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Old November 3, 2010, 04:37 AM   #1
Join Date: October 5, 2010
Location: Wichita Falls, Tx
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Ruger Mk III Review

I purchased a Ruger Mark III last week and I have noticed from time to time there is always someone that has questions about the Mark III, so I thought I would do I review on this gun. I am not going to say "pro's and con's" of this gun because I am not comparing two guns, rather I will just give the "up's and down's" of this model.

A little info on why I purchased the Ruger:
I purchased this gun just for a fun target gun. I was using my .22 conversion kit for my Kimber Ultra Carry I, but it would jam or mis-fire about 1 in 100. Since it was just for target practice, that was ok, but I would have to constantly wipe it down and I was always oiling the Kimber (after about every 40 rounds) or the slide would stick and not slide back causing it to not eject the round. The Kimber would not lock back on the last round, so I thought since I have been wanting a Ruger, this gave me the excuse to get one.

I held the Ruger and the Browning, but I liked that the Ruger was heavier, and only one side of the chamber opened. Both sides of the Browning opened, and I thought more dirt would get in the chamber. Browning grips were for right handed and had the thumb grip, I am left handed so that was a deciding factor. Plus I liked Ruger's reputation.

I wanted the "cheapest" most reliable .22 hand gun for practice, so I got the blued model, instead of the stainless. I wanted something the girl friend would find fun to shoot and not be afraid of the recoil. I purchased it with the 5-1/2" bull barrel and the price was right at $350 out the door with tax. The gun came in a nice carry case and included two mags, scope rail mount and gun lock.

This gun is very accurate. I was shooting it at 25 yds and was grouping 3" groups free hand. At 7 yds, I was making a 1" hole in the paper with a 50 rd box of Wild Cat ammo. I purchased 2 boxes of the cheap federal ammo in the 550 rd box bulk pack which are around $15 each at walmart. The GF was shooting about 4" groups at 25 yds and this was only here second time to shoot a gun. So with the accuracy, I am impressed. I let one guy at the range shoot it with higher quality .22 ammo and he was getting 1" to 1-1/2" groups on a bench rest at 25yds. Ruger hit it spot on with the accuracy of this gun.

The sights could use improvement in my opinion. They are just ok. I would prefer narrower sights on this gun where you could take more accurate shots. But They have not caused any real problems so far. I could see where it would be hard to hit an 8" pie plate at 75 yds with them, because they would cover up the pie plate. But at 50 yds and less they are not a real big concern. I can always get a scope later if needed for the 100 yds+ target shooting if need be. I did see one person shooting the ruger Mk II with a scope on it hitting a metal 12" target at 200 yds on a bench rest. I thought that was impressive.

It seems to work just fine for me. Some people complain about the over travel, but this doesn't bother me. I think the over travel is minimal and I cant justify spending $110 for a new trigger. I did notice you have to release the trigger and let it go almost all of the way back for it to reset. I am trying to keep this gun as cheap as possible. I am also the type of person that doesn't mind the Glock trigger, so that may tell you I am not too trigger picky. I have no way to measure the trigger pull, but it is light for me. I am GUESSING it is around 3-1/2 lbs.

Finish of the Gun:
The blue finish is not the best. I already have several scratches on the gun (from taking it apart, but more on that later). At first I thought the gun did not have an "even" finish on it, but once I cleaned it up the finish looks okay. It was just the oil they had on it from the factory. I can not complain too much on this because the scratches are my fault, The gun would really be complimented by dark brown wooden grips. I did touch up the scratches I made while prizing it apart with the screw driver. I just think the finish scratches a little more easily than most guns (but then again I have never have to beat a gun to take it apart).

