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Am I cursed? Or just the gun... :D Heritage Rough Rider Dot Sight Install!

Bobster

.30-06
I've had this Heritage Rough Rider for about a year and a half now. 6.5" barrel, single-action and I also bought a 22 Mag cylinder for it. It is capable of shooting some decent groups but the fixed sights are off an inch or two at 25', to the left and down. This got me to thinking about putting a scope rail and a cheapie dot sight on it. This was a $120 gun back then and maybe even cheaper than that now so I didn't want to spend a lot on it. Or anything at all, for that matter. :D

Do you know how you "know" when you have something "in stock"? You just have to "find" where you hid it. ;) I knew I had an OEM 10/22 Weaver scope rail "somewhere". Unable to find it right off the bat, I considered buying a pair of 10/22 picatinny rails from debay for $11. Looking in my parts again, I found the rail and was able to mock it up on the RR. Although Heritage offers a "tactical cowboy" version of the gun WITH a pic rail, they do not sell the rail separately. I figured the 10/22 would work OK as it was curved inside versus flat like most pic rail sections I could buy online. The RR curve is a little more acute than the 10/22 curve but close enough for me.

In addition to the 10/22 rail, I also had a few older dot sights lying around so why spend $400 for a Holo, Leupy or Trijie when I could make use of one of these. These sights all came with guns since sold but all work fine and all take the 2032 computer battery.

The dot sights I have are a Tasco with green and red dot options that looks big even on a shotgun where I had it for a while. Then a BKRD30 that came in a bunch of parts given to me. Finally an Ultimate Arms 4-reticle model that was on a 22/45 Ruger pistol long since sold.

At the shop I have this Caldwell Handy Rest picked up at an auction for $10. It helped to balance the RR while I marked, punched, pilot-drilled, drilled then tapped the hole for the 10/22 rail. I used the solid cylinder of gold ;) to weigh the rail down in place while I marked where the mounting holes are. Taped off the openings to keep shavings out. Tapped and used some 6-32 oval-head screws I had in stock and had plenty of clearance for the BKRD sight. I ended up needing some socket head cap screws (Allen) that were recessed to allow rearward installation of the UA sight. This pic shows the UA installed forward on the rail for screw clearance...

rough1.jpg rough2.jpg rough4.jpg rough5.jpg rough6.jpg rough8.jpg rough9.jpg

Astute viewers may notice the color of the grips has changed in the above photos. Cleaning the frame with alcohol so the tape would stick, the damp alcohol rag softened the paint on the grips and it took little effort to wipe the small amount off initially. I had noticed sticky grips before so I took about 5min and removed ALL the paint from the grips leaving a black, non-sticky surface and color. I approve! :) That is lint you see is from the wiping cloths. I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the grip but there is a main leaf spring down to the forward bottom of the grip frame. The pin shown rides inside it and helps secure the bottom of the grips and the one screw holds them together. At $20+ for a new set of grips, these will have to do. I am toying with the idea of stippling them... :D

grip1.jpg grip2.jpg grip3.jpg

(continued...)
 
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Bobster

.30-06
A couple nights later I tinkered with the Rough Rider at the house. Because I didn't feel like breaking out and "assembling" the Caldwell, I slapped together a "custom" wood stand from some scraps with a couple screws and about a minute with a rat tail file to carve a recess for the ejector tube under the barrel. I like my stand better than the Caldwell and will probably bring it to the range for sighting in... :) By this time I had picked up some socket head cap screws from Ace Hardware for less than a $1 and mounted the UA one notch back. While the oval-heads came just to the edge of the opening in the frame on top of the cylinder, the cap screws protruded about 1/16" and had to be removed and shortened on the sander.

