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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:52 pm 
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Location: Bournemouth
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I thought I'd make this post to tell you all about my experience with the Chiappa Rhino in 9x19mm. There isn't a huge amount of information available about the 9mm version of this gun, so this might be helpful to someone trying to decide on calibre. I like lists, so here are a bunch of lists for your enjoyment.

Why a Rhino?

The Rhino has some advantages over your typical LBR such as a Taurus. I will outline these below:

    - Lightweight aluminium construction, 1100g compared to the ~1500g of a Taurus
    - Excellent balance, the best you can get from an out-of-the-box LBR from those I've tested
    - Choice of finish and calibres
    - Good aftercare, Chiappa have been quick to sent free replacement parts in my experience
    - Built-in rails for tactical things and optics
    - Fibre-optic sights as standard
    - High-quality materials, great build and finish with consistent quality control
    - Perhaps the Rhino's biggest selling point, ultra-low bore axis for greatly reduced muzzle flip


There are some distinct disadvantages though:

    - Black anodised finish is good, but still marks fairly easily compared to traditional blued steel
    - Ugly. I love the short (regular) Rhinos, but the 120DS is distinctly ugly with its afterthought of a barrel shroud
    - Hammer can be a little hard to cock
    - Complicated design, more to potentially go wrong
    - Geometry of grip, trigger and cylinder means its easy to put fingers in the 'blast zone'
    - Trigger action and cylinder indexing doesn't feel reassuringly solid like on a S&W (Or even my old Taurus)
    - Cost! These are expensive and the prices keep going up
    - 6 shots instead of the 7 in a Taurus Model 66
    - Rather 'stagey' DA trigger pull, not a fan of trigger feel in general

So, are they worth the money? If you're buying your first LBR, maybe not. In a lot of ways my older blued Taurus (with a trigger upgrade kit) represents better value, I paid less than half the cost of a Rhino for it and it has a better trigger. However, if you already have a traditional revolver and want to try something different, or think the lack of muzzle flip will help you in competition, they are fantastic to shoot and feel the closest to a real revolver of the options available.

Why 9mm?

For most, .357 Mag will be the obvious calibre choice. It's easily available and you can go from lead .38 Specials for cheap and low-recoil fun right up to full-house .357 which will push serious velocities from a 12" tube. Going the magnum route might also mean ammo compatibility with your carbine. Since I already had a .357 Taurus 66 and a .44 Mag Uberti Buntline, I wanted something different and I'd never owned a 9mm firearm before. If you have a 9mm AR or a Sarony 9mm Lee Enfield this might make a nice LBR to pair with it. 9mm benefits:

    - 9mm ammo is the cheapest centerfire you can get with NATO ball at £25 per 100 from some suppliers
    - 9mm is size-efficient. Boxes of 50 are half the size of a box of .357, and lighter. You can carry two loaded 9mm moon clips in the same space as one loaded .357 speed loader
    - 9mm represents a good compromise in power between .38 and .357
    - Short length makes them super fast to insert and eject from the cylinder

It's not all good though. Moon clips are required if you want the cases to eject, as the 9mm headspaces on the case mouth single rounds can be fired but won't eject. Then there's the question of accuracy. I was quite concerned about accuracy after hearing some users complain about very poor performance. There are two reasons why a 9mm Rhino might be less accurate than the .357.

    Firstly, there is about an inch of freebore between the case and the rifling due to the short 9mm round in the .357 cylinder. This means that the bullet has a much longer jump to the forcing cone than a .357 and accuracy might suffer like it does with the Taurus Judge/Rossi Circuit Judge.

    Secondly, as far as I can tell, the barrels used in the 9mm version are exactly the same as those in the .357 for the sake of economy. Chiappa offer the gun elsewhere with both a 9mm and .357 cylinders included as a combo set. This is perfectly safe, but it means that the 1:19" twist rate might not be ideal for your ammo, and the bore may be slightly oversized compared to your projectiles. Most 9mm handguns tend to be a 1:10" twist and designed to shoot a .355" bullet. This was my biggest concern, last thing I wanted was to spend over £1000 on a revolver that would keyhole

How does it shoot then?

Luckily, I have been perfectly happy with the accuracy from my 9mm Rhino. As always, it's going to be down to what ammo you use, but I have had good results with the GECO brand. I achieved a group of 3" (or 2" and a flier perhaps) at 20 yards, offhand using single action. Not amazing, but this was my first time with the gun and it was similar to what I'd get from my other two LBRs. Recoil was minimal and the GECO 'copper plated' lead ammo was very clean and consistent. I would consider it a perfect match for this gun for indoors use, especially where jacketed may not be allowed. One area where the 9mm was clearly disadvantaged was velocity. This doesn't matter for range use of course, but it demonstrated the effect that the long freebore and cylinder gap have on a bullet. The particular load tested was a 124gr bullet quoted at 1180 FPS from a 4.9" barrel. I recorded a 20-shot average of 1002 FPS from my gun using a Magnetospeed Sporter, equating to just 275 ft/lbs, essentially equalling a regular .38 Special load despite the quoted ballistics and the long barrel of the Rhino. In conclusion, accuracy appears to be good but there is a loss of roughly 200 FPS due to the gap.

