Gun Review: Rossi Model 92 Lever Action

I’ve always loved the reliable old lever action rifle. Of course back in those days what kid didn’t? Our heroes were a very young Clint Eastwood in Rawhide and of course John Wayne and all of his westerns. There were others of course like Chuck Connors in the Rifleman. One thing John Wayne and Chuck Connors had in common was they both carried Winchester model 92’s.

Annex - Wayne, John (Rio Bravo)_NRFPT_04

When I was old enough my dad presented me with a Marlin 39 for my 11th birthday. How I loved that rifle. From that day on I was really hooked on the lever action rifle. Now here I am all these years later and I enjoy them as much now as I ever have.

Why are lever action actions still so popular? Well it could be a childhood watching them used on TV and in the golden age of western movies. There are many others who have different reasons for liking them and keeping at least one lever action around even for home protection. Then there are those who own rifles handed down to them by a family member that have a special place in the owners’ heart.

Model 92 Open 670x389

The model 92 came along back in 1892 of course since they gave a model number based on the year the gun was released. The 92 was a big step forward from the 1873 being a much stronger action, lighter to carry and lasting a long time even under hard use. They were and are a very simple mechanism and easily repaired, in most cases, by the owner.


After reviewing an 1873 single action awhile back I recently decided we should review a model 92. I chose the Rossi for several reasons. The price is very reasonable as well as many configurations being available. They also have a fair number of aftermarket enhancements that don’t take away from the original rifle. My test rifle is in 45 Colt.


One gentleman who specializes in the Rossi 92 is Steve Young in Lampasas, Tx. He is the owner of Steve’s Gunz .Steve not only does action jobs and makes them ready for SASS competition he also has many period original tang sights and others like the original full buckhorn sight. He does basic polishing and action jobs for the regular shooter as well.

We started a review recently that got off to a bumpy start. The writer who received the rifle originally posted a non-review without shooting the gun. I had the rifle sent to me so I could shoot and review it.


The Rossi arrived a couple of weeks ago. The first thing I did was disassemble it down to the last pin. I cleaned out all the rather heavy lube that was used and applied some Spartan Systems oil in the appropriate areas. Before assembling it I removed the manual safety, which has no place on a lever action rifle. That’s just my opinion. Actually this safety is easily removed without disassembly. It does leave a hole in the top rear of the receiver but Steve has a plug to fill that hole. He also makes a peep sight that fits into that hole should the shooter prefer that.


After everything was back together I spent some time just working the action and found it very smooth. My original Winchester 92 is smoother but then it’s been used for decades.


Model: R92-57008 Status: Available Construction: Wood
Caliber: .45 COLT Capacity: 8 + 1 Shot Barrel Length: 16″
Action: Lever Action Finish: Blue UPC: 6-62205-98276-7
MSRP: $559.00 Weight: 4.8 LBS

After a couple of days of lousy weather I took the 92 out to the range for some practice and a check of function. I had some handloads of 230 grain lead semi-wadcutter with 8 grains of Power Pistol. These were loaded for my single action but I wanted to see if the Rossi would feed semi-wadcutters. I also used some Hornady Critical Defense 185 grain 45 Colt with the FTX bullet. I also had a few 250 grain lead round nose cowboy loads.


I started out at 15 yards just to see if the buckhorn sights were on which they were. I used the last of my cowboy loads for this. It performed fine with no malfunctions. The lever was smooth as was the rest of the action.

After moving back to 35 yards I did some shooting for accuracy. My handloads performed the best with groups of 5 rounds averaging a hair less than 2 inches. I fired 50 rounds at this distance all with the 5 rounds per targeted area. The Hornady rounds shot well also but the groups opened up to 2 ¾ inches.


I wanted to step back a bit and shot my wadcutters at 50 yards. I had 50 rounds of the wadcutters and fired them all. I had two rounds that hung up as they started into the chamber. That didn’t surprise me since wadcutters aren’t supposed to be used in a lever action. Other than the two wadcutters I had no malfunctions of any kind. The rifle was fairly dirty by this time but still cycled smoothly.

