Image: Chris Dumm for FFAG

What’s a lever-loving rifleman to do if he’s got a hankering for a pistol-caliber carbine? Marlins are garbage these days, and the rest of the lot (Henrys, Winchesters, Ubertis, Pedersolis and Cimarrons) are gorgeous and expensive heirlooms, almost too beautiful to carry afield. If you’re looking for a working man’s cowboy carbine, Rossi’s Model 92 is the last man standing. How well does this $450 almost-SBR stack up against the other levers we’ve tested? Could it be, dollar for dollar, the best lever-action value out there? . . .

Let’s start right up there at the muzzle.

Sights

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

The Model 92 follows The Cowboy Way when it comes to sighting equipment: a brass-beaded post up front and a semi-buckhorn leaf at the rear. The post is drift-adjustable for windage and the rear leaf has an elevation ramp.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG
Plastic bottle, I’m only gonna tell you once: there ain’t room in this town for the two of us.

I’m not a huge fan of any kind of buckhorn rear sights, even though they are historically correct. This photo is a bit misleading, because a proper buckhorn sight picture puts the tip of the post at the bottom of the huge rear ‘notch’ instead of the top. This sight picture would send your bullet over the top of the target at any feasible range.

B-Square Sporting Rifle Mount

Iron sights just don’t work for some shooters, often due to poor eyesight. B-Square sells this aluminum no-gunsmith mount for about $40. It’s cheap and easily removed, but it looks like an ugly and uncomfortable abomination. Although it’s slightly offset to the left (more discomfort) it also looks like it could deflect ejected cases back into the open action. Even at this price, I’m not particularly tempted to go this route. You just don’t do this sort of thing to a rifle like this; if you want long-range precision you won’t find it with a pistol-caliber saddle carbine anyway.

If you want better sights, have your gunsmith install a Williams or Lyman rear peep sight with a wide-open rear aperture and put a higher-visibility bead up front. This will improve both your speed and precision without sacrificing the cowboy vibe of your cowboy carbine.

Fiber-optic sights are another unobtrusive option, but if you absolutely must put a scope on a saddle-ring carbine like this, make it a long eye-relief ‘scout’ scope and mount it as low as you can. You’ll give up some cowboy cred but you’ll gain some accuracy and target-spotting ability. Rossi sells a fitted Weaver rail section that screws to the barrel for about $15, but you’ll have to remove the rear sight to install it.

Accuracy

As I mentioned, this gun ain’t a tackdriver. Benchrested with a scope, it’s probably mechanically capable of cheap bolt-action rifle accuracy in the 3-4 MOA range. Few Rossi Model 92s will ever shoot that well in real life, because they should never wear a scope, and they aren’t much fun to shoot from a benchrest.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG
The range was actually 40 yards. My bad.

Practical accuracy is more pedestrian, and this two-inch, 40-yard group is fairly typical of what we experienced. The best groups like this one were produced with 255-grain SWC lead bullets over 8.0 grains of Unique.

Like many pistol-caliber carbines, this .45 Colt carbine was extremely load-sensitive when it came to point of impact and accuracy. My 255-grain SWC handloads grouped consistently low and left like this, but they did at least group consistently, in about a 2″ cluster at 40 yards. This 5 MOA accuracy could be extrapolated to predict 5″ or 6″ groups at 100 yards. This is about the same as most parts-kit AKs, along with the very crappiest big-box store bolt guns.

There’s no reason not to think the Rossi could deliver slightly better accuracy if you can try it out with numerous .45 Colt bullets and loadings. Our testing was unfortunately limited to some low-velocity 255-grain RNL factory reloads, some equally sluggish 230-grain JHP factory reloads, and a few boxes of my own medium-strength 255-grain hardcast SWCs. Factory .45 Colt ammo wasn’t just expensive; it was flat-out unavailable at the five local big-box retailers I searched.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Despite the surprising Great .45 Colt Drought in my area, I discovered about 75 rounds of standard-pressure factory reload .45 Colts that were left over from our Smith & Wesson Governor review a few years ago. The leftover 230-grain JHPs had shot very accurately through the S&W Governor so I knew they weren’t defective, but the Rossi spit them out all over the place like John Blutarski in the Faber College cafeteria. 8 to 10 MOA was our typical group size from the Model 92 with this not-optimal load. The leftover 255-grain RNLs were sadly no better.

They were barely accurate enough to plug our steel silhouette target from 40 yards, but that’s a 12″ x 24″ target and every gun (including handguns) should hit it with every shot at that range. Which we did with my Ruger Blackhawk.

These cheap (pre-Panic) .45 Colt factory reloads may have been assembled with .452″ bullets. These will function in both .45 Colt and .45 ACP cartridges, but a .45 Colt should really use .454 cast bullets instead. I didn’t save any of the rounds to mic them, so this is just a theory as to why they performed so well in the multi-chambered Governor but so poorly in the Rossi.

I’m not dazzled by the Rossi’s accuracy, but neither am I disappointed. If a 16″ barrel pistol-caliber carbine can hit the vitals of a whitetail deer at 100 yards, you won’t hear me complaining about it. And if it will blast a tin can at 40 yards and put a huge smile on my face at the same time for $450, it’s all good.

Size/Weight/Ergonomics

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

If you can handle a Red Ryder BB gun, you can handle the Rossi ‘El Jefe’ Model 92 (just don’t forget your ear pro.) The Rossi’s lever is smoother, its trigger is lighter, its sights are better and it only weighs twice as much as Ralphie’s blued-steel beauty. It’s only two pounds heavier than an empty Government Model 1911, and it floats like a feather in your hands.

And it’s only 34 inches long, which is almost as short a rifle as you can own without waiting nine months for an SBR tax stamp. Even if you went to the hassle of  converting it to a (legal) SBR and chopping the barrel to 12″, you’d only save yourself a measly 4 inches and you’d lose that grin-inducing 9+1 magazine capacity.

The Lever

As this video shows, the handling of this light, compact gun is extremely lively. Pay no attention to my first-down fumble with the lever here: I’m used to the customized big loop on my Wild West Marlin 1894C, and the Rossi’s lever has a different shape which tripped me up a little bit at first.

I’ve fired some of the crappiest levers and the finest levers made, and I pronounce this Rossi’s lever action to be among the smoothest steel-receiver levers I’ve ever laid hands on. It’s far better than any modern Marlin I’ve handled, and nearly as smooth as Farago’s 75 year-old Model 39 or the brass-framed Henrys and Uberti reproduction 1866s.

La Dolce Innescare

The Rossi Model 92’s trigger is simply outstanding for a lever-action rifle. It has a short pull which is almost completely smooth, with only one minuscule spot of ‘grit’ before the perfectly crisp and predictable break. The pull measures an absolutely consistent 4.0 pounds, with only a modest amount of overtravel. It’s honestly better than many entry-level bolt action triggers.

Once you get up to speed (a pricey proposition if you don’t roll your own ammo) you’ll be sending aimed shots downrange like a latter-day Chuck Connors, with a cyclic rate of nearly 90 rpm. For residents of Stasi states like California or New York, a carbine like this might be the ultimate legal home-defense carbine. Rossi advertises an 8+1 round capacity, but I had no trouble loading and feeding 9+1 rounds. 10 rounds is the same as the rifle magazine limit in some states, and the Model 92’s loading gate is nearly as quick as a bullet button mag swap. At least you can top off your magazine without having to open the action or take the gun off-target.

The ergonomics aren’t all sunshine and trumpets, however, especially for full-sized shooters. The sight radius is shorter than an AK-47’s, and the length of pull is only 0.4″ longer than Mikhail’s Avtomat. This won’t keep you from blasting tin cans or Evil Roy cowboy silhouettes, but it makes bench testing a chore.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Another ergonomic glitch lies in the hinged loading gate on the right side of the receiver. The door has a gentle closure spring (a welcome discovery) but the edges of the gate are squared and excessively sharp. My right thumb was pretty chewed up after less than 200 rounds, and it’s still raw and scabbed-over as I’m typing this.

