It was 1889 when Amadeo Rossi founded the firearm manufacturing company that bears his name—known better today as simply Rossi—in São Leopoldo, Brazil. The city, established roughly 60 years before the factory opened its doors, is located in the country’s south and was the first to aggressively invite German immigration. It’s likely the dedication to precision the Europeans brought played a role in how fast the company established a reputation for quality, although there’s no doubt the local workforce’s skill and ingenuity deserves the bulk of the credit. Rossi remains one of the biggest gunmakers in Brazil and hasn’t moved from the city it was founded in, even after 133 years.
The few Rossi guns that trickled into the United States in the 1960s proved to be reliable, accurate and affordable. Though demand for guns built with that reputation grew stateside, the several small firms that initially handled importation had limited success. The company recognized an opportunity was being missed, so in 1997, BRAZTech International became its exclusive North American importer. That same year, it also entered into an agreement with Taurus to produce several revolvers under the Rossi label.
The partnership between the Brazilian firms was a productive one, and in 2008, Taurus purchased Rossi, but retained its entire staff and factory. The change resembled more of a friendly merger, though, with both companies working in concert to improve the rifle lineup. By 2010, fresh and innovative designs were coming from the collaboration, including the still popular single-action, rotating cylinder, Circuit Judge rifle.
The rifle/shotgun continues to sell well to this day, for good reason. When B. Gil Horman reviewed one for American Rifleman, he concluded, “The Circuit Judge chambered for .45 Colt or .410 shotshells will comfortably fill any role appropriate for a .410 shotgun and it produces solid accuracy with .45 Colt loads for hunting medium-sized game at short ranges.”
Today, the company’s lineup includes lever actions, semi-automatics, single-shot Tuffy shotguns and those Circuit Judges. It also offers fresh-from-the-factory pump-action rifles chambered in .22 LR—like the gallery guns of yesteryear, but manufactured to modern tolerances.