NRA Show Must Have

There are two guns that I saw at the NRA Convention that made me FLIP, one was the FNH SCAR-17 that I talked about on Vicious Circle #50 and I’ll probably be doing a brief review of later. The other was the Chiappa Rhino

First up, Chiappa, your website SUCKS, the flier I got from their booth is MUCH nicer, and shows a wide range of barrel lengths. Hopefully they’ll get a better page, or more bloggers will do what I’m doing a review their stuff so we can go someplace for some better Rhino Porn.

There is their 5″ model. Now I’m totally digging when people play with how the revolver works. Seems that overall ever since S&W invented the hand-ejector, overall the design of the revolver essentially stalled, meanwhile there are a ton of different pistol actions, and materials. That Has Changed Recently.

I have handled both of the above guns, and I like the feel of the Ruger LCR, and I’d REALLY like to get my hands on their new .357 Magnum version. I also handled the S&W Bodyguard and I found the cylinder latch to be a prime example of fixing something that isn’t broken. I’ll stick with my S&W642, thanks Guys!

Well the Rhino is another radical departure from the conventional revolver. The big change is of course the barrel position. This is a 6-shot .357 Magnum and the barrel is aligned with the lowest position in the cylinder. This coupled with the grip shape the webbing of your hand will be DIRECTLY in line with the bore axis. This should eliminate a LOT of muzzle flip as well as felt recoil.

Another HUGE change is the cylinder is Hexagonal in shape and unfluted. This means the profile of the gun is very flat. The frame is also made of an aluminum alloy, meaning this 5″ model weighs 31 oz. as you can see in the web page above they have a 2″ snubbie that tips the scales at 24oz. These guns are made for carry, not for target shooting, like the Mateba which was designed by the same man IIRC.

Another weird thing is the “Hammer” which is actually a “Cocking Actuator”. You pull it back and it cocks the gun’s internal hammer, but then it returns to rest, so visually you can only tell the position of the internal hammer by seeing the trigger position. To decock the gun you pull the actuator back, pull the trigger, and lower the hammer. Some have seen this as a safety issue, but overall I don’t see it as any more dangerous than manipulating the hammer on a conventional revolver (DA or SA). I will say that they do at least have a 2″ snubbie without the “hammer” in essentially a “Centennial” configuration. This is the winning configuration for any carry or defensive gun, if you ask me, as it simplifies the gun, and closes up the action from getting dirt in it. That being said, if you ignore this “Hammer” it won’t cause you any issue.
Let’s look at the guts!

Not a great picture, but a better one can be viewed here
Really takes that “I like revolvers because they’re simple” down a few pegs, doesn’t it?

Also the cylinder release is a simple lever that is easy to manipulate and I see it as no different than the sundry differences between the latches of a S&W vs. Ruger Vs. Colt. The guns I held very much felt like prototypes, not early production models, they were tight and rough. Took a bit of work to get the cylinder open, and work to get it closed, and the trigger felt “unfinished” but honestly it was a good weight, and didn’t stack. IMHO the grit would likely vanish with some dry firing and range use, but if the folks at Chiappa manage to clean that up a bit, more the better. Another nice feature is the 4″ and up all have rails for scopes and lights and such milled into the barrel shroud and sight rib.

I certainly am looking forward to getting the 2″ Snub (Specifically the one without the “Hammer” and with the rubber rather than wooden grips, as I prefer those) I see it as a very interesting carry option, and I think the ergonomics will do a LOT for taming recoil of heavy .357 Magnum loads, and it looks like a nice way to conceal 6 shots in a small package.

MSRP is listed for the snub at $795, which I hope will translate to $600 retail, which seems VERY reasonable to me.

Seriously, I’ve been dreaming about this gun!

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0 Responses to NRA Show Must Have

  1. Linoge says:

    Thanks to some shoddy driving on my part, by the time I am in any position to be procuring a revolver, this may be out, and I might be gerbil-izing myself… The lower-axis barrel and overall design appeal to me, especially being something of an engineer, and having a taste for whacky-assed ideas.

    And this thing pretty much defines whacky-assed.

    I have to admit that the crazy clockwork going on behind the sideplate concerns me slightly, if only because the average ‘smith might look at that and go “WTF, mate?”, but if the concept works as well as I hope it does, this could be a pretty nifty toy indeed.

    Of course, holsters for it are going to be bleeding impossible.

