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Rossi Matched Pair Combination Rifle and Shotgun Review
Rossi's Matched Pair - A Combination For Success - By Dick Metcalf, Technical Editor, Shooting Times.

The Rossi Matched Pair combination rifle and shotgun is an excellent first gun for the youngster as well as a great utility tool for the experienced shooter.

Some of the best ideas are often the simplest ideas, and there are few things simpler in the firearms world than a break-open single-shot shotgun or single-shot 22 rimfire rifle. Combine the two into one compact package, with instant-interchange barrels and modern safety features, and you have something still simple yet quite special. The new Rossi Matched Pair is exactly that—a lightweight, very accurate 22 Long Rifle/410 (Modified choke) shotgun package with an innovative and deceptively simple design. And it retails for just $140 (blued version) with both barrels!

The Rossi Matched Pair is yet another innovation resulting from the recent acquisition by Taurus of the U.S. marketing and manufacturing rights to a number of models in the long-standing Rossi line. (The first was the Rossi Model 62 pump-action 22 rifle) The Matched Pair, like the Model 62, is the adaptation of an existing Rossi product into something distinctively different. In this case, the extra is the addition of an interchangeable 18.5-inch 22 Long Rifle barrel to the well-known Rossi basic break-open 22-inch single-shot shotgun, configured in a compact 410/22 format especially intended for the first rifle, first shotgun youth market. And I'll tell you right here, the Matched Pair's combination of features and price point cannot presently be matched by anything else of its type on the market.

Deceptively Simple
To bring the Matched Pair to market under the banner of Taurus’ new BrazTech subsidiary, design engineer Luciano Rossi came up with a novel way to adapt the offset ignition requirement of the rimfire 22 LR with the centerfire frame design of the break-open shotgun’s frame so that the same receiver could be used without alteration. The key was the existing monobloc construction design of the Rossi shotgun.

Monobloc construction, which is more commonly found on expensive-grade break-open side-by-side and over-under shotguns, involves a solid breechblock providing the latch and hinge support for the lockup of the action into which the actual barrels are fitted. This is an exceedingly strong design concept, and the oversize dimension of the monobloc allowed Rossi to offset the bore axis of the rimfire 22 Long Rifle slightly lower than the axis of the centerfire shotshell bore so that the firing pin in the receiver would impact the rim of the 22 cartridge instead of the center. Thus, both the shotshell barrel and the 22 LR barrel work equally well with the same original centerfire design receiver.

The basic mechanism of the Matched Pair is a familiar break-open, side-lever action with an exposed, large-spur manual-cock hammer. Ignition is accomplished by a trigger-link transfer bar, which remains retracted at rest unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear. This allows the hammernose to rest safely against the frame when down with no possibility of contacting the internal spring-loaded firing pin.

Shooting Rossi’s Matched Pair 22 LR Rifle


Factory Load
Velocity
(fps)
Standard
Deviation
(fps)

25-Yard
Accuracy
(Inches)

CCI 36-gr. Mini-Mag HP
1347
21
0.83
Winchester 37-gr.
Super-X HP
1269
17
0.68
Eley 40-gr. Tenex Solid
1098
5
0.50
Federal 40-gr. High Velocity Solid
1284
19
1.00
PMC 40-gr. Target Solid
1112
20
1.00
Remington 40-gr. Target Solid
1144
16
0.75

Overall average accuracy

0.79
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of 10 five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards with the rifle equipped with a Bushnell Sportview 4X scope. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured eight feet from the gun’s muzzle.

A manual Rolling Block safety bar operating lever on the left side of the frame was also added. When “Safe” the system raises a safety bar into an intercept position preventing a cocked hammer from striking the transfer bar/firing pin mechanism if the trigger is squeezed. This allows safe decocking simply by pulling the trigger. If you then move the safety lever back to the “Fire” position, the hammer moves the rest of the way forward to a safe rest position against the frame. When the gun is empty, the safety can be reengaged by pulling the hammer slightly to the rear, which allows the action to be safely opened and closed for loading with the safety engaged. And, with the safety thus engaged, you can cock the hammer of a loaded gun in the field with no possibility of accidental discharge yet you also have the instant availability of a safe decock.

Moreover, the action cannot be opened if the hammer is cocked, and if the hammer is moved to the cocked position after the action is opened, it cannot be closed until the hammer is decocked. Plus, the break-open mechanism snap-ejects fired cases completely free of the chamber—no need to fumble to pluck live rounds or fired cases free of the chamber with clumsy gloved fingers in hunting season. As a final safety element, all guns come with a molded trigger seal and cable lock security system for safe home storage. Without question this is the most safety-laden simple single-shot firearm I have ever encountered.

