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GUNS Magazine October 2011 Digital Edition - Page 34
MASSAD AYOOB ChIAPPA’S RAdICAL RhINO .357 It looks odd, but the design is truly functional. nspired by the underbarrel Mateba pistol, the chiappa I (pronounced key-yaH-pah) rhino debuted in 2010, and like charlie Brown’s christmas tree, it’s an ugly little thing that wins the hearts of those who get to know it. The lowslung barrel drives recoil straight back into the hand, reducing muzzle rise, and absorbs that rearward impact with a super-cushy, saw-handle grip whose radical angle almost forces a locked grip. The result for shooting is hot .38 Specials feel like mild target rounds, and a full-power .357 Magnum feels like you’re shooting hot .38 Special. A downward press of the lever mounted on the left side of the frame opens the hexagonal cylinder (how’s that for an oxymoron?). I discovered by trial and error the speedloader, which fit it best, was the 3A size from HKS, designed originally for the Ruger Security Six and the Colt Mark III. What looks like a hammer, isn’t; it’s a leverage device that, when brought to the rear, cocks an “underhammer” hidden inside the mechanism. The hammer-lookin’-non-hammer then comes forward, even though a short, The design of the Chiappa Rhino (left) makes for a shorter overall length in this comparison of two 2" .357s (at right is a S&W J-frame 340 M&P). relatively light trigger pull will still fire the gun. A red-tipped projection on the top left of the frame rises up in line of sight to remind you the gun is cocked, even though it doesn’t look that way. On my test gun, thumb-cocking required extremely heavy pressure. Double-action pull was moderately heavy but quite smooth, and 1" groups at 7 yards at PPC speed were easy despite the 2" barrel. Due to the comfortable grips and Luger-like grip angle, pointing was very natural for most on the test team who shot it. The test sample worked fine with lead bullets but wasn’t particularly accurate with them, though, 4" and 5" groups at 25 yards with lead is still no mean feat for a snubnose .357. With jacketed ammo, however, this snubby’s accuracy was absolutely extraordinary. The best group I’ve gotten with it so far was 1.30" for five shots, with Mag-Tech Gold 125-grain .357 Mag; three of them in one ragged hole and about 1/4" apart center to center. Testing with Remington-UMC 125-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint .357, one shot went astray from the rest of the group fired from the 25Maker: cHIaPPa GroUP BreScIa, ITaly IMPorTer: MkS SUPPly 8611-a N. dIxIe dr. dayToN, oH 45414 (877) 425-4867 www.GUNSMaGazINe.coM/ cHIaPPa-FIrearMS RhINO Double-action revolver .357 Magnum CAPACITy: BARREL LENGTh: OvERALL LENGTh: CALIBER: ACTION TyPE: 6 2" 24 ounces Matte black SIGhTS: GRIPS: With the barrel at the unusual 6 o’clock position and high grip angle, the Chiappa Rhino is odd looking, but a totally functional 6-shot revolver. The cylinder lever (right) is at the top of the frame. 34 WEIGhT: FINISh: 6-1/2" Fixed PRICE: Rubber $730 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • OCTOBER 2011