View Full Version : Lever Action Hurts Hand!

August 16, 2012, 04:36 AM
Got my first chance to work the action of a lever gun a few days ago. A nice looking Marlin 357c. It hurt my hand to operate it. Is this normal or am I to fragile?

August 16, 2012, 05:50 AM
Clean it to make sure it's not full of grit/sand, oil it till it drips, and spend a week of watching TV and working the lever.

August 16, 2012, 07:22 AM
I'd just fill the action with white lithium grease and work it a few hours. It will break the parts in together and be slick.

August 16, 2012, 09:02 AM
Wear thin shooting gloves...................


August 16, 2012, 10:04 AM
I found a 69' Marlin 336 earlier this year and its very broken in. However this is my first lever and the tops of the knuckles take a little getting used to. Thin gloves will help or working the action while watching TV is great for "breakin in the hands".

August 16, 2012, 10:44 AM
What everyone above said, and personalizing the rifle a little bit never hurt. I had one levergun (Win94) that was harder to operate than the others and after a good cleaning and oiling, it still seemed a mite rough, so I wrapped the outer part of the lever loop in latigo, It gives the carbine a nice decorative touch and seems a little bit softer on the backs of my knuckles. Also, if two or three happen to be in the same rack, I can tell which is mine immediately.

August 16, 2012, 02:02 PM
You might also want to make sure that you are pushing more forward than down. When I get in a hurry, I tend to push down and the lever will stop part way through the cycle. That hurts my hand.

August 16, 2012, 02:43 PM
If it's a new rifle, it's likely to be a little stiff. Breaking it in will help.

But... sometimes, you just need to build some muscle memory for the right way to operate the lever. Work it!

And.... some of us just don't have much fat on the back of our fingers/knuckles. One of my brothers has a buttery-smooth Browning BL-22 that I don't enjoy shooting, at all. It's a great rifle. ...but the short lever throw, and lack of fat on my fingers makes operating it a bit uncomfortable.

August 16, 2012, 03:29 PM
Paw Paw.....

I have a new 336 XLR in 30-30. The latigo sounds nice. Is there a special 'braid' to wrap it, or do you just wrap it and tie it off?

August 16, 2012, 04:38 PM
I've seen several customized with a leather wrap on the lever. Never tried it, but it does look good and seems functional. The only problem I can see is that I'd think the leather would attract moisture and cause rust on the lever.

August 16, 2012, 05:17 PM
Yes, lever actions can be rough on your fingers. Leather on the lever loop works, but it can cause rust.

August 16, 2012, 05:23 PM
Don't slam the lever, push it. You're not Chuck Conner.

August 16, 2012, 05:42 PM
Funny you should say that, I'm sitting here watching the Rifleman as we speak.

What I usually do is use my thumb to push the lever down. I'm not usually trying to set any speed records for working the action... it tends to fling the brass too far away. My levergun is a Marlin 45-70... I've found that the Marlin 336 family seem to be much smoother in action than the Winchesters. I had a Marlin 1894 in .44 mag that was pretty smooth, as well, but they seem to need a little more work in time than the 336's do.

August 16, 2012, 06:04 PM
Make sure the filler screws on the receiver top are not too deep. It is possible one could be too long or too far in which drags on the action making it hard to operate. To test, just take a small screwdriver and back out each screw about a turn or so, then work the lever again. Use some glue or loctite if you think the screws are too loose when done.

August 16, 2012, 08:13 PM
^ ^good point!

August 16, 2012, 09:25 PM
Be careful what type of leather you wrap the lever with. Some leather is tanned using a salt type solution and will rust metal it contacts almost immediately.
I made a knife sheath from the wrong type once and a few days later the blade was rusted solidly to the sheath-totally ruined. A better choice might be paracord if you're not 100% sure of the leather.

August 17, 2012, 03:15 AM
Don't slam the lever, push it. You're not Chuck Conner.

I loved that show, he sure could cycle that 92 :)

August 17, 2012, 09:44 AM
I loved that show, he sure could cycle that 92

The camera could. Heck the camera could fire a 10 round rifle 12 times.:D

Red Cent
August 17, 2012, 10:44 AM
The 336 is a very easy firearm to almost completely disassemble. If you are a little mechanically inclined the site below makes it easy. Lay your screws out in sequence for correct reassembly. If you have one of the "all purpose" sanders(handheld with the triangle on business end), you have it made. As you take it apart, look for the friction wear and simply relieve it more.

Be aware that one of the biggest resistance to cycling a lever or pump is the hammer spring. When the firearm has a strut with a coil spring, I simply take a half of a coil at a time until it misfires. Then I shim the spring. Makes an unbelieveable difference. I have and could buy spring kits but they work very well.

My 38-55 is not for self defense. I use it in "Buffalo Shoots". Long range with other cowboys or in side matches at the bigger shoots. My trigger is 2.5 ounce pull and a very smooth action. I still wrap the lever in chamois and seal the loose edge with super glue. Chemical reaction will smoke but does a super job.


August 17, 2012, 03:31 PM
Am I the only one who grips those things with the fingers on the bottom of the loop, and thumb over the wrist (tang area)? I don't do it because I have big hands (I don't), but I've just found that shooting from various positions and out of truck and some tractor windows- it's easier to let the rifle roll or twist ergonomically more efficiently during the cycling action. Plus, to me, it just gets to be a pretty good feeling to have a larger area of grip on the rifle

August 17, 2012, 04:56 PM
Thats why Chuck Connors (aka Lucas McCain) always seemed to be wearing his gloves when handling that rifle.

This isn't really relevent but I recall reading an article once where it was stated that Chuck Connors was deadly with either hand with his rifle and was quite capable of good shooting from the hip. No camera tricks sped up his shooting although they did dub an extra shot into the scene. It's really not that hard to shoot a 92 pretty well from the hip at the typical ranges on that show. Now the speed is another question...

Edit: Here is the link to the article. It's a good read. http://www.riflemansrifle.com/may1960.htm