The Rossi Rio Bravo is a nice, affordable .22 lever-action rifle. This rifle is extremely affordable and it has a nice, overall aesthetic. In my opinion it’s one of the best 22LR lever action rifles available at this price point.
It’s an interesting little gun in that most lever-action guns are quite expensive. Of course, they do market to a very specific set of customers. It’s not very tactical, but this one does have a tactical flair, the all-black receiver, polymer components made it a very good plinking gun.
One of the ways that Rossi is able to get the cost of this down is these guns are made in Brazil and imported into the U.S.
One of the main things you can tell on this gun is that it’s not a top-tier lever action rifle and I don’t think you can expect it to be.
The MSRP alone comes in at $355, and these can be found for even less than that. With that said, for the price it’s not a bad lever gun.
Especially if you’re just dipping your feet into the lever-gun world. I personally love .22 lever guns.
The Browning BL22 is by far my favorite .22 lever gun so far. But I will probably explore some Marlins and Henry rifles.
Let us really get into the Rossi Rio Bravo, because I think for anybody who wants to get their start into the lever gun world, this could be a very affordable way to dip your foot into the lever-action game.
Let’s talk about the ergonomics of the gun overall. This is not a heavy gun in the slightest.
It has a full polymer stock and a full polymer hand guard. A lot of lever-action guns feature wood stocks since this gun has polymer handguard and stock it does lighten it up a considerable amount.
With this being a .22, I don’t expect it to have a lot of weight and I think the action itself and the fire control group are actually the bulk of the weight on this gun.
The stock and handguard don’t add a whole lot to the actual weight of the gun.
Let’s talk about using the actual components of the gun.
This is one thing I don’t like about the Rossi Rio Bravo.
Most lever-action rifles don’t have a safety and the fact that Rossi added one on this takes away from the true cowboy feel of this gun.
However, that’s not the only reason I don’t like it.
One, I don’t want a safety on a lever-action gun. It’s a hammer gun. Safety to me is the hammer is down. Since this is not double action rifle and only single action it’s not like you can pull the trigger and cause the hammer to cock. So I’m really unsure why they felt the need to include the safety but here it is.
Two, what makes it even worse is where they put the safety.
The safety is directly above the trigger and if you’re going to use a safety on a lever gun it definitely shouldn’t be there.
I understand why Rossi put it there, because that’s mechanically the only real place to put it. But either way, it’s horrible to use.
I often leave this thing on fire constantly and treat it like it didn’t have a safety. I really don’t like that they included a safety on a lever-action rifle. I hate that that category even exists in this post, but here we are.
So it’s there, it works, it functions, but it’s terrible.
But since it has a safety let me talk about actually using it for the people who do like the safety.
If this gun is on safe you cannot open the action with the lever.
I find that extremely aggravating. The fact that you can’t open the lever when it’s on safe, meaning you can’t put it on fire and it still remain on safe, is rather annoying.
So that was something I really had to get used to on this gun. It took a good little bit of fumbling around with this thing for about a good week, shooting a couple hundred rounds through it to get used to it.
Because I’m so used to the Browning BL22 and its lack of safety. I just don’t understand why Rossi felt the need to do that on this gun.
But nonetheless, here we are. That’s my opinion on it, some people might love it and that’s perfectly fine if you love the Rossi safety.
But I feel like it’s unnecessary given the fact that this is a single-action rifle. If your hammer is down it’s on safe. If your hammer is cocked it’s on fire.
To me it’s that simple.
Now to talk about the lever action because after all, that’s what makes this rifle unique is the fact that it’s a lever action rifle.
The lever gives you that cowboy, I’m-going-to-go-ride-a-horse-with-John-Wayne feeling.
But this lever is a little different.
This one sits a bit further from the gun, whereas most lever actions come up a little closer to the gun.
This one sits off about just a hair under an inch off of the frame. Now a lot of Rossi’s R92 lever guns do sit off of the frame.
But this one seems like it sits a little further off. But that’s no problem. I didn’t have any issues with that, it still ergonomically feels good to hold in your hand.
Now the actual mechanics of the lever are not very smooth. There’s a loud audible click once your chamber comes back into battery.
I have no real issue when I’m firing it. But it’s not smooth as butter if that’s whar you were expecting.
It does function well. I don’t have any bad things to say about the actual lever itself, cocking the hammer, resetting the trigger, all of that works great.
