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Lever Gun Thread


Jul 8, 2009
Member Number
Gatesville, TX
Had a couple of these at the other place, they had some fun information.

This is what my shelf if looking like as of today. Top to bottom,
1980's Browning BLR .308,
1960's Savage 99 .300 Savage,
1940's Winchester 94 .32 Win Spc,
1910's Savage .303 Savage


This is the one I just picked up the other day, Leupold 3-9x sitting on top, it was $650 because it has some wear and is an 80's Japanese build instead of the $800 clean belgium version next to it on the shelf. Really nice and smooth, looking forward to putting rounds through it and happy to own something in .308, the round that still seems to be everywhere despite all other 'shortages'



Box magazine and modern machining and design for the bolt make a serious difference compared to the earlier levers



The Browning BLR lever action rifle has all of the fine qualities of a good lever action with the inherent strength and accuracy of a bolt action. The BLR is essentially a "lever operated bolt action" because multiple locking lugs on the head of the bolt rotate into the breech end of the barrel to create a very strong action. The rack and pinion operating design allows the trigger to move with the lever, eliminating finger jams.

The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts, and features a hammer half cock safety, fully enclosed bolt head, and a good trigger mechanism. The magazine capacity is four rounds in standard calibers. It is the only lever action currently offered than can handle the pressures generated by high intensity and magnum cartridges.

The Lightweight (short action) model has a pistol grip stock, 20 inch barrel, deep blued finish and American walnut checkered stock and schnable forend. The weight is 6.5 pounds, and the overall length is just 40 inches. Adjustable iron sights are standard. The detachable box magazine allows the use of pointed bullets, and the forend design eliminates the use of barrel bands. There are long and short action versions, depending on caliber.

The Lightweight '81 model is similar to the standard BLR Lightweight, but comes with a straight hand stock and a carbine style forend with a barrel band. The '81 is the Western style BLR.

There is also an "all weather" Lightweight, with stainless steel silver/gray metal finish and a gray laminated hardwood stock. For 2008 the caliber list is the same for all models. Available numbers include .22-250, .243 Win., .270 Win., 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Mag., .308 Win., .30-06, .358 Win. (the only production .358 Winchester rifle), .450 Marlin, .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag. and .325 WSM.

The Browning BLR is a very dependable, accurate and easy to operate lever action rifle. It offers an excellent combination of ease of use, rapid follow up shots, plenty of power, and a wide variety of useful applications for the North American big game hunter.

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Savage 99, rotary magazine and internal hammer are the most unique design things here. really enjoy the weight and feel of these. I've got 2 at the moment, the older (darker wood) was my great-grandpa's (and i still need to track down that photo again) so I got the newer for something to use more. 300 sav is easier to find than 303 sav as well.







I recently read an article in Field and Stream and the article was ranking the 50 best guns ever made. I immediately skipped the introduction and went directly to the list.

I have a real affection for the great Savage Model 1899 and later 99, and highly regard it as one of the jewels in the history of America firearms. To my surprise, the Savage 99 was ranked 35th. I was sure it would have at least made the top 5. In my humble opinion the great Model 99 should have ranked higher.

It was a great design that was truly ahead of its time when Arthur Savage developed it in the 1890s. He designed the 1899 in hope of winning a contract with the war department. Although he did not, his design endured and the 99 went on to become a representation of its creator's genius.

For hunting North American game the Savage 99 is still one of the finest hunting rifles of all time. In fact, it was a solid performer well into the later part of the last century, nearly one hundred years after its creation. It was manufactured for nearly a century with over a million rifles produced before the Savage 99 was discontinued due to decrepit machinery and increased cost.

Before it was retired, it is purported that the company had plans to introduce the 99 with the capability to handle long action cartridges, such as the .30-06 and .270 Winchester. One such prototype is on display at the Savage factory and the other was recently sold for $6000.

The design of the 99 is superior to lever actions such as the Winchester 94 and the Marlin 336, because it can handle high intensity cartridges. It has several superior design features that make it more comparable to the Browning BLR and even modern bolt actions like the Winchester Model 70. The rotary spool magazine allows for the use of pointed bullets, which retain greater velocity downrange than the flat point bullets required by lever guns with tubular magazines. Its strong action allowed it to be chambered in many modern, short-action, high intensity cartridges. A few of the most popular calibers were the .243 Winchester .250-3000 Savage, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Savage, .303 Savage and .308 Winchester.