I’ve been pleased with the performance of the Rossi after several more trips to the range. I fired a total of 300 rounds so far. Most were my handloads. I did load 250 grain round nose lead bullets for the remaining range sessions.



I like this little rifle and plan on purchasing it.I’m going to put a loop lever on it to replace the standard model. I may or may not send it off to Steve for some polishing but at this point I don’t think it would help enough to warrant the expense. I did notice when I had it disassembled there were some rough tooling marks. None of these were in areas that would affect function. They are also internal so you can’t see them anyway. The exterior finish was well done. The wood was good and appeared to be unvarnished walnut. I do wish the gun companies would start putting the old time lacquer finish on every gun with wood furniture.


Even though the 92 comes in many finishes, barrel lengths and calibers. It’s very fast to maneuver with the 16” carbine barrel. This rifles weight is 4 and ½ pounds. You can carry this rifle all day and not notice it. It would certainly make a good brush gun.

As far as caliber I just like the 45 Colt and don’t plan on hunting with it very much. If I was hunting with it all the time I would select either the 357 magnum or 44 magnum. It’s also available in .454 Casull if you need a “what if” bear rifle.


If I wanted to purchase a model for it’s looks I’d have to pick the 24 “ octagon barrel with color case hardening. This is one good-looking rifle.


One last note that most of you are aware of and that’s the MSRP and actual street price varies sometimes by a good deal. The MSRP is $559 with a street price closer too $413 on Gun Broker.






Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


  • Steve (TFB Editor)

    Phil is a passionate lever gun man (he has good taste). Unfortunately he is very sick and I am not sure he will be able to answer questions about the gun or the review today. I hope he will be back on his feet by the end of next week.

  • Blake

    Nice review; I’m a sucker for a good levergun.

    Hope you’re feeling better, Phil.

  • dracphelan

    I have the octagon barrel Rossi in 45 Colt and love it. I want to eventually get the peep sight to replace the safety.

  • Dave Hotaling

    I shot in SASS for close to 10 years with one in .357 mag if I had gone .45 colt I would still own that rifle. If handload and have an old model vaqeuero you can shoot Ruger only loads that can be handled in the 92 so I don’t see why the need for a .454 except brass and ammo or off charts expensive. When I get the money I am looking for the ss receiver and 24 barrel just like one I had in .357 but it had a brass receiver which always dulled and was only good looking when highly polished hard to keep it looking good. The 92 is my favorite Winchester style rifle I do love Marlin s more they are hard to fin in anything othet than .30-30 anymore.

      • Dave Hotaling

        That maybe but last one I saw they wanted 800 dollars for my 1895 .45-70 didn’t cost that much. but thanks. I hope it isn’t a Remlin that they have been putting out Since Remington screwed up Marlin by buying them

        • I know and I’m sure it is a Rem gun. For old Marlins I just hit Gun Broker and talk to others that like them,

          I think they are making progress but it’s going to be awhile before it gets back to where they should be.

          Checking auctions in smaller towns can yield some good finds.

          • Dave Hotaling

            well I appreciate the direction, it is a distant goal as my first priority is is to my truck working or another vechicle

          • Gotcha–priorities!

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Go for it, Dave. Only you — and you alone — would fully understand the priorities involved, for the simple reason that you are the man on the spot!

            Wishing You All The Best In Your Endeavours,

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            I agree. The Remington-made Marlins are simply not up to standard at this point in time, although I’ll also say that they are somewhat better than when Marlin was first acquired and their production line degraded accordingly in the name of so-called “production integration and efficiency” ( a complete misnomer for cost savings regardless of loss of outright quality ). I find it quite ironic that the parent company of the so-called “Freedom Group” ( freedom to do what — screw hard-working craftsmen, factory workers, gun owners, retailers and consumers alike for the sake of the Almighty Dollar? ) and, by extension, Remington, was Cerberus Capital Management, named for a two-headed dog of Greek mythology — with a nasty disposition to match — and everything this would imply.

  • allannon

    One of my long-term purchase projects is a matched lever/revolver set, in .357 or .44mag.

