Chiappa Rhino Review Model 60DS 6" .357 Magnum
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
November 25, 2011

It is not every day that a firearms manufacturer introduces a product that breaks the traditional views on the configuration of a firearm, but that is exactly what Italian firearms manufacturer Chiappa Firearms did when they started production of the Rhino Revolver back in 2009.  In the case of the Rhino, the greatest deviation from the traditional mold is that the barrel is located in-line with the 6 o'clock position on the cylinder, not the 12 o'clock position.  The advantage of this configuration is a reduction in the muzzle-flip and felt recoil of the revolver and will be discussed in greater detail further in the review.

For those familiar with the Mateba Model 6 Unica, you know that the Rhino is not the first revolver to come out of Italy having this configuration; both the Mateba and the Rhino share roots back to gun designer Emilio Ghisoni which explains some of their similarity.  Chiappa Firearms currently (October 2011) has 5 variations of the Rhino listed at their website; 2" black finish, 2" steel (silver) finish, 4" black finish, 5" black finish and 6" black finish.

This is a review of the Chiappa Model 60DS 6" Black Finish Rhino Revolver, but due to the similarity with the other models, this review will give you good idea on what to expect in a Rhino Revolver.  I decided to go with this 6" model for several reasons.  The first is that I seem to spend more time target shooting and a longer sight radius along with the capability to install some type of rail mounted optic was a big plus.  Next, I'm a big believer that every gun should have the capability to mount a light and the lower rail satisfied that need.  Another reason was that this 6" model seems to have the most eye appeal (my opinion).  Last, the added barrel length is always a good thing in a revolver if you are going to use it for hunting purposes.  This length increases bullet velocity which in turn puts more energy down range.

If you are interested in a Rhino, the hard part may be getting an opportunity to find one in your local stores.  Fortunately, today's market has driven many firearm dealers into doing transfer for a reasonable fee.  This allows you the opportunity to search the internet and find exactly what you want and also shop for the most competitive price.  In most cases online, the price of the Model 60DS Rhino ranges between $800 and $900.

 

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturers claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Chiappa Firearms website on 10/9/2011 and gives their Key Features and Specifications for the Rhino Revolver.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Key Features

  • Target Shooting version, featuring a new standard in competition.
  • Different grips size and finish available for maximum comfort. Link Here to Chiappa Firearms Store
  • The new Chiappa Rhino has revolutionized the revolver with a patented design that tames the prehistoric characteristic that most revolvers possess. The new Chiappa Rhino barrel is aligned with the bottom most chamber which is the key component to Rhino's tame characteristics. The position of the barrel lowers the center of gravity and yields a centerline of the bore more in line with the shooter's arm allowing for the most natural "point ability" while engaging a target. This characteristic also drastically reduces both recoil and muzzle flip which insures subsequent shots to be on target faster than ever before. The reduction of the recoil allows for the use of ultra light alloys to be used in the construction of the Rhino minimizing any adverse effect.
  • The flat sided cylinder design of the Rhino reduces the typical revolver profile allowing greater concealment. Reduces total width of the revolver by 0.12"
  • With choices from 2"to 6" barrel lengths and sight options, the Rhino is truly a multipurpose handgun capable of reliable defensive duty, scoring ten rings, and taking game.
  • Featuring both double and single action characteristics, the single action is actuated by a hammer cocking device that engages the unexposed hammer to prepare to fire.

Specifications

  • Model: 60DS
  • Barrel Length: 6"
  • Item Number: 340-073
  • Description: Mod. RHINO
  • Caliber: .357 Mag
  • No. Shots: 6
  • Total Length: 266 mm Actually measured about 10.6" or 269 mm which is close enough.
  • Rifling: 6 - 1x19" The FAQs page at the Chiappa website actually states a twist rate of 1x18.75"
  • Weight: 936 grams 948 grams measured but it is close enough to the specification weight

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping into the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • The Rhino Revolver is clearly a head turner.  From the time I picked it up at the store to every time I pull it out to show my colleagues and friends, the Rhino generates excitement and interest.
  • For my size hands (medium girth and long fingers), the Rhino's medium grip is extremely comfortable and and I can manipulate both the external hammer and cylinder opening lever with my hand in the normal position on the grip.
  • Based on the geometry of this revolver, reduced felt recoil tilt (muzzle flip) will happen.  Exactly how much is hard to say because it is hard to define the exact pivot location on your wrist due to your bones and ligaments that reacts the tilting moment .  I can say that it will be somewhere between a 35% and 50% reduction in felt recoil tilt and that is significant.  Based on my range testing, I would say it is closer to a 50% reduction.
  • Shorter double action trigger pull for potentially faster double action shooting.
  • Great accuracy with an average group size of 1.64" from 25 yards while shooting from a bench.

Pro?/Con?/Comment? You Decide:

  • The User's Manual is generic for all Rhino revolvers and does not include an exploded view and parts list dedicated to the 4", 5" or 6" barrel length models and there are some differences.
  • The external hammer is spring loaded to go back to the up position after cocking the revolver for single action shots.  A single action indicator is provided to give the shooter a visible indication of the state of the internal hammer because this state can not be identified by looking at the external hammer.
  • The combination of the 6 o'clock barrel position and reverse rotating (clockwise) cylinder makes this a revolver requiring a little more thought and training when it comes to safety.
  • The complexity of the internal mechanisms is the price to pay for having the lower barrel position.  But, if we could see the complexity in other firearms, the complexity of the Rhino may not be as concerning as you may think.  Only time will tell if this complexity/design will ever become a problem.  Personally, I'm not too concerned with this as long as it can shoot well.

Cons:

  • The front of the external cocking hammer needs to be rounded more so that you are not bearing your thumb on the front corner of the hammer when cocking.  Since the Model 60DS is considered more of a target/hunting revolver with the 6" barrel, I can see most of my target/hunting shots being taken in the single action mode.  During the accuracy portion of my range testing I shot each round in the single action mode and I never noticed the corner of the cocking hammer as being significantly uncomfortable.  Still, I believe a little rounding would be a good thing.

 

Bottom Line:

The Chiappa Rhino Model 60DS has quickly become one of my favorite firearms.  During my range testing I shot over 250 rounds of various types of ammo.  It never had a single issue with firing or extracting the cases.  The reduction in muzzle flip made shooting the .38 Special rounds feel like .22LR (maybe a little exaggeration, but not much) and the .357 Magnum rounds were really enjoyable to shoot.  Although I put a red dot scope on the Rhino, the sights that come with the revolver functioned without issue and easily adjusted to the point of impact.  I feel the Rhino has more accuracy than I was able to achieve, but a 1.64" group average from 16 different 5-shot groups at 25 yards is not bad.  Clearly 250+ rounds will in no way tell how durable this revolver will be over time, but it I see no reason why the Rhino wouldn't go the distance.  The next time you're at the gun store, make it a point to take a look at a Chiappa Rhino and I think you will be pleased with what you see.


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