Feature-Filled
The rifle barrel features adjustable front and rear sights. The square-notch rear is drift-adjustable for windage, with a setscrew-lock, and it has a white-triangular index mark for center. The front Patridge blade is manually adjustable for elevation and also has a setscrew lock. The shotgun barrel features a front brass bead. Plus, the rifle barrel is drilled and tapped for scope mounts and will accept any standard Thompson/Center Contender mount base. (Scope mounting does require removal of the rear sight.)

The Matched Pair is available in blued or brushed satin stainless versions. Both feature uncheckered Brazilian Imbuia wood buttstock and forend. The blued version’s stocks are finished with a walnut stain while the stainless version’s stocks are stained to a matte black. Sling swivels are standard on both versions. The trigger guard on both versions is black molded polymer. The buttstock features a pistol grip with a slight ambidextrous palmswell. The hard rubber buttpad carries a molded-in Rossi logo. A padded nylon/canvas carrying case, with individual padded compartments for the stock/receiver and each barrel, is available as an accessory.

Swapping barrels takes about 30 seconds and is easily done in the field. First (always), open the action and make sure the gun is unloaded. Close the action and unscrew the forend sling swivel. Pull off the forend, open the action, rotate the installed barrel open and off the hinge bar, hook the new barrel on, close the action, pop the forend back in place, and retighten the sling swivel. (When Robert Morrison, Taurus’s U.S. executive vice president and COO, demonstrated the Matched Pair to Wal-Mart buyers at their Arkansas headquarters last October, he did the switch in 20 seconds flat, which may have influenced their decision to put the blued version into all their sporting goods departments this year.)

Shoots Great
Performancewise, the accuracy of the Matched Pair’s button-rifled 22 LR barrel that I test-fired was excellent— equal to bolt-action and other repeating rifles costing hundreds of dollars more. Trigger pulls on both of the review samples were firm but very crisp with little overtravel. They both broke at a clean 6.5 to seven pounds. I put the stainless-steel version through an accuracy review at 25 yards with six different varieties of 22 Long Rifle ammunition ranging from high-velocity hunting loads to match-grade target fodder, using an old favored one-inch-tube Bushnell rimfire Sportview scope set for zero parallax at that distance. The results are listed in the chart on the preceding page. Not a single five-shot group fired went larger than 1.25 inches, and the majority were a single ragged hole.

The little 410 shotshell barrel is equally utilitarian. I’m not a passionate shotgunner, but for just plain fun it’s hard to beat. One of my PASA Park range buddies and I took turns busting hand-thrown clay targets with great ease, and its Modified choke bore offers a superb rabbit-hunting tool (not to mention a great rattlesnake eliminator) out to 20 yards for a youngster’s first days in the field.

The Rossi/BrazTech/Taurus team believes the Matched Pair is the perfect gun for younger shooters to use to learn about marksmanship, ethical hunting, and responsible firearms ownership. Lightweight, sturdy, reliable, it is designed to become a part of family outings to help teach the next generation of hunters and sport shooters safely and economically. After inspecting and working with it closely, I likewise believe it’s a fine little gun that can serve any purpose from initial training in safe firearms handling to serious paper punching and hunting. It’s the right size for the young or small-stature beginner and provides the correct fit necessary to proper stance and shooting posture. Yet at the same time it is a fine adult tool for compact carry around in the rancher’s pickup, ATV, or farmer’s tractor.

SPECS
Rossi Matched Pair
22 LR/410 Break-open Combo
Distributor ............................................BrazTech, L.C.
16175 NW. 49th Ave.
Miami, FL 33014
Model......................................................... Matched Pair
Operation ..............................Break-open single shot
Caliber ..........................................................22 LR/410
(Modified choke)
Barrel length ..................................18.5 inches (rifle);
22.0 inches (shotgun)
Overall length ..............................32.25 inches (rifle);
35.75 inches (shotgun)
Weight, empty .................................4.0 pounds (rifle);
3.5 pounds (shotgun)
Safety ...........................Transfer-bar ignition; manual
Rolling Block safety bar
Sights ........................Drift-adjustable rear; elevation-
adjustable Patridge front (rifle);
front brass bead (shotgun)
Sight radius ...................................15.25 inches (rifle)
Rifling ...........................................................6 grooves,
1:12 RH twist (rifle)
Stock .............................................. Two-piece smooth
Brazilian hardwood
Length of pull .............................................12.5 inches
Cartridge capacity .......................................... 1 round
Finish ........................Blued steel with walnut-stained
wood or satin stainless steel
with black-stained wood
Price .........................................................$140 (blued);
$170 (stainless)

This article was originally published in Shooting Times magazine in April, 2001.

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