.

  25. My father bought five, 22 Caliber rough riders that he bought from a carnival that was closing down the guy that owned the carnival said that the guns had probably shot close to 20,000 rounds of 22 CB rounds at metal targets for winning prizes well before my father passed away he gave me the guns and after all those rounds they still shoots like there new so take it from me a rough rider will last

  26. Just picked up one of these used for $50. Well used but only have the Mag cylinder but it shoots great. Tight lock-up and no wag fore or aft or left/right. My new jeep gun.

    ** Also could not find this review in the listing on TTAG ** ?? Found it by google.

  27. I love mine, today is the 3rd. time shooting it. However the safety kept going on after I would make a shot. I was firing .22LRs and every few shots the safety would just pop on. Anyone else have that happen ?

  28. I have had one for about six years now. Mine has the adjustable sights and the satin silver finish which I don’t think is available anymore. No matter what guns I’m going to the range to shoot, this one always comes along. It’s more accurate than I will ever be and totally reliable. I just wish they would make an adjustable sight version with the 3 1/2″ or 4″ barrel. It would be a great hiking companion. (Ideally I would want the adjustable sights and the 3 1/2″ birds head grips.)

  29. Well it finally broke today… had it for less than six months. The internals broke, hammer will not stay back. Was fun and accurate while it lasted. Won’t be buying another, rather have something more reliable.

      • I just got mine back, it was sent back to the manufacture, but its fine now. Each time I would fire it the safty would pop on.Really happy I got it back before Gander Mountain is closed for good.

  30. I would not recommend Heritage Firearms. They do not stand by their product. I purchased 3 Rough Riders. over a year later I finally pulled them out of the box at the range. All 3 of them misfiring. the pin not striking the rim, but striking the edge, thus not firing the .22 ammunition.. I called Heritage… they said, I’m out of luck, on a technicality, my 1 year warranty had expired.. Any gunsmith could see that these guns have never been fired. Heritage Firearms does not stand by their products. I will never again buy from them.

    • Hello,

      Now the rest of the story….I wrote about my purchase of 3 Heritage Rough Riders, two of which were badly defective after more than a year, and still new in the box. I finally attempted to fire them pulling them new from the box . Well, after a disappointing phone call where they told me to pound sand…. one Tweet, one blog posing, and one disappointed customer letter on their website… Heritage called me just now offering me FULL warranty on the revolvers…. I sent them in…. they will be fully repairing them under warranty and sending them back to me…. Renewed faith in their customer service? Yes. Thank you Heritage for standing behind your products… you have definitely renewed my faith your your company!!! Thank YOU!!

    • Now the rest of the story….I wrote about my purchase of 3 Heritage Rough Riders, two of which were badly defective after more than a year, and still new in the box. I finally attempted to fire them pulling them new from the box . Well, after a disappointing phone call where they told me to pound sand…. one Tweet, one blog posing, and one disappointed customer letter on their website… Heritage called me just now offering me FULL warranty on the revolvers…. I sent them in…. they will be fully repairing them under warranty and sending them back to me…. Renewed faith in their customer service? Yes. Thank you Heritage for standing behind your products… you have definitely renewed my faith your your company!!! Thank YOU!!

  31. My $50 RR is still going, about 400 rounds thru it. Used it just last week to dispatch a rat under my shed. Used CCI .22 mag rat shot. One shot, bye, bye rat. Most of the time it’s in my “bug out”, “get home bag” when not on my hip while Jeeping. Great value and I don’t have to baby it, because it’s a tool, not a safe queen. I normally have 3 CCI rat shot and 3 hp’s loaded in it.

  32. I just bought one of these off a coworker today (he needed the money more than he needed the gun). This review is one heck of a coincidence.

