PUMA 92 Lever Action Rifle, should I buy one ?


December 4, 2004, 11:05 PM
Hello, does anybody out there know much about the Legacy Sports International PUMA 92 lever action rifles? I've looked at them up close at gun shows. They seem to be nicely finished,with good wood to metal fit,and nice color case finish.
I really like the curved crescent buttplate,really true to the old west style.I wish the modern Winchester 94's had the curved buttplate. :cuss:
The only thing I don't like about the PUMA 92 is the safety on top of the bolt(rear).It seems to take awy some of the old west styling.Also seems like a weird place to put a safety.They should have used a Winchester style crossbolt safety.Other than that, it's a really nice rifle,just what I'm lookin' for.I just don't know about the quality & durability.Anybody out there have any knowledge about these rifles ?......

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December 5, 2004, 12:32 AM
I have a Rossi Win92-clone that I shoot in cowboy action shooting. It is a stainless model, 24" octagonal barrel, crescent buttplate, .45 Colt. In a sentence...I love it.

I originally bought it used because it was cheap and I was already spending a lot to get into the sport. I figured that I'd trade it later for a Marlin or Winchester. I started shooting it and found it well made and VERY accurate. In fact, I have no intention of getting rid of it.

I did make some changes however. An afternoon of elbow grease, steel wool and stripper got rid of the awful black finish they use on their wood (I think it is a Brazilian hardwood of some kind). I put some walnut stain and an oil finish and got a lovely dark golden hue with a lot of figure. I also swapped out the sights to Marbles full buckhorn rear and Game Getter front blade. Rossi's are a little on the cheap side. I also had Steve Young (Rossi gunsmith) remove the stupid bolt safety and fill it with a plug. Slapped a Bunkhouse spring kit in the rifle and she is GOOD TO GO! Even with all that, I have only about $360 in the rifle.

Fast, smooth, super accurate. 3 seasons of cowboy shooting on her (about 900 rounds) and never a hiccup...no failures to feed, eject. No broken parts. BTW, Rossi makes the Win92 clones for Navy Arms and (I believe) EMF also. You can pay a little bit more for those and get some of the modifications I did built in.

December 5, 2004, 12:42 AM
If you check out the various forums you will find mixed reviews concerning the quality of the Puma M92's. Some are great and others are junk. It seems to be a bit of a crapshoot on which gun you'll receive; however, I recently purchased a Puma 92, case colored, octagon barrel in .357 and it has great fit & finish. The action is smooth and it's accurate. I agree that the safety is odd, but, I believe another manufacturer (EMF?) offers the same basic rifle w/o the safety. Also, it's my opinion that many forums (gun/mortocycle/car) have a lot of people who share bad experiences while the majority of happy owners don't comment....That's why I took the chance and bought one....

A Winchester Trapper in .357 is in my future, but for now, I'm very happy with the Puma.

December 5, 2004, 04:49 PM
I bought the Rossi .357 '92 in 1998, largely because it didn't have those awful buckhorn sights. Many of the parts are clearly investment castings, but I guess you get what you pay for. So far I have broken (i) securing screw from the pin that holds in the action bars. Strange thread, not an off-the-shelf metric one. Had it silver-soldered back together (ii) ejector, two months ago. Replaced it with a used Winchester one. Sight blade is a pinned-in brass one,so easy to replace if needed - some are solid with the band, though. Filed it down to improve the range of sight adjustment.
You can get a Millets click-adjustable sight if you want.
Ours don't have any safety at all - must be a U.S. market option.
Downsides - wood-to-metal fit is not all that great. Takedown is a bitch (defect common to the originals), have to clean it from the muzzle.

December 5, 2004, 05:50 PM
I was looking at one for a while, especially after the prices of the nicer Yellow Boys and 1873's from Italy. The local shop has the blue and stainless Puma's in .45 Colt. The more I looked, the more I felt that my budget was best served by the Marlin. I just didn't get a good feel out of the Puma. I've had Marlins in the past and foolishly sold the two I had when I quit CAS. They are great rifles.

