Tag Archives: Interarms

A Tribute to Mike DiMuzio and a Look at the Interarms Rossi M92 in .45 Colt


Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

Many of you may remember my popular post on firearms from 1950s Television Westerns in general, and The Rifleman’s Winchester Model 1892 in particular.  You may also recall my YouTube video on spin-cocking a full size Model 1892 rifle, the “Flip Special”.

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

That very special “Flip Special” was custom made for me by Mike DiMuzio of North Carolina.  Alas, I am deeply saddened to report that Mike passed away less than a month ago.  Mike and I had exchanged emails and chatted several times over the course of the past year and a half.

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

This rifle from the late ’70s to early ’80s.  It was manufactured by Rossi of Brazil according to specifications outlined by Sam Cummings’ International Armament Corporation, otherwise known as Interarms (Sam Cummings, a very interesting character, was the basis for Sterling Heyward in my mystery novel The Globe).  This particular Rossi M92 is a fairly faithful rendition of the iconic Winchester Model 1892, a rifle used in countless television shows and movies because of its close resemblance to the Winchester Model 1873.  The Model 1892 was a favorite of the late John Wayne, and he used large loop variations of the M1892 in many films ranging from Stagecoach (1939) to True Grit (1969).

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

So, why weren’t Winchester Model 1873s used in television and movie productions?  Why instead this anachronism?  Up until fairly recently the only 1873s available were rare antiques too valuable for use in television and movies.  Now new M1873 rifles are being manufactured by Uberti of Italy and since 2013 under the Winchester name by Miroku of Japan.

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

I purchased this version of the Model 1892 with the sole intention of sending it to Mike for conversion into another Rifleman “Flip Special,” and I was rather excited to have found a .45 Colt example although a rifle in .44-40 Winchester would be more authentic.

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

I was immediately drawn to this firearm when I first laid eyes on it at my local favorite gun store Collector’s Gun Exchange.  While Rossi made M92 rifles for various U.S. importers back in the ’70s and beyond, the Interarms versions were a cut above the rest.

Interarms Rossi M92

Interarms Rossi M92

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons I was looking to acquire another converted Rossi, and how this rifle differs from the later model Rossi seen here:

Classic "Rifleman" vs. Classic Model 1892

Classic “Rifleman” vs. Classic Model 1892

Most obvious is the finish on the wood:

Classic Model 1892 vs. Classic "Rifleman"

Classic Model 1892 vs. Classic “Rifleman”

The current Rossi M92 rifles sport a matte finish while the Interarms version displays a richer, high gloss.  Mike stained the “Flip Special” pictured here to better match the finish of an original antique Winchester.

Loop Lever Conversion vs. Standard Lever

Loop Lever Conversion vs. Standard Lever

Another difference is the location of the front sight.  On the Interarms the front sight is part of the barrel band that affixes the magazine tube to the rifle barrel.  The recent Rossi has the front sight dovetailed directly into the barrel.

Front Sight Comparisons — Old (top) vs. New

Front Sight Comparisons — Old (top) vs. New

Now for the most important difference of all.  See if you can pick up on the difference in the next two photos.  Here is the Interarms Rossi:

Classic Model 1892

Classic Model 1892

And now the new “improved” version from Rossi:

New Rossi M92 with Safety

New Rossi M92 with Safety

As you can see Rossi now incorporates into the Model 1892 design a firing safety whereas the earlier Interarms Rossi stays truer to the original John Moses Browning/Winchester design.  Here the two are pictured together:

New Rossi with Safety vs. Classic Model 1892

New Rossi with Safety vs. Classic Model 1892

A safety is all fine and good . . . if you’re carrying a lever action Winchester design with a cartridge chambered, but that was never the intent of the design.  As with the Colt Single Action Army, the hammer should be resting on an empty chamber (for an explanation as to why see my look at the Uberti version of the 1873 Colt).  Alas, far too many gun owners today do not understand basic firearm operation and safety, so even later Winchesters were eventually dumbed down to compensate for careless firearms handling.

For now this Interarms Rossi will remain unconverted, although I have found two other sources to do the work for me.  I’m just not convinced that anyone can do as good a job as Mike DiMuzio, who learned his craft at the hands of Moe Hunt — personal gunsmith to Chuck Connors (Lucas McCainThe Rifleman).  Mike not only modified and installed levers on his conversions, he also smithed the internal action to beef it up and smooth it out to make spin-cocking the rifle possible.  Here’s one last look at Mike’s handwork:

Loop Lever Conversion vs. Standard Lever

Loop Lever Conversion vs. Standard Lever

And finally I leave you with two videos of Mike doing his thing and making it look simple (it isn’t, trust me).  So long, Mike.  You’ll be sorely missed.

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Latest Acquisition — An Interarms Walther PPK in .380 ACP


Stainless Interarms Walther PPK in .380 ACP (9mm Kurz)

I had hoped to show you my new stainless Interarms Walther .32 ACP (7.65mm) PPK by now, but it’s currently being held by a sheriff department in another state pending a defensive shooting.  Until that investigation is completed and the deal closed between the seller and me, that particular blog will have to wait.  Shame, too, because there were only 5,000 samples of that particular weapon made in that exact caliber before Interarms shut down operations back in the late 1990s.  In other words, it’s a rare beauty.

However, as luck would have it, I found today a close cousin — another stainless Interarms Walther PPK, but this one chambered for the much more popular and vastly more prevalent .380 ACP round (9mm Kurz).  After disassembly, a thorough cleaning, lubrication, and reassembly, here’s what followed me home today:

Disassembled view — the two right-most magazines are actually for the .380 version of the PPK/S rather than the PPK

Stainless steel frame and slide — this particular material was only used in PPK and PPK/S pistols made in Smith & Wesson’s current version and the previous Interarms version manufactured by Ranger Manufacturing; No European Walthers were made in stainless steel.

Close-up of PPK frame and underneath view of the PPK slide; firing pin channel and safety block located on the left-hand side.

Original case with Owner’s Manual and Test Target

Following the conclusion of my series on our recent transatlantic cruise you may expect to see a series of reviews on several firearms — Beretta 84FS Cheetah, Beretta CX4 9mm Carbine with EOTech Holographic Sight, Colt M1991A1, FNH FNX-45, SIG P229 Enhanced Elite, SIG P220 Compact SAS Gen 2, and the SIG P220 Equinox.

But if you’re not into guns, don’t worry.  No more than one such review shall occur in any one week.  We’ll still have plenty of travels to enjoy as well as Fun Photo Friday.

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Filed under Firearms