    • OH, yeah, buddy. Roger that on the .327 Fed Mag. That notwithstanding, I’ve got two of these revolvers, one with 4 1/2″ barrel and the other 6 1/2″. Gave $99 for each during an after T’giving sale. Called Heritage and ordered .22 mag cylinders for both of them for, if memory serves, $30 a piece. Enjoy shooting them and they’re very accurate and just plain fun especially with subsonic .22 LR ammo.

      P.S. As noted by someone else above, this review was not listed in TTAG reviews. I found it during a Google search.

  33. Just got the 4.75″ convertible model for Christmas. Took it to the range the other day and loved it! The Ruger being fairly well out of my current budget, the Rough Rider at less than half the price was a pleasant surprise. The approximate 5 lb trigger pull with no take up, and reasonable accuracy make it pleasant to shoot. It is much less expensive to buy ammo for than my 9mm. I can see this becoming one of my favorite guns.

  34. Update: Still going strong. Just bought the .22 LR cylinder for it. Shooting CCI Quiet, CCI Sub and the sub frangible (3 piece) even found some old school crimped federal rat shot. Accurate and reliable. Hit’s hard and doesn’t make your ears bleed. I have some of the CCI copper/poly rounds but I’m not sure if I want to shoot them out of it? I’m guessing that if the weapon can shoot mags it would be ok. For a total investment of $80 bucks I can’t complain. 🙂

  35. classic firearms has them for $119.00 6.5 inch barrel. I picked up a magnum cylinder off Epay for it. I love it very fun to shoot and for the price you can’t beat it. Well made revolver and would be a great gift with the wooden presentation boxes Heritage has for $16.00. The 22 magnum is very fun to shoot through this revolver a little more expensive then the 22 lr but gives the revolver a little more kick

  36. Last week bought a Heritage Rough Rider. It worked great and fun to shoot. But four Mag casings would not come out of the Mag cylinder after they were shot, the 22LR worked fine out of that cylinder. I called Heritage service, and no questions asked they are sending me a new cylinder. They said it could be the ammo and should try another brand ( it was good CCI). The girl I spoke to on the phone was very helpful and pleasant.

  37. I have become very old and lost my wrist strength. When in the 20’s I had a S&W 38 which I fired quite well, but haven’t fired anything since then. I tried my son’s different pistols but I could not work the slides and concluded I need to buy a revolver. I want one that can fit in my big purse and if the worse ever happens I can fire it through my purse or if I have time, take it out and aim and fire. My hands shake and I think I am depending on the scare factor not the kill factor. Wouldn’t fire it if I didn’t think I was going to be dead regardless. Anyway, A larger caliber is too heavy. And after classes this gun might not be used at all. Do you think this Heritage is alright?

  38. This is THE gun to teach a new shooter “how to”! One shot at a time. Aim small, miss small. Surprise shot. Etc.

    Teaching on a semi-auto makes it too tempting to lose sight discipline. I bought each of my three kids one of these and they love them. They shoot everything I own now, but still want there Heritage at the range or plinking.

    It is also a great snake gun with the shot shells.

    A must have in every collection!

  39. Please Do NOT buy this gun!!! I purchased the Heritage .22LR/.22 mag. 9 shot in Nov of 2017. I didn’t get to shoot it till the beginning of Feb. 2018. My first shot I got so much blow back that I was grateful I was wearing safety gear! My next couple of shots was no better. I called the manufacturer and they said they don’t give refunds, but I could mail it in for a repair. They received it on Feb. 7th, 2018 then they told me it would be 12 weeks! So in the meantime I called a few times, after being on hold for literally hours they knew nothing! On April 17th, 2018 they called me and said that it couldn’t be fixed they was sending a new gun to the dealer. Today (May 4th, 2018) I called the dealer, he said he hadn’t heard from them. So I called and was on hold for 1 hr. and 43 min. to be told that they didn’t know when the gun would get to the dealer since they still had to manufacture one and they didn’t know when that may be. But if I wanted a 6 shot that one could be sent. REALLY?!!!! Again NO REFUNDS of any kind! After doing a couple of hours of research today I find out that many people have gone through this don’t be the next FOOL!

