Friday, July 08, 2022

Rossi 92 Back Together

A week ago I posted about the Rossi 92 .357 carbine I bought about 10 years ago. The reduced power hammer and ejector springs and new rear sight that I ordered from Steve's Gunz arrived today.

Before reassembling the gun I deburred the parts and applied a little white lithium grease to the wear points. I'll say this one went back together a lot easier than my Interarms 65 did last year. That rifle required another set of hands to get back in one piece.

A .357 functioning dummy helped keep the ejector in place during reassembly. Highly recommended if you have an 1892-type rifle. I function checked the rifle with a few of the dummies and ejection is positive but not as violent as it was originally.

Overall, the action works much more smoothly with less effort than it did before.

I also replaced the factory semi-buckhorn rear sight with a flat top sight made by Marble's. It has an insert that you can flip so that it has either a U- or V-shaped notch. It came with the U in place. I may take a file to it to make it a little larger, which will help in low light and make it faster to use.

Hopefully I'll get to shoot the rifle on Sunday to verify it works properly with live ammunition.

Sizing and Lubing Some Bullets

Recently I picked up 500 215 grain RNFP bullets from Matt's Bullets to be loaded into .44-40 cartridges. Matt uses Carnauba Red lube, which works great with smokeless powder. However, it's not compatible with black powder. So, I specially ordered this batch of bullets as-cast. I.e., unsized and unlubed.

My home cast bullets were lubed using a 50/50 mix of beeswax and mutton tallow. This is a great BP lube. However, my brother offered me the use of his RCBS Lub-A-Matic sizer and tossed in a couple sticks of SPG, a commercial BP lube.

As pictured, the sizer is attached to a Lyman universal heating unit but that's not plugged in. I'm just using the heater as a mount that can be clamped to my workbench.

The bullets from Matt's are similar to those I cast in the Accurate Molds 43-215C but with a slightly shorter ogive and the groove doesn't hold quite as much lubricant. However, it should hold enough, especially for my .44 Henry-equivalent loads (~28 grains of BP instead of 35 grains), or for shooting from revolvers. Rifles with barrels over 20" need more lube to prevent the bore from developing a hard fouling ring in the bore near the muzzle. It's less of an issue with carbines or revolvers.

Compared with my home mix, SPG is a lot softer. I was working out in my shop with the temperature in the uppers 80s and using SPG was messier than I expected.

BTW, I've placed several orders with Matt's Bullets over the past few years.. He's a pleasure to work with who delivers a top quality product. Unlike most commercial casters he doesn't make his bullets from hard alloy. Rather, he chooses alloys suitable for a particular bullet's application, which often is relatively soft. This often results in less leading because the bullets better fit the bore and so don't experience gas cutting.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Revisiting my Rossi 92 .357 Magnum Lever Action Carbine

Back in 2012 I bought a Rossi 92 carbine with a 20" barrel chambered for .357 Magnum. A few years ago my daughter expressed an interest in deer hunting so I set it up with a Bushnell TRS-25 mounted on an NOE Bullets scout rail. Since giving hunting a couple tries my daughter lost interest, so I am revisiting the Rossi's configuration.

Although functional, the rail mounted red dot spoiled the clean lines of the rifle. Also, I wasn't satisfied with the bolt mounted peep that replaced the firing pin blocking safety. It wasn't really solid, IMO. So, I've decided to go back to open irons.

This week I finally got around to installing quick detach sling studs, made by GrovTec. I had a lace-on sling intended for muzzleloaders on the rifle but it wasn't ideal. For one thing if it got wet it was a pain to remove so the buttplate and stock could dry. For a sling I got the same Hunter Company 220-1 carrying strap. Aesthetically, it looks like a simplified USGI M1907 sling, which goes nicely with a traditional levergun. I also have one each on my Interarms 65 (Rossi 92) .44-40 and my Cabela's Hawken .50 percussion muzzleloader.

I swapped out the peep for the safety delete plug I put in the rifle shortly after I bought it. While I can see the utility of the safety when unloading the rifle it's too easy to actuate. I also put the original rear sight back on the barrel.

However, the OEM rear sight is a buckhorn that blocks a lot of the target. So, tonight I put in an order with Steve's Gunz for a flat top rear sight, along with reduced power hammer and ejector springs.

The Interarms 64 has the reduced power springs and they really help slick up the action. The lighter hammer spring still ignites even hard CCI primers, and the lighter ejector spring makes the bolt easier to close and keeps the gun from sending empties into orbit. Ejected cases land near your feet, making it a lot easier to recover the brass for reloading.