The shooting experience was very pleasant overall, the trigger isn't brilliant and I've found a swift pull back rather than trying to stage it slowly gives the best results. The same can be said of the cocking lever - pull it slowly and it almost feels like it's binding and becomes rather tough, best to pull with authority and you won't get any hangups. Be careful where you put your thumbs, it's easy for the support hand to wander out by the cylinder gap which I did a few times. No damage but the tip got a bit of blast and was turned black.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would recommend the 9mm Rhino if you particularly fancy a 9mm. If not, then get the .357, it is more versatile and after all, it's what the gun is built for. Still, you aren't badly disadvantaged choosing the parabellum, reloading is remarkably fast using the supplied moon clips and accuracy was absolutely fine with my test ammo. Recoil was minimal and perceived blast and splash from around the cylinder was less than I get with my Taurus. I paid £1100 for my black model, and to be honest I wasn't sure if it was worth that until I shot it, where it proved it was definitely worthy of a space in my cabinet; the experience is different to the conventional revolver and I found it very addictive. I like that it comes with a quality hard case too, it's a premium product overall and feels it. Prices are sadly getting very high to the point where they'd be hard to recommend. I think a lightly used one at under £1000 would be a good buy, a new one at £1400... not so much.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:31 pm 
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Nice little write up. I've seen them, I contemplated one and I've seen them s*** a fair bit as there's half a dozen in our club.

For me though, your first listed "advantage" is to my mind, it's biggest disadvantage. The original Rhino was designed as a self defence gun. To be carried a lot and shot little. The actual design for this purpose is excellent, including grip geometry for recoil control. It's wether or not that design and the materials can withstand UK "club use".

I'm afraid I'm not convinced it can. I suspect a relatively high pressured cartridge like 9x19 will batter them to death...

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In 1978 I was told by my grand dad that the secret to rifle accuracy is, a quality bullet, fired down a quality barrel..... How has that changed?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:50 pm 
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Thanks. I'm not sure about that, the primary pressure-bearing part is of course the cylinder which is somewhat overbuilt for a 9mm (357 has much higher pressures as you'd expect) and made of good steel. There's also a steel recoil shield behind the cylinder. I've never heard of any of the .357 guns having wear issues like stretched or cracked frames. Only time will tell, I doubt I'll ever shoot it enough to have wear problems though.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:04 pm 
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.357 magnum and 9mm Luger both have the same maximum operating pressures of 35000psi. The steel Standing Breech (recoil shield, as you say) is acted upon from recoil forces rearwards. In short, the cylinder acts like a hammer against the steel breech which is supported by... an alloy frame. This "hammering" rearwards against the frame is what induces the stretch, then cracks.

The .357 chambered may fair better in the long term if fed a diet of .38 special with a max pressure of around half of the two cartridges above, at 17500 psi.

Obviously, they have not been around long enough to have their longevity tested and hopefully they will prove to be robust and reliable. And I may just be a little jaded from th experiences in th 89s and 90s with alloy framed handguns...

Enjoy it, none the less.

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In 1978 I was told by my grand dad that the secret to rifle accuracy is, a quality bullet, fired down a quality barrel..... How has that changed?

Guns dont kill people. Dads with pretty Daughters do...!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:04 am 
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CIP list the 357 MAG max pressure as 3000 bar, while the 9x19 is max 2350 bar. Apparently SAMMI used to rate the 357 much higher than 9mm but at some point lowered the rating considerably, I'm not sure why. Still, I understand what you're saying. I personally would have liked to see a steel insert below the forcing cone to negate any flame cutting like on the Smith scandium frames, although I assume the strange cut in the frame is designed to negate this.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:08 am 
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Where are you buying 9MM at £25 a 100??

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:13 am 
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Ammo Zone has a variety of loads at £25/100, I admit I haven't come across it that cheap elsewhere though. Cheapest I've seen besides that is Magtech at £15/50. The particular GECO copper plated ammo I tested was £20 a box, I was impressed with how clean an consistent it was though, standard deviation of just 17 FPS.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:35 pm 
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Just took a few more pictures with comparisons to the Taurus 66

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I think most will agree the Taurus is the better looking gun.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:38 pm 
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Great detailed post and exactly what Iv'e been after for some time now, so many thanks. I'll be getting the black version in 9mm which will hopefully still be available at a 'reasonable' price (I guess they've been selling well) when they take the LR off me later in the yr... I'm a big fan of LBRs/LBPs generally - to me they've really gone a long way in at least taking the sting out of the tail in regard to our handgun laws on the mainland, and having one that feels much lighter and smaller in the hand (Iv'e handled a couple of them now but never shot) and chambered in 9mm is a big part of the fun imo. I'll almost exclusively be using fairly light home loads at 10 and 20 yrds, so I'm confident it'll hold together over time.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:15 pm 
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Glad to be of help. Lots of prices have jumped significantly lately, the common factor between them being Raytrade. I've seen shops asking £1700 for Marlins that cost £1300 a few months ago!
I agree, I get a bit of a kick out of shooting 9mm for some reason! If Chiappa made the .40 S&W model in long barrel form I'd probably have gone for that just to be different.


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