Gun Review: Turnbull Finished Ruger Mark IV Target Model .22 LR Pistol

When my Dad passed away, he left a collection of firearms that, though relatively modest, included some beautiful, custom-built items. Yet, at the time he died, my Dad was focused on building a collection of factory-made, Ruger products.

One type of firearm missing from his collection of Rugers was a semi-automatic pistol. I know it wasn’t because he didn’t think highly of Ruger products in general – witness his collection at the end of his life. I suspect that he simply hadn’t run across a Ruger semi-auto that struck his fancy.

So, when Mike Nelson of Turnbull Restoration asked me if I would like to review one of their Turnbull-finished Ruger Mark IV Target Model pistols in .22 LR I was more than eager.

Of course, a big part of my excitement came from the opportunity to work with another Turnbull product, but nearly equal to that catalyst was the nostalgia that welled up with the thought of reviewing a firearm by one of my Dad’s favorite gun makers.

The Turnbull-finished version of the gun is a stock Ruger Mark IV Target pistol (this model) to which Turnbull has applied some finishing touches. They’ve threaded it to accept a suppressor, added an optional hardwood target grip, and then given it the Turnbull color case hardened finish for which they’re so well known.

When I collected the Mark IV from Tom McElwayne, the anticipated ooh-ing and ahh-ing was heard from Tom and his clients as I lifted the pistol from its container. That Turnbull finish never fails to impress.

And the beautifully-sculpted wooden target grips provide wonderful support and balance when I took aim at a ceiling tile in the store.

You’ll notice that my impressions of the Mark IV Target itself differ little if at all from those of Josh Wayner who wrote up a very complete review of the stock version of the gun (click here to read).

Removing the magazine was accomplished using the recessed button adjacent to the trigger guard.

Opening the chamber to check that the pistol was unloaded involved simply grasping the wings on the rear of the slide and pulling until it locked open.

If you cock the Mark IV, set the safety to ‘on’ and depress the silver-colored button located just below the back of the slide, the barrel and receiver can be pivoted up and away, resulting in the separated parts pictured below.

The ease of this process — the primary feature that distinguishes Ruger’s Mark IV pistols from the earlier versions of this popular rimfire platform — means that one can quickly, and yet thoroughly, clean the pistol each time it is used. Putting the parts back together took less time than I spent typing these lines.

The final bit of disassembly involved unscrewing the cap that protects the threads to mount a suppressor.

As can be seen the Turnbull gunsmiths didn’t miss the opportunity to place their stereotypical finish on even this protective cap.

Range Time 

Frances, my wife, has been putting up with me for close to 45 years and I still consider her my high-school sweetheart. And, most importantly for this review, she doesn’t shoot very often. That makes her a good test subject for determining the shootability of the Turnbull Finished Mark IV .22LR rimfire pistol.

Once at the range, we set up targets so I could test the accuracy of the Mark IV. The target pictured below was my last, and smallest, 10-shot group. O.K., so the pistol possessed the much-touted accuracy of the Mark IV model. That’s a 1.375″ group at 25 yards shooting from bags. Josh was able to get one-inch groups from his, which I don’t doubt at all.

The next question was the utility of the Turnbull-finished Mark IV as a pistol for an eager, but infrequent, handgun shooter. I handed the empty pistol to Frances and became the photographer. After ejecting the magazine, Frances fed in the 10 cartridges…

…and then warmed up using the bench rest.

I worried that the target grips would be a bad fit for Frances’ smaller hands, but she found they added a stability and balance that worked perfectly off the bench.

The next step was for us to go to off-hand stances. Again, we found that the Mark IV balanced beautifully, and besides, as Frances professed, it was a lot more fun shooting at a target that made a ‘ping’ when hit!

Conclusions

The Turnbull Finished Ruger Mark IV Target Model is a beautiful, accurate and fun pistol to take to the range, or into the woodlot to plink and/or hunt small game. Its accuracy fits the requirements of the serious marksman, as well being an encouragement for the beginner or infrequent shooter.

Of course, with the Turnbull patented bone charcoal color case hardened barrel, whoever picks it up feels like they’re handling what it is – a ‘fine’ firearm. I wish these had been around when I was a kid.

Given his love of Ruger firearms and beautiful finishes like Doug Turnbull produces, I bet I could have convinced my Dad to purchase one for his youngest son.

Specifications: Turnbull Finished Ruger Mark IV Target Model

Caliber: .22 LR
Barrel Length: 5.5 inches, threaded in standard 1/2″-28 for suppressors
Overall Length: 9.75”
Weight: 35.8 oz.
Finish: Barrel: Turnbull Restoration bone charcoal color case hardened (carbon steel); Frame: Ruger factory blued (aluminum)
Capacity: 10
MSRP: $900

Ratings (out of Five Stars):

Style: * * * * *
The Turnbull craftsmanship is evident in the detailing of the Mark IV. However, the lines created by the Ruger designers for the stock pistol also play a large role in producing the ‘Wow!’ factor of the finished gun. It’s truly beautiful.

Fit and Finish: * * * * *
Again, the base Ruger pistol is an excellent platform to begin with. This pistol is characterized by the unique bone charcoal color case-hardened frame and Ruger Factory blueing of the frame and smaller metal parts. The Ruger Target laminate wood grips fitted both Frances’ and my hands extremely well. The finger grooves provided much greater stability than the smooth stock grips found on our personal pistols.

Accuracy * * * * *
The accuracy at the range was wonderful. This held true for both an infrequent shooter and a more jaded…I mean experienced…shooter. The Mark IV Target will put rounds exactly where you want them (assuming you’re a good enough shot).

Reliability: * * * * *
Frances and I fired over 150 rounds through the Mark IV without any mechanical issues. No failures to feed, extract or eject. That’s saying something given the inconsistent quality of most rimfire ammunition.

