RUGER Mark IV Hunter- Ruger has made .22 pistols since 1949. They have been used as standard target or training pistols and have won countless matches worldwide. The grip angle is identical to the 1911. That’s why many .45 calibre shooters using the pistol for a low cost way to practice (comes with extra 10 shoot magazine).
Improvements to MK-III generation:
- Simple, one-button takedown for quick and easy field-stripping and proper chamber to muzzle cleaning.
- Ergonomic bolt stop.
- Smoothly contoured, comfortable grip features natural pointing grip angle with replaceable, checkered grip panels for a non-slip hold.
- Internal cylindrical bolt construction ensures permanent sight to barrel alignment and higher accuracy potential than conventional moving slide
- Contoured ejection port and easy-to-grasp bolt ears allow for durable and reliable operation round after round.
- Accurate sighting system features adjustable rear sight and drilled and tapped receiver for Weaver- or Picatinny-style rail for easy mounting of
- optics (rail not included).
- Ambidextrous manual safety positively locks the sear in the “SAFE” position when applied. Safety can be converted to left-side only with included
- Features a conveniently located push-button magazine release on the left side of the frame.
- Magazine drops free on release for faster reloading.
- Magazine disconnect prevents discharge when the magazine has been removed. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
- Finish: stainless
- Grips: Checkered Laminate
- Cal. .22lr
- Sights: Mikrometer
- length: 283mm
- barrel length: 6,88″/175mm
- weight: 1.247g
Hardware: Ruger Mark IV Hunter
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “From a tiny seed a mighty oak tree grows.” A dedicated handgunner of several decades like me might alter that slogan to read, “From a small .22-caliber pistol a mighty firearm manufacturer grew.” Yes, I’m talking about Ruger, and I’ve watched the entire process in my lifetime. As a kid, I saw pictures of the Ruger Standard and thought it was cool that someone could capture the spirit of the Luger pistol and build it into a .22 handgun that nearly everyone could afford to buy and shoot. Now, 68 years later, a variation of that gun is still a major component in the success of the Ruger empire.
The family resemblance is rather faint between the original Standard and the new Mark IV Hunter. Except for a few components, the Hunter is all stainless steel with a handsome, brushed satin finish (the Standard was blued carbon steel). The Hunter’s bull barrel is almost 7 inches long and has six flutes (the Standard had a 4.75-inch tapered barrel). Plus, the Hunter sports the most attractive set of factory grips I’ve ever seen on a Ruger. They’re made of laminated wood with finger grooves that wrap around the front in a classic target configuration. Areas of texture that resemble stippling surround a large Ruger logo on each side. Overall, it’s a very striking handgun.
The iron sights on the Mark IV Hunter are two of the non-stainless components I mentioned above. The front sight is a red fiber-optic element mounted in a conventional base that’s screwed into the barrel. The rear sight looks like Ruger’s standard adjustable rig but has a V-notch blade with a white vertical line at the base of the notch.
While I acknowledge the advantages of such sights, I have difficulty controlling elevation with them. That’s not a huge drawback in this case for two reasons. First, I can replace the front and rear sights with more conventional hardware. Second, I immediately mounted a Burris 2X pistol scope, knowing I would need an optic to fully take advantage of the Hunter’s capabilities. The drilled and tapped receiver makes it easy to install a one-piece Weaver base or Picatinny rail, both available from Ruger. For the sake of expediency I used a blued rail and rather large rings with extended tightening levers. While the setup worked fine for accuracy testing, the Hunter’s aesthetics demand a more attractive, streamlined mount. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
Operating controls on the Hunter seemed easier to work than on older Ruger Mark series pistols. I had to shift my shooting hand to press the magazine release button, but I could work the slide release and safety levers with no change in my grip. As a right-handed shooter, I wouldn’t spend extra money for an ambidextrous safety on a .22 pistol, but the Hunter came with one installed as a standard feature. I could easily operate it with my left hand, and normally I can’t easily do anything left-handed. The safety lever on the right side of the frame is not difficult to remove and replace with a washer should you prefer a cleaner look.
