Rossi has entered the muzzleloading market with some innovative Brazilian-made, break-action guns designed for pellets, sabot bullets and No. 209 shotgun primers. The Rossi muzzleloader features an external hammer with transfer bar to protect the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled. The guns also have a manual safety that blocks the hammer.
The guns are shipped with Truglo fiber optic sights and are drilled and tapped for scope mounting.
The Rossi muzzleloader is 38 inches long and features a 23-inch barrel with a 1:24 twist. The barrel is easily removed for cleaning by unscrewing the sling swivel, removing the fore-end and tipping the barrel out of the frame.
My sample weighs 7.5 pounds. The gun is available in wood/blue with a suggested retail of $166 or stainless/wood with a suggested retail of $202. Both are .50 caliber and feature a rubber recoil pad.
The guns also have an ingenious telescoping brass ramrod with a wooden handle. The end is unscrewed and extends until the internal thread catches. This is tightened to hold the telescoping section rigid. When you are done loading, unscrew and collapse the rod and tighten in the closed position.
The gun is also offered as a three- barrel matched set, with barrels for .17 HMR and .270 Win. in addition to the muzzleloader barrel. The wood/blue matched set has a suggested retail of $325. It's also offered in a two-barrel matched set with your choice of a 20-gauge shotgun barrel or a .243 Win. barrel in addition to the muzzleloader barrel, for a suggested retail of only $209 for the shotgun and $252 for the rifle.
Rossi also has a youth size MiniLoader in .45 caliber or .50 caliber which is scaled to fit the smaller/younger shooter. It can be had in blue or stainless. Suggested retail is $195.25 for blue and $242.20 for stainless. The guns feature a 20-inch barrel with a 1:20 twist rate.
My sample in stainless/black-finished wood is chambered for .45 caliber and weighs 5.3 pounds. The youth models are also offered with matched sets with a .22 LR barrel and a .410 or 20 gauge shotgun barrel for a suggested retail of $329.65.
The guns are well made with excellent fit and finish. The triggers are as good as I have seen in a factory gun at this price. In shooting at the range they have been accurate and reliable. Using the fiber optic sights, my son Nathan was shooting groups under two inches at 50 yards, which is impressive accuracy. Experience shows that with a scope the groups would be even smaller.
Because Rossi muzzleloaders can be fitted with a centerfire or rimfire barrel they must be sold through FFL holders only and will require that buyers fill out a 4473 form just like any cartridge firearm. Rossi Firearms, 800/948-8029, www.rossiusa.com.