Smaller/Younger Shooters

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

The Model 92 is light and compact, and with standard-pressure .45 loads it recoils like a yawning house-cat. It’s a great choice for younger or smaller shooters, as well as the recoil-shy. The short length of pull fit my 5’1″ daughter just like a Ruger 10/.22, and her 85-pound frame could balance the short barrel without having to lean backwards like some smaller shooters try to do.

Recoil with .45 Colt cowboy loads was utterly negligible. My slightly more expeditious handloads only gave a mild nudge on the steel butt-plate, like a .223 fired from a bolt-action rifle.

Reliability

Sometime TTAG contributor ‘Tony’ brought his Ruger LC9 joined me in the Oregon mountains for our testing day. Ammunition availability limited our testing fun to under 200 rounds, and we encountered but a single malfunction: a shooter-induced failure to feed at round count 2.

I’d foolishly turned the receiver nearly upside-down to make sure the empty brass ejected into my range bag, forgetting that top-eject Winchesters don’t always eject or feed reliably when they’re sideways or upside-down. The empty ejected, but the fresh round didn’t come back onto the shell lifter until I poked around inside the action with my finger.

Other than this FTF (which wasn’t the gun’s fault) reliability was absolutely perfect. We didn’t have a single loading problem with any type of bullet, whether lead or jacketed, roundnose or semiwadcutter.

Feeding and ignition were likewise perfect through our limited testing. Ejection was positive and delightful: the empties were tossed about three feet in the air, to land about two feet behind and to the right of the shooter. We didn’t lose a single brass case all day, which is fantastic when you need to handload.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

The Model 92 has one feature the original Winchester never had: this slightly awkward (but at least inoffensive) L-shaped safety mounted atop the bolt. It can only be operated while the hammer is at its lowered half-cock position, and not when the hammer is cocked or fully lowered onto the firing pin.

I don’t see the need for a safety on any manually-operated rifle, since the best mechanical safety is an empty chamber and/or a lowered hammer. That being said, I know the rest of the legal and business and insurance world may think differently. I’m glad this safety doesn’t mar the lovely flat sides of the receiver like a Marlin cross-bolt safety, and I’m happy to report that it didn’t interfere with my shooting one bit. I never used it, and it never bothered me.

Fit And Finish

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

The Model 92 shows solid, workmanlike fit and finish throughout its construction. Metal parts are accurately machined and generally fit together with precision, although there are a few spots where the metal-to-metal fit is less than perfect.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

This photo shows an oversized hammer pin hole, one of the few noticeable but purely cosmetic glitches. I was pleased to notice that the slotted screws were not chewed up (unlike modern Marlins) and that there were only minor toolmarks visible on the exterior of the rifle.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

A small section of the inside surface of the large-loop lever escaped QC without being polished or blued properly. This kind of blemish shouldn’t happen, but if it were mine I’d hit it with some steel wool and touch-up blueing and still know that I’d gotten a hell of a bargain for $450.

The rest of the metal is a satin blue. The receiver is more brightly polished than the barrel or lever, and the blueing is a bit thin and uneven.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

The wood is an attractive, tight-grained Brazilian hardwood with a honey-reddish color. It has an oil-rubbed finish which might not give the best moisture protection, but looks quite simple and handsome. The grain of the wood is simple and clean, with no knots or blemishes.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Wood-to-metal fit was about on par with the metal-to-metal fit. The fit is fairly tight and free of conspicuous gaps (again, unlike modern Marlins) but the wood stands proud of the metal as these pictures show. The metal buttplate, however, is very well fitted to the stock.

On the grand scale of Lever Action fit and finish, this Rossi is better than a modern Marlin, about on par with a new-production Mossberg lever, and of course far below the level of refinement of a Henry, a Winchester-licensed Miroku or a Uberti replica. Those guns are of course 2x to 3x more expensive than the working man’s Rossi, and I doubt they’re any more reliable, sturdy or fun.

Ballistics

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Remembering that .357 Magnum ballistics got a tremendous boost from a long carbine barrel, I fired a few rounds through the traps of my chronograph using the 16″ Rossi and a 4.62″ Ruger Blackhawk. We only had a few rounds to spare, so these aren’t the most statistically rigorous figures here and I hope Foghorn will forgive me.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Load:     255 RNL Factory            230 JHP Factory               255 SWC Handload
Ruger    804 fps/365 lb-ft/13 KO    780 fps/310 lb-ft/11 KO        966 fps/528 lb-ft/16 KO
Rossi     945 fps/505 lb-ft/15 KO     930 fps/441 lb-ft/13 KO       1193 fps/805 lb-ft/19 KO
% Gain 17.5%/38%/NA                    19%/42%/NA                       23%/52%/NA

The Rossi’s 16-inch barrel turns slowpoke ‘Cowboy’ loads into medium-pressure defensive loads, and bumps my medium-pressure handloads up into .44 Magnum territory.

These aren’t earthshaking ballistic figures, but keep in mind that the ‘hottest’ of these loads uses only 8.0 grains of Unique and a cast lead bullet. A total component cost of about $.18 per round will let you blaze away to your heart’s content without waiting for your lottery ‘investment’ to come in.

Unique is a fast-burning pistol powder, which I anticipated would get only a moderate boost from the extra barrel length. Heavier bullets and slower-burning powders can produce significantly more energy if you really need it, and internet forums regularly describe 300 grain .45 WFN bullets moving out at 1500 fps from Winchester Trappers and Rossi Model 92s. That’s only 300fps slower than a standard-pressure factory .45-70.

It has nothing to do with ballistics, but I did notice that my Ruger Blackhawk empties would chamber easily in the Rossi, but the Rossi’s empties could not be inserted into the Blackhawk’s cylinder. The Rossi might have a slightly oversized chamber, or then again my Ruger might have an exceptionally tight cylinder.

Conclusion: A Thing Is What It Is, And Not Something Else

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

I could wear my computer keys down to their nubs trying to write an exhaustive list of the things this rifle isn’t. It’s not a flat-shooting Super Magnum, it’s not a tackdriver, and it’s got no mall-ninja tacticool pretentions whatsoever. Instead of Picatinny Rail, it’s got a saddle ring with a leather thong.

It is, however, fun and handy. And reliable. And cheap. And light. And light-kicking. And compact enough for almost any shooter over the age of 12. And powerful and accurate enough to take out a coyote or whitetail at 100 yards. And with enough firepower to hold off the entire Dalton gang until the sheriff’s posse arrives.

It’s got a lot going for it, and the only expensive thing about it is the ammo. If you needed another good reason to handload, this rifle is it. You may not ‘need’ a Rossi Model 92 ‘Jefe’ saddle-ring carbine, but trust me: you’ve always wanted one. You just didn’t know it yet.

Specifications:

Type: lever-action carbineMagazine: tubular, gate-fed, 9+1 round capacity
Caliber: .45 Colt (tested), .44-40, .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, .38/.357
Barrel length: 16″
Weight: 4.8 pounds
Construction: blued steel, Brazilian hardwood stock
MSRP: $569 ($450 street)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * 1/2
Finicky when it comes to loads; expect 5 MOA with loads it likes.

Reliability: * * * * 1/2
A short test, but only one (user-induced) malfunction in almost 200 rounds. Happily feeds and fires all bullet shapes.

Ergonomics/Handling: * * * *
Quick and instinctive, but honestly just a little too small for full-sized shooters. Great for smaller shooters, but the loading gate will bite you.

Fit And Finish: * * *
Simple and sturdy, with a few blemishes. This is a shooter, not a collectible.

Aesthetics: * * * *
The most subjective of all criteria, but a fairly faithful rendition of a classic American design can never look wrong to me.

Customize This: *
Good taste and the love of all that is holy forbid you to mess this gun up by hanging a bunch of crap on it. Install a classic Marble or Lyman rear peep sight and call it perfect.

