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Old June 19, 2012, 06:32 PM   #1
Mr. Whimsy
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My Rossi 92 .357 Review

Having worn these forums out over the years in search of intel on this rifle, I thought I'd share about the stainless Rossi 92 20" 357 I just purchased. I have been curious for so long as these guns looked really fun.

Well, I am returning it for a refund.

I was really excited to un-box it yesterday, and even more excited when I saw just how pretty the darned thing was. The stainless was polished, but not TOO bright, and it had some kind of rosewood-looking stocks. There was a big dent in the side of the buttstock from some machine, but no matter as I would probably just bang it up myself with hard use, I thought.

Fit and finish was good. If you looked too close, you might find a little bit of a sharp edge here or there. Honestly, it looked much better than the Marlin I looked at back at Christmas, which was so poorly put together that I told the salesman it was broken and not to sell it. Trigger was pretty decent and the action wasn't as crunchy as I was led to believe. I spent hours cleaning their grease out of it, inspecting it, cleaning, and re-lubing. The barrel wasn't the prettiest rifling I'd seen, but no obvious flaws. The inside of the action, however, looked a little rough.

I did not disassemble the rifle.
I do not know how, and am not interested in trying as the '92 doesn't seem to play well with others when it comes to re-assembly, or so I've heard. I did not realize that any prospective Rossi 92 owner needs this type of skill and in-depth understanding of the inner workings. I am not this guy. There are Cowboy Action Shooters out there who tear these things down in their sleep, so expert are they in slicking up the Rossi action. But I am not a home gunsmith, I am a shooter.

I thought I'd be smart before going to the range and try cycling some rounds to see whether it discriminated against .38 Specials, or would feed both as some rifles will. Hefting the rifle was surprising, as the 20" had more weight to it than I expected. I put some .38 cartridges in the magazine... or at least tried to. Half of them hung up at the loading gate, having to be taken back out and shoved in again to enter the mag. tube. I can fix that, I thought, a minor problem.

Breathless with anticipation, I slowly but forcefully opened and closed the lever, looking down into the action.

A jam. Cartridge stuck halfway into the barrel. Rinse. Repeat. Switch brands of .38, no difference. Some go in fine, others randomly jam about 50% of the time. The carrier doesn't seem to be coming up enough.

Ok, fine. I'll try .357's. Even worse jams. Crap. I've got an expensive paperweight.

I didn't even fire it, I was so dis-heartened. I did everything I could think of, but an evening of internet research led me to believe it was gunsmith time. Or I could send it back to Taurus and let them keep if for months only to return it un-repaired like they did my PT100. Damn.

I spent all morning trying to find a lube hearty enough to overcome the rough carrier (I assume that was the problem). White lithium grease helped, but I only got the jam rate down to 20% on some runs of 10 cycled cartridges. And then the loading gate froze in the open position, locking the action altogether.

Enough was enough. I am not ashamed to say this gun beat me. A better man would have kept it, puzzled over it, maybe ordered the DVD from Steve's Gunz and replaced some parts at his expense. Not me. It might never work even after all that.

I don't care to get intimate with the innards of the '92, a design that seems kind of complicated and finicky from what I've read. I'm sure when they work they work... but everything has to be timed just right, and if it isn't, epic jam-fest ensues. This 19th century design might not be the best match for 21st-century production methods that don't involve careful attention and hand-fitting. This seems a bit high of an aspiration for the likes of Taurus (I've owned a bunch, I can say that).

I could have become an expert on the 1892 in the process of fixing this rifle. Instead, the 6 or so hours I wasted on it will simply be time I'll never get back because of my decision to cut my losses. I won't be trying any more '92's as I'd rather wait for a more modern design to come along without all its foibles and idiosyncracies. It would be nice to be able to field strip a .357 rifle as easily as my Mini 14. I might check out the 77/357 some time for this very reason.

Hope this helps somebody.
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Old June 19, 2012, 06:43 PM   #2
BusGunner007
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Rossi.
Taurus.
Edsel...
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Old June 19, 2012, 06:50 PM   #3
Mr. Whimsy
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Almost forgot ...

... I did a little bit of research on the scope mounting potential for the Rossi 92.

As a top-eject, it is ill-suited for that.

The new ones supposedly are drilled and tapped for a rail mount UNDERNEATH the rear sight. I couldn't see any sign of it. You must need to remove the rear sight to reveal them. At any rate, this forward rail would allow for a "scout scope" - joy, joy. Here they are not to be found. Can be mail-ordered, but seem expensive when compared to normal, plentiful scopes that can even be purchased at Wal-Mart. It seemed like a real pain, though a sturdy way of mounting.

