Review: Ruger Super Wrangler

by
posted on May 17, 2024
Review Ruger Super Wrangler Lead

Bill Ruger was at an industry event sometime after Colt announced they would no longer be making single-action firearms, ending the reign of what may be the most famous handgun ever. The marketing manager for Colt pronounced that single-action revolvers were nothing but playthings and that only double-action revolvers and semi-autos were real handguns. He turned condescendingly to Ruger and said, “You’ll find that out.”

Ruger Super Wrangler facing right.

Ruger of course ignored the pompous fool and introduced the Single Six single-action .22 LR revolver soon after. He “found out” by selling a few million Single Six handguns.

I bought mine in 1973, the year it changed to the Super Single Six. It came with two cylinders in .22 LR and .22 WMR. It was my companion in the woods for years. I used it on the trapline to dispatch countless critters, including one skunk who won the battle but lost the war. I also hunted with it, shooting a lot of squirrels, woodchucks, grouse and rabbits. I even used it to finish off a few deer. Looking back, I probably have carried that Super Single Six for more hours than any other firearm I own.

Most of the outdoor world agreed with me, and the Single Six was a solid seller for 70 years. But then, production costs started driving up the price about the time some less expensive firearms were hitting the market. Ruger is not a company to sit back and watch their market share erode, so they took a lesson from their American rifle, offered as a low cost alternative to their Model 77, and introduced the lower price Wrangler. It’s still a Single Six at heart but made with fewer frills; Cerakote instead of bluing for example. They also found less expensive manufacturing techniques. The cylinders are not fluted, saving machining time, and many of the internal parts are metal-injection-molded rather than machined.

Ruger Super Wrangler revolver cylinders.

This low-cost gun was a huge success. Still, shooters missed a few features from the Super Single Six. Adjustable sights, for example, something I strongly believe all field guns should have. A lot of shooters also wanted both the .22 LR and .22 WMR cylinders. Well, they got their wishes with the new Super Wrangler. This gun ships with two cylinders so it can handle .22 LR and .22 WMR. To do so, they changed the frame from aluminum to steel to handle the pressure of the magnum cartridge. In addition to being steel, the top strap is a bit thicker than on the Wrangler to accommodate the adjustable sights. This made the gun slightly heavier. The Wrangler with its 6.5-inch barrel weighs 32.1 ounces. The Super Wrangler with the slightly shorter 5.5-inch barrel checks in at 37.7 ounces.

The Super Wrangler is also a better shooter. Ruger worked out a few accuracy issues and made changes to the design. The cylinders use a stepped chamber so that the bullet is supported after it exits the case. The forcing cone is shortened so that the bullet enters while it’s still supported by the chamber.

The Super Wrangler is currently available only with a 5.5-inch barrel. That’s my choice for a woods gun anyway. This is a gun for hunters, so sight radius and retained velocity are important.

The Super Wrangler uses the transfer bar system added to all Ruger single-action revolvers in 1973. That means that the gun can be safely carried with all six chambers loaded. The adjustable sights are black on black. The adjustment screw will move the point of impact ¾-inch per click at 25 yards. My sample is black Cerakote on the grip, frame and barrel, while the cylinders appear to be black oxide. Other options include silver or bronze Cerakote.

Ruger Super Wrangler rear view with .22 Winchester Magnum ammunition.

The barrel is hammer forged, the frame investment cast and the grip is die cast zinc. The cylinders have two grooves in the rear and the .22 LR is identified by a third groove in the front of the cylinder. Only the .22 WMR is marked with the name of the cartridge. The cylinder free spins with the loading gate open for easy loading. The grips are checkered black plastic with the Ruger Phoenix logo. Any aftermarket Single Six grips (and most other Ruger single-action handgun grips) will fit the Super Wrangler if you want to add some bling.

The action on my sample is surprisingly smooth. The trigger pull has a slight bit of travel before it breaks. However, it’s much smoother than I expected. The pull weight is 5 pounds.

The groove diameter in the bore is .224 inch, which is the SAAMI spec for the .22 WMR. The SAAMI spec for the .22 LR is .222 inch. This has been the topic of long and at times tedious discussions about the dual cylinder rimfire Ruger handguns for years. However, it is mostly discussion for gun nerds as the gun works just fine. The soft lead .22 LR bullet obturates easily when fired and shoots very well in the .224-inch-diameter bore as seen in the data. On this gun, the .22 WMR shot even better, with amazing accuracy.

I have several hundred rounds through the gun using both cartridges and there have been zero problems and no drama. The Super Wrangler is reliable, accurate and affordable. It may well be this generation’s best of the best for a “woods” gun and is an excellent rimfire handgun choice for any hunter.

Ruger Super Wrangler accuracy results chart.

Technical Specifications
Type: single-action revolver
Caliber: .22 LR, .22 WMR
Cylinder/Magazine Capacity: 6 rnds.
Barrel: 5.5"; cold-hammer forged; 1:14" RH twist
Trigger Pull Weight: 5 lbs.
Sights: adjustable rear, serrated front ramp
Grip/Stocks: checkered synthetic
Metal Finish: Cerakote
Overall Length: 11"
Weight: 37.7 ozs.
Accessories: cable lock
MSRP: $329; ruger.com

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