My review of the Chiappa Rhino. 357 Magnum was great fun to write. And the research was no drag either; it’s not every day that you get to blast away with a heavy-hitting concealed carry pistol that has nearasdammit no recoil at all. And when that pistol is also remarkably accurate, weighs only a few ounces heavier than a Walther PPK and looks like you stole it from the set of a James Cameron sci-fi spectacle, that doesn’t make your reviewer’s job any harder either.
In fact, the only sour note in my my entire Opus Rhinoceros was my dissatisfaction with its excessively heavy double-action trigger pull. How heavy was it? I’ll never know for sure (my gunsmith’s trigger gauge didn’t go high enough) but it was fifteen pounds if it was an ounce, and it may have been twenty. I’m sure my chunkiest cat, a clawless and tailless tuxedo tabby with a physique like Ralph Kramden, could have hung for dear life from the Rhino’s trigger and not set it off.
It almost required the strength of two fingers to pull it.
The Ironman trigger didn’t disguise the Rhino’s outstanding inherent accuracy, but it hampered what should have been a sublime double-action shooting experience and produced only acceptable practical accuracy. The revolutionary Rhino was only a long trigger pull from perfection.
The folks at Chiappa were not deaf to this tragedy, and as it happens they already had a solution in the works. The solution: their ‘Stage One’ trigger upgrade, a $100-ish process that President Ron Norton said would lighten and smooth out the double-action trigger pull.
And it does. The recently renovated Rhino arrived at my gunsmith’s a few days ago, wearing attractive wood grips and a new trigger package. The laser-stippled wooden grips are listed as being smaller than the optional rubberized grips. Robert Farago found the rubberized grips too large to allow him a proper hold on the pistol, and when I ship it to him (wait your turn!) we shall see if the wooden grips fit smaller hands better.
So, what about the trigger? Does it solve the problem?
All I can say right now is “I think so.” The fates conspired against me and I wasn’t able to shoot the Rhino yet in a manner that would have taught me anything meaningful. My local public shooting range has a long list of rules which include ‘no rapid fire’ (as though one shot per second is ‘rapid’) and no photography. Since most of my efforts would have been devoted to exactly thos two activities, I will have to wait until next weekend to shoot the bejeesus out of the Rhino again, at a place with fewer rules.
Until that happy day, I can report that the double-action pull is now a smooth eight pounds instead of the knuckle-torqueing 15 or 20 pounds that it was. And the single-action pull is a very smooth 3.5 pounds. I think it will deliver the goods this time around, but I can’t be sure until I wring it out thoroughly and tell you all about it. Watch this space.