Chiappa Rhino 200D .357 Magnum Review

    In this episode of TFBTV, James evaluates the Chiappa Rhino, the unique, new revolver from the Italian manufacturer. The Rhino, unlike nearly every revolver before, fires from the bottom chamber of the cylinder, not the top. Chiappa claims that this drastically reduced felt recoil. James gladly puts this to the test in this review. James runs the 200D, a 2″ .357 magnum/.38 special.

    Full transcript …

    – Hey guys, James again for TFB TV.

    I am really excited today to bring to you a full review of the Chiappa Rhino.

    Today I’ve got the 200 DS which is the two inch barrel,.357 version of this gun.

    Let’s get the elephant out of the room or should I say Rhino out of the room first and that is the fact that this gun fires from the bottom cylinder unlike every other revolver, pretty much ever.

    Now, why would Chiappa do that and the answer’s very simple because transfer of recoil.

    Instead of firing from the top cylinder which tends to bring that recoil from higher access over the top of your wrist, with the Rhino, the recoil goes directly backwards into your wrist, your elbow, your arm, so that’s supposed to mitigate the effects of recoil, lead to faster follow up shots and just make it an all around easier gun to shoot.

    It kind of makes you wonder, why didn’t anyone think of this before and the truth of the matter is, it really complicates the mechanics of the revolver.

    With the revolver that fires from the top cylinder, the traditional revolver, you have an exposed external hammer.

    Now while the Rhino looks like it has a hammer here at the top, this is in fact not a hammer but a cocking lever that cocks an internal hammer.

    So this is a little bit more complex than your conventional revolver.

    Firing from the bottom cylinder brings another issue to bear that you don’t necessarily run into all that often in a conventional top cylinder firing revolver and that is the fact that you want to keep your hands away from the explosion.

    (gun shot) Did you get a little? – Yeah.

    – [James] It’s not that bad.

    – It tells you it’s there.

    – Yeah, obviously, you have a cylinder gap, you have gas bleed off in revolvers.

    Well typically that, coming from the top cylinder means that it’s well away from where your grip fingers are going to be.

    Not so much with the Rhino.

    The Rhino comes with specific instructions to modify your grip, to keep your fingers away from the cylinder gap.

    They’ve got a little thumb shelf here that kind of helps with your dominant hand and reminding you to keep those thumbs low.

    The frame is made out of extremely high grade 70/75 aluminum which is top of the line in terms of strength to density.

    The aluminum frame also keeps the weight down on this gun so it only weighs 24 ounces which is a pound and a half.

    Pretty impressive for a.357, a six shot.357 Magnum.

    Your closest competition for this gun is going to be the Smith and Wesson J- frames that only hold five rounds.

    It has a steel barrel insert in the frame.

    It also uses a steel hexagonal cylinder What that means is it’s a six sided cylinder that’s flat on all sides to keep the profile low and to keep the weight down.

    It also has a steel breach face to the rear of the cylinder for obvious reasons and that is to keep this gun from being beat up too much firing.357 Magnum loads.

    It’s got a really nice rubberized grip that has a very high squishy content, I think is the technical term.

    It’s got some good bounce to it.

    It’s grippable.

    It’s not a hard plastic grip but a very flexible rubber grip and hopefully, that also helps dealing with the recoil.

    The cylinder release is this little lever here on the left hand side of the gun.

    The ejector rod works perfectly.

    It’s very smooth and as you can see, it’s pretty long too so it will really get those stuck casings out of there.

    But, it’s a little bit flimsier than I would like.

    The cylinder also triple locks which is pretty good.

    Keeps the cylinder nice and tight and aligned with the barrel.

    It’s got a little indent built into where the cylinder arm swings.

    It’s got a locking lug underneath the cylinder and then, of course, it locks into the rear of the breach face.

    Chiappa’s ingeniously integrated the rear site into the cocking lever at the back of the gun and the front sight is a fiber optic front sight.

    A double action trigger is over 12 pounds so I got a no read on my trigger scale.

    However, the single action trigger is almost exactly four pounds every time.

    The double action trigger’s pretty smooth.

    (gun shots) Not a lot of take up, no over travel and consistent pressure pretty much throughout the pull.

    It’s a little on the heavy side and a little bit longer than I like but this is a defensive gun so that’s not really that much of a problem to me.

    And I’ll also say this, Chiappa has five different trigger packs available from the factory.

    Now my only gripes about the gun so far.

    When you cock the gun, a little red flag pops out of the rear, to the left hand side of the gun.

