Rifles > Lever-Action

Rossi Rio Grande Review

With the Rio Grande, Rossi has tapped into the lever-action’s versatility and its lore.

10/12/2011

There was a time when the word “rifle” almost exclusively meant a lever-action. The lever-action rifle is an iconic part of America and as much a symbol of the Old West as a worn-out pair of cowboy boots or a set of spurs. Its fame is not just celebrated in the dust of the West, though, as eastern deer hunters have long relied on the lever-action. For the lever-action enthusiast, Rossi offers multiple models, including the unconventional.

Founded in 1889 by Amadeo Rossi, his namesake company is a leading manufacturer of single-shot rifles, muzzleloaders and shotguns; however, Rossi offers a diverse selection of lever-action rifles built around the famed Winchester Model 92 action, too. It has also unveiled a lever-action rifle similar to the Marlin Model 336. Rossi’s lever guns are unusual, but one covered here is not a rifle at all. The Rio Grande is indeed a lever-action long gun but is chambered to fire .410-bore shells. While specialized in nature, this firearm represents Rossi’s commitment to innovation and its dedication to providing shooters with unique and dependable firearms that are fun to shoot.

Rossi Model RG410B
Not only does the Rossi Rio Grande, Model RG410B, reflect the looks of Marlin’s Model 336, its investment-cast action features Marlin’s customary side-ejection and bolt-banded extractor. But, the RG410B’s walnut stained, straight-grained hardwood stock is a bit slimmer in both the butt and the fore-end. There is a barrel band at the front of the fore-end and another one 1/2-inch rearward of the muzzle.

The RG410B has the modern Marlin-style, cross-bolt receiver safety that blocks the hammer when engaged. If the trigger is pulled the hammer will fall; however, its forward travel is stopped just short of the firing pin. Purist may scoff at this arrangment, but it’s an inherently safe design.

Each shotgun is shipped with a factory-installed, Weaver-style scope base that matches the mounting holes found on Marlin Model 336s. The shotgun features a semi-buckhorn rear sight that is adjustable for elevation and windage, and the front sight is a thin, yet tall, blade topped with a brass bead measuring 0.090 inches in diameter. The front sling swivel stud is fitted to the rear barrel band, while the other is at the toe of the buttstock. Capping the buttstock is a 1-inch ventilated rubber recoil pad atop a thin white line spacer.

I was initially skeptical of how well a rifle/shotgun like this might function with .410 shotshells. But my worries were quickly dispelled after testing four different .410-bore loads—75 shots in all—without a single failure to function, fire or cycle. It also proved accurate with slugs. Using a Vortex Strike Fire Red Dot Sight System affixed atop the Weaver-style rail to aid sighting, Winchester slugs would print five-shot groups between 3 and 5 inches at 50 yards.

The choke on the Rossi RG410B is fixed “modified” but is not denoted on the barrel. Winchester’s three-pellet 000 Buck load spread between 10 and 12 inches at 20 yards. Typically one can expect buck shot to spread about 1 inch per yard, so this was fairly tight. Winchester’s No. 6 shot Game & Field load patterned within 20 inches at 20 yards, with an average of 12 pellets inside the 6-inch center circle. Pattern density was reasonably consistent.

The really interesting load was the Winchester PDX1 .410 Defender. This personal-defense load consists of three copper-plated Defender Disks atop 12 plated BBs. At 20 yatds the total pattern size was similar to the buckshot load, averaging between 10 and 12 inches. Where legal, this might be a great turkey load, and there is no doubt it would work for personal protection.

The Rossi Rio Grande .410 lever gun was a pleasure to shoot. Recoil was mild with all loads tested and functioning was flawless. Even though my 11-year-old son likes ARs and precision bolt-action rifles, he has a passion for lever-actions. He could load and handle the Rossi with ease, and even though it was just a tad heavy for him when shooting off-hand, he managed a string of good hits at 40 yards with slugs.

This would make a great option for a kid that might also hunt with a center-fire, lever-action rifle. Operation is identical. Actually, from a practical standpoint, with deer hunting ranges inside 60 yards, this gun could fill a multitude of tasks from big-game hunting to home defense.

