There are not a lot of products that surpass the century mark, but this year Winchester honors one such gun. The Model 1892, which turns 125, is treated to an anniversary model with engraving and fancy wood. History shows this rifle was extremely popular in the early stages of its production; only 40 years after its introduction it passed the 1 million mark in sales. When it made its debut you could order the rifle in the .44-40, .38-40, .32-20, and later in 1895 the .25-20 was available.
Further, the rifle was available with a veritable laundry list of custom features—barrel lengths, stocks, sights and triggers. And this new anniversary model looks like a custom rifle. All of the metal is highly polished blue, except for the flanks of the receiver, which are treated to scroll engraving in a perfect floral design easily traced to the work of the masters of the last century. It is obviously laser etched, as full hand engraving would certainly surpass the rifle’s affordable $1,800 price tag.
The breechblock is highly polished, with the locking bolts in a contrasting satin, natural color. The bottom of the receiver is polished, blued and includes the special serial number of the series.
The hammer is nicely curved like the original and is finished off with a block of fine-line checkering, which will help keep your finger from slipping. The top tang sports a safety lever. Even with it on Safe, the hammer will fall but will not contact the firing pin.
The trigger pull on my sample registered six pounds. That’s heavy but is probably not an issue because most people won’t hunt with or shoot this gun a lot. The extreme rear of the top tang is drilled and tapped for an optional peep sight of your choice.
Presently chambered for .357 Mag., .44 Mag., .44-40 Win. and .45 Colt, the 24-inch sporter barrel takes full advantage to the ballistics of these cartridges. Button rifled, it follows the tradition of the older guns with the optional half-round, half-octagon barrel. The buckhorn rear sight is easily adjustable for elevation, but you’ll need to drift it for windage. The front sight features a gold bead. The full-length magazine tube has a capacity of 13 rounds in .357.
Naturally, a gun of this caliber deserves presentation-grade wood, and Winchester fills the bill nicely with each gun having Grade IV to Grade V wood. On my sample, the wood was definitely first class with some feathering on the right side (Grade IV) with a full burst of figure on the left side (Grade V).
This fore-end’s wood had the same color and grain pattern as the buttstock. Overall fitting of the stock to the action was perfect, especially around the tang area where numerous curves and angles would give the traditional stock maker fits. The fore-end fits tightly along the barrel and is finished off with a fore-end cap secured by twin screws from each side.
The wood is finished in a smooth patina reminding one of the oil finishes used in days gone by. The buttplate is steel and so closely fitted that it looked like it was molded to the stock. The traditional Winchester logo is dead center on this buttplate; there are no sling swivels.
For checkering, Winchester cut a point pattern with a border that enhances the custom look. It was interesting to note how the checkering hugged the upper tang with a meeting of the pattern under the stock in a flawless match, coming to a point almost four inches to the rear of the lever. The matching fore-end checkering wraps fully around.
The Winchester Model 1892 is a gun with deep history, and this special 125th anniversary gun is the perfect rifle for the history buff, collector and even a shooter who may want to shoot a box of ammo through it before placing it over the mantle or handing it down to a son or daughter.