In this article, we will take a closer look at lever action rifles. I know this is very old school compared to the stuff i've discussed in previous article, but there is just something so nostalgic about those old trustees that were in today's discussion.
In this day and age, all the discussions revolve around ar-15s and ar-10s and other modern firearms. It seems that lever action rifles are left in the dust. But here's a fun fact, lever action rifles were the first carbines to use pistol caliber, keep in mind when they were made back in the day almost everyone carried around a revolver with the classic 44-40 cartridge, the rifles also had the same ammo as well.
Now you might think that a lever action rifle has a low fire rate, sure it doesn't shoot as fast as modern day guns, but they can put lead downrange more rapidly than you think, a well-trained cowboy can fire a lever action rifle pretty quickly. There are a few reasons why you should at least give lever actions a try.
First let's talk about sentimental value. You don't see them on the field often, hunters that bring a lever action rifle with them is manly because it gives them a feeling of connection. When you hold it in your hands you will think back to the wild west when horses were the main mode of transportation and the internet was non-existent. I guarantee you that you'll get an odds of approval for bringing the brush gun, for those who just want a reliable hunting rifle that is lightweight, quick handling and also packs a mean punch at medium distance. Lever action rifles still outperform many modern rifles. Now we have better rifle construction and better ammo so the performance of these rifles is enhanced even more. There are two main groups of people who advocate the use of lever action rifles among hunters, the first group simply wants to make hunting more challenging, because you need to spot, stalk and then shoot your game, modern guns take away the stalking aspect of the hunt, making it much blunter. The second group just hunts with lever action rifles for nostalgia, but why lever action rifles are becoming more popular is due to the availability of better ammo that is lever action specific most importantly, there is the addition of more big bore cartridges. This puts lever action rifles almost at the same level of other rifle platforms. The more concerning problem is the tube magazine, this is where in lever guns the ammunition is stored, they are stacked so that the tip of one round touches the primer of the next round of the magazine, herein lies the problem. With enough force the bullets in the magazine can be set off and there is a lot of force rocking the rifle when you shoot, for safety reasons cartridges were made with a blunt nose which reduces their ballistic performance. But we do not have to deal with that problem today as there are cartridges specific for lever action rifles that meet safety standards while having a vastly superior ballistic performance.
Another way to improve performance and stopping power is by adding more power with more powerful cartridges. This can be done with modern powder and bullet technology, it means you can expect to get a better range and more energy without sacrificing the nostalgia.
So we see why lever action rifles are good as a hunting weapon, how do these rifles perform as a defense tool if modern guns are readily available and legal in your state then perhaps lever action rifles are not the best option. However certain states aren't so open in the idea of civilians owning modern firearms. Some even go so far as to ban removable magazines or pistol grips, in such a case lever action rifles are very valuable. So what are you left with a lever gun with a 38 special or 357 magnum gives you 10 rounds in a very light and still fast platform, if it can put down a bear it could put down a burglar.
If you want something that hits like a truck and wants to make a larger holes in your target there are lever guns at chamber 44 magnum or 45 colt. Now that the value of lever action rifles has been proven. Let's look at some of the best ones out there in the market.
If you want a gun that performs smoothly and seamlessly then you cannot go wrong with a henry. Their offerings are virtually limitless whether you want a center fire cartridge or a little 22 long rifle. Not to mention side ejection and a magazine tube loading port, you have an old trusty in your hand.
If you want to spice up your small game hunting, give their 401 shotgun a go alternatively. If you want to give your gun collection a bit of bling i highly recommend going for the henry golden boy 22.
Marlin 1895 custom shop 4570
There are many of these out there and it is one of my favorites, many years ago marlin made guide guns that kickstarted trent . These guns are short-barreled, ported, peep-sided guns. The short barrel is intentional as their goal is to take down bears or other mean wildlife. This makes them a valuable backup firearm when you come across an angry toothed critter, of course Marlin has made guide type guns to offer nowadays. Still i find the custom shop to be very appealing with a wide range of keracoat colors to choose from ghost ring sights, improved actions and a tube of 45-70 cartridges. It's an absolute beast of a gun.
Marlin 336ss uses the 30-30 winchester, the aesthetics alone more than justifies the purchase. It comes with brushed stainless finish and an alluring checkered walnut. It's the perfect piece to have in your home or the forest when you're stocking a deer. The magazine capacity is not too shabby either with six rounds in the tubular magazine, plus if you don't find the open sight to your liking, maybe it's hard on your eyes. There's an optic mount on the top receiver, if you don't like stainless steel marlin also offers another 336 variant in a standard blued finish.
Winchester model 1894
The winchester model 94 is a masterpiece, it chambers the 30 30 winchester, it isn't the most beautiful gun in the world but it does its job well. It comes with open sights walnut stock and blued steel. This is a rifle that everyone should own in my opinion. When you hold this in your arms, you'll feel the long history of this gun. Back to the time when one of these was an absolute essential, of course you won't be getting the original design since they aren't produced anymore, but the modern variants are still excellent. This is a tang safety angle eject and you will find that the receiver is drilled and tapped perfect for mounting optics.
If you want to kit out your gun, your wallet would be pleased to hear that. It does not take much to bring your rifle to a new level, a few of these will improve their performance especially as home defense weapon, snap caps. The last thing you want to happen during a home defense scenario is to fumble with the action. Snap caps are safe and give you a much better feel for the firearm than practicing dry. You can practice loading the mag tube working the action and ejecting rounds with snap cap dummy rounds.
Flashlight and mount pretty self-explanatory, having lights on your target in the dark not only helps you with aiming, but also temporarily blinds your attacker giving you that crucial moment to place a well-aimed shot, depending on the gun you use, you may have to go for after-market mounting options. But they aren't cheap.
Sling and sling mount; a sling helps keep your gun handy while your hands are busy with other things, many lever action rifles do not come with a sling mount but there are inexpensive solutions.
Ammo Carrier; Lever action rifles have a small ammo capacity so it is a good idea to invest in an ammo carrier, you can get a butt stock sleeve with ammo loops that are quite cheap, that way you have a few extra cartridges conveniently at hand ready to go.
Paracord wrap; the back your fingers will start to hurt after pushing the lever for a while, an inexpensive solution would be to get a paracord wrap to act as a pad on the lever improved comfort even old shoe strings work in this case. There are many online tutorials to show you how to do it without messing with the operation.