Rossi has made the jump into a big market with the Rio Bravo. For those who mourn the passing of the Winchester 9422 and bemoan the high price of the Marlin 39A the Rio Bravo is good news. So stop the mourning and bemoaning and get plinking! Some of us like the look and feel of a lever action rifle. I like manually operated rifles because they allow the use of light loads such as the CB cap, .22 short, and even rat shot. These loads are useful for getting rid of pests around the homestead. A quality .22 is the most useful rifle of all for training young shooters. It is easy to convert the rifle to single shot use during instruction, just drop a single cartridge into the chamber. It is a little more fumble prone than using a true single shot but then it works quite well with a little practice. The .22 is a useful small game firearm. In a pinch many a .22 rifle has been used for personal defense. It isn’t the ideal tool for home defense but it has served well.
The fit and finish of the Rossi Rio Bravo are nicely done with little to be desired. The finish is evenly applied. The wood stock fits well and isn’t unattractive. The buttstock to action tang fit is good. There is no screw on the top tang, the stock is attacked at the bottom. The recoil pad is nicely serrated plastic. The hammer is grooved for easy cocking. The top strap is set up for easy scope mounting of traditional rimfire type rifle scopes. The sights are traditional lever action semi buckhorn types. These are often misunderstood. The rear notch is used in standard alignment as if the ‘ears’ were not present. The ears of the buckhorn sight are used for very long range shooting. It isn’t difficult to sight the rifle for 50 yards, a long shot for a .22 rifle. The trigger is nice and consistent with a degree of slack before a tight take-up, like most lever action rifles. The rifle weighs 5.5 pounds, ideal for carrying during a day or squirrel hunting. The Rossi Rio Bravo also features a cross bolt safety. The safety isn’t a bad feature and is SOP in modern rifles. You may use it or ignore it.
The rifle uses a traditional tubular magazine. This magazine is located under the barrel. .22 Short, CB, Long, Long Rifle, High Velocity and other variants may be used. Fifteen rounds of .22 Long Rifle is a standard load. Loading is simple enough. Unscrew the inner magazine tube and raise it until the loading port is unobstructed, no need to completely remove the inner tube. Drop cartridges into place. To make the rifle ready to fire operate the lever action. This cocks the hammer. Press the trigger to fire. If desired the hammer may be safely lowered by controlling the checkered hammer as you press the trigger to lower the hammer. Practice this a bit with an unloaded rifle. If hunting all that is needed is to cock the hammer and fire. In home ready I would leave the chamber empty. All types of ammunition feed well. The lever action is smooth and short. It doesn’t take much leverage to quickly manipulate the lever and throw the bolt to the rear loading the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Be positive and smooth or the .22 Short may hang up- if you can find any. I had exactly 37 shorts in the house and fired 10 during the testing. Remember to throw the lever forward not down as you manipulate the lever and you will be pretty fast and smooth with minimal acclimation. I have fired more than five hundred rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition in the rifle with excellent function. Little of the shooting has been past 25 yards. At this distance the rifle will easily make a ragged hole for a full magazine. Loads such as the CCI Stinger and Remington Thunderbolt will make a clover leaf at 25 yards. This is a rifle well worth its modest price. At present the rifle is available at Cheaperthandirt.com for about $279, a little more at other places but still under $300. The rifle is worth its price.
Rio Bravo Specs:
Caliber: .22 LR, .22 Long, .22 Short
Capacity: 15 rounds Long Rifle ammunition
Finish: Polished Black
Furniture: German Beechwood
Barrel Length: 18 in.
Overall Length: 36 in.
Weight: 5.5 lbs.