The UA reticle selection lever hangs over the hammer a little bit but I don't think it would be an issue. I could remove the lever/knob with a set screw if it was an issue but the RR looks especially cursed in that pic, IMO... :D Note I changed to a different reticle for the pic.

rough10.jpg rough11.jpg

Finally installed the Tasco on and it is a beast. :) (I'll put the various weights below) It has red and green dots of varying intensities. The other sights can also vary intensity but are red only.

rough12.jpg rough13.jpg

Note that all the sights mounted securely--these are not hack-jobs. These still need to go to the range to see if they are even able to be sighted in. I might have to use a certain one because the others didn't have a range of adjustment. Once I get a sight installed and aimed, this gun will be much more fun to shoot because it will hit where the dot is. Then I may shorten the scope rail--or not... ;)

I want to make a few notes about this gun and things I don't like/didn't like. (1) grips were sticky (paint melted) from gun cleaning solvents and/or alcohol, (2) front sight is canted because (3) the barrel was loose (see below). I fixed the loose barrel by removing the ejector tube then unscrewing the barrel, then wiping the mating surfaces of excess grease and grit. Hand-tighted the barrel (tightly) for now but the sight is still canted a little. Once the gun is setup, everything will be loctited and rail shortened to size...

rough14.jpg

I bought a 22 Magnum cylinder soon after I bought the gun: $30 shipped to my door. But I never had a 22Mag gun nor the ammo. A friend of mine had some "surplus" he sold to me for $.20/rd. At 300rds, I think it will last a while in this six-shooter. :)

22magnum.jpg

The weights of this gun are as follows:
33.05oz with the rail only. The aluminum rail can't weigh more than 1oz.
37.15oz with the Ultimate Arms 4-reticle TAC sight
39.35oz with the BKRD30
43.05oz with the Tasco
43.90oz with the Tasco and 6rds of 22Mag HP
To put it in perspective, my G30 weighs 34.60oz with 10+1 rounds of .45ACP Golden Sabers :)

Let me know which sight you think looks most cursed on the RR. Personally, I like the BKRD...
 
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John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
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While a rough rider is generally a fine 22 plinker single action, it would seem they aren't really built as well as they once were.
 
A couple nights later I tinkered with the Rough Rider at the house. Because I didn't feel like breaking out and "assembling" the Caldwell, I slapped together a "custom" wood stand from some scraps with a couple screws and about a minute with a rat tail file to carve a recess for the ejector tube under the barrel. I like my stand better than the Caldwell and will probably bring it to the range for sighting in... :) By this time I had picked up some socket head cap screws from Ace Hardware for less than a $1 and mounted the UA one notch back. While the oval-heads came just to the edge of the opening in the frame on top of the cylinder, the cap screws protruded about 1/16" and had to be removed and shortened on the sander.

The UA reticle selection lever hangs over the hammer a little bit but I don't think it would be an issue. I could remove the lever/knob with a set screw if it was an issue but the RR looks especially cursed in that pic, IMO... :D Note I changed to a different reticle for the pic.

View attachment 27389 View attachment 27390

Finally installed the Tasco on and it is a beast. :) (I'll put the various weights below) It has red and green dots of varying intensities. The other sights can also vary intensity but are red only.

View attachment 27391 View attachment 27392

Note that all the sights mounted securely--these are not hack-jobs. These still need to go to the range to see if they are even able to be sighted in. I might have to use a certain one because the others didn't have a range of adjustment. Once I get a sight installed and aimed, this gun will be much more fun to shoot because it will hit where the dot is. Then I may shorten the scope rail--or not... ;)

I want to make a few notes about this gun and things I don't like/didn't like. (1) grips were sticky (paint melted) from gun cleaning solvents and/or alcohol, (2) front sight is canted because (3) the barrel was loose (see below). I fixed the loose barrel by removing the ejector tube then unscrewing the barrel, then wiping the mating surfaces of excess grease and grit. Hand-tighted the barrel (tightly) for now but the sight is still canted a little. Once the gun is setup, everything will be loctited and rail shortened to size...

View attachment 27393

I bought a 22 Magnum cylinder soon after I bought the gun: $30 shipped to my door. But I never had a 22Mag gun nor the ammo. A friend of mine had some "surplus" he sold to me for $.20/rd. At 300rds, I think it will last a while in this six-shooter. :)

View attachment 27394

The weights of this gun are as follows:
33.05oz with the rail only. The aluminum rail can't weigh more than 1oz.
37.15oz with the Ultimate Arms 4-reticle TAC sight
39.35oz with the BKRD30
43.05oz with the Tasco
43.90oz with the Tasco and 6rds of 22Mag HP
To put it in perspective, my G30 weighs 34.60oz with 10+1 rounds of .45ACP Golden Sabers :)

Let me know which sight you think looks most cursed on the RR. Personally, I like the BKRD...
I like your little sighting stands.
 
