Chiappa Rhino 50DS [Complete Hands-On Review]

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I have always admired the simplicity of revolvers. You just need to reload them, aim, pull the trigger, and fire. Plus, there is freedom from problems such as wobbly magazines, safeties, and feeding problems common in semiautos. While the Chiappa Rhino 50DS breaks the conventional design of modern revolvers. From its bottom cylinder firing to its futuristic look, one thing’s for sure – this revolver is something you want to get your hands on and shoot at the range to see its performance for yourself.

In this review, we’ll discuss the Chiappa Rhino 50DS. Let’s first have an insight into its pros and cons.

Pros
  • Eye-catching design: The Chiappa Rhino 50DS has an unconventional design that makes people at the range ask you what kind of gun you are shooting.
  • Action: Choose between single-action or double-action mode — it has both.
  • Build: Chiappa built this revolver with durable materials like high-quality aluminum and steel.
  • Weight: This unique revolver only weighs less than 2 pounds.
  • Sights: The 50 DS comes equipped with bright fiber optic sights and adjustable rear sights.
  • Grip Texture: The wooden grip option has aggressive texturing; It also has a rubber grip option that provides excellent grip.
  • Trigger: A crisp trigger for every single-action pull.
  • Recoil: Low muzzle rise and felt recoil on every shot.
  • Service: For factory defects, the brand offers excellent customer service and warranty.
Cons
  • Trigger Weight and Feel: Trigger is heavy and feels weird during double-action mode.
  • Grip Size: The grips might be too small for those with large hands.
  • Cocking Mechanism: The Rhino 50 DS has a “hammer” as a cocking mechanism that is heavy to cock back.
  • Price: It has a hefty price tag at $1,279 MSRP, which is too much for a revolver.

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About Chiappa Firearms

Chiappa is a family-owned business that has established itself as a firearms company for over 60 years. The company began in 1958, with its founder, Ezechiele Oscar Chiappa opened his company called Arms Sport. Over the years, it grew and became an industrial group but still owned by the Chiappa family.

Currently, the company has made itself a brand, offering a wide selection of models. The brand offers replicas of historic weapons, lever-action guns, handguns, shotguns, and rifles. It also includes sporting and self-defense firearms, signal and air guns.

Chiappa prides itself in manufacturing high-quality products. In addition, it doesn’t stop improving its products and innovating to offer the best products for its customers.

The Chiappa Rhino Lineup

The Rhino is the last gun, Italian revolver designer Emilio Ghisoni designed before his death, which carries the distinct feature of his Mateba revolvers. His revolvers are popular for their underslung barrels with his goal to improve performance in fast-paced competition shooting. Aside from the barrel, it also has an odd cylinder design. It has a lever that operates similar to a slide release instead of the traditional push release like a normal revolver.

The Rhino is Chiappa’s line of revolvers that boasts innovative designs and a distinct aesthetic that can catch any gun enthusiast’s eyes. It fires from the bottom of the cylinder instead of the top, unlike traditional revolvers. As a result, the muzzle rises and felt recoil are substantially reduced, enabling the shooter for faster and more accurate follow-up shots.

A cocking device that looks like the Rhino models’ “hammer” features a snag-resistant and enclosed firing mechanism. All revolvers are made with high-quality, lightweight materials, ensuring durability and making them convenient to carry.

The Rhino comes in different models in different barrel lengths, which are the following:

Chiappa Rhino 50DS Specs

Chiappa Rhino 50DS
Image source: Chiappa Firearms website
Type of GunRevolver
Caliber.357 Magnum
ActionSingle/Double
Barrel Length5 inches
Length9.5 inches
Weight1.97 pounds
Capacity6 rounds
GripsMedium walnut
Front SightFixed red fiber optic
Rear SightAdjustable elevation and windage green fiber optic
SafetyInternal
MaterialMachined 7075-T6 alloy frame/Steel cylinder and barrel
FinishBlack anodized frame/Blued cylinder
ExtractionManual
MSRP$1,279
Package Inclusion3 moon clips and removal tool

The Full Review of Chiappa Rhino 50DS

Unboxing

Chiappa firearms hard case and the rhino
Image source: Proxibid

First, I just have to say that it’s fun to unbox this revolver. It’s like Chiappa is giving you a gift even if you purchased the gun yourself.

The revolver comes in a hard case that has the Chiappa Firearms logo printed on it. Inside, you’ll find the gun wrapped in plastic, lying inside the outlined foam. You’ll also find a manual, trigger lock and keys, moon clips, stickers, a cleaning brush, and some tools.

Appearance

Mateba Autorevolver
The Mateba Revolver; Image: Wikipedia

It should be no surprise that the Rhino 50DS has a conventional look. However, I find it inevitable to get interested by its different appearance. The revolver looks hefty yet elegant. Its design looks similar to the Mateba revolvers which are a no-brainer because both have the same designer.

