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Gear & Accessories Hunting Gear Rifles Rimfire Rifles

First Look: Rossi .22 Circuit Judge with Convertible Cylinder

by John Geiger   |  August 14th, 2012 1

Robert Crescenzi from Taurus/Rossi joined us at the range last week for the reveal of the new  Rossi .22 Circuit Judge with Convertible Cylinder , which matches the company’s ongoing knack for manufacturing the quintessential fun gun. This revolver-style rimfire carbine comes with two cylinders, one for .22 Long Rifle, the other for .22 Magnum. With the capability of interchangeable cylinders, users can easily make the switch between two popular calibers in a matter of mere seconds. Featured with a fixed barrel and sliding stock to lock either cylinder into place, shooters now have a favorable combo gun for plinking and small game.

The Circuit Judge displays an 18 1/2-inch barrel and total length of 30 inches. Picking it up, you’d think it was the youth model. But it is specifically made to be compact and have the feel of a cowboy action gun, much like the Rossi Ranch Hand or Rio Grande. Either way, it makes a great rifle for shooters of all ages.

One possible concern is the gas or even shrapnel exiting the cylinder gap. With a revolver handgun, this isn’t usually a concern since your hands are on the backside of the blast. Having fired the gun, however, I did feel the blast of gas on my arm that held the forend. Some shooters won’t like this setup. Some might also balk at the price, with an MSRP of $680. Many others will see that the advantage of a revolver-rifle that shoots two cartridges in both single and double action is an attractive package.

  • john

    I own one of these, fun to shoot, versatile, and I thought it would be an ideal small game and varmint rifle as advertised. Accuacy was good with 22lr but marginal with 22 magnum at 25 yards. Mine has a 4x scope properly mounted. Shooting from a rest, 3/4 inch groups were common with a variety of 22lr ammo. The 22 Mag, is a different story. The smallest group was 1.5 inches with winchester Dynapoint and the largest was 2.3 inches with CCI Maxi Mag. The real problem however is the Muzzle Velocity loss due to the design of the forcing cone and leade.The forcing cone is .32 inch in diameter and one inch deep to the leade which is oversize to the point that an entire 22 magnum cartridge will fall into the barrel at the leade. It is only stopped by the rim of the round. In doing research on this problem I found that Ballistics by the Inch did a test on the 22 mag. It was found that the Rossi Circuit Judge in 22 mag. had a consistent muzzle velocity equal to a Heritage revolver with a 4.6 inch barrel. The muzzle velocity out of the Rossi CJ was 750-1000 fps slower than other rifles using a wide variety of ammo. Not tested was the 22lr in the Rossi but penetration tests conducted by myself using pine 2×4’s and 3/8 and 1/2 inch plywood confirms by penetration that the 22lr and 22mag out of the Rossi Circuit Judge is significantly less than the same ammo out of a Ruger Single Six combination 22lr/22mag. with a 5.5 inch barrel I used Winchester Dynapoint and Remington bulk copper coated round nose 22lr for the experiment. I never knew I had the problem until I read the BBI article. I sent my carbine back to Taurus/Rossi and they not only refused to acknowledge that it is a problem, they also refused to fix it. “It functions as designed” was their response. The only problem is they are keeping the muzzle velocity a secret in their advertising as it does not meet the energy levels or the accuracy for a varmint carbine in 22lr or 22mag. I feel rode hard and put up wet after dealing with Taurus/Rossi regarding this defective design.

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