For a rifle designed in the last decade of the 1800's, it had many modern day features that are still prevalent on currently produced rifles. It has a cocking indicator on top of the tang and it ejected spent cartridges at an angle, which made it easily adaptable to the use of telescopic sights.

Most 99s were not drilled and tapped for scope mounts until the late 1950's. Until that time, most were only available with drilled and tapped tang mounted peep sights or standard iron sights. It has a good trigger and is reportedly a very accurate and dependable rifle.

Another characteristic of the 99 that is worth mentioning is its great looks and balanced carrying qualities. The early models were produced with a straight grip stock and slim Schnable fore end. This era of rifles was stately, and as pleasing to the eye as it was satisfying to use. Later models appeared with a pistol grip stock, and rounded fore end tip. In the 1960's impressed checkering became standard on deluxe (DL) models.

The rotary magazine caused the bottom of the action to be rounded, which fit naturally in the hand. In an "Instructions for Use" guide that came with a rifle made in the 1950's, Savage encouraged customers to carry the rifle fully loaded, as it would balance perfectly if carried at the bottom of the rounded action. This is why so many rifles still around today, have receivers with worn bottoms. The rotary magazine would hold five cartridges, thus enabling the rifle to be fully loaded with a total of six shots. Another of its prominent aesthetic features was the color case hardened trigger guard and lever. This provided a distinguishing touch to an already attractive rifle.

The cartridges developed for and offered in the 1899 and 99 were as far ahead of their time as the rifle. The rifle was first offered with the .303 Savage. This cartridge was a ballistic twin to the .30-30.

The next offering was the .22 High Power. This cartridge was developed by Charles Newton and would push a 70-grain bullet to a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps. It is still popular in Europe today, where it is known as the 5.6x52R.

Shortly thereafter came the first commercial cartridge to offer a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, the .250 Savage (.250-3000). The .250 achieved this breakthrough with an 87-grain bullet. For comparison, the modern .243 Winchester will push a 90-grain bullet to 3100 fps.

The next Savage cartridge, the .300 Savage, went on to become one of the most popular short action .30-caliber deer and elk cartridges of all time. Later it was to become the basis of the experiments conducted by the U.S. military when they began developing a replacement for the .30-06 service rifle cartridge. Ultimately, the 7.62mm NATO/.308 Winchester was the result.

My favorite Model 99 is a post war 99EG made at the Utica, NY plant in 1947. I acquired it purely by luck. I walked into my local gun shop and asked if there was anything odd or unique that had come in. As it happened an older fellow had just cleaned out his safe and asked the shop to help him sell some of his guns. He had an older Savage 99EG. I picked it up, looked it over and made my offer. The rest is history.

Mine weighs just slightly over seven pounds, has a 24 inch medium taper barrel, a steel shotgun style butt plate and slim Schnable fore end. It is chambered in .300 Savage and shoots and handles as well as any rifle I've ever owned. It is not drilled or tapped for a scope, but with iron sights I consistently place shots in a 5-inch circle at 100 yards using Remington's 150 grain Core-Lokt PSP bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2630 fps.

All said, the Savage 99 is a genius of a rifle that epitomizes the best in American craftsmanship, creativity and originality. Although no longer produced it remains highly revered, as it was the foundation from which Arthur Savage built one of America's great gun companies.

A few notes to those who might consider the purchase of an older 99. All older models have matching numbers on the fore end, butt plate, butt stock and bottom of the receiver. The model is stamped in front of the receiver just behind the fore end. For example EG, R, or other variations.

The web site www.savage99.com has interesting information on the various models, their respective characteristics and a date of manufacture reference based on serial number. All of the popular Savage cartridges are covered by articles on the Rifle Cartridge Page of Guns and Shooting Online.
This Winchester Model 94 is the rifle I grew up with. not being born into a hunting family, it lived under our couch until I was about 18 and I finally put a round through it. Literally no idea what I was doing, but it worked :laughing: This is also the rifle I let a buddy of mine take apart and try to clean. he managed to let his dog mangle the original fore wood, he replaced that and put it back together. It still needs to be cleaned up or something to keep it from getting worse, but at least I oil it occasionally now and that certainly helps.