The wooden grip has an aggressive texturing and it complements the gun’s black anodized finish. Additionally, the grip is removable, I can easily remove it using a hex wrench if I want to replace the grips, or whenever I need to clean it. The gun also looks very durable as the frame, barrel, and cylinder are made of steel materials. However, it’s not heavy. I was surprised by its lightweight after picking it up from the box. I also found that it has a cocking indicator that turns red when I cock the gun into single-action mode.

The gun has scallops behind the trigger guard that’s excellent for those with small fingers. You can get a firm grip on the firearm easily. In addition, the trigger guard has a shallow angle that eliminates the need to install aftermarket grips to prevent your knuckle from getting whacked during recoil when shooting.

Features

The Rhino 50Ds are aesthetically pleasing, especially with the wood grip. It also chambers the .357 Magnum, which is a powerful round used for self-defense and competition shooting. It can also chamber the .38 Special round.

The Chiappa 50DS with 3 moon clip
The Chiappa 50DS with 3 moon clips; image source: Guns.com

The cylinder can hold 6 rounds of ammo and has a hexagonal shape. The sights are clear and fully adjustable, with the front sight sporting a red fiber optic.

Operation and Maintenance

There is a “hammer.” But I wouldn’t call it a hammer because it’s very unconventional. Most gun owners might call this a cocking mechanism or perhaps a cocking lever instead of a hammer. It’s one of Chiappa’s innovative mechanisms that you can thumb to go into a single-action mode, the device will go back to what looks like an uncocked position.

The Chiappa Rhino 50DS fires from the bottom cylinder and features a false hammer that serves as the revolver’s cocking mechanism. To use it, pull the “hammer” back and release it. The hammer then springs back to what appears like an uncocked position. The red indicator will show up for single-action mode to help identify if the gun is cocked at a glance.

Shooting the Chiappa Rhino 50DS at the Range

Accuracy

The accuracy of the Chiappa Rhino 50DS is impressive. Revolvers are known for excellent accuracy, and this revolver doesn’t disappoint — it’s plenty accurate. The hexagonal cylinder rotates clockwise and is easy to reload. The sights are visible and adjustable. However, the only complaint I have that affects the gun’s accuracy is the action. The SA and DA action modes have a big difference when it comes to the trigger. Plus, cocking the gun can be heavy, which may exhaust the gun owner after shooting a couple of rounds.

It also has a different grip, so you need to hold it differently from using traditional revolvers. It takes practice to get used to shooting this gun. Cocking the gun is also challenging. It’s heavy, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, practicing using this gun in the range can make operating it easier.

I have a love-hate relationship with the trigger. While this gun is superbly accurate and shoots exceptionally well, the trigger feel is awkward. It can be heavy which can exhaust the user after shooting a couple of rounds. Additionally, it also gets hot fast. It may be because of its thin frame and construction to make it lightweight.

Chiappa 50ds pointing the gun
Image source: Tumblr

Reliability

It goes bang when you pull the trigger and it’s not picky with ammo. The Rhino 50DS is a reliable gun after you practiced many times using it — and only if you’re confident in using it during emergencies. It’s a different kind of revolver, so the reliability of this gun is subjective. If you’re used to using traditional ones, you might find it difficult to find this gun reliable.

Recoil

The recoil is exceptional. It has less felt recoil and muzzle flip compared to standard revolvers. I guess it’s thanks to its unconventional low barrel axis that makes the recoil hit differently.

The low frame of the barrel helps mitigate recoil by sending the push-back impulse as close to the centerline of the grip and the forearm of the shooter as possible. As a result, the recoil goes straight back to the strongest part of the shooter’s grip. This is contrary to the DA, which places recoil impulse at the top of the shooter’s grip.

The unique design efficiently helps dampen felt recoil, allowing the shooter to get back on target faster.

Who Is It For?

A collection of revolvers
A collection of revolvers; Image source: Ammo Collector

I think the Rhino 50DS is a great value gun for bullseye shooting. It’s more of a novelty gun, and I also don’t recommend it to beginners. It’s the ideal gun for a shooter looking for an interesting revolver to add to your collection. Firearms unique like these don’t stay in production and become a limited edition model in the long run.

Competition

Different Rhino Revolver Models
Different Rhino Revolver Models; Image source: Reddit

I think the only competition to this gun is its other models that come in different barrel lengths. The 50DS is more suitable for concealed carry while the 60DS makes a full carry revolver option. For subcompact sizes, Chiappa also has the 20DS available. It’s just up to your preference. If you want a concealable revolver or a shorter or longer barrel. There is only a slight difference between their price tags, and all models can still be pricey.

Conclusion

At a $1000 price range, the Rhino 50DS is very pricey. The looks, unique design, and features compensate for its high price as this is the type of gun you would want to show off. The accuracy and mitigation of recoil are exceptional. I would love to practice more using this gun to get the hang of operating it as its DA mode can affect the accuracy and shooting speed.

It’s a good collector’s item. However, I wouldn’t choose it as a self-defense weapon or rely on it like traditional revolvers. Yes, something unique is cool to use and try, but I like to keep things simple, especially during emergencies. But if you’re up to being an expert at shooting this type of gun, then I won’t stop you.

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