Introduced earlier this year, the American-made Barkeep from Georgia-based Heritage Manufacturing is an inexpensive and convertible single-action rimfire revolver that is a lot of fun to shoot.
An homage to the chopped down Sheriff's Model and Storekeeper variants of the Colt Single Action Army, the Barkeep runs a 2.68-inch barrel while keeping a near full-sized grip. The short length deletes the traditional onboard ejection rod but gives the gun a kind of old-school snub-nosed look to it.
We put about 1,000 rounds through the little Barkeep, stretching across Blazer and CCI bulk pack, Mexican-produced Eley Sport, some ancient plastic boxes of Winchester Super X and CCI Mini Mags, some Aquila specialty rounds, and, once swapping out the cylinder, CCI VNT magnums.
We spent a lot of time loading and unloading the Barkeep on the range, but whenever we weren't moving brass around, the gun was a lot of fun to fire.
In the end, the Barkeep – which has an MSRP of about $180 – feels good and works well. The closest comparison we can think of in terms of price is Ruger's new Wrangler series, which is just a few bucks more. However, the Wrangler is bigger – currently just offered with a longer 4.62-inch barrel and a more utilitarian Cerakote finish – and unlike the Barkeep does not have the option of converting to .22 WMR.
A subsidiary of Taurus for the past several years, Heritage manufactured an impressive 187,104 revolvers in 2018, mostly .22s, as detailed by federal regulators. The company recently opened a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Bainbridge, Georgia, where Taurus is increasingly moving production to the U.S.
To see how Heritage builds their guns, check out the below video that American Rifleman TV just released.