Okay, I have to admit it — it's not tactical, it's not "new," it's not concealable, and it's not even available in Flat Dark Earth, but I just love the Rossi Ranch Hand mare's leg-style "pistol!" I mean, who wouldn't? It was the gun of choice of the Coolest Man on Earth, Steve McQueen, as bounty hunter Josh Randall in one of the coolest television series ever, "Wanted Dead or Alive:"
It was the gun of choice of the Coolest Woman on Earth, Gina Torres, as Zoe Washburne in the Number One Coolest Television Series, "Firefly:"
And, finally, it was the gun of choice of the Coolest Actor Presently Working, Woody Harrelson, as Tallahassee in the Coolest Zombie Historical Document, "Zombieland:"
There's always been a lot of interest in the mare's leg style guns, but the issue has been until very recently the idiotic provisions of the 1934 Firearms Act. Since the gun is a pistol version of the Winchester '92, it falls under the SBR provisions of the Firearms Act and requires the paperwork and a tax stamp for ownership. (You all know that the Steve McQueen original was a cut-down 44-40 original Winchester '92, right?).
However, with the rise of cowboy action shooting and the rebirth of so many of the older guns, 1892 clone receivers have been available...these receivers were never manufactured into rifles, so by law they could be used to make original pistols. The first one's were made by Jim Buchanan, the custom gunsmith at J.B. Custom, first using receivers from Brazil, then from Chiappa in Italy (J.B. owns the registered trademark on "Mare's Leg," BTW). Jim is now offering a 30-30 version...yee-haw! There's legal heat between J.B. and Rossi-owner Taurus, as reported on The Firearm Blog, but I have no idea how that is going...read the comments as well.
Chiappa also offers their own version, the 1892 Lever Action Pistol, including a really neat take-down version, but I've only seen them at trade shows and not in the pipeline.
The Rossi versions, made in Brazil, are just coming on-line, and I have never seem a gun that attracts so much attention!
Machinegun Tours retail store in Denver, which is the ultimate rock-and-roll gun store. When I hauled it our of the box, the place stopped dead...in a universe of hi-speed low-drag full auto, everybody wanted to handle the Ranch Hand. Alan immediately ordered one for himself and plans to use it in the next Zoot Suit Shoot as a pick-up weapon.
It shoots like, well, an ungainly pistol. I put some Corbon 24o-gr Hunter JHPs though it and, predictably they were hot...if you weren't seriously holding onto the forearm (if you're using a 2-handed grip), it'll snap your hand loose. One-handed, it had a pretty stout kick, but it does weigh 4 pounds with its 12-inch barrel. When I changed over to my own light .44 Magnum loads (200-gr @ 850 fps), it was a sweetheart to shoot. On a whim I tried .44 Special cowboy loads, and the little '92 fed them just fine. With the light recoiling loads, you can shoot it like a little bitty rifle, perfect if you should be set upon by a pack of little bitty people riding Shetland ponies!
I'm not crazy about the larger loop, although it's consistent with at least the last version of the 3 "Wanted Dead or Alive" originals. Given my druthers I'd like to have one roughly the size of the Marlin levers manufactured by Wild West Guns, then wrapped in leather a la cowboy action shooting guns:
Lacking that, my inclination would be to go back to a standard loop lever. I carried the gun throughout the zombie shooting in a one-off Mernickle "backpack" type holster that placed the butt of the Rand Hand under my right hand (in theory) when I reached up for it. Must say, looks considerably cooler than it works! Like being strapped in some weird bondage gear...LOL! I'm going to have go with a regular leg holster on my next foray into Zombie World. There are a whole bunch of such things around, more or less like this one from Replica Weaponry:
Bottom line? I love this gun! It's a blast to shoot, and it is death on zombies! Two thumbs up and a big ole shake of the tail feathers to Rossi!