December 07, 2021
Sleek, well-made, and configured like Winchester’s pump-action Model 62, the Rossi 62 was manufactured in Brazil between 1970 and 1998 and imported into this country by Interarms. Production ceased when Taurus purchased Rossi in 1998.
Don’t be misled. This is not the Rossi Gallery currently manufactured by Rossi USA. The current gun has a distinctly different action, a beechwood or polymer stock, and some polymer parts. The older Rossi Model 62s are walnut and steel.
Several iterations were made, including a rifle-length version with a 23-inch barrel in nickel and blued finishes. Some had octagon barrels. I’ve yet to see any of the carbine-length Rossi 62s with anything but a round barrel and blued steel, and I’ve read that the nickel carbines were brought in only during 1998 and are rather uncommon. On that note, the short, 16.5-inch-barreled carbine versions were imported only for a decade, between 1988 and 1998.
Like the original Winchesters, the Rossi 62 can be slam-fired, meaning you can simply hold the trigger back and work the pump briskly over and over, and the gun will fire every time the pump goes forward. For a lot of shooters, this is a big selling point. And it’s safe. The hammer will not fall until the bolt locks into battery.
Original Winchester Model 62s have become so collectible that firing them is considered by some to be impractical. Care should be taken to preserve their condition, both mechanical and aesthetic, so they’re no longer really a good option for a hard-working .22-caliber tool. Rossi’s Model 62, as a result, has gained quite a reputation as a solid alternate. Enough so, in fact, that most of them currently sell for close to double what they brought when new. A quick peek at some of the online auction sites shows asking prices for the Rossi Model 62s range from about $350 to $800.
A knurled screw at the rear left of the Rossi Model 62’s action may be removed, and the little pump action taken down to two assemblies. Yep, it’s a proper takedown design.
Twelve rounds of .22 LR ammo fit in the tubular magazine. The halfcock notch is designed to serve as a safety position. When the hammer is at halfcock, the trigger can’t be pressed and the pump is locked forward and can’t be operated.
The pump also locks forward when the hammer is at fullcock. There is no slide release. To operate the pump, the hammer must be fully lowered. Naturally, that means to remove a live round from the chamber without firing it, one must be rather careful to lower the hammer fully forward very gently.
When the pump is pulled rearward, the slide bar on the left side cams the bolt front up and out of battery, then drives it rearward, extracting the empty shell (if present) and cocking the exposed hammer back. As it completes its rearward travel, the cartridge lifter pops up from below, boosting the empty cartridge case up and out of the action and presenting a fresh round to the chamber. It’s a great design, as the lifter fully encircles the cartridge and presents it straight into the chamber. You can work the rifle on its side or upside down or in any other orientation—it won’t jam.
Sliding the pump forward chambers the fresh cartridge and cams the locking lugs on the front of the bolt down into battery. The hammer is left cocked and ready to fire.
Because the hammer must be carefully lowered on each fresh cartridge before the pump can be functioned to eject that live round, when necessary to unload several rounds remaining in the magazine, it’s best to pull the magazine follower tube out the front end and pour the unfired cartridges out into your hand. But be aware, one usually hangs up inside the cartridge lifter. Work the pump and watch carefully to see if a round is in the lifter and gets chambered. Obviously, if one is present, be sure to remove it. Then function the action two or three times, empty, just to be completely sure.
There’s a small, traditional gunshop off main street in Smithfield, Utah, called Neal’s Gunshop, and it’s been there a long time. The proprietor is the son of the original Mr. Neal and carries on a grand tradition of gunsmithing and selling a few firearms. Recently, the shop purchased a small estate of firearms, and the Rossi Model 62 was among them. My youngest son is nearing the age when he’ll get his own .22 rifle, and it struck me as just perfect for that purpose. So it came home with me.
No box or paperwork came with the little rimfire, but it’s in like-new condition. Aside from burnish marks in the action where the bolt slides and locks up, there’s no sign of use. It’s so clean it certainly could have been unfired.
There was a slightly rough, burred contact surface on the bottom of the bolt locking lugs that had caused a trace of scarring on its sliding surfaces atop the receiver. But careful application of a crisp, flat piece of 1,500-grit wet-or-dry polishing paper solved that, and with a bit of good gun oil, the action hummed back and forth like grease on glass.
With three favorite rimfire loads in hand, I headed out to brave the late-winter slush and test-fire the Rossi Model 62. Sandbagging the rifle, I fired a series of three consecutive five-shot groups with each type of ammo. With the bright winter sun behind me, light was good, and the square-notch rear and crisp front sight post were easy to resolve, even for my middle-aged eyes.
At 25 yards, point of impact was right on the money with the rear sight elevator in the second notch. Accuracy was excellent, certainly good enough to head-shoot a cottontail for the dinner pot from that distance. The trigger is excellent: crisp, creep-free, and just 4 pounds, 4 ounces in pull weight, according to my trigger gauge. Function was so smooth it made me giddy. I can hardly wait for my little guy’s birthday.
If you’re in the market for a sleek, handy, little pump-action .22 that shoots great, don’t bother to shop for one of these. At least not until I’ve had a chance to find and purchase one for myself, my wife, and each of my other kids.
Rossi Model 62 SAC Specification
- Manufacturer: Amadeo Rossi S.A.
- Type: Pump-action repeater
- Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
- Magazine Capacity: 12 rounds
- Barrel: 16.5 in.
- Overall Length: 32.75 in.
- Weight, Empty: 4.7 lbs.
- Stock: Walnut
- Length of Pull: 13.15 in.
- Finish: Polished blue
- Sights: Post front, adjustable square-notch rear
- Trigger: 4.25-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Halfcock notch