The Death of the Lever Action Rifle Has Been Exaggerated…But Only Slightly

Lever Action Rifle Is Dead

Recently, David Petzal raised a minor ruckus with an article in Field & Stream Magazine that declared the death of the lever-action rifle. The gist is that since modern shooters are all about long-range rifles these days, the good ol’ lever gun has had it because classic lever gun calibers don’t do well out past 200 yards or so.

There’s a decent amount of truth to the idea, even if the death knell was probably first sounded when spitzer bullets and telescopic scopes first entered the picture. At that point, longer, flatter trajectories and extended distances at which one could see their target were possible. Long-range shooting – up to then the province of only a few sharpshooters, who at that point were more likely to use a falling-block rifle anyway – became achievable for the common man.

Semi-autos capable of higher rates of fire and chassis-stocked rifles with improved accuracy at even longer distances have since entered the picture. Today’s hunters are embracing longer-range shots than some would consider ethical; heck, some guides now even bring a portable benchrest/shooting sled into the wild for clients. The world has moved on, it would seem.

However, the official pronouncement of the lever gun’s death is still premature. They have their purpose outside of merely reveling in their old-timey anachronism.

For starters, straight wall rifle hunting jurisdictions (mostly in the Midwest) prohibit use of any rifle cartridge with a shoulder of any kind. While there are certainly other solutions (.450 Bushmaster, for instance, which seems to get more common by the minute, in bolt-action and AR-platform rifles) the lever-action rifle does very well here with straight wall ammunition.

A decent lever gun is also a good choice for hunting in thick timber or brush. When you’re too close to game for a scope to be much good, a .30-30 or even a carbine in .357 or .44 Magnum is a very capable implement for putting meat in the freezer. They also have the advantage of not being disqualified by a .24 caliber minimum which rules out the AR-15 crowd.

Lever-action rifles also do well in bear country where fast follow-up shots can really matter. While there are big-bore rounds for AR-pattern rifles with the right upper such as the aforementioned .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM, and .50 Beowulf, you’ll be able to find far more Henry, Marlin or Winchester rifles in .45-70 on store shelves. If you want a big gun in case you run into big critters, a .45-70, .444 or .450 Marlin will do very nicely. 

Then you always have the lever guns chambered in .22LR. Plinking is just good, clean, cheap fun no matter who you are.

So while the lever-action rifle is almost certainly only a niche model at this point, there are still uses for them. The revolver is much the same story; there’s almost no reason to carry one over a decent semi-auto except in certain circumstances. 

Agree? Do you think lever actions will eventually be relegated to the ash heap of history? Or will a few die-hards hold onto theirs so long as they have a use for them?

 

Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at Alien Gear Holsters, as well as for Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also writes weekly columns for Daily Caller and USA Carry. 

comments

  1. avatar Texheim says:

    Box magazines, as found on Browning BLRs, don’t require flat nosed bullets; eliminating the tube fed problem.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      think you’re overlooking the savage 99…..

      1. avatar Mr. savage says:

        savage 99, and the Henry long ranger. I’ll be keeping all of my cowboy action weapons thank you very much, my 30/30 and .44 mag get carried for any hunting I do, if I need bigger, I have that option as well in more common rounds than a .450.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The Savage 99 is a rifle that needs to be produced again. I think a 99 in 7mm08 would be a very handy little rifle…

  2. avatar AZgunner says:

    I would love a nice lever action chambered in .357 magnum. The only issue is, I want it to have a loading gate.

    1. avatar MarkF says:

      Marlin, Winchester, Rossi, and I’m sure others, all with a loading gate – so many lovely rifles that need a home. My Marlin .357 (stainless, carbine length) is the one rifle I’d want with me if I could only take one. it’s not a perfect rifle – none is, actually – but it shoots well, is light, no recoil, and I’m comfortable letting a new shooter enjoy it, which is not true with some of my other rifles.

      And damn, but it is fun.

      1. avatar Stereodude says:

        I’m pretty sure you’ll find they no longer make a .357 Mag version of their lever actions to be sold in the US, at least in the case of Marlin and Rossi. I’m not sure about Winchester. So, if you want a new .357 Mag lever action…

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Mar lin has brought back the 1894c. – https://www.marlinfirearms.com/lever-action/model-1894/model-1894c

          Found 8 ‘factory new’ ones on Gunbroker just now.

        2. avatar troutbum5 says:

          Rossi makes the R92 in multiple straight wall pistol calibers, including .357.

          http://www.rossiusa.com/product-details.cfm?id=158&category=8&toggle=&breadcrumbseries=

        3. avatar DaveM says:

          Time for a Marlin 1894c review.
          Maybe their QC has improved with this new version.

        4. avatar Stereodude says:

          @troutbum5: No they don’t. http://www.rossiusa.com/product-list.cfm?category=8&toggle= Notice how they’re all .45 Colt?

          @Gov: Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that one.

        5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Yea Stereodude, I kind of gave up several years ago on the return of the 1894c. I think I might be a buy at <$600.

        6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Oooh! – http://www.centerfireguns.com/marlin-1894-45c-10-1-20-wal-70445.html

          Doh! Never mind, wrong g un.

        7. avatar David Thompson says:

          All the Rossi lever guns are not .45. Their website sucks is all. Here’s the link for the .44mag and .357/.38

          http://www.rossiusa.com/product-details.cfm?id=158&category=8&toggle=&breadcrumbseries=

        8. avatar Rimfire says:

          The .357 is a common chambering with Winchester lever guns, you can get the 1873 and 1892 (my favorite gun) in this caliber. Yes, they have a loading gate and besides, they handle so nice. Hard to beat them. Time for a review, hint, hint!

        9. avatar Laserbeam says:

          I bought a brand new Rossi in .38/.357 about 6 mos ago. So far, so good.

        10. avatar Stereodude says:

          @David Thompson: Are you sure that’s the right link? It says right at the top, “M92 Carbine 45 Colt Polished Black 10+1 20″ Round Barrel” I see they’re still in their 2017 catalog, but no sign of them on the website and they’re nowhere to be found in any stores.

          Can you find me a SS 20″ .357 Mag R92 in stock to buy at a non inflated price? I only see them as out of stock (regardless of barrel length or finish).

    2. avatar Wedge259 says:

      I think a lot of people make a bigger deal about the tube/loading gate controversy than it is. I used to buy into the supposed down sides of a Henry style tube vs a loading gate, but once I actually had both, I prefer the Henry tube. The tube allows you to unload it without running all of the rounds through the action, and Ive found that loading gates chew the crap out of my thumb. The ONLY advantage I see with a loading gate is topping off your mag when it isn’t empty, but for the uses its most commonly used for its a non issue to me. Even then I’m not sure loading through a gate is really any faster than a tube, each round has to be manually inserted through the gate, while you can just drop them into a tube.

      1. avatar Felix says:

        A loading gate lets you change the next round to be fired without mucking around with the chamber and its current occupant.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          It’s the exact opposite. With a loading gate, you have to move the lever, taking a round out of the chamber to manipulate the next round in the tube. With just the tube, you don’t touch the round in the chamber, you just remove the rounds from the tube.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          That’s not how my 336BL works. Unless the mag is full already.

