Chiappa Rhino Review Model 60DS 6" .357 Magnum
Part 4 - Advantage of Bottom Chamber Position and Operation
October 15, 2011

Chiappa Rhino Review

In Part 3 of my Chiappa Rhino Review, I covered all the features of the Rhino in great detail except the greatest feature which is the barrel being aligned with the bottom (6 o'clock) chamber position on the cylinder.  I felt I needed to dedicate a little more time to this feature and also discuss the operation of the revolver in more detail.  To help me do this I'm using my Ruger GP100 4" .357 revolver to evaluate the barrel height differences between the Rhino and a standard revolver.  If I were to make this same comparison with another .357 revolver, I may come up with slightly different results, but the overall significant result is the same which is the Rhino will always produce a significantly lower barrel height than a standard revolver.

Figure 1
Ruger GP100 4" Barrel                                                        Chiappa Rhino 6" Barrel
Chiappa Rhino Review

The photo above and below helps to show the overall comparable frame sizes between these two revolvers.  In my opinion, I would consider them to be the same basic frame size.

Figure 2
Chiappa Rhino Review

In the photo below I tried to line up the back of the two revolvers to give you a general idea of the reach to the trigger.  They are similar, but you can see the trigger on the Rhino is more at a vertical angle.

Figure 3
Chiappa Rhino Review

In the photo below, I swapped the Rhino to the front and shifted it forward so you can see how the angle on the grip of the Rhino is more vertical than that of the Ruger.  The girth of the grip on the Rhino is about 5.00" at the mid point and the girth of the Ruger is about 5.13".

Figure 4
Chiappa Rhino Review

In these next two photos I tried to show each revolver in my hand while using a one hand shooting position.  Although I don't have a photo to show both revolvers in the single action trigger position,  the total trigger travel to the single action position measured about 0.35" for the Rhino and 0.55" for the Ruger.  You can get an idea of the difference in travel based on the space behind the trigger to the guard.  This shorter double action pull on the Rhino means the possibility of faster double action shooting.

Figure 5
Chiappa Rhino Review

Figure 6
Chiappa Rhino Review

In the photo below, I overlaid the two photos above and tried to line up the top of my thumb knuckle and the top of my wrist above point B.  I felt this was a good way to show the relative differences in barrel heights between these two revolvers.  I decided to do a worst case evaluation of the longest distances between the line of actions of the barrels and a pivot point on my hand.  For this worst case I selected point A which represents the approximate center of my wrist.  In this case, a comparison of the perpendicular distances of parallel lines that pass through barrel centers to a line parallel through point A showed that the distance for the Rhino is about 36% shorter than the distance for the Ruger.  Basically, the felt recoil tilt (muzzle flip) of a handgun is equal to the recoil force along the barrel axis multiplied by the distance to some pivot point on your hand.  A 36% shorter distance to the pivot point means 36% less felt recoil tilt (muzzle flip).  Not knowing exactly how the body may react to this recoil tilt, the pivot point could possibly move up to somewhere near point B.  If this is the case, then you may have as much as 50% less felt recoil tilt.

This shortening of the distance to some pivot point on your hand actually appears to come from two sources.  The first source is straight forward and it is the barrel position.  The second source appears to be that the Rhino actually sits lower in your hand than the Ruger.  The best way to see this is in the photo below by looking at the differences in cylinder height between the two revolvers.  Actually, when gripping the Rhino, it appears that the barrel is in line with the meaty area between my thumb and index finger.

Figure 7
Chiappa Rhino Review

 

In these next photos I'm trying to show my basic hand position when operating the Rhino with a single handed grip.  In most cases I shoot with a two handed grip, but my left hand wraps around my right.  Keep in mind that my hand size is a medium girth with long fingers and this may potentially be the optimum hand size for a Rhino with medium grips.

Figure 8 - Double Action
Chiappa Rhino Review

I was able to reach the external cocking hammer while maintaining my normal grip on the revolver.

Figure 9 - Preparing to Cock External Hammer
Chiappa Rhino Review

One potential improvement I found was that 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 external 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 and a rounded corner would go a long way in adding comfort to this action.  I was able to cock the hammer with either my right (strong) or left (weak) hand.

Figure 10 - External Hammer Fully Cocked
Chiappa Rhino Review

Figure 11 - Single Action
Chiappa Rhino Review

I was able to easily reach and press the cylinder opening lever with the side of my thumb.  Although different, the overall motion of pressing the cylinder opening lever on the Rhino was similar to the Ruger.

Figure 12 - Pressing Cylinder Opening Lever
Chiappa Rhino Review

In this next series of photos I'm trying to show the details of the mechanisms inside the Chiappa Rhino Revolver.  As I stated in Part 3 of the review, I DO NOT recommend removing your lock plate unless you are skilled with these types of mechanisms.  When I removed my lock plate, parts went everywhere and it took a couple of iterations to get it back together.

I tried to label the visible key components, but there are other key components behind those shown in this view.  Overall I think this gives you a good idea on the inner workings of the Rhino.

Figure 13 - Uncocked
Chiappa Rhino Review

These next 4 photos show the Rhino in an uncocked and cocked state.  You can click on these photos (or any other in the review) to bring up high resolution photos allowing you to see more details.  Specifically, these 4 photos are extreme HD photos.  Maybe they will help the poor soul who was brave (stupid) enough to remove the lock plate and is now faced with trying to figure out how to reassemble his Rhino like I was.

Figure 13 - Uncocked
Chiappa Rhino Review

Figure 14 - Cocked
Chiappa Rhino Review

Since I already took them, I decided to add two more photos that have a slightly different camera angle.  You may have also noticed that it looks like the inside of the revolver comes pre-lubricated from the the factory with some type of dry film lubricant.  The User's Manual recommends to use a dry molybdenum disulfide lubricant.

Figure 15 - Uncocked                                            Figure 16 - Cocked
  

 

 

Thoughts

Based on the geometry of this revolver alone, 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 react the tilting moment .  I can say that it will be somewhere between a 35% and 50% reduction in felt recoil tilt and that's significant.  For my hand size, I like the feel and overall ergonomics of the Rhino.  The only change I would make would be in the shape of the external cocking lever.  I believe it could be rounded more on the front edge to provide a better surface for thumb cocking.  The increased complexity of the internal mechanisms is the price to pay for having the lower barrel position.  How much increased complexity the Rhino may actually be, depends on which revolver you compare to the Rhino.  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.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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