Like many of you, I grew up watching a
variety of television Westerns, along with a rare visit to a
picture show to see how people lived and died in the Old West.
It mattered not whether the characters in those shows were true
depictions of life on the frontier, to me, those shows told a
true tale of the everyday life of cowboys, storekeepers, lawmen,
and thugs, trying to scratch out a living in the Old West. I
feel sorry for kids today. The TV is full of decrepit mutated
monsters and machines which transform into other decrepit
mutated monsters and machines, flying all over creation,
shooting laser beams which are about as accurate as a
poorly-thrown hedge apple. Makes no sense to me. Used to be,
things were simpler for a boy watching the TV. Good guys fought
the bad guys, and it was easy to tell which was which. Shows
were Saturday staples. I greatly preferred these realistic shows
to the “singing cowboy” type of show. Too many rhinestones
and frilly girls in those shows for me. The serious type of
Western was what I liked, where every week, somebody needed a
good thumping, and there was always a good guy ready to apply a
bullet or a hard fist to solve whatever problem needed solving.
Life was good. In most of those old shows, the bounty hunter was
always a bad guy, except for one short-lived TV series which ran
for about three years, called “Wanted:
Dead or Alive”. In that series, the bounty hunter was the
good guy. The supposed star of that show was Steve
McQueen, but to me, and many others, the real star was his
Mare’s Leg; a cut-down Winchester Model 92 levergun. Carried
in a leg holster, that sawed-off levergun could do anything.
Quick into action, it was always ready to apply justice when
While Winchester did make some short-barreled
“Trapper” models of their leverguns, the rifle that McQueen
carried was built just for the show, with a shortened barrel and
buttstock. It also had an enlarged loop lever for quick handling
with one hand. While chambered for the .44 WCF cartridge,
McQueen carried the larger .45-70 cartridges in his belt for
McQueen’s Mare’s Leg has been replicated
before, and cutting down a rifle to this configuration requires
permission from the government and a $200 tax to do it legally.
Manufacturing the Mare’s Leg as a pistol avoids that legal
pitfall, and it has been done on a small scale just a few years
ago. Now however, Legacy Sports is marketing the Mare’s Leg
shown here as a Puma 92 Bounty Hunter pistol, and doing so by
placing the 92 pistol among its already extensive lineup of
Model 92 rifles and carbines. The Puma rifles are now made by
Chiappa in Italy, and no longer wear a manual safety atop the
bolt, as they did when they were built by Rossi in Brazil. The
new 92 Pumas have very smooth actions, excellent workmanship,
and are well-fitted.
The Puma 92 pistol shown here displays very
good craftsmanship. The walnut is finished with a satin sheen.
The bluing is a deep blue-black, and exhibits flawless
polishing. The case colors on the receiver, hammer, lever,
trigger, buttplate, and barrel bands are very well done. The
barrel is of round configuration, twelve inches long, and wears
a set of rugged and reliable sights. The wood is very
well-fitted to the receiver. On the left side is a blued saddle
ring and ring stud, which is a nice touch. The lever loop is
plenty large for a gloved hand, or for spinning the pistol to
work the action, if desired. Loading the pistol is accomplished
by sliding the cartridges through the loading gate on the right
side, just like with a 92 rifle or carbine. The magazine tube
holds six cartridges, for a total loaded capacity of seven. The
hammer has the traditional half-cock notch to safely carry the
pistol with a round in the chamber. The 92 pistol weighs in at
four pounds, six ounces, and has an overall length of
twenty-three and one-eighth inches. The trigger pull weight
measured a crisp two pounds, seven ounces.
Shooting the Puma 92 pistol was a lot of fun,
whether horsing around and shooting from the hip, and hitting
almost nothing at which I aimed, or when accuracy testing from
the bench. The sample pistol shown here is chambered for the .45
Colt cartridge, but chamberings of .44 WCF (.44-40) and .44
Magnum are also available. Most of my shooting of the pistol was
using one of my favorite handloads, which has a Mt.
Baldy 270 SAA bullet atop 6.6 grains of Trail
Boss powder. This is a fun plinking load, but is plenty
accurate for more serious purposes as well. The cartridges fed
smoothly from the magazine, and there were no failures to fire
nor to eject. With this bullet, the cartridge overall length has
to be carefully maintained to not exceed the length that will
cycle through the action, but that is no problem, as the
bullet’s crimping groove will allow that length to be
maintained. The Bounty Hunter pistol would cluster this load
tightly at twenty-five yards, firing from a hand-held rested
position. If I could see better, I think that they would all go
into the same hole, and the elevation was dead on at that range
with that load also. The rear sight can be drift-adjusted for
windage correction, if needed.
Legacy Sports also sells a couple of
different holsters for the Puma pistol, made by Bob
Mernickle. I did not have the holster here for review, but
if Bob Mernickle makes it, it will definitely be a quality rig,
built from the best materials, and crafted to perfection. They
sell both right and left-handed rigs, along with a pack holster,
and one of these Mernickle rigs would be a needed accessory to
complete this nostalgic package.
The Puma 92 Bounty Hunter pistol offers a
nostalgic trip back to the Old West, whether the way it was, or
the way it should have been. It is more than just a replica of a
TV gun, but could also serve well as a gun to carry on a
backpack, or as a compact camp gun. Smaller than any rifle, but
easier to shoot well than many handguns, the Bounty Hunter is a
unique, reliable, powerful, and accurate pistol that is
different than anything currently available.
Check out the entire line of Puma rifles,
carbines, pistols, and shotguns online at www.legacysports.com.
To order Puma firearms online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
The Mernickle holster rig arrived from Legacy
Sports, and as anticipated, it is a first class rig all the way.
While strapping it on, I realized that I was putting it on over
a Mernickle belt that I have been wearing everyday for about
seven years, and it is as sturdy and useful today as it was
the first day that I put it on. Bob Mernickle's holsters and
belts are built to last, and this one certainly has held up
perfectly. Anyway, the rig built for this Bounty Hunter is
expertly crafted, and really completes this nostalgic package.
The cartridge loops are spaced correctly, and just for the heck
of it, in addition to the .45 Colt cartridges placed in the
loops, I stuck in a few .45-70 cartridges as well, like McQueen
did into his rig. This is a very high quality leather rig, and I
highly recommend it to anyone who buys this dandy little
Here to order the Puma gun leather for the Bounty Hunter pistol.
|To buy this gun online, go to:
Got something to say about this article?
Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to
go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.