Plenty of people I talk to are familiar with the now famous bottom-cylinder revolvers, the Chiappa RHINO. Novelty aside, I’ve always known Chiappa Firearms for their primary business; they’ve been reproducing classic muzzle-loading and western style firearms for over 50 years.
Some of them are true reproductions of the originals, some of them are true in style only, but are still quality firearms. The 1892 Taylor’s Huntsman Carbine, manufactured by Chiappa, is based of the classic, historic Winchester 1892, with a more modern caliber, shorter barrel, and exceptional sights.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Winchester 1892, it’s worth a little Google time to educate yourself. There’s no way I can do it justice here in this short review; the rifle is one of the most famous firearms ever created. If you ever saw, “The Rifleman“, you saw the ’92.
If you’ve ever watched John Wayne (no relation) yell out “Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!” you watched him ready the ’92 as he did it. Of course, John Moses Browning invented it. By 1932, a full one million of them had been made and sold. It’s an American classic.
For Chiappa’s Italian version, distributed here by Taylor’s & Company who hand inspects every one and offers additional ‘smithing on many models, modern materials make the already great design even better, allowing for higher pressure cartridges to be chambered in the little rifle.
For those of you unaware of the capabilities of the .357 Magnum cartridge from a carbine, that same 158gr JHP bullet that’s an absolute man-stopper from a six-inch revolver moves an additional 300+ fps with even moderate loads when launched from a 16-inch barrel.
When using hotter commercial loads, or your own hand loads, muzzle energy in the 1,000 ft/lbs range is possible. A great wild hog round, .357 will take deer reliably to 75 yards, and further for the capable marksman.
Although the caliber isn’t traditional, most of Chiappa’s rifle is as good as or actually better-made than many of the more original guns. On the outside, we find a quality straight grained walnut stock and fore-end. There’s no figure or burl to the wood, but it’s still far better than most of the wooden stocked rifles you’ll find produced today.
Wood-to-metal fit is good, but not great. The stock is fit well to the receiver, but the fore-end could use a little more blending in. It’s certainly a better fit than I’d expect at this price point. The finish is a satin grey blueing. It’s even and well done throughout. No tool marks or rough edges. In fact, all of the lines on the gun are crisp, every curve rounded, every edge straight, but not sharp. The trigger is highly polished, and breaks cleanly at 4.5lbs.
Opening the action was a little rough on the first try out of the box, but the gun was bone dry. A shot of Rem Oil and a few cycles improved it greatly. The action had the same catch points that I was familiar with from previous Winchester 92s (and 94s) that I’ve owned, but was by no means difficult to cycle.
It didn’t spring open like some of the recent Henry’s I’ve reviewed, but the action was easy to cycle, opening with a tug, closing soundly and with confidence. Inside the action, you’ll find nothing but clean lines and a continuation of solid workmanship.
Six pounds isn’t much for a rifle. The 1892 Taylor’s Huntsman Carbine feels like it weighs even less than that. Everyone who picked it up was surprised at how light it was, and how well it handled.
Perhaps due to the short receiver required for the pistol caliber cartridge, the weight of the gun is very much in your hands, not out in front of you. It moves fast, with so little recoil that even the most sensitive shooters can handle it with ease. My eight-year-old daughter can comfortably take game out to 50 yards with it and practice without flinching.
At the 25 yard line, standing in fast fire, this gun is just fantastic. The large, bright red fiber optic sight and its light weight made for a full magazine worth of groups that fit inside the palm of my hand. And that was as fast as I could work the lever and pull the trigger.
That’s really where magnum pistol caliber carbines like this really shine. With a well built stock, good geometry, and a fairly thin rubber recoil pad, there’s very little recoil at all. Even in fast fire, there’s no real jump at the muzzle.
The rear sight is a fully adjustable Skinner peep sight. The front is a bright red, fairly large, fiber optic rod. That front sight absolutely pops out at you in any light at all, making it easy to find and follow. If your goal is fast follow-up shots on a sounder of pigs in the brush, this is an ideal little lever gun for the job.
The ’92’s accuracy was good, but not great. At the 50 yard mark, I was getting regular three-inch five-round groups off bags from both Sellier and Bellot as well as Magtech 158gr soft point rounds. In fact, the pattern was so close to identical that I’m wondering if both loads are the same recipe.
The Hornady 125gr FTX Critical Defense scored slightly better, at 2.8 inches. I had some difficulty at the 100 yard mark. At that range, I was putting every round just inside an eight-inch circle. I would bet that the action and bore are capable of better, but the front sight isn’t.
