Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Review
Part 5 - Range Tests
April 10, 2017

Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Review

For range testing the new Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol, my goals were to sight in the iron sights, then install some type of magnified optic to capture basic accuracy data and finally install a red dot sight and put a significant number of rounds down range to get a feel for reliability.

I initially setup a target at 13 yards (my home indoor range distance) and used the CCI Standard Velocity ammunition.  I was able to quickly zero the iron sights and put about 100 rounds through the pistol without any issue.  As I have already mentioned in other parts of the review, I'm not a big fan of the V-notch sights, because I feel I can be more precise with U-notch sights.  Although Ruger markets this pistol as the Hunter model, I feel they would have been better off to stick with a standard U-notch rear sight.  Overall though, the sights on this pistol are not bad and if your true role were hunting then they should suit that purpose.

 

For the accuracy portion of the range test, I installed my Burris 3-12x32 Handgun Scope.  The scope mounted perfectly with a pair of the Burris Signature Zee Medium Height Rings.  I also selected a variety of ammunition that varied in price, bullet weight and velocity and also represents ammunition that is fairly available at your local stores or online.

Figure 1
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Scoped Configuration

I decided to give my Caldwell Matrix shooting rest a try for this portion of the test.  You can see the setup below.  I quickly switched back to my standard homemade rest and sock with bird seed because I felt it was more stable (see Figure 6), but I didn't get a photo of this setup with the scope installed on the pistol.

Figure 2
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Bench Setup

During the accuracy portion of the test, I setup my target at 25 yards and the chronograph at about 10 feet from the muzzle.

Figure 3
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Range Setup

The following table summarized the accuracy portion of my range tests and also shows the chronograph data.  From this data, you can see that the pistol favors standard velocity ammunition and specifically the CCI and Norma ammunition were great performers.  During the range tests I did have some cycling issues with the Aguila and one failure to feed issue with the CCI.  The Aguila had the lowest measured average velocity and the highest extreme spread and standard deviation.  I feel the Aguila lower velocity rounds were not giving enough energy to fully cycle the bolt.  Again this happened once with the CCI, but other than that one time, the CCI proved to be reliable.  Perhaps the recoil spring will break-in over time and help with the lower energy rounds in the future.  All the high velocity rounds cycled without issue and I was pleased with the accuracy I was getting out of the Winchester and Remington.

Ammunition Velocity (ft/sec) 5-Shot Group Size1
Advertised Measured
Average2
ES SD Max Min Avg
Aguila .22 Super Extra 40gr LSP 1130 922 136 43 1.33 0.38 1.01
CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN 1070 933 93 28 0.86 0.36 .61
Federal Premium HV Match 40gr Solid 1200 1104 104 31 3.00 1.20 2.00
Norma USA Match-22 40gr LRN 1100 937 70 23 0.83 0.57 .70
Remington Golden Bullet 36gr PHP 1280 1121 90 26 1.21 0.70 .94
Winchester 333 Rounds 36gr HPCP 1280 1158 70 24 1.13 0.63 .82
Total Average 25 groups (excludes Federal Premium) = 0.81
1 - Groups shot at 25 yards from the bench and data represents five 5-shot groups
2 - Velocity measured ~10 feet from muzzle
LRN - Lead Round Nose, LSP - Lead Solid Point, PHP - Plated Hollow Point, HPCP - Hollow Point Copper Plated

These next two groups are the best ones I shot with the CCI and Norma ammunition.  Clearly all my groups were not this good, but I feel this is an indication of what this pistol can do with the right ammunition and shooter combination.  Overall I had a 0.81" group average from twenty five 5-shot groups excluding the Federal Premium that either it or I didn't shoot very well.  To sum it up, I was very pleased with the accuracy capability of this pistol which is consistent with the reputation of the Ruger Target/Hunter Mark Series pistols.

Figure 4 - 0.36" Group CCI at 25 yds.                    Figure 5 - 0.57" Group Norma at 25 yds.
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Tight Group Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Tight Group

Once the accuracy portion of the range testing was over, I removed the scope and installed a Burris FastFire 3 which will most likely be the final sight configuration on this pistol for many years.  As I have gotten older and my eyes gotten worse, these micro red dot sights are perfect for shooters like me who struggle with bifocal glasses.  I zeroed the red dot at 20 yards and put many rounds through the pistol shooting my rimfire dueling tree with some of the value ammunition and didn't have any issues.  I also let several other shooters give the pistol a try and it was unanimous that this pistol was a fun shooter and a tack driver.  Also throughout this portion of the test I kept the target style grips on the pistol and no one made any complaint about the size of the grips and I was pleased with the feel.

Figure 6
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Burris FastFire 3

To be honest, I'm not completely sure how many rounds I put total through the pistol.  My guess is after multiple shooting sessions at the range, I feel I'm somewhere between 400 and 500 rounds.  Throughout all this, the only real issue I had was with the Aguila Super Extra Standard Velocity not having enough energy to cycle the bolt.  My overall impression on reliability makes me think this pistol will be as reliable as the ammunition you feed through it provided you select something with enough energy to cycle the bolt.  If you are shooting value high velocity ammunition then you will probably never have an issue unless you get a bad round.

Once all my range testing was complete, disassembling the pistol for cleaning was a dream (and I don't mean nightmare).  I still cannot get over the fact that Ruger didn't redesign the disassembly sequence years ago. 

 

Thoughts

I was very pleased with the performance of the new Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol and I should be.  The main change with this pistol versus other series pistols is the design features related to disassembly.  The other features such as barrel quality, cylindrical bolt and magazine feeding are basically the same and their long proven reputations have demonstrated excellence for many years and the one button takedown is the critical enhancement that will keep ensure the Mark IV pistols popularity for the future.  Great job Ruger!

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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