        3. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Ah, I get it. If the magazine is not full see what you mean.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I get it too now, CHANGING the next round out of a full mag would require making room in said mag. I just assumed he was referring to ‘tactical reloads’.

        5. avatar Andrew Lews says:

          @Gov & @jwt

          In my limited experience “tactical reloads” are not feasible and most likely not even possible.

          I have a pre ’64 Sears mo 54 aka a Win 94, in 30-30 (don’t know if they ever were offered otherwise) that of course naturally has a loading gate. Rounds can only be added to the magazine while there isn’t a round on the lifter, and there always is one after you cycle the gun. During the typing of this it occurred to that I’ve never tried to top off the magazine with the lever in the down position.

        6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Andrew, on my 336 (and I would assume all the Marlins) you can top off the mag with the lever up and a round chambered. The loading gate is a bit stiff, but that probably loosens with age. Still not something I’d want to do without cover though.

    3. avatar Tom Worthington says:

      I’d love a lever gun in .357 with a loading gate also. The trick is finding one in stock. I can’t tell if the issue is they aren’t making many due to a lack of interest, or if the issue is that there is so much interest they can’t keep up with demand. Take care.

    4. avatar rosignol says:

      Same, have pretty much decided on a Winchester 1892 carbine.

      Main reason I haven’t picked one up is because I live on the west coast, and Bloomberg seems to be gaining traction here. Stuff that’s likely to be affected by a ban is a higher priority. A non-semiauto rifle with a mag size of 10 rounds is likely to be gettable longer than an AK.

  3. avatar SurfGW says:

    I used to think classic .44 magnum or .357 magnum Winchester 94 or Marlin lever actions are the most foolproof rifles.
    Then I realized how much they jam with different length pistol ammo. So, I thought the Henry’s would be better until a friend bought a Henry and it would only feed one type of Ammo out of all the types tried.
    Fixing misfeeds in any of these rifles is a pain in the ass. Unless it is a detachable magazine lever action, I lost any interest in pistol caliber levers. Maybe I will try bolt action .44s…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      These rifles were originally designed for lead bullets and crimped cartridges, which were the norm of the day.I suspect a lot of jamming is due to the lip of the case hanging up on the chamber mouth. My 1892 Winchester has some issues with noncrimped cases, but none with crimped ones.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I agree with you, FWIW.

        For those who have this issue, pull the cartridge that failed to feed, and examine the case mouth VERY carefully – using a magnifying glass. I’ll wager you find that Mark is spot-on.

  4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Good enough for Lucas McCain and Rooster Cogburn, good enough for me.

    Plus, they’re darned fun to ring steel with.

  5. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    My Marlin 444 is perfect for hunting up in the mountains. No need for some long range target rifle when the sightline is less than 100 meters. And if there’s a grizzly attack, I’ll take a big bore lever gun over a bolt action any day. Also, fun fact: because the Coast Guard still uses its blanks in their line throwing guns, the .45-70 Gov’t, adopted in 1866, has the longest service history of any cartridge.

    1. avatar Rick says:

      45-70 adopted in 1873. I have bolt guns, semi autos, single shots and Merlin and Winchester lever guns. The lever guns use prep sights and Lyman target front sights as scopes look out of place. I’m agnostic on type, but do enjoy the lever guns.

      1. avatar Rad Man says:

        The Marlin 45-70 was used against the Indominus Rex in Jurassic World – so you know it’s good.

        1. avatar CajunQM says:

          Right now, try to find that rifle, Marlin 1895 SBL in 45-70! Even on Gunbroker.com they are few and rare. A lot of places don’t have them in stock. Not to mention pricey.

  6. avatar MarkF says:

    Gun writers have decried the death of the lever action rifle for at least 40-50 years. I like them and own three (Marlin .357 mag, Marlin .44 mag, and Henry .22 mag) and fully expect to buy more at some point. I also own a fair number of semi-auto and bolt action rifles. I have several holes for some single-shots that have not been filled yet.

    I cannot imagine why anyone would only own one type of rifle action. Variety is the spice of life for a rifle looney.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Why don’t we wait for the demise of the flintlock before we start predicting the death of the levergun.

      1. avatar AZgunner says:

        My first gun was a flintlock. Spent the summer mowing lawns and picking up dog crap when I was 12 to save up money for a flintlock Pennsylvania rifle kit. My dad and I built it and I had a lot of fun shooting it at black powder shoots back then. If I had more spare time, I’d love to get back into that type of shooting.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Thank you for saving me those keystrokes. Full concurrence here.

  7. avatar RetroG says:

    I’d love a Savage 99 chambered in one of the long range calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor, just to mess with the people who look down on lever actions.

    I think they are cool as hell.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “I’d love a Savage 99 chambered in one of the long range calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor, just to mess with the people who look down on lever actions.”

      Are there any lever-actions that use ‘Spire’ (pointed) ammo?

      1. avatar timothy says:

        Yes, the Savage 99 uses a rotating magazine instead of tube fed.

      2. avatar ACP_armed says:

        The Henry Long Ranger and Browning BLR.

      3. avatar Rimfire says:

        There’s the aforementioned Savage, a great gun, as well as the Browning BLR, the Henry Long Ranger and let’s remember the Winchester 1895, the one that started it all. I’d take 1 of each please

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Go with .260. That would really blow their minds.

    3. avatar HCA says:

      I have a Winchester Model 88 lever (circa 1968) in .308. I don’t hunt, but my son has taken a few deer with it.

  8. avatar jwtaylor says:

    From a purely practical use, there is nothing a lever action can do that some form of AR can’t do just as well, if not better. The nail on that particular coffin was slammed in when Wilson Combat made the .458Ham’r, which pushes a .458 pill as fast or faster than any .45-70 lever action rifle on the market.
    And yet, when I put a world class AR next to a Henry silver edition, or my 100+ year old Model 94s, or my color case hardened Henry 45-70, nobody walks over to pick up the AR. They all want to the shoot the lever guns.

    Lever guns will always have a place because they are affordable, handle well, perform well enough, and look and feel cool.

    They look and feel cool because lever guns are friggin cool. There’s just too much history, too much of a “wild west’ and rugged culture that they represent to ever fade away.

    Plus, that .458Ham’r is awesome. I mean, really, it’s a incredible gun. But it’s 3k, and that’s the price of a Henry in 45-70, plus an Idaho out of state bear tag, hunting license, gas, food, ice chest and taxidermy. And either gun will get the job done. So what will people do? What’ they’ve always done. Grabbed their faithful companion and go hunting.

    The death of the lever gun is greatly exaggerated.

    1. avatar Tom of Toms says:

      Garrett Cartridges of Texas’s “SuperJack” is pushing a 350 grainer to 2000fps in .45-70. I know, I know: 22″ barrel vs. 18″ barrel…

      And does Wilson have a 540 grain pill loaded for that Ham’r? 🙂

      The .45-70 is still more versatile than that newfangled Ham’r.. Maybe no longer more versatile than the rifle platform Wilson used, but the .45-70 in lever-action form is still more practical to the guy who wants his guns to have souls and likes to feed them a variety of handmade ammunition.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        “Garrett Cartridges of Texas’s “SuperJack” is pushing a 350 grainer to 2000fps in .45-70.”
        That’s mid to high load in the .458Ham’r, certainly not a max-pressure load.
        You can load all the way up to 600 grain rounds in the .458Ham’r, and with the exact same bullets as the heavy 45-70s.
        The 45-70 cartridge, in anything other than the Ruger No1, is no more versatile than the .458Ham’r. The .458Ham’r can load any weight that a .45-70 in a Marlin action can load, and at least as fast, often faster.

