The Fighting Lever Action

The subject of Lever Action Rifles has been stirring a lot more emotions lately.  And it’s not my fault.  I blame Tracy for this.  Tracy is a local cowboy out here that comes out to Crusader Training using his Lever Action rifles.




To run a Lever defensively, you need not all the modern accessories… the gun is serviceable as is. You needn’t run it with your support hand far out in front as is the modern style. These are not modern guns so you keep your support hand in a location where you find balance and support to work the action. You run it under the same theories as you run your tactical shotguns… fire one, reload one. Fire two, reload two. Keep the gun topped off as much as possible. Standard rifle tactics apply other wise. I find it best to keep ammo not in individual loops like is popular, but in a pouch so you can carry more ammo in bulk rather than a small fixed amount. I like to keep this pouch on the Strong Side, not the Support side like is popular with Shotguns. Reason being is that it’s easier to reload with your Strong Hand than it is the Support Hand. Easier and more efficient. This might be counter to other’s doctrine, but this is what has been working for me for some time now.

Winchester pattern guns or Marlin pattern guns both have their Pro’s and Con’s and one is not clearly better than the other in Rifle Calibers. But I must say that I am quiet fond of the Winchester 92 Pattern guns for Pistol Calibers. But that’s just a Flavor Preference and not a Technical one. I do like the ability to drop a cartridge into the open top if you’ve run the gun dry.

As far as caliber selections… you can argue the benefits of all the options. .44, .45, .357 and such… all fine and well. I’m fond of the .45-70 for my Big Medicine. But don’t discount the Classic .30-30 Win. Ammo is cheap enough an it’s enough gun to drop an Elk let alone Deer or Assorted Baddies. And as far as trajectory goes, the .30-30 offers about the best there is. Especially with LEVERevolution ammo from Hornady.
Crusader Weaponry will be teaching a Lever Action Focus Course in the near future. If you are interested and serious about training with us… Post such below and Emails will be kept for organizing the class. We’re looking at this Fall.

23 thoughts on “The Fighting Lever Action”

  1. Glad to see you guys embracing the levergun as a viable defense weapon. They are a long way from the modern battle rifle but still up to the task of clearing vermin off the homestead for most of us. I too share your affinity for the Winchester. Now, if we can just get Hornady to load up some LeveRevolution in 7×30 . . .

  2. I find my Timber Wolf pump carbine in .357 outdoes my Marlin 336 on the line, easier to load also. Think it would do better “on the street” as well. Wonder how the judges would look at using an old timey rifle for defense now days?

  3. Don’t forget the .35 Remington!

    As much as I love a .44 mag and .444 Marlin levergun I still want a 336 in .35 Rem.

  4. My 1967 built model 94, which I call Queen Latifah, will put 5 rounds in 20″ at 500 yards with iron sights. Very tall tang mount aperture iron with aq globe front sight and leverevolution ammo. 20″ not so hot? That is 4 MOA, the size of a man’s chest at 500 yards.

  5. In 1866 Winchester brought forth a lever action rifle that would serve very well today.

    Multiple targets, less than 100 yds, the difference between a ’66 and a new marlin .30-30 wouldnt make a bit of difference.

    Jeff Cooper felt the average guy would be better off with a Winchester 94 than an AK in this role.

    1898 Peter and Paul produced a bolt gun that hasnt been improved on yet.

    Bowie knives were just as good then as now, too.

    1. Got them all. I like the AK the least. But still fun to play with once in a while. And I agree, the Mauser is king. But you got to love lever actions . The 94 in 44 mag is fun . I love the Marlin 30-30 so much I got two of them. I’ve actually chopped wood with a couple of my Bowie knives.

  6. If I was on a check point for vehicles I’d kind of like to have a .45-70 carbine loaded with some hard and heavy Buffalo Bore rounds.
    Sloping auto glass won’t deflect it and it would go through a radiator and pretty deep into an engine block.

    1. That would definitely do the trick. Especially with heavy hard cast bullets.

      But then so would a 12 with Brenneke’s, or one of the monster AR rounds (.458 SOCOM/.50 Beowulf/.450 Bushmaster [handloaded]). The latter give up a little less penteration for a semi-auto action and 10 rounds in a detachable mag.

      That said, I would be more than okay with that levergun or the shotgun or the AR’s I mentioned for that job. Because really good is really good.

    2. Sloping glass fails to deflect a whole hell of a lot more than people think. Not going to argue the point; just saying I don’t think anyone here would not duck under the dash if they were receiving fire from any caliber through any window in the vehicle.
      Then again, I may just be more twitchy than most and could be wrong.

      1. Vehicles provide crap cover. The engine block is the only reliable cover, and it’s smaller than most people think.
        I’ve done a lot of shooting through vehicles, and it’s scary how little cover is there.

  7. I was nearly hung over at the marlin owners forum for suggesting they chamber the 336 for 7.62×39, using a spiral magazine tube to keep the pointy bullets away from the primers of rounds in front of it. Still think it is a good idea, just to make shooting cheaper.

  8. I know Ogre’s dislike of what Cowboy Action has become, but it you want to shoot fast, avoid the Marlin 94 and Winchester 92 models, as they do not have a controlled feed. Running either of these too fast will cause rounds to either bounce out of the action (94) or stovepipe in front of the bolt (92). The rifle versions Marlin 95 or 336 or Winchester 94 exhibit less of this behavior as the rifle rounds won’t bounce as much as pistol rounds do.

    Want to go really fast, get a Winchester ’66 or ’73 copy, they control the round throughout the entire cycle, as does the rifle version the 1876. Being toggle linked actions you cannot load over the book recommendations or use the Buffalo Bore ammo, but a hard cast 250 grain hunk of 45 Colt lead means a bad day for anyone on the receiving end.


  9. I would be interested in both an actual class as well as written and DVD instruction on using the lever action, especially if such a class could work out the theories of using a lever action against an enemy armed with something like the AR/AK form factors.

    Not sure if there is specific training using the lever against semi-auto but if there is, I am interested in it.

    1. I’m not aware of anything current, but I do believe that Gabe Suarez might have something like this.

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