Another major difference between earlier pistols and the Mark IV Hunter is the ease of disassembly. It’s literally as simple as pushing a button at the rear of the frame and tilting off the barrel/receiver assembly. No special tools or extra hands required. If I can find the engineer responsible for the design, lunch will be on me.
I used what .22 LR ammo I had on hand for accuracy testing, and the results speak for themselves. Of the four loads I tried, three of them kept five-shot groups inside an inch at 25 yards. And that’s from a shaky old gunwriter who drinks coffee and smokes cigars! The Hunter had no malfunctions with three of the loads; however, it experienced two feeding problems with CCI Velocitors.
Accuracy aside, my shooting sessions revealed a couple of minor faults. The grips were slightly too large for my hands. As beautiful as I think they are, I’d probably replace them if I were going on a hunt. The second issue was the trigger; it was a bit too heavy and had a slightly gritty feel. Perhaps this was aggravated or exaggerated because of the large target grips and my stubby fingers, but I’d definitely get some work done on the trigger. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
I don’t consider either comment a serious criticism. Grip size is strictly a personal-fit problem all shooters must address. The trigger pull is more the result of our litigious society than an indication of a manufacturing problem. My only real criticism is Ruger released the new pistol at a time when it’s difficult for me to get away on a varmint hunt. Fortunately I have a plan for summer, and it includes the Mark IV Hunter.
• Type: semi-automatic pistol
• Caliber: .22 LR
• Magazine Capacity: 10 rnds.
• Barrel: 6.88″; stainless steel; 1:16″ RH twist
•Trigger Pull Weight: 4.75 lbs.
• Sights: adjustable rear, fiber-optic front; drilled and tapped for optics
• Safety: ambidextrous frame-mounted lever
• Grips: target-style laminate
• Metal Finish: satin stainless
• Overall Length: 11.12″
• Weight: 44 ozs.
• Accessories: spare magazine
Gun Test: Ruger MK IV
When I was in my late teens and had finally managed to save a bit of money while working some unsavory jobs, I bought a car—a ’71 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia for $1,100—and not long after, my first guns. Both were .22s, and both were within my meager budget. The rifle was a Marlin Model 60. I splurged on that one and purchased it new.
The handgun was a Ruger Mk I. It was under glass in the used-gun section of my local gun store and I couldn’t resist it. Like my Karmann Ghia, it, too, was built in 1971. Somewhere along the line, someone had Parkerized it, and over the years the finish had developed a grayish-green patina. With its frame geometry and barrel profile reminiscent of the Luger P08, it was a natural pointer. And after purchasing the gun, point it I did. At paper targets, tin cans, cottontails, gray squirrels, wasps’ nests—you name it. I couldn’t even begin to estimate how many thousands of rounds it has digested over the years. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
The Mark I is simplicity itself. Other than the trigger, the only controls on it are a two-position safety that doubles as a bolt lock, cocking serrations on the back of the bolt, and a hook-style magazine catch on the bottom of the frame. However, there is one significant exception to the Mark I’s elegant design. Try to field strip it for a thorough cleaning and you’re in for one heck of a chore that involves banging, cursing, and a sequence of movements during reassembly so complex, you’ll wonder if you’re putting together a pistol or initiating a nuclear strike. Over the years, Ruger introduced the Mark II and, later, the Mark III series, each with various refinements and enhancements. But cleaning them still remained a Herculean task. Well, no longer.
The Mark IV is Ruger’s newest rimfire pistol, and the primary characteristic that distinguishes it from its predecessors is the takedown button on the back of the frame just below the cocking wings on the bolt. When the pistol is on safe, a simple push of that button tips the barrel forward and separates it from the frame. It’s a leap on par with evolving an opposable thumb. We’re going to look back on this and wonder how the heck we managed to keep our Mark Is, IIs, and IIIs clean all these years. The answer is, we didn’t. We only ever cleaned them under duress, like toddlers being forced to eat steamed vegetables.