While I'm waiting for the parts I have the rifle disassembled on my bench. I'll slick up the innards but making sure there aren't any burs and polishing contact points.

Incidentally, a good friend picked up a new stainless 20" Rossi 92 in .357. This is one of the guns made in the new factory and I am extremely impressed. Right out of the box it was very smooth and the external finish was excellent, with good wood to metal fit. He's an engineer and a tinkerer, so he took it down to do an action job and replace the ejector spring. Unlike the older Rossis, he said that this resulted in minimal improvement. It appears that with their new factory, Rossi has really upped their game.

Aside from recreational shooting, my friend lives on property in one of PA's special regulations areas for hunting. This was formerly a muzzleloader, shotgun, or archery only area. However, the PA Game Commission is now allowing the use of straight walled cartridges, so he's planning to use it for deer. 35 yards would be a long shot on his land so a .357 carbine is just about perfect. If I can get out there during the appropriate season I'll probably be carrying my .357.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Lucky Gunner Video on the High Standard Sentinel

I've previously written about the High Standard Sentinel R-101 I picked up earlier this year. Yesterday, Chris from Lucky Gunner posted a nice video about the Sentinel revolvers. Check it out:


Sunday, April 03, 2022

.357 Magnum / .38 Special Opinions

Over on Bushcraft USA, a member posted the following:

So, I've had this whole .357 magnum revolver idea stuck in my head about long enough now that it's kind of becoming a serious consideration.

I have no interest in concealed carry, this would be strictly a woods bumming gun.

I've owned very few handguns over the years. the two longest running are, a Contender in 7-30 Waters scoped bull barrel for about twenty years. It was fantastically accurate, but awkward to carry and shooting offhand was difficult at best. It was very barrel heavy. I traded it for a milling machine about ten years ago and as much as I enjoyed shooting it I don't miss it. It never really fit my hunting style. For deer I've always been a still hunter in very thick cover. 

I have a Ruger Bearcat .22 that it's only redeeming quality is it is light weight. I hate the fixed sights, to me that ruins the whole gun package. Also we don't have grey squirrels or cotton tails around here except in town pretty much. We can't shoot grouse with anything other than a shotgun. So snowshoe hares are the only thing to shoot with a .22.

In comes the .357.

I seem to think it would be fine for the heavy cover thick brush highly mobile style of deer hunting that I like with shots of 40 yards or less.

Loaded with .38 special it would be enough for the odd coyote or even more rare fox.

Maybe some wadcutter for small game if I wanted or just plinking and fooling around.

And realistically fooling around would probably be its primary job. 

I have most of my reloading stuff yet, so handloads are an option if I decided to go back down that rabbit hole again.


To which I replied:

My favorite handgun cartridge is .38 Special. It handles everything I need a pistol to do, with mild recoil, useful power, and excellent accuracy.

In my opinion, the most versatile handgun you can have is a medium frame .357 Magnum double action revolver with a 4" barrel. They a full sized guns but small enough for concealed carry with the right holster.

With the right ammo you can use them for target shooting, hunting game up to deer sized, training new shooters, and self defense.

Reloading .38 Special and .357 Magnum is relatively easy because they are straight walled, rimmed cases. Carbide sizing dies eliminate the need to lubricate cases. They are usable with a wide variety of powders (even black powder, since the .38 was originally designed for it). There is a huge variety of bullets available in cast, swaged, plated, powder coated, and jacketed flavors.

If you're OK with limiting yourself to single actions, Ruger makes the Blackhawk Convertible that comes with .357 and a 9mm cylinders, further increasing versatility. Taurus sells the 692 double action that comes with .357 and 9mm cylinders.

Check out the articles by Ed Harris about the .38 Special (among other things) hosted at

And of course, a .357 revolver makes a dandy companion to a lever action in the same caliber. Even full house .357s are mild to shoot in a carbine and firing .38s in a carbine is much like shooting a .22.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Applications for Licenses to Carry a Firearm up 600% in Philadelphia

This is both remarkable but not really surprising.

As of 11:59 last night, Philadelphia is up to 115 homicides for 2022 with no signs of the violence slowing down.

We live about 5 miles outside Philadelphia and my wife often has the local Fox affiliate on before work, and every day there is a report about an armed robbery and/or shootings. On Friday morning, the story was about a hold up at a Dollar General at 9th & Girard, which ended with the store manger killing the perp with a head shot. The reporter mentioned that law abiding citizens are applying for LTCF in droves and I thought the tone was actually pretty positive.

