Rossi R92 .38/.357 Mag.

Retro fun
; .

The Rossi R92 carbine next to the Marlin 1894C for comparison.
Both are fun shooters capable of serious work.

Nothing is “funner” than a day shooting a carbine lever gun. Doing so brings back the excitement and enthusiasm you had as a kid from watching John Wayne or Chuck Connors of The Rifleman on TV. Who can forget the opening credits with Connor portraying Lucas McCain walking down main street, working the oversized lever loop, dishing out shots faster than any man alive?

Those were the days I’d pack a few peanut butter sandwiches and head out for a day of adventure with my trusty .22 lever gun and a brick of ammo headed to the gravel pits. That’s the kind of magic lever guns possess!


The Model 92

Both Wayne and Connors carried Model 92 Winchesters. With the appreciation of Winchester rifles today, they’ve become outpriced for a lot of people, including yours truly. But fret not, there’s a less-expensive option allowing all the fun of shooting a ’92 at an affordable price. Rossi does an excellent job on their rendition of the famed Model ’92. Called the R92, it is a darn fine counterfeit of the original.

I ordered the carbine version sporting a 16″ barrel to make it easier to wield in close confines indoors or in a brush thicket. First impressions during unboxing were very favorable. The hardwood stock is beautifully stained with a hint of red and the bluing is all one would expect from a much more expensive rifle — meaning it’s flawless.

The action is very smooth and the trigger is crisp and creep-free, breaking at 4 lbs. The only thing I really didn’t like is the lawyer-safety mounted on the bolt, the perfect remedy to a nonexistent problem. However, there is a simple and inexpensive remedy to take care of two problems with one modification.


As you can see, the Rossi R92 with the Steve’s Gunz
“peep” make easy work of shooting accurately.

Steve’s Gunz

Steve’s Gunz, a fine and reputable internet outfit specializing in Rossi lever guns, has just the replacement part for you. The modification is quick and simple. If you can drift a slave pin out of its confines — and you can — you can do this modification. Besides removing the unsightly safety, you’ll be replacing it with a more accurate “peep” sight providing you with a longer sight radius for better accuracy. This is one of the slickest improvements you can do for yourself and is both simple and affordable.

Shootin’ Fun

Shooting a lever gun for groups is tough for me. Not because of the mechanics involved, but by the 2nd, or 3rd shot, I’m no longer at the shooting bench but mysteriously transported into a black-and-white western, seeking cover behind a huge boulder while shooting it out with an outlaw. Bench techniques be damned, I’m returning fire as fast as I can. But still, with the Steve’s Gunz “peep,” my groups are respectable due to the superior sights and accuracy of the Rossi!

I used to think my beloved New Haven Marlin 1894C .357 was my “funnest” shooter but I’m having reservations about the title now after shooting the Rossi R92. Its 16″ barrel and slimmer wood are greatly appreciated, making it handier while carrying and shouldering. As stuffy, tweed-wearing English shotgunners say, “it’s livelier.” A perfect description when shouldering, pointing and shooting the R92 in Wrangler jeans and flannel shirt.


Here are Tank’s solids, cast from an MP Mold, used for the article.

The Loads

I had two cast handloads, as well as two factory loads for testing. The first handload was a “hot” .38 Special loaded with 12.5 grains of 2400 and a 170-grain SWC, sparked with a Winchester SPP. Velocity runs over 1,600 fps with accuracy running around an inch at 40 yards. My heavy magnum loads used a 187-grain radiused flat-nose, gas check design loaded over 16 grains of H110 and ignited with a Winchester SPP. Velocity runs over 1,700 fps from the carbine.

Factory fodder included choices from Buffalo Bore and SIG Arms. The Buffalo Bore consists of 180-grain radiused flat-nose bullets and clock out around 1,750 fps. The SIG SAUER ammo is 125 grain and goes over 1,800 fps from the Rossi. Accuracy for both is around 1.5″ for 5-shots at 40 yards.

Handy Tool

With the Rossi R92 carbine in .38/.357 you have an affordable tool you won’t be worried about taking out in the field or carrying in the truck where it’s apt to get dinged, scuffed and scratched. No worries, the hardwood stock will look better with some honest wear to it. Besides, having a gun you won’t baby means you’ll carry it with you all the time, for whenever you need it.

The Rossi R92 just might be the perfect truck gun for a rancher, farmer or weekend warrior who has a tendency to stumble across something that needs shooting, be it vermin, rock or cow patty.

The Carbine weighs 5.7 lbs., is 33.7″ long and has an 8-round capacity. MSRP is $790.

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