The Chiappa Rhino is the most innovative revolver to be marketed to the American shooter in more than a hundred years. It fires from the bottom chamber of the cylinder instead of the top for a more straight-line recoil that reduces muzzle jump and perceived recoil. Its innovative lockwork gives a 50 percent shorter trigger pull and a faster reset.
It is a major improvement in revolver design. This extends to the layout of the gun as well; the hand rides much higher on this gun than on conventional revolvers. Cowboy Action shooters will appreciate that, because one of the secrets of shooting the Colt Single Action Army was to hold it as high in the grip as possible; only then did it live up to its reputation as a natural pointer.
This also aids in putting the recoil more in line with the arm, instead of having the axis of the recoil above the hand as in a conventional revolver. Thus you don’t have the muzzle flipping up like that of a conventional revolver. The layout of the revolver results in its being 1 1/2 inches shorter in overall length than conventional revolvers with the same barrel length. Its imprint under clothes or in a pocket for the 2-inch barrel model is not as easily recognizable as a handgun as a conventional revolver is.
The Rhino is available in both fixed and adjustable sight versions and in barrel lengths of 2, 4, 5 and 6 inches, so there is something for everyone. Rifling is 6 grooves with a 1:18 3/4 inch twist. Working parts are steel and the frame is made of a high strength aluminum alloy called Ergal.
The mechanism is far different from that of conventional revolvers, as you would expect. Pulling the trigger moves an interlink lever by means of a connecting rod. This lever in turn moves both the hammer and the cylinder rotation pin, compressing a spiral spring through two levers. The interlink lever drives these two levers to push on the two spring ends which then propel the hammer and return the trigger and the rest of the mechanism to rest.
The Rhino’s double action is operated through a mobile hammer sear that cocks the hammer until it is released upon reaching the preset position, similar to the operation of a traditional revolver. The single action requires a different method due to the low position of the hammer. It was necessary to use an external hammer actuator that uses a lever to push the hammer down until it engages the counter-hammer, blocking it in the armed position.
When the trigger is pulled, the hammer is released by the interlink lever which pushes up the counter-hammer and allows the action to fire. If you wish to uncock the gun it is necessary to push down the counter-hammer, pulling the trigger to the end and gently releasing the hammer actuator as you would with a standard revolver.
The Rhino’s cylinder is released by a lever on the left side of the revolver. When pushed down, this lever engages the locking pin in the center of the rotation shaft. A spring makes the locking pin recoil and at the same time pushes back the pin in the breech shield, thus releasing the cylinder. Once the cylinder is released, it can be pushed to the left to allow the loading and unloading of the weapon.