Overall Rating: * * * *
A versatile and reliable and incredibly fun little rifle, available in almost every revolver caliber known to man. The four-star rating reflects what an incredible bargain this gun is at just $450.

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121 Responses to Gun Review: Rossi Model 92 Lever-Action Carbine

  1. Not really my kind of gun, at least at the moment, but I really enjoyed reading the review just the same. Thanks for doing it.

  2. Bah, another excuse to get one in .357/38. I’ve been debating it for the last 10 months. Thanks for the review.

  3. I had one about 10 years ago in 44-40 a very poor choice of cartridge, I see that the quality has actually dropped in that time. Virtually all M-92s suffer poor accuracy problems due to the weak receiver-to-barrel interface and the long dwell time during hammer fall which is what prompted the design of the M-94

    • What prompted the design of the 1894 was the need for a rifle designed to fire smaller diameter smokeless cartridges in a more compact and lighter rifle than an 1886. The 1894 was not intended to shoot pistol cartridges, and never did until modern times when Winchester saw a demand for a pistol caliber carbine and the ’92 was already discontinued.
      The ’92 was designed to fire pistol calibers and was built alongside of the ’94 until the ’92 was discontinued in 1945 – about 50 years.
      1886 – medium to large bore rifle cartridges (replaced 1876)
      1892 – pistol cartridges (replaced 1873)
      1894 – “small bore” smokeless cartridges like .30-30, .32 WS., .23-35
      1895 – spitzer cartridges like .30-40 Krag, 7.62x54r, .30-03, .30-06, plus some medium – large bores.
      Each had a purpose, and apart from some overlap between them (1886 in the smaller chamberings and 1895 in the larger chamberings), they fulfilled seperate roles and none were designed to replace another.

    • I would recommend against that due to what I posted above. A TC Encore or Handy Rifle would give you far better performance

      • Good to know. Honestly I just meant a levergun in that caliber (which works w/ my Liberty Mystic can). Haven’t thought about brand or model… probably won’t end up pulling the trigger on one anyway. Too much $$$ for something that, for my purposes, would really be a novelty and in a caliber I don’t already own, which brings its own monetary issues haha. But, I like the idea of it a whole lot, and love shooting a lever action!

      • LOL… I love this rifle and only got it because I mainly use the Contender and the K in 357/38. It seemed a nice match and I was right. I reload this caliber and since the .22 shortage it has been the most practical thing to shoot on a Sunday afternoon.

  4. I’ve really been appreciating the reviews of (what I consider) to be more interesting guns than the latest AR or 1911 clone.

  5. I have one of those in .38/.357 and I love it. Definitely one of my favorite guns to shoot.

    You’re right, the edges on that loading gate are brutal. What I do is use the front of the next round to push the previous one in, so I only have to stick my finger in on the last one.

    Has anyone who owns one ever detail stripped it? I’ve just been cleaning the bore as usual and brushing out the action, but I want to take down the entire mechanism sometime and cleaning. It just seems… Daunting. I’m scared I won’t be able to get it back together.

    • Check out Steve Young’s site: stevesgunz.com. He specializes in gunsmithing the Rossi lever guns and sells an excellent DVD that’ll teach you everything you need to know about how a 92 works, how to slick up the action, and how to get it apart and back together with no leftover pieces.

    • I own one, I have modded it (removed safety, replaced buckhorn front with aperture front from skinner). I replaced the ejector spring to keep my brass from going into orbit.

      The insides are sharp I got a nasty cut. In order to re-assemble you will need a dummy round or snap cap. I stripped mine while watching Steve Young’s DVD. I would consider that DVD mandatory.

      As Chris said, it’s a working mans gun. Mine has some dented wood and scratched bluing. Granted $450 is not cheap, but it’s not a safe queen.

    • I break the edges on the loading gate just enough that they are not sharp.

      I have had many of these apart and it is no big deal. I highly recommend the Steve’s Gunz DVD mentioned by others. Get the DVD, a stainless follower, the spring kit, and a safety plug from Steve’s guns and the DVD will teach you what you need to know.

      Perhaps Rossi employees have been watching Steve’s DVD, too, because the current 92s from Rossi are smoother and may have slightly lighter springs that they used to.

    • Back when I shot in cowboy action I had on in .357 magnum. had a 24 inch octagon barrel and never had an accuracy problem with hitting plates at out 75 yards. I used it for hunting small game and enjoyed it. Never been a .357 fan but thats all the ammo that was reloaded back then on my Grandfather s Dillion 650. I paid 430 bucks back then for the rifle and that was Almost 15 years ago. As I was only 14 when I got into reloading shooting. Point is they are good rifles can be tuned pretty easy by a do yourself type and only need the sporting rifle take down book unless they come with a better manual now. I want in .45 Colt but with a 24 barrel that I don’t think is made anymore it was heavy witb a brass reciever and matte stainless barrel and shot lead well. Hollow points in fmj type really sucked though for accuracy. After a factory Winchester silver tip blew up in gun I sold it after having it checked by a gunsmith. I don’t like Winchester ammo or the .357. The .45 I can shoot really cheap though. cast my own bullets and reusing shells I got it to about .09 cents a round.

    • I have had my “92” apart several times they are not difficult to disassemble. On Face book there are several video’s on taking this rifle apart and polishing some parts including the loading gate. mine is in 38/357 with the 20 inch barrel it is a very accurate rifle just don’t expect ten shot one hole groups it will deliver a fairly tight group off hand though. I am working on another in 44 mag with the Octagon barrel in the 20 inch version I am thinking case hardened finish or stainless will get it about the first of next month.

  6. I’ve been in the market for the standard loop model in .357/.38 for months now but they are a beast to find. Only found one, a stainless model, at a pawn shop but they wanted $600 for it.

  7. I had looked at these in .38/.357. My dad has the Rossi Ranch Hand in that caliber and it is TERRIBLE. Grittiest action I have ever felt. It cycles .38 Special well enough, but can’t feed or eject the .357 Magnums reliably at all. Maybe it was just a lemon, but I was thoroughly unimpressed.

    • I’ve read a good bit about issues with the Ranch Hand models but the R92 models seem much better all around.

    • Was it new? Most leverguns need a couple hundred rounds to smooth up the action. There is a lot of metal on metal contact. Also, they can be finicky with ammo shapes and overall length

      • It was new and unfired, and I don’t think it was a cherry-picked ‘gunwriter special’ because of the various cosmetic issues. It’s just really smooth for a new lever.

  8. It’s a shame to hear that Marlins are no longer to be trusted… The mid 90’s Marlin Cowboy Competition in .38 that I used to shoot in SASS was a sweet gun straight from the factory. What happened since then?

    • A group of Wall Street thimbleriggers called Cerberus Capital Management created something called “The Freedom Group” and went on a buying spree. Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, Dakota Arms, and many other companies got sucked into the buying spree, due to owners who wanted out or (more likely, IMO) owners who were naive and didn’t know who they were dealing with, and thought that Cerberus would actually allow the owners to continue running their company after Cerberus owned the company.

      There is no Santa Claus, there is no Easter Bunny, and there are no such things as smurfs, unicorns or smurfs riding unicorns over rainbows.

      The rule for honest owners of gun companies should ever be this: When someone from Wall Street comes calling to buy out your company, believe nothing. Get everything in writing, have your lawyers (NB the plural) read it several times, have your accountant read it several times, and know in the end, they will be trying to screw you. Get payment up front, in cash, no ands/ifs/buts. Do not settle for common stock in some to-be company or IPO. The Wall Street thimbleriggers know nothing about guns, but everything about creative accounting and the law; you, the gun company owner, will know quite a lot about guns and almost nothing about modern finance, tax law or torts and chancery courts. Once you quit talking about guns and start talking about money, the ball is in their home court, not yours.

