Rossi firearms have always represented a
good value. Usually, they are nothing fancy, but are good,
solid, reliable firearms, especially those made in the last few
years. Now, Rossi has combined their trim little muzzleloader,
shotgun, and centerfire rifle into one handy little package. The
gun comes boxed with a soft-sided case that carries all three
barrels and the receiver/buttstock easily and handily. The best
part is the price. The suggested retail at the time of this
writing is only $322 on this package, but I saw them at Wal
Mart about a week ago for under 220 bucks for the whole
There are a few configurations available, but
the one reviewed here has a .50 caliber inline muzzleloader
barrel, a .243 Winchester rifle barrel, and a twelve gauge
modified-choke shotgun barrel, along with the padded case, one
receiver and buttstock, and two forearms. The rifle barrel wears
a ramped front sight, and came with a scope base attached at the
rear. The shotgun barrel has a bead front sight, and the
muzzleloader barrel has a set of adjustable fiber-optic sights,
but is also drilled for a scope base. The straight-grained
hardwood has a walnut-colored satin stained finished, and
the receiver and barrels are a matte blued finish. The buttstock
has a soft ventilated recoil pad attached. The buttstock
and forearms have a loop sling swivels attached, which is a nice
touch. Every hunting rifle should come from the factory with
sling attachments, yet many rifles costing several times the
price of this Rossi do not have any provision for mounting a
sling. Thanks, Rossi. The trigger guard is made of a hard black
plastic. To keep the design compact, the muzzleloader barrel has
a brass and wood telescoping ramrod that fits underneath the
barrel. It telescopes easily, and works very well. The
action is opened for loading by simply pushing down on a latch
that rides beside the hammer. Pressing the latch opens the
action, and the action cannot be opened or closed if the hammer
is cocked as a safety feature. In addition to the manual safety,
the Rossi has an internal transfer bar safety, and a
hammer-mounted key lock safety.
Wearing the muzzleloader barrel, the Rossi
weighs in at seven pounds and five ounces, and the weight is
about the same with the other barrels attached. The two rifle
barrels measure twenty-three inches in length, and the shotgun
barrel is twenty-eight inches. The overall length with the rifle
barrels attached is 38.5 inches. The trigger pull measures three
and one-quarter pounds on the sample rifle. The Rossi is short,
relatively light, and balances very well.
This is a very versatile package, allowing a
hunter to use the one gun for hunting squirrels, rabbits, and
upland birds with the twelve gauge shotgun barrel in the fall,
switch to the muzzleloader barrel for the special deer seasons,
attach the .243 Winchester barrel for the main deer hunting
season, switch back to the shotgun barrel for waterfowl season,
pop the .243 barrel back on for groundhogs in early spring, and
again attach the shotgun barrel for turkey season. After a Fall,
Winter, and Spring of hunting game, the .243 barrel can serve
perfectly for varmint hunting all Summer long. That is a lot of
versatility for such a meager sum of money!
Letís look at this Rossi as three different
guns, as essentially, thatís what you get. First, the
shotgun. What can I say? Itís a basic single barrel
shotgun, like most of us grew up with. You break it open, insert
a shell, pull back the hammer, and fire. The dern things work,
and work well. Back when I was a kid, everybody had a single
shot shotgun. It was the gun that was the workhorse around the
farm, reliable as an anvil. The Rossi is no different. It works,
throws a good pattern that was right on target for me, and would
do nicely as an all-around, do everything, no-frills shotgun.
A well-heeled hunter might look better in his Filson
jacket and matching field pants with a European double over his
shoulder, but he wonít necessarily bag any more game than you
can with this Rossi. It works.
Next, we will examine the .243 Winchester. The
.243 is a darn good deer and antelope cartridge, especially with
the good bullets available today as either handloading
components or in factory ammunition. The .243 is also a superb
varmint cartridge, shooting flat and hitting hard at long range.
With factory Remington Core-Lokt ammo, the kind that you
can buy almost anywhere that sells ammo, the little Rossi would
group into less than one and one-quarter inches at 100 yards.
