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Old November 6, 2008, 08:23 PM   #1
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Getting tactical with a lever action

Is it possible to use a lever action rifle as a tactical weapon or is it best suited for hunting and ranch work?
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Old November 6, 2008, 08:37 PM   #2
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I think it would be very possible to use a lever action rifle. If practiced with and the right caliber and loads! It would go well with a single action revolver.

Of course I would much rather use my AR and Glock!
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Old November 6, 2008, 08:52 PM   #3
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On guns like the Marlin 1894 it is very easy to mount a red dot sight. A flashlight could be easily mounted to the barrel. Tactical reloads would be a little tricky, but for a HD gun, ifyou can't solve the problem with 10 rounds, your shooting wither sucks or you are way over your head.
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Old November 6, 2008, 08:53 PM   #4
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Do a google search. I think the topic has been touched on quite a bit. I remember an article years ago. I thinkit was in SOF about a guy who set up a lever and used it in some tactical matches. If I'm not mistaken he did pretty darn good against the AR crowd. I think has a lever gun forum. You might find some info there.
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Old November 6, 2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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What do you mean by "tactical work?" House clearing? Door-to-door urban combat?

Lever guns point well, they're available in potent calibers, they're quick handling, they're accurate enough, they can be fired rapidly. I guess they can't be reloaded quickly, and they're not as quick as an AR.
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Old November 6, 2008, 08:58 PM   #6
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Not exactly clear what "tactical" means in this context, but if it has to do with self / home / family defense, I think a lever gun can be quite useful.

I shoot an AR-15 in the matches and I have a Marlin 1894 .357 carbine for fun (and Cowboy action, which I kind of dropped out of). If we are talking aimed fire, the lever gun is no slower than the AR since you can easily work the action during recoil. The only drawback is it is much slower to load a tubular magazine than to exchange a full box magazine for an empty one. If you are going to be in a protracted battle, the lever action is at a disadvantage because it is slow to reload (but depending on the situation it is amenable to shoot one, load one - so you never run it dry).

I do not know if a lever action rifle in an actual rifle caliber (e.g. a 30-30) would come down out of recoil as fast as the little .357 does, so it might not be as fast on followup shots.

Many people dislike pistol-caliber carbines on the grounds that if you are going to use a long gun, it might as well be a shotgun or actual rifle firing a rifle cartridge. This is a sound argument but the loophole is that the longer barrel of the pistol-caliber carbine increases muzzle-velocity over typical pistol velocity, the carbine is easier to hit with than the pistol, the range is reduced (might be relevant if you live near other people) and it is friendly for a recoil-sensitive person.

I hope this is useful to you. Lever guns are fun!

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Old November 6, 2008, 09:10 PM   #7
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In Afganistan they used old Enfield .303s, Manlinchers, Carcainos, Mausers, etc.. against the Russinas.

While not the best weapon for the job, a good levergun, if used by a crack shot, can most definatly substitute.
“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
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Old November 6, 2008, 10:04 PM   #8
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Anything can be used as a tactical weapon...Depends on the situation, your planning, and ability to adapt to the unforseen..

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Old November 6, 2008, 10:30 PM   #9
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If you ever needed to legally defend the shooting in court, a lever action is going to look a lot better to a jury, than a "scary black rifle." Ain't say it's right. Just say'n that's the way it is.
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Old November 6, 2008, 11:54 PM   #10
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I'd go for a short-barreled '92 Winchester type (like a Rossi), in .357. I think the '92 action is smoother than the '94 action, which was designed for rifle-length cartridges. I've never fired a Marlin.

I have a '94 Winchester Trapper in .357. It's sweet. I've considered a red-dot or other optic, but the iron sights are quick and accurate. I might add a tac-light.

It was with good reason that the Winchester was the most popular rifle in the US for the better part of a century.

For home defense, civilian or even law enforcement applications, a lever carbine would be adequate for nearly any situation.

Advantages: Nine or ten rounds, in .357, .44 or .45, out of a long barrel. Light, handy, quick sights. Cheap, readily available (and replaceable). Will be legal for as long as firearms are legal. Less legal restrictions. Requires little maintenance or technical knowledge.

