“The Mare’s Leg” It’s 1866 and Civil War veteran and bounty hunter Josh Randall strolls across the town square with purpose. He stops at the public bulletin board just outside of the town Marshall’s office and glares at a newly posted wanted poster. The poster depicts a murderer that’s WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE. Josh Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine, called the “Mare’s Leg,” in a holster patterned after the “gunslinger” rigs of the day. The mare’s leg he carried was caliber 44-40, a common pistol caliber round of the day. Steve Mc Queen portrayed bounty hunter Josh Randall and all the men of my generation know that Steve Mc Queen was considered the essence of cool in his time.
Well now you too can purchase and shoot a Mare’s leg lever action pistol. Manufactured by Rossi Firearms of Brazil, the current Mare’s leg can be had in several pistol calibers: .38/.357 mag, .44 magnum, and .45 long colt. The Rossi model 92 hybrid, dubbed the “Ranch Hand”, is a “24 inch lever action pistol that features an adjustable buck horn rear sight, a milled brass bead front sight and an oversize loop lever that allows positive manipulation with gloved hands”. The receiver is cast steel and is richly blued. The shortened butt stock and fore stock are made of rich grained Brazilian hardwood.
The Ranch Hand weighs a hefty four (4) pounds, has an advertised trigger pull of 5 pounds 7 ounces, (about the same as the double action trigger pull on a good revolver). On the left side of the receiver there is a saddle ring (keeping with the style of the original Winchester Model 1892) it comes with a leather string included. The Ranch Hand’s 12″ barrel complies with federal regulations as it’s classified as a pistol. The Rossi Ranch Hand has two manual safeties, one on top of the receiver that’s marked with a green (S) for safe, and a red (F) for fire. The other safety is that with the rifle on half cock the trigger is blocked and cannot be activated. (It must be said that Rossi does NOT consider the half cock as a viable safety, and does NOT recommend anything other than the manual safety on top of the receiver near the rear buck horn sight as a viable safety mechanism.)
The Rossi Ranch Hand also features a key lock safety that is located just behind the hammer, and this feature allows the owner to lock up the weapon to prevent unauthorized usage. The m.s.r.p. for the Rossi Ranch hand is listed at $536.00, but actual retail prices will vary. At the time of this article Shooter’s Corner had a Rossi Ranch Hand in their display case for sale. Well as anyone knows, the accuracy of a firearm is the bench mark from which it will be judged. I’ve researched this information and from one new Ranch Hand owner I got this response. “I couldn’t be happier with my .45 long colt caliber Ranch hand. With a little adjustment of the sights, I was dead on target at 25 yards, and held within 1.5” at 50 yards.”
Remember folks this is a pistol caliber weapon, and that’s great accuracy for a pistol. Josh Randall usually fired his Mare’s Leg by placing the butt stock on his right hip, holding the fore stock with his left hand, and operating the loop lever with his right. I suspect that many of the new Mare’s Leg owners will do the same. I believe that walking a tin can (shooting it repeatedly to make it move and fly) will be the method that many rounds are fired from this unique firearm.
I’ve not seen any holsters advertised for the Rossi Ranch Hand “Mare’s leg” at the time of this article, but I suspect that Tex Shoemaker http://www.texshoemaker.com will custom make any holster you request at the right price. You too can have a belt rig like Wanted: Dead or Alive star Josh Randall that will increase your fun factor with the Ranch Hand. I hope you have enjoyed the review of this new pistol and will consider it when deciding your next firearm purchase. Mine will probably be of the .44 magnum caliber and I will wait for the stainless steel version that Rossi is sure to release soon. It will be a great companion to my .44 magnum Colt Anaconda for hog hunting. Till next time, shoot safely, practise often, and be sure to join and support the NRA to protect your gun rights.