The magazines seem to be high quality, and I have not had a mis-feed or any problems with them. I, myself, have fired approximately 800-900 rds (almost all of both boxes of the federal .22) in just 2 range visits. I let my dad take it to the range on Monday, and he fired probably a bulk box through it as well. The mags do have a catch, and I mean they will not feed smoothly if the alignment of the mag is not precisely parallel with the gun handle. If you try to push it in a few degrees off, it catches and you have to align it better. Basically, I am saying this is not a Glock with a mag feed plug in the handle, and you cant just shove a mag in without looking. I really have no problems with this since it is a target only gun. The pull button on the side can make for a sore thumb, and the only improvement I can see is getting a speed loader such as the one listed below. vvv

Outstanding!!!! I fired 800-900 rds plus whatever my dad shot through it. I cleaned it when I first purchased it (mainly to see how hard it is to take apart, more on that later). I added minimal oil after cleaning (about 4 drops total) and I never had a problem once. It feeds the cheap hollow point federal ammo perfectly, it ejects the shell casing about 5 ft directly to the right, and has never misfired. The bolt always locks back. This gun works phenomenally well whether clean or dirty.

The grips:
The grips are just the black plastic. I found when I cleaned it the first time I bought it, they do melt when you get cleaning solvent on them. O well, not a big deal. Ruger has new ones for $7. I bet if I called them up and complained, they would send me new ones, but I am not going to worry about them. Just be careful where you are spraying the gun scrubber. Later, I might get some nice looking wooden grips (to enhance the antique finish), but I want to keep this a cheap plinker gun for now, and not have to worry about the finish or looks of it. If I wanted the nicer gun, I would have gotten the SS model, but I didnt want to shell out $600 for a .22 LR pistol, when it is just gonna be thrown around in the trunk of the car.

Feel and Fit in the Hand:
It just has a nice well balanced fit and feel in the hand. Enough said!

What recoil? There is none. Follow up shots are fast and very accurate. This would be a great target gun for beginners, children, women or men. Basically everyone should own one.

This is the killer. Yes it is a pain to take apart. It took me about 1 hr to take it apart and clean it. I did take it apart and reassemble it 5 times in that hr to try to "loosen things up" but the gun is still tight, and it is hard to take apart. I had to use a hammer and screw driver. I did have to "beat it apart very forcibly" and I did have a slip with the screw driver. This slip did scrape off the finish. Not Ruger's fault. But it would be wonderful if it was easy to take apart. There is a good video on youtube on the dis-assembly , and assembly of the Mk III ( vvv see below vvv) I wish mine would come apart as easy as in the video. I cant wait till it loosens up and "falls" apart.

All in all, I am more than pleased with this gun. This is a reliable gun that is almost perfected. This is one I will be keeping around and passing down to the kids. It is a blast to shoot, it is very accurate and reliable. I would purchase another Ruger Mk III in a heart beat if the need arises. I think everyone should own one because they are a blast to shoot, not to mention you can shoot it all day for little of nothing. I wish I would have bought it sooner.


Scratches I made. I "touched them up" with a Presto gun Blue pen

Side of Ruger gun. Notice in the yellow box the grip is a lighter color. This is where I got Gun Scrubber on the grip causing the grip to become "sticky" and the color to come off on my fingers.

Other side, Top part of the grip. The Gun Scrubber caused the grip to bubble, and to soften. The color did come off a little on this

Sorry the pics are not the greatest. I took them with my phone.

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Old November 3, 2010, 06:04 AM   #2
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Very neat presentation and detailed. I enjoyed readiing this.
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Old November 3, 2010, 06:21 AM   #3
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Congrats on the new pistol!! I always enjoy reading a layman's review. Give us an update after about 5000 rounds.

(Ruger isn't paying you are they?)
If something seems too good to be true it's best to shoot at it just to be sure
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Old November 3, 2010, 05:29 PM   #4
James H
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Thanks! I'm looking at this model or a Single Six for my next purchase. By the way, the Gun Scrubber I have is synthetic safe. And I bought it over a year ago. I assumed all of it was now.
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Old November 3, 2010, 05:39 PM   #5
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I've had a MKIII 22/45 for about three months, and I agree with you in every aspect of your review. They are a pleasure to shoot, but a pain in the butt to take apart. Every time I shoot I just tell myself I'll spray it down with some Hoppes Elite, swab the barrel and call it a day, but then I find myself with it broken almost all the way down (even with a rubber mallet I cannot get the barrel and reciever off of the frame), telling myself I'll never do it again.

