Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chiappa Rhino .357 Magnum makes underwhelming first impression

I'm underwhelmed. The long-awaited arrival of what I thought might be my next snubby finally came in today at the gun shop where I work. The Chiappa Arms Rhino Model 200DS .357 Magnum is about as plug-ugly as I expected. They don't call it the Rhino for nothing. It's about as ugly as a Rhino, which ain't pretty.
I like the concept, a revolver with the barrel aligned with the bottom cylinder rather than the top. The lower bore axis has a lot to do with controlling recoil and the video I posted of a Rhino being shot proves it.

But the actual revolver itself sorta shouts "Chiappa" which ain't a good thing. The other Chiappa firearms we have in stock are pot-metal 1911 .22 pistols and I have not been impressed with them at all.
The Rhino seems to be more of the same. And it's quite odd too. The lever on the left side is the cylinder release. It has a steel barrel liner and 6-slab-sided cylinder, but the rest is all alloy of some type, including the trigger and the external hammer, which is actually just a cocking lever, not the actual hammer itself. It has an internal hammer which does the actual work of detonating cartridge primers.

The grip is a bit small for my hands, too, but overall I just wasn't impressed with the "feel" of it. Maybe the shooting will be the proof for the pudding, but that won't happen for me unless we get a used one. I'll be posting the Rhino on on Monday for $700, which is a bit steep for what you get, IMHO.

And it has an odd double-action/single-action system. You can cock what appears to be the hammer for single-action shooting, but it's an external cocking lever which really isn't the hammer and after it's cocked, the lever then flips back forward to serve as a rear sight notch. And how do you decock it?

I read the manual. Hold the cocking-lever back and pull the trigger, then lower it slowly. Sounds like a plan for disaster to me. I foresee Rhino shooters getting frequent-visitor points at their neighborhood ER.


J said...

Your words seem pretty strong without even trying it! I did, and immediately purchased one. Unbeliveable accuracy and control for a snubby.

netfotoj said...

I can't "try it." The gun shop does not allow anyone to shoot new guns, even employees. The only way I can "try it" is to buy it. I may yet, but I was just giving my first impression from handling it. And first impression was not impressive.

Dr George Commons, MD said...

This gun is amazing. The accuracy even with supercharged loads is a+. Even my wife loves it. I can shoot better with this amazing revolver than I can with my Glock 45 or my Baretta 9 mm. Buy this revolver at 700 and you have a steal!

Anonymous said...

This gun is a lot lot better than most expensive semi auto pistols and revolvers of heavy caliber. Very little recoil