  2. “This should eliminate a LOT of muzzle flip as well as felt recoil.”

    It ought to reduce muzzle flip, it probably won’t reduce recoil. In fact for some people it may make it worse as the gun will recoil into the hand instead of rotating and recoiling about the hand. The latter lets you spread the recoil impulse over a longer distance and makes for a more comfortable shot.

    “Some have seen this as a safety issue, but overall I don’t see it as any more dangerous than manipulating the hammer on a conventional revolver (DA or SA).”

    The hammer on a DA or SA revolver doesn’t give you false indication about whether the gun is cocked or not. Depending on trigger position to tell you this is a bad idea.

    “Really takes that “I like revolvers because they’re simple” down a few pegs, doesn’t it?”

    Few people who have ever seen the internals on a double action revolver think they’re simpler than an automatic. The reason people think revolvers are more reliable is because failure to feed and eject are essentially non-issues.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I simply mean “Felt Recoil”, and you’re right it might feel more like a hammer as the recoil impulse is directed straight back, but I think it would make better use of the hand so possibly light.

      Unless I can’t ever afford one, I was very taken by this gun, so when I get a chance to shoot it, I sure as hell will!

  3. Wally says:

    So what’s the dif between that Rhino and the Mateba ? (I think that has the same punchline as the dif betwen romneycare and obamacare)

    Got to fondle a NIB mateba a few months ago. I really realy wanted one, before I picked it up – but I was left cold. Based on the pics you posted, that *is* a mateba with a rail on it.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Nope, no Semi-auto action bits, also appears to have a MUCH higher grip axis to the bore.

      BTW what turned you off on the Mateba? I know a semi-auto revolver just seems to be an answer searching for a question in my book.

  4. Wally says:

    Idunno exactly what turned me off, I’m not much of a wheelgun guy but I am a sucker for off-the-wall guns. It was neat, certainly unique in style, but didn’t seem to be a quality build. The hex cylinder, however, was really impressive. Made good sense and looked pretty sharp. But overall it didn’t have a good feel for me – and I know that’s not much of an answer. But this example was NIB. If it had some wear and tear to the point where I wouldn’t mind using it, then perhaps for the novelty factor.

    I have laid my hands on NIB Matebas, Gyro Jets, and Dardicks. They all were exceptionally neat, but never really did any scream out to me as “ZOMG must have!”. But the next time I find a Colt Camp Perry single shot quasi-revolver, That sucker is coming home with me!

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Keep your eyes peeled for the Rhino, I think you might be a bit more impressed. Looking at the pictures of the two side-by-side you can tell they have the same Daddy, but they aren’t the same gun.

      FYI My Mechanic has a Dardick, I really need to get a look at it!

      Also when you say “Quasi Revolver” you mean those old top-break S&W single shots?

    • Thomas says:

      You probably don’t want a SAW version of a SA-80 to convert to a legal semi-version p-dog gun either 🙂

      Some of us are warped in different ways than others.

      If we all liked the same guns it’d be a boring market.

  5. Wally says:

    Definitely check out the Dardick. It’s a really really neat design. The pistol itself looks and feels like a toy gun, and the loading flap doesn’t help the overall impression. Outstanding as a neat attempt to put some new technology into a glacially slow moving field.

    Colt’s camp perry 22 doesn’t have a convenient description. In profile, it looks like a .22 revolver with an 8″ barrel. If you look at it from an angle, it looks like a 22 revolver that passed under a steam roller. The fluted cylinder is actually flat, about 1/2″ thick, and holds one round. To load, press the loading latch and the barrel and cylinder swing out – as a unit – almost as if a customary cylinder crane was really drunk.

    1920s-1940 production IIRC.

  6. Thomas says:

    Mateba did an “inline” revolver that is even more interesting. Friend has one and I’ve not been able to find one myself yet but I WILL before I die as he who dies with the most toys wins or something…

    Different price range but eminently cool tech.

    Cooler than a Webley-Fosbery! Which are quite cool for what they were but also rare as hen’s teeth.

    Every once in a while the Italians get one done properly 🙂

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Yeah the Mateba inline was really cool (can’t seem to find a picture of it) tho that gun seems to be 100% for target shooting, and not the type of gun I’d want to use for personal defense.

      Again I think the Rhino seems to get things very right as far as a defensive gun goes, as well as a fun range gun.

  7. Pingback: Weer'd World » Failure Points

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