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Thread: Lever Guns

  1. #1

    Lever Guns

    Who likes em? Which ones? Why and for what? I've mostly been a 45-70 kind of guy, but I recently took the 30-30's out and they were very enjoyable. Might switch my "main lever" over to one of them. Also, just ordered an HPG stock pack for one of the 30-30's. I was impressed with it at SHOT, but didn't really need it at the time. I also would prefer if it carried a few less rds, but I suppose I don't have to load it all the way up.

    I have a Winchester, and a few Marlins. Some have the crossbolt safety and some don't. I'm mostly ambivalent about the safety, but I do think it is less safe to rely on the half cock notch. Any thoughts on that, especially from any of the armorers or long time users who might be here?

  2. #2
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    I currently have three. A Marlin 1895 Guide gun in 45-70 I've had since the 1990's, a 1960's vintage marlin 39 .22LR and 1960's vintage marlin 336 30-30 with an Octagon barrel and full magazine tube. Both the 1960's guns belonged to my late uncle. The guide gun in particular is a great hog hunting gun for close brushy country. Mine currently has a Burris 2.7 5X scout scope but lately I've been thinking of trying to put an RMR or an Aimpoint T1 on there.

    I've had and sold two of the Marlin 1895 "cowboy" 45-70's with the Octagon barrels and full magazines. Both were good guns but just didn't get shot enough to justify them. I wish I had picked up a Marlin 1894 "Cowboy" in .357 before The "Remlin"era.

    My grail lever gun is a Winchester 1895 Saddle Ring Carbine in .30 U.S. (Aka 30-40 Krag) or 30-6 with a receiver mounted peep sight.
    Last edited by HCM; 08-29-2015 at 04:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Hillbilly Elitist Malamute's Avatar
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    I'm a long time lever fan. I've had them from about the 1880's on up. My all time favorite is the Winchester 1886. The action makes a 45-70 cartridge look small in it. They will take a 45-90 or 50-110 round easily. I have a Browning 86 carbine I had 2" chopped off of it, to an even 20", put a Lyman 56 receiver sight and sling studs on. Its one of my favorite carry guns in the mountains, besides the model 71 Winchester (348 cal).

    I like the Winchester 94's quite a lot. In general, if one doesnt dry fire them with no snap caps, they will run about forever. I've had maybe a couple dozen of them over the years. The one I carry the most is a 1927 gun that I had a spare barrel chopped to 16". Its a good truck gun and general walk around gun. I have a project gun to build in 38-55 cal. It should be fun once done. They can be run about 1800 fps or so with the 255 gr bullets without bending anything. The guys that have used them on moose in Canada say they generally shoot through them with the Barnes Originals or cast loads at that velocity.

    The Winchester 92 type actions are in pistol caliber size rounds. I have a Browning 92 in 44 mag cal. I had a Ruger ring base machined down and silver soldered on the side of the mag tube for a light mount. I have a Surefire 6P in a Ruger ring on it, it works real well for a night time gun. The Ruger ring base is much smaller than the common weaver type base and tucks out of the way pretty well when I dont want the light on it. It usually only has 200 gr lead flat point loads at about 12-1300 fps in it, but the 265 gr Hornadys and other heavies work all right. The overall length can be tinkered with to accept some longer bulleted loads. I havent done it. It wont take the Lyman/Keith 250 gr bullet in mag cases, but in 44 spl cases works fine. I'd like to chop it to 17" at some point.

    Most of mine have had decent Lyman receiver sights and slings added, and often a sourdough type front blade. I've taken to painting the front sights orange recently, it shows up pretty well in lower light. Id like to have an angle eject gun I could easily scope and use for a general purpose gun.

    The lever work well for me. I've hunted with them a bit, hitting running rabbits hasnt been much problem. Having an older Marlin 39 in 22 cal and shooting a bazillion rounds through it is good practice.

    The crossbolt safety guns are arguably safer to handle if loaded, and the safety is good for unloading, but some have had them end up unexpectedly on when they wanted to shoot. Some of us traditionalists prefer the regular half cosk safeties, but I rarely ever chamber a round unless ready to shoot, or I drop a extra-light load in the chamber for snakes or grouse. I leave the magazine loaded on most of mine at all times. They been loaded for most of the time I've owned them. I grab different guns at different times depending on use or perceived need. If the hammer is down, the chamber is empty and magazine loaded. If in storage they may not be loaded. Most seem to be though.
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    Last edited by Malamute; 08-29-2015 at 05:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter Maple Syrup Actual's Avatar
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    I love lever guns. I have a slightly slicked-up Rossi saddle carbine in .357 that is one of my few never-sell guns. It's just so flat, light, and handy.

    Most recently I reviewed a couple of thousand-dollar-plus Chiappas in .44mag. Man, they were beauties. Full stocks, 12" barrels, on colour case hardened with an octagonal barrel and one stainless takedown model.

    I did not want to give them back. They were so fun out around 75m...thump.

    I designed a boat and now I'm building it. This is where that's happening:

    https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....ilding-a-skiff

  5. #5
    Site Supporter LOKNLOD's Avatar
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    Funny you mention Chiappa levers, I saw one of their lever "pistols" the other day, and now I have this ridiculous desire to SBR one.
    --Josh

  6. #6
    Site Supporter Maple Syrup Actual's Avatar
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    I can't speak for any but the ones I had, which were part of a special manufacturing run, but these ones were gorgeous, inside and out.

    I don't think I have any good pictures of them from a distance but a 12" barreled lever gun is AWESOME.


    Okay, picture from the retailer:

    I designed a boat and now I'm building it. This is where that's happening:

    https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....ilding-a-skiff

  7. #7
    Site Supporter LOKNLOD's Avatar
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    Uhhh....
    I've never used this common 'netism before, but....

    I'll be in my bunk.

    Last edited by LOKNLOD; 08-29-2015 at 07:10 PM.
    --Josh

  8. #8
    Site Supporter Clobbersaurus's Avatar
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    I have a Marlin 1894 in 44 Mag.

    My dad bought it in the 70's, it's got to be at least as old as I am. Beautiful trigger, beautiful wood and very accurate. I'll never sell it. I'll try to get a pic of it when I have more time.
    Last edited by Clobbersaurus; 08-29-2015 at 07:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter Maple Syrup Actual's Avatar
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    Totally post a pic, those make me moist.
    I designed a boat and now I'm building it. This is where that's happening:

    https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....ilding-a-skiff

  10. #10
    I have a few hanging around.
    Shot the Marlin M39A .22 in a drill last week.
    Have a Marlin 1894FG in .41 Magnum as well.
    Both have "ghost ring" peep sights that work well for me.
    So does a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70.

    A couple years ago I started feeling un-American without a .30-30.
    A local pawn shop then had a sale and I picked up a Marlin 336 in that caliber.
    Hasn't been shot as much as the others but it's not going anywhere.
    The scope is going to be replaced with a peep one of these days.

    The 39A and the .41 Magnum are the most fun of the bunch, I think.

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