      • Exactly, and by extension, when you get your lawyers to look at it, make sure they’re the right kind of lawyers. Remember that if they approached you to buy you out, they already know what their end-game is, but you don’t. Whatever “dirty tricks” they have up their sleeve are already there. If you wait to find out, you’ll be in a position of reaction to what you didn’t see coming. Thus, you need an attorney who is familiar with buyout type situations, so that they can see not only what is written in the contract, but what isn’t and should be. Someone who can come at it from the position of “if I was trying to connive me out my company, how would I do it, and how do I structure the contract to prevent that?” You’ll probably never eliminate all the potential pitfalls, but the right lawyer can get rid of a lot of them.

    • The freedom group decided to transfer the leverguns manufacturing to Remington in NY. The picked up the tooling and some equipment, and plopped it down at a different company without the same personnel. That being said, Remington makes quality shotguns, so there shouldn’t be any excuse for some of the QC issues coming out of their factory. They are probably under pressure to ship product, even before the line is making everything to specification.

    • I don’t know where the Marlin hate comes from; I have purchased two 1894c’s in the past two years and both have performed flawlessly with probably about 1000 rounds through one and about 300 through the other. Just don’t try to put snap caps in them.

    • Remington happened to Marlin and fired all the crew as far as I know I bought a guide gun this year. The action is rough as hell and the wood to metal fit sucks compared to the era your talking about.

  9. The most popular load in the old original Winchester 1873s and 1892s was the .44-40. A 200 grain bullet with a 40 grain charge of black powder. It was a go to gun for people that didn’t have 911 and lived and worked in isolated places on their own. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.

    Upgraded to a more modern cartridge,ie smokeless powder, in .357, .44 mag, .45 colt or even the original .44-40 it will still get the job done.

  10. 1. Your Ruger likely has a tight chamber size in the cylinder. This is one of the ways you get a revolver to handle higher pressures – you make sure that the brass will “seal” against the sides of the chamber ASAP as the pressure boosts during ignition. You make sure that the chamber mouths are uniform and tight to SAAMI spec, etc, etc. John Linebaugh has written some material on this issue in revolvers, as he’s well known for hot-rodding Ruger (and S&W and other) revolvers.

    2. The wood-to-metal fit there is really disappointing. That’s really amateur level stock fitting.

    3. As to your accuracy issues: From your picture, the first place I’d start is by re-crowning that barrel. The original 1892’s would typically hold a 2 minute group, ie, 1″ or less at 50 yards, 2″ +/- at 100 yards, with well-constructed ammo.

    4. One of the things you can retrofit onto older leverguns is a tang-mounted peep sight. The longer sight radius, coupled with the fact you’re dealing with a peep, really can help some shooters. Scopes have always been problematic on leverguns, and for those who really need a hunting levergun that can take a scope, my SOP was to recommend that they look at a Marlin 336… alas, the ruination of Marlin by a bunch of money-changers from Wall Street has sort of put a stop to that advice.

    • I noticed that crown too. that can be big factor in the accuracy of any gun. luckily the fix if fairly easy.

    • Skinner Sights makes awesome aperture sights specifically for just about every lever-action model there is. I have their blued-and-brass Express sights on my Marlin 336; looks sweeee-eeet and shoots great, too. Skinner Sights’ Rossi page: http://www.skinnersights.com/rossi_firearms_23.html.

      And after this review, I think I’m going to have to get one of these Rossi leverguns…someday. One more item on a very long list. But I’ve wanted a .357 rifle/pistol combo for a long time, and since Marlins generally aren’t available anymore…

      That little gun looks like a lot of fun.

  11. In defense of modern Marlins…
    Although I own two Marlins (336c and 989 m2) only one is a lever gun and it is the only one that is a “modern” Marlin. I purchased the 336c last year before hunting season started and I was more than a bit nervous about the purchase. I really wanted a .30-30 lever gun for hunting hogs but really didn’t like the Mossberg. I spent a fair amount of time with my son-in-law’s Mossberg and never was able to get comfortable with it. Then one of the plastic screws holding the plastic barrel band backed out and is now lost to the world. I bought the Marlin and kept my fingers crossed.
    The fit and finish was quite good and it has been extremely reliable. It has been out hunting with me a number of times and I brought down my first hog with it, a 200 lb sow at 125 yards. As much as I hate supporting the (un)Freedom group I have to say it is a pretty good rifle. I think they may have the bugs worked out from the factory move (at least with the 336).
    I spoke with a rep from the company at the NRA Convention and he was pretty candid about the issues and said he believes they have the issues resolved with the 336 and big bore guns. He said he thought they would have the 1894s sorted early next year (for what its worth).
    -Cranky

      • Truth of the matter is that Marlin is not making new pistol caliber lever guns and has not since Remington bought them out and closed the old Marlin factory. Unfortunately, everyone knew what was coming for more than a year before that happened so the last production of 1894s left with serious quality issues.
        The ongoing promise now since that time has been that they would “set things right” and resume production “any time now.” Those of us who value our older Marlins are still awaiting that day.

        • I wrote an obit for Marlin pistol-caliber carbines more than 18 months ago, and I’m not planning on writing a retraction any time soon. Not until I see a new-production, new-parts Marlin 1894C that has been assembled by adults and isn’t a disgrace.

        • There has been a lot of press about the Marlins now being good-to-go, yet I am still hearing from dealers that they are returning rifles that are not.
          Prices are up a bit on used Marlins.

  12. From the picture of the muzzle it looks like the accuracy might be improved by a good recrowning job. Again judging from the picture I cannot agree that an egg shaped hammer pin hole is only a cosmetic defect, it should have never left the factory with that defect.

  13. My .357 Rossi model 92 is plenty accurate, and can easily turn in sub 2″ groups at 100 yards. Shooting aluminum coke cans at 100 yards is not overly challenging. These generally have a good reputation in the cowboy action community.

    Getting .45 Colt to shoot well can be challenging. Most .45 colt barrels have been .451 since before WWII, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Rossi built a compromise chamber between .454 and .451.

    My Rossi is old enough to not have been molested by the Lawyers with the stupid safety. There are a couple companies that make a fill plate to get rid of the stupid safety. It’s not quite as clean as if it were never there, but much better than a lever on top of a lever gun.

    • What load are you shooting? I am looking for a good target load, I am considering 125 grain, since they scream out of 20″ bbl.

      • The .38 special target load uses Green Dot under a 158 grain LSWC.

        .357 Could be loaded with a number of powders, but most likely Blue Dot. Blue dot give a huge fireball in handguns, but the 16″ barrel gives plenty of room to burn up a slow powder.

  14. My favorite Marlin is a 1983 model 1894 in .38/357 that groups 1.5″ at 50 yards. It also happens to be my favorite rifle, ever, and I have shot hundreds of models.

    My newest Marlin is a 2006 model 336 in 30-30. It groups 2″ at 100 yards. Fit and finish makes current production Marlins look like they are cheap Chinese knock-offs.

    When you find a gun you like, buy it. Don’t put it off. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked to buy my 1894 and made offers that were 4x what I paid for the gun new. Some of these people had their chance to buy one years ago and never did. They just didn’t realize how much they wanted one, until it was too late.

  15. Have one of these, it is a good little gun. Expect to have to replace the ejector spring from the factory and file a bit to get it to 100% though. See stevesgunz DVD for good info on how exactly to do that.

    Also, get the 44 mag, I’ve had 2 kinds of revolver caliber long guns, those that were in 44 mag and those that I later wished were in 44 mag. Unless of course you reload, but it’s very nice to be able to walk into a store and get decent loads.

    • I notice that it has been 2 or 3 years since most of these comments were posted. About a month ago I traded in a well worn Marlin 336C in .30-30 on a deal for a new Rossi 92 in .44 mag. It is a 20 inch barrel 10 +1 capacity. I’m still breaking it in but I have been very pleased with the fit, finish, function and trigger. I already had dies for .44 mag/spl so I’ll be reloading soon for the rifle. I am happy with it just as it was from the box and probably won’t change anything. It seems to be well worth the price and I really like the weight. The safety is non obtrusive and I don’t use it at all. It fits the bill perfectly for me.

