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RF’s been lusting after the Model 89 from Big Horn Armory for some time. In fact, he waited three-and-a-half years for his S&W 500-firing firearm. So long, in fact, that el jefe forgot who made the rifle [Ed: that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.] Again, this soft-shooting beast is the product of Big Horn Armory, not his other favorite slow-poke custom lever gun maker Grizzly Custom Guns. RF’s also been eyeing a wheelgun in the same flavor for protection from bears (oh my) but something tells me he’ll give up on that one as soon as he puts a few horse-choking rounds through one. Anyway, his dream lever gun finally arrived in the mail a few days ago – for the third time. Friday he brought it to Best of the West to test fire it. The result? A smile that can’t be bought. Except for the price of a┬áModel 89 from Big Horn Armory. That’s BIG HORN ARMORY. And yes Dan, that’s your hat.

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  1. Excellent. If Marlin ever makes a nice rifle again, I hope they’ll have an 1894 or 1895 in 500 so it’s a bit easier on the wallet.

    • Yea, it would have to be a ’95 action. Would be soooo nice to have a companion rifle for my pistol!!!

    • Just picked up, less than 30 minutes ago, a North Haven-produced Model 25N. Now, if I could just find one of their old lever actions at a reasonable price.

  2. I like this! I still want a level gun in the future. Probably something in the .357 range as I also have a .357 revolver. Then I can share ammo.

    • I love my .357 revolver, and I think it is one of the best pistol calibers for Carbine use. I would love a lever in .357. Although a semi-auto that utilized Desert Eagle mags would be nice too.

    • I’m not a big fan of lever guns….but…..OMG! A big plus is that 500 S&W is easier to find that 22LR…..albeit the 500 has a bit more velocity….wee bit….little……OK! It’s a beast! GIMME!

  3. So when is the big game hunt?
    We’ve got some nice sized griz up here in AK- could be a fun trip to blog out…

    • That was my first thought. Looked up the website and that one holds 5 in the mag, but they make a carbine that holds 7. For my money if it’s only going to hold 5 you might as well go with a 45-70. I’m sure the quality blows Marlin away, but you could buy 5 Marlins for the price of the Big Horn, and Henry makes a 6 round 45-70 for a little more. That or just go with a .44 mag that holds 8 or 10 rounds.

  4. I love that rifle.
    No legitimate excuse to own one in the city…..but since when has that stopped anybody?

    Side note: I can’t be the only one who looks forward to Nick’s articles due to his humor. It really makes the article readable and enjoyable, for me at least.

  5. I prefer a 50 beowulf AR.

    Can fire a 400gr Hawk JSP at 1875FPS. That’s 3123 ft*lbf. The ammo is quite expensive and brutal on one’s shoulder compared to a .223, however it’s a blast and quite powerful. It’s not as classy as a lever action, but it has it’s virtues. Holds 10 – semi-auto in a 30rd USGI mag.

    • If we are going to start a caliber war do it properly. .50 Beowulf? Try 14.5x114mm, it fires a 1000 grain bullet at 3300 fps.

      Sure, the rifle is heavy but you dont need to walk far.

      • At that point just pull the Yamato battleship up from the bottom of the pacific and start shelling them with 18″ lead. It’s hard to argue about stopping power with those guns!

  6. Glad to see the gun’s got some pretty wood on it. That’s the soul of a lever gun. Well, that and the lever.

  7. Golly, JMB design, and one that is most efficent when one has skill.

    What does R.F even want to touch one for?

    Btw, cool rifle. I surely love my browning 92 and
    my 1895 guie gun.

  8. Congratulations … sounds like fun!!!!! Giant calibers are a hoot and they put down large game right now!!!

    The caliber choice is interesting. On the plus side, it has gobs of knock down power. On the down side, ammunition is NOT readily available and I can only imagine it is really expensive.

    I have always dreamed of a large bore custom rifle in semi-auto or pump action. (I can achieve a significantly higher rate of fire with a pump action rifle over lever action.) Can you imagine a semi-auto rifle in .500 Smith and Wesson caliber?

    Now, a lever, pump, or semi-auto action rifle in .44 Magnum and a revolver (with a 6 inch barrel) to go with it, that is a fantastic combination capable of dropping everything in North America with the exception of polar bears and the largest brown (grizzly) bears. (The long gun in .44 Magnum is much better suited to promptly dropping a 900 pound brown bear or a 1200 pound moose than a revolver in pretty much any caliber.)

    If I know I have a good chance of facing a 1000+ pound brown bear, then a long gun in .45-70 Government or a pump action shotgun (with a shorter barrel for maneuverability) would be my choice.

    And remember, regardless of caliber choice, ammunition selection is critical. A .44 Magnum 320 grain hardcast lead bullet coming out of a lever action rifle at 1800 fps is going to be much effective on a huge brown bear than a 12 gauge shotgun shooting #00 buckshot. Okay, so ammunition selection in .500 Smith and Wesson doesn’t matter, but you get my point!

  9. That’s definitely a nicer gun than my 1895 XLR. I wish Marlin made a quality, reliable 500 Smith lever gun. Damn freedom group.


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