1964 was a big year for Olin/Winchester. That was the year that their revised (for cheaper manufacture) line of firearms was introduced. Unfortunately, the revisions included the Model 94 lever action rifle. You have to understand that the Model 94 was an icon amongst lever action rifles and the standard of comparison at the time.

The reaction from gun writers and the shooting public to the changes was swift and terrible, and Winchester has never regained their former position of dominance. Ultimately, in 1981, Olin Corporation struck a licensing agreement with United States Repeating Arms to manufacture Winchester firearms, which were no longer a profitable line for Olin. In a few years Olin was out of the gun business. Olin still manufactures Winchester ammunition, however.

From 1894 to 1963 the Model 94 lever action rifle had been manufactured using high quality forged steel parts and stocked in genuine American black walnut. The metal finish was a highly polished blue and in the later part of that era the stock had a gloss finish. It was a very solid and handsome rifle, a legend in its own time, and an American icon. It was also the world's most popular sporting rifle, and still is with over 5,000,000 sold by 2001.

The changes to the Model 94 were relatively minor, but never the less devastating to the 94's reputation. Stamped sheet steel parts were substituted in non-critical areas for formerly forged steel parts. The most visible of these was the shell carrier, which raised cartridges from the magazine to the breech, and stood out like a sore thumb every time the action was operated. The loading gate became a stamped and riveted part, which was also obvious. And hollow steel roll pins, which just plain looked cheap, replaced the solid steel action pins. These were not the only changes, but they were the most obvious changes and, as I recall, the ones which drew the most criticism. As a lingering result of these changes, pre-1964 Model 94's are worth about 50% more than equivalent post 1964 models in similar condition on the used market.

Regardless of vintage, the Model 94 has always been a reliable rifle, the kind you can depend on. A Model 94 is easy to carry and feels good in the hand. It is also a nearly perfect rifle for the mounted rifleman, and is still found in saddle scabbards all over the West.

I have owned both pre and post 1964 Model 94's, and I can testify that none of the manufacturing shortcuts affected the rifle's function or accuracy. In fact, the most accurate Model 94 I have ever owned was a beautifully finished 1966 Centennial commemorative model, complete with stamped parts and roll pins. This rifle came with a heavy 26 inch octagon barrel and wore a long eye relief Leupold M8 2x scope custom mounted forward of the receiver (as on a modern "scout rifle"). It would average about 1.5 inch groups if I did my part, and occasionally shoot a 1 inch group at 100 yards. But while the cost cutting changes did not affect the Model 94's performance, they definitely damaged the Model 94's image.

As previously mentioned, the pre-1964 Model 94 carbine was a handsome, high quality, traditionally built rifle. Most of those rifles were shot with iron sights (including mine), so it is hard to compare their accuracy with later scoped rifles. But they had a good reputation for accuracy at the time. I didn't log my groups in those days (I do now), but from memory I would guess that they averaged about 2.5 inches at 100 yards when I did my part.

I know for sure that my 1963 vintage .32 Special was more accurate than the fully sporterized .303 bolt action rifle it replaced, which also wore iron sights. Those were my first two big game rifles. Later I acquired a used 1961 vintage Model 94 in .30-30, which I still own. It wears a Williams receiver sight and with it I can still shoot 2.5" groups at 100 yards. With a scope I am sure that it would outshoot a lot of bolt action rifles.

The Model 94 is the best and fastest handling centerfire rifle I have ever used. Anyone who wonders why these rifles have remained so popular for so long probably hasn't used one much. The millions of shooters who have know this simple truth: the Model 94 remains the best handling big game rifle on the market.