    The big problem, though, is that I’d probably have to get _2_ sets: a range set that stays nice and pretty, and a beater set for the pasture. 😉

  • Mike

    6 MOA accuracy? That’s pathetic.

    • iksnilol

      Its a pistol caliber, these are usually not good past 100 meters (I have heard).

      • Blake

        In eastern North America anyway, you’re a lucky hunter if you have a clear shot in the woods much past half that distance. The majority of the venison on our table was taken with black powder muzzleloaders from a treestand at distances between about 25 & 75yds (along with an afternoon spent cutting shooting lanes, a thermos full of hot coffee, & a lot of patience :-). A 16″ bbl on a levergun in a magnum pistol caliber makes a lot of sense for deer hunting in the woods.

        An octagon bbl & a little brass would have made this thing really sexy &ltgrin&gt

        • This part of Missouri has thick forest and undergrowth so I sure understand the 75 yard max distance shots in many places.

      • ThomasD

        I used to carry one back when I lived in northern Idaho.

        Buffalo Bore makes some very heavy loads using LBT projectiles. Out of a 16″ barrel they can deliver near 2000 ft/lbs out to about 75 yards. That’s more than enough for deer and good enough for elk in the timber.

        Light, handy, easy to carry, and no glass to fog up – they are a pleasure to hunt with when the terrain is rough and the weather bad.

    • Sadler

      With .45 Colt you’re looking at 1400 fps, at the top end, 1000 fps at the low end, with under .200 G1 BC’s. Good luck shooting tight groups with that. This gun is not meant to be a terribly precise thing, so don’t treat it like you would a bolt gun.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I think that would be pretty standard for a lever gun (although I don’t have any data to back this up). There is a reason the military moved to bolt actions. Much, MUCH, easier to make accurate. But a lever gun does not have to be accurate for their intended use. They are usually used with .38 and larger calibers with parabolic trajectories that don’t have the range anyway.

      • Blake

        much easier to shoot prone from a trench too…

        • True—

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Much easier to shoot from a prone position, period. But then again, the lever gun was developed for shooting on the move with little consideration for a low-profile prone position.

    • Blake

      Leverguns print pretty tight groups in rimfire calibers out of the box (like our Marlin 39D with the right ammo, or pretty much any 17HMR levergun), but the pistol caliber weapons usually need tuning as they’re designed with a pretty loose-fitting chamber to fit lots of different kinds of ammo (e.g. .38spl/.357mag or .44spl/.44mag, & of course the 45LC wadcutters mentioned in the article that worked pretty well minus a few hangups). Usually this involves a gunsmith removing the bbl and grinding off some of it to tighten up the chamber, polishing most of the moving parts in the receiver, & a few other tricks (better trigger spring, etc).

      But this Rossi is still more precise than my Dad’s Ruger Deerfield 44 and Mini-30 were (about 8 MOA @ 100yds a.k.a. “minute of dinner plate”). We sold the Deerfield and accu-strutted the Mini-30 (along with some other tuning like a bolt buffer) and are a lot happier with it now.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Hi, Blake :

        Good information — thanks! Got to admit I was a little surprised by the part about the Mini-30, though.

        • Blake

          Well, in all fairness the Deerfield was worse than then Mini-30 (the mini was probably more like 6 MOA @100yds) but they were both pretty rough. There are companies dedicated just to fixing the accuracy issues e.g.

          Don’t get me wrong, I love Ruger rifles (both rimfire & centerfire). They’re light, practical, and reliable as the proverbial brick latrine, and parts are reasonably priced & easy to find. Factory rotary 10/22 mags are an excellent piece of engineering. But the factory barrel & chamber on pretty much every non-“target” or “bull” spec Ruger autoloading rifle are really just not very good.

          Luckily the accuracy issue is easily enough resolved by fine companies like Green Mountain (& the aforementioned accu-strut) for a reasonable amount of money. Once you get the groups tightened up they’re a joy to own & shoot.

