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Rossi New Six-Shot .357 Magnum Revolvers: A Pretty Pair

Rossi introduces two new six-shot .357 Magnum revolvers—the RP63 and the RM66—that cover all the bases.

Rossi New Six-Shot .357 Magnum Revolvers: A Pretty Pair

(Michael Anschuetz photo)

While it may not seem that way, revolvers are hot these days. Sure, polymer-frame, striker-fired semiautomatics hog all the glory—and magazine covers and Internet videos (so I hear)—but gun manufacturers are seeing a resurgence in interest for wheelguns. And it’s not simply a nostalgia trip. With the rise of people buying handguns for self-defense, a significant segment of those buyers wants the simplicity and reliability of a revolver.

Enter Rossi and its new line of revolvers. The initial offerings are both .357s: the RP63 with a three-inch barrel and the RM66 with a six-inch barrel. A four-inch .357 is in the works as well.

Rossi has been in the firearms business for a long time, dating to 1889. The firm’s revolvers have been on U.S. shelves on and off since the mid-1980s, and these new guns are actually manufactured by Taurus, which owns Rossi. But that doesn’t mean these wheelguns are Taurus guns with Rossi branding.

Rossi Six-Shot .357 Magnum Revolvers
The RM66 and RP63 are six- and three-inch revolvers, respectively. They’re both chambered to .357 Magnum and have six-shot cylinders. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

“The design is all brand new and separate from Taurus,” said Cody Osborn, Rossi’s marketing director.

Having Taurus build these guns is a good thing, as the company has upped its manufacturing game immensely—with vastly improved quality control. I’ve worked with several of Taurus’s revolvers and semiautos over the past couple of years, both in the magazine and on the set of “Handguns” TV, and I’ve found them to be excellent.

Let’s start with the Rossi RP63. Like I said, it has a three-inch barrel. I think this is the sweet spot for a defensive revolver in terms of barrel length. It’s easy to carry, and the longer barrel length compared to a two-inch snubby makes a big difference when it comes to shootability. That’s due both to the longer sighting radius and also a bit more weight out front, and with the RP63 this weight is boosted by a full-length underlug.

It’s a one-piece barrel, and the muzzle sports a recessed crown. The underlug is machined at a slight angle at the front to make holstering easy. The front sight features a serrated ramp, and it’s pinned in place and therefore replaceable. The barrel has a flat top, and it’s mated to a frame that sports a grooved topstrap for a rear sight.

The right side of the frame and barrel are engraved with the serial number, and on the frame you’ll find “RP 63” underneath the serial. Chambering markings are on the bottom of the underlug. Importer “Braztech Int’l LLC. Bainbridge, GA” is engraved under the cylinder, and the Rossi logo is located behind the cylinder shield. “Taurus Armas Made in Brazil” is engraved on the left side of the frame below the cylinder release.

The release is scalloped and serrated for sure operation, although there’s a high spot at the back of it that digs into the thumb that I wish they would smooth out. The hammer spur is just the right size, and it, too, is serrated so it won’t slip under your thumb.




Rossi RP63 .357 Magnum Revolver Hammer-Block Safety
The hammer-mounted firing pin is replaceable, and the guns feature a hammer-block safety. The rear sight on the RP63 is a grooved topstrap. (Michael Anschuetz)

The hammer sports a replaceable firing pin, something you rarely see these days.

“Part of Rossi is to keep the classics rolling but modernizing them—similar to the lever guns and single-shot shotgun we produce,” Osborn said. “The firing pin mounted on the hammer is a very classic silhouette of revolvers. We were able to modernize the style and make it absolutely safe for everyday carry.”

The safety aspect he refers to is the revolver’s hammer-block safety. It prevents the firing pin from reaching the cartridge unless the trigger is pulled. And in the unlikely event the firing pin should break, Osborn said replacements will be available on Rossi’s website.

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The trigger has a smooth, 0.4-inch-wide face, and I like the shape of the curve. The double-action pull averaged 10 pounds, two ounces, with an acceptable amount of stacking. Single-action pull averaged two pounds, 10 ounces.

The fluted six-shot cylinder is 1.43 inches wide. Timing on the RP63’s cylinder locking bolt is good, with only faint drag marks leading into the slots. End shake is 0.007 inch, and there’s no side-to-side play. The ejector rod works smoothly.

The rubber grip has a pebbled texture and finger grooves, with the Rossi emblem on both sides. They’re two-piece, with a single slotted screw on the right side securing them in place.

While the RP63 is a small-frame revolver, it does not fit Smith & Wesson J-frame or Taurus 856 holsters. It does go in a holster I have for a three-inch Ruger GP100, but the fit is too sloppy for proper carry. Fortunately, Rossi sells a good-looking, inside-the-waistband/outside-the-waistband holster from UM Tactical on its website for $45. Osborn said holsters from Galco and DeSantis are coming soon.

Weight is 27 ounces empty. There are lighter carry revolvers out there, but 27 ounces isn’t a problem to carry and contributes to shootability and control.

Rossi RM66 .357 Magnum Revolvers Fully Adjustable White Outline Rear Sight
The RM66 sports a fully adjustable white outline rear sight. The revolver proved to be accurate both from the bench and in practical shooting. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

On to the six-inch RM66. Overall it shares the same features as the RP63, although there are a few key differences besides barrel length. On the front sight, only the blade itself is pinned; the entire front sight is fastened to the barrel with a hex bit. That makes it easily replaceable, and depending on what you want to use the revolver for, you could go with a fiber-optic or night-sight alternative to the stock black blade.

The flat barrel top is grooved to reduce glare, and the bottom of the full-length underlug is squared off, which gives the gun a cool, distinctive look.