That big bright front sight that I absolutely love in fast fire is just too big for distance work. At 100 yards, you’re still in coyote killing range and the rifle is accurate enough for that work. But that’s a little far for deer. The .357 magnum cartridge can, and certainly has taken deer at that range, but precision placement is required at that range and it just isn’t there with this little rifle, at least not in my hands.
As far as reliability, the gun isn’t listed as .357 Magnum/.38SPL, so I only ran the magnum loads through it. I put 300 rounds of 158gr and 125gr cartridges through the little carbine with completely boring reliability. Nothing hung up, nothing failed to feed or eject. I’d stake my hunt, my livestock, or my life on this one.
All in all, this is good looking, great handling rifle. It’s ideal the hands of new shooters, who will get a thrill out of its ease of use and lack of recoil, as well as the experienced marksman who can take advantage of that bright front sight to take running shots in the brush and still get a round into the vitals of a deer at range.
I’ve seen plenty of Chiappa’s reproduction offerings in the past, so I wasn’t surprised by the quality of this gun. In fact, I expected it — especially with Taylor’s apparent hand inspections. The 1892 Carbine didn’t disappoint.
Specifications: 1892 Taylor’s Huntsman Carbine
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Capacity: 8 rounds
Front sight: Red fiber optic
Rear sight: Adjustable Skinner peep
Weight: 6 pounds
Length: 38 inches
Finish: Matte blue
MSRP: $ 1,273
Ratings (out of five stars):
Appearance and Style * * * *
The wood is good, if not excellent, without figure or burl. Metal finish is great, well done and even throughout. This is a working gun aesthetic from a time when a rifle was something you (and sometimes had to) could bet your life on.
Reliability * * * * *
Perfect with every round tested.
Accuracy * * *
This was my only are of disappointment with the little gun, but really, you can’t have it both ways. The fast acquisition big fiber optic front sight that’s perfect for the brush is less than ideal at 100 yards on deer. Dealing with Coyotes or pigs is another story.
Overall * * * *
A good looking, great handling gun. Plenty of caliber for most of the things people use a rifle for inside 75 yards. This is a great import from a manufacturer I’ve come to expect quality from.
I wonder why it wasn’t listed for .38 Spl also.
Then again, I have a Rossi in .357/.38 that will chamber .357 just fine, but often “soft” jams when feeding the slightly shorter .38. (There’s a fix, which I haven’t bothered doing yet, since slightly backing off the lever and retrying resolves it about 95% of the time.). Maybe this?
It’s a cartridge length issue. There’s enough difference between the “normal” and “magnum” versions of each bore to make feeding problematic. It’s why you’ll have a hard time cycling .45 colt in a lever gun set up for .454 Casul or only of the umphier 45 caliber cartridges that would otherwise be interchangeable in a wheel gun.
And yet, my wife’s Henry Big Boy runs .38 SPL or .357 Magnum with boring reliability.
It CAN be done, it’s just hard, especially in 45 caliber cartridges. The feed system for a lever gun is highly sensitive to cartridge length and projectile geometry.
Been making rifle loads in .357 since 1980 for my savage 24v. There are no commercially made rifle loads in this caliber, only pistol. Can get even better velocity if you make your own . Caution don’t mix with your revolver loads.
‘Caution don’t mix with your rev olver loads.’
This may be why they’re not commercially available. Although I’d think (not hand loading myself) that the difference would be slower burning powders in the ri fle loads and the consequence would just be excessive muz zle flash in revo lvers.
The key to getting a velocity boost out of a pistol caliber rifle is not to load them hotter, but to use a slower burning powder.
Try something like Blue Dot. It’s not optimum for a revolver, but it won’t blow up the gun, either. It’ll just give you a big muzzle flash.
THREE INCHES at 50 yards ? From a RIFLE ? That costs $1,500 ? There are .357 revolvers that will will outshoot that ! I’ll bet Hi-Point could make a .357 that shoots 1.5 inches at 50 yards for $250.
What a waste of time and money !
Yeah I wish he’d been able to put it in a Ransom rest (or whatever people use these days) to see what’s up with that. If it’s the nature of the sights then so be it but I’d be looking for the mechanical problem or manufacturing defect if it *can’t* do better.
Judging by the picture of of the front sight, I would guess that the diameter of the aiming dot is in the 10-12 moa range. It covers your aim point and you just can’t tell if the exact center of the target is concentric with the center of the front post.
Mount a small scope on it and it will probably shoot < 1 moa. Of course, that defeats the whole idea of a classic lever gun.
I have had lever fever for too long now…
MSRP: $ 1,489.00
For a simple lever gun chambered in .357 Magnum? Not in my lifetime.
I was expecting to see 700 to 1000 when I scrolled down.