Importer: Rossi; (306) 474-0401; www.rossiusa.com
Model: Rio Grande
Action: repeating lever-action shotgun
Caliber: .410 bore
Magazine Capacity: tubular, five
Receiver: investment cast 4140 blued carbon steel; or stainless steel
Stock: oil-finished deluxe hardwood
Barrel: 20"; modified choke
Sights: buckhorn rear; post front
Trigger Pull Weight: 4 lbs., 4 ozs.
Overall Length: 38¾"
Weight: 6 lbs., 8 ozs.
Suggested Retail Price: $536

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33 Responses to Rossi Rio Grande Review

Tom wrote:
October 12, 2014

I'd say Rossi provided the reviewer with a gun that they had all ready tested & was sure it worked flawless. I have a Rio Grande 410ss & have the same problem. When you go to chamber a shell the next shell behind it pops out just a little to far & holds the lever from raising the first shell up to chamber it. Seems like there's not enough metal on the lever to hold the piece high enough. It's also hard to load the shells into the gun because the gate is so tight. You would think that with this many guns with the very same problem that Rossi would come up with a fix.

gary wrote:
August 28, 2014

I got the 410 and 357 rossi not shot them yet.After reading all this remarks may not short them.

John Morgan wrote:
July 21, 2014

The reason magazines give good reviews to bad products is because they're given 'test' products by the manufacturers and their advertising pays big bucks. The question I have is can you fire .45 Colt cartridges in this rifle/shotgun and,if so, would each round have to be hand chambered? Seems this would be a good survival type weapon, IF you could get the bugs worked out.

Frank wrote:
May 18, 2014

I just bought this. Didn't have time to clean it before use. Ran great! It loads and ejects so smoothly that you might think it didn't eject/load. Loading is definitely tight, but it does loosen up after 50 rounds. Put 100+ round thru it on the first day. I was shooting just some basic Winchester game load #8 shot. Really a fun gun to shoot.

Gary W Rittenhouse wrote:
March 24, 2014

I bought Rio Grand and from the first day i took it out its had the same problems,Won't chamber,if you chamber by hand and fir it won't eject, when you try to chamber a round the cocking lever sticks open! I sent it to them they had 4to6 weeks sent it back ! Same thing I called them they said since I was the original and those things were wrong with gun when I bought NEW send it back . I sent back they had it2to3 weeks when I got it back not a thing had been done! First time i cocked it the lever stuck open and is that way to day! I belong to the NRA and get your Mag every month, So how about a little help Instead of just asking for more money

T West wrote:
March 15, 2014

got the rg410 today, a little hard to load, but other than that, it fired and ejected perfectly, one box of shells

tim wrote:
February 23, 2014

rusted firing pin in a new rossi 30-30.will not fire.called cust. service. and was told that because i removed the bolt from the rifle i voided my warranty. do not buy this piece of crap.

Ben wrote:
January 25, 2014

I just traded my old glock 22 for the .410 rossi lever action. So far so good. 35 rounds fired through straight out the box without a worry! Great gun in my opinion! My 5 yr old nephew loves shooting it.

Mac wrote:
November 26, 2013

Sort of nervous after reading all the bad news about Rossi lever action .410. I just bought one, 419.00 plus tax at an Academy Sports and Outdoors store in the Houston area. I confused about the safety. It doesn't seem to work when the hammer is fully cocked. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I think a safety should work when a hammer is fully cocked. Does the safety only function when shells are being chambered? Having to pull up on the lever helps but a full-on stand alone safety would be nice. I'm an eager reader if anyone has any advice. Thanks

Ron wrote:
November 19, 2013

I have owned my 30-30 for several years now and love it. It did take some cleaning and polishing but once done it is slick. I love mine.

bueller wrote:
October 15, 2013

my loading gate has loosened up with use and loads very easy now. it was tight until about a 100 rounds. this gun needed to be basically field stripped and cleaned out of the box. you cannot just load this thing and shoot it or it will not function with all the shipping crud.

