Featured, Featured Firearm Friday, Review

Ruger Mark III – Featured Firearm Friday

On Featured Firearm Friday, I will tell you all about a firearm I either own and love or don’t own (yet) but covet. I’ll tell you about what I shoot in competition, carry, and just take to the the range for practice. As time goes on, I hope to also be able to tell you what’s new and awesome. Please feel free to ask any specific questions about what I review. I’d also love to hear your suggestions for what I should be trying and talking about on Shooting In Lipstick.

When Mr. SiL and I started talking about competitive shooting, I originally had no intention of competing. I thought I would tag along and cheer him on. He had other plans. One morning on the way to the range, he stopped at Tanner’s, one of our favorite local gun stores just to take a look at the Ruger Mark III. Mr. SiL knows I have a few weaknesses and gorgeous guns are one of them. I also like .22 and Ruger quite a bit. The store had a few and the Hunter model caught my eye. It was stunning, a real Wynonna Earp type pistol. And so we bought it. He claims he was going to compete with it but… well, that hasn’t happened. I just love this pistol and now it sees me through Steel Challenge with few issues and awesome performance.

Before I start telling you the ins and outs of what I like and don’t like about the Hunter, here are some basic specs on her:

Ruger Mark III Hunter

Caliber .22LR
Action Semi-Auto
Magazine Capacity 10
Sights Fiber-optic sights – rear sight is adjustable
Weight 2.3 lbs
Barrel Length 4.5″
Overall Length 8.75″
Safety Manual
MSRP $638

Apparently, the Hunter is named such as its material makeup (stainless steel) and overall length make it great for hunting small game. And that may be true. But I think this is the perfect gun for shooting fast and accurately in a stock auto division. The sights are pretty good out the box and easily adjustable. The longer barrel improves accuracy and I like the slightly heavier weight as it allows me to have more control.

Clearly I love this pistol or I wouldn’t compete with it. It is beautiful, reliable, and a great choice for shooting steel challenge. It’s not likely to be your number one choice for a first firearm purchase and it definitely isn’t on my list of recommended self-defense guns, but if you love a really pretty gun or are looking for a great steel shooting pistol, this is a good choice to consider.

I’ve yet to meet a gun that doesn’t have some drawbacks. The Mark III Hunter is no exception. I think the most talked about issue if you research the pistol is how difficult it is to completely break down and clean. This is no joke. It is honestly a pain in the rear. I try to clean around it as much as I can and do a full take down every three to four trips to the range. I am pretty passionate about a clean gun, so this says something. Such a nuisance is the full takedown, which starts with removing the backstrap pictured below, Ruger responded by not only fixing the problem in the new Mark IV but has made this a major marketing point for the new model… if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what does.

Ruger Mark III Rear Grip View
The Least Fun Feature of the Mark III

This next little quibble may just be MY Hunter but it is worth noting in case it isn’t. I have to be careful about the ammo I put through it because it does not like non-jacketed “cheapie” ammo (it starts to jam after an alarmingly low number of rounds, which I assume is because it is dirtier) and it REALLY doesn’t like certain hollow point ammo (it causes feeding issues and chews them up… no fun). I just make sure to use what it likes, and all is well. I like most of CCI’s .22LR offerings and so does my pistol.

All in all, I really love my Mark III Hunter and it fits a need for me in my collection. Would I buy the Mark IV to upgrade? Maybe. I would definitely take one for a spin. But, for now, my trusty Hunter is exactly what I need… even if I do hate cleaning it.

The Ruger Mark III Hunter:

Pros:

  • Beautiful and striking to behold
  • Long barrel for improved accuracy
  • Very little recoil and heavy weight allows for greater control
  • Easily accessible and affordable caliber
  • Simple to adjust sights

Cons:

  • Difficult to break down for full cleaning
  • Picky about ammo

Do you have a Hunter? Want one? Let me know your thoughts. If there are other firearms you would like me to feature, please let me know and I will do my best to feature it soon.