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Honest Review

Honest Review: Rough Rider Tactical Cowboy Revolver (YES.)



Sort of like dating a fat girl … tons of fun to run, but you don’t want your friends to see.

Have you ever found yourself saying, “Ugh. Why? I mean, yeah, I’ll take one…?”

Well, if you haven’t, then I invite you to take a gander at Heritage Manufacturing’s latest Rough Rider revolver, the Tactical Cowboy. This latest incarnation of its best-selling .22 plinker brings Picatinny rail functionality to the classic design of the Old West. (Yes.)

Oh, but wait, it doesn’t stop there, it also features carbon-fiber style grips and, get this, a threaded muzzle. While I don’t know how far you’ll get screwing a can onto it (hello, cylinder gap) it would certainly be useful for a flash hider, making this a terrific nighttime critter-killer. So, with that said I bit on this assignment and got a little trigger time on one.

I knew the gun arrived when I received a text message from the guys at the store wielding it with a freshly mounted ACOG mounted atop. I reminded them of the rules: “Once it touches my gun, it’s mine to keep.” Unfortunately, they didn’t agree, and I am currently contesting their decision.

Once I got to see it in person, I realized that the Pic rail was notched, giving me a fixed rear sight to use in conjunction with the fiber-optic front sight. As with all optics-bound pistols, this is an important feature to me because, batteries. After getting it home I promptly mounted a TruGlo TruTec Micro Red Dot to it in preparation for a precarious range day. I decided on this optic because it’s affordable and built to take some serious abuse. Not to mention, it comes with a Picatinny mount, making it ready for guns like this straight out of the box.

After cowitnessing the optic with the “iron” sights, I scanned my ammo shelf for the most appropriate rounds for this pistol. Quickly a sole box of Winchester Varmint LF .22LR ammo jumped out at me, and I chose it because this would make a terrific little squirrel or rabbit gun—particularly since it can be dialed in to drive tacks now, thanks to the optic. These rounds are also made from a fast-moving tin as opposed to sluggish lead, getting them on target faster and satisfying the tree huggers at the same time.

At the range, I set up both steel and paper targets to cover a variety of applications and started by obtaining a general feel for the pistol. As this isn’t the first Rough Rider I’ve ever fired, I was expecting an outstanding trigger and the Tactical Cowboy did not fail to deliver. Using a Lyman Digital Trigger Scale I measured an average break of just 2lbs, 2oz.—not bad for a $200 pistol. Aside from the familiar trigger was the tell-tale Rough Rider manual safety that often draws fire but satisfies lawyers and parents alike.

Without wasting another moment I dumped a cylinder onto a 10-inch gong placed 25 yards downrange and smiled from ear to ear. My cowitness was adequate but just a bit low, so I made the proper adjustment and got myself centered up. Turning my attention to the paper, I fired the industry standard 5×5 protocol and tabulated an average group size of 3.31 inches with my best one measuring 1.73 inches. Again, well within my expectations and perfectly acceptable for being the first type of ammo that I grabbed.

I spent the rest of the day plinking away and working on my holds for targets out to 75 yards, just for the fun of it. After all, that’s what this pistol is made for. There is something about the cocking and firing of a single-action pistol that is just good for the soul. Heck, even the unloading and reloading process is fun.

If fun alone isn’t your game, this would make a great gun for the midnight coon hunter who isn’t too keen on dealing with the weight of a shotgun or waking nearby neighbors in the middle of the night. For this application, it might not be a bad idea to spring for the .22 Magnum Cylinder though. Lastly, the Tactical Cowboy also would be right at home in the lap of a camper who wants to protect his marshmallows from whatever might lurk its way to the wood line. Whatever your purpose, this has got to be one of the best deals on the market for a fun little .22lr that packs a ton of flair.

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