When I saw the Big 5 sale on .45 Marlin's this past summer for $299, I picked one up again. Some dry firing to find rough spots, a few new springs, and a one piece firing pin later and it's very sweet. I will get one in .357 early in 2005. They go on sale almost once a month.

December 5, 2004, 08:27 PM
Thanks for the replies guys !!
Seems to be a lot of mixed reviews out there.Sometimes ya get a great one,and sometimes :cuss: . I don't know that I want to do a bunch of modifications to a new rifle just to make it work better, but I guess people do it with all types & brands of guns,no matter how much they paid for it. Guess I'll have to do some more investigating. Thanks for the replies....Happy Shooting !! :)

December 5, 2004, 10:32 PM
The Pumas I've seen are very well assembled. Taurus bought Rossi a while back, it seems to have brought up their QC a bit.

Desert Dog
December 6, 2004, 06:52 PM
The only thing I didn't like about my Puma 454 was the sights... They were these crude looking things that were just ugly... I changed those out, and never looked back... I love my Puma... Good accuracy and a discount price...

December 7, 2004, 01:47 PM
I had an old, old Rossi Puma back in the 80's, and on about the 15th round I fired, the ejector broke. It took years to find a spare part, and once fixed I sold the rifle.

The new ones are supposedly better. They'd have to be.

December 7, 2004, 02:21 PM
I have one I use mainly as a truck gun.
I like my Winchester better.


April 16, 2005, 05:59 PM
How does the Puma safety work, does it let you pull the trigger but block the pin, or does the trigger not budge when the safety is on?

April 16, 2005, 06:40 PM
It's just a rotary barrel in the bolt that blocks the movement of the firing pin. No effect on the hammer, trigger or lever.

April 17, 2005, 11:32 AM
I brought a .357 rossi pumma back in 1977 .I had the intention of using it a a back up rifle on a Pig cull I was working on at the time. What followed was a 20 year love hate relaitionship between that danmed Rifle and me.Yet its one of my regrets that I sold it & I have toyed with the idea of another :banghead:

April 17, 2005, 12:12 PM
I have one in 454. I bought it new about 2 years ago and I have been very pleased with it. The wood & finish is very nice for such an inexpensive rifle. Mine has given me no problems, though I really don't like the safety.

Desert Dog,
What kind of sight did you put in yours? I'm planning on replacing mine, also.


April 17, 2005, 03:20 PM
After looking for about a year and a 1/2 I located a use Rossi 92 clone at a local shop. It carries a stamping from Interarms so I assume it's a older import. No safety. Paid 250 + tax OTD.

It shoot exceeding well given the gap in the rear sight. Functions well too.

I'm happy with it and since I already reloaded 45 Colt I'm good to go on the cheap with this rilfe.

Here's an interesting item with lots of info on the imports and the strength of the 92 action in new production rifles.




April 17, 2005, 03:50 PM
Before Rossi went to CNC machining, sometime in the mid-90's, I bought a 92 in .44 Mag. While looking at the locking blocks at the top of the receiver, I noticed some light coming through on one side. I held it up to a sunlit window, and damn if one locking block wasn't bearing on the bolt at all! This was when Interarms handled their importation and was located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I lived close by so called ahead and they said to bring it by the warehouse and they'd replace it. Took the replacement home, and a few days later noticed the barrel wasn't in line with the receiver...pointed left a few degrees. Called ahead, brought it back, the gunsmith there brought another one out of stock...this one I examined while he waited (impatiently I might add...like it's my fault their products sucked!)...no go, another one with one locking block not bearing. He stomped off to get another one, which I proceeded to examine for 10 minutes before leaving.

When I took it out to the range, it grouped about 6" at 50 yards; If I'd wanted a shotgun, I would have bought one. Dumped it.