  40. a an Heritage mostly copied an Italian company called tanfoglio,I have one and also the heritage , I have at times swapped cylinders out between the two and they work in each.heritage is a great revolver,it is an inexpensive handgun,but with value for the price, it doesn’t try to be a single six or any other gun in its class, it is what it is, and it does okay.as far as self defense, I was a deputy years ago and worked a shooting where one guy shot the other guy in the head from a distance of 7 feet,that .22lr did what it ne died to do.

  41. 16 of the handguns in my collection use .22 rimfire ammo. One of them is a Heritage steel frame revolver with an 8″ barrel and adjustable light-pipe sights. Another is a NAA mini revolver. Both of these chamber .22 Magnum cartridges, and they are the only .22s I take out of the house more than a couple of times a year. The NAA goes with me when I go jogging, and the Heritage goes with me when I go berry picking in the hundreds of acres of woods that are part of our land. What the NAA lacks in firepower is partly made up for by the fact that I can seemingly conjure it up out of thin air. What the Heritage has going for it is accuracy and knock-down power if we encounter a sick, possibly rabid fox, coon, or other animal. I’ve practiced enough with that gun that I won’t likely miss the first shot, and if I did, that little bullet isn’t going to travel very far through all that vegetation. Otherwise I carry a KelTec 380 and a S&W Airweight snubby in the summer, and a Smith M&P 9mm Shield in the winter, usually backed up by a Model 60 in .357 Magnum.. Sounds extreme, I know, but a 5’1″ blonde who still gets carded in a restaurant almost 10 years after her 21st birthday needs to be careful.

  42. For the money you can’t beat it but I had a problem with loose grips. They are only anchored in two places and they tend to shift in your hand. I purchased imitation stag grips on line and they looked great but they didn’t fit right either. I solved the problem by drilling a hole through the frame opposite the pin that serves to anchor the grips and the mainspring and putting in another pin with corresponding holes in the grips.

  43. We purchased a Rough Rider with the Hiviz Adjustable sights and a 6.5″ barrel (22LR/22Mag) a few years ago for my wife and also to teach our grand kids the sport of shooting. After at least 6,000 rounds and numerous cleanings she looks and operates like the day we bought her. We’ve never had an issue one with the firearm itself, generally the ammo if we got some of the cheaper stuff. We generally stick with the Winchester Super-X and CCI Mini-Mags and have no issues. For the price, it is a FUN gun to shoot and much cheaper to plink with than our other larger caliber firearms. It is put together very well, just less expensive material and that’s when the price comes in. For the purpose we purchased it for, it is & continues to excel in all aspects. I would recommend this firearm to anyone that’s looking for a FUN gun to shoot and will perform reliably without having to break the bank. Try one, you won’t be disappointed in it’s operation and performance.

    • You can’t beat the price and it’s fun to shoot. The only issue I had was with the grips. They were only anchored in one spot and they slipped around. I simply drilled a hole through the frame and put another pin and a corresponding hole in the grips.

  44. I just bought a Rough Rider at Dunhams for $99.95 on sale. Soon as I got home, I went online and ordered the 22 mag cylinder for $29.99 with free shipping. I’ve only shot a couple cylinder loads, but so far, I love the gun. It’s a lot more pleasant to shoot, than my 44 mag, or my 454 Casule.

    • I bought it because it was neat and cheap and made in USA and it didn’t disappoint. The problem I had was that the grips were loose. Instead of investing in a 22 mag cylinder that only shoots more expensive stuff I bought some neat faux stag grips. I fixed the problem of loose grips by drilling a hole in the frame in the corner of the grip and fitting a simple pin made from a nail and a corresponding hole in the grips.

  45. I bought my Heritage 22 revolver for $99 dollars at a local sports shop. Haven’t shot it yet but it looks and feels like a quality firearm. It also came with a safety lock. Hell, it cost less than a good pellet gun.

