|The Model 25 presentation case|
Recently, I came into possession of another little piece of history. And I do mean little. It is the Rossi Model 25, a petite revolver chambered in .22LR. Known as the "Princess," this tiny little pistol is quite beautiful with its bright nickel-finish. The left side of the barrel is stamped "AMADEO ROSSI & CIA/SAO LAOPOLDO R.S." while the right sideplate is stamped "MADE IN BRAZIL" with the Rossi trademark and the importer marking "FIREARMS INT'L CORP/WASHINGTON, D.C." The right side of the barrel is stamped ".22 L.R." The serial number is stamped on the frame below the grip.
Just barely six and a half inches long, with a barrel length of two inches, the Princess is smaller than a grown man's hand (a 3-inch barrel version was also manufactured, designated the Model 13). Despite its diminutive size, however, the Model 25 has a swing-out seven-shot cylinder with a manual ejector rod. It is a single-action / double-action revolver, and while the trigger is quite stiff (I would estimate it at around fifteen pounds), it is smooth with no slop. The brown plastic grips have some black marbling throughout, and they sport a round medallion (a la S&W) bearing the Rossi logo. Actually, these are some of the nicer grips I have seen on Rossi revolvers. The grip is very short, and leaves little room for a big hand... this gun was definitely made with ladies in mind.
|The Rossi Princess|
|Shown with a quarter for perspective|
The frames of the Princess revolvers are die-cast of Zamak (or Zamac), sometimes disparagingly referred to as "pot metal." Zamak is a zinc-aluminum-magnesium-copper alloy, which is actually quite strong, certainly for the frame of a .22LR revolver (Hi-Point Firearms uses Zamak for the slides on their centerfire pistols and carbines). This results in quite a light weight pistol.
The Rossi Model 25 is a copy of the third model Smith & Wesson "Ladysmith," an M-frame revolver manufactured during the first two decades of the 20th century. The M-frame was the smallest hand-ejector frame made, and was used for the .22 Long, and was discontinued in the early 1920s. Rossi, a Brazilian gun manufacturer (now a member of the Taurus family of firearms companies), resurrected this revolver concept, manufacturing the Model 25 for 28 years from the 50s through the mid-80s, with nearly a million of the little revolvers sold. However, because of U.S. gun laws, primarily the 1968 Gun Control Act, relatively few Model 25s were imported into this country, all of them between the years 1965 through 1969. It is getting more difficult to find these guns, especially in good condition.
|Surprising amount of firepower for such a diminutive gun|
One thing I have noticed, however, is that when shooting .22LR cartridges, you can get a bit of powder-flash coming from between the cylinder and the forcing cone (no lead shavings like that old Rohm used to shower me with, though). This does not happen with .22 Shorts or .22 Longs, and I have to wonder if it is due to the newer hypervelocity .22LR cartridges being so much more powerful than the .22LR cartridges of the mid-Sixties. I will try some sub-sonic loads soon to see if that makes a difference. Accuracy with various loads has been quite good for a short barreled revolver. This one is definitely a keeper.
If you have a Rossi Model 13 or 25, and have any more information on this gun, please leave a comment below. Let me know what ammunition your Princess likes, and how well it is holding up. There is not a lot out there on these revolvers (thanks to Ed Buffaloe at unblinkingeye.com for a great write-up, and the various gun fora from which I have gleaned some nuggets of wisdom), so anything you might have to add would be appreciated.
For more information on Rossi: