A lot of the fun and excitement of the Old West is alive and well on ranges and in the backwoods of our nation, thanks to the resurgence in single-action revolver popularity. Luckily, war parties, bandits and saddle sores haven’t rejoined the mix.
Nostalgia isn’t the only reason the early wheelgun design is back in fashion. Modern manufacturing techniques make them better and safer than ever, and taking one home is almost embarrassingly inexpensive. Those that chamber .22 LR, in particular, are ideal for practice, plinking, informal competition and dispensing ear-to-ear grins. It’s not just new enthusiasts behind the trigger, either.
Last year Heritage Manufacturing’s line of Rough Riders claimed third-place honors in GunBroker.com’s annual list of top-selling revolvers. The company has a growing reputation for American-made quality, and there’s no shortage of models available today.
Rimfire versions dominate the Rough Rider line and include several models that ship with a spare .22 WMR cylinder, however the company also offers several chambered for .45 Colt and .357 Mag. Capacities vary from six to nine cartridges. Barrel lengths also depend on choice, from 3" to more than a foot long in the attention-grabbing 16" Rough Rider model. That one’s chambered in .22 LR and, and depending on your preference, comes with or without the spare WMR cylinder.
The company’s guns wear a variety of different grips, everything from wood laminate to pearl in a variety of colors, or special-edition paint jobs with a theme—like the currently available Joker or Betsy Ross—and cocobolo. Metal finishes are also diverse, creating a line with something that appeals to every taste. As if that isn’t enough, there are even Bird Head Rough Riders.
A 16" Rough Rider with a spare .22 WMR cylinder has an MSRP of $218. Add adjustable sights and the price goes up to $233.
The Big Bore lineup includes .357 Mag.- and .45 Colt-chambered revolvers. Barrel lengths are 5.5" and 4.75", respectively. Four models are available, and regardless of your choice the suggested price is $515. Those rimfire-digesting birdshead models start at only $187.