Option 2 is the "side mount" made by B-Square. The internet is littered with complaints about this mount, which attaches with a knurled screw into the left side of the rifle. It doesn't twist though, because there are fore and aft set screws that tighten into the top of the gun's frame enough to steady it. Almost every complaint about this fragile aluminum mount comes from somebody who put on on a .454 Casull 92 and expected the casual contact between mount and rifle to not destroy both. Knuckleheads. It'd probably be okay for my .357, and that's what I would've gotten, as scout scopes are a worthless concept and expensive for what you get IMHO.

I guess my point is that it was stupid to ever buy this rifle in the first place. I will probably give up on the .357 rifle concept altogether as it is not worth the trouble, being about as heavy as any other rifle but also way more expensive.
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Old June 19, 2012, 06:54 PM   #4
Mr. Whimsy
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And oh yeah...

Last. Taurus. Ever.

Just don't do it. Just don't.
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Old June 19, 2012, 09:00 PM   #5
mehavey
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Quote:
I guess my point is that it was stupid to ever buy this rifle in the first place. I will probably
give up on the .357 rifle concept altogether as it is not worth the trouble, being about as heavy
as any other rifle but also way more expensive
Oooooh... don't do that. Please take a look at the Chiappa 92's. Mine continues to eaten everything I've thrown at it (`cept SWCs in 357 length cases), has never jammed (that I didn't deliberately cause), is smooth as silk and the lightest thing I own.

Put a marble tang sight on it (no drilling req'd) and you're good to go to 120 yards.
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Old June 20, 2012, 12:47 AM   #6
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They must be slipping. Over the years the Rossi 92 rep has been very good. Of my 8 or 9 since 1980, I've never had any of your (OP) issues. Sorry you had yours. About the weight, it was probably the .357 aspect (any brnd actually). That relatively little hole (compared to the .44s and .45s) amounts to a lot of remaining metal hanging out there; the longer the barrel, the more of it. Try a 24" octagonal in .357 sometime for heft! Still, apples to apples they seem to be lighter 'n handier than the competition. In sum, sorry to see you give up on, to me, John Browning's finest creation, certainly the best Win lever and one of the best designs to date. No it is not as easy take down as the Marlin or the 73 with its side plate and more open top/dust cover apparatus, but then again, I've never really needed to get into mine except for superficial cleaning. I would encourage you to send it off to Steve (NKJ) as he'd make it the charmer (plus) you expected, but understand that's something hard to think of on a new gun with supposed warranty. Better luck next round.

Last edited by gak; June 20, 2012 at 07:18 AM.
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Old June 20, 2012, 04:17 AM   #7
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Give Henry rifles a look. Awesome rifles built 100% in the USA!
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Old June 20, 2012, 07:08 AM   #8
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I have the same Rossi 92 as you except in 44mag, and it has been absolutely flawless. It was purchased July last year. I also had one in 357 a blue pre safety ,it was a good rifle too. Thought it wasn't nearly as slick as my SS 44.
My lil 92 will feed it all XTPs and even SWCs & makes for a handy power house afield. Sorry your experience was bad. There are mount holes under the rear sight. I can't seem to locate the mount though, I have a lupy M8 just begging to sit on it!
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Old June 20, 2012, 07:20 AM   #9
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You may have gotten a bad one, but I see this in your review:
Quote:
Breathless with anticipation, I slowly but forcefully opened and closed the lever
That might have been the problem. Lever action rifles are supposed to be operated robustly. Push the lever fully forward, then bring it back. It's my experience that most Winchester levers can be made to jam by operating them slowly.

Or, you might have gotten a bad rifle. Who knows?
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Old June 20, 2012, 07:42 AM   #10
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^ +1

I'm sorry... gotta say it. If you bought a Rossi 92 that doesn't function properly, then you simply happened to have bad luck. Anyone who says that 92s are weak or prone to jamming simply doesn't know 92s. It a marvelous design. My Rossi (Navy Arms) has been nothing short of awesome.

It's easy to beat the Rossi (Taurus) drum, but I don't believe it's the model or the maker. If it wasn't you, then you just got a bad one. Same thing happened to me with a Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum. However, I refuse to jump on any sort of Marlin, Remington, Edsel are terrible bandwagon. Wow.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:19 AM   #11
Tortuga12
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Interesting, mine has fed all my .38's flawlessly (Gold Dots, Golden sabers, SWC homebrews, and Buffalo Bore Keith style). My only complaint is intermittent weak ejection of fired cartridges, and it seems to chew up the cartridge mouths a little.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:47 AM   #12
Mr. Whimsy
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You are all right, of course.

I was a little harsh and now that I've had a good night's sleep, I see that. These guns have an excellent reputation, and I did just get a lemon.

1. I experimented on my dining room floor for hours with the speed of lever throw, eventually settling on a brisk, forceful throw. You really can slow-stroke it. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

2. You know, I didn't really get far enough to worry about ejection, but it did send cartridges straight up into orbit. I found it annoying because I like to save my brass, but again, operating the lever slowly so as to catch your brass seemed to completely screw up feeding, so that would not be possible.

