Is it a youth shotgun, or is it a varmint rifle, or is it a compact, easy to carry and concealable bug-out firearm? Yes, its all the above. The Rossi Matched Pair is a firearm with interchangeable rifle & shotgun barrels; available in several different gauges and calibers; all at a very affordable price. Should it be called a rifle or shotgun for this article; how ’bout just calling it a firearm for simplicity sake. I purchased this little firearm combo from Dick’s Sporting Goods when it was on sale for $119.00; along with a $20 dollar mail-in rebate which I received a check from Rossi within 30 days. Additionally, Rossi was offering a $35.00 free NRA Membership on their website which I ordered for my son who will be the owner of this firearm (both offers still available as of this writing). That makes this firearm cost about $65 – not too bad if I say so myself. Okay, enough of the cost-savings bragging, lets take a look at this little firearm.
This firearm was manufactured at Sao Leopoldo, Brazil by Taurus and was imported by BrazTech LC, Miami FL, an exclusive importer for Rossi. The Rossi “Matched Pair” model is available in several different combinations of gauges and calibers; such as .410/.22lr, 20ga/17HMR, 20ga/44mag, 20ga/243win, 12ga/223rem and 243win/50 cal black powder among others not listed. The model shown in this article is a 20ga/22lr. The firearm is coated in a black finish with a desert tan synthetic stock and forward hand guard. It is a single shot, break-open, style shotgun/rifle.
The first concern I have is the butt-stock is hollow, thus subject to catastrophic damage if excessive pressure were to be applied to it or if it was dropped on a hard surface – meaning, it’ll break or crack if you’re not careful. The butt-stock is not equipped with a recoil pad. The firearm weighs approximately 3.75lbs and is, as suspected, light weight for youths. The light weight of the firearm and no recoil pad will likely contribute to some hefty recoil for young shooters.
This firearm is equipped with a 3″ Modified Choke 22″ barrel. According to the instruction manual, ammunition “is limited to factory loaded shot shells or cartridges containing steel shot.” Instructions do NOT stipulate that it is suitable for shooting slugs of any type; despite videos I’ve seen on youtube doing just this, and here as well. I contacted Rossi/BrazTech at their customer support line and they confirmed on two different occasions that slugs are not recommended for the shotgun barrel. For shooting slugs, Rossi specifically manufactures a ported “slug barrel” for this combo – and they do it for a reason. In addition, it should be noted that “re-manufactured”, “hand-loaded” or other non-standard ammunition voids all warranties.
The .22lr 18.5″ rifle barrel is equipped with a fixed with a reflective front illuminate sight. And likewise the rear sight is illuminate; however is adjustable for elevation and windage.
The rear sight is easily adjustable. Elevation is adjusted by loosening the screw on the side of the sight and slide up or down the ramp, then hand tighten. The windage is adjustable by loosening the top screw and sliding the sight right or left.
The .22lr barrel has been drilled and tapped for the convenience of adding a mountable scope if you later desire to do so. Unfortunately, with a scope mounted it won’t fit into the canvas bag pouch provided with the firearm.
The firearm has two safety mechanisms. The first being a manual safety which can be rotated clockwise to place the firearm on “Fire”, and counter-clockwise for safe. While on “Safe”, the hammer can still be pulled back and the trigger can still allow the hammer to fall; however the transfer bar in the trigger mechanism prevents it from striking the firing pin. To manually decock the hammer from the fully cocked position, engage the manual safety and place on “Safe”. With the hammer under full control of the user, hold and control the hammer with the thumb, pulling the trigger and slowly guiding the hammer to rest in the forward position against the transfer bar. It should be noted that if the firearm is not in the “Safe” position while decocking, and if the trigger is depressed, the transfer bar does not engage and the hammer can strike the firing pin causing an accidental discharge.
In addition, the firearm is equipped with the “Taurus Security System” which is an integral key lock on the hammer which prevents the hammer from being pulled back.
Disassembly of the firearm is simple for cleaning or a barrel change. Unscrew the front sling swivel until it is no longer engaged in the barrel. The forearm down to remove it from the receiver.
From there the firearm is disassembled for cleaning, a barrel change, or storage in the provide nylon case.
I found that the sling for the case can double as a sling for the firearm as well.
Test firing the shotgun I found that 7/8 oz. loads was pretty stout; especially for a youth with the short barrel and overall light weight of the firearm. However, I did manage to make up some 1/2 oz. loads that worked quite well for my son. We were able to bust clays on the ground at 20 yards with the reduced loads without any problem and provided for a great time outside with the kids.
Affordable – A combination shotgun & rifle for under $100.
Compact – A short rifle & shotgun barrel can be broke down to easily store in car/truck, or thrown over the shoulder for back-packing (or bugging out by foot.
Versatile – 20 gauge shotgun is great small game and possibly slugs for larger game if you choose to disregard the manufacturer’s safety warning against the use of them.
Accurate – Good enough for self-defense or to gather wild game. Decent sights for the shotgun and above average sights for the 22lr rifle and predrilled and tapped for a scope.
Reliable – A single shot rifle or shotgun cannot be any more reliable. It’s simple to operate with few moving parts.
Finish – The black finish is smooth and even.
Hardware – The butt-stock seems kind of cheap. It were stepped on it could easily break with sufficient weight – nor is there any supports inside the butt-stock from the receiver to the butt-plate to help support weight or reduce its ability to be crushed.
Recoil – It can only be suspected that a 20 gauge this short and light-weight would have some felt recoil. The obvious fix would be to manufacture the firearm with a decent recoil pad; like the Rossi match-set as well as some of their earlier match set combos had. However, a simple after-market slip-on recoil pad should make shooting the shotgun much more enjoyable.
I like it, a lot. A handy, versatile firearm for both youths and adults.