As you might know, TTAG has major wood for the Chiappa Firearms Rhino revolver. Even before Guns & Ammo made the weapon its cover girl, we recognized the Rhino as the first major advancement in pistol design since the Mr. Browning revolutionized the semi. A gun that fires from midships? We’ll bring that bad boy into port anytime. Well, once Chris Dumm blesses the trigger job (story on Monday). We’ve also acknowledged that the Rhino was not Emilio Ghisoni’s first stab at this design. That honor belongs to the Mateba Autorevolver. Which had its issues (blowback?). Which have been resolved with the Rhino. Which doesn’t take away from the fact that Matebas like this one are, now, extremely collectible. And, from the looks of it, a hoot.
Chiappa Firearms President Ron Norton tells TTAG that the initial run of Rhinos has sold out. “We sent out a hundred,” Norton said. “We’re currently on back order.” The Rhino’s Stage One trigger kits—promising to transform the snubbie’s ten-pound trigger pull into something a lot more manageable—are starting to come in from Italy. Chiappa says they’ll ship us a prototype this week or next; our review will follow soon thereafter. The six inch barrel Rhino is also due off the boat, looking to ship in November. “We’ll have the four and five inch barrels in early 2011,” Norton reveals. Meanwhile, don’t get to thinking that this is a mass production deal; Chiappa plans to sell 5000 units in the first year. [Click here to read our review.]
Adam Deciccio from the American Firearms School reckons the new Chiappa Rhino’s trigger is a bit . . . funky. On the [more] positive side, he says the gun reduces muzzle flip and felt recoil. After firing it again, I still can’t group for toffee. Maybe it’s the sights. Or my trigger control. Or the fact that 357 cartridges make a LOT of noise, which makes me flinch. Anyway, the short-barreled Rhino one big, ugly, bad-ass belly gun. And I would really like to test the 4″ version.
That would be Ron Norton, President of Chiappa Firearms. demonstrating the Rhino for our dining and dancing pleasure. “The ammo used was the hottest that I could find,” Ron tells TTAG. “125 grain JHP Classic Federal, 1450 fps. I shot the group in under 1.5 seconds at 21 ft. The grouping was 2″. Please note that 5 of the shots were 1″.” Noted and logged. Thanks Ron.
“There will be two types of people in pistol competition,” Ron Norton tells TTAG. “People who start shooting this pistol and people getting beat by people shooting this pistol.” Well he would say that wouldn’t he, being the President of Chiappa Arms and all. But the man’s got pedigree. Norton built his first gun when he was 12. In the intervening 42 years, the accomplished gunsmith and shooter spent 16 years in the Dayton (Ohio) Police Department and several years with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU). The latter experience, including shooting competitions throughout South America, is what convinces Norton that the Chiappa Rhino is the best thing since sliced Browning. I mean bread . . .