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Bobster

.30-06
While a rough rider is generally a fine 22 plinker single action, it would seem they aren't really built as well as they once were.

From a couple forums I went to, the general consensus agrees with you since Taurus bought them out in 2014? (I think).
 

Bobster

.30-06
I would be all over this shorter 4.75" barrel (mine is 6.5") if it didn't look like it was removed with channel lock pliers... :mad: Current bid is about $25 with $6 shipping.

4.75barrel.jpg
 

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
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You could probably sand it down and reblue it with cold blue.

But, I don't notice the channel lock teeth a whole lot. But, as you pointed out, they are there. $25 isn't bad for a barrel though. You wouldn't be able to make one yourself for that.
 

MikeD

I'm Your Huckleberry
Staff member
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"Philanthropist"
I picked up a Rough Rider a year or so back but still haven't shot it. Mine came with both cylenders and unpainted wood grips. I like the idea of adding optics to it but was unsure how accurate it will be. It seems very solidly built.

I didn't know Taurus bought them. I have a Taurus 357 I bought many years ago and I love that gun.
 

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
I also have a taurus mod 66 357 (clone of the combat master 7 shot) in stainless. It's been a really good gun. I've shot everything from mild to wild loads in it and it's been fine.

I guess that I should say that my wife has one now because that's the only gun she wants to use for HD, so that one was commandeered by her majesty. Realistically, I'm not going to argue against that. She likes it. She shoots it well. I don't have any notion that it wouldn't do what it needed to. I'm OK with that.
 

Bobster

.30-06
You could probably sand it down and reblue it with cold blue.

But, I don't notice the channel lock teeth a whole lot. But, as you pointed out, they are there. $25 isn't bad for a barrel though. You wouldn't be able to make one yourself for that.

I placed a bid and bumped it up to $30 (plus $6 S/H) but was outbid by proxy. I might go back and bid it up to $34 in the 7 hours that are left. But then again, if I REALLY wanted/needed a shorter barrel I could chuck my barrel up in the lathe and cut to size.

PS: here is another view of the barrel...

bar1.jpg
 
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Bobster

.30-06
I like the idea of adding optics to it but was unsure how accurate it will be.

In our shooting at the range, it has held fairly tight groups but off point of aim, hence the optics. I haven't measured trigger pull weight but it is crisp and smooth and doesn't seem excessive. The cylinder and lockwork seem tight. A couple of the 9? screws holding it together were slightly loose but tightened easily. I might give the forcing cone a little polish--it looked a little rough when I had the barrel out. I'm gonna say we might have 200rds of .22LR through it? It will be interesting to see how the 22mag feels and if the gun "loosens up" after 100rds of that...

For a $150ish plinker, it is not too bad. A comparable Ruger Single Six is almost $800 :eek: (the Wrangler doesn't handle 22Mag).
 

Bobster

.30-06
Range UPDATE: So took the Rough Rider and 5 other guns to the range for function testing. The range and procedures are described HERE. All the guns tested and functioned fine although accuracy and grouping in the semi-autos could have been better. Poor performance could have been ammo--I had inexpensive range ammo and reloads OR shooter error--my un-aided eyes aren't what they used to be OR maybe it was the guns--some had new aftermarket parts of unknown quality OR a combination of all of these factors. More testing will be done at a later date along with the sight tool.

As far as the RR goes, it was the most accurate of the bunch. :) My sighting-in procedure was I would shoot 3 rounds, make adjustments, then 3 more rounds, make adjustments, reload and so on. As the only one on the range this was expedited because I didn't have to call "cold range" every time I checked and marked the target.

I first tested and sighted in the Ultimate Arms 4-reticle reflex sight. With this sight, it was hard to pick up the reticle in the sun but easily visible once acquired. Changing between reticles, it became apparent this is a "gimmicky" sight because the positions for the reticles are just detents and as you switch styles the reticle moves either right or left off the screen while the next reticle comes onto the screen. It is possible to set the reticle "off to the side" and not centered by a detent. The overhang of the reticle selector wasn't an issue but the potential movement of the reticle was. I sighted it in "close enough" so I could still use this sight if I wanted with minor adjustments to get it a little better.

