Chiappa Rhino Review Model 60DS 6" .357 Magnum
Part 5 - Range Test
November 24, 2011

Chiappa Rhino Review

For range testing the Chiappa Rhino Revolver Model 60DS, I decided to shoot it in two configurations.  The first configuration was with the sights that were provided with the revolver as shown in the photo above.  For the second configuration, I wanted to install a red dot sight on the upper rail and I selected the  Bushnell TSR-25 sight for this purpose.  The photo below shows the Rhino and TSR-25 combination.

Figure 1
Chiappa Rhino Review

I selected an assortment of ammunition for range testing and the ammo is listed below.  For reference I have included the current (10/16/11) CheaperThanDirt.com price for a box of cartridges.

Figure 2
Chiappa Rhino Review

Figure 3
Chiappa Rhino Review

Figure 4
Chiappa Rhino Review

I started out shooting the Federal Gold Medal Match .38 Special 148gr WadCutters while using the iron sights.  I had a couple of old boxes of this ammo and it allowed me to do a basic zero on the sights and get a feel for the Rhino's trigger and function.  Immediately after the first round of shots, I was amazed at how little recoil their was with these cartridges in the Rhino.  The Rhino shot these light loads effortlessly and there was basically no muzzle flip.  I then installed the Bushnell TSR-25 Red Dot 1x Scope because the red dot scope helps me overcome my bifocals.  I was able to shoot the groups shown below from a bench at 25 yards.  For each type of ammo I shot 20 consecutive rounds on each target and that is what you see below.  My minimum group size was 0.99" and my group average was 1.46".

Figure 5 - Four 5-shot Groups at 25 Yards with Federal Gold Medal Match .38 Special 148gr WadCutters
Chiappa Rhino Review

When I switched from the .38 Special to the .357 Magnum loads, I had to re-zero the red dot scope because the velocity of the .357 magnum is about twice that of the .38 Special.  For some reason I was having a vertical spread of my groups which I feel was due to my trigger control, not the Rhino.  I was still able to shoot one group which measured 1.10" at 25 yards and my total group average was 2.06"

Figure 6 - Four 5-shot Groups at 25 Yards with Hornady Critical Defense .357 Mag 125gr FTX
Chiappa Rhino Review

I achieved my best group of 0.91" and my lowest group average of 1.34" with the Hornady Custom .357 Mag 158gr XTP.

Figure 7 - Four 5-shot Groups at 25 Yards with Hornady Custom .357 Mag 158gr XTP
Chiappa Rhino Review

For my last set of groups I shot the Wolf Gold 158gr Copper SJHP.  My best group was 1.20" and my group average was 1.69"

Figure 8 - Four 5-shot Groups at 25 Yards with Wolf Gold .357 Mag 158gr Copper SJHP
Chiappa Rhino Review

The table below summarizes the data from the photos above and also provides an average velocity for each cartridge when using this 6" barrel revolver. One thing I want to point out is that the Wolf Gold .357 Magnum is not 1607 ft/sec for a revolver as indicated at their website.  The Wolf Gold shot a measured velocity of about 1100 ft/sec and the Hornady shot about 1150 ft/sec.  These were both 158gr bullets.  The Hornady box states a velocity of 1250 ft/sec for their ammo.  If you consider this 100 ft/sec drop for the 6" barrel Rhino versus a 8" barrel test gun that was used for testing the Hornady ammo, the Wolf Gold is most likely a 1200 ft/sec load for an 8" barrel length.  My guess is that the 1607 ft/sec stated for the Wolf Gold represents a much longer barrel length used in their test gun.

Cartridge Avg Velocity
(ft/sec)
Min Group
(in)
Max Group
(in)
Avg Group
(in)
Federal Gold Medal Match .38 Special 148gr WadCutters 667 0.99 1.78 1.46
Remington 38 Special (+P) 110 gr Semi-JKTD Hallow Point 979 - - -
Hornady Critical Defense .357 Mag 125gr FTX 1328 1.10 2.60 2.06
Hornady Custom .357 Mag 158gr XTP 1149 0.91 1.78 1.34
Wolf Gold .357 Mag 158gr Copper SJHP 1101 1.20 2.25 1.69
      Total Avg = 1.64

I was pleased with the bench accuracy of the Chiappa Rhino Revolver and feel that it's accuracy potential may exceed my personal capabilities.  The trigger had a good light crisp feel in single action and was acceptable in double action.  To try and show how effective the Rhino is when taming the muzzle flip I decided to take some video.  In this next video, my son shot the Federal Gold Medal .38 Special 148gr WadCutters and Hornady .357 Magnum 158gr XTP using the Rhino.  Then he shot the Hornady .357 Magnum 158gr XTP using my Ruger GP100.  You should be able to see how little muzzle flip there was with the Rhino compared to the Ruger which I'm using to represents a standard revolver configuration.  If the video doesn't start below, you can also see this video at the Gunsumer Reports Youtube Channel by going to this link.


Chiappa Rhino with a Burris FastFire II (Updated 12/25/11)

I got my hands on a Burris FastFire II Red Dot Sight with Picatinny Rail Adapter and reviewed this red dot sight using the Chiappa Rhino 60DS Revolver. I personally think the FastFire II makes both a highly functional and very attractive addition to the Chiappa Rhino Revolver and this sight would be my preferred configuration over the Bushnell TRS-25.  Although the Bushnell performed great, I see the reduced size of the Burris as a big plus.


Thoughts

The Chiappa Rhino Model 60DS has quickly become one of my favorite firearms.  During my range testing I shot over 250 rounds of various types of ammo.  The Rhino never had a single issue with firing or extracting the cases.  The reduction in muzzle flip made shooting the .38 Special rounds feel like .22LR (maybe a little exaggeration, but not much) and the .357 Magnum rounds were really enjoyable to shoot.  Although I put a red dot scope on the Rhino, the sights that come with the revolver functioned without issue and easily adjusted to the point of impact.  I feel the Rhino has more accuracy than I was able to achieve, but a 1.64" group average from 16 different 5-shot groups at 25 yards is not bad.  Clearly 250+ rounds will in no way tell how durable this revolver will be over time, but it I see no reason why the Rhino wouldn't go the distance.

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For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

 

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