Disadvantages: Slow to reload. Difficult stoppages may occur from short-stroking or operating action inverted, etc. Difficult to use from prone or unusual firing positions.
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Old November 7, 2008, 12:17 AM   #11
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I can't help but realize how horrifyingly cheesy a lever gun with tactical equipment would be. In my opinion, a lever gun is at its best plain with irons or maybe a scope. That's it. I guess you can use it in tactical scenarios with that equipment. But if you're gonna start piling crap on it, then maybe you should go with something a little more compatible with that equipment. Maybe that's just me in that I believe that, for the most part, accessories should match the weapon. Red dot on a lever gun? Come on...
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Old November 7, 2008, 02:43 AM   #12
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This is my carry rifle for working/hunting where the big bears live.

Marlin 1895GS 45-70. Wild West Guns trigger, ejector, metal follower, ghost ring sights, flashlight mount with an M3 light, Pachmayer decellerator recoil pad, The flashlight is for those bear in camp at 3 AM situaions.

The nice thing about a 45-70 is that the BG needs really good quality cover.
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Old November 7, 2008, 01:31 PM   #13
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Jeff Cooper advocated the lever action as a viable alternative for a long time, and IIRC the old Gunsite smithy used to offer a lever gun tactical conversion.
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Old November 7, 2008, 02:01 PM   #14
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I use a Puma 92 in .357 mag. for that purpose.
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Old November 7, 2008, 11:17 PM   #15
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30/30 is ...

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Old November 8, 2008, 02:58 PM   #16
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while a lever gun is certainly not the most effective 'tactical' rifle, you would not be undergunned if so armed.
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Old November 8, 2008, 03:37 PM   #17
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Mad Ogre has (had?) this cool looking tactical Marlin in 30-30, I wish it were mine. Someday I'll have to pick up a nice short 30-30. Probably won't put a red dot on it but it's nice to know you could. I heard someone once call leverguns "Appalachian Assault Rifles" and this is just one example of something very capable you could do with one.
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Old November 8, 2008, 09:14 PM   #18
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I can't really see any significant disadvantage to a lever action to a pump-action and pump-action shotguns are considered quite acceptable for "tactical" work.
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Old November 9, 2008, 08:56 PM   #19
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My wife's .44mag Rossi 92 with 20" bbl was a CAS tool in a former life shooting .44spl or .44russian. As such, its action has been work-smoothed to a fare-the-well, but is in no way worn or battered.

We have had need of a HD long gun and it was the most optimal for the purpose. Loaded with mild .44mag loads (240LSWC, Trail Boss) my wife has no problem sending an entire magazine into COM of a silhouette.

I think attaching a light to the mag tue would be a very practical mod.
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Old November 9, 2008, 09:19 PM   #20
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Wasn't it Jeff Cooper who called a pistol-caliber levergun a "Long Island Assault Rifle"?

Referring to the fact that NYC has an "assault weapons" ban, but leverguns are legal.

A pistol caliber levergun gives you the basics of an "assault rifle"--intermediate cartridge, high rate of fire, and good capacity magazine.

When you move up to a full-power rifle round, the only thing you lose is some mag capacity--and you gain lots of range.

So, yeah, IMHO they're plenty tactical.
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Old November 9, 2008, 10:11 PM   #21
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Personaly, as a PC weapon, I'd like to see the Remington police pump 5.56 rifle made in 6.8mm. Be decent for deer and a pretty good 'PC' defense carbine. I understand 5.56mm AR mags can be converted to 6.8 with just a follower change.

But if that don't come through, the Marlin Texan 18 inch barrel carbine will do fine.
“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
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Old November 9, 2008, 11:39 PM   #22
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I think you'll be fine as long as you don't get in a gunfight.
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Old November 10, 2008, 01:16 PM   #23
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The one thing I expected to see but didn't in this thread is that the lever rifle IS a tactical rifle! Going back to the Spencer Repeater and through the various Winchesters over time, lever action rifles were issued to soldiers, hence "tactical."

Are they still effective? I vote YES on that one. Given a choice between a lever action and something else, would I still pick the lever? NO. Technology has brought newer weaponry to the table that I would choose over the lever action but that doesn't take anything away from the lever.

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Old November 10, 2008, 04:40 PM   #24
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I recall seeing a couple of years ago numerous posts by a DHart in several of the firearms related forums as he searched out this question. As recall he had an extensive question/answer on the effects forum .

You might try some searches for DHart. Example:

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Last edited by Hook686; November 10, 2008 at 05:02 PM.
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Old November 10, 2008, 04:48 PM   #25
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Back in Southern Ohio lever actions were called Appalachian Assalt Rifles
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