Overall * * * * *
The ‘target’ fit, Turnbull finish and excellent accuracy make the Turnbull-Finished Ruger Mark IV Target model pistol in .22 LR a wonderful pistol for anyone. Both neophyte and veteran shooters will enjoy trying for the best groups they can produce, or making the steel targets ‘ping’. You’ll have to decide if the added finishing is worth the cost over the base model, but it’s worth every penny to me.

(Don’t tell Frances, but I plan to see about purchasing one of these pistols for her for Christmas.)

 

Mike Arnold writes about firearms and hunting at his blog Mike Arnold, Outdoor Writer.

A note of thanks to the following people, without whose generosity this review would not have been possible: Mike Nelson, Paul Downs and Doug Turnbull from Turnbull Restoration; Tom McElwayne (Shooters Den); Tracy Ledbetter (Gun Racks for Less); and Frances Arnold (shooter and photographer).

 

comments

  1. avatar Rickster says:

    I am a Ruger fan , thank you for sharing your beautiful pistol with TTAG anyone would be proud to have it in their collection.

    1. avatar Le target says:

      My Mark 4 Target came threaded from the factory.

      And I’m slowly applying my own cool finish through rigorous year-round-use.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    I really like my Mark IV Target, and so does everyone who shoots it. But I’d love it even more if it looked like that Turnbull.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      I love my Mark 3, 22/45 lite, but would love it even more if it broke down like the Mark 4.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Try a Mark IV 22/45 LTE. Available now at your LGS.

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          Oh, I know they are available. They were available when I bought my Mark 3. It’s just that I got a wonderful deal on a used pistol. It was like new condition for $270. The difficult reassembly is the price I pay for my bargain, and I knew it when I got it. I can live with that.

  3. avatar Larry says:

    Coincidentally, I drove by their shop an hour ago .

  4. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Finally a pistol a professional hit man can be proud to carry. Hope dims don’t see this or they will want them included in the forced buy back plan.

  5. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Nice lookin’ alright, but certainly not worth the extra $500…

    1. avatar RocketScientist says:

      ….. to you. It may “certainly” be worth every penny to someone else. Hell, for some, I bet it would be “certainly” worth it at double or triple the asking price.

      1. avatar WI Patriot says:

        Not just “to me”, it’s just worth the extra $500, to ANYONE with ANY common sense…

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          much like whether or nor mike’s dad liked rugers, i’m not sure if you think the extra cost is worth it.

  6. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    I absolutely love the grips. Works of art. I think the case hardening isn’t meant for this type of gun, though. Makes it look odd, and doesn’t match the grips.

    I love my original Mark I with its tapered barrel.

    1. avatar Paelorian says:

      If I was ordering one of these, I’d ask them to put Sturm’s “S” back on the bird.

      1. avatar Nate in CA says:

        I’ve still got my Red Eagle grips for my 6” Standard model stashed away – it’s not pristine, but still a shooter!

    2. avatar Dan W says:

      I love the finish and the grips, just not on the same gun.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      I agree, I like the wood grips but the body of the gun looks like it’s been in a fire

    4. avatar jwm says:

      The first time I saw a MK 1 was at a hardware store. If memory serves it was 35 bucks. New. Course, 35 bucks was real money.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        Was that when coins were made of 90% silver, and the country had less than twenty trillion in debt?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          The coin change over was so recent that you still had silver in circulation. I don’t think the whole world was worth 20 trillion back then.

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Wow. What a beauty.
    Thanks Michael!

  8. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

    Just dropped them a note. I have a brand new in the case 22/45 that I would like to have done like that. Waiting on a quote.

  9. avatar daveinwyo says:

    As a Ruger fan boy, that is a beautiful weapon!
    Have to go, I just drooled on my ‘puter.

  10. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    That looks too pretty to shoot!

  11. avatar Billy says:

    MK2 & MK3S are so difficult to assemble, bo hoo hoo…
    Price of cake.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      How-to vids are available on YouTube. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. I learned how to take down and re-assemble my MK1 no problem.

  12. avatar Darkstar says:

    Boy oh boy. Turnbull just does some amazing work….Not everything they do is gonna appeal to everyone but damn. Just damn. Great pistol there.

  13. avatar Anymouse says:

    I’m sorry, but this is putting lipstick on a pig. The MK pistols are a good starting point (have a couple), but they need improvement to be something other than a plinker. They are on a lower tier compared to soomething like a SW 41. Volquartsen, Tac Sol, and tons of others make excellent improvements to close the distance. It seems like Turnbull didn’t even do a trigger job to make the internals worthy of the fine exterior.

  14. avatar John Wick says:

    It looks like a stock Mark IV Target (including the grips) with the Turnbull finish.

    https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/27155/ruger+mark+iv+target+single%2fdouble+action+22+lr++%28lr%29+55+10%2b1+laminate

    Not worth the extra $500 just for “appearance”.

  15. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    “…because he didn’t think highly of Ruger products in general.”
    “…one of my Dad’s favorite gun makers.”
    “Given his love of Ruger firearms…”

    i’m sure he would have liked it.
    i like my mkll.

  16. avatar Gio says:

    I bought a Turnbull Finished Ruger Mark IV last year and totally agree with Mike’s assessment. Another fine Ruger handgun with the Turnbull finish to make it a thing of beauty. I bought it to use at my local gun clubs bullseye competitions. I figured that I might not be the best shooter, but my gun would look the best. As it turns out the Mark IV is an accurate shooter and I won both the 50 foot match at one club and the 25 yard match at another club. I have many other Ruger firearms and all are great shooters and a great value for the money. If you are in the market for a great .22 handgun for competition or plinking, do yourself a favor and get a Turnbull Finished Ruger Mark IV.

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