Re: Our Rossi Review


I have just taken the Rossi “review” offline. This is the first review in the history of TFB that has been retracted. As the editor I take full responsibility for it. I forgot to proof read it before it went live and if I had I would have cancelled its publication.

The author decided to criticize minor cosmetic problems with the rifle. The fact is companies cannot afford to send a brand new rifle to each reviewer. This gun in particular looked like it had been beat up by a previous gun writer. As far as I know it was fully functional.

It is my job to inform you, our readership, be fair and honest about manufacturers and develop our writers. I take pride in our reviews which are both honest, we don’t hide faults, but also fair, we don’t do hatchet jobs, pursue personal vendettas or let bias get in the way of spreading the truth.  I let all of you down, our readers, the manufacturer and even the writer himself by publishing it. I apologize.

I will ensure this does not happen again.

Addendum: I wish I did not have to say this, but since it was brought up in the comments, I only discussed this issue with my assistant/writer Phil White, the company had nothing to do with me taking the review down. It was entirely my decision and nobody put pressure on me to do so.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Michael

    Just received the Walmart flyer $398 in 30/30, looking forward to a review, Are they worth it?

    • The one I looked at last Friday looked fine. The lever action was smooth enough. The gun shop owner told me they had been selling a fair number of the larger pistol calibers. That price doesn’t sound bad to me.

  • wayne watson

    The Rossi 92’s are, in my experience, hard to cycle and poorly finished internally. In this day and age you should not have to diaassemble and polish the moving parts just to get it to work!

    • Opinions vary and like any company some get through that probably shouldn’t. I just hesitate to condemn the entire product line without testing several of them.

    • Drew Wood

      i just picked up nearly the exact same rossi only in .357 2 days before the non review went up. it cycles very smoothly and the fit and finish is impeccable. the close is a little stiff, but it was brand new, so the 1000’s of rounds i intend to shoot will certainly loosen it up.

      excellent feel and handling!

      • Drew let us know how it performs over the next few weeks. I’d really like to know.

        • Drew Wood

          I’ve shot 50 rounds of .38 and 50 of .357. the gun fired accurately. i managed under 3 moa from iron sights at 50m using a semi supported position (resting against a post) on 3 different targets. recoil from .38 is no more than .223. .357 is less than an AK. the .38 cycled and fed 100% as fast as i could fire and cock the lever. the .357 i had was soft point hollow point rounds and had some trouble feeding while the .38 was a solid round nose. the .357 round would feed about 1/3 the way into the chamber and get caught. i would have to pull the lever back out and try to close it again once or twice to get the round to feed the entire way. i went and bought some different .357 and took the gun completely apart (whew.. watch some videos first!) and gave it a cleaning and greasing/oiling and weakened the loading gate spring and cycling the new .357 seems to work well now. i haven’t had a chance to shoot the new .357, but i can get through an entire tube of .38 or .357 cycling the lever as fast as i can. it is a blast to have more than a couple rounds in the air at one time.

  • CrankyBuddha

    Caving to the manufacturer? I thought it was refreshing to see a review that pointed out the negatives…

    • Don’t even go there. It had not one darn thing to do with the company. What was written was all negative and the rifle wasn’t shot. That’s not a review.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      No, of course not. I only discussed this review with one person, my assistant/writer Phil White.

    • Alex C.

      We try to point out the negatives with every rifle we review. We get the guns to demo from the manufacturers so we are not emotionally or financially invested in them; we give our honest opinions and that is that. No writer is allowed to have any contact with the manufacturers except for very limited circumstances (such as how to return the rifle or if the gun is an NFA item).

  • Gary Foster

    I’ve had a Rossi 92 clone for some years. Smooth as butter out of the box and shoots great. I will never part with it. These are good guns. Period

  • dan citizen

    Thank you for the dose of integrity. This is one of the reasons I follow TFB.

    • Thank you Dan. We really appreciate your’e understanding.

    • cato the censor

      yeah, for a second there, it almost seemed like TFB was going to start running honest reviews, even if they pissed off the guys that pay the bills. way to stay true to your principles, TFB!

  • Hunter57dor

    just out of curiosity, who is in charge of what makes it to front page? not that many articles are posted every day, and they are never longer than a page or two, does noone read them before they are sent? couldn’t take more than a few minutes to flag a possible issue and hold the article…. again, not to criticize, you guys do an overall great job but this seems like a pretty big thing to mess up on.

    • We take it as a big deal believe me. I acquire the products we do full longer reviews on. I assign the writers and take care of any problems that may arise.
      Either Steve or I may read the articles before they are posted. In Steve’s defense he’s had a bad bug and feeling pretty lousy and this slipped through. I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.
      Steve is one of the few people I know with the integrity to stand up and say I should have done better and apologize as he did earlier today. As he said it won’t happen again.

