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Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles

19 Jan 2020
@ 10:41 am (GMT)

Ryan Nafe


I came across something in the local gun shop today that I hadn’t seen before, though I’m sure you New Zealand guys are familiar with them:

A 20” barrel, stainless, .357 Magnum, Rossi 92 lever action.

After working the action a bit, dry firing it, and just getting a feel for it in general, I was actually quite impressed with the little thing. It really is nearly ideal for a lightweight and worry-free rifle to be viewed as an outdoors tool, in the same way as an ax, maul, or saw is. To some degree that’s the way I view all of my guns anyway, but the Rossi seems especially utilitarian.

However, I took a look at the crown, and it had to be the absolute worst I’ve ever seen. No magnifying glass necessary on this one, one of the lands has a massive dent in it. I don’t even know if the bullet jacket would survive exiting the barrel, the dent might just tear straight through it. So that specific one they have at the shop is definitely a no-go. I might have to let them know but I’m not sure how they’d respond to the news.

But looking at the rifle itself in the absence of that bad crown, I am interested enough that I’d really like to pick one up. The thing would be far more useful to me than another bolt-action or an AR, and the cool factor is miles ahead of the black plastic and 1913 rails that currently dominate store shelves.

What I was hoping you guys might be able to help me out with is determining the likelihood of another bad crown or an otherwise bad bore, the cartridge selection (I’m still leaning towards the .357, but I’m open to the other two I suppose), and overall accuracy potential compared to the more polished Miroku-made 1892’s. With iron sights of course.

I can’t imagine that the Miroku guns are actually worth double the money, especially considering that they’re not available in stainless.

With the Rossi, I would probably do a full disassembly, polish and lube everything, and re-assemble with loctite and my torque wrench. Also probably sand and boiled-linseed-oil the stocks (just like I do with my ax, machete, and hammer handles). So unless there’s a major problem with the bore or crown, I don’t see why the Miroku ones are actually worth the money.


19 Jan 2020
@ 08:34 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
Hi Ryan
I have worked on couple of these, my suggestion is take dummy rounds with you to check your happy with feeding.
As for accuracy I can't comment to much on it as most people in nz just grab cheapest ammo they can find check it'll hit an old beer box while leaning over their bonnet then go hunting.
These are really hard worked rifles abused mainly and they just keeping on trucking along
They offer them in both 16 and 20
My theory on that one if your normally hunt with rifle on your back (pig hunting, horse riding etc) 16 is better,if you hunt with rifle in your hand bush stalking etc 20" is probably better.
I personally prefer 44mag but don't have much experience with 357 mag.
On occasion you can get 45lc and 454 casual as well.

I'm glad rossi is happy to make stainless rifles as lot of other companies seem to avoid it.

20 Jan 2020
@ 06:35 am (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
“As for accuracy I can't comment to much on it as most people in nz just grab cheapest ammo they can find check it'll hit an old beer box while leaning over their bonnet then go hunting.”

Ha, yeah that sounds about right for this area of Wisconsin, too. It’s rare to run into someone who can tell you offhand what their rifle is doing at 100 yards.

I hadn’t thought to take dummy rounds to check cycling, that’s a good idea for sure.

And yes, the 20” would be my preference because they balance a little better while aiming and carrying. Plus there’s a bit less muzzle blast and a bit more velocity.

In all reality the .44 would be a bit better suited to deer, but this is more of a defensive and varmint-elimination tool than a dedicated deer or pig rifle. Driving the 125 HP’s at 2,000 or more, for explosive but shallow wounds. Coyotes, raccoons, and defense from humans.

Side note, the 180 grain .357 XTP (at 1,500 to 1,600 FPS impact velocity) did take a fairly large doe this year and it was pretty effective. My uncle and grandpa were quite surprised, it did the “drunken stumble” and fell over dead about 15 or 20 yards later.
20 Jan 2020
@ 08:25 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
Hi Ryan, these can be quite a nice little rifle for all the reasons you have mentioned. As you say, observation of the rifle at the gun store can help identify any immediate flaws. Burrs or gun drill marks are not uncommon but it is also possible to lap smaller marks until they are smooth. Low velocity also helps limit the effect of flaws in the bore.

