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Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Review.
By Norman Gray ©2012 POMA Member

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol

Unleaded Ink

Unleaded Ink

Arizona --(Ammoland.com)- Most of us grew up on classic westerns and a few of us are old enough remember a black-and- white TV show that aired from 1958-1961 staring Steve McQueen called “Wanted: Dead or Alive.

This show featured a soft hearted Confederate Civil War veteran (Josh Randall) who made a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.

Steve McQueen was an amazing actor, but he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did without his trusty side kick, a modified .44-40 Winchester Model 1892 called the “Mare’s Leg.” He carried it in a modified gun slingers rig that attached to his belt and tied to his leg; he could draw and fire as fast if not faster than the western outlaws he was tracking.

If you’re a fan of the show, or just want a unique piece for your collection, Rossi has made it possible to own a replica of this famous movie gun. Rossi’s version of the Mare’s Leg is called the Rand Hand which is manufactured by Taurus International Manufacturing Inc. in Brazil.

Rossi gives you the choice of three calibers to pick from, .38 /.357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and the .45 Long Colt. The sample I requested had to be the .45 Long Colt as it is a well known symbol of the old west and made famous by Samuel Colts Single Action Army known as the Peacemaker which was carried by many heroes and villains alike. Its stopping power was legendary for the time and still is today. Most cowboys carried a rifle and revolver that used the same cartridge; they carried only one type of ammunition and gave them the ability to take close and long shots.

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol and Gear

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol and Gear

There are two models of the Rossi Ranch hand available in the .45 Long Colt, the Model RH92-57203 which has a case hardened receiver and retails for $655.00 and the RH92-57121 which is a normal matt blue receiver and retails for $579.00. The features are the same; it just comes down to what you prefer and all Rossi firearms carry their lifetime repair policy even on used models. When I received the Ranch Hand I had mixed feelings for this little pistol, but as time passed I found it very fun to shoot and hard to put down. The 4 lb unloaded weight of the pistol absorbs the recoil of the .45 Colt very well and using both hands holding it at arm’s length it’s easy to control.

The Ranch Hand can be fired with one hand, although you will need the other to work the action effectively for successive shots. The action was smooth right out of the box and becomes even smoother with use. When the trigger is pulled and the round fires and you work the oversized loop lever forward, two locking bars retract downward allowing the bolt to move rearward and extract the case and eject it upwards with force. A fresh round is ejected from the magazine and positioned in front of the chamber and when the loop lever is pulled back, it pushes the round into the chamber. All this happens in the blink of an eye and with practice you can shoot all seven rounds in less than ten seconds. This being said you should always wear shooting glasses as the empties are ejected strait up and can hit you in the eyes.

The stock measures about eight inches from the receiver and merely acts as a hand hold for your shooting hand and was never meant to be placed on your shoulder. Since it ejects spent cases upwards, left handed shooting is no problem. You can either shoot from the hip or hold it at arm’s length and aim using the windage adjustable gold bead front sight and the elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight.

Using the sights the Ranch Hand is very accurate with a steady hold, but if you hip shoot it will take a little practice to get the bullets to go where you want them too, and did I mention it’s a lot of fun mastering this skill as well?

The wood foregrip is a bit small and as rapid fire heats up the barrel slipping off the foregrip can burn a finger or two. A leather smith suggested wrapping a leather collar around the foregrip and barrel in front of the buckhorn sight using either stitching or snaps to combat this issue.

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Safety Lever

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Safety Lever

The Trigger pull is light and measures a little over 3.5 pounds and the hammer is large and easy to manually cock. The first cocked position is called the half cock position and pulling the trigger while in the position will not allow the hammer to fall. Continue pulling the hammer all the way back places and the Ranch Hand in the firing position. On top of the bolt in front of the hammer you will find the manual safety with a green S and a red F. To place the Ranch Hand in the safe position the safety lever must be rotated counterclockwise fully so that the lever covers the red and exposes the green. The left side of the receiver you’ll find a saddle ring which was originally used to secure the rifle to the rider so he would not drop it while riding his horse. On the right side of the receiver you’ll find the magazine loading port which accepts 6 rounds and one in the chamber; you’ll have seven rounds to take care of business.

