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This Year’s 1892 Winchester

Somewhere, deep down inside, we've all still got a sixteen-year-old who wants to be a cowboy.

Not a real cowboy, with the sleet and the heat and the low pay, but more along the lines of John Wayne in Rio Bravo with the heroism and nice-looking ladies.

This sixteen-year-old is, by and large, what keeps lever guns like the 1892 Winchester on the market. The difference between the 1892 and most of its pistol caliber counterparts is that the '92 offers a decidedly more "grown up" action design.

The 1892 is essentially a smaller version of Winchester's 1886, which was Winchester's most serious lever gun, capable of handling more powerful cartridges than any of the rifles that came before it.

This design, with two locking lugs rising up to hold the action shut, makes the 1892 capable not just of handling the pistol rounds of yesteryear, but is readily adaptable to the decidedly hotter common today.

While the 1892 has enjoyed a tremendous career in Hollywood (if you remove the forearm a '92 can easily pass as a Henry rifle in black and white), its main role has always been as a rifle for the sportsman.

Winchester made well over a million 1892s during the original production run, and most of them went to the hunting woods. With its strong action, short length and low recoil, the '92 was a popular deer rifle chambered for the 44-40 and an even more popular small game rifle chambered for smaller rounds like 32-20 or 25-20.

This year's Winchester 1892 is an especially attractive offering that walks a fine line between modern innovation and traditional design. Most old timers out there will automatically balk at the tang safety mounted behind the hammer, but if you find it truly offensive nothing says you have to use it.

The only other real departure from the good old days is the rather high-mounted Marble front sight. This was the first thing I noticed when handling the rifle, and initially I was a bit miffed that the lines had changed.

Once I looked down the sights I realized that while the new sight might be a little off-putting from the side view, it's considerably easier to pick up than the original ever was, so I've made peace with it.

Aside from these two little items the '92 is the same great rifle it's always been and has a subtle way of making you forget what the price tag might be.

The two real highlights of this particular model are that it can be had with a large loop lever and the fact that it's available in a 45 Colt chambering. I know that the oversized lever might seem like something purely for the aforementioned sixteen-year-old, but it really does serve a purpose when hunting in cold weather with gloved hands.

Yes, it also makes the gun look cool, but we'll just skip over that for now since we've taken the mature high ground.

Almost as cool is that, you can now get a Winchester in 45 Colt. This isn't exactly a new development, but it is of note since Winchester would have never printed the Colt name on one of its barrels back in the old days.

The 45 is a fine cartridge for a carbine like the '92 and would make a great choice for anyone interested in a little short-range deer hunting.

The 1892 is a gun that can appeal to cowboys of all ages -- why not go check one out?


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This Year’s 1892 Winchester