        1. avatar Tom of Toms says:

          I haven’t seen load data for it, only seen published ballistic data on the 300 grain and under loads on their website. I would’ve thought they’d run into magazine length issues with 600 grainers but I guess if you seat that sumbitch way into the case and make it look like a brass version of Mr. Universe, no reason it wouldn’t work. Works fine with 400 grain 45 Colt loads.

          And, have you seen first hand how this thing feeds square bullets? I’d like to see some hardcast Keith-style boolits up in there. And what if I’ve a hankering for making some puff loads to make .458 holes in squirrels (sometimes .452 just won’t do)? Will those puff loads cycle its gas action? Are there antique guns chambered in .458 Ham’r that take my kid-brain back in time? I know we’re not talking ballistics so much anymore, but versatility is by definition a round peg’s willingness to be beat through the square hole of my choosing. How about a .45-70 paradox gun shooting shot-loads?! WHAT NOW?!

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Tom of Toms,
          The .458Ham’r is nothing more than the .458SOCOM with more powder in it. The reason the shoulder is bumped forward on the case is purely so that it can not be loaded into a standard AR15 chambered in .458SOCOM. That’s it.
          The reason for a new rifle was to handle that higher pressure, it has nothing to do with the strength of the .458SOCOM cartridge itself.
          Bill Wilson likes the 300gr Barnes bullet because it’s extremely accurate in his guns, so you’ll see those loads listed by him. He doesn’t like the heavier rounds, purely because they are not as accurate. I’ve gotten to sit down and talk to him about it, and basically he hates anything that won’t print under a MOA.
          I like the heavier rounds, beyond the 400gr mark, and flat nosed. It’s true, they are never as precise as the Barnes bullet, but I really don’t care if a cartridge that I’m never shooting over 200 yards shoots 2″ groups or 4″ groups at that range. I like those heavy, flat rounds because of what I’ve seen them do to game, which is that they just plow through, from any angle.
          Of course, I couldn’t really argue it when I shot a Nilgai bull with the 300gr Barnes bullet in that .458Ham’r and it left a palm sized (and that’s not an exaggeration) hole through its lungs. I will continue to argue with Mr. Wilson, but I haven’t turned out to be right yet.
          As far as fitting the magazine length, the Ham’r is using .308 length Lancer mags, so you’ve got plenty of room. I’ve also loaded a lot of 540gr flat nosed rounds in an AR15 GI magazine, as that’s what I like to shoot pigs with, if I’m shooting subs. Fit depends highly on bullet shape. I cast my own. I did have occasional feeding issues until I put in a stronger recoil spring.

        3. avatar Tom of Toms says:

          I wonder if they aren’t as accurate in his guns because the twist rate isn’t as suitable for the heavy, long bullets. I know the typical twist rate for .45 Colt Marlins is in the neighborhood of 1-30″ (1-20″ for their .45-70s), suitable for the cowboy loads but if you want to shoot the 365s and 405s with precision you need to have a barrel made with a suitable twist, which is 1-16″ or 1-14″ if I recall correctly. Makes me wonder what a faster twist might do for the guy is determined to only shoot Hammer of Thor class reloads in his Ham’r.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Put an AR pattern rifle into a scabbard on the side of a horse.

      Then do the same with a lever gun.

      See which one you want to throw a leg over…

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        I do both often!

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    Gee a 357 lever gun is on my wish list…oh and Petzal is a fudd. He has no use for AR’s either(muh hunting).

    1. avatar miforest says:

      david has a AR.

    2. avatar Tile floor says:

      He is a fudd.

      I have no use for long range stuff I don’t have anywhere to shoot it. 200 and under suits me plenty.

  10. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    They may not serve a unique useful purpose anymore, but they sure are fun. I have several. Nice thing is you have decent capacity without worrying about losing mags.

  11. avatar Jeffrey says:

    There’s still plenty of use for the lever-action rifle.
    In states where semi-automatic rifles are heavily restricted, a .357 or .44 Magnum lever gun provides a sound alternative due to holding 10 or more rounds, low recoiling, fast firing, and if you get taken to court in said anti-gun state they sure can’t use your rifle against you as evidence of “being a weapon of war.”
    Another use is for us minority members known as lefties that kind of want to shoot guns left handed, of which bolt actions don’t help us with that regard unless your willing to pay more for a left handed bolt action.

    1. avatar ll says:

      You can also put a suppresser in one in certain states where doing that with a semiautomatic is not legal

  12. avatar jwm says:

    Lever guns don’t protrude all over the place. They are flat. Streamlined. Easy to get into and out of vehicles and boats with.

    They are easy to support. You don’t need a dozen mags and other stuff for them. Ammo, sling and you’re done.

    1. avatar Al Bondigas says:

      They’re flat and streamlined unless you get an older Marlin with the pregnant guppie forend and the Buick-wide buttstock. Just too ugly to own!

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I’ve had the older 336 and the model 94. Compared to the average bolt gun they’re both trim. In all fairness my lever guns had iron sights. All serious bolt guns have glass on top.

        Between the 336 and the 94? Hands down the 94 was the easier to carry and look at. But the 336 was simpler and easier to fiddle with.

      2. avatar BeoBear says:

        I agree. Even today’s Marlins have forends that are too big in my opinion. Every time I consider a Marlin I keep going back to comparing the forend with my Winchester 94 .44 magnum and I always end up hating the feel of the Marlin. They just feel too big and bulky compared with other manufacturers. I’d rather carry my Henry Big Boy .45 colt (a fantastic rifle) which is significantly heavier than the Marlin just because it feels good in the hands while a lighter Marlin just feels unnecessarily bulky. A lever gun that doesn’t feel like a lever gun, even when it otherwise performs well, is all but worthless to me when there are plenty of others to fill the void.

        1. avatar Marty says:

          I’ve got an original Marlin 1893 with an octagon barrel. It’s as sleek as any I’ve owned. Never have shot it, it’s a wall hanger as the barrel has a 1/4″ split at the muzzle.

  13. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I’ve got a few in my collection – Winchester 94 and Marlin 336 both in .30-30, Puma 92 in .357, Henry Big Boy in .44 and an old Winchester 200 in .22. They all are fun to shoot – even the Winchester .22 (which most people curse at). Lever guns are uniquely American. They are slim, lightweight, and accurate enough to do the job at realistic ranges. If I was forced by circumstances to live in one of the People’s Republics that wouldn’t let me own an AR or a high capacity pistol or hollow point ammunition (Yes, I’m talking about New Jersey or New York. Thank God that I escaped those third world shite holes almost 40 years ago), the Rossi would rest under my bed loaded with .357 semi wadcutters. With an old cowboy lever action a guy might have a chance in front of a blue state jury. I’ve been looking for an affordable Savage 99 in .300 Savage. I’d have to buy some high lace up leather boots, a pair of riding pants, a red and black checked hunting jacket and a Smokey Bear campaign hat to go with the rifle but as my wife says “Accessories make the outfit.”