      • Hunter57dor

        sounds good. hope steve feels better soon, and can’t wait to read more articles from you guys!

  • Jeff Smith

    I know that someone will probably disagree with this statement, but I will say it anyways: I don’t feel that stripped and loose screws in the receiver qualify as cosmetic problems. I understand that T and E guns will be used by many different people and will have a certain amount of wear and tear, but I don’t feel that a gun in that shape should have been shipped by the manufacturer.

    I thought the review was honest and upfront. While I’m sure the firearm was functional, I feel like readers want to know about incidents like this. It shows a lot about a company, not just the mistake made, but their willingness to make it right. People/companies make mistakes. It happens. But, if they make it right, that means a lot in my book.

    It’s important for readers to see bad reviews and I was very happy to see someone say that they felt it was unacceptable. My only complaint is that the review should have covered the arrival of the new gun and the experience of dealing with Rossi’s customer service. It would have been very nice to see how the company handled it. Similar to this situation, I enjoyed the review of the Vltor AUG that was posted about a week ago. This type of thing happens and knowing how to deal with it is important.

    All that being said, I respect the Steve’s opinion to take the review down. It’s his blog and he should have the right to decide what content is published. Keep up the good work!

    • The thing is Jeff is there is a bit more involved than a non-review. As far as a scratched screw head that doesn’t speak to the QC of the company. That speaks to how writers have handled the gun prior to our getting it. It’s not a customer service issue at all. I’m not surprised if a gun comes in that has a scratch or two on it or some other cosmetic issue.
      How this works is many companies set aside guns for writers use only. They are cycled through writers up to the point they no longer photograph well or just get worn out. They are then replaced with new guns. At times I do get new guns but each company has it’s own policy. In other words the gun you see in a print publication may possibly be the same one I get to evaluate.
      Also if there is a problem with a gun I take care of any problems through my contacts.
      This Rossi is in no way a representation of what a customer would get new in the box. That being said I have already arranged for a new replacement rifle for review.

      As Steve said we just want a fair review. Fair to the readers and fair to the company making the product. We both just want the best most unbiased, honest and useful review we can provide to the readers.

      • Jeff Smith

        Phil,

        Thank you for the response. I was unaware of how the system works and I understand why the review was taken down. I hope to see a full review in the near future!

        • Sure Jeff–most people don’t know how the industry sets things up. I figured you guys deserved to know how the system works.

          Thanks Jeff and I have asked for another 92 to review.

  • iac

    Thanks Steve. It seemed like more of a dogpile than a review.

    • Unfortunately It seemed that way. I really hate that this happened. You have no idea how upset it made us both to remove a post which as Steve said is a first in the entire time TFB has been around.
      We would rather remove it and apologize than leave something posted that was not a fair product representation.

  • Julio

    I see why you pulled the review. That rifle had clearly been messed with outside the factory where they at least know how to tighten screws without gouging them.

    Any criticism due to Rossi therefore was in respect of their error in sending out for review a rifle that had not been checked over first and not packaging it adequately.

    Their bad, but not worth “going to press” with, especially as they had undertaken to send a replacement. Now if that had turned up with gouged screws…

    I made a point a few days back about what I feel is the value of establishing sound working relationships -not compliant ones- with manufacturers. One of the benefits of this is that the number of defective items sent out for review tends to fall (I’ve not reviewed any gear from Rossi, but I’m sure you know they are by no means unique in this respect).

    Test guns do tend to “do the rounds”, but most makers appreciate the wisdom of checking them over before sending them out again, though some outfits just get one reviewer to courier them on to the next. When that happens, it’s not unknown for some “gentlemen of the press” to get a bit more blasé about keeping things neat.

    [The ladies of the press, few though they still are, are IME much more considerate.]

    • Julio you pretty much nailed it with your comments. I’ve had guns come in from people that didn’t clean them before sending them on or not putting the manuals back in the box or like this rifle had the box torn up.
      At least at TFB everyone tries to return the guns we are responsible for in the condition we received them in.

  • Cristian

    God damn,i was saving it for today,can’t you edit the article,take out the wrong infor,and re-publish it? It looked good on first view

    • Believe me it wasn’t salvageable. I have ordered another model 92 for a complete and thorough review.

      • Cristian

        Thank you sir,i trust you !

        • I appreciate that Cristian and I’m very glad we have earned your trust. We’ll continue to do our best to live up to that trust.

  • That Guy

    I think you should have left it up, and then posted a full review when the new or repaired rifle came back. It was made completely clear in the review that this as a T&E rifle, and had been through other reviewers hands. This would show Rossi’s attentiveness, and how they respond to a gun that was damaged.

    It showed a lack of attention to detail that it was packed wrong, was shipped out damaged, etc… Give Rossi the chance to make it right and let your readers know the full story.

