304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
The Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol is selling at a Street Price of just $49.95. We need to bear this in mind when evaluating the value of this gun. It looks really quite similar to the Ruger Mark IV Competition rimfire pistol, however in an all-black finish. But the rimfire model has an MSRP of $919, making our airgun a cool $869 cheaper than it’s inspiration!
The $50 price point is very low for air pistols, too. There’s not a great number of air pistols at this price, and none of them are spring/piston models like the Mark IV. Few of them have as much metal in their construction as the Mark IV, either.
So, is this a perfect air pistol? The answer is “no”. But no-one in their right mind will expect it to be at this price! In fact, it’s actually surprisingly good – excepting only the waaay-too-heavy trigger, as we’ll discover in this review.
It’s really, really tough to argue that it’s anything other than great value. As HAM Tester Doug Wall commented: “This would make a greak backpack plinking gun.”
HAM specialist pistol tester Doug Wall is a long-time pistol shooter. So – thanks to him – we see the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol set alongside Doug’s own Ruger Mk II rimfire. The similarities are obvious!
Note that Doug’s Mk II has a 5-Inch target “bull” barrel that’s shorter than that of the current Mk IV Competition model. It’s also fitted with scope mounts: that makes the barrel look shorter still, in comparison. But it’s very obvious that here we have pistols that look very similar.
Those nice wood grips on the Mk II were made by Doug himself. He’s a consummate woodworker, too!
As already mentioned, the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol is clearly a Ruger Mk IV! Although the action is completely different – single shot spring/piston compared to semi-auto rimfire – the manufacturers have gone to considerable lengths to replicate details of the firearm in the airgun.
This even includes a very sharp rendition of the rimfire magazine in the base of the airgun’s pistol grip.
The airgun’s (metal) breech also has molding to represent the bolt of the semi-auto rimfire.
So for looks, the airgun is close to that of the firearm. At 10.75-Inches long, it’s a little shorter than the 11.12 In. overall length of the Mk IV Competition rimfire model. But the biggest difference is to be found in the weight.
The airgun weighs-in at 1 Lb 6 Oz. The rimfire weighs 2 Lbs 14 Oz. So, our airgun is about half the weight. Although is feels sturdy, we do have a much lighter airgun and this spoils the feel of the reproduction somewhat.
Doug Wall rejoiced when he saw the rear sights on the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol! With so many (more expensive) replicas having fixed sights, here is a $50 gun that has adjustable rear sights…
True, these are not click-adjustable. Adjustment is by screwdriver.
But the windage and elevation adjustment capability of these rear sights do allow the Point of Impact to be adjusted to match the Point of Aim. At this price, that’s a great value proposition. There’s no need to learn to aim off!
In fact, these sights are also a pretty-good facsimile of the sights fitted to the Competition rimfire pistol. As can be seen, there’s no fiber optic elements on the rear sight.
The front sight is a non-adjustable post (as expected). It’s fitted with a fiber optic insert. However this really is about the dullest fiber optic the HAM Team has seen…
Accuracy, too, was impressive for a “firearm reproduction” air pistol!
Comparing the accuracy of the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol to that of the late-lamented SIG ASP Super Target – for example – shows that the $50 Ruger is not completely blown away by it’s 7X more expensive, “entry level target competition” model.
This is probably better than we should expect for a $50 air pistol. It’s also a reminder that Doug Wall is an excellent shot with a very strong trigger finger!
Umarex describes this airgun as “paying homage to this cornerstone of Ruger design by applying the classic Ruger style to a smooth operating break barrel pellet pistol”.
So, yes, this is an officially-licensed use of the Ruger product names. And, yes, it is instantly-recognizable as a Mark IV, even though the cocking linkage makes an unavoidable change to the pistol’s profile.
The clamshell packaging for the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol proclaims a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 320 FPS. This was easily exceeded by the test gun. It produced 389 FPS with 5.56 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloy pellets and 355 FPS with 7.0 Grain lead RWS Meisterkugeln pellets.
However the same clamshell packaging also states that this pistol is suitable for “pest & target shooting”. Targets, yes – and plinking too. But HAM would argue that using a pistol with a sub-2 Ft/Lbs Muzzle Energy capability to hunt pests is not an ethically-appropriate use for the Mk IV.
Well, it has to be said that the consistency in Muzzle Velocity demonstrated by the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol on test was really very good!
The average Standard Deviation in FPS over the range of standard HAM test pellets was just 5.64 FPS. This is an excellent figure – and a remarkable one for such a cheap airgun. Indeed, the Standard Deviation across a 10-shot string for the RWS Meisterkugeln pellets was just 4.10 FPS. That’s well into quality PCP territory!
It’s worth remembering, too, that the Meisterkugelns were the most accurate pellets tested.
Sadly, the consistency story is let down by trigger performance…
Although the average trigger pull weight recorded on test was 10 Lbs 8 Oz. The individual readings varied from a low of 9 Lb 13 Oz, up to a high of 11 Lbs 8 Oz. That’s a variation of approaching 2 Lbs in pull weight!