  14. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Tubular lever action rifles are nice for a couple of reasons, they’re handy to carry and in a survival situation, it is HARD to lose the magazine. You can plenty of other rifles around but try to have a tubular feed lever action in .22 and one of 30 calibre plus.

  15. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Lever action rifles are never going away. For the fact that you cannot take an AR-15 rifle to an indoor range to practice. Most ranges in the United States do not take rifle caliber weapons. They take pistol caliber weapons. And any pistol chambered carbine can be fired in an indoor range.

    The gun industry is selling AR-15 rifles to people who don’t know that they just can’t walk into their local range to practice.

    I do own a lever action rifle and an AR-15. But I carefully researched where I could practice with an AR-15 before I bought one last year. I met a guy at a local gun store who purchased a Barrett 50 cal. But then he found out there was no place around for him to shoot his new weapon.

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      What kind of indoor ranges are you going to? Granted my sample size is small, but haven’t been to one yet wouldn’t let you shoot a rifle there. One of the indoor ranges around here will even let you shoot your .50 BMG there.

      1. avatar Stephen M says:

        If some asshole came up next to me indoors with a .50BMG….

        1. avatar Stereodude says:

          I would be none to pleased myself, but it is allowed and they built their 100 yard lanes to handle it.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          I would just get up and leave the range. Before leaving the facility, I would ask for a refund. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a 50 BMG. But it is a weapon to be used outdoors. If enough folks left after requesting a refund, the facility would get the hint. When I go to the range, (not often, as I have millions of acres to in which to shoot), I wish to concentrate on my weapons and shooting. Not possible with a BMG going off next to you indoors.

        3. avatar Stereodude says:

          @Marty: When it’s a advertised selling feature of their range that their three 100y lanes are .50 BMG rated and that all their lanes are rifle rated I’m not sure your strategy would work. This range only opened a few months ago and I haven’t been there yet. I don’t know the physical layout. The indoor pictures on Google show the three 100y lanes are separate and not immediately adjacent to the shorter 25y and 50y lanes. If you’re shooting a rifle at one of the 100y lanes I don’t think you have a whole of grounds to complain about someone setting up next to you also with a rifle.

          That said, I agree the .50BMG is not an indoor gun and I don’t want to shoot next to one.

        4. avatar Marty says:

          Completely agree. If the range is set up with a separate shooting lane which doesn’t affect other shooters, no harm no foul. I’ve never visited such a range, but I’m not much into ranges except ranges in LGS which allow me to shoot a weapon similar to one I wish to purchase.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          Stereodude. The only indoor range I’ve been to that allowed .50 bmg had a special lane for it. It had it’s own bay and there was a wall that separated it from the other bays. The day I was there there was a guy shooting a Barret. No problems for the other lanes.

      2. avatar Chris T from KY says:

        How far do you drive to get to an indoor rifle range?
        Now I’m luck to have an indoor rifle range in town. A year ago I had to drive 30 miles one way. Nearly all gun/ outdoor writers shoot on private land. That is not what the 2.0 gun owner of today can do.

        1. avatar Stereodude says:

          The closest indoor range to me by driving time is about about 10 minutes away. There are quite a few indoor and outdoor ranges within a 30 minute drive, but I live in a major metropolitan area also.

    2. avatar BeoBear says:

      Odd, I’ve never experienced an indoor range that didn’t allow rifles so I’m not sure how accurate your source for that is. The only restriction on rifles I’ve come across is no .50 BMG or bullets that can be attracted to a magnet. Everything else is fine.

  16. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘The revol ver is much the same story; there’s almost no reason to carry one over a decent se mi-auto except in certain circumstances.’

    Bwahahahaha! Oh the ignorance is so thick I could cut it with a butter knife. How about contact shots? How about having a decent trigger for longer shots? How about a comfortable grip which greatly aids in accuracy? How about M-A-G-N-U-M power? Reliability? Not having a beaver-tail poking you in the side? The only advantage a se mi-auto has is capacity, everything else the rev olver does better.

    1. avatar samuraichatter says:

      “The only advantage a se mi-auto has is capacity, everything else the rev olver does better.”

      Are you trolling or being serious? Cuz if its the later their are many people here who may have a word with you?

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I’m all ears if someone can come up with a fundamental advantage to a se mi-auto that doesn’t involve capacity or speed of reloads (the latter I consider a sub-category of capacity).

        1. avatar Stereodude says:

          So if you exclude the two things that a semi-auto is vastly better at from the comparison they’re mostly equal? Funny how that works…

        2. avatar timothy says:

          Weight balance. Revolvers have all of the ammo, the ammo container, and all of the action forward of the hand. Revolvers are really nose heavy. Semi autos just balance better.

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Tim, this is subjective. On one hand, being ‘nose heavy’ reduces muzzle flip under recoil and could be considered a major advantage with ma gnum ca libers. On the other, a 13.5 ounce LCR is ‘nose heavy’?

          I will give you this, I’ve never handled a handgun that pointed as light as the Beretta 92 I used to have.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Stereodude, the advantage semi-autos have is no small advantage. There are scenarios where I would much rather take capacity over the many nuanced advantages of the rev olver. However, for civilian self defense, these scenarios are about as rare as being struck by meteorites. The ability to make contact shots alone probably completely negates the capacity advantage if you analyze the type of DGU you’re likely to be involved in.

          Anyway, I said that capacity aside, revolvers were superior, not ‘mostly equal’.

        5. avatar AZgunner says:

          I agree that the primary benefits of a semi-auto are capacity and reloads. That being said, I greatly prefer a good semi-auto trigger to that of double action revolvers. Of course, I’m 29 years old and grew up shooting semi-autos. Were it otherwise, I might be partial to revolvers.

          And regardless of all that, a quality revolver is still a great and formidable carry piece. I certainly don’t look down my nose at those who choose to carry a quality wheel gun. It’s not my choice, but I can appreciate their reasons and understand them.

          I might even be inclined to carry a snub nose revolver as a backup gun on duty. Unfortunately, my department ceased allowing revolvers as a backup a couple years ago.

        6. avatar CarlosT says:

          Single action and striker fired triggers are more manageable than the standard double action revolver trigger. I’ve tried several revolvers that were so heavy that I could pull the trigger only once or twice (I have an injury to my trigger finger, so I have reduced strength in it). The Ruger GP-100 is the first revolver trigger I dry fired that I was able to repeatedly pull in double action.

          Otherwise, sound suppression. Yes, yes, there’s that one oddball revolver that can be suppressed, but realistically nobody owns that. So that’s a semi-auto only thing.

        7. avatar samuraichatter says:

          “How about having a decent trigger for longer shots? How about a comfortable grip which greatly aids in accuracy? How about M-A-G-N-U-M power? Reliability? Not having a beaver-tail poking you in the side?”

          Some autos have great triggers some do not just like revolvers. On average I would say that in single action revolvers have better triggers. In double action, they are usually worse. Not an advantage.

          Grip is a subjective thing and may shooters appreciate the usually lower bore access (rhino the exception) and weight in the handle over revolvers. Not an advantage.

          Magnum power? 10mm and .45 Super are more powerful than many of the cartridges revolvers are chambered for. There is also .50 cal. in addition to autos chambered in rimmed cartridges like .357. Not an advantage.

