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UBC member, Jason Curtis, reveals the Ruger MkIV pistol
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Obviously, I like my shooting, both pistols and rifles, whether HFT, paperpunching, or just good old plinking. I’ve always been more into my pistols, but I have to say, I really do enjoy a budget spring rifle. The UBC has a budget rifle comp that I enter 10-plus rifles in a month, and it is really enjoyable. There is no pressure for high scores, it’s just proper good oldfashioned fun, and there is something about trying to get the best out of these budget bits of kit using only open sights, and some can really surprise you with their accuracy, even if they do twang a bit.
So, I was quite pleased when I got to review a new budget spring pistol, the Ruger Mark IV – the best of both worlds, possibly. It arrived in a nice cardboard box, as do a lot of the Umarex mid-range pistols, and I hadn’t even seen an image of this particular budget pistol. I knew what the Ruger Mark IV looked like because it’s a classic, but I just knew that I was getting the stainless version to review – it is also available in all-black, by the way.
On opening the box I was a little disappointed that the stainless I was expecting was more of a silver powder coating because I do like a bit of shiny bling, but it is a budget pistol, so I was probably expecting a little too much. It still looked very nice, though, especially with its plastic, imitation wooden grips, which Umarex have made a good job of – so budget, yes, but the effort has been put in to making it look the part.
When I picked it up, I was surprised by how light it was. It weighs in at only 625g, not that it’s small at 274mm in length, and it looks like this is how they kept the price down, with a plastic/polymer lower frame and barrel shroud, but it does feel quite nice, and is comfortable to hold. It’s just missing that bit of heft, although for the price, you can’t have everything. So, after giving the Ruger the once over, it was time to see what this .177 rifled barrelled spring-powered lady could do.
I broke the barrel and it was very easy to cock, with a relatively smooth action. I popped a pellet into the breech and took aim at the first object that came into sight, which was a tin can, I pulled the trigger and – oops – the safety was on, so I flicked it off with my thumb and took aim again. I squeezed on the trigger again, which wasn’t as heavy as I thought it might be, and totally missed my target. I thought I’d pulled the shot. I put in another pellet and – safety on again. So, this pistol automatically engages the safety every time you cock it, which isn’t a bad thing, and as a starter pistol for younger shooters, it helps to build up their safe gun handling – oh, and yes, I missed again.
I know I should have started on paper to see where I was shooting, but tin cans just have that fun grass roots fun appeal. Now, with a 14cm target in my sights, I took aim and it clipped the bottom edge of the target – no wonder it missed the tin can! This may be a budget pistol, but it does have fully adjustable rear sights, so I gave a quick twist to the elevation screw and the pellets were dancing around the middle of the target.
Now that it was on the paper, it was only right to give this lightweight pistol a fair crack of the whip, so I grabbed a shooting bag and set out to see what she could do rested. My next 10 shots at 6 yards gave me a sub-3-inch group – not great, but okay. I put another 50 shots downrange and the group tightened up to a sub-2-inch group – much better.
This pistol is no powerhouse, but I was still curious to know what she was putting out, and over the FX chronograph I was pleasantly surprised to see the RWS Gecos I was using flew out of the barrel averaging 305fps, giving an acceptable 1.8 ft.lbs. (2.44 joules) –not bad at all because Umarex state 308fps – less than 3 joules, so it was bang on the money.
Just for the heck of it, I shot our 6-yard Pistol Comp. This is just five shots singlehanded, and five shots two-handed, standing unsupported. I managed a 43 two-handed, and only 37 single-handed; I just found it too light shooting singlehanded, but it’s not a target pistol so I was pretty happy with the results.
About a week later, I fancied a bit of fun shooting, so I set up some tin cans, chalk discs, plastic soldiers, bottle tops and anything else I could find for a proper plinking session. I was about to grab my Beretta 84 FS because it hadn’t been out of the cupboard in a while, when I saw the boxed Ruger and decided on that. What better way is there to test it?
I’ll be honest – I was missing things left right and centre, except for the cans because the rest were small targets, but I didn’t care. I was having fun and every hit was an achievement. After about 100 shots I rested my cocking arm, reset the targets and had a coffee.
A short while later, I was back in the range continuing the destruction. After 20-30 shots, I noticed that I was hitting more than I was missing, as little green plastic soldiers pinged over the range. I must have put at least 200 pellets through the Ruger by the end of playtime, and decided to shoot another paper target rested, to see what the results were.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It seems that once the barrel is nicely leaded up, things start coming together with a very respectable 10-shot, inch group. With these results, I thought I would enter our Budget Pistol Comp, with a two-handed grip, free-standing, and I was more than happy with a score of 96/100.
I have heard some bad reviews about this pistol, and the only one that has any validity is the fact it is light, but it’s budget pistol that punches above its weight in its class. So, if you do fancy one, feed her half a tin of pellets to bed in, and I’m sure you will be happy with the results for the money you paid.
Amanda also wanted to have a go – she does prefer CO2 pistols, but any excuse to have a shoot. She found the cocking a little harder than I did, but to be fair, I shoot a lot more springers than she does. Loaded, she took aim, flicked the safety off and happily put a pellet in the 8 ring. She continued to pepper the target with holes, until after 20 or so shots, her arm was getting tired, so she called it a day. She really enjoyed the pistol and said she would do better once she got used to the recoil, which her CO2 pistols don’t have.
The last test was to take it with me to the Greyhound Shooting Club in Coventry, where Amanda and I were meeting up with the rest of the UBC Review Team, for a fun day of HFT and pistol shooting. They all had a go with the Ruger, and the same comments came from all of them; it’s accurate enough for the money, seems to be built well – it’s just very light.
So, there you go – a budget, reasonably accurate, pellet spring pistol, that’s cheaper than a tank of fuel at the moment. If you just like reading this magazine, and haven’t taken the plunge to buy your first airgun, give this a go. All you need is a tin of pellets, and your imagination on what to use for plinking targets, but be warned – this shooting lark, grows on you and become very addictive, very quickly. Happy shooting!
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