I think the sitting for years is the culprit- My Rossi 92 in 45 colt was buttery smooth right out of the box, and it's a newer 'Brazitech' or whatever Rossi.
I love this gun! Cheap and cheap to shoot if you reload. I have the 16" saddle ring large loop model in blued finish. The only cheapy feeling to it is the finish on the wood. I'll probably disassemble it this winter and sand the stock down and oil finish it. Other than that, replacing the plastic follower is the only other thing I want to do to it.
You'll love that thing the first time you shoot it.