I'm not sure how your front sight looks, as you have the full fledge MkIII, not the 22/45, but I added a Tactical Solutions front sight (I know the brand name sounds rediculous, but it is a great sight)
and really like how it works. Other than that, it is stock, and runs great.

Shooting the .22 has made my wife enjoy pistol shooting again. Congrats on your purchase.
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Old November 3, 2010, 06:24 PM   #6
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Really enjoyed the report as well. I have been looking at a MK III 22/45, but couldnt decide if I wanted the polymer frame version or not.......
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Old November 4, 2010, 02:00 AM   #7
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No sorry guys, I do not work for Ruger.

One thing I did not put in the review is about the trigger safety with the mag out. I am not a big fan of this, but I can see why they would put it in there. But again, I am not going to worry about this since it is only a target pistol.

But I do like the loaded chamber indicator on a target gun.

The gun scrubber was an older can. I have not bought a new can in awhile. I did get a can of the Winchester knock off. I found out the hard way that Winchester Break Free Powder Blaster Gun Cleaner, in the spray can (like Gun Scrubber) is worse, and it really melts the plastic. I guess I have to be a little more careful cleaning the gun

I am going to head out to the range tomorrow with the gf and put another 500 rds through this gun.

As for the 22/45, I looked at it in the gun store. It was about $40 cheaper, but I did not like (let me restate that, I hated) the grip and handle of it. That's why I got the metal framed MK III and it just has the plastic grips. The 22/45 has the poly lower with the fixed, non interchangeable grips. The grip of the 22/45 seemed too stinny and it was too "squared" The lower metal "regular" MK III has more of a slanted handle, that is more rounded. This just felt better in my hand.

here a pic of the sight. It looks like the front sight is small, but in reality the front sight takes up the entire slot in the back when viewing it at arms length. This makes it harder to hit the 8" pie plates at 50+ yds. I wish the sights were hair thin to make accurate shots more easily.

If anyone wants anymore info/pics or has any questions feel free to ask.


Last edited by ace4059; November 4, 2010 at 02:22 AM.
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Old November 4, 2010, 02:25 AM   #8
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Excellant write up and evalution. The pictures are great. Thanks
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Old November 4, 2010, 03:46 AM   #9
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Many who buy these remove the Loaded Chamber Indicator and Mag Disconnect. This aids reliability and eases dissasemble, reassembly.
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Old November 8, 2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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This weekend I bought 2 bulk boxes of .22 LR. So now I have shot around 2000 rds through this gun. All I have done is just lubed it up and cleaned it with a Q-Tip. I have not taken this gun apart since I first got it, It's too hard and takes too long.

I have shot 2 bulk boxes of 550 rds of Federal .22
One bulk box of 550 Remington
One bulk box of 555 Winchester

All the ammo feeds perfectly and will eject perfectly.
The Winchester smokes more, and I did have one round of Winchester that was a Failure to fire. The rim was indented where the pin struck the case, but it did not fire. It was just a bad shell.

This gun is dead on accurate.
at 20 or less yards, it is easy to make head shots on varmints.

50 yds with bench rest. Hit 16 of 20 shots on 8" pie plate
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Old November 15, 2010, 11:34 PM   #11
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Very good write-up. I picked up a mark III in Sept. Very nice shooter.
It is blue with 6 7/8" with target grips. It is the hunter/target. I have put over 1500 rounds down range with 0 miss fires of any kind.

Have fun and good shooting.
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Old November 16, 2010, 07:00 AM   #12
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I have a MKI, or standard, whatever you call it. I would assume that the dis assembly would be similar. There is a lever on the back of the grips that you pull out? I never let metal touch my guns, to keep it from getting scratched up. I use a leather shoelace, or something similar to loop around the lever to pull it out, makes that part a piece of cake. The newer models might be different, but that is how I do it on mine.
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Old December 5, 2010, 10:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rob228
I've had a MKIII 22/45 for about three months, and I agree with you in every aspect of your review. They are a pleasure to shoot, but a pain in the butt to take apart. Every time I shoot I just tell myself I'll spray it down with some Hoppes Elite, swab the barrel and call it a day, but then I find myself with it broken almost all the way down (even with a rubber mallet I cannot get the barrel and reciever off of the frame), telling myself I'll never do it again.
Sorry for being a noob that digs up an old post, but I found this while doing a web search on the MkIII trigger so I thought I may be able to post something useful.