The overall length of the Ranch Hand is 24 inches and 12 inches of that is barrel. The barrel is cradled by a wood forearm that uses a barrel band to hold the wood to the barrel. In front of the forearm the magazine tube and barrel are joined by another barrel band making the fit tight even after many round have been fired. The wood stock and forend is unfinished Brazilian Pine and the fit and finish of the Ranch Hand is rustic. It reflects the Wild West heritage and is ready for many miles in a saddle scabbard. The feature that catches your eye is the oversized cocking loop and this is the one feature that makes the Ranch Hand really fun to shoot even with gloves.

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Side View

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Side View

However you choose to carry the Ranch Hand whether on horseback or your hip, there is some great quality leather available through the Hunter Company. They make a “Trapper Holster,” for your leg much like the one used by Woody Harrelson in the movie Zombie Land and “wanted: Dead or Alive.” The other is the holster / scabbard which can be used with a horse’s saddle or belt. Either way with the Ranch Hand loaded with your favorite ammunition, say TEN-X Ammo’s 250 RNFP you will be toting about 4.9 lbs.

Shooting the Ranch Hand is like stepping back in time, but it will handle all modern and cowboy loads. I feel with the right ammunition there is no task this pistol can’t handle from target shooting to deer hunting. For my accuracy/chronograph tests I used four types of manufactured ammunition:

Manufacturer – Grain Bullet – Type – Avg. Vel (FPS) – Std Dev. – Best Group

  • Doubletap – 165 – Barnes Tac-XP – 1239.2 – 37.6
  • Barnes VOR TX – 200 – XPB Hollow Point – 1208.6 – 30.2
  • TEN-X Ammunition – 250 – Round Nose Flat Point – 838.7 – 13.3
  • TEN-X Ammunition – 200 – Round Nose Flat Point – 804.6 – 20.7 2.0”
  • Winchester – 250 – Lead Flat Nose – 815.4 – 14.0
Hunter Company Trapper - Ranch Hand-Style Holster

Hunter Company Trapper – Ranch Hand-Style Holster

Accuracy results are three-shot groups at 25 yards off a MTM K Zone shooting rest. Velocities are the average of 9 shots measured on a Master Shooting Chrony at 15 feet.

All the .45 Long Colt ammunition provided functioned flawlessly through the Ranch Hand with only one round of the Winchester not firing because of a bad primer. Another small problem encountered was in feeding wad cutter type bullets into the chamber, more rounded types fed reliably as expected. Accuracy was amazing for this pistol with the best group being 1.5 inches at 25 yards coming from a Rainier 300 grain TCJ backed by 22 grains of Winchester 296. The TEN-X 200 grain RNFP gave me the best group with among the manufactured ammunition at 2” at 25 yards. One drawback I can see now is the cost of ammunition, basic .45 Long Colt is selling on average for $35 and up for a box of 50 rounds. To combat this growing problem hand loading/reloading is becoming a must and there are companies like Rainier Ballistics who help take the bite out of shooting firearms like the Ranch Hand. They supply lead safe copper plated bullets for the .45 LC in 250 and 300 Grain TCJ (Total Copper Jacket) varieties.

For my tests I reloaded the once fired mixed cases using a variety of bullets from different manufacturers and used Winchester large pistol primers.

Manufacturer: Grain: Bullet Type: Powder: Avg. Vel (FPS): SD:

  • Barnes Bullets – 225 – XPB Hollow Point – 24 X Alliance Powder’s – 2400 1796.4 – 17.9
  • Rainier Ballistics – 230 – Total Copper Jacket – 7.2 X Winchester – 231 952.7 – 20.6
  • Rainier Ballistics – 250 – Total Copper Jacket – 10 X Alliance Powder’s Unique – 1178.0 – 25.4
  • Rainier Ballistics – 250 – Total Copper Jacket – 6.2 X Hodgdon Tite Group – 946.2 – 26.8
  • Rainier Ballistics – 300 – Total Copper Jacket – 22 X Winchester 296 – 1408.8 – 10.0
  • Rainier Ballistics – 300 – Total Copper Jacket – 18 X Hodgdon Lil’Gun – 1316.1 – 14.3
  • Sierra Bullets - 300 – Jacketed Soft Point – 20.5 X Winchester 296 – 1214.0 – 25.1

Accuracy results are three-shot groups at 25 yards off a MTM K Zone shooting rest. Velocities are the average of 9 shots measured on a Master Shooting Chrony at 15 feet.