It’s just, it’s not smooth.
Now, again, let’s look at this for what it is. It is a $355 lever-action rifle and that’s kind of what I said about the TC Compass II in that it’s a $400 bolt-action rifle, so the action is just not quite as smooth as something that you’re paying a premium for.
But does that make it bad? Absolutely not.
This is a fantastic gun, it’s fun. It does what it says it does.
I’m just being hypercritical in giving you objective opinions on how I feel about it so when you get it in your hand you won’t be surprised if you’re ordering this thing online from Brownells, Guns.com, or Palmetto State Armory.
So, overall, lever-action works great. I have no issues with the function as far as the action is concerned. I didn’t have any feeding issues, no objection issues when I shot it.
Let’s move up to the trigger since we’re down here talking about the lever.
I don’t know if you should dry fire this gun or not. It’s a hammer-based .22 long rifle.
I know most 22LR guns, with the exception of Rugers .22s, you should not dry fire.
So I don’t dry fire this gun. The only trigger time I have behind it is with loaded rounds.
So with that said, I’ll go ahead and tell you my opinion of the trigger.
For a $355 lever gun that uses a pivot-style trigger, it’s pretty good.
The take up is just butter, it’s smooth, there’s nothing to it. You literally just come straight to the wall when you grab it.
So when you pull it you’re going to hit a wall and you’re not going to hold this for a reset because you’re going to have to pull the lever down to cycle the rounds.
So unlike a semi-auto, you don’t really have to reset a trigger or ride the trigger or hold it down for reset. So the nice part about the take-up is there’s no resistance whatsoever.
The Rossi Rio Bravo trigger is on a pivot so it literally just swings. The wall is crisp and clean, it’s a very solid trigger for any gun, really. I wouldn’t even say for a budget lever-action. It’s just a solid trigger.
Now we get to the handguard on this Rossi Rio Bravo.
The handguard is what grabbed my attention first because you don’t see M-Lok on lever-action often.
M-Lok is a new-age thing and these are generally classical type firearms. But this one has M-Lok at the three, six, and nine o’clock positions. That’s great.
If you’re running a flashlight or maybe even, heck, throw a laser on this thing, have a little fun.
At the end of the day this is a fun gun. I wouldn’t use it as a home defense gun, simply because it’s a .22, not because of the brand or the price.
You can, but rimfire rounds I don’t find reliable enough to bet my life on it. Granted, every single round I put through this went boom.
But that’s just a personal choice and you’re probably not going to change my mind. So you can leave a comment if you want on that, but you’re not going to change my mind.
But the handguard is a good portion of the gun.
It starts at the receiver and goes almost up to the tubular-magazine loading port.
Overall, it feels really good. I like how they cut it and I like the overall aesthetic of the handguard and it feels really good in your hand.
The one thing you could do is put a hand stop on this on the very last Molle slot at the six o’clock position.
I think that would add a very interesting element to this and allow you to push the gun back into your shoulder a little more.
Even though you’re not getting a lot of recoil on the .22. It would just help hold it in place while you cycled your lever.
That’s one thing I will say about lever guns, for me, it’s harder to stay on target and remain on target when you’re cycling your rounds and I also noticed that on my Henry Model X as well.
So the stock on the Rossi is nice as well. It matches the aesthetic of the handguard which is very, very nice.
It has the same style cuts. It keeps the same lines. It’s very aesthetically pleasing.
Now the use of it, this gun does have a polymer butt on the stock, no issues with that at all.
Sometimes you’ll see a rubber butt on the stock. The one thing I noticed on the Henry Model X that I have, it has a rubber buttstock.
I’m not crazy about it. It always hangs up on my shirt whenever I’m trying to manipulate the gun a little bit.
I did not have that problem with this gun. So I do actually like the fact that it doesn’t have a softer, more grippy-like texture on the buttstock itself.
The buttstock overall is elongated. On the bottom, it does have a spot for you to attach a QD sling. It’s also a matching one on the front barrel and tubular magazine coupler.
Overall, solid stock, it doesn’t weigh a ton and of course, the .22 LR rifle has zero recoil. So it works perfectly.
So let’s talk real quick about the accessories that you could potentially put on the Rossi Rio Bravo.
This may be a more accessory-rich gun simply because of the fact that it has M-Lok and not just a small optic rail.
The cool thing about this handguard is that you can mount lights on this gun like you would an AR-15 flashlight.