    • Well sir I hadn’t planned on getting into this part. I have no idea how many ties that gun had been shipped in the same box. They try to continue using the same box since it has the factory model and serial number on it. Honestly as far as the review the box was a non issue.
      Rossi is sending a replacement rifle. They responded less than 24 hours after my request. My plan was to get the new rifle write the review on it and as a part of the new review disclose to the readers what we did with the first rifle. My direction and plan wasn’t followed so we had this non-review. Doing it the way I planned would be in keeping with our standards of full disclosure and a full review.

      • That Guy

        As someone that has bought a whole hell of a lot of guns in my life, that speaks better of the company than the initial problem. I have had my fair share of “Broken In The Box” guns (http://rockinaseaofchaos.blogspot.com/2011/01/bib-broken-in-box-gun.html), and a company that will own up to it, and make it right is an OK company in my book.

        Rossi immediately took steps to correct the issue. Good deal. Now comes the follow-up… will the replacement get there in good condition?

  • jamezb

    I’ve owned my share of previously owned and rather buggered-up looking guns that never failed to do their job and do it well both on the range and in the woods. Any demo gun that has “made the rounds”, can not be expected to look factory new, particularly if it has been subjected to rough testing and being dis assembled and reassembled – in this case by someone with a lousy carpenters screwdriver it would seem. None of these issues would preclude testing in my opinion. It might have been the most eerily accurate rifle ever. We shall never know.
    I began to raise an eyebrow reading the review of the BOX…
    THE BOX…… REALLY?
    How many cross country trips has this sample gun made in the box? Was it dropped? More than once perhaps? Did it ride to the range in the back of pickup trucks? Does it matter? Isn’t the real question,
    HOW DOES IT SHOOT?
    By the time I realized that the minor cosmetic issues had somehow prevented the writer from even shooting the gun, I was beginning to feel the victim of shenanigans. Thank you for yanking this non-review.

    • I have to agree jameszb. It frankly was not even close to the standards we expect. I did request that it be shot but that unfortunately didn’t happen.
      I appreciate your understanding of why Steve, for the first time, felt we had no choice but to remove it.

  • Chris Chappell

    I don’t know, sounds like it looks like every Rossi I have ever seen. I am in the market for a 45-70 lever gun, if you are also whatever you do, do not look at the Rossi after the Henry or Remlin (and neither of them are exactly primo). I was embarrassed for (and sorry for bothering) the guy at Academy for having to hand it to me where I could see it up close. Looked like it was machined with a spoon.

    • The other day when I was looking at lever guns they had a Marlin that I believe was a 45-70. It looked very good actually. The wood finish certainly isn’t like it used to be. It’s still Missouri Walnut but the finish was matte. You might consider a Marlin.

      • Chris Chappell

        I am leaning towards the Marlin (one of the local shops has a G model for under $600 which I think is reasonable, especially since the Rossi was over $400). I like the Henry sights better but really don’t know about the loading procedure. I might get used to it but it seemed way slower, that and I just kinda want the traditional gate in the reciever. I like the matte finish on the wood, never been real big into the high gloss wood, and it looks like from the last couple Marlins I have looked at that the are started to fix the issues from the switchover (crooked sights, etc.).

        • Yea as I said this one looked very good. Finish/fit and all were good. I prefer the loading gate myself. I’ve always like Marlin lever actions anyway especially the Golden 39A .22.

  • Ensse

    Honestly, it didn’t matter to me.

  • jamezb

    I just severely revised my earlier comment, after deciding it was overly harsh. I don’t know what was running in the reviewer’s head when he wrote that piece. He may have been having high blood pressure or the worst day of his life, I don’t know. I do wish he’d have sent a few rounds downrange, but I suppose that just wasn’t meant to be. I hate that Phil has had to run damage control commenting on this all day, and I hope Steve is feeling better soon. At any rate This isn’t going to keep me from being a faithful regular here at The Firearms Blog.

    • I do appreciate the comment. He’s a bit better today. As far as spending most of the day answering questions and explaining things it’s just part of the job. Certainly not the most pleasant part but if it helps the readers it’s well worth it.
      We all appreciate you being a regular reader and taking part in the conversation.

  • Cymond

    I look forward to the new review.
    I’m skeptical of Rossi because of their connection to Taurus, a company known for hit-and-miss quality control, but I’ve always been interested in the Ross 92 clone because Rossi is the only company that offers it in stainless steel.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Phil, you have done a very good job in balancing the varied aspects of this ongoing saga, while staying essentially neutral, objective and fair. I am looking forward to the full follow-up review of the Rossi 92.

    Steve, your integrity and willingness to set aside personal pride for the sake of hard truth is very commendable and much respected. There are not too many people in the public eye about whom this can be said.

    Thanks so much to the both of you for doing what is right, and keeping things on an even keel!