I have been a fan The Rifleman since the early 1970s. I had to watch it in reruns on a local UHF station, since I was born after the show went off the air. Five afternoons a week I would watch Lucas shoot his rifle so fast, that I thought "Wow, how did he do that?!" After an absence of more than twenty years, "The Rifleman" is back on the air. This time, it is shown five evenings a week on a different local UHF station, but the attraction, for me, is the same: "Wow, what a cool rifle! How did he do that?!". Enter the Internet: now, I could find out more about "The Rifleman", and, more importantly, that cooooool rifle!
After some poking around the 'net, I discovered that Lucas McCain's rifle is a Winchester 1892, .44-40. Well, I wanted one, but had never owned a rifle, and a good, old '92 would set me back a bit. Since it appeared that Winchester never produced a lever action rifle with a large loop lever, I really had my work cut out for me. My choices were further limited by the fact that Interarms, an importer of Brazilian-made Rossi '92 copies that could be bought with large loop levers, went out of business. Lucky for me, the new Henry Repeating Arms Company had just come out with the H001L .22LR carbine, with a large loop lever. ...and, I could afford it! Since .22 Long Rifle ammunition is cheap, and I wanted to actually shoot "Lucas McCain's" rifle, I bought the Henry. That was a good choice. It isn't a Winchester 1892, but it taught me about rifles, and something about the operation of The Rifleman's gun.
I drilled & tapped my Henry's lever, and added a screw to trip the trigger, just like Lucas'. Shooting like Lucas is not impossible, but it really takes work to be as accurate he is. Hollywood magic helps, too! Seriously, with that little screw, I can empty my Henry's 13 rounds very quickly. I also taught myself to "flip" my Henry, just the way Lucas flips his '92. Through the repeated watching of my videotapes of the show, and continued practice (and, some painful bruises on my upper arms, early-on), I can spin my rifle with either hand.
I recently acquired a Browning B-92, .44 Magnum. It is a modern (well, 1981, anyway) reproduction of the Winchester 1892. Yep, John M. Browning designed the original '92, so my B-92 is pretty close to the original. A large loop lever is in my plans for this rifle. I may even put a saddle ring on it. Believe it, or not, the B-92 weighs just a half a pound more than my smaller caliber, shorter- barreled Henry! The two are like brothers. ~Shawn Hagler
around the McCain Ranch