That really changes things for lever actions. This could really become an all-around ranch, yard, varmint-type rifle.
Because you could throw a light on there and if you do have, say a fox problem, depending on your laws in your area of course, don’t go out poaching or anything, you could put a light on this gun so it could be more versatile at night and allow you to take care of pests and problems, and things like that that you might have if you do have horses or chickens that you might need to protect.
I don’t have a sling on this particular gun but it is very easy to attach a slight to the Rio Bravo if you want one.
This uses a standard style hunting sling, QD mount attachment system.
There’s one barrel band and then there’s also one about three inches from the end of the stock.
So you can get any standard hunting sling and attach it to this, no problem.
Iron Sights & Optics
The Rossi Rio Bravo comes with fiber optic sights. I’m not a big fan of these.
In recent articles on some guns that I’ve done have had fiber optic sights, I’ve really liked them, namely the Sig P320 X-Five Legion.
There has been a couple of others that I actually really liked it. The problem with the Rio Bravo is the rear sights are fiber optic as well. And that’s great if you like that.
This is a personal opinion, I don’t like fiber optic sights pretty much 90% of the time.
This rear fiber optic really threw me for a loop. I was missing more with a .22 than I’ve ever missed in my life and I think it was just trying to get used to the sights.
The rear are green, the front is orange. That really threw me off. I can see green better than I can see red-orange because I have a red-green deficiency.
So again, that’s personal, take that for what you will. If you don’t have that problem these might be great for you. But I’m just simply giving my experience with it.
The other thing is the front sight has a hood and I don’t know why, but I hate the hood.
Now, I left it stock but the hood does just literally slide off if you don’t like it.
I will not use the hood long term. Removing the hood might actually help me because I think the hood was distracting me from my front sight and keeping it on target.
Aesthetically, without the hood it looks great. You can mount an optic to this. It has a single rail, you’re going to have to buy a specific scope, clamp-type mount for it.
It has a dovetail mount, it’s not just a standard Picatinny mount. So you’re going to need the scope rings included for the dovetail-style mount.
I’ve hit on a little bit of the shooting that I’ve done with the Rio Bravo.
Loading it is very simple, it has a 15-round tubular magazine.
Function is good, I have had really no issues with it. I don’t necessarily like the rod, it has a weird part that sticks out. You have to line it up on top of your round and make sure it goes in right, not a huge deal.
There’s also a little O-ring at the top and it can slide down and get in the way. But overall, I won’t complain about that because shooting this thing, it’s a lot of fun.
It’s so much fun that you could put 500 rounds through in a day, no problem.
This makes this gun very attractive given its price point as well as how much it would actually cost to shoot it for an entire day.
Putting 500 rounds through this thing, 15-round tubular magazine at a time, that’s a lot of loading but it would make for a great day out with the kids.
This is an awesome gun to start your kids on, give them that true cowboy-and-Indians feel.
Zero recoil. Once you start shooting the Rio Bravo the critiques I had about the lever not being smooth does diminish only because you’re really focused on shooting and having fun.
You don’t focus as much on the smoothness of the action while shooting as you do when you’re analyzing it in a gun store or for a review.
You’re going to have more difficulty staying on target just by the sheer fact that you have to pull the gun down via the lever-action and pull it back and move it around to get your rounds to the chamber, but a really fun gun overall.
This is a $355 gun. If you think you’re buying a $1,500 lever-action rifle you’re going to be severely disappointed.
If you walk into this knowing you are buying an affordable, budget lever-action .22 rifle you’re probably going to hit your mark.
You’re going to be happy with your purchase and overall I think that anybody who is realistic about what this is is going to love it.
I love it for what it is. I wouldn’t pick it over my Browning 22 because that gun is just so smooth and it’s higher quality but it is almost double the price of the Rossi Rio Bravo.
There are certain little nuances that you can tell this is a cheaper 22 lever action rifle.
But if you are looking for a gun for a Christmas present or to get your kids started, or heck, even just for you to go plinking, this is great, this is perfect.
I loved it, and had a lot of fun and I highly recommend you go pick one up at one of the many great retailers that carry these such as Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, Primary Arms, Guns.com, or any retailer that carries them.
Because this is a great gun you should get it in your hands, play with it, and shoot it because it’s a lot of fun.
I highly recommend it as long as it meets the needs that you’re looking for and you have realistic expectations.