  16. Have an older one,bought in 1996,has the standard lever,.357Magnum.When I first took it out of the box,it looked like a toy,but when I shot it it performed great,shot a 3 3/4 inch group at 150 yards,from a rest,not bad for a pistol caliber carbine.I have found that if you use a cartridge to load a cartridge by pushing past the loading gate,since most of the ammo used is flat point type anyway,you can avoid tearing up your fingers and knuckles.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  17. This was my personal experience with the Rossi 92. In May of 2012 I purchased a new Rossi 92 in .38/.357. Out of the box it shot 4′ (yes, feet) to the left of the target at 50 yds. I finally got it on paper but, after fewer than 100 rounds, the loading gate broke off during a reload and fell into the action. I understand others have had a much better experience with the brand/model but it left me disappointed enough that I avoid the Rossi/Taurus brands.

    FYI – the folks at J&G were great about taking the rifle back and applying the cost to a new Winchester (Miroku) 92 short rifle in .357 which is a great shooter and I am very happy with (if at twice the price).

  18. How does the Howa compare? I see they run just over $1k msrp. but sell for about $750. Plus you can select a number of barrel lengths, including both 20″ and 24″, both of which should give far better performance than this 16″.

  19. I love lever guns in pistol calibers, it’s just sad how expensive some have become these days. The WInchester is well over $1K, the Puma runs an easy $900, even Marlins are expensive. A Marlin 336 can be picked up at Walmart for less than $400 but a 1894 in .357 still goes for $700.

    I’d love to see Mossberg bring out their 464 in .357 if they can keep it in the same price range as the 30-30 ($450 at Cabela’s).

    I know a few people my disagree, but I think lever guns in pistol calibers make great home defense guns, especially for people who live in cities/states that have tough laws against semi-auto rifle ownership.

    • I’ll go you one better J-: I think that .357 and up pistol carbines are likely more effective than .223 rifles at inside-the-house distances. I’m not a lever gun guy, but I’ve spent years with a pump shotgun (my personal preference for home defense even over my MSR’s). I’d say if one practices with a lever gun to a degree of competence they make very good home defense arms.

      I just recently commented on the use of semi auto pistol caliber carbines and praised them basically for anyone who wants a home defense weapon but dislikes either the operation or the recoil of a shotgun.

      I’d have to go down another peg to recommend a lever gun, however, they can be fast and accurate in experienced hands, fast and accurate enough that you don’t want to come in against them. Another plus is the relative effectiveness of serious handgun calibers from carbine barrels Vs .223 rifles at in the house ranges. At very close range the .223 usually has too much velocity to tumble as effectively as it does at medium range and beyond, meaning small through and through hits. Loaded with hollow point pistol ammo a lever carbine has a much greater one shot stop likelihood while getting rid of the worst things about pistols (short sight radius, single point of contact).

      I’d never call a lever gun ideal for defensive work, but you called it right, if an MSR is prohibitively difficult (ruling out most semi auto pistol caliber carbines as well) and you just can’t handle a tactical shotgun efficiently, the lever action pistol caliber carbine is a legitimate choice.

      • 5.56 from a short AR beats a pistol caliber from a carbine. It is usually more effective on the target (I say usually, because from a 16″ or 20″ barrel on one of these 92 carbines, some .357 loads can do incredible things, and .45 Colt handloads can match some .45-70 loads).

        For close range self-defense, though, the 5.56 AR-15 is better – good fragmentation for quick kills, lower danger of penetration of walls or over-penetration of the target, easy to mount a reflex sight.

        A pistol-caliber levergun has advantages in states that are restrictive, is easy to reload for in most calibers, and tends to be quieter. It can be very light. It can also be fired easily by kids who are to small to easily charge an AR-15.

  20. I’ve never understood or agreed with the “Rossi/ Taurus es no bueno por caca” reputation. Just bad-mouthing South American products because they aren’t New England or European… probably the most fun walking-around-in-the-woods gun I’ve ever had was a Rossi clone of a Winchester outside-hammer pump .22 I picked up used in the early 80s – just a delightful hit-where-you-point-it 5 lb. rifle that was semi-auto quick on second shots. And when the dogs start barking in the middle of the night, I grab a 5-shot 4-inch J-frame Rossi .38 that is as sweet as any Smith I’ve ever owned.

  21. As a descendent I rather object to the authors dispersions of the Dalton Gang. (Incidentally we use AR-15’s now.)

    Otherwise a very well written review of what seems to be for the money one versatile and fun gun to own. I happen to have a Vaquero in .45 and wouldn’t mind adding a short carbine lever gun in the same caliber.

    You know, sometimes you feel like a modern sporting rifle, sometimes you don’t.

  22. I have a mod 92 in .44 mag. Seems to feed .44 special just fine. Anyone see a problem shooting .44 special out if it? Barrel is only marked for .44 mag.

    • Only that you pay particular attention to cleaning the chamber regularly with a good solvent and bronze brush. Otherwise powder residue can build up and cause a failure to fully chamber or a stuck case when shooting magnums after a long string of specials.

  23. I have a stainless .44 mag Rossi, and I shoot specials out of it 95% of the time. My 20″ model will hold a dandy 13 of them. I’m also getting consistent 3-4 MOA accuracy at the range (with stock sights), too.

    The stock sights are of decent quality, but don’t make for a very good sight picture. I now have a set of Skinner sights on mine, and the difference is night and day.

    As for customization, there are lots of aftermarket parts that address known issues with the Rossis. They respond well to a little home gunsmithing and slick up considerably with use. My runs slicker than snot.

  24. Oldest son has one of the older Rossi lever guns (pre top safety) in .357. Those guns were noted for brittle firing pins. I know this because whenever one of his guns breaks guess who gets to fix it.
    The good news is that the Rossi, or at least the one he has, is so close to the Winchester ’92 that parts interchange. It did require a bit of hand fitting, but a Win ’92 firing pin from Numrich Arms now resides quite nicely in his lever gun.
    Thought the parts compatibility was worth noting.
    Will also remark that there are tutorials on the web on how to remove that silly top safety. Not that I would ever advise the removal of any safety device, but there are in fact a heck of a lot of old lever guns that seem to have functioned quite nicely without one.

  25. I have a R92 20″ Octagal in 357 with the case hardened finish and a R92 Ranch Hand in 357. I really love them both for “playing cowboy” on the range. With the R92 I can hit a buffalo silloette (sp) at 200 yards with magtech factory 158gr soft lead flat nose 357’s, which is fine for me and my old eyes! Ranch Hand is load sensitive…so I simply feed it what I know it will eat. For the price you can’t beat ’em. A good compliment, and “every day shooter”, to my Henry Big Boy and Marlin 1894 CB Limited Edition.

  26. I have a Rossi R92 in blue with a 16″ barrel in 38 Special/357 Magnum. It is a hoot to shoot, especially with 38s. Almost no recoil. I’ve read that QC on these guns is hit-or-miss (typical of all Taurus products), but mine had no major issues and is quite accurate. I’ve made a few modifications to it — replaced the front sight with a fiber optic sight, removed the buckhorn, and replaced the bolt top safety with a peep sight from Steve’s Guns. Not real happy with the wood and painted over it. I am considering getting new stocks, but this gun is a keeper. Rossi offers several models in various barrel lengths, finishes, and calibers. Seems to be a popular item for them. One reason I got it is that pistol ammo is cheaper than rifle ammo, yet still powerful, due to longer barrel – see the “Ballistics by the Inch” website. Handy, light weight. I think it makes a good home defense weapon, or varmint eliminator.

