September 12, 2023
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Amadeo Rossi SA of Brazil has been manufacturing firearms since 1889, though Rossi weapons weren’t imported into the USA until the 1970s when Interarms first brought them in. Post-2010, Rossi no longer produces handguns for the Brazilian market, but continues to produce handguns for export. Currently, Rossi and Taurus firearms are distributed in the USA though Rossi USA. However, it should be noted that Taurus purchased the rights to produce Rossi revolvers in 1995. Rossi has offered a variety of .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers, including the compact and inexpensive Models 461 and 462 in .357 Magnum with 2-inch barrels. Currently, Rossi is introducing new .357 Magnum revolvers with barrel lengths to fit various carry needs. Available now, the 3-inch RP63 and the 6-inch RM66 will be followed by a 4-inch barreled revolver in the upcoming months.
I’m a fan of 3-inch .357 Magnum revolvers. They carry and conceal well and offer better extraction of spent cases than the 2½-inch revolver. However, in for this article I chose to look at the 6-inch barreled RM66 and the niche it can fill among self-defense revolvers. In pondering the RM66 as a carry gun, I thought back to an incident when I was in college. My girlfriend and I went camping in a state park for the weekend. I guess being an optimist the only gun I took along was a S&W Chiefs Special loaded with 148-grain full wadcutters. The first night that little revolver and its five rounds seemed puny when a group of other “campers,” maybe 75–100 yards away were drinking heavily, yelling, and occasionally firing what sounded as if it were a rifle or shotgun. Oh, and they looked as if they were cast members from Deliverance and not Burt Reynolds!
As it transpired we didn’t get much sleep, but the loud neighbors also didn’t come calling. But, the next time I ventured to that park I had my Winchester Model 94 and a box of 20 cartridges in my car trunk and my S&W Model 58 .41 Magnum on my hip beneath my coat and two loaded speedloaders in a pocket. Over the years, I’ve become much more cognizant of the fact that when away from population centers, law enforcement is scarce and response times are longer; there are sometimes people who are growing or fabricating substances that are illegal who abhor unwanted company; locals may view outsiders as prey; and bad people feel enabled to do bad things. Add to that; often those encountered in sparcely-populated areas will be more likely armed with a rifle or shotgun. And, in many parts of the USA, four-footed predators as well as two-footed ones may be encountered.
In considering carrying the Rossi RM66 for boonies “concealed carry” self-defense, the obvious disadvantage is the longer 6-inch barrel, which will make concealment more difficult. On the positive side, the 6-inch barrel maximizes the .357 Magnum cartridge more fully and allows accuracy at longer ranges. To carry the 6-inch RM66 somewhat concealed I considered two holster options—a shoulder rig or a cross draw rig. I’ve used both with N-frame revolvers and found they worked well. One advantage of the RM66 over the big S&Ws I’d carried was its lightness—only 35.4 ounces unloaded.
Missouri where I live is an open carry state so roaming the woods with my handgun exposed would not be a problem. However, tactically, not showing a potential attacker with a rifle that I had a handgun, thus indicating he should engage from a distance makes sense. In choosing a holster for the RM66, I went with Galco’s DAO106 cross draw. I’ve used Galco shoulder rigs, strong side rigs, and cross draw rigs with large handguns in the past and always found them comfortable and secure. The DAO with the 6-inch RM66 is not as comfortable in a vehicle as a more extreme cross draw holster that slants the butt more towards the shooting hand; however, with a 6-inch barreled revolver, the slant would make the holster more likely to drag on the door when exiting. The DAO106 works fine and allows the retention strap to be easily released with the support hand—the method I find fastest—or with the shooting hand during the draw.
As I see it, the primary argument for the 6-inch barreled RM66 is the greater accuracy at longer ranges granted by the longer sight radius and a bit flatter shooting due to the higher muzzle velocity. I shot good groups at 25 yards offhand with the RM66, and a friend who was shooting with me shot it well also. See the attached charts for group sizes. To see how the longer barrel did at greater distances, I shot plates at 50-yards with it, hitting about 75% of the time. I backed up to 60–65 yards and still was hitting 50% of the time or more. I did not shoot at 100 yards. Normally, the only handguns with which I do really well at 100 yards are my SIG P210 and Manhurin MR73 5.25-inch barrel, though I have good days with others.
The RM66 was accurate. I did find that my groups tended to be strung a bit vertically. I think that was because of a Smith & Wesson bias, as I am used to white outline rear sights with red insert front ramps. The RM66 has a white outline rear sight, but the front ramp is black. With more shooting I’ll get used to that. Plus, the front ramp blade is easily removed, so presumably a red insert one could be substituted. I mentioned the relatively light weight of the RM66, which I found a boon for offhand shooting as the revolver balanced well. The cylinder has less mass than many .357 Magnum cylinders, helping keep the revolver light. Note, though, that the cylinder is 1.5 inches in length, while a .357 Magnum cartridge case is 1.3 inches in length.
As a result, when ejecting empty cases, I would recommend turning the revolver barrel upward to be aided by gravity and hit the ejector rod smartly. I would rate the RM66’s SA and DA trigger pulls as crisp, allowing accurate shooting. The hammer spur is oversized and checkered making single action shooting quicker. The checkered rubber grips have finger grooves and are similar to Pachmayr’s “Gripper” grips. These grips cushion recoil well even with heavy .357 Magnum loads yet are compact enough to aid in concealing the revolver. I would note, though, that I have medium-sized hands and found the grips about right for me. Someone with larger hands might find them too small.
As the RM66 will likely be used outdoors, the fact it’s fabricated of stainless steel is a real plus. Whether carried in rain or snow or exposed to the perspiration of high humidity in places such as Missouri where I live, the RM66 should be durable. At an MSRP of $620.99, the Rossi RM66 is a bargain. It’s a .357 Magnum with an outdoorsman’s barrel length and finish. Its adjustable rear sight allows use of a variety of .357 Magnum or .38 Special loads for which the revolver may be zeroed. I look forward to shooting the RM66’s companion 3-inch and 4-inch barreled revolvers.
Rossi RM66 Revolver Specs
- Type: Double-Action/Single-Action Revolver
- Caliber: .357 Mag.
- Overall Length: 11.14 in.
- Barrel Length: 6 in.
- Weight: 35.4 oz.
- Capacity: 6 rds.
- Sights: Front ramp, rear adjustable
- MSRP: $620
- Contact: Rossi
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