Cimarron .45 Colt Model 1892 Lever Action Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 13th, 2007




Click for video!

The Model 1892 Winchester is one of the great rifles of all time. It was designed at the request of Winchester Repeating Arms Company by John Browning as a scaled down version of the Model 1886 rifle. The Model 1886 was ideal to handle the large rifle cartridges of the day, but Winchester wanted a handier, lighter, and stronger replacement for their Model 1873 rifle, which handled the shorter cartridges that were popular with shooters, hunters, and frontiersmen. The story goes that T.G. Bennett, Oliver Winchester’s son-in-law, offered Browning a ten thousand dollar bonus if he could deliver the design in ninety days, or fifteen thousand if delivered in sixty days.  Browning countered with an offer to deliver the rifle in half that time if Bennett would double the offer. Bennett agreed, and to his surprise, Browning delivered. Bennett paid the twenty grand, which was a lot of money in the late nineteenth century, and began manufacture on one of Winchester’s best selling rifles.

The rifle that Browning delivered is what was introduced as the Model 1892, commonly called the Model 92 today. It is a superb levergun, efficiently handling cartridges such as the .32, .38, and .44 WCF cartridges originally, and today the 92 is manufactured by others and chambered for the .38 Special, .357 magnum, .44 magnum, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, and the .480 Ruger cartridges, in addition to the originals. Versions have also been chambered for the .218 Bee, and probably a few others that I have forgotten.

When introduced, the Model 1892 was welcomed in large numbers, with over a million produced over the following five decades. It was a strong, handy, and very reliable lever action rifle, and was made as short-barreled carbines, full length rifles, short rifles, and even as full-stocked military muskets.

Today, it is left to foreign manufacturers to build the Model 92. Rossi in Brazil has been producing the rifles for many years, along with Armi San Marco in Italy for a while also. Now, Armi Sport of Italy is also producing the Model 92 rifles and carbines, and Cimarron Firearms in Fredericksburg, Texas is bringing in  Armi Sport rifles built to their high standards.  There were some reliability problems with a few of the early guns, and Cimarron rejected them until the hiccups could be corrected. They wanted the guns to be right before placing them on the market. That puts me about a year later than I had hoped to be able to get a production gun for review, but it has finally arrived, and was definitely worth the wait.

My first impression was that this is one beautiful levergun! The fit and finish are very good, the quality of the walnut is exceptional, and the colors of the case hardened receiver are gorgeous. Then, I cycled the action. I had handled a few Cimarron 92s at SHOT in Orlando that were equally as slick, but show guns usually are. However, this Model 92 is without a doubt the slickest-working action that I have ever handled on a levergun, and I have handled plenty, including several old Winchesters.  I immediately called Cimarron, thinking that they had cherry-picked a rifle for me, but the lady that ships these out swears that she just pulled a box off the shelf.  This Model 92 will certainly run, and is smoother than most Model 1873 rifles, a design that is widely held to be much smoother than a 92...and they usually are. We included a video in this review that just shows the Cimarron cycling a load that many leverguns choke on, that being a .45 Colt case loaded with a .45 ACP 200 grain target wadcutter bullet. Most leverguns prefer a round-nosed bullet for reliable feeding, but the Cimarron did not care. If the cartridge overall length was within specs, the Cimarron would smoothly feed it.

As they should, the Cimarron rifles have the curved steel rifle buttplate and rifle-type forend cap, which are both case hardened to match the receiver, lever, hammer, and trigger. The action uses the original type leaf spring, which no doubt contributes to its smoothness of operation. There are no ridiculous safety levers added as afterthoughts to the Cimarron as can be found on some other Model 92 rifles. The action works perfectly well, and is perfectly safe to operate just as designed by John Browning well over one hundred years ago. The hammer has the proven and traditional half-cock safety notch, and it serves very well. The front sight on the 1892 is a blade that is set in a dovetail base, allowing for windage correction by loosening a small screw and drifting the base opposite the direction that the shooter wishes to move the bullet impact. The rear sight is elevation adjustable with the sliding ladder, and windage adjustable by loosening a small screw and drifting the sight in the direction in which the shooter wishes to move the bullet impact.

