Monday, October 6, 2014

You NEED a Lever Action

I’ll fess up to a deep, dark secret: Some weekends I regress back to my bucolic childhood in the wide-open suburbs of SoCal, dress-up in my hat and boots, grab my toys, and play Cowboy.

As a member of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), I compete in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS.) Through a constant diet of boob-tube Westerns, I was fascinated by my hero’s six guns, his trusty, mentally-challenged sidekick’s stagecoach shotgun and the lever action rifles that were standard equipment on each one-horsepower conveyance. To get to play with real, steel, Western guns, with real ammo, shooting at targets that go CLANG instead of Missed Me!, blazing away just as fast as possible --- well --- that’s just about the most fun you can have with your spurs on. 

My CAS Rig
(Toenails Not Included)

 I’ve learned to appreciate the single-action revolvers, despise the Winchester 1897 pump shotgun, and really love the simple perfection of the lever action rifle. 

Light, compact, fast, reliable, handy, and hard-hitting, the 150 year old lever action design continues to be relevant in the 21st Century: for fun, for sport… and for self-defense. I’m a particular fan of the Marlin 1894C: it is simply a brilliant little rifle. So much so, that the wife appropriated it via eminent domain for her Cowboy shooting.

Michael Bane’s  Lever Gun Self-Defense and Bearing Arm’s You Need A Lever-Action Rifle are excellent discussions of why you might consider this “archaic” firearm, especially where “progressive” restrictions are in place.

Highly Recommended. 
Win '94 Thuty-Thuty

Note: For some reason, at least on my 'puter, Firefox is not rendering the two photos. I've noticed similar photo errors on other blogs; perhaps connected to the size of the images. It might be a Firefox only problem, as the page renders fine on Internet Exploder. Anyone else have this issue? I'm about to dump the cranky Firefox in favor of Chrome - and lose 6-7 years of bookmarks. Gaaaah!


  1. I could make a whole post in response to this … and there'd be no disagreement on the rifle! A Marlin 1894 or 336 is on my short list of guns-to-get. Matthew over at Straight Forward in a Crooked World put up a post a couple years back on the practical advantages to a lever-action rifle in self-defense and/or protective situations, including these guns tending to be overlooked in areas that ban "military style" guns. I'd only add that having a rifle and a pistol of matching caliber makes it that much simpler to stock and pack ammo.

    As to the 'puter, I use an old, archaic version of Firefox, and it seems to be rendering photos OK (for now); maybe just the newest version's having issues. IE's working fine. Chrome isn't too bad, and it has a command to import Favorites/Bookmarks from other browsers. It might be worth a try.

  2. We should tell our readers that several years ago, Remington bought Marlin, and then proceeded to serially screw Ye Ol' Pooch. Re: The resulting "Remlins" were poorly manufactured and hardly functional. However, lately there's been a New Hope: recently built Marlin 1894s in .44 Mag are said to be a good as any Marlins of yore. Hopefully that's true, as I've got a bunch more Marlins to buy.

    Thanks for the computer advice.

    1. No problem. Computer advice is what I do! (That said, advice provided as-is, not responsible for damage, yadda yadda. ;) )

      Given enough cash, I'd have a full set of lever guns — .22 (I'm told Short, Long, and Long Rifle can all run through the same gun, but haven't been able to verify that), .357 Mag, .44 Mag, and 30-30 — and pistols to match (except for the 30-30). Sadly, that's an unattainable goal for now.

      There's never enough cash to cover all desired gun purchases. ;)

    2. Careful, Archer, Leveritis is as pernicious as Black Rifle Disease. Turn your back on it, and you've suddenly got a safe full of levers. Trust me, I know.

      Short, Long, and Long Rifle will work in most rimfire levers. My Win 9422 will feed shorts and even BB Caps with care. I've also got a 9422M - and I've got an eye out for a 9417 to complete my 9422 collection. It's a sickness.

      As an indication of he esteem I have for levers, my EOTWAWKI load-out is a Marlin 1894C and Ruger GP100: stone-ax simple and reliable as a tax increase. .

    3. I can find no fault in your choice of EOTWAWKI loads. Mine is not nearly so refined, but that's mostly because the available supply is small and there's no commonality of ammo. We currently just have what we have.

      I'm afraid I'm at a high-risk for Leveritis AND Black Rifle Disease, which are both merely sub-sets of the over-arching "problem": BANG (Buy-A-New-Gun) Disorder.

      **cue drug commercial voice-over**

      Symptoms include spending an inordinate amount of time in firearm and sporting goods stores with off-the-cuff justifications such as "just browsing", lurking in Internet firearms forums, asking others what guns they own and how they like them, and repeatedly poring over household budget sheets and couch cushions to turn up extra cash. Treatment is simple — buy a new (to you) gun every so often, and shoot it — but there is no cure for BANG and the side effects of treatment are numerous and severe, including but not limited to: cash shortages, overstocked safes, rapidly-fluctuating ammunition supplies, Second-Amendment advocacy, and angry spouses. It's advised that you consult a physicians-assistant (only if he/she is a gunnie), an NRA-certified trainer (recommended), or an Internet gun forum (as a last resort) before engaging in any self-treatment of BANG. Use caution when interacting with others, as BANG is highly contagious.

      BANG: It's not the end of the world, just the end of your paycheck. ;)

  3. You forgot mention that wimmin's likes 'em to!! Many gun shy women I know have been seduced by lever's.

    1. Excellent point! When we were first starting in SASS, I bought a Marlin 1894C. The wifey quickly appropriated it, then girlied up the poor thing with pink butt pads and lever wraps so I'd never want to shoot it again. Little did she know; after all these years of marriage, I have no more pride left. ;)