The Mark IV is offered in two versions—the Target and the Hunter. The Hunter has a fluted 6.88-inch barrel and sights with a fiber-optic up front and a V-shaped notch that adjusts for windage and elevation in the rear. The barrel and frame are stainless steel and the MSRP is $769.
The Target is available with a blued finish that has an alloy steel barrel and an aluminum frame for $529, which is the one I evaluated here, or with a stainless-steel frame and barrel for $689. Both come with 5.5-inch bull barrels and adjustable target sights. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
All Mark IVs are tapped and drilled to accept bases to accommodate scopes, red-dots, or other sighting systems.
Unlike my vintage Mk I, the new Mk IVs have a more feature-rich suite of controls in keeping with contemporary pistol design. The magazine release is on the left side of the frame just behind the trigger guard. There is an ambidextrous safety positioned to sit under the middle of the shooter’s thumb. And the bolt-release tab is on the left side of the frame just forward of the safety.
All the controls are easy to reach and manipulate, even for a left-handed pistol shooter such as myself. The safety is particularly well designed. It provides enough of a shelf for the thumb to toggle it from safe to fire in an instinctual fashion. And in the “fire” position, it sits right where it should, serving as an index point for the thumb on the shooter’s dominant hand.
The magazine release gets a little boost from a spring-loaded tab located at the base of the frame that ejects the magazines out of the well with gusto. (The Mk IV comes with two 10-round mags.) When I turned the pistol grip up and hit the button, the tension on that tab was nearly strong enough to throw an empty magazine clear out of the well.
The Mk IV feeds, extracts, and ejects rounds the same way as do previous models. The magazines have a single-stack design that places the rounds in line with the feeding ramp that guides them into the chamber. A spring-loaded claw grabs the cartridge rim and extracts the empties from the chamber, while a fixed steel ejector pops the rounds free. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
RELIABLE AND ACCURATE
I only had two failures to eject during the evaluation. Two empties stovepiped on me in the first 100 rounds. I used this as an opportunity to disassemble the pistol, wipe off some of the crud, and add a bit of oil to the bolt. After that, the gun performed flawlessly. The remainder of the evaluation consisted of more than 1,000 rounds shot under varying circumstances, including while using a loose “limp wrist” grip in an attempt to induce another malfunction, which I was unable to do.
The accuracy of the Mark IV was quite good with the half dozen different loads I put through it. I shot 10-round groups at 25 yards from a bench, using a bit of padding to support my hands, and the average group size was right around 1.5 inches.
The best groups came from CCI’s Green Tab 1,080 fps load. This ammo clustered my shots at just over 1 inch. Aguila Eley Prime also printed respectable groups, from 1.2 to 1.4 inches in size.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The pistol tended to string the shots horizontally, which is typically an indication of issues with trigger control. The trigger on my Mark IV broke at 4 lb. 15 oz., with a fair bit of creep. That’s quite a bit heavier than what a proper target pistol should have, so it made sense that my groups had that horizontal element. Regardless, the accuracy is good enough for almost any hunting or plinking application, which is how the Mark IV is going to be used most frequently.
As with other pistols in Ruger’s Mark series, the trigger reset is quite long, Shooting rapid strings of fire requires a bit of acclimation to that. This isn’t a criticism—more of an observation, for anyone wanting to use the pistol as a trainer for action shooting or to hone personal defense skills.
One gripe I do have with the pistol, however, pertains to its balance. The Mark IV Target weighs only 3 ounces more than my Mark I, but the way it handles is completely different. So much of the Mark IV Target’s weight is in the bull barrel that the gun feels sluggish and doesn’t point nearly as naturally as the Mark I. (With its steel, rather than aluminum, frame and slender barrel, the Mark I sits more squarely in the shooter’s hand.) A version of the Mark IV with a tapered barrel—maybe call it the “Classic”—would be a nice addition to the family. RUGER Mark IV Hunter
The bottom line, however, is that Ruger has another winner on its hands. The Mark IV is a continuation of the company’s legacy when it comes to producing fine rimfire pistols.