Some notes about PA firearms laws, which are generally pretty good:

Pennsylvania has a robust gun culture.

Article 1, Section 21 of the PA Constitution reads, “The right of the people to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.”

In PA, a carry permit is called a "License to Carry a Firearm." It applies to handguns and “firearms,” which under state statute includes short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and AOWs. It does not apply to knives, not does PA have a preemption law for knives and switchblades are illegal statewide.

PA has a strong preemption law that prevents local municipalities from enacting more restrictive laws than the commonwealth. Sometimes Philadelphia or Pittsburgh tries to do so and gets slapped down by the Supreme Court of PA.

Pennsylvania is a shall-issue state with applications and renewals handled by each county’s sheriff’s department. Note that in PA, the sheriffs otherwise basically provide courthouse security and prisoner transport, they are not involved with day-to-day law enforcement. That’s handled by local PDs or the PA State Police.

The state gives the sheriffs a fair amount of leeway in how they handle applications and renewals. For example, in Philly it’s my understanding they almost always call the character references provided by the applicant. In contrast, I live in Montgomery County, which borders Philly to the northwest. I’ve had a LTCF since the early 90s, renewed several times (they are good for 5 years), and never had a reference called. Regardless of the county, applicants do go through a background check administered by the State Police (the PA Insta-Check System), which is also used when you buy a gun from an FFL. PA doesn’t use NICS.

There are no training or qualification requirements for issuance of a LTCF. If you are legal to possess a firearm, you are legal to carry it once you have a LTCF. 

There are no restrictions in PA on “assault weapons,” magazine capacity, ownership of body armor, or possession of night vision gear.

Most of the state is Title II friendly. I.e., silencers, MGs, SBRs, SBSes. Large bore Destructive Devices are legal in PA (i.e., you can have a 20mm cannon) but explosive DDs are not. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Birchwood Casey Adjustable Width Target Base Stand

Last weekend I was upstate camping. As usual, we did some target shooting.

We've used a few different target holders in the past but none have been ideal. The problem we run into is that the ground is very rocky so it's hard to drive any kind of target holder into it. This time we used a Birchwood Casey stand (Amazon affiliate link) that we're very happy with. 

I added two four foot long 1"x2" boards. For the backer, I cut open the box it came in and stapled it to the boards. It's more than wide enough to hold a military SR-1 rifle target.

The Birchwood Casey base has holes in it so you can secure it to the ground with stakes, but when we need to do that we'll probably just weight it down with a couple logs.

If you do target shooting at an informal range, this definitely gets two big thumbs up.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Ruger SR22 Deep Clean

Today I gave my Ruger SR22 pistol a deep cleaning. The last time I shot it I had several rounds which failed to go off on the first hit, but which went off on the second hit on the same spot on the rim. This isn't too unusual with .22 rimfire ammo but neither of the other two pistols I shot in the same session had the same problem. So, I think I was getting the occasional light strike.

First I field stripped the Ruger and cleaned the barrel, paying particular attention to the chamber. It had some build up in it which I removed with a bronze brush and Kroil. After I was done I pushed a few dry patches through the bore. The barrel is made from stainless steel and in my environment doesn't need any oil to prevent rust.

My final check for the chamber's cleanliness was to drop several rounds into it (Remington Golden Bullet, CCI Standard Velocity, and Aguial Super Extra SV). I tried with 2 or 3 examples of each and most freely dropped all the way in. A couple required a slight touch. I expect this kind of variance in .22 rimfire ammo.

The next thing I did was to detail strip the slide so I could ensure the firing pin channel was clean and dry, and that there weren't any burrs on the firing pin itself. To do so I used the instructions here:

If you remove the breech block from an SR22 slide, be careful. There are several small parts and springs. I dropped the firing pin safety and had to get on my hands and knees to find it.

While I had it apart I lightly polished the sides, top, and bottom of the firing pin on a gunsmith's stone.

After blasting it with solvent and then with compressed air until everything was dry, I reassembled it. To prevent any oil from migrating up into the breech block I removed what oil I had on the slide and rails, and put a small dab of white lithium grease on the slide rails before putting the gun back together.

I wanted to remove the lockwork from the grip frame but that pin was really stubborn and I did not want to really wail on it at this time.

It may be a week or two before I'm able to test fire the Ruger. I'm hoping for better reliability.