Rossi R98 Review

The Finish

I was hoping to get a NOS gun when I ordered it, but alas…………. I got the matte Parkerized finish.  I’m not fond of it, but it’s just a matter of taste.  The older production Rossi, and Taurus, revolvers came with a beautiful deep blued finish.

I like a blued finish!rossi 98 iThe Heritage single action, while not truly a fully blued finish, at least pays homage to the good ol’ days of fine metal finishes.

The Nuts and Bolts

Lockup is good for a revolver in this price range.  Very good.

Timing is pretty much spot-on.  No cartridge cases had bulged heads after quite a few rounds through the gun.  Nothing hanging up in the forcing cone, and building excess pressure.

The crane is tight, and the cylinder has no runout.  All good.rossi 98 crossi 98 hFitup is nice, and everything latches smoothly, and securely.

The Sights

Quite nice.  Fully adjustable rear sight, fixed front sight.rossi 98 erossi 98 fThe fiber optic sight is a treat for old eyes.rossi 98 gThe muzzle sports a recessed crown.rossi 98 pSuppose it protects it to some degree.  Would imagine you could do as much damage with a careless cleaning, recessed, or not.

How Does It Shoot

First off, I’m not a minute of angle shooter.  I like to bang away at steel plate.  If it hits the plate, I’m a happy man.rossi 98 jThe trigger pull in single action is pretty crisp, and fairly light.  I prefer this type of trigger to a hair trigger.  I like to feel it before I squeeze it.  Double action is pretty heavy, and not terribly smooth.

At 25 feet, out of the box, with no sight adjustment, it hits the 4″ plate every time.rossi 98 lThis 4″ plate was later shot at 50 feet once I got used to the trigger.  With good results.

The 6″ plate was shot at 50 feet for the first 8 rounds after verifying that the gun would hit at 25 feet.  All on the plate.rossi 98 mThe third set of rounds was on the 4″ plate at 50 feet, like I said above.  Funny how once you get used to the trigger……..a smaller aim point tightens up your groups.   I’ve heard the saying “Aim small, and you miss small” 🙂  Guess it’s true.

For casual offhand shooting, I’m very pleased with the revolver.


rossi 98 kThis gun does not like to eject spent cases.  Federal HV Match ammo did best…..some effort, but still excessive.  Remington Golden Bullet ammo was almost impossible to eject without hammering the ejector rod with the heel of your hand.  SOMETHING I DON’T LIKE TO DO.  Higher velocity/higher pressure ammo will hang up.  It simply will not eject without slamming your hand against the ejector rod.  This is unacceptable.

The possible culprit might be the ejector star.rossi 98 nThe scratches near the case heads are caused by the extractor not being machined concentric with the chamber.  They’re offset to the inside of the bore.  This reduces space for expansion when the cartridge is fired.  The scratched area is raised enough to catch your fingernail when you run it across the case.  It’s where the star pressed into the case as the case expanded.  It ties the whole mechanism up.

The extractor will have to be smoogied with a rat tail jewlers file to bring it to spec.  Not something you should have to do on a new gun.  Until this is fixed, the gun isn’t useable with high velocity ammo.

I don’t know if all models come like this, but in my case, it’s been a bit of a letdown.  Something for others to watch for if they experience ejection problems.

Results of the Fix

Sadly, removing the burrs from the ejector star had no effect.  The problem seems to be in the cylinder itself.  When the cases expand, they simply are too tight to eject.

When the chambers are freshly cleaned, the first set of fired cases will eject somewhat smoothly.  HOWEVER, the second set of rounds will not eject.    I don’t care to carry a bore brush around with me if I need to fire more than ONE cylinder full.

So……it either goes back to Rossi for repair (6 week estimated turn-around time), a local gunsmith for repair, or it goes down the road.

Final Thoughts

I own 2 other rimfire revolvers, and they’re flawless.  An old H&S, and a newer Heritage Roughrider.  Both a pleasure to use.

It’s a shame that I received a flawed firearm, and I hope it’s not indicative of the entire Model 98 product line.  Other Taurus, and Rossi, revolvers have performed flawlessly (both centerfire guns).

If I was to make the purchase again, I’d have opted for a Ruger revolver.  A brand I have faith in, had few problems with, and those were not major.  Simply a better built firearm.

misc,_stuff_020Any day above ground is a good day

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