Winchester's New Model 1892 Short Rifle

We’re seeing a renaissance of old historic Winchester arms, which includes the 1885 single-shot, and famous leverguns like the Models 1886 and Model 1895, but there’s five different versions of the Model 1894 and nine variations of the Model 1892.

The Model 1892 has been a favourite of mine for over 60 years. I was only 19 when I bought a Model 92 with octagon barrel in .32-20, complete with original plier-type reloading tool, a bullet mould and 200 fired shells. It was my first centrefire rifle and it rode in a saddle scabbard as I travelled to work in the bush on horseback. It accounted for numerous foxes, roos, and goats. Back in those days the wages for stationhands were pretty meagre and I ate a lot of kangaroo tail soup and kid goat.

Over the years I’ve owned Model 1892s in .25-20, .44-40, .25-20 and .218 Bee. But my favorite was the .25-20, which was a fine shooting little gun, especially with Winchester high-velocity ammo shooting a 60gn FNSP bullet at 2250fps. Drawing a coarse bead in the buckhorn rear sight made the gun deadly on game out to 150 yards. For decades I didn’t own another Model 92, until about six years ago when I obtained a Miroku-made M92 in .44 Magnum equipped with a peep sight. Alas, my eyesight wasn’t up to the task and so I sold it, albeit sorrowfully.

Although Winchester closed its doors in 2006, the Model 1892 has never really been away. Not only Miroku in Japan, but Rossi in Brazil, Chiappa and Uberti in Italy have been offering reproductions of the classic Model 1892, which is a popular levergun with western action shooters as well as pig hunters.

When it was introduced in 1892, the handy-dandy little levergun immediately took-on and in .38-40 and .44-40 became popular as a deer rifle in the US. Although most deer hunters would hardly consider using the Model 92 for deer today, I once saw my old mate Peter Schubert drop a 10-point red stag in his tracks with a single 240gn bullet from a Model 92 in .44 Magnum at a good 150 metres. Later he graduated to the Model 1894 in .38-55, which he swore by for just about everything from deer to buffaloes.

This story was first published in the April 2012 issue of Sporting Shooter > April 2012.

To purchase a PDF of this issue, click here.

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Loading the magnums

The overwhelming reason for choosing a magnum cartridge is to gain increased performance over and above what can be obtained from a standard capacity case.