3. It did occasionally sheer off a little of the bullet nose. I don't think semi-wadcutters would ever be a go in this particular rifle.

4. This gun's problems were eminently fixable. I got the sense that something just needed polished or a burr removed. Most of you would probably be capable of taking care of it. The rifle, on the whole, was 99%, being as nice a firearm as I've ever bought. But the 1% they got sloppy on was the only thing I really cared about - the functioning. Jeez, charge me $20 more and make sure the little beauty actually works. This was heartbreaking for me after lusting over the "stainless .357 rifle" concept for many moons. They probably would've fixed it, but I think I'd rather invest a little more money in another kind than take this chance since I apparently was pretty unlucky right off the bat.

5. The heavy barrel was unexpected, but yes it's a .44 drilled with a .357 hole and would probably be accurate as heck. I love this usually, but thought it made the little rifle less handy than it could have been. It was a little closer to lugging around a 30-06 than I thought it'd be. The Trapper 16" is what I should have gotten.

6. I actually wanted the Henry, but couldn't find one. As a person who doesn't like to mess with my guns, that'd probably be a better option. They say it has a smooth lever throw. I would even put up with its weight problem since I believe you can scope them now. And frankly, the lack of mag loading gate on the side is a plus to me, since I've still got a sore thumb from the many Marlin 1894's and 336's I've owned. Plus, I actually like the shiny brass receiver. I believe the loading gate on my Rossi was getting caught on - you guessed it - the carrier, whose right sight probably needed a little work if the Internet is to be believed. But I am the kind of guy who tears things up when he tries this kind of thing and voids warrantees.

Thanks for not beating me up, guys. I really enjoyed your comments although I probably will not do the 92 again.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:55 AM   #13
Mr. Whimsy
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Oh yeah, for anyone who's handy, there's a plethora of gunsmithin' advice on the 'Net, as well as Nate Kiowa Jones. I have had guns that had no information available online whatsoever, so this was refreshing and the cowboy action shooters are awesome to deal with if you need a little help with your gun. The Marbles Bullseye sight is what I would've ended up installing. I think it's about $15, but Steve's Gunz has more sighting options than you could ever shake a stick at.

As the for the safety, I actually LIKED it. It was a metal lever that was convenient and intuitive for me. I have no Idea why all the hate exists for it, since I liked chambering and ejecting live rounds with the extra little assurance that the thing wouldn't go off and hurt a bystander. It seemed to be a firing pin block.
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Old June 20, 2012, 10:02 AM   #14
gak
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Mr. Whimsy said:
"Jeez, charge me $20 more and make sure the little beauty actually works."

I hear you there...Not saying it's the case here 'cause as I said my 30+ year Rossi 92 experience has been almost without fault, but for any number of firearms--name 'em--actually it's a good comment. I get as (sometimes irrationally) hung up on price as much as anyone, but actually...just charge me $10-$30 more and give us the trigger or the stock or sights the (whatever) thing deserves. But marketers are in their position for reason and build guns to a price, to a perceived market--sorry to say, often correct--with that price/return ratio being driven my a lowest common demoninator mindset. Sadly, it's what keeps them (or they think) in business. That said, I agree with a previous poster that you unfortunately got a bad one.
Btw, not missing anything with the Henry IMO.
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Old June 20, 2012, 04:15 PM   #15
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My miroku Winchester 1892s will not feed .38spl either - not at all. However they feed .357mag with 100% reliability - slow stroke the lever or work it as briskly as you'd like, makes no difference. They have been that way from right out of the box too.

No reason for a '92 not to be completely reliable and predictable with its designed caliber cartridge. Regardless of whether your rifle could have been fixed or not, I agree with you that any well made rifle should not have those kinds of problems straight from the factory.
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Old June 20, 2012, 05:13 PM   #16
Mr. Whimsy
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I would have been ok with it not feeding .38's. I can use magnum cases to reload specials. I am still thinking real hard about the Henry, and wonder whose design they use for it. Don't like all that weight, but do like being able to scope it.
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Old June 20, 2012, 08:34 PM   #17
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When I started shooting cowboy I thought I would buy a '92. Apart from the occasional Marlin it was about the only pistol caliber lever rifle I had seen for sale in the local gun shops.

At my first match (I was cowboy gun-less) people were nice and let me try lots of different rifles and shotguns (one fellow loaned me a set of revolvers for the day). I had my eye on a stainless '92 in .357. It locked up so hard the owner had to get the tools out to clear it. We tried again with the same result. I decided at that point to change my plans (ended up saving for a '73 which is a super nice rifle).

