Ruger’s Wrangler Birdseye


12/26/2021 – A very thoughtful friend of ours gave my wife and I a Roomba for Christmas. We all know that vacuuming sucks so I appreciated the help.

I named the Roomba Dudley, in the spirit of a 18th century British servant. After a few days, my wife changed its name to Waldo because I kept asking her if she knew Dudley’s location. I explained the potential… again, and the short comings of a rudimentary AI device. She was not to be convinced.

A few minutes later, I received a text message from Waldo, “I need help. My right front wheel is stuck”. When my wife asked who texted, I told her it was one of our kids wishing us Merry Christmas.



Ruger Wrangler Birdshead Model 02015
Newport, NH
Caliber 22 LR
Cylinder Material Carbon Steel – Black Oxide
Cylinder Capacity
Barrel Material
Alloy Steel – Black Cerakote
Barrel Length 3.75″
Rifling 1:14″ RH  6 Groove
Cylinder Frame Aluminum – Black Cerakote
Grip Frame Die Cast Zinc Alloy
Grips Smooth Synthetic
Overall Length 8.62″
Weight – Empty 28 oz
Rear Sight
Front Sight
Fixed – Blade Front
MSRP $279

It is easy to illustrate why writers should never weigh in on the future success of a new product. In April 2019, I wrote a review of the then newly introduced Ruger Wrangler and concluded it was a high quality, value priced, single action revolver. Which the Wrangler was, and remains

Privately, I wondered who would buy a mixed alloy construction firearm, with a polymer-ceramic finish and only basic features. Especially, the Wrangler was being sold alongside probably the highly regarded Ruger Single Six family. Well, apparently most everyone…. including me.

How do I know Ruger has found success in the Wrangler? In 2019 there were only three models at the introduction: black, silver and bronze. Today, counting the three new birdshead models, Ruger sells six models through general distribution and nine more distributor exclusives.

How could I be so wrong? Easy. I wear white socks and boots for all but formal occasions and I still think stainless steel and polymer firearms are passing fads. Yes, I am a traditional firearm snob. How polite of you not to notice!

I  there a low price performance compromise?

The Wrangler’s carbon steel barrel is no different than the Single Six, right down to the twist rate. The Wrangler’s cylinder frame is aluminum, the Single Six is steel. I cannot see a time when 22 Long Rifle rounds would cause frame stretch or failure.The Wrangler’s carbon steel barrel and aluminum frame are Cerakote finished, the Single Six’s carbon steel barrel and frame frame are black oxide finished.

The Wrangler’s cylinder is carbon steel, the same as the Single Six. In fact, the Wrangler’s standard cylinder is unfluted, Both are black oxide finished. Both revolvers shed their cylinders by releasing and sliding base pins forward and rolling the cylinder out of the open loading gate.

The Wrangler has a cast zinc alloy grip frame. The Single Six has an aluminum grip frame. The Wrangler grip frame has a Cerakote finish, the Single Six grip frame is hard anodized.

Both the Wrangler and Single Six have hammer and trigger MIM pieces.

Both revolvers have a transfer bar safety that blocks the hammer from the firing pin until the trigger is pulled. It is amazing what some other manufacturers do to implement a safety. The Wrangler cylinder can be rotated clockwise or counter clockwise when loading.

Where the Wrangler has a grooved top strap and blade front sight, the Single Six has a variety of fixed and adjustable sight options.

The Wrangler options are limited to color and, now, two grip frame styles, the Single Six frame is sold in twenty three configurations; additional Bisley grip frame, carbon steel or stainless steel construction, greater capacity, varying barrel lengths. varying sight systems, and chambered for rimfire and centerfire magnum rounds.

When they were first introduced, I bought a Wrangler as a knock around rimfire revolver to take trail walk plinking, to dispatch local varmints and to keep in my fishing tackle box. Tough bass in Maine. It has held up well, function and looks, and it has taught more than a few new enthusiasts how to shoot a single action revolver. I do not abuse any of my firearms and cleaning is routine, but I do worry less about the Wrangler.

Birdshead grip frame

The birdshead grip for the Wrangler is my choice. It shrinks the overall envelope, makes for more comfortable carry and, for me, it makes for a more natural point than standard or Bisley grips. They also handle recoil well; broad and conforming to the palm of the hand.

A revolver I shot frequently. A Ruger TALO Birdshead Vaquero, short barrel and in 44 Mag. It is an easy to control grip form.

Wrangler Birdshead performance

Ammunition was selected as on hand and to give some boost to the Wrangler’s  3.75″ barrel length with high velocity ammo.

Ammunition Bullet
24″ Barrel
3.75″ Barrel
10 yards
5 Shot
Group “
Eley Subsonic 38 1040 917 2.2
Remington Target 40 1150 922 1.9
Federal Champion 36 1280 1006 2.4
Remington Cyclone 36 1280 1089 2.9

Ten yards, thirty feet, might seem not far, but for the anticipated applications and limitations of a grooved top strap rear sight and simple blade up front, I think that is an appropriate shooting distance. The wrangler is a fairly easy gun to pick up cold, shooter and gun, and attain this level of accuracy.

All budget gun aesthetics are not the same….

I rarely note competing firearms as the focus in on the reviewed gun, but this is an indication of what other manufacturers see as a comparable firearm. The Rough Rider aluminum casting is not going to win any awards. The bluing on barrel and cylinder is blotchy, the lettering on the cast aluminum frame is barely legible and the black finish looks as though it was applied with a paint roller.

By comparison, Ruger engineered process and materials to reduce cost, which resulted in a low price. They maintained Ruger factory quality in fit and finish and put out a good looking budget revolver with the same Ruger support as their other firearms.

Good revolver, nice grip option, great price. Don’t like Black Cerakote, the Birdshead Wrangler is also available in Silver and Burnt Bronze.