For $1489 a person can buy four Taurus/Rossi and four cases of ammo and have just as good a rifle and a better shooter– fifty yard groups not even as good as a .22? Waste of money and time.
MSRP has been edited since this is a Taylor’s & Company-sold gun rather than a Rossi straight from Rossi. The MSRP on it is actually $1,273. In this case I don’t believe the gun is modified in any way (whereas some Taylor’s guns are manufactured by other brands but tuned up by Taylor’s to perform better) but they do claim to hand inspect each one and sell only the finer examples where applicable.
Chiappa, not Rossi.
For that price and accuracy, all I can say is “meh.” I’d rather have a used, pre-Freedom Group, Marlin Model 1894 in either .357 mag or .44 mag (or if you really want a gun for Hogzilla, .444 Marlin or 45-70). They are still readily available for less than half what Chiappa is asking for this, and are built like tanks.
Got rid of a ‘JM’ stamped Marlin for a Ruger 77/357 rotary mag bolt gun; something in the neighborhood of a 1,000% improvement. And 1/4″ 50 yard groups.
Rossi ’92 for almost 1/3 the price, never had an issue with it in 5 years and 1000’s of rounds
I was thinking the same thing. The quality level is probably not as high but its high enough for a much better price. Also, the specks on the Rossi look better for this guns role. Rossi made/makes one of, if not the, lightest and smallest versions of this firearm out there. I have never shot it but on paper it looks like it fills the role(s) this gun was made for better than any other make.
The Rossi isn’t going to be a wall hanger but they shoot pretty good. And if I was given 1500 to buy a 357 lever action.
I think that I would buy a 24″, 20″ and 16″ large loop rossi instead of a pretty Chiappa.
I already own a 16″ R92 Carbine, light weight, good balance and quite accurate with the old style big horn sights.
And a pistol caliber lever actions are just fun to shoot.
I was thinking the same thing. I’ve got a Rossi Ranch Hand with a Rossi 92 stock mounted on it (legal to do in Canada BTW, doesn’t change the guns status at all) and I’ve got exactly the same sight setup on mine (fibre red in front, Skinner on the back) and with a 12in. barrel I’m getting sub 2in. groups at 50 yds. The gun cost me $400CDN and the stock I got from Boyd’s on sale for $55USD. Put together, I’ve got a sub $500 gun that is my hands down, all time favorite bush gun. It ain’t the prettiest, but it’s a very light, easy to swing gun in brush, also in .38spl/.357 mag.
I’ve taken two deer over 100yds with it, and it’s plenty accurate enough for that, and I handload hot loads for game so they go down right smartly.
When I say this is my preferred bush gun, you also should understand the “bush” where I live doesn’t have hogs; it has black bears & the occasional Grizzly, along with plenty of coyotes, wolves & mountain lions. Many coyotes have met their demise with it, and two wolves last year that were killing calves on a relatives farm. One Tom lion…the only thing I haven’t put on the ground with it is a bear; I’ve had the opportunity, but I don’t hunt them for sport & would only shoot one in self defence. These Chiappa’s are nice enough guns, but like Henry’s up here; too spendy for using out in the dirt.
I’m just a die hard cowboy/western fan growing up with the b&w TV shows. Reality plays every one. In a large part it was how children learned right from wrong when our fathers were busy working.
I have a Rossi clone. The more you use the action the smother it becomes. I’ve been wanting to try a slower burning powder in the carbine barrel. I think it will work in the rifle if not so much in pistols. Going to roll some with W296.
Nice rifle but way too much for a lever gun.
Been making guns in Italy far longer than America…but agree. Wish I’d been stacking Marlins and Winchesters back in the 80’s. I bought a Marlin 357 for less than $250 in 80’s, lol….sad.
Having the front sight integral with the front barrel band precludes easy replacement with a different style of front sight. For this rifle that is a design defect.
” the weight of the gun is very much in your hands, not out in front of you.”
That’s my only complaint about the Henry Big Boys with their thick barrels – too muzzle heavy.
But you could buy two American-made Henrys for the price of this thing. I don’t know how Chiappa can justify that.
Because some people will pay it? 🙂 the
Henry makes some awesome rifles.
They listened to customer comments about the barrel band, and replaced it with a dovetailed mag tube.
I have a steel big boy in 41magnum. Love it and the price I got it at.
Sorry to bust your bubble, but I just bought a Henry 357 carbine for half that ($700). Much better accuracy than 3″ at 50 yards, and a SOLID BRASS received to boot. It’s a beautiful work of art, all made in the USA, that shoots like dream…
What bubble are you referring to?
Perhaps you should take a look at my Henry reviews.