The forward part of the rear sight is grooved, and the sight body is held in place with a slotted screw. The rear sight’s notch sports a white outline, and it’s fully adjustable courtesy of windage and elevation screws.

The rubber grip has a slightly different texture than that found on the RP63, with a molded diamond-point checkering as opposed to the smaller gun’s pebbling. The RM66’s finger grooves are deeper and more prominent as well.

Grip length is the same, but the circumference is beefier—4.75 inches at the top finger groove for the RM66 compared to 4.5 inches at the same location on the RP63. While it doesn’t sound like much, you definitely notice it, and it’s appropriate for the larger gun.

It’s a two-piece grip as on its smaller brother, but here the screw holding the halves together is above the Rossi emblem instead of below it. On this sample, the screw is a wee bit too long and presses outward on the left half. You can see the bump this creates, but at least with my shooting grip I can’t feel it at all.

The rest of the gun is the same, although the double-action trigger pull maxed out my Lyman gauge. I’m guessing it’s a touch over 12 pounds, but apart from weight, the pull itself is the same as the RP63’s in terms of smoothness and an okay level of stacking. Single-action pull was three ounces lighter.

rossi-six-shot-357-magnum-revolvers-05
The RM66’s squared-off, full-length underlug gives the gun a stylish look. The front sight unit is easily replaceable for those who want something other than a black blade. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Timing wasn’t quite as good, though, as evidenced by drag marks along the entire distance between cylinder stop slots on the RM66.

At 34 ounces and 11 inches long, the RM66 probably isn’t going to be your go-to concealed-carry gun, but it might be your top choice for a home-defense revolver. It would also be just right for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, where the extra barrel length and the power of the .357 Magnum can be exactly what you need.

Accuracy results for both guns are shown in the accompanying charts. I was pleasantly surprised by the RP63. Sure, it was tested at 15 yards per our protocol, but despite its minimal sights it wasn’t hard to get decent groups—although they were a bit low and about four inches right for every load.

I say I was surprised by its level of accuracy because its sight setup is one of my few complaints on the RP63. I have shot a number of revolvers with this type of sight, but here the topstrap cut is pretty shallow, and there’s not a lot of front sight to pick up. It wasn’t a problem from the bench, but in shooting the gun double action at speed, I found myself wishing I could see a bit more of the front blade.

My other criticism with the RP63 would be that on this particular sample it shot to the right with every load—including a 158-grain lead roundnose from Black Hills that I didn’t test for accuracy but used for field shooting. Even at five yards you would have to hold off a few inches in order for your hits to be centered up.

While the blade is replaceable, that’s not likely going to help a windage problem. Potential solutions include rotating the barrel, filing the front sight or bending it. You can count me out on doing any of those jobs myself, but a qualified gunsmith should be able to fix the issue without much fuss. And again, it’s likely just this test sample, so I’m not overly concerned.

The RM66 was a blast to shoot from the bench, and thanks to its adjustable rear sight it was easy to get it shooting to point of aim. The Remington wadcutter was such a pussycat, and the 25-yard results with it and the .357 Hornady load make you realize how well this gun can shoot when it’s matched up with ammo it likes.

Rossi RP63 .357 Magnum Revolver Accuracy Results Chart

Magnums are always less than fun to shoot from the bench, but thanks to the RM66’s size and weight, plus the rubber grips, it was fine. I never expect to shoot magnums all that well in terms of accuracy—I find it hard to break good shots, especially toward the end of a session—but the RM66 definitely exceeded my expectations.

With the RM66, other than the nitpicky gripe about the grip screw creating a small bump on the left side of the grip, there’s not much else to complain about.

Sure, the double-action trigger pull is stout, but if you shoot it enough it will smooth out. Or, given the relatively low price of this revolver, you might have enough cash left over to justify a trip to the gunsmith for an action job.

The windage issue with the RP63 aside, both revolvers were great in practical shooting exercises. I ran a couple cylinders full of .357 Magnums through both guns. Despite its small size, the RP63 was manageable with the magnums, and with standard .38s and +Ps it was possible to rap out fast, accurate shots in double action.

The RM66 was a prince. Shooting fist-size groups in rapid fire at 10 yards was a breeze, and that included magnum loads. Backing up to 25 yards, putting six shots into the A zone of a USPSA target was a cinch in double-action mode. I was having so much fun with the RM66 I retreated to 50 yards and, firing single action, kept every shot in at least the C zone, with plenty of A-zone hits.

Rossi has done a great job with both of these revolvers. The RP63 makes a fine defensive gun for concealed carry or home-defense. It’s a small gun you’ll actually shoot. The RM66 is everything an all-around .357 Magnum should be. It’s a good-looking, accurate and practical gun for home or trail—or just for fun.

I’m looking forward to seeing the four-inch revolver and whatever other handguns this respected brand decides to introduce down the road.

Rossi RM66 .357 Magnum Revolver Accuracy Results Chart

Rossi RP63/RM66 Specifications

  • Type: DA/SA centerfire revolver
  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Capacity: 6
  • Barrel: 3 in./6 in.
  • Overall Length: 7.95 in./11.1 in.
  • Height: 5.2 in./5.5 in.
  • Width: 1.5 in.
  • Weight: 27.3 oz./34.4 oz.
  • Construction: Satin-finished stainless steel frame, barrel and cylinder; rubber grips w/finger grooves
  • Sights: Grooved topstrap, replaceable front black blade/fully adjustable white-outline rear, replaceable front black blade
  • Trigger: DA, 10 lb. 2 oz.; SA, 2 lb. 10 oz./DA, unknown; SA, 2 lb. 7 oz.
  • Safety: Hammer block
  • Price: $461/$621
  • Manufacturer: Rossi, RossiUSA.com

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