Chiappa 1892 lever action rifle
An iconic rifle seen in countless movies, the 1892 never ceases to appeal the firearm enthusiast
A modern rifle
With the introduction of the 1886 model, designed by John Moses Browning, Winchester had finally made available the most common, full power rifle cartridges of the time to its customers: the evergreen 45-70 comes to mind, up to monsters like the 50-110 WCF.
The 1873 model was still being manufactured, but most found its toggle-link action weaker than the solid, two lugged locking system of the 1886. Moreover, competing firm Marlin was making a significant dent in Winchester market, so Winchester wanted a more modern rifle, chambered in the same handgun cartridges of the ‘73: an option that remained ever-popular as it allowed people to have handgun and rifle chambered for the same caliber, greatly simplifying logistics.
Once again Browning was tasked to design the new model. According to anecdotes, the Mormon genius claimed it would have been ready in a month, or it would have been done for free. Within two weeks the 1892 was born.
The Winchester 1873 legacy
Using the same two lugs locking system of the 1886, low pressure cartridge notwithstanding, it sported a lighter yet stronger build than the 1873. Both models were sold at the same price, clearly stating that, while the people at New Haven didn’t mean to displease the aficionados of the older model, they had a clear idea about which one they meant to dominate the market.
The 1892 was hugely popular, seeing also action in WWI in the hands of the Royal Navy, and being used in great endeavors like the voyage of Admiral Peary to the North Pole, or famed explorer Percy Fawcett in his expeditions on the Amazon river.
The Winchester 1892 was appreciated for its reliability, smoothness of action, accuracy, ease of use and lightness. Its chambering made it its times’ equivalent of modern pistol caliber carbines, offering a mild kicking, reasonably hard hitting and more accurate alternative to the handgun at intermediate ranges, viable both for hunting thin skinned game and self-defense against two or four legged predators.
The Model 1892 was discontinued with WW II, as Winchester put its production lines to support the war effort. All in all, over one million 1892 models were made in a lot of different versions, with varying degrees of finish, barrel lengths and stocks, Production was never restarted, but other manufacturers have never stopped offering this popular lever action, among them Italian firm Chiappa Firearms.
While the ‘Winchester 1866 e 1873 models had already won the west by the time the 1892 model came into production, it had the undeniable advantage of being still manufactured and in widespread availability at the time many great western movies were made, so it saw use in countless productions as a ‘73 model stand-in, being still classical enough and close enough to its older sibling.
We can see ‘92 rifles used by John Wayne in lots of his movies, most famous the “large loop” short barreled carbine model we all remember in the movies Rio Bravo (1959) and True Grit (1969), spin cocked while charging on horseback in one of the most iconic action scenes ever to be seen on the silver screen.
Chiappa Winchester 1892 model
Chiappa Firearms 1892s models are modern firearms, CNC tooled from modern steel and built in a multitude of versions, from the “mare’s leg” pistol to the 24” takedown rifle.
The wooden stocks are hand fitted to the metal, while the rifle is an exact reproduction of the original, so much that parts can be swapped with original rifles.
For those who want a solid, reliable lever action to use in the field, there are modern, hard chromed versions like the “Alaskan”, with a 12” barrel chambered for the .45 Colt and high-pressure cartridges like the .357 Magnum and the .44 Remington Magnum.
in the Take-Down variants of the 1892 models offerend by Chiappa Firearms, to proceed disassembling the barrel from the receiver it is first of all necessary to separate the cartridge magazine from the barrel. This operation is completed by acting on the lever placed just under the front portion of the tubular magazine itself, by rotating which, the magazine is unsrewed and exctracted from its seat inside the forearm.
The one you see in this article is a classic rifle model, with a case-hardened receiver and loading lever, and a blued barrel chambered for the immortal .45 Colt. Like the original one, Chiappa’s 1892 has open iron sights. They may seem antiquated, but they have proven themselves countless times on the hunting grounds as well as at the range.
As all lever action rifles, model 1892 is easy to use and very instinctive. We have tested the rifle shooting both off-hand and from a rest, to better verify its performances in terms of precision and grouping abilities. Hwever you use it, its quite easy to obtain good groups using the simple, but effective iron sights.
1892 lever action rifles are particularly practical for vehicle storage and use for hunting and defense against wild animals for the same reason it was practical a century ago: it’s a compact, light, yet comparatively hard-hitting firearm and can be used in the same, multiple roles it has been used for 130 years.