  27. I purchased a Marlin 1894c about 18 months ago, new. So, it’s a Remlin.

    It wasn’t easy to find and I’m going to have to admit I’ve had a lot of disappointment with the $600 gun. The rear sight was drifted so far to the right that I was hanging off of the barrel (which I should have noticed), the supplied hammer extension didn’t fit the hammer (I called Marlin and they sent me one that fit),

    The gun is very ammo picky but I think that just comes with the territory on any rifle that’s supposed to feed two different caliber’s of ammo. When you find a brand it likes, you won’t have any trouble with it.

    Due to the short length of the receiver, I had trouble finding a scope / mount set up that gave me the proper eye relief. Again, I think this comes with the territory for the type of gun that it is. But, it was one more aggravation I thought I’d mention.

    Then it was the HORRIBLE trigger. Oh my God, what a creepy POS. So, I took it to the local gunsmith and he managed to improve that greatly. It doesn’t break like glass but, it’s pretty nice now.

    So…… With a DNZ scope mount, a Nikon prostaff 2-7×32 on it, I’ve got about $900+ in it. Fit and finish are just so-so. But, you have to look pretty closely to notice.

    Here’s the thing though, It’s beautiful and I enjoy shooting it. Everyone else who picks it up and shoots it loves it. Last but not least, I got some 3 shot groups of just over 2″ at 100 yards with some HSM 180 grain bear loads. With Remington 125 grain SP .357 my groups were around 4″.

    It was a trial getting it like I wanted it but it was, kinda, worth it.

  28. Nope. I’ve been burned by Rossi and Taurus on 2 for 2 guns. I’d rather go to the gun show and find an old Winchester 94.

  29. I think that the Rossi 92s are one of the best values in lever-action rifles today. At half the cost of other currently made 92s, none of which are made in the US, they may not be finished quite as nicely, but are a strong, well-built action, and with a little work are as slick as rifles costing twice as much. Lately, the actions seem to be smoother and nicer than they were in the past. Only a small amount of work to the wood improves the looks greatly, the safety is easily removed, and the hammer lock should be as well.

    I have no idea how Rossi gets the barrel band screws in, but they should be taken off and the groove in the barrel and hole in the handguard dressed up and adjusted until they fit right on almost every one.

    Replace the plastic follower, and the rifle is good to go.

    Accuracy is usually very good, but it is difficult to tell how accurate the rifles are with the stock sights. The brass bead on the front sight is very large, so precision is hard unless the sights are replaced. A better front sight and a tang, bolt peep, or receiver sight:
    http://store.stevesgunz.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=5
    http://store.stevesgunz.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=51
    http://762precision.wordpress.com/product-reviews/providence-tool-company-pattern-21-sight/

  30. I own three Rossi all 24 inch octagon barrels in the following calibers 38/357, 44 mag, and 45 colt. I appreciate the review, but in my experience, I have found each one to be extremely accurate out to 50 yards. Especially 38 spl and 44 spl. It just took some effort to sight in the rifles. Once I got it where it needed to be, I felt very confident about hitting anything out to 75 yards without much problem.

  31. I have this rifle with a 24″ barrel. She is a great brush gun plus I roll my own ammo and the 225gr Hornady FTX or the 250gr XTP shoot really accurately. I bought some hard cast 230gr and 200gr bullets for it and it just doesn’t shoot them as accurately. Mine is a brass receiver with SS octagonal barrel and I have purchased the upgrade parts from Steve’s Gunz in Port Arthur,Tx, including magazine follower, replacement front and rear sights plus the replacement piece for the bolt Safety and with a little work it is now flush with the bolt.
    I use an 8″ gong on a portable stand and with a 100 yard sight in my Rossi/Puma is more than accurate enough to hunt with and a lot of fun to shoot. If I didnt have the pretty brass receiver I would probably carry it more than I do.

  32. I just picked up one of these rifles in .357 and it is a great little gun. I was hesitant to purchase one after reading many reviews of the Rossi that said they shoot high and cannot be adjusted low enough. Not mine. It was pretty much dead-on accurate out of the box. I was putting regular load PMC .357 158 grains in the middle of the paper at 25 and 50 yards with the elevation adjustment right around the middle setting. It’s a new (2013) model, so maybe Rossi fixed the original issue after getting customer feedback.

    This thing is just tons of fun to shoot. The perfect little brush gun. It’s compact, light and powerful. Had no problem putting .38 special through it, too. Cycled every round flawlessly. Can’t say enough good things about this rifle. You know that feeling you get when a gun just exceeds all of your expectations? Yup. If you’re on the fence about it, just go for it. You won’t be sorry.

  33. I have a 90’s model R92 38/357 in stainless steel with 20″ barrel. The edges around the loading gate were like a cheese grater: it removed skin and chunks of thumbnail. I disassembled the receiver and removed the door, and went to work on the opening with a safed-edge ignition file (Sears Craftsman). I rounded over the top, bottom, and forward edges, and followed that with polishing using 2000-grit paper on a Popsicle stick. It’s about a 1/16″ radius. Loading it is now a real pleasure.

    If you’re having problems with yours feeding .357, adding a very small polished chamfer to the bottom rear edge of the chamber (there the round rides off the elevator into the chamber) makes a huge improvement in smooth feeding. It takes off the sharp edge that catches the forward edge of the brass as it initially positions for feeding. Do that, and your rifle will swallow .357s like kids eating pizza.

  34. Sounds like there is some nit-picking going on here. I have a Rossi 92 in .44 mag and it’s my go-to rifle. yes, I said that I prefer it to several .308 bolt rifles, my M1A, and my AR. I have taken more deer with this rifle than all others combined, approximately 40 to date. Ergonomically wonderful in every sense, lightweight and easy to carry, yet potent and powerful.

    My only gripe is the funny looking tang safety – not because of function but simply appearance. Personal preference, not a design flaw by any means.

    I’m going to estimate ~ 2,500 rounds through mine and never an issue. It never gets put back in the gun safe dirty, though – like all my others – so that may speak volumes.

    • John….Steve’s gun’s will take care of the unsightly safety on your rifle. Did mine and my Dads…..MIne is my go to saddle gun in 45colt!

  35. the firing pin of my Rossi 92 seems to have no spring back action at all in fact it kind of goes in and out of its own free will.. is this a broken firing pin ?

    • I’ve noticed the same thing with my rifle and was curious if you found anything out. I was thinking maybe they mistakenly left a spring out during assembly. I’ve only shot the gun and handful of times and experienced many misfirings… I think it may be due to the firing pin problem you’ve noticed.
      Thanks for any info

  36. I put a scout scope on mine for an upcoming hog hunt (better dawn/dusk vision) and it is very accurate. With my custom 290 gr accurate molds flat point, fed mag primers and 22gr of imr4227 I got 2 1/4″ at 100 yards with a 2.75x scope. That was even with mismatched multi fired brass! the chrono was on the fritz but it is probaonly around 1100-1200fps.

  37. I own a r92 38/357 and I love it. No, it didn’t cost what a Win or Marlin costs, but it operates just fine for what I want it for and I like the looks of it. It is easy to carry in the field and handy when needed. Good product. I can find something wrong or unacceptable with just about any man made product; however, this one is a good deal for the money.

  38. I purchased this rifle as a tool to beat around in my truck etc, was not willing to spend much money on a ‘work’ weapon. This was considerably less expensive than all other 357 mag rifles, with the exception of single shots, and even those were only about $150 less than this one. This purchase was a no brainer.

    I knew these were considered ‘fixer uppers’ and it would take some effort to get it operational. Luckily there are a lot of mods on the internet to slick’em’up.

    After shortening, grinding or de-tensioning all nine springs it was much sweeter to cycle, but would still jam at least 50% of the time. Further investigation revealed the angle at which the rounds were being pushed into the chamber guaranteed jams. Using a Dremel tool and rubber polishing cones I ground a ‘feed ramp’ in the lower edge of the chamber, this stopped ALL jams.

