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New Chiappa Rhino: Do not take apart! (A review)

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Dannicus, May 27, 2014.

  1. Dannicus

    Dannicus Tacoma Active Member

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    Got a new Chiappa Rhino on Saturday and I wanted to share my experience with it so far.
    A pre-summary:
    -It's well put together.
    -The low bore axis is AWESOME!
    -It functions like a champ so far (just 200 rounds of .357).
    -It carries quite nicely concealed in the included OWB holster.
    It seems that this strange little revolver has been refined a lot since it came out. I gather this because most of what I have read or watched about it doesn't seem to apply to the one I got.
    I've read things like:
    "Gritty, stage-y trigger": Nope. The trigger on the one I purchased was smooth as silk out of the box except for a hitch in just the first bit of movement which went away after a little dry firing. The trigger is a bit on the heavy side; lighter than a bear trap SP101, about the same as a 642.
    "Poor finish/build quality": Nope again. This thing is really well done. The finish is smooth and even, all parts fit cleanly with each other. There's an air of precision with the thing that justifies the lofty price tag to me. Lockup is on par or better than that of current Rugers and Smiths in its class. Cylinder gap is on the close side. I'm amazed that the old ones must have been so much worse. Users have compared the build quality to Taurus and Charter. Chiappa must have let the early versions of these things out the door fitting/looking like crap, but their game has been upped. I think Chiappa is putting some serious effort into making Rhinos their flagship centerfire handgun now. And for the price, they better be.
    Like any new gun, I decided to dissasemble, clean and re-lube. If you have seen this pic,
    dsc03717.jpg ,
    you know that once you get the side cover off, you're in deep. :eek: It's obvious that the design of the lockwork is such that clearances are critical. There are multiple operations happening side by side on each pin, and all this relies heavily on alignment and being sandwiched just right. Too loose and things will slide by each other, wedge, and lock everything up. Too tight and the excess friction will cause binding.
    Getting into the guts is not for the uninitiated. This is exacerbated by the fact that the pins that hold all the internals can freely decide whether they want to stay in the frame, or if they want to come out still attached to the side cover. Add that to the fact that the mainspring is pressing on them in some way or another and you can end up with a pile of loose parts in the palm of your hand with some possibly skittering across the table. Not to mention that the end of the spring could cause a nasty cut if a leg springs out into a finger. Working inside takes some care and patience, but it's all much easier to deal with than it looks. I just seated all the pins in the frame with a jewelers hammer and delrin rod and replaced all the parts back in their proper place using a pair of hemostats. Btw, some parts can fit where they don't belong.:facepalm:
    The mainspring is the toughest part to deal with. It's very strong and it resides in a pretty tight spot. The rear leg applies force to the hand and the front leg applies force to the hammer. I seated the rear leg, wrapped the front leg with denim and used a pair of pliers to force the rest of it home. Once that's done with everything back in place, the cover plate goes right back on (FOREVER).
    I noticed that most of the Rhinos in videos and pics appear to have machined internal parts; some rough looking with very apparent tool marks. Not this one. The one I have appears to have almost completely MIM internals with a black finish.
    Anyways, at the range, the thing is a blast. The cheesy looking, wood grain rubber grip is comfy and grippy. Accuracy in SA mode is just boringly good even though there's a good bit of creep; it's no glass rod. DA is a bit challenging, but what snubbie isn't. Muzzle rise is so non-existant, tho. It requires that you develop a third eye for the roaming RO so you can get off more triple taps. It's not that there's a lot less recoil impulse, it just doesn't throw the muzzle toward the sky. It's smile inducing.
    The wide trigger took some getting used to, but it's actually rather ergonomic. After a while on the range with pretty much any other snubby, I end up with a little warm redness on my trigger finger, but not with this one.
    All other functions work great. The cylinder release works pretty naturally. The ejector rod is generously long, pushing those cartridges fully out; cleanly and well clear of the grip. The star is also very well guided. I had no worries of it deflecting and popping over a rim. BTW, the star or ratchet is a really cool design with kind of knobs instead of complex cutouts like a conventional design.
    20140526_153023.jpg 20140526_153249.jpg
    Excuse the grime. I haven't cleaned it yet.
    Since the barrel and firing chamber sits so low, i did get a bunch of powder residue on my hands. Whatever gets past the case gets on your thumb and index finger. Also, for the love of god do not use a thumbs forward grip or anything like that. You can just tell, by the blast coming out of there that it'll pulp your thumb.
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  2. Nightshade

    Nightshade vancouver,WA Well-Known Member

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    Very nice write up.
  3. Oro

    Oro Western WA Active Member

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    What are the grips on that? Current production, or something aftermarket? My father has one; still with stock wood grips - a weak point for comfort though not unattractive.
  4. Dannicus

    Dannicus Tacoma Active Member

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    They are the stock grips. Very comfortable, but not the prettiest.

    I was actually thinking about going to the wood grips, but comfort trumps appearance.
  5. Will

    Will Everett Active Member

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    Nice write up.
    That is a whole lot of moving parts to go bang in a wheel gun1
  6. Dannicus

    Dannicus Tacoma Active Member

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    Aside from the cocking lever and its linkage, only a few more than the average DA/SA revolver.
  7. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    I want to buy one just to take it apart now!