Ruger offers a new revolver in western-style called the Bearcat Shopkeeper in .22 caliber.
|New Model Bearcat "Shopkeeper" with rosewood bird's-head grips|
It features the bird's-head grip for the business person who likes western style but requires something more petite, thus it is called the Shopkeeper.
|Blued, alloyed-steel Bearcat, with hardwood grips|
Unlike other revolvers in this class, it contains no aluminum, made with all stainless steel, which includes the ejector rod housing. The sights are rounded blade in front and fixed square notch rear sight milled into the top strap. The barrel and the ejector has been shortened from standard 4 inches to 3 inches.
The ejector rod has a shorter distance of travel, so Ruger cut the rod's lever into a crescent shape; which allows it to move past the top of the reduced cylinder pinhead to the frame.
The non-fluted cylinder is engraved with the same nature scene as the bigger Bearcat models.It gives it a smooth look and a place to engrave on as Ruger had done.
The bird's-head grip is fitted with a medallion and made of rosewood. Like other Ruger single-action revolvers, the Bearcat has a transfer bar safety that allows the gun to be carried with all six chambers loaded. A safety improvement upon the original western six-shooters.
The Shopkeeper is fitted well and the finish is superb. One thing Ruger prides itself is the quality, with no dings or scratches from the factory. The fit of the trigger guard is well done.
The hammer and trigger operates smoothly and with a crisp feel, and testing the trigger with a Lyman trigger gauge it comes out to 4 pounds, 2 ounces. I like the hammer because Ruger had used their head so the hammer does not interfere with conceal carry, but still effective for rapid firing in single action.
The bird's head, which is popular in the pocket pistol models such as the Uberti revolver line, feels good in the hand as well as balanced. Of course, being a .22-caliber the recoil is mild for those who care about those things.
As with too many firearms produced today, sometimes the chamber has some rough edges, and if this is so, smooth out the rough chamber(s), yourself or your gunsmith, and it will fire the whole line of .22-calibers in long rifle up to high-performance hollow point.
Accuracy with the factory sights is good for a grouping at 15 yards with a 1.5-inch grouping from a bench rest. At 25 yards the grouping was 2-inch to 2.5-inch from bench rest. This is acceptable for plinking and close-range self-defense where the latter would be less than five yards.
The MSRP is $649. Ruger is a firearm manufacturer that prides itself in quality.
Gun Blast produced a YouTube video so you can see it in action and shows a beautiful holster that is cross-draw and will fit the Shopkeeper for conceal carry.