Rossi Ranch Hand
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The Unique Ranch Hand is Classified as a Handgun
The Rossi Ranch Hand is a lever action repeating pistol modeled after the "Mare's Leg" shortened lever action rifle used by Steve McQueen in a television series in the late 50's and early 60's. If you are not familiar with this series, at the bottom of this page you will find a short video clip showing how this unique firearm gained its popularity on the screens of millions of viewers around 50 years ago. Rossi's Ranch Hand is considered a pistol, which bypasses federal regulations which would tack on a hefty fee for the sale of a shortened rifle. Rossi's lever action guns are based on the Winchester Model 92 lever action rifle. The Model 92 was designed by John Browning in 1892 (hence the model number) and was in production for nearly 50 years.
The Ranch Hand by Rossi is available chambered in 3 different rounds including .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum. All the standard versions have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $536, which is much more reasonable than some of the other comparable Mare's Leg firearms available for purchase. A special version of the Ranch Hand is available with a case hardened finish (as seen in the picture below) and is available for an additional cost. The MSRP on the case hardened .45 Colt model is $655.
The Rossi Ranch Hand comes with an oversized loop lever. Each model also has a gold bead front sight along with an adjustable buckhorn rear sight. Ammunition capacity is 6 rounds in the tubular magazine along with 1 round in the chamber for a total of 7 shots. The 12" barrel is long enough to make the Ranch Hand more accurate than your typical handgun, but the shorter overall length makes this gun much more compact than a normal rifle. The overall length is only 24 inches, and these guns weigh in around 4 lbs.
One of the questions that comes up is which caliber Ranch Hand to choose. The .45 Colt ammo has been around the longest and there are a variety of different loads available from mild to wild with anywhere from 300 ft-lbs all the way to 1200 ft-lbs of energy. The venerable .357 Magnum round also offers a wide selection of loads to choose from along with the capability of shooting the more economical .38 Special through the same gun. Finally, the legendary .44 Magnum round offers the greatest power of these 3 calibers. For comparisons sake, let's look at some ballistics data for typical loads in each caliber.
These are some typical numbers from some average loaded ammunition. As was mentioned, it is possible to find hot loads with as much as 1200 ft-lbs of energy in the .45 Colt round. Similarly, it is possible to find hot .357 Magnum loads with up to 800 ft-lbs. The king of the hill in this case is the .44 Magnum with hot loads capable of up to 1600 ft-lbs energy! The Ranch Hand can be used for recreation, hunting, or self defense; however, it is probably more suited to the recreational side of shooting. There are probably other guns better matched for hunting and self defense. Even so, those who have shot the Ranch Hand have found it to be both accurate and fun to shoot. If you like the concept of a compact lever action gun, then you might consider adding this Rossi Mare's Leg to your stable of firearms.