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Notes from the Bench; The Rossi .45/.410 Survival Rifle

Most any outdoorsman fancies a compact and/or take down long gun that is built with a possible survival job in mind. Enter the Rossi Survival Rifle chambered in .410/.45 Colt recently released by Rossi in late 2023. A mix of the company’s well-known Brawler single-shot pistol and Tuffy break-action shotgun series, Rossi’s newest release is survival focused and marketed as a “last-ditch wilderness rifle.”

The Rossi Survival Rifle weighs just a bit over 3 pounds unloaded, and is built around a lightweight polymer thumbhole stock sporting a 16-inch rifled barrel. The barrel length will give you better performance out of .45 Colt ammo and even .410 slugs (2 ½ or 3inch chamber). With a single-shot break open action shotgun and a manual cross-bolt safety the Rossi is simple to use.

The gun comes standard with a pair of sling studs and iron sights along with a Picatinny rail for an optic of your choosing. Also offering a polymer shell carrier on both sides of the buttstock that allows the user to carry eight rounds of .410 and/or .45 Colt ammo.

An Ammo Carrier on Both sides of the Stock is a Nice Feature

There are two chokes with the Survival Rifle along with a wrench to remove them. It is not particularly clear in the provided owner’s manual as to which choke should be used with .410 bird shot or buckshot. However, the instructions state that a single projectile .410 slug or .45 Colt should not be used with the “Straight Rifle Choke” but only with the “Thread Protector Sleeve”. This leaves the impression that .410 birdshot can be used with either choke.

The Rossi comes with two interchangeable Chokes

A single-action trigger provides for a crisp pull and breaks to the rear with minimal take-up. Automatic ejectors kick spent casings or and hulls free of the gun sending them several feet behind you so that reloads can be done with ease. The Survival Rifle can be quickly and easily be broken down for transport inside a backpack or small soft sided zipper case.

On the range with the Rossi, I tested two variations of .45 Colt ammunition. First, Winchester 250gr, Lead Flat Nose. Firing five shots from a supported rest at 25 yards, I was able to keep all five inside a fist sized group. Not bad!

Five Shot group at 25 Yards with the Winchester 250 Grain!

Next, I tried Hornady’s LEVERevolution in .45 Colt, 225gr FTX, again from a supported 25-yard rest. This time all five rounds landed in an even smaller group if about 3 inches. Better yet!

Five shot Group with Hornady 225 Grain at 25 Yards proved to be even better

In both trials with .45 Colt, I used only the “Thread Protector Sleeve” as directed by the instruction manual. However, wanting to test out the “Straight Rifle Choke” I tested several rounds of Winchester Super Speed, 2 ½ inch with a ½ ounce of size 6 shot. I found that the little Rossi could keep a pattern of birdshot within about a 14-inch circle at 10 yards. Switching to the “Thread Protector Sleeve” that pattern jumped to about 22 inches…big difference.

Bottom line, if I were using the Rossi with birdshot only, the “Straight Rifle Choke” would be the best choice. If I wanted to use the gun for single projectiles or birdshot quickly, the “Thread Protector Choke” would have to be used.

Rossi Survival Rifle Features and Specs:

  • Polymer furniture
  • Chambered for 2.5 and 3 inch .410 shot shells
  • Single shot break action
  • Iron sights
  • Aluminum Picatinny rail for additional optics
  • Barrel Length: 16.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 28.75 inches
  • Weight Empty: 47 ounces
  • Front and rear sling mounts
  • Four holders for either .45 Colt or .410 shells on each side of the stock
  • Barrel threaded for chokes (included)
  • Cross-bolt safety
  • Easy takedown for transport
  • Steel receiver

Final Thoughts

Breaking down into a Small Package makes the Rossi even better!

The Rossi Survival Rifle is the most practical setup for a .45 Colt/.410 bore combination yet. Although the outer diameter of the case of the .410 is similar to the .45 Colt, in the past you could not interchange them safely in conventional .410 smoothbore shotguns. However, Rossi’s .45 Colt-chambered guns can…a nice option to have.

The Rossi Survival Rifle gives you the ability to take larger game via the .45 Colt while offering versatility to harvest small game and birds at closer distances with the .410. Considering the fact that I carry the Rossi in a small day pack or in a soft case under the truck seat, what’s not to like?

To locate a dealer near you visit www.lipseys.com/dealerfinder

About the Author:

TERRY NELSON – is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement with police and sheriff agencies, including SWAT and sniper roles, and has served as a state game warden. Nelson also served seven years with New Mexico State Guard. A lifelong hunter, guide, tracker and firearms enthusiast, Terry is sought for training in multiple disciplines by both civilian and police-serving agencies and companies. Nelson also holds a Basic Tac Med instructor certification from Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.