The 94 carbine, with its full length tubular magazine mounted under its 20" barrel, carries so easily and mounts so quickly that it is a revelation to shooters raised on bolt action or autoloading rifles. The slender receiver, without the interruption of an operating handle sticking awkwardly out of the side or the width and depth required for a box magazine and a one-piece stock, can be grasped easily and naturally for one handed carry. The tubular magazine adds weight out front, improving the balance of the rifle. Despite its short overall length the Model 94 is not muzzle light, as are so many modern lightweight rifles. It swings smoothly and is deadly on running game, even from an offhand shooting position. Bolt action "mountain" rifles can be made as light as a Model 94 carbine, but even the best of them fall short of Winchester's classic lever gun in the carrying and handling departments.

The basic specifications for the standard pre-1964 Model 94 carbine follow: exposed hammer lever action with top ejection; solid frame, forged steel parts; 20 inch round barrel rifled 1 turn in 12 inches (.30-30) or 1 turn in 16 inches (.32 Special); full length 6 shot tubular magazine; walnut straight grip stock and forearm with barrel band; length of pull 13 inches, drop at comb 1.75 inches, drop at heel 2.5 inches; hooded ramp front bead sight, open rear; drilled and tapped for receiver sights; overall length 37.75 inches; weight 6.5 pounds. Available calibers were .30-30 Winchester and .32 Winchester Special. The list price in 1960 was $81.95.

The traditional design of the Model 94 did have some drawbacks. Paramount among these was its top ejection, which made low and overbore scope mounting impossible. The alternatives were an off-set side mount on the receiver, or an extended eye relief scope (I believe the Leupold M8 2x was the first of these) mounted on the barrel forward of the receiver. Both of these solutions were less than perfect. The offset side mount introduced horizontal parallax in addition to the usual vertical drop that had to be accounted for, and the forward mount resulted in a greatly decreased field of view (which is one of the major fallacies of the modern "scout rifle" concept).

A few years after the 1964 changes and the continuing adverse reaction by customers, Winchester modified some of the cheap parts. The shell carrier and loading gate were revised to eliminate the cheesy look, and the roll pins disappeared, replaced by solid steel pins.

Time has forced other changes on the Model 94. One of these was the proliferation of telescopic sights. The top ejection, which threw the empty cases basically straight up and over the shooter's shoulder, had to be modified to permit conventional scope mounting. And so it was, with the introduction of angled ejection, which became standard in 1982. A bit of the top right side of the receiver was milled away and the internals slightly modified to throw spent cases out at enough of an angle to the right to clear a centrally mounted scope. All angle ejection Model 94's are drilled and tapped for scope mounts.

In 1992 an unsightly and completely superfluous crossbolt safety that blocks the hammer was introduced for lawyers and other people too ignorant to use the hammer's safety notch, which by 1992 had been the standard safety procedure with lever action rifles for well over 100 years. To this day post 1964 Model 94's without the crossbolt safety are worth about 20% more on the used market than those with the ugly and unnecessary addition. In 2003 Winchester dealt with this problem by moving the safety to the top tang, where is is less intrusive.

For a number of years variations of the Model 94 have been offered with barrels even shorter than the standard carbine length of 20 inches. I would recommend avoiding these ultra-short barrels. They spoil the rifle's balance, increase muzzle blast, and degrade the ballistics.

Model 94's have been chambered for a number of revolver cartridges, starting with the .44 Magnum in the late 1960's, so it is perhaps worth mentioning that the Model 94 was designed for .30-30 length cartridges. Calibers such as the .30-30 and .444 Marlin are a better fit for the action than revolver cartridges. The Model 92 is the Winchester action designed for short, handgun length cartridges. If you want a rifle chambered for a pistol cartridge, make it a Model 92 or a Marlin Model 1894.

The nearest thing to a pre-1964 Model 94 available today is the Traditional model. The finish and overall appearance of the Model 94 Traditional are good. Its walnut stock is available with or without checkering. The action is a little rough compared to pre-1964 Model 94's, but it will smooth with use, as will the unnecessarily heavy trigger pull, obviously adjusted by lawyers rather than shooters. It is, in any case, an simple trigger for a qualified gunsmith to smooth and lighten.

