Competition Firearms Handguns Reviews

Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite 1000 Rounds Later

The Mark IV continues to be one of my all time favorite 22 LR pistols to compete in Steel Challenge with. Having now put 1000 rounds of CCI Mini Mag through it, I have more to say about it.

It’s taken me roughly ten months to get a thousand rounds through the Ruger Mark IV which is quite a bit longer than I expected. Seriously, I expected this hot purple rimfire blaster to go through this amount of .22 LR much faster since it’s one of my favorites to shoot and tinker with. However, that expectation wasn’t realistic. The fact is that this pistol only gets shot at local Steel Challenge matches which happens at most once a month and some months the carry optics (CO) division pistol gets priority. As such, I’m not surprised that my expectations were not met.

In the course of the thousand rounds, I’ve made a few small changes to the Mark IV which I’ll get to shortly. I also experienced a few issues with it, most of which were related to the accessory rail on the top of the pistol. I’ll get to those in this post as well. I’ve also had a couple of chances to perform some routine maintenance on it which have influenced my opinion on the pistol a little bit. Last, but not least, there are some things I’d like to change about it based on how I’m using it and what I’ve discovered from using it in the Rimfire Pistol Open (RFPO) Steel Challenge division.

Let’s begin with the changes. 

The very first thing I added to this pistol was a halo Charging Ring from Tandemkross. The ring attaches to the back of the charging handle and virtually eliminates the proverbial pinch many folks experience from time to time while working the charging handle. Don’t know if I was experiencing that pinch more or less than the average Mark IV shooter, but it was happening frequently enough to me that this was a highly anticipated and welcomed upgrade. 

Since I was already shopping Tandemkross for the charging ring, I decided to throw a Game Changer Pro compensator in the cart. Even though the recoil on the Mark IV is virtually nonexistent and putting a compensator on it might seem silly or excessive, the reality is that RFPO Steel Challenge stage times are stupid fast. As such, taking advantage of every possible technique and accessory to further reduce muzzle rise is arguably required in order to perform competitively in that division. Plus the compensator looks cool. And who doesn’t want to look cool?

The last changes involved me playing with the location of the mounted optic on the accessory rail. At first, I placed it as far forward on the rail as possible. My logic for this placement wasn’t very well thought out, but was entirely without basis. I took my preference from mounting dots on AR pattern rifles as far forward as possible on the upper receiver (not the hand rail). I also thought that maybe this placement would help mitigate the tiny amount of muzzle rise a smidge more. I can’t really say if any mitigation was present or not, but I can tell you that it made the optics viewport incredibly small and made the small optic more susceptible to losing the dot. Given I wasn’t a fan of the far forward positioning, I decided to move the optic as far back as possible on the rail. The way the rail mount interfaced with the rail created a mechanical misalignment problem that would have required more windage adjustment than the optic was capable of in order to correct. As such, I moved the dot one slot forward from the rearmost position on the rail and that’s where the optic has lived since. I like that position as it maximizes the size of the viewport and has worked well for me.

The mechanical misalignment of the optic to the pistol on the rearmost position of the rail was the first issue I encountered with the Mark IV. I think the blame is better placed on the rail mount rather than the accessory rail and it was easy to correct. The next issue occurred with the accessory rail coming loose in the middle of a match. It wasn’t a big deal, but it did cost me a stage and that annoyed me. I corrected it by tightening the mounting screws and everything was fine until the accessory rail came loose once again at another match. This time around I took the rail off and discovered that the mounting screws did not have threadlocker on them from the factory. Again, I was annoyed. After cleaning the surfaces and following my standard pistol optic mounting procedures, I haven’t had any problems with the rai since. 

Another issue that I’ve experienced more than once is getting the magazines to properly seat in the Mark IV when “making ready” for a Steel Challenge stage. My remedy to this problem is to use my thumb to carefully press the magazine into the pistol after inserting it as I normally would. I’m tempted to pick up MarkPRO extended magazine bumpers from Tandemkross with the hopes that the bumper will eliminate the need to perform the thumb press, but this customization isn’t a top priority. 

The Mark IV has experienced two failures to feed. Both of these occurred as the round count approached 500 rounds since the last time routine cleaning and maintenance was performed so I’m chalking those malfunctions to a dirty gun. 

Speaking of routine maintenance, the push button takedown is fantastic. It really does make field stripping the gun for cleaning stupid easy. On the other hand, I found that getting a cleaning rod down the barrel to be a bit frustrating as it has to travel a good bit down the upper receiver before reaching the chamber. The available openings at the bottom of the receiver and the execution port are a little small for me to hold a small cleaning patch with my fingers near the chamber. As a result, I have to place the patch on the cleaning jag before navigating the upper with the rod to meet the chamber. I suspect cleaning the barrel would be easier with the assistance of a rod guide or using a cleaning rope instead of a rod. 

The two routing cleanings and maintenance I’ve done took place right around the 500 round mark after the previous cleaning. In both instances, I was quite surprised to find the Mark IV wasn’t nearly as dirty as I expected it to be. A contributing factor may be the strict diet of CCI Mini-Mag the Mark IV has been on, but I have nothing to compare it to since that’s all I’ve fed it. On the other hand, the compensator has taken on quite a bit of carbon build up that has been more challenging to clean. 

In terms of changes I’d like to make to it, there are a few. First and foremost, I’d like to get a better trigger on the Mark IV. The stock trigger isn’t bad, but I’d like one with a little less pre-engagement and over travel as there have been a few occasions where the slop in the trigger tripped me up when shooting stages at maximum performance. I’m thinking about changing out the grips. Like the stock trigger, the stock grips are decent, but I’d like something with more aggressive texturing and a bit more of a swell. I wouldn’t mind a little extra pop of color either. Last, but not least, I’m considering a different optic and mounting system. The accessory rail and rail mount make that height over bore a little high for my liking. It’s not really an issue for the type of shooting I’m doing with it, but I think changing it could shave off a little weight which can’t hurt as I work on reducing my transition time. While the Primary Arms SLx RS-10 has worked well so far, I’d prefer an optic with a larger MOA dot. Additionally, the SLx RS-10 features a Docter footprint while most of the other pistol mountable optics I have access to use the RMR footprint. As such, if I do end up trading the accessory rail for a lower profile optic adapter plate, the adapter plate it will likely be for an RMR footprint which will likely result in mounting either a Trijicon SRO or a Holosun 507COMP to the Mark IV. Time will tell which of these changes, if any, take place between now and the 2,000 round mark. 

Overall, I’m very happy with the Mark IV. It’s been a hoot to shoot at Steel Challenge matches and I plan to continue doing just that with it. It’s run well enough for that application. It’s also been very easy and inexpensive to maintain and keep running. I expect hitting the 2,000 round mark will happen in another ten or so months assuming I keep competing with it at the same pace I have been. The Mark IV continues to be a 22 LR pistol that I will suggest to folks who are looking for a fun rimfire target pistol to use recreationally or in competitions like Steel Challenge. 


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