Handguns > Revolver

Rossi Matched Pair Single-Shot Pistol

This handy single-shot pistol arrives with a .22 Long Rifle and .45 Colt/.410 combo barrel.


Good ideas are not always complicated ones. With all of the technical advances being made in firearms development, it can be easy to lose sight of the value of a gun that’s simple in its design and operation. For some time now, shooters have enjoyed the rugged, reasonably priced flexibility provided by the Rossi Matched Pair series of long guns. Now those same features can be enjoyed in a Rossi handgun. 

The Matched Pair pistol is a side-lever release, break-action, single-shot pistol that arrives with two barrels to use with the pistol frame. One barrel is chambered for .22 Long Rifle, while the other is a combo barrel designed to fire .45 Colt pistol cartridges or .410 shot shells in both 2½- and 3-inch lengths. A removable, straight-rifled choke is provided for use with .410 shot shells, but it must be removed from the barrel to safely fire .45 Colt loads. The two barrels are easily exchanged by loosening the forearm retention screw, removing the forearm and opening the action to lift the barrel off of the frame.

The 11-inch barrels, receiver, hammer, trigger and forearm screw with sling mount are all made of blued steel. The trigger guard, forearm and sight housings are made of polymer. The grip is a hand-filling, finger-grooved synthetic model, which looks similar to the Taurus Raging Bull grips. The adjustable fiber-optic sights (front red, rear green) are the same as those used on the Circuit Judge and Matched Pair long guns. Since no accessory or optic rails are present, this handgun is limited to pistol-sights-only shooting.

The Matched Pair pistol has several safety features, most of which operate unobtrusively in the process of cycling the action. A manual safety switch is located on the left side of the frame. A transfer-bar safety prevents the hammer from contacting the firing pin except when the trigger is  fully depressed. A key-operated security lock is located at the base of the hammer. The other safeties become evident when the hammer is in the cocked position, which prevents the action from being either opened or closed until the hammer is moved to the uncocked position. Experienced shooters may not need all of these safety features. but they make sense on a pistol that is likely to be used for training new shooters.

Time on the range showed that, although the Matched Pair pistol's design places much of the weight forward of the grip, it doesn't give the impression of being muzzle heavy when fired with a two-handed shooting stance. Although the hammer is a little heavy to pull back, it's smooth and locks cleanly into the fully cocked position. The single-action trigger of this gun breaks cleanly with 3 pounds, 14 ounces of trigger pull. The recoil-reducing grip and the forward weight of the pistol kept the felt recoil of the .45 Colt and .410 shells to a comfortable level.

I approached the .45 Colt ammunition testing with a bit of trepidation. The .45 Colt/.410 combo revolvers, like the Taurus Judge, usually produce five-shot groups in the 3-inch range at defensive distances of 7 to 10 yards. However, the patterns open up at 25 yards. This loss of tight patterning at greater distances with .45 Colt loads is generally blamed on the long cylinder chamber that the bullet has to travel through before meeting up with the rifling of the barrel. Although the Matched Pair pistol does have the advantages of a fully enclosed chamber, a stretched barrel and no cylinder gap, it still has the long unrifled chamber like the revolvers.

The results of firing five-shot groups from a bench rest into targets set at 25 yards proved to be better than expected. The best single five-shot group of 1.75 inches, and the best average of 2.25 inches, was produced by Winchester Supreme Elite PDX1 225-grain bonded hollow points. DoubleTap 255-grain hard-cast lead semi-wadcutters yielded an average of 2.35 inches, followed by the Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX load at 2.5 inches. All of the loads tested ran flawlessly.

For those who are curious about shooting .410 slug shells from the Matched Pair, or any other .45 Colt/.410 combo gun, save yourself some cash and reserve the slugs for dedicated .410 shotguns. The .410-caliber shotgun slug is traveling down a rifled barrel designed to accommodate .454-caliber .45 Colt bullets. The gaps between the rifling and the smaller .410 slug result in a miserable level of accuracy. A slug from a mixed-caliber handgun will hit the broad side of a barn, but you have to squint and hold your tongue just right to do it. If you have a shooting task that requires a single heavy projectile to accomplish, just remove the choke and enjoy the accuracy the .45 Colt pistol cartridges have to offer.

The .410 shot shell patterns produced by the Matched Pair were excellent in comparison to other .45 Colt/.410 handguns on the market. Quite simply, it trounced the competition. The closed chamber, longer barrel and removable straight-rifled choke produced patterns at 7 yards that rival those produced by 20-inch barreled .410 shotguns. A variety of 2 1/2- and 3-inch birdshot loads produced patterns ranging from 6 to 9 inches. The 00, 000 and No. 4 Buckshot loads tested yielded groups ranging from 2.5 to 5 inches, with the best performance produced by the Federal Premium Handgun 9-Pellet, 3-inch shell.

