Lever-action rifles were the most common firearms used during the Civil War. They were faster, hit harder, and were generally better than other rifles. However, with technology improving the quality and speed of rifles, lever-actions exist more for their looks than anything else.
The pristine look of these rifles matched with their history makes them a powerful yet beautiful addition to your arsenal. But other than their looks, these rifles operate uniquely, which adds to their appeal. So if you are looking for the right lever-action rifle to buy, we have compiled a list of the best.
Best Lever-action Rifles
- The Rossi Model 92
- Taylor And Co. 1892 Alaskan Takedown
- Mossberg 464
- Model 39A
- Browning BL-22
- The Winchester 1873
- Henry All-Weather 30-30
- Savage 99
The Rossi Model 92
The Rossi Model 92 replicates the early Winchester 1892, the most recognizable lever-action gun. Buyers can find this beautiful gun in brass and blue steel finishes. The rifle also comes in different versions, with Rossi allowing buyers to choose from various calibers and barrel lengths.
Its versatility does not end with the range of options with the unique barrels, calibers, and chambers. The gun also works in various situations, such as in-home defense, hunting, plinking, and range. It is accurate at 100 yards, and the recoil is very low when using lighter rounds.
The Model 92 also has a straight grip shoulder stock and wooden forend, making the weapon very stable. Most components within the weapon are stainless steel, as well as some components outside. Placing the hammer in a half-cocked position also acts as the safety for the rifle. A fine gun to use for any occasion, but it does have a lever that is stiff and small, along with a loading gate with sharp edges.
Taylor And Co. 1892 Alaskan Takedown
This gun features a nice and classic western look that you can takedown for portable carry. The weather-resistant finish makes it great to use in any weather. The skinnier rear sights are a unique touch, especially with their fiber optic quality.
The Alaskan takedown features rubber over-molding and black hardwood on the stock and barrel. The fiber optic sights make target acquisition quick, and the comfortable stock offers plenty of giving support. The carbon steel barrel also comes with a black-oxide finish.
The buttstock comes with an anti-recoil rubber pad and antishock rubber, which further reduces any inaccuracies when firing. The oversized level fits all hand sizes and is smooth during usage. It is easily one of the best hunting and survival rifles you can buy that offers plenty of portability and power. It can also be a good rifle for the range and home defense. The only downside to the Alaskan is that it can be very difficult to find and is very expensive.
The Mossberg 464 features a blue finish on the barrel with a walnut wood grip, which gives it a classy look. It also features a tang safety right behind the hammer, which is ambidextrous, with a red dot showing when the weapon is ready to fire. It is also one of the few guns to use a tubular magazine, which feeds into the spring-loaded gate.
Another great thing about the Mossberg is that it offers buyers a range of unique sights. While not very robust, buyers can choose the fiber optic sights, great for low light situations. The 464 also comes with traditional iron sights, as well as an old-school buckhorn rear sight that also folds down.
It also supports plenty of scopes, making it much more versatile. The ergonomic lever design makes rapid shooting much easier, which pairs well with its almost non-existent recoil. The trigger does have a strange mushy feel to it, and it did jam during tests.
As the oldest gun still in production, the Model 39A started production in 1954 and is still going strong. It also holds the title for the most accurate lever-action rifle globally, thanks to its special marlin groove rifling. And while it does not affect the accuracy, the trigger has a very nice and crisp feel, along with an excellent lever that is big enough for all hands. The 39A also manages to keep the buckhorn sights with elevation adjustment.
Forged from reinforced and durable steel parts, this gun will last you a long time. The rifle also comes with a cross hammer safety, which was not present in older models. It has a surprisingly fast rate of fire and is light enough for quick maneuvering while on the range. But even though this is one of the best lever-action rifles you can find, they can be difficult to find in gunshops.
The Browning BL-22 has discontinued variants and some rarer ones that make it a collector’s item. You can find the current production models, though, which also come in many variations. It features a half-cocked hammer safety. This is also one of the few rifles that fit 15 rounds, unlike others that stop at 8 or 10.
The lever pull is crisp and gives a very satisfying sound when pulled after a shot. The trigger pull is also heavy and lends to a very powerful feeling shot. The shooting experience is easily the best thing about the Browning BL-22.
It is a quick and accurate lever-action rifle, which is also fairly reasonably priced. The best part is that the newer models can also chamber cheaper loads, making it a great gun for plinking or target practice.
The Winchester 1873
The Winchester 1873 features a beautiful finish and a chamber that works with most revolver ammo. This Winchester model came in musket and carbine models, with a nostalgic western look.
Besides a beautiful look, this gun also comes with a classic configuration of a forearm cap, a crescent buttplate, and a straight grip stock. Keeping with the nostalgic feel of the rifle, there is also a semi-buckhorn sight with a gold bead for a front sight. Of course, if you want to add scopes to the rifle, simply choose your favorite one and attach it. The tapped and drilled surface can mount most scopes that you prefer.
The Winchester 1873 is a rifle with the most prominent looks out of any other lever-action rifle. The impressive accuracy, stable buttstock, and low recoil are just the cherries on top of this excellent cake.
Henry All-Weather 30-30
If you want something that has a more utilitarian design and does not come with any shiny bells and whistles, then the Henry All Weather is just the gun for you. There are no fancy design elements, and there are no stylistic choices. This is very much a gun for people who want to hunt.
The corrosion-resistant hard chrome finish makes this rifle very durable during all sorts of weather shooting scenarios. The buttpad uses a transfer bar safety and has a rubber pad that reduces recoil. You will also find a black hardwood finish with a resistant coat that keeps moisture out.
You get a semi-buckhorn sight with this rifle, which further adds to its performance and accuracy. It is very easy and light to handle, making it a great gun for the range. However, this gun has a very clear purpose, and that is hunting.
The Savage 99 is the lever-action rifle that is the most old-school-looking rifle you can find on the market. It does not feature a regular tubular magazine or hammer, common with most other lever-action rifles. The design alone makes it one of the most sought-after guns among gun collectors.
Instead of a tubular magazine, the Savage 99 makes use of a rotary magazine. Using such a distinct magazine eliminates the need for a second tube underneath the barrel. The streamlined design of the gun also reflects on the buttstock and forend.
The rifle comes in .300 and .250 caliber, which is another factor that makes it unique. It also happens to be one of the few guns to use a coil mainspring, which is faster than leaf springs in lock times. The rifle is a perfect choice for people looking to hunt mid to large-sized games.
All of these rifles mentioned above are the best lever-action rifles you can find in the market. But even if some of them offer the best performance seen from any other rifle, they can be difficult to acquire. The looks and the shooting experience with one of these lever-action rifles are incredible and are a must-have in every gun collection.
The best part about these guns is that each of them comes in different chambers for you to choose from, especially if you gravitate towards stronger or smaller rounds.