A few days ago I bought a Rossi model 972 .357 as a car/truck gun. When I first saw it, I thought it was a Taurus model 66 since it has "Braztech" and "Made by Taurus in Brazil" stamped/engraved on the frame. It also has the new Taurus security lock system... I could do without it, but it's part of the hammer. I took a second look and saw ROSSI on the barrel and grip medallions. I check it out and it looks and feels as well made as any Taurus. Aside from slightly different grip designs, the two real differences I could find between the T66 and the R972 are the Taurus uses a transfer bar firing system while the Rossi uses the S&W style pin, and the Taurus holds 7 shots vs. the Rossi's 6 rounds. Also, the Rossi's SS finish is polished while the Taurus has a more satin look. They also come in a blued version.
This is the first of the Braztech/Taurus Rossi's I've owned. I have several others, but my other Rossi's were purchased between 10 and 15 years ago. I've always been a fan of Rossi and looked at them as a poor man's S&W. I've found them to be as well made as my S&W's and aside from possibly not being as polished, you would often be hard pressed to find much difference between the two.
With the purchase of Rossi by Taurus a few years ago, I wondered if Rossi would shut down, maybe become another Taurus model or remain independent. While the new Rossi's seem to have remained pretty much the same as pre Braztech models, there were a few concessions to Taurus, like the trigger lock and a few T66 parts used in the Rossi (probably to cut cost and because they work).
I've fired about a box and a half of ammo (fifty rds of .38 SPL +P's and twenty rds of .357). All fired without any problems what so ever and the gun was as easy to shoot after fifty rounds as the first. It has a 6" barrel - this is no pocket gun unless you have some BIG pockets - with adjustable sights and keeping my shots in a 2" circle at 30 yards was no problem at all. The trigger is a joy, especially compared to most of the auto's I've used. my guess for trigger weight in D/A is around 7-8 lbs, in S/A about 2-3 lbs and very even through the entire length of the D/A mode. I assume it will get even better after it's had a few hundred more rounds through it, though it doesn't seem necessary. I posted a photo of the new revolver, but it didn't turn out that well. I also posted a comparison picture (again, sorry for the quality) of the Taurus 66 and the Rossi 972 I took off the web. You can see the family resemblance
MSRP is about $400, but I got it NIB from a local sporting goods store for $289. I consider that a steal considering the quality of the gun. FWIW, if this is an indication of the work that Rossi/Taurus is putting out these days, I'll be looking to buy a few more in the near future.
I'd be interested in hearing any opinions on the Rossi or the Taurus as they seem to be cut from the same cloth. If anyone is looking for a well made, reasonably priced revolver in .357 (there's also a .38 SPL only model and guns with 2" or 4" barrels), you could do far worse and spend a whole lot more money if you fail to give the new Rossi's a try. Now, if I could only find some nice wood grips...