I too purchased a MkIII 22/45 last month. For a recently unemployed shooter, I figured it would be a great way to improve my handgun shooting skills without ammunition costs breaking the bank. Like Rob though, I found it a pain to fieldstrip. The plastic hammer was not very effective for me either. So here is what I do.

I have a 2x4 that I lay on my basement floor. Gripping the receiver by the barrel with one hand and the grip frame with the other, I slam the back end of the receiver, using my strong hand holding the grip frame, against the 2x4. Mind you, I am not slamming it down at my full possible strength. I am merely giving more than a tap like the disassembly video on Ruger's website show. After a few good hits, the receiver will separate from the grip frame. The wood is even softer than those yellow plastic tipped mallets so there will be no danger of damaging the receiver. By gripping the receiver with my weak hand, it will prevent the receiver from falling onto the floor and damaging the finish or the sights as it separates. I have found this to be the least troublesome method to separate the two. Reassembling the two, I merely tap the barrel against the same 2x4 to fully seat the receiver. When removing or replacing the two, I NEVER tap the grip frame. While there are plenty of polymers with an extremely high impact rating (ultra-high molecular weight PE for one), the 22/45 grip frame does not seem to be one of them.

One thing I have found is that reinstalling the mainspring housing and rotating it back into the housing is nigh impossible if the receiver so much as needs 1mm more to go into the grip frame. Not having owned the regular Mk series pistols with the metal grip frames, I have to wonder if the polymer grip frame makes it harder to separate the two than with an all metal grip frame.

Anyway, if this has been mentioned already, please accept my noob apology. But for those that let out an unfettered string of profanities trying to separate the grip frame from the receiver, this may help.
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Old December 5, 2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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great post! i have a ss w same bbl length. these are the most reliable accurate last forever guns ull ever buy . i bought mine 20-25 years ago n have shot k's ofrounds thru w no problems. a buddy polished it out a few years back n it shines, this gun shoots better than i do. a safty instructor @ the range shot a clip full n a quarter sized group @ 50 yds! (w rest) thx 4 thread.
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Old September 4, 2011, 05:27 AM   #15
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Ruger pistols

On the first day after buying mine I took 120 grit emery cloth and polished the pin and the barrel hold down lug. I can take mine apart with out using any force. I don't understand why Ruger sells these pistols in this condition. I hate beating on anything to get it apart or putting it back together. I am one that votes for the Vosquartsen Accurizing kit. I also bought the MK II hammer and the hammer bushing and did away with the magazine safety disconnect. This makes for a great target pistol. I wouldn't take it to the woods for messing around for the fact the trigger is to soft and you can fire off a couple shots before you realize it. Just my 2 cents. rj
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Old September 4, 2011, 09:09 AM   #16
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I bought the Mark II in about '93,it's the stainless with 8-inch bull "compition/target" model and that gun is flawless.It has been through hell,I've squirrel hunted with it for years,always had it camping(shooting crows),stuffed under the truck seat for years.No rust watsoever,(no other manufacturer can say that about their SS),I can't remember when the last time it was cleaned(I only will shoot Win super X),and it keeps going and going.I clamped it in my vice once and put a 1inch dot on a target 30yrds away and emptied a 10rnd mag,all 10 were in that dot.There isn't another .22pistol that can compare to the Ruger Mark series(at least the bull brl models). I think I'll probably be burried with it.
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Old September 4, 2011, 10:08 AM   #17
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I have never experienced easier accuracy than with a MkII Target with 8-inch barrel, wish they still made the 8-inch version. My MkIII Target with 5.5-inch bull barrel is quite easy to shoot, but I was outshooting a friend with an open site rifle out to 50 yds when using the 8-incher! Amazing.
Mauser Werke, Schmidt-Rubin, Colt, Walther, HK, Weatherby, Browning, Ruger, Beretta, Savage, Bushmaster, Marlin, Mossberg, Remington, PTR, Saiga, S&W, Sig Sauer....a few friends of mine
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Old September 4, 2011, 10:53 AM   #18
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Here's my grouping of 30 shots at 25 yards

With my stainless mklll 22/45 5.5 inch barrel and a ncstar 45 dollar 2.5 x 30 scope rested, this is the minimum you should expect from the ruger pistols.