    The furniture is rough, lightly sanded and stained an unpleasant color with no sealer.

    A positive aspect is I now probably know as much about lever action rifles as some gunsmiths! I’ve also developed a cartridge I call a 357 Max Short to use for hunting. Use 357 Mag brass, 180 grain spire point bullets (which makes it too long to cycle through a pistol) and H110 powder. Kicks like a mule but will blow a hole in a good sized tree.

  39. My group just finished a demo at the stock show and my rifle failed. This is an older custom piece that will take some time to have repaired. I’ve got a few weeks before a show in Wyoming and need some suggestions. Will the loop on this Rossi allow the gun to be swung in a circle in front of you and also back cocked (swung down & then back up)? This is all imatating Chuck and John, but that is what the crowd loves. I do some fast hip shooting too, but it is with special loads, short distances, large targets, etc. I’m stuck here without my smith and will have to work it out on my own. Thanks in advance for any good advice you can offer.

  40. I have a Legacy Puma manufactured by Rossi in 45 Colt. It has a 16″ round barrel. My rifle shoots 3″ to 4″ left of center at 25 yards with all loads tested. I tried a new hunting load at the range yesterday. Barnes XPB 225 gr copper bullet over 21 gr Alliant 2400, Starline brass, Wolf LP primer. Good news: two three shot groups stacked right on top of each other 1″ w x 3″ tall. Bad news: the group was a measured 14″ left of point of aim. I have already drifted the front sight 1/8″ to the left. Any smiths out there that can tell me what they did wrong at the factory to cause this?

  41. Marlins are garbage? I’ll take my 1895GBL I bought in June of 2012 over any pos Tuarus lever action rifle ever made. Stupid people write stupid things and this article is extremely stupid. I haven’t had any problems with my Marlins whatsoever. Fit and finish is outstanding and accuracy rivals most bolt action rifles.

  42. Fine article and extensive review. Except for the nonsense comment about Marlin’s being junk. Thanks.

  43. Looking at Marlin’s myself for a larger caliber hunting rifle. But I actually have this Rossi 92 in .357 mag. / 38 special and I love it. First things I did to it was remove factory rail, put on the iron rear site and trim down the tube spring. Once I got it sited in it shoots straight as a good .22 rifle. I can shoot most 130 grain 38 special lead rounds for plinking or 158 grain Fiocchi SJHP rounds for hunting without adjusting the sites. Maybe I just lucky with mine but had to share my experience after reading the downplay on the accuracy. Just this weekend I took mine out to the range, hung some weights buy hay bail cord and was cutting them at 37 yards. Bench rest of course, but that’s pretty accurate in my book.

  44. I have a Rossi 92 44.mag. Ilike it better than my Rugar 77/44.—44 mag
    The Rugar is like shooting a stick. It does not fit.right.

  45. If you want a decent lever action forget the Italian crap and buy the Miroku made Browning, who now own Winchester and Miroku, you will have a precision piece of kit that will function well , shoot well and last a lifetime. The Italian copies are renowned for their excessive head space a real No No if you understand the principles of case head separation. These Miroku are better made than the original Winchesters and being made out of modern steel means you can poke them along a bit more than the original Winchesters which used very soft steel, you get what you pay for. The European proof houses do not abide by SAAMI specifications, in reality they are just a rubber stamp for sloppy workmanship.

  46. I have two Rossi Model 92s, both in .45 Colt. I used the standard barrel gun (pre-safety) for years in SASS shoots and it is very accurate. Replaced it with a very expensive Cimarron Brush Popper Model 1873. I also have the gun you describe with the short barrel, large loop and safety. The safety can be removed and a plug can be installed in its place. I tried to replace the plastic magazine follower with a steel one but it is too tight a fit and so I kept the adequately functioning plastic follower. Both guns are accurate enough out to 100 yards and the smaller one is fun to carry but doesn’t have the capacity for SASS matches. I completely agree with you on the Marlin. Mine is a 30 year-old 30-30 carbine. It’s a beauty with a 3X Leopold scope and straight stock. I paid $150 for the package. The new ones are junk.

  47. Have the 92 357 Rossi and its a hoot. Wanted to match caliber of my GP100 357 Revolver.

    This puppie was matching my Ruger 10/22 at 100 yards. Popped a small hanging metal plate 2 out of 3 times with 38 special at this distance. I’m a horrible rusty shooter! This was all factory released. 16 inch barrel. Took only slight effort to use a rest. Did find I eyed the sights abit low. My old eyes took effort to see the target, blended with dirt background.

    Great value addition, I’m still shocked on its performance!

  48. I have the Legacy Puma in 45/454 stainless w/fiber optic sights. Friends have been trying to buy it from me for years. This is one gun I refuse to sell.

    • From what I understand the 454 will shoot both the casull and the 45 colt. Mine is in 45 Colt but it will handle all I want to run through it. I have the 24″ barrel and it really seems to be more accurate than the 20″ 92’s that I have fired. When I got mine they did not make it in the 454 option or I probably would have gone that direction.

  49. I bought the 16″ big loop .45 and am stricken with it. Yes, I did all the stuff Steve’s guns suggested, including replacing the ridiculous safety with a nifty peep sight. I handloaded 300 gr hard cast bullets to 1400+ fps and have killed two elk with it so far. So, no worries about deer. A sweeter grab and go rifle is not to be found in my arsenal. I can’t see any reason to go with the.357 because it seems if anyone has trouble with feeding, it’s with the .357 rifles.

  50. i have had a rossi m92 20 inch in 454 for years and i love it and will never get rid of it. it shoots everything great i have no problem hitting clay targets at 100 yds everytime. only problem with it is that the back portion of the chamber is to large to aid in loading. therefor with the hot 454 loads i get case seperation on some brands of brass after loading them several times. i have also just got a 16 inch one in 45 colt and it seems great as well, they both shoot my home made 255 grain lead bullets with great accuracy. have had one in 357 16 inch barrel and never had any problems with it other than it having large loop that i did not care for, but it seemed to shoot just fine. all of the guns had great actions. fit and finish are not perfect on these but they are great all around guns in my opinion. the 454 with factory or hot handloads is amazing. the 20 in barrel really gives the 454 a big boost in speed and performance in my opinion. it is amazing to shoot at the range and have people say what in the world is that.

  51. I have had really good luck with these rifles. Thirty years ago I walked into a Maryland gun store and bought a used Marlin 336, straight-stock 30-30 with a Leopold 3 power scope, all for $150. It is a beautiful, accurate deer-killer. For SASS, I started with an old Rossi .45 Colt with 20 inch barrel and no safety. Very accurate and dependable. Now I shoot a Cimarron 1873 Brush-Popper, also in .45 Colt. Beautiful, expensive, authentic-looking but no more accurate than the Rossi at four times the price. For fun I have a .45 Rossi, big-loop carbine. At 5’6″ I have a hard time looking like John Wayne but that little carbine helps. It’s too slow for Cowboy competition and only holds 8 rounds. I removed the safety and put in one of those plugs to hide the hole. It is a really fun little “Stagecoach” gun.

  52. If you are LUCKY to get a good one congratulations; If not you are out of luck and if you are one of our Canadian friends really S.O.L. No parts across the border; not that they are too easy on selling parts on this side.
    Buying A Rossi is a crapshoot , I wouldn’t without handling it first, but then again it will never have collector or appreciate in value it is what it is at its pricepoint

    • i have had 3 and been completely satisfied with every on of them and i have also know friends that have had them and they were all good. so to me it doesnt seem like a crapshoot at all. how many have you had? also i buy guns to shoot and enjoy not because i want to COLLECT them or buy them as an investment. then maybe you wouldnt want to buy one.

  53. I expect my Colts and Berettas will continue to grow in collector value but I shoot them too. A Rossi might never end up in a museum (you never know) but they look cool, they’re handy and affordable. Furthermore, I’m not afraid to scratch them.