          Many autos do no have beaver-tails and of the ones that do only some “poke”. Not an advantage.

          I might give you reliability if you do not count it as a sub set of ruggedness. On average, revolvers are usually better here especially where contact shots are concerned. However, the timing gets messed up on them quite easily compared to the punishment guns like glocks and maks can endure. Not a big concern for civilians but its there.

          Semi-autos are more modular and accessories are more readily available. Maintenance is usually easier for a lay person. Also, given the simplicity of construction and manufacturing costs. Decent autos can be had for cheaper that revolvers I would trust my life with.

          You failed to mention one the biggest advantages of wheel guns. Simple battery of arms. No charging the gun or flicking off a safety. Springs are not depressed when they are sitting unused. And if the gun fails to fire just pull the trigger again.

          Not hating on revolvers it just seems like your statement was over the top.

        8. avatar Marty says:

          Sam, neither of my Sigs (220 45acp or 226 9mm) have a safety) and I can pull the trigger as many times as necessary. And unlike the revolver, there is no cylinder that turns to a new cartridge, the weak primer hit (or whatever the cause) usually fires on the second attempt. But, I’m not anti revolver and still have several older Smith;s and enjoy shooting them. I just don’t carry them any longer.

        9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Carlos and AZ, did you lose your thumbs in a lawn mowing accident???

          Samurai, some semis have godawful triggers. Generally speaking most revolvers in SA are similar to a good 1911 trigger.

          Semis’ grips are limited to a size and shape that allows for feeding the maga zine through them, revolvers have no such restriction.

          I’ll see your .50AE and raise you one .500S&W. And 10mm is a little weaker than .357 if you’re comparing full pressure loads. And you can have a .357 revol ver that barely tips the scale over a pound if you can handle the recoil.

          Someone should do a torture test between a Glock and a GP 100. I’d put my money down on the GP.

          The modularity and (sometimes) lower cost is mostly a result of greater popularity, not a fundamental advantage in design.

          Anyway, most opinions are subjectively based on individual weapons people have experience with. My point was that the only real advantage to semis was capacity, although I’ll have to concede Carlos’ point on suppressors.

        10. avatar Timothy says:

          I will agree with you that balance preference is subjective. But I will disagree with you about muzzle flip being reduced in a revolver. Unless you shoot a Rhino, your bore axis is much higher. Especially in your aforementioned 13.5oz snubbie. If you have a semi auto that weighs 13.5oz, the bullets and much of the action still sit in line with your palm and the bore axis will sit lower. Your revolver will still have all of those things forward of your furthest knuckle plus will be short a pinky finger.

          I like revolvers. They are reliable, accurate, better for contact shots, and you can use a wider range of ammo. But the capacity of a double stack semi auto, the balance of moving the weight back, the ease of reloading, and the advantage of a Single Action trigger that doesn’t require you to cock the hammer have settled my carry preference

        11. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Muzzle flip is bad for quick follow up shots, but actually really good at absorbing recoil. I have a 3″ GP 100 Wiley Clapp (36oz) and a 6″ stainless standard GP (45oz), both have the rubber grips with wood side panels (the WC has checkering, the 6″ is smooth) and I think the 3″ actually is more comfortable to shoot with heavy loads. I also have 2 .44 mags, a 6-1/2″ Blackhawk (46oz) and a 3-3/4″ birdshead Vaquero (39oz) and while I won’t go quite so far as to say the birdshead is more comfy than the Blackhawk, it is surprisingly comfortable to shoot.

          Bottom line is semis and revolvers are different platforms that require different techniques. My philosophy is to utilize the advantages of your platform. I prefer 9mms with 15+ shot mags for semis – lots of relatively week am mo with quick follow ups. For revolvers I prefer to make each round count as much as possible. I carry the Wiley Clapp (and occasionally the Vaquero just for shitsandgiggles) loaded with Double Taps that should net a good 600ft/lbs at the muzzle. Third in line for carry is a P95 with 17 round mag. I’d consider a .38 snubby as a bit better than a pocket .380, but far from optimal. Hit ’em hard or hit ’em often. Nothing wrong with either strategy.

        12. avatar Marty says:

          Gov, totally agree about the Ruger grips. As I’ve said, for a carry gun, it’s pistols for me. However, my Ruger Super Red Hawk with the rubber/wood grips is real comfortable to shoot hot 44 mag loads out of the 7 1/2″ bbl. Hell, even my 17 year old daughter enjoys shooting it. She complained about the 94 trapper with the same loads as the Super Red Hawk as far as the recoil was concerned. I put a slip on Limbsaver recoil pad on it, and now she is a happy camper. Me, I’m happy also, I just spend more time at the re loading bench, which also makes me happy.

        13. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’m pretty infatuated with those grips, Marty. Seems like anybody who handles my GPs likes them, regardless of glove size too.

          One thing I’ve always noticed with semis is that I’ve always (even before I was a revolver guy) seem to present them with the sight low, which if you’re in a hurry to get an accurate shot off could be disastrous. Once you lose the front you have to over-elevate it to find it and then settle it into the rear notch. All my revolvers, particularly the GPs, seem to naturally present with the front just a bit high where it can quickly be found and settled into the notch. Never even handled a Glock, but I’ve heard that’s the reason behind the grip angle, but a lot of people complain about it. Maybe the straight boxy grip doesn’t do as well with that angle?

          Anyway, if you want a fresh set of side panels or need the whole grip, Altamont has a nice selection at reasonable prices. – https://www.altamontco.com/pistol-grips/ruger/gp100/

        14. avatar Marty says:

          Gov, yea I love shooting revolvers for fun. Both the Super Red Hawk and my Smith 357’s. And I will continue to do so. I also, have never fired a Glock, nor for that matter even a .40 S&W. I love my Sigs, and my 1911’s. Recently, I have squired a S&W M&P Shield in 9mm. Due to neck problems with both disc and nerves, I needed a light weight gun. I’ve carried my weapons in a horizontal shoulder holster for more then 4 decades and loved it. Now with the neck problems, I needed something light. The Shield filled that need at only 18 oz., and is extremely accurate at 25 yards(the farthest I’ve shot it from). With the Liberty Civil Defense, it adds little weight and yet still is a lethal round. 8+1 with 2 spare 8 rnd mags, is not what I wanted, but I can carry them in a Belly Band holster, cross draw, without any pain. I can’t wait to be able to go back to my 226 in a horizontal shoulder holster.

        15. avatar Rswartze says:

          The key advantage, as noted, are contact shots. Thats why the SW642 is my pocket gun, you never have to draw the weapon until after the first shot. I also have a TCP .380 but far prefer the revolver in pocket. Still capacity and night sights wins for me and I carry CZ P-07 9mm 95% of the time.

      2. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Actually the Gov is right. I carry both a semi and a revolver.

  17. avatar samuraichatter says:

    I am not a suppressor guy but I would think a lever or pump rifle does well with a medium to large subsonic projectile. Quiet, plenty of muzzle energy, and none of the blowback and cycling issues as with semi-autos.

    Versatile too. I would think a lever or pump .357/.38 is only rivaled by the shotgun in its versatility.

