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Ruger Mk II Review

Overview

The Ruger Standard, flagship of the mighty Ruger line of firearms. The Ruger standard was the first gun Ruger ever made. It came about when Bill Ruger Sr. founder of Ruger, was tinkering in his garage with a WWII souvenir Japanese “Nambu” Pistol. Mr. Ruger managed to construct two baby Nambu pistols of his own and subsequently designed the Ruger Standard using the Nambu’s bolt system and silhouette. Alex Sturm, co-founder of Sturm-Ruger liked the design of the pistol and it’s slight resemblance to the German P-08 Luger. Thus Sturm-Ruger was born, resting itself firmly on the back of this incredible pistol. Using modern manufacturing techniques to make parts that easily handle the pressure of .22 long rifle rounds, the Ruger standard undersold the competition and managed to make the Ruger Standard and it’s offspring, the Mark II and Mark III an American legend in the shooting world.

The Ruger Mark II came about in 1981, the primary difference being the addition of a slide-stop, which held the slide open once the last round was fired. Several new models were also introduced, including the target model which happens to be the specific gun I am reviewing today.

The Ruger's spiritual ancestor, the Luger P-08. Some people back in the day even called the Ruger standard the "Ruger Luger."
The Ruger's spiritual ancestor, the Luger P-08. Some people back in the day even called the Ruger standard the "Ruger Luger."
The Nambu Pistol that inspired the Ruger Standard, the Mark II's papa. So in a way, this Nambu pistol is the Mark II's Grandfather. (I guess that makes the Luger it's great grandfather!)
The Nambu Pistol that inspired the Ruger Standard, the Mark II's papa. So in a way, this Nambu pistol is the Mark II's Grandfather. (I guess that makes the Luger it's great grandfather!)
The Ruger Standard, the main difference between the Standard and Mark II is that with the Mark II the Slide locks back once the magazine is empty.
The Ruger Standard, the main difference between the Standard and Mark II is that with the Mark II the Slide locks back once the magazine is empty.
At the end of a magazine, the slide of the MK II locks back so you know you're empty, though felt recoil is so little that sometimes you pull the trigger once or twice on empty when firing rapidly.
At the end of a magazine, the slide of the MK II locks back so you know you're empty, though felt recoil is so little that sometimes you pull the trigger once or twice on empty when firing rapidly.

Fit, Finish & Handing:

First off, this gun is gorgeous, it’s blued, but comes off more as a deep black, the bolt and trigger are both shiny stainless steel that complements the deep black of the guns body. The Ruger logo is set into the right side of the grips, once again in stainless steel that complements the gun’s aesthetic perfectly. This gun feels great in the hand; to me, the "luger" angled grip is great, I have a tendency to shoot most handguns a little low, so a grip profile that shots high for most people is a good thing for me. I think the feel of the gun is just perfect.

This model comes with an enormous 8 ½ inch bull barrel (10 if you measure all the way back to the action) and adjustable sights. Besides looking great on the gun, the adjustable sights adjust with the turn of a screwdriver and are dead accurate when set properly. The combination of a long, heavy bull barrel, adjustable sights, and zero recoil make this a very accurate little plinker or small game hunter. I have personally shot 2 ¼ inch groups with this gun shooting rapid fire (as fast as I can pull the trigger) at 25 yards! Average groups for me (shooting as fast as possible at 25 yards) are more like 3 inches, but nonetheless the gun is very accurate, more accurate than I am actually! It will hold to a paper plate freehand at 50 yards.

The Magazine release on this gun is a little funky, you have to pull the lever back until the magazine pops out. It is not drop-free and barely pops out, but that's fine as you are unlikely to need a quick mag change with this gun.
The Magazine release on this gun is a little funky, you have to pull the lever back until the magazine pops out. It is not drop-free and barely pops out, but that's fine as you are unlikely to need a quick mag change with this gun.
The safety switch is on the left side, up is safe, and down is fire.
The safety switch is on the left side, up is safe, and down is fire.

Range Report

I’ve owned this gun about a year now and it has seen lots of range time and several thousands rounds of ammunition. On my very first range trip with the gun I simply set up a typical bullseye target and began plinking away. At the time, I had only been regularly shooting for a couple months, and this is the first pistol I have owned, (I was used to shooting my Mauser sporter, built for me by my grandfather with a 2lb trigger; I say this to put the next information in context.) I used three bullseye targets for three mags. I shot at the targets from about 10 yards, though this is an estimate because I was at an open range, not a club. The first target I achieved a pitiful 4 inch group, about two inches above the bullseye, shooting deliberate, (meant-to-be) accurate shots. The second target I shot about a two inch as I was getting a good feel for the pistol now, but I was now shooting a bit low and to the left of the bullseye (I do this with every pistol). On the third target, I dumped the mag and measured my group at just under 3 inches.

In my notes for the day I wrote “wow” under the list of targets. In the past I had shot Glocks and DA/SA pistols, and a 1911 once. With a glock, my “groups” looked like a shotgun pattern from 10 yards. I could shoot a decent group (usually 3-4 inches) with a 1911 pistol, point being, a year ago I was a terrible pistol shooter, I was used to super light triggers, long distances, and a scope. Though even with the Glock my accuracy was “good enough” for defensive purposes (I mean, people are usually about as wide as my groups with a G17…) I had lots of room to improve! Now, I’ve come a long way in a year of regular pistol shooting, and I’ve become good with this pistol.

Since that first time, I’ve begun shooting at various recyclables as well as targets. Everything from those tiny 2 inch glass baby food jars (baby is growing up, I’m running out of them) as well as beer, wine, and pop bottles. This gun blasts them away at 25 yards with an overall 9.5 hits out of ten shots, this being over the entire last year; and please have no doubt, the misses were almost certainly my fault, not the guns.

