I recently had the opportunity to shoot a Rossi Rio Grande Lever Action .410 Gauge shotgun. This was one of several that Bill's Gun Shop and Range had received. The Rio Grande is made for Rossi by Taurus in their Brazil manufacturing facility.
The Rio Grande has a 20 inch barrel with a full choke. The stocks are wood and the wood to metal fit is very good. There are no gaps between the wood and metal and all pieces are very secure. This handy little carbine shotgun is pretty light at 5.8 pounds. The Rio Grande has a 6 + 1 capacity of 2 1/2 inch shells only; it is not chambered for 3 inch shells--they will not fit...I tried.
The rear sight is the standard buckhorn style sight. The front sight sports a nice sized brass bead.
With my aging eyes I normally seek out an aperture rear sight but this brass bead really gave me a sharp sight picture. While this set-up worked well for me on the range the top of the receiver is fitted with an accessory rail for other optics the owner may wish to attach.
The Rio Grande's butt stock is also fitted with a generous recoil pad.
I did not have my trigger pull gauge with me during this evaluation but I can tell you that the trigger pull was very good; no take-up and a crisp release.
I only had two types of shot shells to use: Federal Game Shok with #7 birdshot and Remington Ultimate Home Defense that contains four "00" lead shot pellets.
I have handled several lever action rifles in the past that were difficult to load and so I was concerned that the shot shells might stick or prove otherwise problematic.
However that was not case with the Rio Grande. Loading was smooth with both brands and types of shells and the ejections were positive as well.
So let's talk about how she shot. We'll start with the Birdshot:
The above sheet shows a nice pattern at 21 feet.
This sheet show how the pattern opened up at 40 feet.
At 50 and 75 feet (below) the patterns open up to a point that would make the Rio Grande questionable for use with birds at longer ranges.
Now, the Remington Ultimate Home Defense round tells a little different story:
At 21 feet the four "00" pellets smashed dead center. Remington states that the velocity of this round is 1300 feet per second and I would hate to be on the receiving end of this charge.
At 35 feet the group produced by the Rio Grande and the Remington Ultimate Home Defense round is still impressive.
At 50 feet the round would still be useful for self defense.
I put three rounds into this target at 75 feet. I aimed low, center, and high and found that even at 75 feet the Rio Grande placed the rounds at point of aim and the spread of the "00" pellets remained within the silhouette.
So, what is the purpose for the Rio Grande? That's a good question and I can come up with three possible answers:
1. A short range fowling piece
2. Pest control--If I lived in a rural area this would be a great implement for the eradication of small to medium sized pests and predators.
3. Self Defense--this would not be my first choice for a self protection firearm but I would not feel poorly armed if it was all I had, in fact, it would perform very well out to 25 yards.
Oh! I almost forgot; it's a lot of fun to shoot.