Winchester: Pistol-Caliber Carbines Are Back. And Expensive.

Winchester’s Miroku-made Model 1892 (above) and 1873 (after the jump) are in stock and ready to ship, but if you want one of these pistol-caliber cowboy carbines you’ll have to rob the stagecoach or hit the Mother Lode first. The 1892 is available in .38/.357, .44-40, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt, and has the classic tang safety instead of the hideous 1970s and 1980s-era crossbolt buttons. Sadly for lever geeks, they list for $1159.

I won’t win any friends at Winchester/Miroku for saying this, but the fit and finish of the 1892 is no better than that of Aharon’s used $600 Trail’s End 1894.

If you’re in the mood to spend this kind of money on a cowboy carbine, I’d look at this Model 1873 first. It lists at $1299, about $150 more than the Model 1892, but it’s an heirloom-quality beauty. Here it is in action a few days ago:


  1. avatar Ulfhednar says:

    Caliber selection for the ’73?

  2. avatar Lance says:

    No 38-40 that’s just sad!!

  3. avatar AlphaGeek says:

    To be fair, didn’t that [email protected] Aharon score an unfired safe queen?

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      Yes he did. And yes he is.

      But it’s not unfired now!

      1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

        I’m starting to think the only way to assuage my jealousy will be scoring a .357 levergun in 95% or better condition.

        I mean, I love my 22LR Winchester but I feel the need for something with a bit more… authority.

        1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

          I love my Browning .22 lever, looks and function. I seem to recall that they made them in pistol cals, too, but I’ve never seen one. Have had my eyes open for a Marlin in .357, hasn’t shown up yet. BTW, you can get the Rossi ones for under $500, heard it’s hit or miss on quality though.

        2. avatar Swarf says:

          .357 Marlins are pretty cool, and if you reload, you can work up some loads using hard cast lead that out-perform the 30-30 in many respects, should you so desire.

          Or you can plink away all day with .38s.

          I’ve got mine set up scout style with a forward mounted scope. My wife thinks its ugly (she has a point).

          “Well, guess that means I’d better get a Marlin 336 and scout it so I can return this one to it’s former state of beauty, right?”

          *Icy stare*

        3. avatar AlphaGeek says:

          There seems to be a very low Wife Acceptance Factor on acquiring two firearms of similar visual appearance.

          I’m not too proud to admit that I will be selecting two visually differentiated uppers for my AR builds partly for that reason. Ditto for buttstocks. “See, this is my hunting and target rifle with the 20-inch barrel, and this one is my 3-gun tactical rifle. Completely different!”

        4. avatar jwm says:

          Lord, I’m so blessed when it comes to wives. If it costs less than a grand I don’t have to consult with her before purchasing. More than a grand she wants a heads up. Seems fair, she handles the budget.

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      LOL!!! My Winnie is no longer a virgin. She’s a happy, well-fed, and satisfied woman.

  4. avatar Pascal says:

    How does the 1873 action feel? Is it klunky? Does it rattle? how does it compare to an Henry Level Action?

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      Smooth like the Henry, but it loads the right way through a gate in the side of the reciever.

  5. avatar Mark N. says:

    The 1873 is about the same price as the Ubertis, which vary in price by barrel length and finish (blued or case hardened.) For pistol calibers it doesn’t much matter what model you get. The 1892s (at least orignially) have a stronger action that can handle the heavy rifle calibers.

  6. avatar CCW Guy says:

    Look at the Rossi 24″ stainless in .357. Anybody know their quality?

  7. avatar Casey T says:

    If i want a pistol caliber lever gun, I’ll buy a Rossi. They are about a quarter of the price.

    1. avatar Mike DC says:

      I have a 1892 rossi. I tuned it a little and it’s so good I use it as the house gun by my bed. Nate Kiowa Jones has a great website and some good products that will make a good rossi great. I also have a small red dot.

  8. avatar Silver says:

    Such things of beauty.

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      I’ll second that. I do love me a well-fitted levergun.

  9. avatar KnowWhatIamTalkingAbout says:

    Winchester also makes a take down version, but the fit and finish of the one I looked at was just plain awful. $1200.00 price tag, made in Japan (did they even have a cowboy era?).

    I will just stick with my Marlin 30-30.

    1. avatar E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

      Yeah, Japan had a cowboy era, in the late 1500’s. Akira Kurosawa made a movie about it back in ’54, called “Seven Samurai”. You can order it from Net Flicks but if you don’t want to spend three hours reading subtitles just order “The Magnificent Seven” which is the American version of the same movie. You’ll like the cast. And of course…. I am, E. Zach Lee-Wright.

  10. avatar Swarf says:

    The top eject on Winchesters is a deal breaker for me.

    Not to mention that price.

    Winchester is betting everyone is going to want to set up their CAR soon and will be willing to pay for it.