Loading the 1892 Cimarron was simple and easy, sliding up to thirteen .45 Colt cartridges into the loading gate located on the right side of the receiver. Chambering a cartridge and topping off the magazine gives the shooter fourteen powerful .45 Colt cartridges at his disposal before reloading. One of the great advantages of most leverguns is that the magazine can be topped off at any time during a lull in the action. There is no need to take the rifle out of the fight to reload. Many shooters overlook the levergun as a fighting rifle, but it served well in that role for decades. A good, reliable lever action rifle or carbine is an excellent fighting weapon.  As a hunting rifle, the 1892 is limited only by the shooter’s ability to accurately place his shots using the open sights. For such work, the Cimarron is drilled for a tang sight to be easily added if desired, and for most of us, that addition makes the rifle easier to shoot accurately.  As is, I would not hesitate to take the .45 Colt Cimarron after whitetail deer out to one hundred yards, and a hunter with better eyes could stretch that distance a bit farther. Any longer range than that, I will happily plink away at rocks and other inanimate targets, but won’t shoot at game with a rifle sighted this way. Nothing at all wrong with the sights, it is just my limited ability to use them well. At longer range, I need a peep sight of some type, whether tang or receiver mounted.

The trigger pull measured an average of just under three pounds on my Lyman gauge. The excellent trigger pull on the Cimarron contributed to its ease of shooting well at targets, and at twenty-five yards paper targets, the rifle would put my handloads into the same ragged hole, as long as I did my part. Using a Merit attachment to my shooting glasses, I did just that a few times. For use on game such as deer and hogs, Buffalo Bore makes an excellent load that uses a 300 grain jacketed flatpoint bullet, and the load is not Plus P rated, meaning that it is suitable for any good .45 Colt chambered rifle or handgun that is in good mechanical condition, and made for smokeless loads. The Cimarron is certainly plenty strong enough to handle the ammunition. Buffalo Bore rates this load at 1200 feet-per-second (fps) from a handgun, and it clocked 1523 fps out of the Cimarron 1892 rifle’s twenty-four inch barrel. Weighing in at six and three-quarters pounds, the Cimarron is light and handy enough to carry well, but has enough heft that the 300 grain Buffalo Bore standard pressure loads were very comfortable to shoot. This is an excellent load for the rifle, and it will penetrate any whitetail made from either side, and most of them lengthwise.  The load shot right at the top of the sights at twenty-five yards with the ladder in its lowest position, and was just a bit low at one hundred.  For hunting, this load would definitely be my choice. I tried several other factory loads through the Cimarron, and again, if they were not excessively long, they cycled just fine.

For carrying afield, nothing carries like a ‘92. That wonderfully round receiver bottom is ideal to comfortably tote the rifle all day long. Even with the twenty-four inch barrel, the Cimarron carries very well for me.

The octagon barrel on the 1892 adds a little to the forward balance, and the rifle hangs very well on target, without seeming unbalanced. It has just the right feel to it; not light and whippy, but balanced with just a bit of forward heft to make it feel like a real rifle, which it certainly is.

Cimarron offers this rifle chambered for your choice of the .38 Special/.357 magnum, .44 WCF (.44-40), .44 magnum, or the .45 Colt cartridge, in either solid frame or takedown models.

I really like this Cimarron rifle very much. If I decide to buy it, I will most likely add a Firesight to the front and an XS Sights ghost ring receiver aperture at the rear, to better suit my aging eyes.  The rifle ain’t cheap, as quality never is, but with Cimarron, you get your money’s worth. This would be a superb rifle for Cowboy Action Shooting just as is, with no need to have the action slicked up, as it is very slick already.  It is a quality-built 1892, and I think that John Browning would approve.

For more information on this and other Cimarron firearms, go online to:

To order Buffalo Bore high performance premium hunting and fighting ammunition, go to:

If all of Cimarron’s Model 92 rifles are as good as this one, they definitely have a real winner, both in competition, and in the hands of hunters and shooters.  I highly recommend it.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Cimarron .45 Colt Model 1892 Lever Action Rifle.





Size comparison: Cimarron 1892 (left), 16-inch Puma Model 92 (right).



Even with the longer barrel, the Cimarron 1892 carries easily.





Full-length magazine attaches to barrel in two places.





A nice touch: the rifle is already drilled for a tang sight.





Action uses a traditional leaf hammer spring.







Sights consist of traditionally styled sliding ladder style rear (top), and dovetailed blade front (bottom).



Front sight blade is adjustable for windage by loosening a set screw.





Barrel markings are aesthetically pleasing to the levergun purist...



...Well, most of 'em, anyway!



Buffalo Bore's 300-grain JHP load is a fine choice for field use.



Jeff loves Model 1892 rifles, and this Cimarron is one of the finest examples available.