Review: Rossi R95 Triple Black In .30-30 Win.

This version of a classically styled lever-action sports a tactical makeover for modern lever-gun fans. 

posted on May 2, 2024
Rossi R95 Right (1)

Despite the best efforts of any gunmaker, whatever new additions they may launch are likely to be subjected to customer "yeah, but..." comments. Take the Rossi USA lever-action rifle line-up, for example. In mid-2023, the company fleshed out its rimfire and pistol-caliber options with the launch of the R95 centerfire rifle model chambered in .30-30 Win. Available with 20" or 16.5" barrels, the R95 is styled after the discontinued Rio Grande models, which, in turn, took their design cues from Marlin’s Model 336. The first R95s out of the gate were classically styled with a timeless polished blued finish and checkered walnut stocks.

Rossi R95 Triple Black left-side view lever-action rifle shown with riflescope on stump outdoors green ivy backgroundThe R95 design is based on the classic Marlin 336. 

"Yeah, but..." asked the modern lever-gun fans in the crowd, "when are you going to offer the R95 with a more tactical feature set, like a threaded barrel and an optics rail?" The Rossi team heard these requests. Within just a few months, at the start of 2024, the tactically tricked-out R95 Triple Black .30-30 Win. rifle was announced. Liking the looks of this interpretation of the handy lever-action, I requested one to evaluate.

This version of the R95 is, for the most part, a classically styled lever-action carbine chambered for a classic cartridge. However, its cosmetics and tactical features have been lifted directly from the Triple Black series of R92 pistol-caliber carbines released in 2020. But there is one key difference in the feature-set due to the differences in the action configurations.

Rossi R95 Triple Black lever-action rifle barrel muzzle closeup front sight brass beadThis carbine’s barrel features a brass bead front sight and a threaded muzzle.

The R92 is a reproduction of the John Moses Browning top-ejecting Winchester Model 1892. Due to the open-top bolt assembly, the R92 is fitted with a shorter Picatinny optics rail set in front of the receiver with the adjustable rear peep sight set into the rail at the rear. This rail configuration is certainly a handy addition but limited to use with 1X red-dot optics or scout-rifle-style magnified riflescopes.

The R95's Marlin 336-inspired design gives it a closed-top receiver with a right-side ejection port. This allows for the installation of the much longer 11.25" aluminum optics rail of which is suitably sized and slotted for just about any optic one might choose to install on a gun of this class. The rail supports a rear peep sight and is paired with a brass bead front sight. But in this case, the rear sight rests farther back between the ejection port and the exposed hammer spur.

Rossi R95 Triple Black lever-action rifle right-side view shown with riflescope on stump log green ivy background black gunThe Triple Black series features an overall matte-black finish.

For rifles in the Triple Black series, just about every single component sports an no-nonsense, non-reflective matte-black finish. The only readily apparent exceptions to the rule for this R95 were silver bolt assembly and the shiny brass bead affixed to the front sight. The aluminum components appear to be anodized, and the steel is treated with a weather-resistant Cerakote finish. The stocks feature a matte-black paint job with a spider’s web of glossy black paint splatters that provide a subtle texturing to the otherwise-smooth hardwood.

Rossi R95 Triple Black lever-action rifle black painted buttstock rubber recoil pad shown on stump outdoors green ivy backgroundThe hardwood shoulder stock is capped off with a rubber recoil pad.

The tapering, round-profile barrel's left-side stamp reads, "Made in Brazil by CBC Cal. .30-30 WIN." CBC is an abbreviation for Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos in Ribeirão Pires, São Paulo. The bore is cut with 1:12" twist rifling, and the muzzle is belled out a bit to accommodate a 0.625" stretch of 5/8x24" TPI threading to support popular muzzle devices including brakes, compensators and sound suppressors. A knurled thread protector is provided.

The five-round magazine tube is enclosed, which means the gun must be unloaded by cycling unfired cartridges through the action. The traditional rounded fore-end is fitted with a steel cap that has an integral sling swivel mounting point and paired with a twist-in stud that's set into the shoulder stock. This wooden fore-end does not have any of the M-Lok accessory mounting slots that have become a popular feature for lever guns with polymer stocks.  

Meopta Optika5 riflescope oculuar magnification ring closeupThe Meopta Optica5 is outfitted with features that provide a finely tuned sight picture.

The ejection port and loading gate are both located on the right side of the carbon steel receiver. In an effort to meet U.S. importation regulations, some replica rifles from overseas enter this country fitted with odd little swing-lever safeties situated in unusual places. Thankfully, this is not the case with the R95. Instead, it has a more practical and aesthetically pleasing push-button cross bolt safety set into the receiver just below hammer.