You gave the Long Ranger the same overall rating as this thing even though that Henry is 2/3 the price, shoots MOA and had nicely figured wood…
Read the whole review, and you will find that that rifle had some issues, and I noted that it did not have particularly nice wood. But here’s another Henry review of another Long Ranger:
And other Henry reviews:
As a matter of fact, looking through the reviews, no other company that I’ve reviewed has gotten more five star ratings than Henry.
All things considered I was pretty surprised the price didn’t knock *at least* one star off the overall rating. 4 stars seems far too generous.
Three stars is an average gun. When I look at my Marlins and my Winchester’s, those are average guns. This Chiappa is a better those guns.
Thanks for the reply. I didn’t mean to throw shade, just genuinely curious.
Eric, no sir, it’s all good. The whole price to stars relationship is a constant challenge for me. Most of the things that I judge a gun on our objective standards. Then there are a few fuzzy things like fit-and-finish. The price of a gun really doesn’t have an effect on the objective measures. But I do actively look for ways to keep guns out of the 5 star rating category, especially if it is expensive. And I do find myself being much more picky with little things the more expensive guns get. For instance, on this gun the wood is of much better quality and a much better fit than on even my hundred-year-old Winchester. It would certainly be an upgrade from any of the standard lever actions offered by most companies today. But, the forestock fit is not perfect, so I note that and consider it in my overall rating. If this were A $500 gun, I would likely not be so picky.
MSRP on the Big Boy is $900. Yes, that’s less than this Taylor’s & Co., but can we please move beyond comparing full MSRP from one brand to “street price” or once-a-year sale price of another?
Absolutely. I wish all reviews included a “street price” in addition to the MSRP. For many brands, MSRP is a ridiculous number that has virtually no connection to what happens in the real retail world.
$1500 will get you THREE budget AR-15s that can shoot tighter groups than 8 inches at 100 yards or 3 inches at 50 yards!
Sure, but they don’t have levers. (i.e. If you have to ask you wouldn’t understand.)
Seems like a large price, when you can get the Winchester 1892 (by Miroku, of Browning fame) at a much reduced price. $1069 MSRP for the Winchester in .357 or a host of other calibers, nicer fit and finish all around and quite smooth. Accurate as all get out besides being so smooth. Please do a review of this gun asap.
I was about to say the same thing. For two hundred less, you can get a Uberti with a case hardened receiver and nicer wood, in a variety of calibers, lengths, and styles, and with a steel butt plate as in the originals. Beautiful rifles. Or a Miroku. I have one from the U.S.Arms era that I bought (barely) used for $700 in .45 Colt. It isn’t quite as slick as a new one I cycled, and has a distinct preference for crimped cases (i.e. lead bullets).
As a side note, regular .357 ammunition reaches its maximum velocity and and muzzle energy with a 16″ barrel, according to Ballistics By The Inch. So there is no real need to load with slower burning powders unless you have a 20″ or 24″ barrel.
I have the 20″. Just thought perhaps better groups with a slower powder. Seems every gun has a sweet load that works better for no real reason. My Marlin shot 1/2″ groups with a load that wouldn’t shot for nothing in a pistol.
I probably wouldn’t buy this one but I do like these lever gun reviews.
For that price you can get a Uberti which runs like a top and is an absolute beauty.
Very accurate review.
FWIW, I have the 1892 16″ ‘Alaskan’ takedown version in 357 (only difference is the finish and the wood). It’s really well made and a true 1892 replica (smooth action, no stupid safety, etc) – but with some modernizations (like the sights). Hard to justify the $1200, but I had a hard-on for a .357 lever and it pairs up perfectly with my 686 -4 pre lock. It’s about as nice of a little .357 ‘trapper’ as you can get. I don’t recommend running .38’s in any of these though, as the shorter length of the cartridge can potentially cause issues (and even break the feed ramp if you force it too hard). It’s a lever, so I wouldn’t buy this thinking it’s a replacement for your AR. Mine is really my homage to old JMB and a fun little plinker. Accuracy is also not astounding as said, but in close (25-50 yards) it’s plenty accurate and really quick on target. The top eject can be fun at the range, if I rack it while it’s still on my shoulder and level, the empty cases tend to land flat exactly on top of my head. Ultimately, it really is a sweet lever gun. I guess it should be for $1200. One quick note, try finding one like I have – good luck. They are rare birds.
“If I rack it while it’s still on my shoulder and level, the empty cases tend to land flat exactly on top of my head. ”
I caught them on the brim of my hat.
“It’s certainly a better fit than I’d expect at this price point.” So for $1300 you expect “good but not great” wood to metal fit? At wood price point is great wood to metal finish expected?
Much too expensive for what it is .
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