That was with an inexpensive Simmons 3 to 9 power scope
attached. Realizing that most likely purchasers of the Rossi
will also want to mount an affordable scope, I chose the
Simmons. It works well. The optics are not nearly as good as on
a better scope, but it will serve the purpose, and costs less
than forty bucks. One and one-quarter inches is darn good
accuracy for a deer rifle using standard factory ammunition. I
know that buyers of this gun most likely wonít be buying fifty
dollar per box ammo, and it isnít necessary. For hunting
medium game, the standard Core-Lokt and Powerpoint
ammo has worked just fine for decades, and still does the job.
Some hunters might feel handicapped using a single shot rifle.
There is no need to. Really, one good shot is usually all that
is ever needed. However, should you need a second shot, it takes
but a few seconds to extract the fired case and load a fresh
cartridge. Too many times hunters rely too heavily upon a
magazine full of cartridges, and shoot too quickly and
inaccurately. A hunter with a single shot tends to make each
shot count, and becomes a better hunter in the process.
On to the muzzleloader barrel. The Rossi is a
very handy fifty caliber inline that uses a shotgun primer for
ignition. With such a muzzleloader, a hunter can make things as
complicated or as simple as he likes. Letís keep it simple
here. Using a commercial bullet in a sabot, pelleted powder, and
a shotgun primer, muzzleloading doesnít get any simpler. No
need for casting, measuring, lubing, or carrying loose powder in
a container of some sort. You drop in two pellets, seat the
bullet, pop in the primer, and you are ready to shoot. I used Hodgdonís
Triple Seven (777) pelleted powder along with the superb Barnes
Spit Fire TMZ bullets. The Barnes bullets come packaged with the
sabot attached. They load easily into the Rossi without the need
of a bullet starter. The ramrod works perfectly to seat the
bullet atop the powder in one smooth stroke. Barnes sells a
special ramrod tip that will seat the pointed bullets without
deformation, and it threads right into the Rossi ramrod. Also,
the Hodgdon 777 greatly reduces fouling. I fired over 100 shots
from the Rossi using the 777 and Barnes bullets without any need
to clean the barrel. The last shot loaded just as easily as the
first. After a day of shooting, the Rossi cleaned up easily with
just plain cold water on a patch, followed by a patch coated
with Break Free CLP to prevent rust. The Rossi comes with
a breech plug wrench, or you can use a socket wrench for a bit
With any new inline muzzleloader, I like to
first remove the breech plug and coat with a good anti-seize
lubricant, which is readily available at auto parts stores. This
makes the plug much easier to remove later for cleaning.
The Barnes bullets expand perfectly, being of a
copper construction that is precut to facilitate expansion.
Penetration is deep, and expansion is good in most any
game animal. The fired sabots recovered after shooting showed no
deformation and a perfect gas seal, with no indication of
The accuracy of the Rossi muzzleloader proved
good enough for hunting medium game. With the Barnes/777 combo,
the Rossi would group five shots into three inches at 100 yards.
Playing around with other combinations of powder and bullets
might improve the accuracy, and it might not. I did not pursue
it, because my intent was to come up with a simple, effective,
and accurate muzzleloading hunting load for the Rossi, and the
Barnes Spit Fire TMZ with two 50 grain 777 pellets delivers. The
accuracy needed to kill deer out to 150 yards is there, and the
velocity of the 250 grain Barnes bullet from the Rossiís 23
inch barrel is slightly above 1800 feet-per-second. You could
use the 777 Magnum pellets if you want more velocity, but the
standard pellets work just fine. Drop in two pellets,
slide the bullet home, cap it, and fire. Simple. During all of
the test firing, the Rossi proved to be 100 percent reliable,
with never a misfire or hang fire of any kind.
The Rossi Matched Set is probably the best
bargain on the market today in a hunting package. Shotgun, high
powered centerfire rifle, and inline muzzleloader all in one.
Even at the full suggested retail price of $322, it is still a
real deal for an all-season hunter, but shop around a bit and I
think that you can find it for less.
This three-gun package is available also as a
youth model with more compact dimensions for kids and small
Check out the Rossi line of handguns, shotguns,
rifles, muzzleloaders, and accessories online at www.rossiusa.com.
For the location of a Rossi dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER icon at www.lipseys.com.
For a look at the extensive line of Barnes
muzzleloader, handgun, and rifle bullets go to www.barnesbullets.com.
For more information on Triple Seven and Pyrodex
muzzleloader propellants, go to www.hodgdon.com.
To locate a dealer where you can
buy this gun, Click on the DEALER FINDER icon at:
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