NAA adds easy reload capability to its line of deep concealment revolvers with the Ranger II. By Steven Paul Barlow
NAA ADDS EASY RELOAD CAPABILITY TO ITS LINE OF DEEP CONCEALMENT REVOLVERS WITH THE RANGER II
In short, getting me to tout, much less tote, a small gun is a tall order.
Yet, you don’t have to lift my hearing protection and shout in my ear to make me understand that there are some roles that only a small gun can handle well. When there’s a need for deep concealment, to travel light in the extreme or to carry a last-ditch backup weapon, small guns can excel.
Among the smallest of the small are the single-action mini revolvers from North American Arms (NAA). The company’s latest, the Ranger II, borrows a page from the history books in that it’s a quick-loading, top-break design of the type that was popular for many years. A quick reload will be welcome feature to the many NAA revolver fans out there.
Many of the NAA revolvers require you to remove then cylinder pin and then the cylinder itself before you can punch out the empty casings and reload. That’s really not a problem as these guns aren’t intended for sustained battles and statistics show few rounds are needed in typical civilian defensive situations anyway.
Still, as a matter of convenience, the easier to reload a gun the better.
NAA addressed this first with the Sidewinder model that features a swing-out cylinder. Even easier is the new Ranger II with a barrel that hinges at the bottom of the frame and is secured by a spring-loaded latch on the top strap.
When you open the action all the way, the extractor star pops up to partially extract the casings, which can then be dumped out.
Aside from the new action, the rest of the Ranger II is NAA as usual. In other words, the revolver is well made. The Ranger II is a stainless steel, five-shot rimfire revolver chambered for .22 WMR—commonly called .22 Magnum these days. The one I received is a combo model that came with a second cylinder in .22LR (Long Rifle).
“THE .22 MAGNUM CAN BE EFFECTIVE...WITH VELOCITIES RANGING FROM 900 TO WELL OVER 1,100 FEET PER SECOND OUT OF EVEN THE RANGER II’S SHORT BARREL.”
Its barrel is 1.63 inches long and has a simple bead front sight. A small notch on the top strap serves as the rear sight. This isn’t a gun designed for precision target shooting. You’re going to point it and shoot. The grips are rosewood, bird’s head shaped and are a very classy touch.
Swapping the cylinders is easy and requires no tools. Simply lift the latch on the top strap and the cylinder slides right off the cylinder pin. As rimfire ammo is sometimes still in short supply, being able to shoot either .22 Magnum or .22 LR ammo—whichever is available—is a big plus.
SAFE TO CARRY
The firing pin is mounted on the hammer, but there is no need to carry the gun with the hammer over an empty chamber. The Ranger II, like other
NAA revolvers, has notches between the chambers in the cylinder, the way some early cap-and-ball revolvers did. You can lower the hammer into one of those in-between notches so that there is no danger that the firing pin can strike a cartridge if the gun is dropped.
Shooting the Ranger II takes some practice as there isn’t much to hold on to and the sights are very rudimentary. Still, good hits out to 10 or 15 yards are no problem once you get accustomed to the gun. I found that a high, deep grip on the gun works best along with wrapping more of your index finger around the trigger than you would with a larger handgun. Despite its small size, recoil is not an issue with even the magnum rimfire loads.
The trigger was excellent. I measured the pull at about 3.5 pounds. Because this is a single-action gun, the trigger travels just a very short distance before the gun fires.
I had a few misfires with some of the .22 Magnum ammo during the first 25 rounds fired and I suspected it was not the gun, but the old ammo to
blame, as I’ve had similar results with old rimfire ammo in other guns. But after those initial few rounds, I fired perhaps 150 more without a single problem. Usually, if a break-in period is needed, it’s with a semi-auto, not a revolver. Whatever the problem was, it resolved itself and I have confidence that it’s now reliable. Still, I will fire more rounds through it before placing it into service as a defensive arm.
I didn’t shoot this gun from the bench for accuracy results; I didn’t see the point with this type of handgun with such minimal sights. But I did achieve good hits at 10 and 15 yards offhand. With all loads, including some Remington .22LR rounds, the Ranger tended to shoot a bit high. Part of that was my fault. As I tried to get a better look at that small bead front sight, I didn’t settle it down into the rear notch as I should have and no doubt this caused some of the high impacts.
The other NAA revolver I own—the Sidewinder—is fitted with Laserlyte laser grips that have proven to very helpful in getting hits on target quickly. They’re available on the NAA website along with other grip options or directly from Laserlyte and I’ll probably pick up a set of the laser grips for the Ranger II also. With the laser, sighting will be easier in low light when I’m apt to need it and the laser can be adjusted so my point of impact will be dead on.
HOLSTER THAT GUN
The Ranger II came with a leather belt holster, but this is a handgun that most will opt to carry in a pocket. DeSantis Gunhide makes a couple of different pocket holsters for NAA revolvers—one in leather and one in nylon. Each includes a pocket to store spare cartridges.
NOT A TOY
Even as an advocate for carrying larger guns, I cannot deny the handiness and effectiveness of the NAA Ranger II in specific roles. The gun is not a gimmick or merely a novelty. It is well made and would be a welcome addition to your personal armory, useful whenever a highly concealable handgun is required.CC
What sets the Ranger II apart from other NAA revolvers is that it features a top-break action that partially extracts the casings when opened.
Along with its .22 Magnum cylinder, a second cylinder in .22LR is included with the Ranger II combo models, allowing you to fire whichever ammo might be available.
The easy-loading top-break design of the Ranger II makes it even better than earlier NAA models for defensive purposes. The author plans on adding a set of Laserlyte laser grips to this gun.
Notches between chambers in the Ranger II’s cylinder provide places to rest the hammer during carry so that the firing pin can’t contact a cartridge if the revolver is dropped.