Among the guns everyone should have is the Heritage .22 caliber single-action revolver.
Not only should you own one, but the Heritage Rough Rider is also among the least expensive revolvers around—and a handgun that doesn’t hurt the wallet.
While the Heritage revolver isn’t expensive, it always works.
I have never seen one in the gunsmith shop and the revolver is accurate enough, easy to use well and rugged in operation.
While there are many types of .22 caliber handguns, there are not many that fit a young shooter’s budget better.
The .22 LR revolver is designed to provide a platform for learning marksmanship. The Heritage performs this chore splendidly.
There are quite a few grip options, including wood and various motifs on plastic.
I have seen versions with adjustable sights, although I don’t own one among the several Heritage revolvers in the safe.
There are also versions with a spare .22 Magnum cylinder.
This is a good option that gets the revolver into a larger class of small game, even providing some utility in keeping pests and feral animals off the homestead.
Typical Features of Heritage Revolvers
Most Heritage revolvers seem are supplied with a 6.5-inch barrel, with the 4.75-inch barrel also popular.
The fixed sights offer good accuracy at modest range and are usually properly sighted for the 40-grain high-velocity loading.
The Heritage Rough Rider is a firearm similar in profile and operation to Old West single-action revolvers.
The wooden grip, alloy frame, and blue finished barrel and cylinder are attractive. While the revolver isn’t heavy, it is well balanced.
Build quality is good, even impressive for a revolver in this price range. The small size and well-designed grip make for an easy handling revolver.
The single-action revolver features a fixed cylinder that doesn’t swing out for loading. To load, you first place the hammer in the half-cock notch.
This allows opening the loading gate and revolving the cylinder to load cartridges one at a time. Load six cartridges and you are ready to fire.
The revolver is fired with a single-action press — cock the hammer and then press the trigger to fire.
To unload the revolver, place the hammer on half-cock and line up the spent cartridge cases in the chambers with the ejector rod.
Press the ejector rod to the rear, ejecting one spent case, then move the cylinder and eject another.
This isn’t a fast system, but the typical single-action revolver system that many of us enjoy using.
This revolver is a good tool for learning handling and marksmanship. To remove the cylinder for cleaning, be certain the chambers are empty.
Then place the revolver on half-cock, press the base pin release, pull the base pin forward until the cylinder is released, and press the cylinder out.
The Rough Rider Difference
A difference between this revolver and most single-action revolvers, is that the Heritage revolver features a manual safety.
This lever is located to the left of the hammer on the receiver. It is moved down to fire, up is on safe.
The revolver may be manipulated while the safety is on, but it will not fire.
The trigger action of the Heritage Rough Rider breaks between five and six pounds, with most examples exhibiting a six-pound trigger compression.
The trigger is tight, with little movement and is easy enough to learn well. As for recoil, movement is practically nonexistent.
Cocking the hammer, aligning the sights, firing, then repeating, leads to excellent training.
The Rough Rider has advantages in ammunition versatility and performance.
Whether using .22 Short, birdshot, standard-velocity or high-velocity loads, there is no question of reliability.
The revolver doesn’t require the load to cycle against recoil springs. The Rough Rider is a fun gun that isn’t ammunition sensitive.
I have used CCI shotshells, Federal Handgun Hunter and the CCI Mini-Mag with good results.
How the Barkeep Compares
Over the years, there have been many short-barrel single-action revolvers introduced.
Sometimes called the Sheriff’s Model, Shop Keep, or other terms, these have been popular revolvers.
In centerfire calibers, they have been used for the intended purpose as fast-handling carry guns or revolvers for defending a business.
Heritage has introduced an attractive version of the Rough Rider named the Barkeep. This revolver features a three-inch barrel.
The grip is large enough for a good hold when manipulating the revolver.
I don’t think a small size grip would be helpful when teaching shooters to use a revolver. The Barkeep handles quickly.
It is a great deal of fun to fire at small targets at known and unknown ranges. This type of shooting builds marksmanship.
The Barkeep is a nice looking revolver that seems a step up in finish and handling over the standard Rough Rider.
The grip in my revolver features nicely engraved wooden stocks and the receiver is finished in a metallic contrast to the blued cylinder and barrel.
Since the Barkeep doesn’t have an ejector mechanism, the revolver is supplied with a wooden handled rod for knocking out spent cases.
Barkeep Performance and Feel
On the range, the Barkeep is a joy to use and fire. The Barkeep is a great plinker.
The sights are properly adjusted for .22 Long Rifle high-speed loads at 15 yards using the six o’clock hold.
The Heritage Barkeep will keep a cylinder full of ammunition in a two-inch group at 15 yards on demand.
Conclusion: Heritage Barkeep .22 LR Revolver
I like this revolver very much. It is a fun gun, affordable, and one that may be relied on for training and small game use.
It is a unique and useful trail gun as well.
Have you ever tried a Heritage Rough Rider? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!