The Chiappa Rhino
Dr. John Woods 10.21.20
If looking odd is worth anything, the Chiappa Rhino wins the prize. Basically there is very little conventional about the Rhino. There are several models available mainly based on barrel length, designated the 30-40-50-60DS models. The 50DS has the five-inch barrel.
Chiappa Firearms got its start back in 1958 when Oscar Chiappa opened his business under the name Armi Sport, which many gun enthusiasts may recognize. The business is comprised of several divisions with different functions including CNC work, machined components, receivers, barrels, parts, die casting, and molding. They do heat treating and all types of coatings including bluing, Parkerizing, and nickel plating.
Chiappa’s gunmaking covers American historic weapons replicas, lever action rifles and shotguns, signal guns, and air guns. Included in their stable of firearms is also the Rhino handgun line, which is perhaps their most innovative gun yet.
The Rhino line is a group of 357 magnum revolvers, with the unique design of placing the barrel under the heavy rib on top. This handgun is single action and double action operation. It is constructed of steel and aluminum. The 50DS sports the 5-inch barrel with a red fiber optic front sight and an adjustable green rear fiber optic. The weight is just at 2 pounds. The handgun’s finish is a black anodized coating that resists corrosion and also aids in dampening reflection. The gun’s overall length is 9.5 inches, so it is not a small pocket handgun.
The Rhino’s grip has a rakish angle with a high upper section to fit tightly in the web of the hand. The standard stock is a medium walnut wood grip, but many other styles, textures and colors are available from the factory. The stock is stipple checkered for a bit of a rough finish and grip.
Once you see a Rhino you will quickly understand its uniqueness with the barrel positioned under the heavy rib. This rib has several large cooling port sections opened between the upper rib and the barrel below. Presumably this helps with barrel cooling but this section also adds weight above the barrel to help dampen recoil. Under the barrel is a series of Picatinny type rail cuts to attach a flashlight or laser to the gun.
With a suggested retail price of $1219.00, it is not an inexpensive firearm. I suspect also if a consumer wants one, he will have to get a licensed dealer to order it. I have never seen one in stock at a dealer. Check it out at www.chiappafirearms.com.