  46. I love the gun. However, heratige arms ripped me off when I tried to online purchase the mag cylinder. They too the money out and now they are saying they lost my payment. Really? This is my 5th purchase from them but the first time the cylinder had to be ordered. Anyone else been ripped off by these pieces of shizit? I want to start a class action suit.

  47. I bought my wife a rough rider 22 for Xmas. out of the box it shot 3.5 inches left from sandbag at 3 yards. sent it in for repair, it was recieved on Jan 2nd, its now may 8th, still not returned. have called them 4 times and e-mailed twice. no reply, the last time i called i was told he would check and call me back, that was 10 days ago, no reply. Just so everyone knows that if you have problems with one of their guns forget about getting it repaired in any kind of reasonable time. I have no idea when or if ill get my gun back. Im going to buy her one of the new ruger wranglers this weekend, and write off the Heritage.

  48. I bought mine at Palmetto Arms for $110.00. Best purchase I’ve made in years. They had 500 round Remington bricks for $7 also. So for less than $150 bucks I have a great plinker and a couple thousand rounds to play with. Great gun.

  49. I found the Rough Rider to be a simple and accurate revolver for trail use and target practice but others should know that there are mechanical issues that crop up with the little pistol. First the cylinder hand spring can snap from the cast alloy hand, its quite common. Second is the firing pin retainer can fall apart. Luckily the revolver is a simple design that leads to quick repairs if you keep a few spare parts on hand.

  50. I have the rough rider 6.5″ combo and the frame broke right in front of the hammer! Because it is three years old Heritage arms will not cover it under warrenty! They want &35 just to look at it! I think I will throw it away!

  51. I bought for a snake gun at our property. First time I shot it it FTF 3 of 6 times (very light almost no strike to case) tried several brands of ammo and similar results. Called Heritage and they said to send it back for warranty but wanted $50 for “shipping”. They stated repairs would be 8-12 weeks so after 12 weeks I called (as they do not notify customers of status) and they said they were backed up because of the move, could be another 4 weeks. Obviously not what I wanted to hear but it is what it is. After waiting another 4 weeks I called again (remember you must contact them, they will not provide any updates or even notify if/when repairs are completed or being shipped back). They said “we can’t fix it” we’ll send you another one. Sounds good except it has to be shipped to my FFL who will likely also charge me for the transfer and they said could be another 8+ weeks as they don’t have any available and that I would have to “just keep calling your FFL to see if they have received it”, VERY poor customer service with 6+ months of waiting. If you get a “good” one you may be OK but if not do yourself a favor and throw it away and buy a Ruger. And yes I know its a very inexpensive gun but that’s not an excuse for it not doing the one thing every firearm should, fire when you pull the trigger.

  52. I did my homework and due diligence and hoped that it would shoot, well made and fairly accurate. I purchased the 6.5 22L with the additional magnum cylinder today. She’s absolutely gorgeous.
    Very happy and I own Colts, Springfield Armory and Rugers.

  53. At the end of the day you are probably thinking ” for $150 I don’t care how cheap it is, its probably really fun”

    That’s exactly what I thought – and it broke before I could even fire 1 round out of it. Never took it to the range. 100% a waste of money. Do not buy this pistol no matter how many youtube reviews you see about it- I was so excited about this and now after this experience I am going on a crusade to warn people about how cheaply made these pistols are.

  54. OK,

    The last 3 Rugers I have purchased, had to go back to Ruger for issues. A blackhawk 357, LC9, & Single 6. I have them back, Ruger stands behind their guns, but I have noticed their quality has gone down. I have purchased 3 Rough Riders, Gave them to my sons and one son in law. I am looking to purchase one more for the other son in law. All pistols have been good shooters and have done well for them. Now, the Ruger Single 6 is a way better made gun, and I enjoy it, but I may pick up one for myself, as it would be a great hiking out in the wilds gun. If I lose it, what am I out? Also, when out with my “sons” we would all have the same firearm.