The basic specifications for the current Model 94 Traditional rifle are as follows: solid frame, exposed hammer lever action with angled ejection and top tang safety; drilled and tapped for scope mounts; 20 inch round barrel with hooded blade front sight and semi-buckhorn rear sight, rifled 1 turn in 12 inches; full length 6 shot tubular magazine; straight grip, satin finished American walnut stock and forearm with barrel band; length of pull 13 1/2 inches, drop at comb 1 1/8 inches, drop at heel 1 7/8 inches; overall length 38 1/8 inches; weight 6.25 pounds; caliber .30-30 Winchester. The list price in 2004 was $435. For $469 the same rifle could be had as the Traditional CW with wrap-around cut checkering in caliber .30-30, or for $23 more in .44 Magnum.

There have been a myriad of Winchester 94 variations in recent years, some equal in quality and finish to the Model 94 Traditional walnut rifle, others that are inferior economy models. The line changes frequently, but the models described below were available in 2004. Limited edition models are not included.

If you insist on a Model 94 with a walnut stock these are the options: Traditional and Traditional CW rifles (as described above), Timber (beefed-up action formerly called the "Big Bore" with an 18" ported barrel; now available in .450 Marlin only), Legacy (24 inch barrel, checkered semi-pistol grip stock; caliber .30-30, .357 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt), Trails End (cowboy models with octagon or round barrels, straight grip stocks; calibers .357 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt), and Trapper carbine (ultra-short 16 inch barrel; calibers .30-30, .357 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt).

The Ranger series are the current economy models; the synthetic stocked Black Shadow models having been discontinued in 2000. Ranger models are supplied with a "hardwood" (not walnut) stock and an inferior finish. The standard Ranger model comes with a 20 inch barrel in caliber .30-30 only, and is basically a cheap version of the un-checkered Traditional rifle.

The Ranger Compact is a Ranger with an ultra-short 16 inch barrel and is available in .30-30 or .357 Magnum. It is essentially a cheap version of the Trapper Carbine.

The list price of the Ranger was $379 in 2004; the Ranger Compact was $402. Frankly, while the savings to the manufacturer may be worth it, the savings to the consumer generally are not. Particularly when you consider the reduction in resale value.

I have always been a fan of lever action rifles, which I regard as much more natural to operate than a bolt action, and certainly they are faster for repeat shots. Winchester's Model 94 remains one of the best of the breed. The Model 94 Traditional has come a long way since the ill fated 1964 revision. It is a handsome rifle worthy of the name Winchester.

Unfortunately, the modern history of the Model 94 does not have a happy ending. In 1997 control of USRAC was sold to the Walloon region of Belgium (home of FN). And in March 2006 the new owners closed the Winchester/USRAC plant in in the U.S. This brought production of Model 94 rifles to an end, and the Belgian owners have stated that they have no intention of establishing Model 94 production elsewhere.
I'm slowly working on my neighbor to trade me for his marlin 30-30 (which i'm hoping is a 336, haven't seen it) and keeping an eye out for a Henry 22LR, while my dad is passively looking for something chambered in .357. If anybody has some of those you want to unload, let me know :)
I have been looking for a decent shooter quality Model 94 in 30-30 for quite some time. I guess I need to ramp it up and just buy the next one I find that I like.
Dad's old gun he got in the 70s


Ran the serial and its a 1976. Got a Williams 5 peep sight I'm going to put on it after this season.
I have been looking for a decent shooter quality Model 94 in 30-30 for quite some time. I guess I need to ramp it up and just buy the next one I find that I like.

Of the three that i've got, the Model 94 with the hooded front sight is by far the easiest and most natural to aim. really like the factory sights on it, the early savage reminds me of 1911 government sights :laughing: they exist, they function, but what a pain.

Dad's old gun he got in the 70s

Ran the serial and its a 1976. Got a Williams 5 peep sight I'm going to put on it after this season.

looks great! I'm curious to hear how you like the peep sight by comparison
They are all over Gun Broker. I know I want a older model, 60's-70's, but not sure what's a good price. I do like this one

I don't have a clue what they are worth, but if i saw that for $500 on the store shelf and was halfway interested, i'd probably buy it. there are plenty of "oh, that is a 100-200 $ rifle" people out there, and there are probably even people who are making purchases at those prices, but those are like barn finds on cars rather than open market trading.

