What hunter hasn’t thought about pursuing deer, elk or bear with a lever gun? It’s the Classic American rifle, after all – the star, or at least the supporting actor, in so, so many western movies; the trusty companion of old-time hunters and trappers; the weapon early settlers used to protect their herds, flocks and homes.
There’s romance in shooting a lever-action. If you currently carry one, you already know that. If you don’t, well . . . you know it, too.
Here’s a half-dozen awesome lever-actions that offer hunters more than great looks and a warm feeling inside. They’ll do the work they’re designed to do efficiently and effectively, just as any good tool should do.
If you need to pack a heavy-duty punch when shooting in tight spaces, this lever-action is an ideal choice. At just 35 inches overall, the Henry carbine (above) combines the features of the legendary Big Boy rifle with a short “Trapper-style” barrel and American-walnut stock and fore grip. An open semi-buckhorn rear sight and brass bead fore sight get on target quickly, while the large-loop lever can be operated while wearing shooting mittens or heavy gloves. Calibers: .357 Mag./.38 S&W Spec., .45 Colt, or .44 Rem. Mag./.44 S&W Spec.
All five versions of the Model 1895 (above) are chambered for the hard-hitting .45-70 Govt. cartridge, still a popular hunting round more than 130 years after it first emerged as a military cartridge. Each rifle features side-loading and ejection, plus deep, Ballard-type rifling. The differences among them are purely in styling. Choose between blued or stainless-steel metal work, and an American walnut or laminated wood stock and fore grip.
With its blued-finish barrel and receiver, and beautifully checkered woodwork, this rifle (above) has a classic lever-action look, while its compact size makes it a handy brush or truck gun. And though the rear open sight is fully adjustable, the receiver is drilled and tapped for easy scope mounting, if a telescopic sight better fits your hunting style. Calibers: .357 Mag./.38 S&W Spec., .44 Rem. Mag., or .45 Colt.
The .30-30 dates back to 1894 and has since become an iconic deer cartridge. Match it with one of the most storied firearm brands in America – Henry Repeating Arms – and it’s like holding a piece of history in your hands. This lever-action (above) is available with either a brass receiver and octagon barrel with a semi-buckhorn rear sight, or a blued steel receiver and round barrel with an XS Ghost Ring rear sight. Both receivers are drilled and tapped for ready scope mounting.
Marlin’s version of the venerable .30-30 lever-action is the Model 336 (above). Whatever your preference – blued or stainless- steel metal; checkered or plain woodwork – any one of the three can deliver downrange accuracy and lethal knockdown power at the target. The 20-inch barrels feature 12-groove Micro-Groove rifling, plus an adjustable, folding semi-buckhorn rear sight. Solid-top receivers are tapped for scope mounts.
If you admire the look and feel of a lever-action, but can’t see yourself shooting round-nose bullets on your deer hunts, check out the Long Ranger (above). It’s where classic handling and style meets modern-day accuracy and ballistics. The 20-inch free floating barrel brings long-range precision to the table, while the detachable box magazine allows for cartridges that propel bullets fast and far downrange. Calibers: .308 Win., .243 Win., or .223 Win.
Lever-action rifles are just downright fun to shoot, though spending a whole day at the range with your deer rifle might dent your wallet, not to mention your shoulder. Fortunately, there’s a slug of rimfire lever-actions available to shooters, too. Perfect for taking small-game, or just plinking, they’ll also help you hone your eye for the moment you line up on that 8-point buck.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s
Product images courtesy of Cabela’s