The exposed hammer's spur is serrated for improved purchase and notched to accept an extension for use with low-mounted optics. This is a three-position hammer, too, which can rest fully forward against the firing pin, be partially cocked to lock up the action and trigger as a safety feature or it can be fully cocked either manually or by cycling the bolt. The crossbolt safety button can be set to Safe, with the hammer either partially or fully cocked, allowing it to be engaged when loading or unloading the gun.

Rossi R95 Triple Black lever-action rifle receiver closeup lever loop riflescope rear sight right-side action shown on log stump green ivy backgroundFeatures include an optics rail, a cross bolt safety and a paracord wrapped lever loop.

The oversized lever loop has been wrapped with braided black paracord at the factory. Although this wrap is obviously an unabashed nod to the tactical crowd, it does provide a welcome layer of padding for the shooting hand's knuckles. The smooth-faced steel trigger proved to be a pleasure to work with. The trigger pull weighed in at 3 lbs., 3 ozs. with just a 0.1875" (3/16ths) arch of travel. It cycled and broke cleanly with no discernible take-up or overtravel. This lever-action’s shoulder stock has a curved grip and is capped off with a thick contoured, soft rubber recoil pad.

Rossi R95 Triple Black lever-action rifle left-side view in rest at shooting rangeThe R95 operated smoothly and reliably throughout the shooting range evaluation.

The R95 Triple Black is not what could be called a handsome rifle, but that's by design. The all-matte black treatment is intended to make it less eye-catching. Don't drop this carbine during a night hunt or you may not find it until morning! Nevertheless, the fit and finish was top-notch throughout. The wood-to-metal fitting was cleanly executed, all of the controls operated properly, and the action cycled smoothly right out of the box.

Hornady and Remington 30-30 Winchester ammunition boxes with cartridges standing to the right side of each of the three boxesThe .30-30 Win. continues to be a popular lever gun caliber for harvesting medium game.

The carbine was topped off with a Meopta brand Meopro Optika5 2-10X 42 mm riflescope using a set of Warne MSR flat-top quick release rings for all stages of the shooting range evaluation. Manufactured in U.S.- and Czech Republic-based facilities, this 1" tube optic features a second focal plane m.o.a.-based Z-Plus reticle, ¼ m.o.a. adjustments and a side-mounted adjustable parallax gauged from 10 yards to infinity for a finely tuned sight picture. The premium-grade Meopta scopes can cost between $1,600 to $2,400. The Optika5 is considered an entry-level model with a much more palatable suggested retail price of $450. But the crisp, clear sight picture provided by this quality optic belies the significantly lower price point.

Rossi R95 accuracy table graphic ballistic data numbers ammunition testing

At the shooting range, the R95 handled nicely, loaded easily and operated flawlessly with all ammunition tested. There were no mechanical issues of any kind. For the formal benchrest, five-shot group accuracy testing at 100 yards, I opted for .30-30 Win. ammunition favored for hunting medium-size game. Test rounds included Hornady's American Whitetail 150-grain jacketed soft point, the Hornady LEVERevolution 160-grain FTX and Remington's Managed Recoil Core Lokt 125-grain jacketed soft point. Bullet velocities were measured for 10 shots using a Garmin Xero C1 Pro chronograph. The results are tabulated nearby.

Hornady American Whitetail ammunition box 30-30 winchester accuracy testing Rossi R95 bullet holes in green square targetHornady’s American Whitetail load printed the tightest 5-shot group of 2.38”.

The Rossi R95 Triple Black chambered in .30-30 Win. is a solid example of how flexible, enduring and popular the lever-action rifle design continues to be even after more than 180 years in production. Despite the many changes in materials, features and calibers, even the most modern rifle fan will find these guns to be handy, reliable and enjoyable to shoot with up-to-date features. If the tactical all-black finish of this particular .30-30 Win. model is not quite your style, Rossi also offers this gun in a stainless steel all-weather configuration with an non-threaded 20" barrel and gray laminated hardwood stocks. 

Rossi R95 Triple Black left-side receiver metal stamp engraving

Rossi R95 Triple Black Lever-Action Specifications
Importer: Rossi USA
Action Type: lever-action, repeating, centerfire rifle
Chambering: .30-30 Win.
Barrel: 16.5" black oxide finished alloy steel, round profile, 5/8x24 TPI threaded muzzle
Receiver: black-oxide-finished alloy steel
Magazine: five-round tubular, fixed
Sights: brass bead on blade front; fully adjustable, peep sight rear
Trigger: single-stage; 3-lb. 3-oz., pull
Overall Length: 35.5"
Drop at Comb: 1.75"
Drop at Heel: 2.5"
Accessories: owner's manual, knurled thread protector, lock
MSRP: $1,288


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