One factor you cannot fully counter during observations is the sight settings (applies to any lever action / tube load but especially the Marlin and Rossi rifles). Some rifles will shoot very high with the sights set at their lowest setting. This is no major issue as the front sight can be filed down on a Rossi (it has no bead). Alternatively, some rifles may shoot very low with the rear sight ramp set to max height. This cannot be rectified via the existing sights and requires something aftermarket at the rear (peeps etc). Some of these issues can be partially rectified by checking over the fit of the barrel and tube within forend, working towards a stress free fit. RTV silicone can be used to create soft bedding in the forend and to prevent any rattling after relieving stress points in the forend. But in some instances, the rifle will still shoot extremely high or low due to harmonics and will need some form of sight alterations. Just a matter of working through it.

In the field, the main area of the rifle to be careful of is the tang. The Rossi (the Winchester 92) is particularly narrow at this point and the stock can split very easily. Slipping over with the rifle shouldered will invariably break the stock at the tang if the butt strikes the ground. Ideally, these rifles should be fitted with a recoil pad, not for recoil, but to help prevent stock breakages with falls and also to help increase the LOP. Having said this, basic mindfulness of this weaker area can be all that is needed to prevent future breakages.

These rifles are generally pleasurable to work with and a great deal of fun to use in the field.
20 Jan 2020
@ 04:03 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
Thanks for the info, Nathan. I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon and I believe I’ve come to a conclusion about it:

It makes a lot more sense to get a Marlin 1894 in .357 Mag:

- I can fit it with very precise peep sights
- I’ve got an ideal scope on hand if I wanna go that route at some point
- Spare parts are extremely easy to find
- Dozens of smiths are very familiar with the Marlins
- It’s only very minimally more bulky/heavy than the Rossi

The peep sights are a big deal to me, there’s a US company that offers extremely rugged and low-profile sights that bolt right onto the 1894 and the Rossi simply doesn’t have any similar options.

As much as I really do like the 1892 action design (Browning really was something special) the Marlin is still very rugged and the solid-top receiver is a major advantage for sighting options and weather resistance.


One other thing, have any of you guys gotten the urge to say something along the lines of, “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us!” before shooting something with one of the lever guns? I really don’t think I could resist the temptation. :-D
20 Jan 2020
@ 06:26 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
Just wanted to summarize what I’ve seen in Nathan’s books, knowledgebase, and elsewhere in life about the primary difference between the .357 and .44 magnums in terminal performance, it’s actually quite simple:

The .357 is quite effective on light game and for personal defense purposes, but can be made adequate for larger game with careful ammunition selection. The .44 is the opposite, quite effective on medium to large game, but can be made adequate for light game and defensive purposes with careful ammunition selection.

That’s why I’d prefer a lever action in .357 over the .44 - I can use virtually any 125 grain JHP ammo I can scrounge up and it will be highly effective on varmints and human attackers, whereas the .44 ammo that’s commonly available will often have either too much weight and momentum or too tough of a bullet for optimum explosive wounding on lightweight targets.
22 Jan 2020
@ 05:06 am (GMT)

John D. Hays - New Mexico

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles

Hi Ryan,

Regarding 92s, the Rossi and Italian jobs are inconsistent in fit and finish as you have noticed. They are popular with the cowboy action crowd.

The Miroku are top-quality but I believe they have a tang safety for liability reasons. They are also pricey.

Anyone looking at the Japanese 92s probably should be looking at actual vintage Winchesters since the resale price on them is very good And will only get better pretty quickly

And anyway it’s a real Winchester.

Many of the Winchester 92’s that you see for sale or in 25–20 Many of the Winchester 92s that you see for sale are in 25–20. One of mine is like this, octagonal, and I’m going to get it rebored to 357 magnum. One of my Colt SAAs Is in this caliber then all I will need is a horse and a good saddle is in this caliber then all I will need is a horse and a good saddle. Ha!

