What will my lever gun like to eat the best?


Mad-Eye Moody
February 7, 2011, 09:07 PM
I recently picked up a lever action in .357/ .38. It is a Rossi 92. I did a lot of window shopping before I got it, so spare me the "should have gotten a Marlin" I have two of those and this one has a different purpose and is destined to a much harder life.

Anyways, I really like the gun, but dont know much about Pistol Caliber Rifles. What sort of bullet will they like to cycle the best? I bought some Remington jacketed hollow points, and they seem to feed those fairly well, but I notice they will hang up if I am not careful in how fast I work the lever. Definitely user error. It works well enough for its purpose, but I plan to do some handloading.

Should I be using lead round nosed, lead flat tip, jacketed bullets, etc? Which one will likely feed the best?

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February 8, 2011, 01:36 AM
i think your best bet is to ask your rifle that question by feeding it different types of factory ammo,and see what it likes,and doesn't like.by the time you have your answer,you should enough brass to reload.every rifle can have it's own rules,what works for mine may not work for yours.enjoy your research! steve

'Ol Timer
February 8, 2011, 06:10 AM
My Puma 92 runs flawlessly on 158 grain fnjsp's in .357 that I load myself. However, it does not like to feed 38's, they tend to hang up as they enter the chamber.

February 8, 2011, 07:19 AM
I have one of the Rossi M92 in 38/357. I've only fired .38 in it so far, but it had fed and fired them flawlessly. I'll try some .357 in it once it warms up a bit. Shooting the .38's is like shooting an oversized .22. Fun, accurate and almost no recoil at all.

Al Thompson
February 8, 2011, 08:31 AM
The one I had liked 158 grain .357 JHPs. It did not like any .38 Special loads - cycling issues. Rifle shot well and the only reason I don't still have it is that it lives at the ex-wife's house now.

Dr T
February 8, 2011, 11:21 AM
Work the action slowly and watch how it feeds the cartridge. I would suspect that the 357 will feed much more smoothly. While the gun may be chambered for 38/357, the action may only actually like 357's. IF you are handloading, the price difference is inconsequential.

On other point: If you shoot a lot of 38s, you will tend to muck up the 0.1" of chamber that would be between the mouth of the 38 case and the mouth of the 357 case. In the long run, this may make chambering and extraction of 357's difficult (Lesson learned from shooting 22 shorts in a 22 LR chamber in an SP 101).

February 8, 2011, 02:15 PM
I have a EMF Hartford '92 in all stainless. What a beautiful gun. 357 ammo feeds fine but the shorter 38 can cause cycling problems with certain ammo. 158 round nose 38's feed good but the you'll catch the next round sometimes with the short rounds. If you reload then you just seat the bullet higher in the case, like in between the length of a 357 & a 38. I had some hanging with trunicated nose bullets but it still cycled. There is a gentleman at this site that is an authorized smith for Rossi guns. Here is his site:
You can get all the info you need from him & his site. Check it out.

Mad-Eye Moody
February 8, 2011, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the responses so far.

What is an fnjsp? That is a new one to me.

I think the box of shells I bought originally were 125 grain jhp's. Again, they are OK, but I think something shaped different might be a little slicker.

I will try a box of .38 round nosed lead as well if there isnt any issue putting round nosed bullets into the lever action tube.

February 8, 2011, 04:37 PM
The cool thing about manually operated actions is that they're generally not too picky about feeding ammo. Accuracy could be a different matter, but I have a feeling that you '92 will feed pretty much anything that meets SAAMI specs.

February 8, 2011, 06:11 PM
What is an fnjsp? That is a new one to me.

Flat Nose Jacketed Soft Points.

I dought you have much issue cycling most any bullet you choose. I've had good luck with FN lead 125g bullets in my rifle in 357 cases loaded to light 38 levels.

February 8, 2011, 07:19 PM
My Marlin didn't like the first few rounds of 38 spcl but once I started running the lever like I meant it that problem went away.

Mad-Eye Moody
February 8, 2011, 08:30 PM
I got a pack of .357 snap caps to practice with, and it is clear that a "determined" stroke of the lever is what is called for. I like being able to reload and unload it until my thumb hurts without having to worry about all the live rounds in it.

My biggest issue is not swinging the hammer all of the way forward to the last little click that pops the little guide tongue thingy up into place. When I have it properly chucked, the bullet lines up nicely. But it has been easy to not throw the lever enough. maybe this is something that will wear in over use.

February 8, 2011, 08:47 PM
LOL... you're short stroking. just be more deliberate.

February 8, 2011, 09:29 PM
Cycling of various .38 and .357 ammo seems to be gun-specific, regardless of rifle brand. Some people have a hard time with .38, while others report no problems.

I don't think anybody could say with any authority what the gun will like or won't.

When I bought mine, it fed a little rough the first couple of tube's worth but seemed to smooth out nicely after that. Eats pretty much anything (haven't tried wadcutters). I think the .357 loads seem to break it in a bit better during that initial "rough" period, but that's just anecdotal evidence from my one experience.

Mad-Eye Moody
February 10, 2011, 09:10 PM
The gun shoots about 12 inches higher at 50 yds than the sight adjustment allows. Obviously i need a lower rear sight, higher front sight or both.

I have a nice set of marble sights that I have taken off of a henry rifle that I think will fit the bill, but they are different size base, being smaller than the dovetails on the Rossi.

Im being a cheapskate and would like to use the Henry sights. What can I use for shims to make these work?

Crowbar Muldoon
February 10, 2011, 09:37 PM
If you handload, try some Ranger 158 gr Missouri Bullets in 18 BHN. These are RNFP and feed like a dream, and very accurate, 38 or 357.

Some links you may find useful.




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