1st pic:That was a 30 shot grouping at 25 yards using fiocchi sm320 match ammo. No trigger upgrades or other mods- just plain out of the box...
That center circle is 1.75 inches.

2nd pic: At 50 yards I've done 40 shots with half of the shots making the center "1.75" circle.

Just wanna add that accuracy to a certain extent is a lot more about you getting to know your firearm and much practice!
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File Type: jpg Image08062011161301.jpg (104.8 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg Image07042011180124.jpg (108.0 KB, 154 views)

Last edited by m_liebst; September 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM.
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Old September 4, 2011, 12:10 PM   #19
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Groups in center were at 10 yards. The two groups at the outer edges were at 18 yards. This was the 1st I shot her since adding the VQ parts and this is the 1st target shot, not the best of a group of targets!

Click to see Hi-res with detail of each group:

1st set of "aimed fire" working from the 9 to the 7:

1st Rapid fire group "function test" group:

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I don't have NEAR enough ammo on hand. `Nuff said.
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Old September 4, 2011, 12:10 PM   #20
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Looks like standard patridge sights on the pistol, I have not heard that they could be an issue before; to each his own. I hated the 'express' type sights on my MKIII Hunter, so I went with the patridge type rear and kept the post with f/o dot front sight. Seems to work well for me

Actually, I'm wanting to go shooting...I have several handguns, but my MKIII is probably my favorite to shoot.
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Old September 4, 2011, 04:35 PM   #21
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I bought a MK-II back in the 80s and shot it every week for three or four years and only infrequently since then. It's always been reliable and accurate. I never managed to get the barrel/slide off the frame. I just clean as best I can and it seems to work.
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Old September 4, 2011, 06:29 PM   #22
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Ruger MK III, Stainless Steel Hunter (Customized):

Accuracy: Excellant, especially with the Burris Red Dot sight
Sights: Burris Fast Fire Red Dot (great sight)!
Trigger: VQ custom trigger, hammer and sear... unbelievable!
Finish: Nice SS finish.
Mags: Already stated, great.
Reliability: Outstanding... but this gun likes to be run wet... and disable the "loaded chamber" indicator.
Grips: Custom grips by Esmeralda, look her up, outstanding grips!!
Recoil: Just for looks and grins, added a VQ suppressor - none.
Dis-assembly: There are a number of GREAT videos on dis-assembling and reassembling the gun!! One hint... get a "cable-tie" and make a loop, then use the loop to pull the latch open on the gun!! No more scratches...! Also, taking the barrel off of the frame, purchase a plastic mallet, tap the barrel off of the frame.

It's a great gun that is an absolute joy to shoot! BTW, installing the VQ mods on the gun, which require a complete tear down of ALL the guns internals, will teach you a great deal about this weapon!
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Old October 6, 2012, 06:11 PM   #23
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question about burris ffiii

Did the the red dot bolt on the stock reciever of the MKiii hunter or was that custom?
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Old October 7, 2012, 12:26 AM   #24
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Here's a 15 shot group benched/ with cheap 2.5 x 30 pistol scope at 25 yards with Fiocchi SM320 match ammo. Besides the 2 shots I pulled, all the rest went in a ragged 7/8ths inch hole

I shoot my MKlll 22/45 stainless with the Burris FF3 now and it is a joy at 7-12yards. The Rugers are very precise target pistols...( part of this being due to the fixed barrel design.)

This last pic is a 20 shot group shot free hand standing with the burris red dot at 7 yards.

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Old October 7, 2012, 09:37 PM   #25
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great review! very informative.
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