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            I know that you are not being down on the 7.62mm x 39 cartridge. Even in its standard iteration as a surplus military steel-cased FMJ round, it has a performance potential far, far greater than the vast majority of firearms owners realize. Even the acknowledged ballistics experts ( military included ) have chosen to ignore this hard fact and consistently under-rate the M1943 cartridge by a large degree, just as they severely under-rate the accuracy of the AK platform at longer ranges ( 500m or greater ). One senses a great deal of nationalistic pride, political motivation, condescension and outright prejudice in many of the well-publicized opinions seen in print and on the Internet. This mythology has extended so far for so long that even many experienced AK users have accepted it as “fact”, as a result of which few have taken the step of exploring the true performance envelope of this round .

            While this might come as shocking and controversial news to many who have come to accept the long-held myth of AK inaccuracy beyond 200m , along with supposed degradation of projectile energy beyond 300m, one has to examine the hard truth critically. The “Warrior Talk” web site ( ) posted a series of well-researched articles under the heading “The AK At 600 Yards”, based on actual, objective long-range testing results using the M1943 round fired from standard AK variants ( including the Romanian WASR-10, which is generally regarded as the lowest-grade AK available on the open market ), that practically destroy previously-held beliefs.

            This same bias may also be a major — though not sole — factor in ensuring that, with the exception of a very small number of variants, little has been done to actually exploit the latent potential of the 7.62mm x 39 cartridge using modern propellants and bullet designs.

  • Drew Wood

    6 MOA is probably more reflective of the iron sights and not the gun. i recently purchased an m92 in .357 and i am getting about the same accuracy when i try to shoot for accuracy, but the front sight post covers the entire bulls-eye at 50m.

    the rifle is a blast to shoot and very easy and accurate off hand. i can terrorize steel knock down plates at 50m all day long.

    as phil did, a good take down and cleaning was essential for my m92 to operate more smoothly and lightly. it was a heavy action at first, but after reoiling and greasing the sliding parts, it works 2 fingered now. not as light as a race gun, but should be more reliable. fit and finish on mine was very good as well. only wish the wood was checkered a bit in the grip locations.

  • STW

    I took one of my California nephews out shooting a while ago and it was obvious that he was growing up watching much different TV and movies than I had. He did not know how to use the lever on a lever action rifle! He had a good time once he got the hang of it but it wasn’t the treat I expected it to be. It is a bit more appreciated by the youngsters here in MT.

  • Firehand

    Where would you get the loop lever? I’ve looked around, and don’t find them anywhere

  • Sean

    I have the 24″ octogon version(I won it). It is a great deal of fun.

  • J. Roberts

    I found mine here I like the stainless look a lot better than the blued. Easy to shoot, great truck gun when accuracy beyond my sidearm is in need.

  • WFDT

    I have been considering getting one of these (albeit in .357/.38) as the duty firearm around our small farm. Thanks for the review.

  • Hunter57dor

    i have this rifle in .357 magnum i have only two caveats:

    its very picky about ammo choices. luckily i reload and cast my own and all the bullets i cast for it feed like a buttered pig.

    that brass bead on the front sight is extremely easy to break off. i lost mine, and have just been using the flat black post since. one of these days im gonna get a bit of copper and do it the RIGHT way, but for now it works.

    • WFDT

      What ammo does it not like?

      • Ideally in 45 Colt a round nose lead or copper feeds very well. That being said the only load I had a couple of problems with were my own semi wadcutters. But they shouldn’t work really.

  • Darrell

    I picked up a Legacy Puma in .357 a few years ago. 20″ barrel, it is a frickin’ laser.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Very nice :)!

  • Greensoup

    I have the Ranch Hand in 357/38spl. Mine won’t feed 357 in round nose, but its the lowest end ammo I bought during the drought so could be an ammo problem. I shot a lot of 38spl in various manufacturers round nose, flat, etc, no problems. Flat nose 357 no problems. Its a favorite with my friends. I have probably 700 rounds through mine. My next one will be the 24″. Mine ejects very strongly but I hear Stevez Guns video helps to fix that (If you care, it doesn’t bother me).