    This wouldn’t be that big of a deal, in fact, it would be somewhat helpful if it wasn’t the exact same color as the front sight post.

    So it can be a little distracting if you’re trying to quickly acquire a target.

    Another issue I see, is the fact that it’s got a two inch barrel.

    While it keeps the gun pretty compact and easy to conceal which is really the purpose of this gun.

    You lose a lot of velocity going from a three inch barrel to a two inch barrel.

    When you lose an inch, when you go from five inches to four inches or six inches to five inches, that loss isn’t that great but it’s pretty severe going from three to two.

    To put it into context for you, if you’re shooting a 115 grain, nine millimeter round through a three inch barrel plus P, you’re going to get roughly 1,200 feet per second.

    Whereas if you’re shooting a.357 Magnum 125 grain round out of this Chiappa Rhino with a two inch barrel, you’ll be lucky to break over 1,000 feet per second.

    Maybe, at most, 1,100 feet per second.

    So strictly by the numbers, the energy output is going to be pretty similar between a three inch plus P or plus P plus nine millimeter and the.357 Magnum coming out of the two inch barrel.

    So that’s something to consider whenever you decide to choose one of these guns.

    I don’t know what the MSRP is on this gun but street price, I’ve seen them floating around for seven, 750 dollars and that may sound like a bruiser but you can’t compare a.357 Magnum snubby of this quality to something like a.38 Special J-frame that you can get for three or four hundred dollars.

    In fact, if you look at other kind of hybrid metal like aluminum, steel blends, that shoot.357 Magnum, you’ll actually find that the Rhino is kind of on the low to average end of that price scale.

    Anyways, enough talking about it.

    I really can’t wait to shoot this thing and I may even be carrying it sometime in the future so let’s take it to the range.

    – [Voiceover] I mean you got to– (gun shot) get that angle.

    (gun shots) – [Voiceover] You get way in the back after that backslash.

    – I’m at 10 meters, I’ve got a silhouette target behind me and I am loaded with self defense hollow points.

    Let’s see how it does.

    (gun shots) So, a little erratic and it’s breathing fire but rapid fire double action, to get those kind of hits at 10 meters, I’ll take it.

    (gun shots) I mean, this thing, it performs as advertised, in that you’re getting recoil straight back into your wrist, into your elbow, into your arm and it’s surprisingly light and flowing.

    Very effective design.

    Another thing I want to note, I did get my thumbs, my secure thumb, right by the cylinder gap whenever I was shooting it and it was unpleasant but that’s how I would describe it.

    It didn’t burn, I’m not bleeding, my finger didn’t fall off.

    I mean, I think, in the heat of the moment, if you were firing this in a defensive application, you wouldn’t even notice.

    – [Voiceover] You got it.

    (gun shot) – [James] All in all, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Chiappa Rhino today.

    I would carry this gun (gun shot) without hesitation (gun shots).

    So far so good.

    Wrapping up my review of the Chiappa Rhino.

    I’m having a hard time finding something that I don’t like about it.

    Now, I mentioned earlier that while it has a two inch barrel and that can hurt your ballistics, that’s endemic to the sub compact, sub nosed revolver, that class of firearms, not necessarily just the Rhino so that isn’t really a problem with the Rhino per se.

    Also, I’ve read some reviews elsewhere where people have complained about the double action trigger and I’ll admit I’ve felt better double action triggers and I’m not using that euphemistically, I mean I’ve literally felt better double action triggers but there’s nothing really wrong with this one.

    Especially considering the fact that this is a gun made for carry, for personal defense so you don’t want something too light weight and it’s single action.

    The four pound trigger pull is just fine.

    I guess the only thing left to complain about would be the 700 to 750 dollar price tag but then again, you’re talking premium build quality with the Rhino and it’s going to be comparable if not less than other guns of similar build quality.

    If there’s something I missed, please let me know in the comments but I’ve been impressed with this gun.

    I can’t find anything wrong with it.

    I’m probably gong to end up carrying one if I ever need to carry a revolver.

    And it works as advertised meaning, they call it the revolver revolution, firing from the bottom cylinder and the reduction of recoil.

    I’m telling you, it’s the truth.

    I had never shot a Rhino before doing this review and I’m going to have a hard time going back to not shooting a Rhino.

    So two thumbs up.

    Good job Chiappa with this Rhino and I highly recommend it to anybody who’s in the market for a six shooter,.357 carry gun.

    Thanks for watching guys.

    See you next time.

    (lively music)

    James Reeves

    • NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
    Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
    • TFBTV Executive Producer
    • Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
    • Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
    • GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
    • Lawyer
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