  18. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I chose a Mar lin 336BL because I wanted an open sighted ri fle and there is nothing a .30-30 can’t do that I wouldn’t need a sc ope for anyway. I keep a scoped AR as my truck g un, the 336 is now my home defense ri fle, loaded with Federal 125gr SJHPs. (At 2500+fps those have got to leave a mark.)

  19. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I had a Marlin 336 in 38/357 mag back in the early 90s and actually had fun with it.
    Id buy another lever action but will not for 2 reasons.
    Most are made like pure crap today. More importantly. Way to expensive for such a crummy made gun. Might be an exception like a Hennery but they fall into the too much money for too little rifle category for me.

  20. avatar Joe terrell says:

    Around my farm fury varmits, snakes, starlings nesting in the attic all require a 410 shotgun. What a nice little lever action 410 henry and rossi builds now.That will be my next gun. Just saying a long range AR
    is not always the anwser. Rabbits beware!

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Now a days people look at you like you have a 3rd eye if you don’t own an AR. Fuck all that conformity.

      1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

        +1

  21. avatar Marty says:

    Folks don’t have to worry about flat tipped or round nose ammo for lever actions rifle any more. Hornady, many years ago came out with the Lever Revolution ammo for lever actions. The bullet is is pointed, but with a polymer tip and won’t break the primer in the cartridge in front of it in the magazine. They make the cartridge for most, if not all lever action calibers. They even now offer the components for us re loaders. I use them in my Marlin 45-70 Guide Gun and my Model 94. They are premium cartridges, and they are expensive to buy commercially.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Yep.

  22. avatar Mad Max says:

    I just bought a Model 1894 in .44 Magnum. I think it will go well with my S&W Model 69 Combat Magnum.

    I got the press all setup to reload .44 Magnum and have about 1,000 cases & bullets, and plenty of powder and primers. Should keep me busy reloading and shooting for a while.

    BTW, I carry a P225 most of the time but always carry my S&W Model 649 revolver. Definitely not obsolete.

  23. avatar JasonM says:

    They also have the advantage of not being disqualified by a .24 caliber minimum which rules out the AR-15 crowd.
    I have two real AR-15s (not counting my 9mm or M&P-15 22), both are .300 BLK. I just helped a friend put together an AR-15 in 6.5 Grendel yesterday. Another friend is considering getting an AR-15 (or at least another upper) in 6mm AR. I’m building an AR-15 in .224 Valkyrie that I could buy a 6.8 SPC upper for as a hunting gun. And there are even more calibers greater than .24″ available for the AR-15.

    It’s like the Mr. Potatohead of guns.

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      If it’s not in 5.56 is it still an AR-15 and not simply an AR platform rifle shooting a different cartridge?

      1. avatar Mark H says:

        At this point AR-15 is a “size category of receiver”. When folks talk about AR-15’s they are not talking about one particular rifle from the Armalite Corporation.

        Just like a 1911 is still a 1911 if it’s chambered in 9mm, 10mm or 38 super instead of 45.

  24. avatar David Farnsworth says:

    When I teach someone to shoot I use open site .22s, and my Henry lever is the tool of choice. If you can learn to shoot an open sites lever gun well you can shoot anything well. I will keep all four of mine.

  25. I love my lever actions I have a model and 336 in 35 Remington, I have a Winchester 3030, and I have a Henry 22 Long rifle, wouldn’t give up my lever actions for anything and in Pennsylvania you can’t hunt with an AR platform so my lever actions are great brush guns,20 inch barrel, nice and compact and in the 35 Remington‘s got enough to plow through a branch and still take out a buck at 50yrds.

  26. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Lever guns actually have one enormous advantage over every other type of rifle. Weight.

  27. avatar Larry says:

    Scopes don’t work in thick brush ? Wish I’d had known, I’ve been hunting with one in thick,brush for 30 years. Last years buck was shot at 15 yards, followed a few minutes later by a coyote,who thought he’d eat said buck .

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Same.

  28. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “Semi-autos capable of higher rates of fire and chassis-stocked rifles with improved accuracy at even longer distances have since entered the picture.”

    Yeah bring on the bolt rifle that is capable of Duce Stevens Speed lever rifle world record . 1.57 seconds,that is ten rounds on target in 1.57 seconds.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG4wNhVaAfc

    YuP the demise of the lever rifle is neigh,Not.

  29. avatar Tropy hunter63 says:

    Lever action rifles have a significant advantage over a bolt action hunting in the swamps of South Ga.They are compact ,very versatile forr the terrain ,easier to manage when a wild boar is trying to attack you.

  30. avatar Wade says:

    I find my Winchester 1894 30-30 to be one of the lightest , fast handling firearm about. More accurate than I can hold. A good, portable truck gun for hunting or defense.

  31. avatar Big Ed says:

    Everyone in my family has attended least 2 lever action rifles ,, I don’t think they will ever be obsolete.. they are light weight, easy to use and there is a calliber for everything in North America!!!!!

  32. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    My Henry 22lr lever action is almost always the one that comes out for plinking or varminting, meanwhile the 10/22 sits in the safe. Lever actions are just plain fun to use.

  33. avatar WhiteDevil says:

    Still damn good for deadites. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Or3okI_mad8

  34. avatar Stephen M says:

    I’m perfectly comfortable with my .35 Rem chambered Marlin 336 for anything in the lower 48, let alone Florida.

  35. avatar Bryan Armstrong says:

    I have a Browning blr 243 it’s a tack driver at 3 to 4oo yards,no questions it is on

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I have a BLR in .308. It is, far and away, the fastest mounting & pointing rifle I own – and I’ve made several custom bolt guns for myself, with stocks cut to my perfect dimensions. Doesn’t matter – the BLR is just faster on the mount/swing/point than anything else I own. I barely need to use the sights at 100 yards and under. Point, swing, pull the trigger, done deal. I’ve killed a half-dozen coyotes on the run with that rifle. The only downside is that a .308 makes such a mess of the ‘yote that I can’t peddle the hide afterwards…

      The BLR is a slick little design. I just wish the receiver were not aluminum.

  36. avatar T Wood says:

    I’m a precision rifle shooter, I’m a 3 gun shooter, love assault rifles and I’ve shot a few idpa and ipsc matches, and I’ve hunted all my life. My biggest thrill in life was when I was 16 and took out a coyote in a gully in New Mexico where I grew up with my Winchester .22 mag 94 from the hip rifleman style with a friend of mine. It was my first gun and I sold it way back but have since replaced it, I also own a marlin 45-70 for elk, win 30-30,mar 44 and 357 for antelope a Rossi 357 sawed off ranch hand for fun (with 38 wadcutters)and two .22s, they are still the most fun to shoot and the .22 lrs shoot colibris like butter even in the house!

  37. avatar Gun Owning American says:

    Just like 1911s are obsolete, right?

  38. avatar billy-bob says:

    With no Creedmoor it is by definition doomed, right?

    1. avatar Mark H says:

      Since the BLR is chambered in 308, Browning could easily make one with a simple barrel change.

      And of course, being 6.5 Creedmore it would outsell all other calibers combined.