    • He does have a DIY action kit with a spring change a part to plug that safety hole etc.
      He also had some tools kits made that are supposed to make working on one easier. I don’t find it hard but I guess any time saving is good.

  • George H Hill

    The problem with the 16″ versions, as you see in the above image… the barrels are angled upwards. If you get it in .44 Mag, like I did. With Hornady LeverEvolution ammo or other hot loads… Your point of impact is 4 to 5 feet high at 100 yards and there is no way to bring it down. As much as I liked mine, I traded it off.

    • Man I sure didn’t see that during 100 yard shots in the past.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Sorry to hear about your experiences — is it possible you might have, unfortunately, gotten a rare “lemon” ?

      • George H Hill

        Well, Phil tested the .45 Colt version… Mine was the .44 Mag. If I shot .44 Special level loads or just .44 Special, I was on target. If I loaded full tilt .44 Mag hunting loads, I was hitting 4 feet high. I’m not the only one with this trouble, as a Google Search will show you.
        The problem can be clearly seen in the profile photo of the 16″ gun at the top of this page. The barrel is angled up to allow for the rainbow trajectory of the .45 Colt.
        If you want to shoot hot .44, you need to get the 20″ barrel version of the Rossi which is not angled upwards.
        And if Phil didn’t see this during his shooting – it’s because he didn’t try the ammo I mentioned in the caliber I mentioned. I’m a Gun Writer as well (Go to SHOT Every Year on a Broadcaster Badge), and was a firearms retailer for 9 years… I’m not making it up.
        And you can’t adjust the rear sight enough to bring the POA POI together.
        To do anything, you would have to have a gunsmith affix a gigantic shark fin size front sight blade, which would make the gun look ludicrous.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          George, thanks very much for your reply, and for sharing your experiences. This is valuable information for would-be Rossi Model 92 buyers.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Many, many thanks for an interesting and informative article, and for rekindling TFB readers’ interest in a traditional-style lever-action rifle without the bells and whistles. There is something inherently attractive and wholly satisfying in a solidly functional, reliable, practical and unornamented gun like this that far outlasts the glitziness of “tacti-cool” weaponry, or even “traditional” guns with too many upgrades or accessories.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery so that you can get back to doing what makes you happy.

    • I thank you very much sir. I always enjoy writing about these older guns. They have a charm that outlast any tacticool guns.

      Thank you for you’re thoughts as well!

  • Limonata

    Perhaps we are talking a different caliber of quality, but my Uberti’s Henry 1860 and Winchester’s 1873 can do much better than that Rossi. I shoot NRA Rifle Silhouette with my levers and that accuracy would simply not be competitive. Perhaps there is a reason Steve’s Gunz does some good business. I am not bashing the gun or the review. I am a lever gun fan and own eight of them and it just seems that you can get better. Perhaps the price point goes hand in hand with the accuracy and the craftsmanship. Still seems like a fun gun and may get it to add to my collection especially for the nieces and nephews to shoot as a step up from my Henry 22lrs they love.

    • Steve actually said that Rossi is a popular brand in SASS matches as well as regular sportmen. His logic was everybody and their dog works on older Winchesters, older Marlins and the various Italian brands. Knowing that he chose to work on Rossi’s. There some others working on Rossi’s but he seems to be the best.

  • People have mentioned front sights. Steve has this sturdy replacement front sight.

    • Drew Wood

      i can’t find that on his site. where is it listed?

  • Robert

    I have been window shopping for a new lever gun in .357/.38. I currently own a Marlin 1894C and it is in the shop being tweaked because of failure to feed every other round, yes I have shoved about everything on the market into it. The only round it would feed 95% 0f the time is a Magtech RNL cowboy load. After reading this review I must say this shooter is in the running.I have been eye-ballin the Uberti 1873 but man that bugger is not cheap!!
    To Mr. White, I enjoy your reviews and opinions about the pros/cons. Thanks much…..

  • PatrickHenry1789

    No 30 caliber option? I have a marlin 30/30 that my dad bought me when I was a kid. It’s probably the most dependable rifle I’ve ever owned.