Tom o wrote:
October 10, 2013

Do your self a favor and try not to listen to the nit wits .I purchased this for my wife for home defense gun cycles ,fires and feeds with no problem ,clean the rifle when you first get it and you will have no problems ,

Don wrote:
August 18, 2013

I'm interested in the Rossi Rio Grande in 30-30. Are the problems here with the 410 only or the 30-30 as well?

josh wrote:
August 17, 2013

I was really ready to go out and get myself a rossi stainless 30 30 but after reading all this commentary I don't think I'll even go near one now

Mickey wrote:
June 27, 2013

Got one two days ago. Wish I had read the comments. Same issues as stated. Dealer will not take it back so I have to send it off and wait 6 weeks. Did not even get to fire a round through it. Will not cycle. Very hard to load. VERY DISSIPOINTED!

bueller wrote:
June 17, 2013

well i must have got a good one. i clean it, oil it and have shot 300 rounds through it and it is smooth as butter...it is chambering rounds so smooth i looked down to see if it actually happened....and yup...spent shell on the deck

bueller wrote:
March 13, 2013

just bought one. they come out of the box gnarly as all get out. do a thorough cleaning. oil it up good. do not baby the lever. it is brand new. just cycled 50 rounds through mine without a jam. gorgeous little lever. fit and finish very nice. very light and easy to handle. absolutely love it.

Tom wrote:
February 04, 2013

Purchssed my Rossi Rio Grande .410 November 2012. Did some research prior to purchasing and purchased jusr for the lever-action aspect in .410 bore. Love it. The red-dot scope and winchester 2 1/2inch. rifled, hollow point slugs at 50 yards. Exceptionally accurate for the smooth bore. Yes the shells can be difficult at times but just push a little harder. Yes the lever-action hangs up occasionally, but patience and a little shake resolves the issue. I fire mine several times a week just to relax snd have no regrets in the purchase of this gun. Its fun to show off to others because most have not seen a lever-action .410........

James stark wrote:
January 08, 2013

i just got the 410, love the way it looks,, but sure have had a problem in loading shells. to hard to insert, had to use another shell, then found shavings,,after 6 shells, went to fire it, and found it would not fire,,,having to send it back to factory...

Clay from Mississippi wrote:
December 07, 2012

I bought the Rossi Taurus stainless steel 30-30 as my third gun I worked all summer for it when I was 12 two years ago and what I found out was a screw will back out and make the lever lock up and it did this with all bullets except Winchester 30-30 150 grain. So get those bullets and dispose of the other kind properly. Its jammed three times and I tightened the screws and it fixed automatically and after I got the Winchester bullets I haven't had the problem since

Robert Van Elsberg wrote:
November 24, 2012

Buy nothing from BrazTech (Taurus/Rossi). The southeastern Florida Better Business Bureau had rated BrazTech an "F" for customer service. The lifetime warranty is an advertising trick. Sounds good, but means nothing when you actually have to use it. That is the specific reason the BBB has rated them so low. The guns look good on the outside, but inside ... As an NRA member, I am disappointed the NRA's American Rifleman magazine has consistantly rated BrazTech products well when I and so many other shooters have found out the truth the hard way.

Fred Hornsby wrote:
November 07, 2012

Spring resistance at the loading port of the 410 Rio Grande is extreme and definitly a two handed ordeal. Any chance this will ease up with use?

Jason wrote:
October 10, 2012

I bought the new Rio Grande 30-30 in hope it would perform as nice as it looks. I returned the first one that I bought because after firing the lever wouldn't open without extreme force. I got the next one in and the same thing on this one. I'm very disappointed in the manufacturing of this rifle on its insides.

Martini wrote:
September 29, 2012

Just got my Rio yesterday, noticed a few things that disturb me.. when you open the action and turn the gun upside down and try to close the action, it will NOT Close ... never seen that before.. also loading the shells is a pain, cant get them in unless you push another behind it .. will be test shooting it tomorrow.. Bob and Ed, you spoke of doing some mods.. I would like to know what they are and what you did to eliminate the probs...