    During this COVID shutdown, I have moved to shooting 22, as I have a large stock. If you are looking for a good inexpensive gun, that is well made at the price point, I would look hard at the Rough Rider. The Ruger competition, the wangler, I feel is not as good as the Rough Rider. That’s my opinion. In many ways, as with all firearms, it comes down to what works for the user. Price, build quality, customer support, and ammo availability all comes in to play. BTW, I would not have an issue of using the rough rider to defend myself. In most cases it will be find. (Shot placement, Shot Placement & again Shot placement) Yes, I use my S&W model 19 and Glock 19, as my self defense guns, but when carrying my 22’s, I do not feel unarmed.

  55. Bought a rough rider 22 combo with the magnum cylinder and the first time I shot both cylinder the brass from the rounds was wedged in each cylinder because of bad manufacturing of the cylinders .they were tapered toward the barrel and caused the brass to hang in both cylinders. Been waiting since right after last Thanksgiving for heritage to make thing right and they can’t be contacted along any of the numbers included with the pistol. Dealer is holding pistol for a gun smith to look at it but he doesn’t show up much to do any work and all I can say about heritage is they make some nice looking guns but without customer service their just a bunch of thieves taking your money and selling faulty pistols

  56. I have read the comments over the past few years and see some have had good success with the revolvers, some have had problems with function and service with manufacture. The metal in the barrel is steel, the frames and some parts are castings of softer metal. Main moving parts such as the hand, cylinder stop, hammer, trigger and cylinder should be all steel to be reliable with no excessive wear. I examined a similar revolver years ago that had a soft hand, alloy cylinder with steel chamber liners where wear on the star did not carry up to line the chamber with the barrels large forcing cone. When fired the cylinder gap gases eroded the front of the chamber liners in softer alloy metal. This showed the captured test fired bullets were elongated.

  57. I purchased my heritage 22 revolver on 1/1/2021. I attempted to fire it on 1/3/2021. It jammed up after the fourth shot. I got a repair oder from Heritage and sent the gun in on 1/5/2021.I heard nothing from Heritage. Finally I called Heritage on 1/15/2021 to determine the status of my repair order. I stayed on hold 49 minutes. Heritage finally answered its customer service (sic) line. They advised me that they did not receive the gun from FedEx until 1/13/2021. Further it will take 3 To 4 weeks to repair it.

    I requested a refund because i purchased it on 1/1 and will not be able to use it until mid February. They advised that it is their policy to not provide a refund on fitearms

    This is the epitome of very poor customer service. The gun was sent via fedex but did not

    Arrive at heritage until 8 day’s later. l wanted on the line for 47 minutes to speak to customer service. I need to wait another 3 to 4 weeks to have the gun repaired. I was denied a refund.

  58. Our heritage has been fine for the three years we’ve owned it…going on our 3rd thousand rounds of the .22lr, and several hundred. 22wmr downrange…I love the slower pace of operating this gun…it is starting to show a little wear, but we didn’t buy the gun to be pretty…it goes to the range every time we go, and I’ve allowed a young beginner to try it (how many people would even consider that these days?)…we load the .22wmr as a last backup for the house (plan ‘d’)…I can appreciate that some folks have bought lemons, but that can happen to Cadillacs as well to Yugos…but heritage has sold a ton of these revolvers for a reason (price probably #1), and I have to believe most are like ours, takes a licking and keeps on ticking…

  59. I just bought a joker A piece of paper was in it that said it would shoot both 22lr and 22 mg ammunition just checking if that same cylinder shoots both or do I need to purchase another cylinder

  60. I would think a semi auto 22lr that jams is worse than a revolver that almost always shoots-mine always has. You can shoot those bullets out pretty fast for six rounds, too.

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