Accessorizing your gun

If you are going to set up a Rifle with accessories… You really need to take in the purpose of what the rifle is for. What the Mission and Objectives are. We see failures of this in AR-15’s all the time. So much so that it seems like people just like hanging toys off their rifle, because such owners at the Range and in the Classes tend to spend more time fiddling with the accessories rather than concentrating on the task at hand, which is engaging and destroying the target. The mission of a tactical firearm is the application of fine-focused violence.

The question is where, when, and at what range that violence needs to be administered. When you apply these such failures of reason to a noble arm such as a Marlin Lever Action, you compound the Sin and you should probably either fall on your sword, or fix your Kit. Let’s look at this rifle below… As it sits, this gun is Clown Shoes.
The Strengths of a Lever Action is the svelt profile, lightweight, and exceptional handling while delivering reliable and hard-hitting, sledgehammers to the target. But that’s not what we have here.

Taking a Lever Action and turning it into a modern Cowboy Tactical gun is fine… I’m not mad at that. I’ve done it myself and have promoted the practice over a decade ago. The areas we need to look at are the Optics and the Objects hanging off the forend.
Ignoring the fact that the Scope Mount is backward… This is a completely wrong scope mount to start with. It’s far too high for the gun. The natural line of sight on a Lever Gun is very low over the action and barrel. You know this if you are paying attention because that’s where the iron sights are. Not up high. The Scope is also set far too back. If this scope is actually set for your eye relief, then you are mounting the rifle incorrectly and you probably need to take a class. Then there is the question of if this is the right optic for the mission. If the mission is precision marksmanship, then the scope is probably incorrect, and the vertical foregrip is an interference.
If the mission is CQB work, then the scope is also incorrect, and the Bi-Pod is only adding hindering incumbrance and opportunities to snag on things and otherwise screw things up.
So, to fix this… You need a different optic, or at least move the scope foreward enough for good eye relief and to avoid the scope cutting your eyebrow. Google Weatherby Eyebrow.

Here we see a scope mounted properly. Low enough that you don’t need a cheek riser, and forward enough for good eye relief. Also note – the occular bell of the scope is not interfering with the hammer.
Here’s another good example of a tactically minded lever action. The Extended Eye Relief scope, or EER, is mounted well forward which gives you good clearance, doesn’t upset the balance of the gun, and it allows for fast target acquisition. And you can see, it’s nice and low. This is perhaps the most ideal set up for a magnifying scope on a lever action.

Then you need to decide if you should ditch the VFG or the bi-pod.
Considering that this rifle is a short to intermediate-range brush gun, I’d suggest tossing the bi-pod. I’d also suggest ditching the VFG because Hand Stops or an AFG would work better. For a short-range gun, I’d suggest an optical gunsight that maximizes your field of view. That means something none-magnified. But if you have failing eyes and you need some degree of Zoom, an EER optic would be much better suited to a Lever Gun.

In the case of non-magnifying optical gunsights. You can run any sort of Red Dot you like… The only requirement being that you mount it low. Something in a form like an ACOG will not do as that is designed to go on a flat topped AR and put the line of sight up where a regular AR iron sight is. This is too high for a Lever Action. Also, I’d suggest avoiding any bulky Red Dot sights. Go with something compact. Go with something that offers a wide field of view. These can be mounted further back on the receiver, and you’ll end up with a very nicely balanced weapon.

If you have to put anything out in front of the action. Bi-Pods and VFG’s are just not helping you. They are taking away from the advantages the lever-action platform gives you. Which is exceptional handling. If you need grips and pods and such… Honestly, you probably need a different rifle. At most, a lightweight and low profile tactical light. I’ve seen some accessory items that will allow you to carry one or two spare rounds on the fore end. Okay, that’s cool. Kinda dumb, but it’s cool though. Because you can’t reload a Lever Action Rifle like it’s a Tactical Shotgun with a fast move and slip that shell into the breach like John Wick. That’s not happening. But a spare round handy is fine if you like it.

The absolute best Lever Action set up though… Is completely naked with a sling.

8 thoughts on “Accessorizing your gun”

  1. Some people dis-like buckhorn sights, but they are 19th century red dots. A quick sight option, with a precision ability.
    Firearms are tools, and accessories, sights, slings, holsters, add to the functionality of the tool. You don’t pound a nail well with a wrench or turn a bolt with a hammer. You need to think about what you want to use it for and not be afraid to have different guns for different uses.
    I want to set up my house carry gun with a red dot and a light. But my small carry gun is as minimal as it can be. Light weight is the best accessory I can think of, and it works on most guns.

  2. I agree. Less is often more.

    People, including myself, have to add the latest wizbag gadget. I have tried to be more simplistic in my setups as I mature.

    In my opinion the upgrades to a HD rifle are:
    1. A light
    2. A good quality and appropriate optic
    3. Upgraded charging handle on an AR
    4. Ammo and mags

    Everything else may make it better, but a lot just adds clutter and weight.

  3. A few years back I found myself at the intersection of what I wanted ( or thought I wanted ) and what I needed. I chose the need over the want and have been revising things in my life ever since. One of the things I definitely decided I need is a dead nuts reliable lever gun. Good for lots of things and the form factor was pretty much perfected a century ago so the inclination to accessorize is minimal. I have always found your thoughts on the matter a reliable guide. Thanks.

  4. Another thought- on caliber, .45 is good, but how about 9mm, or ACP? .35 REM. is a rimless round, and close to ACP size to boot… the short round gives you more in the tube, as well as loading a carbine and pistol from the same cartridge box, like the revolver rounds…

    1. 9mm out of a carbine picks up some ballistic advantage, but not a whole lot. .35 Remington is one of my favorite lever action cartridges. A Rimless .35 Remington, well… that’s pretty much Ruger’s new .350 Legend. And that is making me raise my eyebrow quite a bit. .45ACP in a lever gun is… well, I’ve not see that. But I have seen .45 Auto Rim, which is a rimmed version of the .45 Auto.

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