Some of the .357 rifles don't like the shorter .38 cartridges. Some are finicky about the overall length of the cartridge and bullet shape can be very important. Most of the folks in my area load with truncated cone flat point bullets. They seem to feed the best. One of our new guys had a brand new 1866 (chambered in .38 Special); he bought some round nose lead factory loads and the rifle absolutely choked on them. We tried some handloads with a different shaped round nose bullet and they ran through like water.

People expect autoloaders to be picky eaters but the lever action rifles can also be terribly ammo sensitive.
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Old June 20, 2012, 11:17 PM   #18
Mr. Whimsy
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This. A thousand times this.

This is what I have been reading all over the Internet. I like to keep in mind that some of these 19th-century designs can't cope at all with a semi-wadcutter and maybe not a hollow point either. And of course, there's heavier bullet weights they don't like because of C.O.L.

I'm sure these guns work great if you figure out what they like. It's just... inconvenient on a variety of levels for me. I like to shoot whatever I have on hand for the pistol, and wanted a gun that would eat anything. That was unrealistic. I think a more modern design is what I'm really after.
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Old June 21, 2012, 06:42 AM   #19
PawPaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Whimsy
I'm sure these guns work great if you figure out what they like. It's just... inconvenient on a variety of levels for me. I like to shoot whatever I have on hand for the pistol, and wanted a gun that would eat anything. That was unrealistic. I think a more modern design is what I'm really after.
Well, there you go. It's okay to not like something simply from personal preference. It is also okay to have preferences change over time. What is truly frustrating is to yearn for something, acquire it, and find that it isn't what you thought it might be. Buyer's remorse is an absolute buzz-kill.

I hope you find the rifle you're looking for.
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Old June 21, 2012, 08:24 AM   #20
Mr. Whimsy
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Thank you. Good day to you sir.

It's unfortunate there are no rental ranges in my area. There is no substitute for hands-on experience, so I have to take a gamble based on what people say. The problem is, it's often what they don't say about a gun that becomes a deal-breaker for me. I tend to look for criticism in reviews, honestly.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:53 PM   #21
Mr. Whimsy
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Well I see that over on THR a guy is having amazingly similar problems with another Rossi 357. He ended up suspecting the cartridge carrier just like I did.

That discussion also raised an interesting point: that the 92 was designed for bottle-neck cartridges like 44-40 and this is an issue with straight-walled cases. I don't know.

My conclusion? Rossi build quality is the culprit, but even at its best you will be limited in your choice of ammo rather drastically. I should have known when a cottage industry grew to fix the things that they were trouble.
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Old June 22, 2012, 06:03 PM   #22
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Mine has fed .38 S&W and .357 just fine but I only use flat point bullets.
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Old June 22, 2012, 06:51 PM   #23
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I don't think the cartridge case (bottleneck vs. straight walled) has anything to do with it. OAL does, but that is true of model 1873's and others as well or even more so. 1892's have been around in straight walled pistol calibers for an awful lot of decades now.

Build quality may well be at fault though, as the internals need to be fitted and sized properly to reliably feed. The cost of doing that is one of the reasons (or so I have read) for the demise of Winchester manufacturing in the USA - the 1892 and 1894 designs just required too much labor cost to compete with alternatives. It's also given as one of the reasons why the current Winchesters, Uberti's and such are so pricey these days as well - takes some money to pay skilled hands to properly assemble these rifles even today. I saw a post about a tour of the miroku plant from a few years ago, and they author wrote that he was surprised how much hand assembly was still being used on both the Winchester rifle line and the Citori shotgun line.

If things are misaligned or tolerances way off, it would tend to bind up. Certainly when it is done right it seems to work very reliably, but I don;t know that the SA guns are made with the same kind of QC as the Japanese or Italian ones (the price difference would say they cannot be).
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Old June 22, 2012, 07:55 PM   #24
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I have had my stainless 92 .357 for almost a month now and it has been flawless. I bought mine purely for a fun range gun and it has definitely filled that role. Fit & finish are great, internal parts as well as exterior. Much better than I anticipated for the price. I have fed it many different reloads from SWC to JHP and it has fed everything without a single problem. The accuracy has also been very impressive. As you can tell, I love mine. And believe me I am no Taurus fan, my dads snubby .357 is pure junk. I really hope you get the problems worked out in your rifle though.
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Old June 23, 2012, 06:14 AM   #25
shafter
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I wouldn't give up on a 92 just yet. My Rossi 92 will feed ANYTHING. I was pretty suprised when I discovered that the action would feed, empty cases, 38's, 357's, roundnose, semiwadcutters, hollowpoints, reloads, factory, you name it. That rifle is a hungry beast. It even fed a few shells where the bullet wasn't even close to being properly seated. (not to shoot, just for an experiment).

I am extremely satisfied with my rifle. Give it another try.
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