Rossi has since gone to CNC machine tools, so I don't see gross errors like those anymore, but it's still wise to check that the bolt bears against the locking block, which then bears against the receiver...easy to see if you hold it up to a strong light source.

They still hand polish the receivers though, because the flats are still always wavy or crooked.

The japanese-made Browning 92s are worlds away a better product. Winchester Trappers are also much better made.

April 17, 2005, 04:02 PM
I worked the levers on every lever gun at the NRA convention dealer's room in Houston yesterday, and the Puma's were the smoothest. I kept waiting for the Win levers to come off in my hand.

April 17, 2005, 06:23 PM
"I kept waiting for the Win levers to come off in my hand."

The weekend before I ran into the Rossi I was ready to buy a Trapper 16" in 45 Colt. You are exactly right. The levers are rattle-traps. I owned a 94 in 30-30 in the 60's that was almost complelety rattle free. I wonder why they have to be built that way.

I sent the guy to the back room to pull one out of stock and they had none. Only the one on the shelf....for which he brought back all the paperwork and the emply box and informed me I could have it for full price.

I already had my credit card, DL and TXCHL license out and was ready to hand to him, but no.....in exchange for the fact I don't haggle over prices at Sportsman's Warehouse I figure if I pay for NIB, I expect NIB, not the one every bubba in N. TX had been dry firing for 6 months.

I'm still kind of miffed. The guy just stood there with his mouth open like he couldn't believe it. Anywho, the Marlin was $500 + IIRC and for me just didn't feel right but it is a very well made unit which better sights for sure.


April 18, 2005, 02:31 PM
I've owned three Rossi '92 replicas. My first was in the early '80s, a saddle ring carbine in .357 with the cheesey Puma medallion on the receiver. A little rough as it came from the factory, but it smoothed up a great deal with use. Accuracy was decent, if not stellar, and nothing broke. Traded it for a nice Marlin 62 in .30 Carbine.

Bought another, identical except for the medallion, a few years later. Fit and finish were markedly better, as was its accuracy. Still have it. Nothing has broken or worn-out in several thousand rounds. I took off the stamped open rear and installed a Lyman 66A. Molto bene.

Bought another, this one a "Trapper" model with 16" bbl., about five years back. Extremely accurate and dead-reliable. Also wears a Lyman and is my favorite woods walking and truck gun.

FWIW, don't let the muddy looking, over-stained wood on recent models deter you. An afternoon with some Formby's Furniture Refinisher (one-step process!) turned my Ugly Duckling into a real Swan. You might be amazed at the grain and color that're hiding under there. I was.

IMO, it's worth the effort to cruise the shops, classifieds and shows for a nice pre-safety specimen. While I'm not enough of a Luddite Geezer to look upon them as an abomination, it's an unnecessary complication if one has a modicum of his marbles and one more potential Murphey Moment waiting to happen.

Father Knows Best
April 18, 2005, 06:26 PM
Do NOT buy a Puma 92. I've got a lot of experience with repro cowboy guns, and the Pumas are among the worst. Frankly, the Winchester 94 isn't much better.

If you want a new lever rifle in pistol caliber, your best bets are a Rossi 92 (a modern Brazilian repro of the Winchester 92) or a Marlin 94. If you're going to get a 92, the best place by far is Steve Young: http://www.stevesgunz.com/. He's known as "The Rossi 92 Specialist" for a reason -- he's made a career out of refining and tuning them. I don't think he'll even touch a Puma these days, but you should ask him. He is definitely "the man" when it comes to action work on these guns.

There are some guys who get lucky and their Rossi or Puma works pretty well right out of the box. They're the exception to the rule, especially when it comes to Puma. The 92 design almost always benefits from some skilled polishing and fitting. Without it, the rifles tend to be balky, sensitive to cartridge OAL, and prone to stovepipe jams when you work the lever too fast. With a good Steve Young action job, they'll be 100% reliable and much more pleasant to shoot. You can send your 92 to Steve to work his magic, or you can order a new one through him set up exactly how you want it.

