Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Taylor's & Company Ridge Runner Lever Action Rifle

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get to test a lever action rifle that is manufactured by Chiappa and being distributed by Taylor's and Company. Their 1886 Ridge Runner in .45-70.


At first glance, it looked like any other lever action rifle with a few exceptions. The first thing I noticed was the matte blued finish. The matte complimented the rubber covered wood stock perfectly. The stock being covered in a rubberized finish was black and felt good in the hands. It provided a good grip without over doing it.

I really liked the big loop. Too many lever guns have a loop that does not fit bigger hands, and certainly not any hands in gloves. The Ridge Runner covers this with its generous loop. Lastly, I noticed the large muzzle brake on the end. Being a lover of big bore lever guns, I can appreciate any attempt to reduce recoil. It also comes with a thread protector if you want to take the muzzle brake off. Though, I do not know why anyone would.

Following the 1886 Winchester design, the Ridge Runner has a top eject, something I personally do not care for, but it is in keeping with the original design. To compensate for this, the Ridge Runner comes with a tactical rail mounted in front of the action to accommodate long eye relief optics. It also comes with a Skinner peep sight that is fast to acquire and pretty accurate from the factory. Minor adjustments were needed to get it on the steel targets, but it was simple enough.

Picking up the Ridge Runner the rifle just felt like a carbine big bore rifle should feel. Balanced, sturdy and well built. All of the fits were tight and well made. The action was tight at first, but after firing some rounds through it and working the action, it loosened up a bit, but not too much.

Proceeding to the firing range, I opened a box of Black Hills Ammunition's 405 grain .45-70 bullets. what a beast of a bullet! Made for their Cowboy action shooters, the Black Hills ammunition was the perfect fit for the Ridge Runner. This ammunition is the perfect companion for this style of rifle. I really like the vintage packaging that fits with the old style rifle. I will certainly shoot more Black Hills ammunition in the future.

I have shot and tested a lot of big bore lever guns, from all of the major manufacturers and I can say without hesitation that the Ridge Runner is the best shooting one of them all. The only draw back is the top ejection  - which as I said earlier I am personally not fond of. But the feel, weight, balance and accuracy out of the box were extraordinary.

I had no way of testing the recoil difference. But when I removed the muzzle brake in favor of the thread protector it felt more like shooting a twelve gauge in 3 1/2" steel shot! With the muzzle brake on, it was a light 20 gauge. The difference was extreme. As a comparison, I shot fifty rounds of this rifle with the muzzle brake in place. Something I would never consider in any of my other lever guns. The most I have shot of my other .45-70 lever guns was ten shots before it becomes uncomfortable. Being able to shoot this rifle over and over is a thrill and the time on the range is extended due to the muzzle brake. I really wish other manufacturers offered this option on their big bore rifles.

MSRP on the Ridge Runner is $1,830. A bit steep for this market but a gun well worth the price. If you are looking for a big bore rifle that will put a smile on your face each time you shoot it, the Ridge Runner is the gun to choose. In the world of lever action rifles, the venerable 1886 action is a classic design that has proven the test of time. Marry this with a modern manufacturing process, muzzle brake and rubber coated stock, and you have the makings of a great rifle. The Ridge Runner, by Taylor's and Company is a great gun for your next purchase.


















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