Rossi lever action rifles are popular with SASS
competitors where they have earned a solid reputation for quality,
reliability and affordability. Rossi is also a popular brand with
woodland hunters where moderate shooting distances and
rugged terrain make lightweight and compact firearms something to be
appreciated. Both groups enjoy the look of an historical firearm,
combined with the strength and precision of modern materials and
Rossi lever action rifles fall into two broad categories,
long and short cartridge. Rossi's Rio Grand products are chambered for the
30-30 WCF, 410 shotshell and .45-70 Gov't cartridges. Rossi R92 products
are chambered for the 357 S&W Magnum, 44-40 WCF, 44 Remington Magnum, 45
Colt, and 454 Casull cartridges.
The R92 Carbine
Forjas Taurus S.A.
Length of Pull
Drop at comb
Drop at heel
Sights R - F
Semi-Buckhorn - Post
D&T for Scout Mount
4 lbs. 6 oz.
Rotating Thumb Safety
These stubby lever guns have always appealed to me,
particularly with a 16" barrel and chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge.
Both Marlin and Winchester no longer produce rifles in this
configuration, however, Rossi offers three 45 Colt guns within their R92
product line: stainless, blued, blued with enlarged lever loop.
Appearance wise, the bluing is dark and uniform; satin
on the barrel and magazine tube and gloss on the receiver. There are no
plastic or aluminum pieces. The stock is made of Brazilian walnut,
stained in a reddish tone. Overall, the rifle has a period correct
appearance, wood to metal fit is very good.
While the Rossi R92 is not drilled and tapped for a
receiver mounted scope, it is drilled and tapped to accommodate a barrel
scout scope mount. Required is the surrender of the R92's rear
sight and the use of Rossi accessory scope mount base kit, PN Part
Number: P801, an inexpensive $14 part. For the most part, because
of typical applications and the ballistic performance of the 45 Colt
cartridge, metallic sights would be sufficient.
As a Winchester 1892 replica, this
is a SAAMI original spec rifle
The Sporting Arms and Ammunition
Manufacturers' Institute sets the published maximum average pressure for
the 45 Colt at 14,000 PSI with piezo transducer equipment and 9,500 with
the copper unit method. Rossi specifically states that only SAAMI
standard factory ammunition is to be used in their firearms
and that the use of non-standard ammunition or reloaded ammunition voids the
firearm's warranty. So Federal, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester
"yes", Buffalo Bore and similar high pressure ammunition, "No".
Basically, the same ammunition that can be fired in a Colt Single Action
Army or New Model Ruger Vaquero is fine for use in the Rossi R92, but
not high pressure ammo that exceeds SAAMI standard and is popularly
mislabeled "45 Colt +P".
For SASS competitors, working within standard pressure
ratings is not an issue as historical performance is closer to their
objective for event shooting. Standard pressure cartridges are also not
an issue for hunters of medium size game as Hornady's 45 Colt 225 grain
FTX®LEVERevolution® ammunition can bump muzzle velocity by as much as
250 fps over standard 45 Colt loads without exceeding the SAAMI pressure
spec. In all fairness to Rossi, If more power is needed, Rossi offers a 16" barrel gun in 44
Remington Magnum and with a 20"
barrel chambered for the 454 Casull.
The company behind the firearm
The Rossi R92 retail box is marked with three company
names - Rossi, Taurus and BrazTech, which led me to a little "Who's on
first" research. In short form, Rossi rifles are manufactured for Rossi
in the Forjas Taurus S.A. ISO 9001 facility in
São Leopoldo, Brazil. Taurus manufactures and sells Rossi handguns under
license from Rossi. BrazTech International L.C., Hialeah, FL is the
exclusive North American importer of all Rossi firearms.
In short form, Rossi firearms are produced and supported
by a company with 4,700 employees, net revenues of approximately $250
million and servicing 15% of what Taurus defines as a $2.6 Billion
firearms market*. This suggests that the company can stand squarely
behind product warranties and that the company is large enough to invest
in state of the art manufacturing capital equipment. A close inspection
of the investment cast, MIM and machined parts of the R92 indicates the
investment is being put to good use.
I know, shut up and shoot already...