  54. Would not recommend this gun. I bought a model 92 .38/.357 a year ago and it’s about worthless. I can (painfully) load .38’s but I can’t load more than 2.357’s. Stay away from this gun.

  55. whether there are experts who know about the strength significantly Rossi 92 caliber .45ls shooting HITCH like 454 Casull?

  56. I’ve owned the .38/.357 for over a year and this is a fantastic rifle. Its my main shooter at the range and I have had no mechanical problems with the rifle. The writer seems to have an issue with the accuracy of the rifle and I have no issues with accuracy or the stock sights. I have heard that it seems its “luck of the draw” when you buy the Rossi, but I’m sure its that way with many manufacturers. I highly recommend this Rossi to anyone who wants a dependable shooter and a great truck gun.

  57. Chris’s experience pretty much echoes my own. My Rossi 92, a stainless-steel example, is in .357 Magnum, and with my powder-puff .38 Special loads (105gr LSWC, exit velocity ~900 ft/sec), it feels very nearly like a .22LR. With this load, the rifle’s a near-perfect “intro to rifles” piece and solved the ongoing “no available .22LR” problem. You can get .38 Special anywhere. Even with full-tilt .357M loads, that metal buttplate isn’t all that noticeable, thanks to the rifle’s nearly-all-metal construction.

    As a larger shooter–I’m well over 6 feet tall–the little Rossi is a small rifle by comparison to, say, a Winchester M70, no question. But the thing sure is easy to handle, and it comes right to the shoulder. Its short length of pull doesn’t pose any problem for my long arms, and my (much shorter) cameralady does equally well with it.

    As Chris has discovered, the rifle’s tubular magazine is rated for 8 rounds. However, you can fit one more in there, though it’s a tight fit, making it a 9+1. This depends on the bullet you use, especially with .357M rounds. A 170gr Keith SWC makes it an 8+1, due to the bullet’s length. However, a 158gr LSWC (Lee’s 358-158-RF) lets you just barely squeeze that ninth round in there. Of course, .38 Special rounds with the 105-grainer make it easy to fit 9 in that tube.

    Now, let’s talk looks. Initially, I thought the wood-on-stainless-steel look wouldn’t be so appealing. Turned out not to be the case. This is a nice-looking little rifle. I’ve gotten several comments on its looks with it slung over my shoulder, all of them positive.

    At typical East Coast hunting distances of 100 metres or less, this would be an excellent deer harvester. Heck, 200lb hogs have been taken with such rifles.

    If only Ruger would make such a rifle! Now, that would be another true “Ruger American” rifle, now wouldn’t it?

    – T

  58. I have 2 Model 92 Rossi. 1-24″ rifle, 1-20″ carbine. 44 Mags, I hunt deer with them. 24″ in the hard woods, 20″ in the strip mines, carbine comes up fast for brush hunting. They are great, love them both.

  59. I tote one along with the Rossi 851 revolver in .357 with a 4″ barrel. Interchangeable ammo was my goal. I can play around with .38’s all day for cheap, then step up when the time comes. Working man’s truck gun no doubt, but hey, that is what I am. Here in my backwoods, if you can see over 100 yards you are likely standing on a mountain, so it does the trick. They are simple and efficient weapons for simple and efficient people. The .357 will put a big enough hole in a buck and doesn’t leave me with shoulder bruises. You can generally hit what you aim at, provided you take just a couple of variables into account. Other than that, no apologies or excuses allowed. And the 851 revolver is my right hand man if you know what I mean.

  60. I have a rossi model 92 in .44 magnum, and I have no trouble shooting 12 oz soda cans at 70 yards standing up with the stock sights, as long as I do my part. Granted, I’m 26 years old, and my eyes are courtesy of Laser vision correction. It’s the most accurate rifle I own..perhaps I just got a good one? I may try to shoot it for groups at 50 and 100 yards sometime, but as of now I’d have no hesitation about it’s ability to take down a deer or hog.

  61. Those might be very light load 357 cartridges or relatively heavy bullets? I’ve seen OTC ammunition hit around 2030 fps and faster through a 16″ rifle barrel. That’s starting to shake hands with 223 in term of energy delivery. Considering 357 ammo is a lot cheaper than 223 (where I am anyway) that’s a big plus in my book.

  62. http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

    Curiously most ammunition velocity peaks with a 16″ barrel and then drops off a few fps with the 18″ barrel. Considering the zero ballistic advantage and the long range inability I would think a 16″ barrel is the way to go. Here are some velocity figures:

    Federal 125 gr. JHP from a 16″ barrel. 2051fps, Cor Bon JHP 125 gr. 2119 fps but drops to 2113 with the 18″ barrel.

  63. I noticed that reloads are mentioned here. From what I have read, that voids the warranty. I am researching prior to purchase. Is Rossi just covering their rear, or is this rifle not rated for higher pressures?? My loads would be in .45 Colt, 250 gr. w/ 7.5 gr of Bullseye. Same as for my Ruger Blackhawk. Yields about 850fps. More or less “by the book”.

    • Every pistol and rifle that I purchased new came with a note that re-loads would void the warranty. I have carefully reloaded for every caliber since 1980 when I found out how expensive ammo was for my .41 Magnum S&W. I don’t pretend to be the final authority but I believe that following a loading manual from a reliable source (I use Hornady, Speer/RCBS and Sierra) will keep you safe and save you money.

  64. It’s a decent gun. A good value for the money. Still, I prefer the older “JM” Marlins or Winchesters to this gun. While I accept that it is a good value for money spent, it does not compare to a quality “JM” Marlin or Winchester is any respect. I’ve shot plenty of these and I’ll take my old Marlin or Winchester rifles any day before I’d take one of these. The plus side of this rifle is that if my budget was limited and I wanted a lever action rifle without paying over $500, this would be the gun to get. Then again, I’d be tempted to buy a Henry that was on-sale too. In the long-run, I’d choose to save a little bit longer and buy a proper Winchester or older model Marlin. In the long run those guns will be a better investment of your money and they won’t disappoint.

    It’s not that it’s a bad gun. It’s just that there are better ways to spend your hard-earned dollars. Sure, it works. But in the long-term, what do people really want? Not this gun.

    • what people want is an affordable dependable lever gun….I have had mine for quite a while and I know for a fact that they quit building the brass/SS combination a long time ago. This has provided me just that, a fancy, affordable, dependable levergun. People with deeper pockets sometimes forget that.

  65. I have the Rossi 20″ round barrel in .357…it is the 3rd Rossi lever gun I have owned, and I have also owned 3 Rossi revolvers, including a new 6″ .357. I have NEVER had any problems with any Rossi I have ever had…the .357 rifles shoot .38 Specials all day long, even mixed with magnums, and this makes them a good companion for a .357 revolver and a cheap shooter for the range or plinking. FWIW, I have been a S&W fan since the 1960’s, owned and carried them off and on since the 1970’s, and I have also carried the Rossi revolvers and left the Smiths home. I also have 4 Marlins going back to the 1950’s and have had about 10 more over the years.
    The Rossi pistol caliber carbines have their quirks, but they WORK, they are reliable and affordable. You can get more finely finished rifles, or at least you could, but they won’d work any better or last any longer.

  66. Thanks for all of the great information on these pistol caliber, lever action, carbines! I was just looking at a used Rossi 92, in .45 Colt. I have always shied away from Rossi’s due to the perceived lower quality, compared to the Marlins and Winchesters. Now, however, it seems that a good example Rossi would make a good little truck gun. I never liked the idea (or looks) of the top-mounted safety lever, but now that I know that it’s not really in the way; and can be removed and replaced by something useful, like a peep sight, I believe this little carbine deserves a closer look. If I do purchase this carbine at my local store, I want to thank everyone here for the information you have provided; enabling me to make an informed decision. I do very much appreciate all of the different points of view that you folks have brought into this discussion (along with the helpful article that generated the discussion in the first place). Happy Shooting!

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