Rossi’s long history, which dates back to 1889, puts the company in a position to offer a product line that encompasses a broad variety of designs and technology, from muzzleloaders to single-shot rifles and shotguns capable of standing the test of time. The new Rossi Wizard combines all three in a single, versatile package-no incantation or wand required.
Don’t be fooled by the Wizard’s visage. Like any true conjurer, it also possesses a secret: switchbarrel modularity. Its modern design includes Rossi’s new interchangeable-barrel system, empowering shooters and hunters to transform this single-shot into their choice of 21 different muzzleloader, rimfire/center-fire rifle or shotgun chamberings. Barrels can be swapped in roughly a minute by simply unscrewing the front sling swivel, removing the fore-end and opening the action and installing a new barrel.
Each 23″ muzzleloader and rifle barrel comes with fiber-optic front and rear sights installed, which are ideal for quick sight alignment in varying-light conditions. Both the Wizard’s barrel and receiver are made of blued carbon steel, while an automatic ejector works with either fired cases or live ammunition. The Wizard incorporates a transfer-bar mechanism along with a manual safety, making it impossible to open or close the breech with the hammer cocked. What’s more, it also features the Taurus security system: an internal key-lock safety capable of rendering the Wizard inoperable with a simple turn of a key. Expect to pay $149 to $169 for different barrel assemblies.
The Wizard’s Monte Carlo-style stock features a cushioned recoil pad with a built-in white-line spacer, high-contoured comb and a choice of either hardwood ($336) or a wood stock with Realtree APG camouflage furniture ($391). Rossi also offers youth versions of the Wizard in .223 Rem., .243 Win. and .308 Win., making it suitable as a first rifle for aspiring hunters, because the Wizard adapts to both shooter and situation.
When the time came to put the Rossi Wizard on the bench, it didn’t disappoint. The rifle proved to have more than enough accuracy for the field. With ammunition selection limited, the two loads tested averaged slightly over an inch for five consecutive, five-shot groups at 50 yds. Thanks to a crisp, light trigger, 1″ groups were easily attainable, even though sufficient time for barrel cooling deliberately took a back seat between groups in an attempt to tax the ejector. The Wizard’s reliability never became an issue during testing. As such, the likelihood of having to pluck brass from the breech was, thankfully, low. Following the 50 rounds for accuracy testing, converting the rifle was surprisingly easy. Similar to swapping barrels on an over/ under shotgun, unscrewing the front sling swivel enables removal of the fore-end and access to the barrel assembly, once the breech is opened. From there, it’s simply a matter of installing the new barrel, closing the breech and replacing the fore-end. Function testing the additional chambering proved it was just as reliable.
Beneath the Rossi Wizard lies the kind of potential for a weekend plinking session, a big-game hunt and even turkey season’s opening day. The accuracy it displayed during testing suggests it would make a reliable companion afield-no matter the type of quarry or its location.