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.
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.
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!
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)
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).