I didn't even mount the Tasco for sighting as it has a shorter eye relief for use with a long gun. Plus it is big, and looks even bigger in person... :D It would work, but I decided I didn't want to spend any time on it because it wasn't going to stay mounted.

The BKRD30 was mounted and sighted in with no issues. It is an older unit, at least 10yrs old and the "soft coat" paint they put on is flaking off here and there BUT it is black anodized under that so the paint can flake all it wants. ;) I am NOT going to go scraping it off though...

Sighted in and shooting full cylinders, there were occasional "flyers" that I don't know if it was operator error, an issue with a chamber in a cylinder, cheapie ammo or the loose barrel that had reemerged. This was done at the 7 yard pistol range with .22LR then .22mag. The .22mag seemed more accurate with tighter groups but point of impact at 7yds was about the same as .22LR. The back blast from the cylinder gap was far more pronounced with the mags. :( First pic is .22LR, second is magnum with a flyer but that didn't happen that often with the magnums.

range1.jpg range2.jpg

I then moved to the 15yd range and tried some longer shots and the groups definitely opened up. I would equate .22mag to be close in noise and recoil to .380ACP. Because the barrel was loose, I decided to not spend much more time with the RR and moved onto the other pistols. I'll update the mods to the gun after the range in a later post...

range3.jpg

PS: I checked the trigger with a gauge and it breaks cleanly and smoothly at 3.5lbs... :)
 
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Bobster

.30-06
About the 4.75 barrel mentioned above: I got home from the range and there was still about an hour left in the debay auction. And the current bid was still $30 + $6. I toyed with the idea of bumping it up a dollar or two but my thinking was that if I won, I didn't really want to spend money for a barrel of questionable quality and that might be loose just like the barrel I have.

So say I got the barrel for $40 (which was the max I would spend), then this birdshead grip frame for $50, then I'd need grips which start at $30. So that is $120 to convert my gun to a gun that the mfg prices at $210 w/22mag cylinder ($30 value) and NEW barrel. I'm sure street prices are much lower than than PLUS I believe there is a $20 rebate going around. Anyhow, I got busy cleaning up and cleaning guns after the range and the auction ended where I left it. No regrets, there will be others if I decide to ever go that route... :) Pics are the other from that auction and $50 grip frame available new.

475c.jpg 475d.jpg 475e.jpg birdsheadgrip.jpg rrbirdie.JPG
 

Bobster

.30-06
...Back from the range, I made the decision that I was going to firmly tighten and loctite the barrel after drilling/tapping a hole to remount the ejector and tube. There is no way the tube can be mounted on an angle as it would not fit flush to the barrel as designed but also the rod would not be parallel to the chambers of the cylinder, causing difficulty ejecting.

The first pic shows the front sight clocked at about 11 with the barrel tight. :rolleyes: The second pic shows the forcing cone after a mild cleaning/polishing. I was fouled with dried Loctite from the factory. :rolleyes: There was a lot of backblast shooting the 22mags, so tightening the barrel a little will decrease the gap

Pics show the 4-40 machine tap that I blunted the end of so it would be more of a bottoming tap. I had to go to Ace Hardware and buy a numbered drill bit. After carefully drilling a pilot hole (and by careful, I mean NOT drilling into the barrel bore! :eek: ) I drilled to tap size using a marked pin so I would not drill deeper than the existing hole. Drill a little then check. A little trial and error as far as depth of tap and the tube is mounted with at least 3 threads and Loctite red. You can see the old hole hiding under the ejector tube.

I also shortened the 10/22 rail and painted the cut end, picture tells the story. Everything was mounted with Loctite red and the gun awaits the next range session. I will also mention this gun has a slick 3.5lb trigger. :)

The stand is OK for static display but the butt of the gun is rounded and the gun top-heavy so it wants to fall down off the stand if not careful.

If I were to charge someone for the work I did like grips and scope rail and barrel, I figure it would be in the $150 range so this gun is worth $300 now... :D

PS: the cylinders come with little orange discs that fit flush where rounds would go. They are not really made for dry-firing but help protect the cylinder when somebody does accidentally let the hammer drop with safety off. The 22LR disc has about a dozen firing pin impacts so far... :rolleyes:

bar1.jpg bar2.jpg bar3.jpg bar4.jpg bar5.jpg bar6.jpg railpaint.jpg
 
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...Back from the range, I made the decision that I was going to firmly tighten and loctite the barrel after drilling/tapping a hole to remount the ejector and tube. There is no way the tube can be mounted on an angle as it would not fit flush to the barrel as designed but also the rod would not be parallel to the chambers of the cylinder, causing difficulty ejecting.