That’s said, at the price of the Rossi it lends itself to being an all-around carry tool that you don’t mind if it gets a little banged up. As is the tradition out here in the West, I have a Winchester 94 that is my constant truck gun.
23 Jan 2020
@ 02:33 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
John, are you sure the 92 you want to have bored out will handle the additional (X2) pressure of the 357? The 32-20, 25-20, 218 Bee were all fairly low pressure cartridges, around 28k - 40k CIP , while the 357 could be as high as twice that. If it's a newer model, it might be ok, but if it's a low serial number, I'd be checking.
24 Jan 2020
@ 05:11 am (GMT)

John D. Hays - New Mexico

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles

Hi Paul,

Yes, you are right — maybe.

The guy who does this re-boring claims to have generally excellent results, but says that the octagonal barrels sometimes have weak walls here and there. Anyway, he has a long waiting list.

I am looking for someone who will cut the barrel down to short carbine length from its current rifle configuration, ditto for the feed tube, then sleeve the original Winchester barrel for .357 Magnum.

Will that kill the collector’s value? Sure, but who cares? These 92s in .25-20 are quite common and unloved. I have seen one YouTube video of a guy killing a black bear with a .25-20 —— from the safety of a tree stand over bait.

Honestly, if someone wants a cool lever-action Winchester the 1894 in .30-30 is fun, effective and relatively cheap to shoot. A pre-64 Model 94 in good condition can be had for about $500 USD. These will also appreciate in value. My truck gun is a pre-64 carbine that someone rode gentle but put away wet so that the left side is pitted from rust. The bore is fine, the wood is fine and the action is fine. It is accurate enough at 100 yards, same as all of the lever actions. It cost me $180 USD.
19 Feb 2020
@ 09:50 pm (GMT)

Michael Seager

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
Nathan makes a good point re sights on lever actions.

My Chiappa was straight in terms of sight alignment but they used a ridiculously tall front sight post.

Still playing around with that to get it to work with the irons. Think I should have it licked next range session.

The 1892s can have optics mounted but it will be a in a "Scout Scope" style which is forward of the ejection port meaning you'll end up with either a red dot or a scout scope. Might not be something you object to but something to bear in mind.

Best wishes,


25 Mar 2020
@ 02:51 pm (GMT)

Kenneth Johnson

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
I have a 16" Puma stainless in .357Mag.; it is the handiest and most useful carbine I have ever owned. Mine was made in Brazil and is reasonably accurate with iron sights (2" groups at 100yds is the norm). The longer barrel in the .357 changes the cartridge's personality from a very loud pistol that is barely adequate for deer size game, into a cartridge that gets the noise away from the shooter in an extremely handy size and weight that is fun to shoot (the 44Mag, not so much!). For deer and pigs under 100 yards, the cartridge can be helped by utilizing 158 and 180XTP bullets; they can be driven to at least 1600fps in the 92's strong action (they have been tested with 50,000psi loads).

Having said all that, I would not buy a 92 Rossi or Puma, regardless where it was made, unless I could examine it first. Many of the first manufacturers' did not correct some of their "quality control" problems until later production. I still prefer the Rossi in the .357 over the Marlin or Winchester due to its portability, weight, and "slick" action. (At the risk of invoking the wrath of the "AR" crowd, I prefer it over the AR15 as a utility arm for general use; nor does it normally elicit a negative response from the "anti" crowd.)
25 Mar 2020
@ 08:45 pm (GMT)

Joel Macha

Re: Rossi 92 Stainless Rifles
i would have to say the new Henry rifles are top of the line for lever guns. The new Remington made Marlin's are still not what the original Marlin's used to be and wasn't it the Rossi's that had a few barrel's explode a few years back? I have one of the new Henry rifles in 38.55 and shooting the Buffalo Bore ammo it's extremely accurate.


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