Rossi R92 was tested with two types of ammo, 185 grain jacked hollow point
that clocked 1409 fps and and 240 Grain jacketed hollow point that
clocked 1043 fps.
The carbine loaded easily and cycled cleanly. A
variety of bullet types and lengths were cycled through the gun's magazine, from flat
nose cast to round nose jacketed, and all cycled through the feed and
eject mechanisms without a hitch. Ejection was positive; head high, away from
the face and to the right. No getting bopped in the head with casings.
Recoil with loads tested was very mild, which made the
steel butt plate solid in hold and perfectly comfortable throughout the
shooting session. Report was mild. I'd chalk that up to the large bore
and low muzzle pressure. The barrel remained vertical on discharge, so
staying on target and tracking was easy. Shooting off hand, or from a
rest with pressure on the forearm or under the magazine tube, had no
effect on point of impact.
The semi-buckhorn sights, at fifty yards, were very good.
The small brass bead on a narrow post and small rear sight aperture
didn't obscure the target. Adequate sight radius made for for fast
I bottomed the rear sight's elevation insert which put 240 grain
bullets approximately 1" high and centered. 185 grain bullets were 2.5"
low and approximately 1.5" left. The front sight is drift adjustable as
is the rear sight, but they were close enough as received for the work I
was doing. Good factory sight regulation.
At fifty yards, the 240 grain loads shot 1.2" 5 shot groups. The 185
grain shot 1.0". I am not a great metallic sight
shooter and this was my first experience with this rifle, so I am sure
there is greater accuracy in the gun that would come with a little more experience and perhaps a
little more time and effort put into the
selection of ammunition.
Direct experience with the Rossi R92, inspection and live
fire, left me with a favorable impression in regard to function and
accuracy. The gun shoots every bit as
good as a Winchester Trapper or Marlin 1894. The Rossi has the
old New haven, CT manufactured Winchesters beaten on aesthetics, however, the Marlin at nearly twice the
price hold the edge in the fit and finish departments. Friends who
compete at an accomplished level in SASS events speak highly of the Rossi
and use them without hesitation. There are two areas where
improvement would add a good deal of value to the
The Brazilian walnut looks good, but it is a
bit on the soft side and susceptible
to surface scratching. Shooting on a hot day with my face perspiring
against the stock, some of the finish transferred from the stock
to my face... where it seemed to take a much better hold. My SASS
friends tell me that continued use of the Rossi gives them
a seasoned, authentic Western look and handling marks are not of a concern.
Still, experience tells me there is a polymer
finish out there that would produce the look of an oil finish, but
add a lot more durability.
The second issue is the 45 Colt ammunition restriction; use only
standard pressure factory ammo and no handloads or the warranty is void. The
pressure restriction excludes
approximately 60% of the current factory 45 Colt ammunition from use. Cowboy
Action standard pressure 250 grain ammo produces 760 fps of muzzle
velocity and 323 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. Buffalo Bore 260 grain +P ammo
produces 1,450 fps of muzzle velocity and 1,214 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.
The former qualifies the rifle for shooting events and small game and
pest hunting, the later would qualify the Rossi R92 as a bona fide deer
rifle. The no handloading warranty requirement puts a damper on SASS
use, as SASS shooters are very
active and handloading is an economic necessity.
It would seem that if Rossi could produce this gun in 44
Remington Magnum with a 36,000 PSI SAAMI spec and 65,000 PSI SAAMI spec
454 Casull, they should be able to cover higher pressure 45 Colt loads
loads that fall into the 30,000 PSI range. However, the culprit may not
be Rossi as much as the absence of a SAAMI or CIP homogulated 45 Colt +P
pressure specification and Rossi's unwillingness to certify their
firearm for use with undefined ammunition. Companies such as Buffalo
Bore are a bit disingenuous when they label ammunition +P where no SAAMI
+P designation exists.
Generally speaking, the Rossi R92
45 Colt is a nifty little gun and fun to shoot and a value as a replica
rifle and SASS event hardware. It is compact, accurate and fun to shoot. For further
details on the R92 and other models, stop by
Rossi and check them out.
*Taurus Investor Relations Statement 2010
** Winchester, an American Legend by R.L. Wilson