Reliability

In my time with this gun I have shot CCI, Federal, Remington ‘Golden” bullets, and Winchester. In thousands of rounds fired I’ve had three hiccups, all with Remington hollow point bullets. There was one FTF (fail to fire) and two FTF FTE (fail to fire, fail to eject.) The two FTF FTE were a bit nerve racking, but I just kept the muzzle pointed at the target for 45 seconds (I counted out load) and then lowered the muzzle to the ground and popped the bullet right out with the tip of my knife blade. After that the gun resumed normal functioning. Needless to say, this gun is not designed to feed Hollow-point bullets, nor is there any real purpose to HP bullets in a .22, except possibly hunting the smallest of small game. I have stopped feeding this gun HP’s and it has completely stopped giving me trouble.

Disassembly / Assembly:

The Ruger “Mark” series is commonly thought of as a pain in the butt to dis-and-re-assemble. This is true to a degree. I became frustrated the first time I did it, but in subsequent times It started to become quite easy and quick. Basically, you take out the magazine, draw and release the bolt; then you use a knife or putty knife to open the main spring housing and draw it downward out of the gun; then remove the bolt, then tap the back of the receiver with a rubber mallet to detach it. This is not intended as a guide for disassembly (it is not, several key things are not mentioned, like all that weird trigger pulling…) but to give you an overview of the process. For a guide to disassembly, get a manual from Ruger or find one online and follow it. Once disassembled, the major components of the gun are fairly easy to reach and clean. I use Hoppe’s No. 9 and gun scrubber with a brass brush and many rags.

Field Stripped Ruger MK II
Field Stripped Ruger MK II
The Bolt of the Gun
The Bolt of the Gun
The Underside of the receiver
The Underside of the receiver
Top view of the Gun's frame
Top view of the Gun's frame

Summary

The Ruger MK II will not disappoint. A gun like this is built primarily as a plinker, or to practice with to get better at shooting guns in a larger caliber. The target model is also intended as a small game hunter. At this point, I have not hunted any small game with the gun, but my grandfather certainly did! As a hunter, this gun performed admirably; most think of revolvers when they think of a hunting handgun, but this unique little auto controlled the pests on my grandpa’s property for years!

As a plinker, a “fun” gun, this gun is great, it’s an all metal gun shooting 22.lr so recoil is…non-existent, making it entirely plausible to blast away for hours on end without tiring. It’s also a fun gun because it hits what you aim at! I think this is underrated now-a-days, just look at the swath of junk .22's designed to look like "cool" guns. Personally, I don’t understand the rash of .22lr chambered guns designed to look like sub-machine guns or movie guns.. they look fun, but most can’t hit the broad side of barn; the story below is one example:

A couple months ago a buddy and I played “gun poker” with some guys we meant at the range (we had a large target with the 52 cards from a deck printed on it, and we were shooting it, you got five shots per person, best hand wins) One was shooting an MP-5 look alike and the other a Raven .380 compact handgun. My friend was shooting his father-in-law’s Ruger Standard and I was shooting my Ruger MK II. I shot a straight flush, my buddy hit three cards (queen of hearts and a 9 of spades and one I do not remember), the guy with the Raven hit the edge of the target once and completely missed the man-sized target (we were playing this game at 15 yards) with his other four shots and the guy with the “MP-5” imitation, with a barrel longer than any of ours, hit two cards (I can’t remember which cards and I only wrote down my shots) and the rest of his shots were all over the target, but not on any cards!

The point to this story is that the Ruger is a quality handgun, I’m getting to be a pretty good shooter myself, but I'm still not as accurate as this gun can be. A gun that works is more fun than a gun that doesn’t, my Ruger might not look “scary” or make you feel all manly and tough, but it does hit what I aim at! That is a fun gun! Who knows, maybe those guys would have smoked me if we’d all been using this excellent Ruger MK II.

Besides fun, the Ruger is a great gun to train with, it’s true that the grip angle is slightly different than most handguns out there, but the trigger is great and it shoots to point of aim. I know that I’ve gotten much better shooting bigger caliber guns since I started putting at least 100 down the pipe with my Ruger each time I hit the range (shot some guy’s G19 actually and hit 9 out of 10 cans at about 10-15 yards.) The Ruger is a great gun for small game hunting, plinking, general fun and games, and practice, it almost never malfunctions with decent ammo in it and the price is perfectly reasonable. The Ruger will give you great return on investment as you put thousands downrange, session-after-session and year-after-year.

5 stars for Ruger MK II

Comments 6 comments

Jack Burton profile image

Jack Burton 4 years ago from The Midwest

I love my little Mark II. I have the 22/45 model which look a little more traditional but under the hood is the same as yours. They are great guns to teach others with because they are so much fun, accurate and easy to shoot.


tacticallight profile image

tacticallight 3 years ago

I hate taking mine apart. Luckily it seems to like shooting dirty rather than clean anyway.


benjaminraber profile image

benjaminraber 3 years ago from Grand Rapids MI Author

I usually strip it about once a year and scrup everything down. It will shoot really dirty, though I never ever fire uncased lead through it.


Thomas 2 years ago

The Ruger MKII is probably dollar for dollar the best .22 automatic ever made, I have shot 1,000's of rounds thru my MKII, but always remember use only Ruger made magazines no matter what the salesman tells you, cheap other brand magazines sometimes do not feed properly as I found out .


MVKilgore profile image

MVKilgore 11 months ago

I own 2 Rugers, just no pistols yet...nice review.


benjaminraber profile image

benjaminraber 11 months ago from Grand Rapids MI Author

Thank MV. The MKII is my only Ruger pistol so far, but I do have my eye on an M77.

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