  39. avatar Nitromike says:

    I don’t really see the big deal between say a 30_30 44 mag or long range cal,,like the 7mm mag, 300 mags ,I have several of both ,I simply change my hunting tactics to fit the kind of gun I want to hunt with on any day I’m 65 now and I’m retired ido most my hunting right here at home,needless to say I don’t go over Hill after Hill these days but rather sit and wait,you know. Get more deer that way! My wife pointed that out to me last hunting season when I was lamenting over the fact I just can’t go like I used to ,how I do miss my hikes into far away places,,,,,,oh well might as well get use to it I’m not getting any younger! Buy the way I took a buck last year out past 250 yds with a 450 Marlin while setting in my hut I just got a new fence put in to keep in the cows and knew the distance because I knew how long that section of fence was I built ,I was also shooting from a bench inside my shanty!!!!

  40. avatar Last OfTheOldOnes says:

    My Marlin 1894 in 45-70 is great fun to shoot, especially with those beautiful Buffalo Bore 405 grain Magnums, flying out at 2000fps…….That’s a LOT of large diameter power in an affordable rifle.

    PS I also have a bunch of revolvers, and the usual AR-15, AR-10, AR 22lr, etc…..

    Death of revolvers and levers are way too exaggerated.

  41. avatar John Colvin says:

    Most lever guns are still 30-30-good 200yds. Max. Yeah, they can’t be beat for 2nd shots. some in 308, one 30-06. Still 200yds. 45-70 good for bear. they are Not BLACK AND SO LESS THREATENING to snowflakes. They aren’t “tack drivers”. But at short range they don’t need to be.AND anybody whose ever watched a western knows how to use one. In 357, or 44mag (carbine) is pretty good house gun. And is a piece of cake for 12 y.o. Suzy to use if the need arises. (If she’s been educated).

  42. avatar New Mexico Six Shooter says:

    Henry makes a clip feed lever action also a shotgun lever action. I believe this is the future of lever actions. Also, lever actions throughout history have been slow adapting to the times. The 45 colt. The round that won the West wasn’t even in a lever action until mid 1980’s. Lighter guns with more powerful calibers are what most of of the next generation want these days. Sadly.

  43. avatar Ark says:

    30-30 lever rifle with a low power variable is my contingency plan for the semiauto gun control apocalypse. There’s not a huge reason to buy a bunch of them now, especially with the shit-tier quality of everything except Henry, but woe to thee who chooses not to acquire at least a basic level of aptitude with one.

  44. avatar Hoyden, the big loop fan says:

    Uberti to the rescue, curved butt, octagonal barrel and 1873 feed system.

    No wonder all my cars NOW now come from somewhere else. American Mfgs just have to move on to the “blackest rifle, prepperest , tactical tassel’est things” leaving systems that work to; in this case; the Italians.

  45. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    .44 and .444. giddyup.

  46. avatar Jeff says:

    Nobody has paid any attention to Fudd Petzal since his June, 1994 F&S column calling for gun bans.

  47. avatar David Thompson says:

    I hv the Winchester 94 Trapper model 30-30. Acquired it in 1994 ( centennial model). It is my favorite, by far, to hunt with. This past season I took 2 does within 5 seconds.They died humanely and within 30 yards of points of impact. I hv done this numerous times. Once taking 3. My family eats mostly deer, so this is done out of necessity, not as a challenge or kicks. I once took a wild hog during drive we pushed. Hog out 80 yds on dead run. Scope on yelling at guide “shooter shooter shooter???” . ” Yes”, replied …and trigger squeeze. That hog dropped on impact slid 6 or 8 ft and nvr kicked or twitched. Stone cold dead. Guides jaw dropped. His exact words…”What the hell are u shooting???, let me see that.” He handled it a few mins and became a fan. Has has since purchased one. I share these not to boast but to make the point that if u want ethical kills, need consistency and reliability these lever actions are just the ticket. I’ve told my friends if I could only take one of my guns for survival it would be my 30-30. Not for combat mind you. That’s my AR ‘s function. But the lever action has fed me every me and those I love without fail.

    1. avatar Marty says:

      I’ve got the 94 Trapper saddle ring in 44 mag. Love it, but have never hunted with it. Just a real fun gun to shoot.

  48. avatar Kent says:

    I have a Henry All Weather .357 Magnum lever action rifle. It’s my favorite rifle out of the several that I own. I’m thinking about buying another lever action in a larger bore. I personally find a lever action fun to shoot. I also like the classic styling. Plus, they tend to be very reliable.

  49. avatar Ben says:

    With the continuing trend of anti-gun movements in this country, a diminishing gun culture, fewer hunters, a media fixation on school shootings, especially those where a murderer has used an AR15-style rifle; I’ll bet money the semi-auto rifle will disappear faster than the lever action will. I hope I’m wrong, but ask the folks in CA, MD, CT & NY how much fun they’re having with their neutered, altered, compliant or registered AR’s today.

  50. avatar James W Crawford says:

    I recently acquired a Marlin 1895, Stainless Steel chambered in the classic 45-70. I can hunt cyotes, deer and elk with this gun. The caliber reminds me of the movie Quigly Down Under with the photogenic Crazy Cora.

    It is important to remember that lever action rifles were once the subject of the same antigun hysteria that prevails with regard to semiautomatic rifles today. The classic, double barrel shotgun had more raw firepower (just ask any Union troops who went up against General Nathan Bedford Forest whose calvary were armed with shotguns) but had limited range and accuracy. Back in the old west, people fretted about selling lever action “assault rifles” to Indians just as much as modern liberals fret over selling semiautomatic “assault rifles” to “inner city gangs” (translation, African Americans. See the cover of Do or Die by Leon Bing). The classic TV show THE HIGH CHAPERAL has a hilarious episode focusing on the guns to indians issue.

    Of course the firepower of a lever action rifle should not be casually dismissed. In 2008 there was an incident in Washington State where a sheriff’s deputy was murdered by a mentally deranged person armed with a lever action rifle chambered in .44 Magnum. The Deputy who had somewhat wisely retreated to cover discharged three full magazines from her service pistol without achieving a hit. Her assailant achieved multiple hits to her torso, arms and groin which incapacitated her before closing to point blank range to finish her off with a shot to the head. The assailant then proceeded to kill several more people.

  51. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    It’s more complicated, it’s offered in far, far, fewer calibers, and is less accurate than pretty much any bolt action rifle.

    I’m not a gun collector. I don’t ride horses. I don’t wear cowboy hats. I’m a gun shooter.

    Convince me to buy a lever-action rifle.

    I double-dog dare you.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      More complicated… which models are we talking about, specifically, that are “more complicated?”

      Ever been inside of a Marlin 336 or 36? Pud-simple. Same for a Savage 99. Pud simple.

      1. avatar Rimfire says:

        Dyspeptic Gunsmith, simple and straightforward to work on, yes! The Browning BLR is a great handling lever gun. In 2018 it’s offered in at least 10 calibers, including some that will amaze the non-‘lever crowd. 7MM Rem Mag, yes, here you go sir. Oh, you want a .223, or a .300 Win Mag? Got those too. You’re spot-on with handling also, nothing just comes up sweeter than a lever gun. The .450 Marlin is a quite underappreciated round and is also in the BLR as well as Win. model 94 and others. Some of us appreciate the slab-sided lever guns, also the blued steel and walnut ( or stainless for harsh weather)

        Maybe we won’t convince Klaus, but I ask, have you ever handled one in the field, Klaus? They’re a fun gun to own, handy and quick. But hey, don’t knock it till you try one. You might be surprised.