When using a .45 LC revolver or tubular feed magazine, it’s important to remember that the jacketed bullets need a cannelure. This keeps the bullet from being pushed back into the case while in a tubular feed magazine and from shifting from the force of recoil in a revolver. In the case of the Rainier or any other metal plated bullets, they are soft enough to be roll crimped. If you have copper jacketed bullets without a cannelure such as 230 grain .45 ACP bullets, you can purchase a canneluring tool that mounts to your reloading table too give them a cannelure yourself. This gives you a cheaper and readily available source of bullets. Also remember the powder charge for copper jacketed bullets will be higher than metal plated bullets as these bullets are softer and easier to drive down the barrel. Use lead bullet data for cowboy loads or use the medium charge listings from your loading manual.

I can recommend this pistol to anyone who likes or loves the allure of the old west, the .45 Long Colt and lever action rifles. It is loads of fun and can serve in other rolls as well including, home and personal protection and short range hunting without optics. As of this writing there are no mounts available for the Ranch Hand I have found. As I mentioned earlier the Hunter Company provides quality leather products for the Ranch Hand so you can carry and/or transport your Ranch Hand on two legs or four. .45 LC ammunition tends to be on the expensive side, but good ammunition usually is, reloading can take the bite out that cost and companies like Ten-X Ammunition offer reloading services using your cases a reduced rate.

One of the things I love to do as a shooter is let other shooters have an opportunity to experience the firearms I test. On average I offered about 10 or more people the opportunity to shoot the Ranch Hand at my local range. I can only guess their shooting abilities, but they range from novice to very experienced. When I first offer them the chance to shoot the Ranch Hand I saw apprehension, but it quickly changed to excitement and smiles after the first shot. I asked them what they liked most about it and the general consensus was its different and fun and most said it would be a great pack pistol or vehicle gun. All of them came away with a fond memory of the Ranch Hand and my friend Rick loved it so much he offered to buy it on the spot.

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Saddle Ring

Rossi Ranch Hand Pistol Saddle Ring: the saddle ring while historic tends to get in the way sometimes and while just a minor inconvenience it can be removed.

As far as pro’s and con’s, the saddle ring while historic tends to get in the way sometimes and while just a minor inconvenience it can be removed. When firing full power loads, make sure you hold on tight as the Ranch Hand will buck out of your hand. Keep the pistol at arm’s length as the stock will not feel good against your chin. It is easy to aim, fire and cycle and cleanings are a breeze, ammo is plentiful and reloading components are easy to find for this historic cartridge. The safety while unattractive on the top of the bolt does serve to make this loaded pistol safer; of course it is up to you if you choose to use it. I prefer the use of the half cock as my safety as it allows for fast shots by simply pulling the hammer back fully. Whatever job you choose for the Rossi Ranch Hand it will deliver and after about 500 rounds we were still having fun doing it.

  • Model: RH92-57121
  • Status: Available
  • Caliber: .45 COLT
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • Barrel Length: 12”
  • Wood: Brazilian Pine
  • Action: Lever Action Repeating Pistol
  • Finish: Matte Blue
  • UPC: 6-62205-98505-8
  • Weight: 4 LBS Unloaded
  • Warranty: Lifetime Repair policy
  • MSRP: $579.00
Rossi USA: www.rossiusa.com
Phone: (305) 474-0401 Fax: (305) 623-7506
Mailing Address: 16175 NW 49 Avenue, Miami, FL 33014

Sources:

Norman Gray ©2012 (POMA Member)

About Norman Gray:
Norman Gray has been involved in the shooting sports for well over 30 years. He has served in both active duty and reserve component of the United States Army as an Infantryman and was honorably discharged at the end of his service. Moving to Arizona, he began assisting his long time friend and mentor Bob Shell, an accomplished writer and author in his own right. Norman is freelance contributor with Handguns Magazine, Canadian Firearms Journal and Manzano Valley Outdoors. He is also a member of (POMA) The Professional Outdoor Media Association, the (NSSF) National Shooting Sports Foundation and a Life Member of the (NRA) National Rifle Association. Visit: http://www.unleaded-ink.blogspot.com/

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