  • Snozberry

    Rossi is very hit or miss in terms of levergun quality these days. My advice, unless you can hold it in your hands, see the fit and finish and work the action in person before buying, it’s not a brand worth taking a chance on unless you want the potential for a project.

    Wish mossberg would start producing these in tandem to their 464 line. Quality is much better when putting their 30-30s side by side.


  • thatguy

    Nice review, although I do really wish you had shot it some before the tear down to compare.

  • Gary

    I have one in .357 mag. and I love it. VERY smooth out of the box and shoots very well. Accurate and reliable. The only glitch is that about 25% of the brass gets a crunched in edge about a 1/16″ wide on the case mouth. Most of these can still be reloaded. I have not bothered to take it to gunsmith to fix it as I consider this a minor irritation. If I was still shooting Cowboy action shooting I would.

  • Blake

    Speaking of leverguns, Henry just released this:
    I wouldn’t get one just because of the bbl length & caliber (and the small issue of cost…), but THAT is what leverguns are supposed to look like!

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Beautiful….absolutely beautiful. Expensive, but I think I can appreciate why — and if one could afford it, definitely worthwhile. Thanks!

  • Me

    That so called “street price” is below dealer cost, so keep in mind you’re hurting dealer business by saying that.

  • Ronald Davis

    I read on one of the gun sites that a guy liked Clint Eastwood . He must not have seen Steve McQueen he had a Tv show . He carried a lever action short rifle . I looked for one for years could not find one . Now Rossi has a few models and I even found a place to buy a holster the kid cam back to me . I am 65 it felt good I will get one soon just because I can .

  • Chris McMillen

    I have the 24 inch oct. barrel in 44 mag I did a little work on it my self and then developed a load for it. the best load for my rifle was 20 gr. of 2400 with a 240 gr hornady xtp pretty accurate out to 200 yards impressive to me for a lever gun shooting pistol ammo , one thing I had to change was the sights mine came with what I considered pistol sights the front blade was to thick and the rear sight was terrible . I put a 1/16 in gold dot post and a semi buckhorn both marble sights that I got from .

  • WFDT

    I finally procured one of these, a 16-incher in .38/.357. I ran some .38s through it and it’s a great shooter, very accurate in the limited ranges I have here at our little house in the woods. Thanks again for the review.

  • jim collins

    several years ago I bought arossi m92 for my Grandson took ti out of box–looked ok–Christmas 2013 took it out of box to check it—would not feed right–took it apart and fount carrier defective–out of waranty–no problem I called rossi about buying a new carrier– they would not sell me one—not even gun smith—wanted me to ship it back–about 35.00 pay them to look at it–plus parts est. about 65.00–pay freight to return–I asked person to let me speak to high up—said it would a few days—ben 3 weeks or a month no responce. Any one that knows a phillips from a blade screw driver could fix this—gun not very cost effective at this point. should have bought a winchester, marlin or ruger.
    Jim W collins

  • jimr

    Rossi levers hard to find in Ohio now that the new deer hunting regs starting next season allow rifles that can handle handgun ammo, opposed to only shotgun slugs or muzzle loaders.

  • Twogun

    Just picked up a new R92Rossi lever gun with the 24″ octagon barrel in 38/357. I had read the reviews and was concerned about fit and function. I must say that it exceeds my expectation completely. It has eaten 100 rnds of both 38 & 357 and performed flawlessly, no jams misfeeds at all. Good trigger with no slack, wood fitted well, reasonableness accurate. Waiting for my Marble tang sight to come in. Overall I am happy with this rifle.

  • Dean Seaman

    Very nice review. Thank you for posting that. I’ve been following “Shoot Fast Fun” youtube videos for a few months now and have watched how things went with their Rossi M92. FWIW, it was chambered for .357, but they shot .38’s out of it, because it was used for Cowboy Action Shooting. I’ll let you watch the video and judge for yourself, but suffice to say, they now use a Uberti Cimmaron in the same caliber.

    The afformentioned video –