The Marlins are pretty good, too. Whether you go with a Marlin or a Rossi 92, though, is pretty much personal preference. I love my Rossi 92 carbine in 44-40 and wouldn't trade it for anything. It's a great utility rifle.

April 18, 2005, 09:00 PM
Well, Father, you may Know Best, but are you sure you have all your facts straight on the Pumas? I do agree with your recommendation about Steve Young.

Puma is made by Rossi and is (or has been) imported by Legacy Sports. Rossi also was the maker of the EMF and Navy Arms 92s. They are all the same rifle and came off the same assembly line, they just have different levels of finish.

The Puma can be a fine rifle. Steve replaced the safety on mine with a plug...the elbow grease for a wood refinish, new springs and sights came from me. Mine has 5 seasons of Cowboy Action Shooting under its belt. That equates to 3000 rounds of 45 Colt and never even so much as a single misfeed, bobble, FTF or FTE. It's accurate too.

Father Knows Best
April 19, 2005, 09:26 AM
Rossis have gotten much better in the last few years, and most of the Pumas I've seen have been older models. That may bias my opinion a little. Still, I think the new Rossis are the way to go. They don't have that hideous safety, and are extremely well made. I've handled a dozen or so Pumas in the last two years, and none was as well put together as a new Rossi.

Still, both will need work to run smoothly and reliably.

April 19, 2005, 09:34 AM
I just wish Puma/Rossi/whoever made them in more calibers (say, 30-30).

Father Knows Best
April 19, 2005, 09:53 AM
The 1892 action was designed by John Browning for pistol cartridges. It is far too short to handle longer rifle cartridges like the .30-30. That's why Winchester came out with the model 1894 just two years later -- it was designed for longer cartridges, and the .30-30 cartridge was invented by Winchester (as the .30 Winchester Central Fire, or .30WCF) for the longer action.

The most powerful cartridges that will fit in a 92 action are the .44 mag and the .454 Casull. 92 rifles are available chambered for both of those rounds. If you need something longer that those cartridges, you need to go with a longer action like the Winchester 94 or one of the rifle caliber Marlins (336, etc.).

April 19, 2005, 09:59 AM
Anyone know how the kick on a .44mag rifle compares to a 30-30?

April 19, 2005, 10:22 AM
Still, both will need work to run smoothly and reliably.

Hmmm, that's not my experience with Rossi/Puma's in my/other fellow CAS shooters. Then again, that's just my experience.

Anyone know how the kick on a .44mag rifle compares to a 30-30?

Try this recoil calculator. http://www.handloads.com/calc/recoil.asp I probably don't have the numbers quite right, but the 44 Mag has significantly less recoil even in a "hot" load

________________________________30-30_________44 Mag
Bullet weight in grains______________170___________240
Velocity in fps_____________________2200__________1600
Powder charge in grains_____________30____________18
Weight of firearm in lbs______________6______________6

Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs)__________14.01__________11.60

happy old sailor
April 19, 2005, 11:22 AM
i have an older 92 in .44M and it kicks like a mule with strong handloads. is ok with wimpy factory loads. it works good and has decent accuracy, about 3 to 4 inches at 100 yds. i could improve on this if i wanted to take the time to work up a load it likes, but this group satisfies me as i dont shoot at anything further other than ground hogs and prarie dogs, and this is not the gun for that.

i was wanting a .357M and my gunstore got one in. i did not order one as i wanted to check it over before buying. this one looked good. then as a poster in some forum had suggested, i asked to see it load. it choked on .357 HPs. it fed .38sp RN FMJs just fine. i did not want a .38sp rifle so i passed on the purchase. it was a pretty thing and i was sorely dissapointed.

so, may i reccomend you try shucking a few rounds through one before you buy. my .44 eats anything. lucky me.

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