Ed wrote:
September 09, 2012

I purchased one for my wife. Same problems as above. Sharp edges won't load and shells stricken in the tube. Still love the gun. Not hard fixes. Just time consuming. It is a great gun if you put a little time in to it. Wife couldn't be happier!

Joe wrote:
August 13, 2012

No, it's not junk! It's a great rifle! But, as with just about all of today's newly manufactured arms, it's pretty on the outside, but extremely rough on the inside. If you buy one, you'll have to disassemble it, clean out all of the gunk, AND polish, fit and finish many parts before it will function correctly. Don't buy a Rossi rifle unless you can do this job yourself, or are willing to pay a gunsmith to do the job for you. The job will take several hours of attention and patience. If that job was done at the factory, the rifle would cost several hundred dollars more! Labor is very expensive now-a-days. The Rossi rifles are excellent firearms. I'd buy one because I don't mind working on guns, but that's just me.

Bill wrote:
June 12, 2012

Hello, I just bought this gun for $376 in Stainless - real sharp looking. I had no feeding issues, but did have an occasional failure to extract fired shells. This only happened with some old Italian made 000 buckshot. Looked like the rim was either distorted or the brass right below the rim was pinched inward. Anyways, no issues at all with Remington #8. Still can't figure out what this gun is best at, other than blowing up spray cans @ 50 feet!

Mitch wrote:
April 26, 2012

If those of you who have had problems with your guns are interested in selling one please email me at mdoyle335@gmail.com. I would like to try a crack at the gun. I am an avid side by side shooter but I would like to try a lever action but don't want to pay retail if your comments stand.

L.tolbert wrote:
March 17, 2012

HAVING THE SAME PROLBEMS! JUST GOT IT TODAY. PLANNING ON TAKING IT BACK TO THE DEALER AND GETTING MY MONEY BACK.

Jerry K wrote:
February 22, 2012

I bought this piece of crap. I cannot load it as the loading gate spring is VERY tight and it seems that the gate doesnt go down far enough to let the shell clear. I've heard of others with the same problem. Has anybody found why some of these are doing that?

T Truelock wrote:
February 22, 2012

After reading the article by Richard Mann, I thought the Rio Grande was going to be a great gun for my grand kids, so I bought three of them. Two of them were the blued version and one was the stainless version. I have found the same problem on all three guns. These guns are extremely hard to load there is no way a 12 year old can do it. The loading gate is sharp as a razor on the edge and I cut the tip off of my finger and fingernail just trying to push the 410 shells in. Half the time the gun jams up and won't feed a shell and the only way you can get it out is with a screwdriver. The parts are all very rough and very loose. These are not the quality guns they were made out to be in the article. If Mr Mann shot 75 rounds without failure to function, the gun he used was not a regular production gun. The stainless version I bought had to be sent back because the lever would not lock closed right out of the box. In my opinion these guns are junk. These guns look good but that's about it. Mr Mann states this gun would be great for a kid. I would like to see a kid load one. Rossi laid a big fat rotten egg with this one!

t sharier wrote:
January 02, 2012

I have just bought the rossi 410 rio and i am having the same trouble. except it is very hard to load and when you get the shells in the lever jams and wont chamber. also found a few metal shavings on the lever. I havnt been able to shoot it yet.

J Holland wrote:
December 04, 2011

This little shotgun looks great and handles great. However, I've had some problems with the one I recently bought. After buying it, I went down to the farm to try it out. I loaded five rounds of #6 shot in the magazine and ratcheted a round in the chamber and fired with no problem. I flipped the lever and ejected the spent round and when I attempted to pull the lever back to load the next round, it was locked up tight and would not move. Examining the reciever, I noticed that the shell that was to be chambered had only moved part way and hung up. Had to remove the magazine spring,plastic follower, four shells and take a dowel and tap the shell the rest of the way into the reciever. Put it back together, loaded her up fired all five rounds with no more problems until a few days later. The lever tends to hang up at times, but I believe this may be a lack of deburring/polishing the parts after the gun parts are milled. I still love this shotgun.