  52. avatar Alex Bryant says:

    I think a lot of the appeal has to do with the intangibles. I’m an FFL and have access to pretty much any gun I want, but my go-to hunting rifle is a Marlin 1895G. And it’s not because I’m an old-timer, I’m 26. (I did watch a lot of westerns in my formative years, though.) For me, I carry it because I’ve yet to own a better-handling rifle, especially when I’m hunting on foot in thick woods. It’s short, handy, relatively lightweight, and has an almost magical quality of being on target as soon as I bring it to shoulder. People talk about a rifle feeling like an extension of their body, that’s how the Guide Gun feels for me. I love my ARs and scoped bolt actions, but none of them feel quite as natural for me. None of that can be quantified on paper, however, so by the numbers, lever guns will always look inferior. But I don’t see them ever going away.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Ditto in my comments on the BLR above.

      When you find that rifle that points so naturally, it is difficult to just leave it in the closet, isn’t it? You know, “objectively” that the other rifles are supposed to be “better,” but when you’re wanting a rifle that just leaps to your shoulder, you reach for the levergun. I know exactly what you’re speaking of…

    2. avatar Kent says:

      👍🏻

  53. avatar Ken says:

    Considering that tens of thousands of shooters in the U.S. still hunt and shoot competition with muzzleloader rifles, as well as the hundreds of thousands that shoot cowboy action competitions, I think the death of the lever action is a LONG way off. It may not be the cool, sexy things but they’re still very popular, useful and fun to shoot.

  54. avatar Duncan says:

    Browning BLR, savage 99 and Winchester 88 all have detachable magazine’s and shoot pointed bullets. All three are chambered in 308 Winchester. The BLR has even been chambered in 338 WinMag!
    My marlin 36 in 30-30 and Winchester big bore black shadow in 444 easily shoot sub MOA disapproving the myth that lever guns are not accurate.
    The biggest issues with the win 94, marlin 336 and the Mossberg POS they are all jamomatics. Good luck finding a gunsmith that is not terrified of the 100+ year old technology.

    1. avatar Rimfire says:

      You mentioned your model 94 as a jamomatic….One thing is a fact, you must work the lever with authority, unlike the older model 1873 which could be “levered” slowly, the 94 needs to be worked quickly and firmly. Anything less does affect the loading process. Gotta remember that these aren’t “controlled round feed” guns like a model 70/Mauser action. That c artridge is literally resting loosely on the elevator waiting to be lifted and pushed home. My bro-in-law had a bad habit of soft stroking the lever on his 336, same issue. I gave him a demonstration. John Moses Browning wants you to be firm with the lever.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Absolutely true, and if we were together in person, I could show you why this is.

        It’s the “drop down” part of the 94’s action. The part at the rear of the receiver that drops down, which isn’t there on the ’73 or ’92.

        1. avatar John Dunlap says:

          My Henry Big Boy .45 Colt can be “soft stroked” with no issues. It’s slow to reload, though the removable magazine spring tube makes it safer to unload than other tube fed levers, and I dislike the side ejection (lefty). I might replace it with a ’92 one of these days.

  55. avatar GS650G says:

    My Henry Long Ranger in .308 is as accurate as any bolt action. Follow up shots are much faster. The scope makes it the perfect hunting gun. With the hammer down it’s not going off accidentally.
    I’d love a Marlin but not until quality improves. I’d rather spend more.for a Browning or Henry.

  56. avatar kap says:

    Let me think the Lowly 7X57 has taken every animal in Africa and including the Alaska great bears so what the F do I need a frigging magnum for! the 300 savage will do anything a .308 will do, as far as a Lever being a Jamomatic in 50 years of using one or three I never yet had a Jam that was not self induced! mostly by wimp strokes! My Lever 30-30 is good out too 200, my 45-70 is good to 800 with iron sights, part of the problem is you got all scope proponents that can’t hit sh*t with Iron sights

    1. avatar Alan says:

      If it hadn’t been for it’s Metric designation, the 7 x 57 MM Mauser might well have become our service rifle cartridge.

  57. avatar Alan says:

    In the minds of some, level action rifles are obsolete, things from the past and so forth.A significant number of people disagree, to each their own.

    In any event, I find myself curious as to the following. How long might it be before the bolt cation rifle is declared “obsolete”, or something of the sort?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      There would have to be something as accurate as the turnbolt rifle developed – and that’s not been done yet.

      All the other types of rifle actions have some advantage, but the bolt action has the advantage that it still rules where precision is concerned.

  58. avatar Phil LA says:

    A lever gun and SA revolver are totally outdated and useless… right up to the point you hold one.

    I’ve got my 45 Colt Blackhawk and M1892. I’m all set.

  59. I have always thought of the classic lever action as a sort of a stealth assault gun. Consider – in a magnum carbine a weight of around six pounds, 8 – 10 rounds, and a very fast action. Additionally, they are narrow, small, and handy. Now consider what that long barrel does for a magnum handgun round. In the case of the 44 and 357 magnums, muzzle energy is almost doubled. Yet compared to a full sized rifle cartridge, recoil is easy to manage. Then there are the politics. A lever gun is pretty nonthreatening, unlikely to be banned any time soon (Well – you never know about california and new jersey), and unlikely to be in short supply or require any special licensing. They are also fairly inexpensive. I have lever guns i the following calibers: 22, 357, 44, 454 cassul (45 L.C.), and 30-30.

  60. avatar Douglas Johnson says:

    My Uberti 1873 in 357 is the finest gun that I have ever owned. For those considering a lever action rifle or any cowboy gun, Uberti should be considered.

  61. avatar Mikial says:

    We own numerous rifles in a wide range of actions and calibers, but we definitely have a Marlin 30-30 lever gun and 500 rounds of ammo in our storage arsenal. They are excellent guns for a wide range of applications and they are not guns that are targeted by the antis. The round is powerful enough for anything in our region of the country and it is a very quick weapon to bring on target and fire.

    If you don’t like them, that’s fine with me, but I will always have a lever gun stashed away in my cache.

  62. avatar John Dunlap says:

    The reality is that all firearms are niche tools. Some can be considered general purpose, such as Ruger’s Gunsite Scout, Mini 30, or the 94 Winchester, but that just means they can fill several rolls adequately, but not perfectly. Most of these ‘is it obsolete’ discussions are the result of marketing hype. How many of us even have a place to practice shooting beyond 300 yards? I sure don’t. And what happened to fair chase, and the skill of stalking? As for the revolver vs. auto debate, I would point out that the vast majority of defensive uses of a firearm involve fewer than five rounds fired, and you can count the number of autos that are both powerful and convenient enough for carry in wilderness areas with large predators on one hand. Lots of people are still buying lever guns, and Ruger and Smith & Wesson don’t seem to have any trouble at all selling all those revolvers in their catalogs.

    1. avatar John Dunlap says:

      Correction: “role” (oops).

  63. avatar Anonymous says:

    I have an early 70s Winchester 94, 30-30. Going to put a scout rail on it. It has the power of a 7.62×39, and is light as a feather. With solid LER optics, it will be the best scout rifle on earth. And IMO, a scout rifle shouldn’t be a long range rifle. Should be light and handy, and that is what a small, light, lever 30-30 achieves.

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