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The 6” barrel 6-round .357 Magnum Chiappa Rhino Revolver 60 SAR Nebula is breathtaking in shape, layout, color and function. The Italian brand Chiappa has been making firearms for over 60 years. It’s located by the foothills of the Alps in Brescia, Italy. Other than being a revolver, its designers have reimagined the gun in seemingly every possible way.

On most guns, form follows function which reinforces “this is the way we’ve always done it” kind of thinking. That, and the fact that gun makers like to use parts from a common parts bin and consumers ask for certain things, keeps gun makers making variations of the same few basic designs. Plus standardized designs means plug and play compatibility with massive accessory bins.

But with the Rhino, Chiappa has reimagined a lot and brought out a clean-slate design that uses the latest thinking, latest materials and some new production techniques. Little is fully familiar except the ammunition that passes through its cylinders and barrels.

The external finish is a near psychedelic multi-color PVD that may be the apotheosis of gun surface coloring. Think of an oil-slick’s rainbow colors for better visualization. Yet paradoxically, the PVD process adds extraordinary durability. It’s a plasma bonding process done in a vacuum chamber. The result is an external surface that’s corrosion resistant and that resists acids, etc. It’s not just an external surface finish, but one that actually forms metallurgic bonds with the underlying metal. So it should stay new or closer to new for years to come.

The gun is single action only (SAO) which leads to the gun’s SAR acronym, meaning Single Action Rhino. It’s 10.5” long overall. The gun’s 1 to 19” twist 6” barrel and 6-round cylinder are steel. However, because the frame and barrel shroud are both made of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy, this large revolver tips the scales at only 2.1 pounds.

Along the top is a bounty of features. First and foremost is the rhino profile. It’s not necessarily pretty, but it sure is captivating. Relentlessly so. The front sight is a fixed red fiber optic pinned to the barrel shroud that evokes a rhino’s horn. The shroud ramps down into a flat bridge, and this bridge has an integrated five-slot Picatinny accessory rail. The bridge and shroud connect to the frame, which then rises to house the cylinder and then rises further to the twin green fiber optics rear sight that’s adjustable both for windage and elevation. Under the sights and Picatinny rail are four large lightening ports that go clear through the gun.

The barrel sits low below the lightening ports. The low barrel is a remarkable feat of engineering made possible by feeding ammo from the cylinder’s bottom rather than the top. The benefit, other than eye-popping styling, is the barrel’s low bore axis forces felt-recoil thrust straight back into the user’s hand. In a traditional revolver, the barrel’s bore axis and thus felt-recoil thrust line is maybe an inch higher. So the traditional revolver has more muzzle flip and is harder on the hand.

The cylinder is smooth and hexagonal to minimize its diameter. Six narrow accent bevels grace the cylinder’s exterior. The gun comes with three moon clips and a removal tool, though the extraction of the empty casings is manual.

The bottom of the shroud that’s below the barrel has yet another five-slot Picatinny rail. Thus you can mount lights and lasers, etc., both on the revolver’s top and bottom. How many revolvers provide such options?

The gun has an internal safety. The squared off “hammer” in back is really just a cocking device since the hammer is fully internal. The trigger sits in an egg-shaped trigger guard. Its leading surface has a long diagonal that moves up to join the frame, and the frame has finger recesses behind the trigger.

The rubber grips are stunning with a blue and pale gray nebula pattern that gives this gun its name. Want something unique in form, function and color? Then the enthralling 6” barrel 6-round .357 Magnum Chiappa Rhino Revolver 60 SAR Nebula may be the only thing you look at.

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