Such a variation in trigger pull makes Doug Wall’s test targets even more of an achievement!
The trigger pull weight of the regular Ruger Mk IV rimfire pistol is in the 5 – 7 Lbs range. This is not exactly light. However, that sounds like a featherweight compared to that of the airgun.
Again, the Ruger Mk IV Pellet Pistol tested by HAM produced an average trigger pull weight of 10 Lbs 8 Oz.
This is really unfortunate, as it makes the gun so much more difficult to shoot accurately than it should be. Yes, the single stage trigger is in the right place and it’s well-shaped. But the pull itself is long and gritty.
Maybe the grittiness will subside with use and the shooter could become used to the trigger travel. But that pull weight is unlikely to change. It really is a deep disappointment 🙁
The safety is automatically-engaged when the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol is cocked. The safety lever is in the same place above the pistol grip as with the rimfire model. However, it operates from the left side only. The “safety” on the right side of the gun is for show only.
It has to be said that the safety is easy to use and clicks in and out of “safe” in a very positive manner. However, as an automatic safety, it is different to the manual safety fitted to the rimfire version.
Of course, there’s a fundamental lack of realism compared to the rimfire model in that the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol has a single-shot, break barrel action. There’s no blowback effect. Actually there’s very little recoil – or noise for that matter – when firing the Mk IV.
Curiously, the airgun version of the semi-auto Ruger 10/22 firearm is also not a semi-auto (it actually uses a revolver action). It also has an incredibly-heavy trigger pull weight of about 14 Lbs.
Now there’s absolutely claim that the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol is a semi-auto. The packaging clearly states that it uses the break barrel cocking system and makes no multi-shot claims.
However, it would be interesting to understand the product management decisions that led to both of these Ruger airguns being as they are, rather than BB-firing, genuine semi-autos with blowback and “normal weight” triggers, which they could – in principal – so easily have been…
As a single-load, break barrel air pistol, the shot count of the Mk IV is, er… one!
This makes it different to the overwhelming majority of firearms replica pistols, which are CO2-powered.
So, in spite of the fact that the rimfire model is a semi-auto, the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol decidedly is not. However – on the up side – you can’t run out of CO2 for this airgun and the running cost is just the cost of the pellets…
In fact, cocking the barrel is easy to do. The effort required is not very high, even though the automatic safety is also set as part of the cocking operation. Also, the ridged, plastic barrel surround and prominent front sight made for a secure and comfortable grip.
Of course, this action is about a Million Miles from the semi-auto action of the rimfire, but that’s the way it is…
No-one should be expecting high Muzzle Velocity from the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol. However, as mentioned elsewhere, the gun tested by HAM exceeded the manufacturer’s claims, producing a maximum of 389 FPS with the H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloys.
PelletAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain389 FPS1.87 Ft/LbsExcellent
RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol 7.0 Grain355 FPS1.96 Ft/LbsExcellent. Best Tested.
RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain329 FPS1.68 Ft/LbsVery Good.
Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain308 FPS1.66 Ft/LbsVery Good.
H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain290 FPS1.62 Ft/LbsVery Good
It’s interesting to see that the 7.0 Grain RWS Meisterkugeln pellets produced 26 FPS more than the same-weight Hobbys. Doug Wall’s opinion is that this is because the Meisterkugelns were a slightly looser fit in the barrel.
The appearance and finish of the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol tested by HAM was really rather good! This can be seen in all of the photographs illustrating this review.
The plastic molded parts were sharp and clear, with almost imperceptible mold lines. Detail such as the Ruger logos scattered around the gun and the checkering on the pistol grip side plates gives a clear impression of quality, too.
External metal parts – primarily the breech, trigger and cocking mechanism – were also well finished.
Overall, the appearance, level of detail and finish of the Mk IV is equal to the best HAM has seen in air pistols at more than twice the price of this gun.
The clamshell packaging is a clear indicator that this airgun is expected to be widely sold in physical locations like gun shops and big box sporting goods stores. It’s also widely available online, as you would expect.
As is the case with all Umarex airguns, the Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol is supplied with a clear, well-illustrated owner’s manual in English, French and Spanish.
The pistol grip side plates are easily removed and the owner could – if desired – replace them with grips intended for the rimfire. They fit. However, you’ll likely then be spending more on the grips than for the gun itself!
The Ruger Mk IV pellet pistol has a 90-day warranty provided by Umarex USA though their Fort Smith, AR facility. However, since (understandably) the owner needs to pay shipping costs to return the gun to Umarex, few people will want to take advantage this. it will cost a high proportion of the gun’s price just to ship it back!
Also, it’s clear that there are very few user-replacable parts in the Mk IV. The breech seal is the only one that comes to mind.
However, the simple basic spring/piston action design means that reliability should be good. The owner’s manual explains how and where to lubricate the pistol to achieve long-term reliable shooting and – really – there’s not much that can go wrong with the mechanism.
SAFETY FIRST. Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.