The first pic shows the front sight clocked at about 11 with the barrel tight. :rolleyes: The second pic shows the forcing cone after a mild cleaning/polishing. I was fouled with dried Loctite from the factory. :rolleyes: There was a lot of backblast shooting the 22mags, so tightening the barrel a little will decrease the gap

Pics show the 4-40 machine tap that I blunted the end of so it would be more of a bottoming tap. I had to go to Ace Hardware and buy a numbered drill bit. After carefully drilling a pilot hole (and by careful, I mean NOT drilling into the barrel bore! :eek: ) I drilled to tap size using a marked pin so I would not drill deeper than the existing hole. Drill a little then check. A little trial and error as far as depth of tap and the tube is mounted with at least 3 threads and Loctite red. You can see the old hole hiding under the ejector tube.

I also shortened the 10/22 rail and painted the cut end, picture tells the story. Everything was mounted with Loctite red and the gun awaits the next range session. I will also mention this gun has a slick 3.5lb trigger. :)

The stand is OK for static display but the butt of the gun is rounded and the gun top-heavy so it wants to fall down off the stand if not careful.

If I were to charge someone for the work I did like grips and scope rail and barrel, I figure it would be in the $150 range so this gun is worth $300 now... :D

PS: the cylinders come with little orange discs that fit flush where rounds would go. They are not really made for dry-firing but help protect the cylinder when somebody does accidentally let the hammer drop with safety off. The 22LR disc has about a dozen firing pin impacts so far... :rolleyes:

View attachment 27439 View attachment 27440 View attachment 27441 View attachment 27442 View attachment 27443 View attachment 27444 View attachment 27445
Dumb question, but even if you did just drill it right into the bore, then tap it out like any other tapped hole, as long as nothing protruded into the bore and the hole is plugged by the sight being screwed in, what would be the consequence? Altered accuracy? Bore fouling? Is it just an issue with grooved barrels? My shockwave is thru-bored..
 

Bobster

.30-06
Dumb question, but even if you did just drill it right into the bore, then tap it out like any other tapped hole, as long as nothing protruded into the bore and the hole is plugged by the sight being screwed in, what would be the consequence? Altered accuracy? Bore fouling? Is it just an issue with grooved barrels? My shockwave is thru-bored..

Actually a good (not "Dumb") question because I put some thought into it before I went-a-drillin'... ;) In MY scientific mind, the pressure of successive rounds would eventually loosen and/or blow out the "plug" which is the screw. So I was especially careful to not go deeper than stock. As I was drilling, I was thinking of the barrel I didn't bid up and that if I farked up, I would probably NEED that barrel! :( ;)
 
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meanstreak

.30-06
"Philanthropist"
I have 2 RRs, a 6.5" and a 4.75". Also just bought a barkeep with 2". Mine are all stock. I really enjoy plinking with them. My sons and their kids love to shoot em as well.
 

Bobster

.30-06
I have 2 RRs, a 6.5" and a 4.75". Also just bought a barkeep with 2". Mine are all stock. I really enjoy plinking with them. My sons and their kids love to shoot em as well.

I could see that Barkeep with birdshead and 22mags as a nice little personal defense weapon. Which model did you get? The one on the left in the pic says 1.68" barrel and on the right is 2.68". I'm not sure I like the look with the shortshort barrel but the 2.68" looks good with birdshead grip. With revolvers, they usually measure the barrel only and don't include the cylinder/chamber such as with a 9mm semi-auto. Although a semi (or full) -auto mag dump is fun once in a while, the RRs are nice because they conserve ammo and promote marksmanship. I don't want to jinx you, but are any of your barrels loose? These come with a 1-year warranty I am 6 months out of is one reason I did my mods--what did I have to lose?

Forgot to post this pic of some shot cartridges I got along with the ammo above. That is probably a $20 bill sitting there. Nice little "bonus", they will be good to load for snakes... :)


barkeeps.JPG 22magshot.jpg
 
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