I sure hope they are heading down or at least not going up in price. everybody else can play with their high quality bolt and cheap semi auto's :laughing: I'm trying to decorate a wall over here with entertaining things to shoot.

next step will be leather work so that i can make a few saddle scabbards for the car :rasta:
Click image for larger version Name:	94_Copy.jpg Views:	0 Size:	260.0 KB ID:	123820

My Dad gave me his '94 (manuf. 1958) on a hunting trip when I was 12. It's had less than 40 rnds through it.
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I have a Henry 44 Big Boy All Weather . Nice rifle. I changed the lever to a large loop-fat hands- first one sent was blued. Called and they said to keep it and sent another that got here the next day. I am impressed with Henry.
Top to bottom:
Savage model 99 in .243
Rossi 357
Marlin 336 30-30
Marlin 39A .22
Marlin 1894 .357
Marlin 1894 .44
Marlin 444SS .444

nice lot!

I'm always blown away by the prices the 39A goes for

edit: how is the fit/finish on the Rossi? I've never been up close to one but can't imagine it being 'poor' in any regard.
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Fit & finnish is way better than I expected. I’d always heard they weren’t great. This One in particular is pretty nice. I bought it from an old man who used it for local cowboy shoots. He had the action cleaned up and polished so it’s one of the more fun ones to shoot.
Fit & finnish is way better than I expected. I’d always heard they weren’t great. This One in particular is pretty nice. I bought it from an old man who used it for local cowboy shoots. He had the action cleaned up and polished so it’s one of the more fun ones to shoot.

good to hear! my dad is looking eventually for a lever gun and single action revolver in 357 and has been looking at the brazil/italy repro stuff as well

Henry H001
Browning 1885 High Wall in .30-06 (pay no attention to the zip ties, trying to form the leather to the stock a bit before I lace it).

Would like to pick up a Henry in .41 Mag, a couple Marlins in .357 and .45 Colt, and always on the lookout for a Marlin in .32 H&R Mag.
ive got a marlin 30-30 i picked up from a highschool friend shortly after we graduated, been 20+ years now.

been wanting a 454 lever acton to match my super redhawk.

Got two or three 336s in 30-30, one in .35 Rem, 39A Golden, 99E in 308, 1894 in 44, Ithaca 49 .22
My all time favorite lever load is .45-70, specifically from a hand picked and carefully chosen Marlin 1895 SBL. If you pick one up, you'll have to go through a few to get one that is just right, but they are amazing when set up right.

I even had one years before Chris Pratt was using one to kill dinosaurs.

I would like to add a .35 whelen, .444, .45 LC, and a .44 to my collection. Amongst others of course.

Did you mean .35Rem? I don't think 35 Whelen would work well in a lever gun. It is a neat cartridge.
Saw a strange on at a shop today - someone took at winchester reciever and mated up a marlin microgroove barrel and a fore end from something into a 16" 44 mag. They did a clean job, from a distance you'd never guess it was a bastard.

If it was in 357 it might have been headed home with me.
Off the top of my head....

Marlin 39A
Marlin 336 in .35 Rem X2
Marlin 375
Marlin 1894 in .357
Winchester '94 in 30-30
Winchester 9422
Winchester 9422m X2
Henry H001
Henry Golden Boy serial numbered in son #1’s birthday and initials
Henry Golden Boy serial numbered in son #2’s birthday and initials

There may be a couple more in there....
Off the top of my head....

Marlin 39A
Marlin 336 in .35 Rem X2
Marlin 375
Marlin 1894 in .357
Winchester '94 in 30-30
Winchester 9422
Winchester 9422m X2
Henry H001
Henry Golden Boy serial numbered in son #1’s birthday and initials
Henry Golden Boy serial numbered in son #2’s birthday and initials

There may be a couple more in there....

well then :laughing:

and not a 1 picture :flipoff2:
I've got the basic Henry H001 that's a couple years old and a early '90s model Marlin 1894 in .357.

I'm pretty proud of the 1894, I shopped for a long time for the "right" one, folks think the .357s are solid gold.

I'd like to add several more Marlins to the collection, I've got a long ways to go.
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