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
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
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
Target Shooting version, featuring a new
standard in competition.
Different grips size and finish available
for maximum comfort.
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.
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
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.
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"
FAQs page at the Chiappa website actually states a twist rate
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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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