Advances in firearm design have done little to fade the popularity of lever-action rifles. There are some good reasons, although the affection American enthusiasts have for classic Westerns is the most cited among them. There’s no doubt when John Wayne and Clint Eastwood dominated silver screens, sales boomed with every movie premier, but there’s much more to the story than nostalgia.
Lever-action carbines are nimble. Those with longer barrels have a track record of taking game effectively. Solid designs are unfailingly reliable and when chambered in the same ammunition as an owner’s handgun, the logistical advantage is a decided one. Cowboys of yesteryear harnessed that virtue and lightened their horseback load by only carrying one type of cartridge.
The hot-selling pace of pistol-caliber carbines today proves enthusiasts never lost the appetite for that versatility, even if it first appeared in lever actions introduced in the 1800s. The Rossi USA R92 line—based on the Winchester Model 1892 standout—continues that tradition with versions that satisfy everyone from traditionalists who insist on the warmth of wood, to gun owners who demand modern touches. Coupled with subtle improvements made by the company, modern metallurgy, today’s tight manufacturing tolerances and budget-friendly price tags, they’re a worthy addition to any collection.
In all, there are 17 Rossi R92 models available. Chamberings include .357 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt, and .454 Casull. Barrel lengths, depending on model, run from a nimble-handling 16" up to 24". The latter versions, available only with magnum chamberings, are also octagonal. Stocks available on the R92 lever-action include polymer, wood laminate and Brazilian hardwood. Tubular magazine capacities depend on the cartridge, obviously, but run from eight to 12 rounds.
MSRPs range from $790.54 to $1,056.85. The latter has a stainless steel finish on metalwork, a rail atop the receiver for optic mounting, it’s chambered in .357 Mag., wears a 20" barrel alongside its grey laminated wood stock (above, top). Two models come in at the basement price and are chambered in .357 Mag. or .45 Colt. They come with a Brazilian hardwood stock, 16" barrel and polished, black-oxide metal finish (above, bottom).