With today’s uncertain times folks have flocked to firearms retailers looking for guns and ammunition. As if by clockwork recent events have caused those having an opposition to guns now finding themselves rethinking their position.
Perhaps a gun is not such a bad thing to own after all with current world events continuing to be an unknown. Eventually (we hope and pray) life will gradually return to some degree of normalcy. Until then, when things get tough, folks look to the essentials: shelter, food, water, medical supplies, and firearms.
Those purchasing a firearm for the first time often seek out a high-capacity semiauto platform in a handgun, rifle, or even shotgun. However, there is another great option that is often overlooked today. One that in most states would be out of the cross hairs of those seeking to eliminate or control the ever evil “battle style rifle.”
You may think I am referring to the revolver handgun, or the pump action shotgun. However, neither are what I’m talking of. Rather the old lever action carbine that in all likelihood your granddad or great granddad used to put meat on the table back in the day.
Many older production lever guns from days gone are completely sufficient for hunting and defense today. Additionally, there some great companies still making high quality lever guns today such as, Winchester, Marlin, Browning, Henry Repeating Arms, Chiappa, and Rossi.
So why take a second look at a lever gun for every day access in your vehicle or around the house? Consider the following, although long barrel lever actions are still produced, I prefer to focus on short barrel (16 to 20 inches) carbines because of the maneuverability in and around tight spaces.
Places like around a vehicle (easily stored between seats in a vehicle because they are so flat-sided), and in the home. Ease of operating the lever gun when it comes to working the action, loading, and consistent reliability make it a contender for staying in the lineup.
Today’s lever guns offer a wide range of features and caliber choices, from rimfire, to handgun calibers to big bore options, there is a choice fitting every need. Granted you will have a smaller magazine capacity with a lever gun, usually from 5 to 10 rounds depending on caliber and manufacturer.
An absolute plus in my book is the fact that, you are generally much less noticeable with an old-fashioned lever gun than you are with what many consider to be an assault rifle. Make no mistake, I enjoy my semi auto carbines, but also respect and enjoy a short-barreled lever gun, whether it be a rifle caliber or a pistol caliber model.
Another real-world possibility is that you may also find one of these lever carbines on your retailer’s shelf long after the AR and AK platform guns have all been banned.
Let’s take a look at a few lever guns I’ve had hands on experience with over the years:
Winchester Model 94 Saddle Ring Carbine Trapper
What a wonderful little gun this has been for me over several decades now. I have carried it countless miles both on foot, horse back and between the front seats of my pickup. In the old standby 30-30 caliber, it has been adequate for hunting big game at short ranges and is always still accessible in my abode for home defense.
I have even stopped a charge from a wounded Oryx (Gemsbuck) with a quick shot between the eyes (fortunately) with this carbine. The Oryx dropped dead in his tracks at less than five yards.
Henry Repeating Arms Big Boy Steel Carbine
My copy of this fine lever gun was before Henry reconfigured all their lever guns with the much-preferred side loading gate (but still allows for tubular loading). Mine is strictly tubular loading but is none the less a great truck carry gun. Chambered in .357 Magnum I can opt to shoot 38 Special just as easily and have taken game with this lever gun on more than one occasion.
Additional calibers include .45 Colt, 44 Magnum/Special. This carbine has the classic look of old west lever guns with a walnut stock and buckhorn sights. I also like the oversized lever that comes standard in the carbine.
Winchester Model 92 Saddle Ring Carbine
This lever action is a classic and can be highly valuable, many thousands of dollars and beyond in some cases. The model 92 was designed by John Browning and was produced from 1892 to 1945. Four main calibers of this classic carbine were produced, 32-20, 38-40, 44-40 and 25-20. A few 92s were produced in .218 Bee from 1936 to 1938 and are very rare.
The 44-40 was probably the most popular overall. I have owned several of these handy lever carbines over the years and will continue to do so. If you can find one that is a “shooter” instead of collector grade (that you would hate to put wear on) they are a pure joy to carry and hunt with.
No doubt, many a sassy bandit was put down over the years with the model 92. My granddad took his share of deer back in the depression era with the 92 in 25-20.
By the way…just what is that saddle ring used for? It was so a soldier or cowboy on horseback could tie a piece of rawhide through the saddle ring and hang it from his saddle horn in the event he had no scabbard.
Henry Big Boy X Model
Want a new era carbine lever gun that is a bit more tactical looking, the Big Boy X Model is it. This tough carbine comes standard with a threaded barrel for a suppressor and an oversized lever.
Calibers in the X Model carbine include, .44 Special/Magnum .45 Colt, and .38 Special/.357 Magnum. Additionally, there are X Model versions in .45-70 and .410 Shotgun however not in carbine length barrels.
In a nutshell any of these carbines are suitable for self-defense and hunting deer-size game and may not draw the unwanted attention that your everyday semiauto black gun would. In today’s difficult times a lever action carbine could be just what the doctor ordered for your particular spot on the map and specific needs.
My suggestion…don’t overlook the old lever gun.
Next up read: What is a brush gun?