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      My Winchester ejects off to the right and upward. A scope could be mounted on top of the receiver though I have no such plans at this time.

  11. avatar Rob Eide says:

    About 3 years ago I picked up a nice 16″ stainless Puma in 454 Casull, even had custom night sights. Only paid $325.00 for it. Has made one fine pig gun!

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      How much does it weigh, and how’s the felt recoil with a full-power cartridge?

      1. avatar Darren says:

        I would imagine it might hurt less to get hit by the pig.

        $325 for anything in .454 Casull is a great deal, if it holds together.

  12. avatar Avid Reader says:

    I picked up a nice pre Freedom Group Marlin 357/38spl just for the heck of it about six months ago for a good price. No safe queen, but it’s in great shape. I wasn’t so sure it was a smart thing to do at the time, but now I’m awfully glad I did.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Mine was about a year or so ago, but yeah, it runs like a champ. I’m sorry some folks are getting lemons, but they aren’t all like that.

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        The manager of a lgs told me two months ago that they received a Marlin 1894 .357 without a rear site. The factory should be doing a test fire before they ship so how can Marlin’s QC miss out on a gun lacking the rear sight?

        1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

          Easy: it fell off, and the minimum-wage slave working the packing station didn’t give enough of a crap to notice, much less do anything about it. After all, they’d probably just blame him for damaging the gun.

  13. avatar Blehtastic says:

    Super Awesome!

  14. avatar Gyufygy says:

    One of these in .44Magnum paired with a Desert Eagle in .44Magnum. Why?

    Because your tears feed me.

  15. avatar The Stig says:

    Not in NY State they wont be, unless the magazine tubes can only accept 7 or fewer rounds.

    1. avatar BeninMA says:

      Does it really apply to manually-operated firearms? In MA, our 10 round limit only applies to semi-autos.

  16. avatar Chubby says:

    Rossi 1892’s are junk!!!

    I had on in 38/357, could never get through 10 rounds without stove pipe problems….thank goodness for ‘cash for clunkers’ programs in my state.

  17. avatar Aharon says:

    Chris, great post. Thanks for covering lever-actions and for the laughs. I keep thinking back to the Savage lever-action .30-o6 at the Portland gun show. I wish that I had gone back for a closer look and maybe bought it. I really am surprised that a good manufacturer has not launched a line of good and affordable lever-guns like Marlins without the management and manufacturing problems of Freedom Group.

  18. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Sorry guys, I had to wipe away the tears after seeing these are now made in Japan. I have nothing against Japan, but this rifle… this Winchester legend really truly needs to be made in the USA. I guess I should be happy that they are back in production, but I just can’t get past the overwhelming sadness of this. I’m going to hug my 20 year old Marlin .44 lever gun for a while with it’s beautiful walnut stock, I’ll be back later and maybe I’ll feel better.

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      LOL. I know how you feel. My Winchester was made in 2004 back in CT USA before the factory closed in 2006. The American lever-action guns are more than guns. They are a connection to our Western frontier heritage of the 1800s. FYI, the Winchesters that come from Japan are made in the same factory that makes Brownings.

      I think a comparison might be made with a high quality Japanese ‘samurai’ type of sword. If the sword is made in the USA it probably wouldn’t provide the same feeling of ownership for a Japanese man living in Japan.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Deeeefinitely not.

      2. avatar E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

        John Moses Browning was inclined to use Winchester but they put off making the A5 for years. When Browning finally gave up, he took his plans and prototype guns to Remington. The company president keeled over from a heart attack and died as Browning waited in the reception area, just on the other side of the wall. Browning booked passage for himself and his son to Europe. So turns history. Now FN Herstal owns Browning so production decisions are Belgium made.

        My father came home from WWII with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star compliments of a Japanese bombing run. But any intelligent soul would respect the postwar relationship America fostered with Japan and how the Japanese have reacted. I made it to Belgium and hope to see Japan.

  19. avatar RecoveringAtheist says:

    So glad I never got around to selling my 4 times fired Trails End (made in the USA) in 44 Mag.

  20. avatar Andrew says:

    What the hell is Winchesters problem? Model 70’s for $1000+ and Japan made levers for even more. I don’t see the value here, am I missing something?

  21. avatar Bob Puckett says:

    My two cents

    I bought a Rossi 92 and had a gunsmith slick up the action and install lighter springs the action worked smoothley. I had problems with feeding until I started loading .38 specials with 147 grain Lead Truncated Cone flat point bullets and the cartridge over all length at 1.56 ” Since then I have shot 800 rounds at CAS matches with out a single problem.. I spent $500.00 for the rifle and it cost $100.00 for the springs and gunsmith. I am Happy. Thanks Bob

  22. avatar willoc36 says:

    I don’t agree Friendly, Wilhemina

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