The Rhino is produced by Chiappa Group in Azzano Mella in Northern Italy from all milled parts made on site. This is a very high-tech, modern facility dedicated to turning out a quality product. Its American subsidiary is Chiappa Firearms Ltd. This group is headed up by Ron Norton and their job is the development and marketing of Chiappa products in North America.
I test fired the Rhino extensively. I had 770 rounds of .38 Special and 500 rounds of .357 Magnum for a total of 1270 rounds. The breakdown was:
100 rounds Georgia Arms 148-grain wadcutter
100 rounds of CorBon 147-grain FMJ
150 rounds of Winchester 130-grain FMJ
100 rounds of BVAC 158-grain lead HP
100 rounds of Remington 158-grain lead RN
100 rounds of Federeal American Eagle 158-grain lead RN
120 rounds Winchester 130-grain JHP Bonded PDXI
150 rounds of NWCP 110-grain Manstopper
300 rounds Winchester 125-grain JHP
100 rounds Remington 125-grain JSP
100 rounds of North West Custom Projectile 110-grain Manstopper
I find the FMJ loads very useful. They offer increased penetration on bear or attackers in heavy clothing or behind cover. Sometimes more penetration is better, and not enough can get you killed. The military doesn’t use FMJ ammo for nothing. If the advantages of FMJ over expanding bullets in combat weren’t clear, no nation would have signed the treaties banning expanding bullets in combat. Creating a casualty behind cover is more important than stopping power in most military situations.
Anytime you fire a lot of .38 Special and .357 Magnum lead bullets you will have a lot of leading in the bore to clean out, and that is a feature that is no respecter of brand names. It is important to clean the residue at the front of the .357 cylinder out thoroughly if shooting .38 Specials as fouling can quickly build up on any revolver and interfere with chambering the longer .357 Magnum cartridges.
Firing the Rhino was a lot different from firing a conventional revolver. The grip rides much higher in the hand and what appears to be the hammer is a cocking lever that goes back down after the totally hidden internal hammer is cocked. A bright red cocking indicator pops up at the rear of the receiver to let you know it is cocked if the rearward single action position of the trigger wasn’t enough.
The cylinder is opened by that strange looking lever on the upper rear left side. Once moved back, this lever permits the flat-sided hexagonal (for concealability) cylinder to swing out for loading or unloading. The rear sight is framed by two green dots and the front sight has a red dot.
These are formed by plastic rods with exposed surfaces to catch the light in front of the sight blades, so you always have a bright group of dots even in poor light. Trigger pull was 4 pounds single action and 11 pounds double action as measured by the Lyman trigger pull gauge from Brownell’s gunsmithing supplies. This is quite acceptable, although I would prefer both to be lighter.