Two malfunctions occurred during the .410 shotshell shooting set. In both cases, a spent shell lodged in the chamber. They were quickly and easily tapped out with a cleaning rod. Considering the variety of loads tested, the level of fouling in the barrel at the time, the hot nature of the shells fired and the lack of any other kind of malfunction, these two stoppages did not strike me as much to worry about.

It should be noted that the level of felt recoil produced by heavy 3-inch .410 buckshot loads is stout, even with the recoil reducing grips. One shell that is bound to leave a memorable impression on both the shooter and the target is the Winchester PDX1 3-inch Defender load. This shell launches 410-grains of copper-plated lead in the form of four defense disks (pre-flattened buckshot pellets) and 16 BB-size shot pellets at a published handgun velocity of 750 fps. At 7 yards, the defense disks produced a 2.5-inch central group with the BB pellets forming a 6.25-inch pattern around them. I would be handed my walking papers and told to clean out my desk if I ever recommended a single-shot handgun for self-defense. However, it's still good to know that if the Matched Pair were pressed into an emergency defensive roll, it will produce tight, effective buckshot groups with the proper loads.

A five-shot group accuracy test was used to check the .22 Long Rifle barrel. The extractor on this barrel proved to be an ejector. While the .45 Colt/.410 barrel requires spent cases to be removed manually, the .22 barrel spits the spent .22 shells over the shoulder of the shooter. This made reloading that much easier. At 5 yards, this barrel shot to point-of-aim. At 25 yards, it tended to shoot 3- to 4-inches high on the target. This is probably due to the front sight blade resting about 1/4-inch lower on the milled-down barrel than the front sight of the .45 Colt/.410 barrel. Although the sight adjustments I made at the range did not solve the problem, it seems likely a bit of off-the-range tinkering could solve the problem.

While the groups were high, they were tight. A best single group of 1.25 inches was produced by both the Winchester Dynapoint 40-grain copper-plated hollow-point load and the CCI Quiet 40-grain lead round-nose load. The Winchester round produced a best group average of 1.45 inches, followed by the CCI Quiet at 1.65 inches and the Remington 40-Grain lead round-nose load at 1.85 inches. No malfunctions occurred during the formal or informal .22 testing. And as one might expect, the recoil ranged from tame to non-existent with the variety of loads tested.

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10 Responses to Rossi Matched Pair Single-Shot Pistol

rick wrote:
August 29, 2014

Will a 22 wmr work?

Andy Hayes wrote:
October 27, 2013

I bought mine at Scheel's in Montana for $299.95. TheT/C costs more than twice as much.

Verne wrote:
July 11, 2013

I just bought this pistol and the 22 barrel is drilled and tapped for a Weaver 92A scope mount. When you remove the rear sight and mount, you will find 4 holes that match the 92A scope base.

Silas wrote:
May 04, 2013

T/C has been doing this for a few decades now! I find it strange that there was no mention of this in the article. My contender shoots 3' 410 shells very well! Not to mention it is a beautiful american made product!

March 22, 2013


Rossi Pistol Owner wrote:
November 24, 2012

Rossi is quite clear that this weapon is chambered only for 2 1/2 in 410 shells!!! Why are you shooting 3 in?? Of course you will have to pry out the longer incorrect shells. Plus, your accuracy will drop considerably with 3 in shells.

Dana wrote:
October 11, 2012

A lot of people knock the 410 birdshot, but a farmer killed a sow grizzly in 2003 in Fortune, MT that charged him from the henhouse with one shot to the nose. Lucky yeah, but at close range it packs a wallop.

Mike wrote:
September 25, 2012

I just spoke to Rossi Customer Service. There seem to be some discrepancies regarding the specifications of this gun. For one, their service rep stated that this pistol is not rated to fire the 3" 410 shells, and that doing so will void the warranty. I did however also ask if the gun was rated to fire +P 45 colt loads which thay said would be fine. So in my book I'm going with the advice from this acticle in that it is safe to fire 3" 410 shells as long as the fit in the chamber, since the gun is strong enough to withstand the +P 45's. In addition he said that spent shells must be manually removed from both barrels: not just the .22LR. Reallistically though, the man on the phone didn't seems to be overly knowledgeable to say the least. I hope that possibly the authour will comment back on this story to clear up the confusion.

machine gun wrote:
July 17, 2012

by the way the shoulder stock would be a removable 6 point adjustable stock. red dot seems petfect but a small scope wouldnt be a bad option either.

machine gun wrote:
July 17, 2012

great review! answered my questions. i know that this would be an awesome survival gun to have. knowing now how it performs in .22lr and .45 colt, i would have to compare it with the rossi youth mp combo in .22lr and .410 slug. both shoot .410 buckshot & .22lr. besides handgun bullet vs slug, i also want to compare overall ease of storage and carry and acuracy. pistol vs breakdown rifle: even if its a small youth model. being a single shot breakopen saves you alot of ammo and adds to reliability. i wonder about a red dot for better accuracy and even a shoulder stock for the mp pistol. in that configuration this pistol would perform and look formidable!