They’re fast to operate and have spent a lot of time in the world that there is little evidence of people getting tired of them. When you hear cowboys talk about their Winchester Rifle, they’re describing their lever-action rifle.
The Lever Action Rifle was quite famous in the west as most Americans saw it used on the silver screens by John Wayne and Gary Cooper to bring Justice and truth to the American people. The Lever Action rifle has been around for a while and is moving to its third century on earth. Little wonder there is little or no evidence of people getting tired of using them yet.
If you’re considering getting the Lever Action rifle, they’re available in the market, but how do you make the right selection? What do you need to put into consideration before you make a choice?
- Best Lever Action Rifles
- Essential Factors to Consider before Buying the Lever Action rifles
- My Top Pick
Best Lever Action Rifles
1. Browning BL-22 Grade I Lever-Action
The first rifle from the list is the Browning BL-22 Grade I Lever Action. The Browning BL-22 is in a class of its own. Though there are other lever-action 22 rifles, none has the quality and convenience, and accuracy offered by the Browning BL-22.
For example, it’s lightweight. You may not find any rifle like this as the firearm was constructed from stainless steel, making it weigh just a few grams of 5lbs. The gun was built to give comfort to the shooter while in action.
The highlight of the BL-22 is the .33-degree lever, which offers quick cycling while the magazine is locked and loaded. The magazine, which holds a combination of 22 long and short, long ammunitions, is easy to load.
Unlike other 22 Lever Action rifles, the BL-22 features certain qualities that rival the best 22s in the market, such as its perfectly machined steel receiver, finely finished wooden grip, fabulous barrel finish adjustable sights. If you’re looking for the perfect tool for hunting or practicing, you should get this gun.
- Easy to Load
- Blued finish barrel
- Maple walnut straight grip
- Adjustable sights with front bead
- Quality construction
- Suitable for hitting targets due to its superb accuracy
- Quality construction and lightweight
- Allows for fast and easy follow up shots
- Doesn’t experience jamming after numerous rounds
- Due to its short lever throw, people used to long lever throw would find this gun hard to use
- This gun also has a non-traditional trigger assembly, which would need time to get used to
2. Henry Classic Lever-Action
This classic western style rifle is quite popular among the .22 caliber rifles available in the market. The reason for this gun’s popularity is that it’s affordable, shoots great, and looks great. The makers of this piece added a beautiful American walnut finish.
The Henry Classic Lever Action comes with an internal transfer bar safety, which stops the hammer from touching the firing pin except the trigger is pulled. The internal transfer bar safety also stops the rifle from misfiring if it’s accidentally dropped or if the shooter’s thumb mistakenly slips while cocking the gun.
The .22 Lever Action rifle is very comfortable to use and lightweight to carry while shooting. The hooded front and Adjustable rear provide users with nan enhanced visibility while using the piece. The rifle has another way of loading and unloading the rifle without having to cycle live rounds while in action.
- Adjustable rear and hooded front sight for adequate accuracy
- American walnut coating to provide a classic look
- Active rapid-firing ability
- Side ejection to discharge cartridges
- Requires minimal actual maintenance
- Loading and energetic top ejection are left-hand friendly
- Open sights on the barrel work correctly for moving targets
- Moderate recoil
- Easy to carry
- Possesses limited ammo choices
- Not powerful enough for big size animals
- Hard to clean and maintain
- Can be more expensive than other .22 options
3. Henry 22 Magnum Lever-Action
If you’re looking for more stopping power for small game and is sold on the styling of the lever-action 22 magnum, then this gun is for you. The gun is equipped with a 191/4” barrel, which makes the accuracy of the shot perfect. The .22 magnum rifle has more firepower than a conventional .22 rifle making it ideal for hunting bigger games.
The length of this barrel makes it adequate for long-range targeting. It comes with an adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight and brass bead front sight that aid in its shot placement, so if you’re going after game, you can be sure to come home with game.
The gun comes loaded with an adjustable rear sight and hooded front sight, which aids its shot accuracy. This piece is relatively popular among users because of its affordability, ability to shoot, and great looks. It is a severe hunting piece for the serious hunter.
- Crisp, clean trigger pull to allow for satisfactory accuracy
- Internal transfer bar safety to prevent hammer contact
- Fully adjustable rear and hooded front sight
- Checkered walnut fore-end and stock
- Perfect for long-range shooting
- Well suited for hunting larger species of small game
- Has an internal transfer bar to prevent misfiring
- Lacks a cycle live round ability due to its tubular magazine
- No traditional cock notch for safety, so may take time to get used to
4. Henry Golden Boy Lever-Action
Henry Golden Boy is that rifle that would make an incredible impression on you for the first time. This piece’s producers exhibited top-notch craftsmanship with its fit and finishing. You would notice it when you go through a catalog.
The Golden Boy is a perfect fit for small game hunters and offhand shooting as it has an outstanding balance. The smooth action involved in its operation would leave lever lovers in awe. You can examine one today. Aim and confirm its pointing ability.
A bright side to this piece is that it’s affordably priced, so you don’t have to go through much stress to own one. Take a trip to your local gun shop and get your hands on a Golden Boy. You’ll see that everything stated in this review.
- Made in USA
- American walnut fore-end and stock
- No manual cross-bolt safety
- Internal transfer bar safety
- Brass butt-plate and barrel band
- Tubular magazine
- Smooth action and reliability
- Can work effectively with both handed users
- It is affordable
- Good for target shooting
- Quite heavy for all-day hunting carry
- May experience jamming and some difficulty with extractors
5. Henry Big Boy Centerfire Lever-Action
The Big Boy Centerfire lever-action rifle is a hard-hitting device with enough firepower to hunt big game and defend against wild animal or home protection. The Big Boy Centerfire can be classified as a modern classic. With its mix of retro look and the feel of its uncompromised quality makes the gun more appealing.
The Big Boy classic is the most traditional version of its class as it comes with a well-polished solid hardened brass receiver, which is a bit weighty. However, complementing the receiver is the blued steel barrel that can feed special ammunition.
The Big Boy offers ten magazine rounds that can be loaded from the front port at the magazine tube’s bottom. This rifle doesn’t provide an automatic cycling system, so to reload the gun, the user has to muzzle up the weapon, remove the brass plunger tube plunger a few inches opening the loading gate for ammo to be dropped.
Many people may not like the reloading time of the Big Boy Centerfire because of the time it consumes but this method of reloading works.
- Rear locking bolt with a two-piece firing pin
- Lock system for the trigger to prevent any accidental discharge
- No manual safety pin to prevent discharge
- Unique barrel system which can receive special ammo
- Comes with a hardened receiver which can handle magnum ammo
- The rifle cannot be fired accidentally as it features an internal transfer bar safety
- Gain maximum accuracy while aiming for a target with this particular trigger pull
- Perfect for hunting big game
- It takes quite some time to reload
- Lack of loading gate for inserting cartridges
- May take some time to be cleaned up and polished
6. Marlin 1894 Lever-Action
First produced in 1893, the Marlin 1894 Lever Action is an integral part of American culture. This rifle acts as the famous symbol of the Old West and an Icon of the deer. Even though it was once famous and celebrated, this gun’s popularity has begun to depreciate, although the rifle’s services are far from being outdated.
Designed to feature a revolutionary lever fire system capable of repeating fire, this gun model comes preloaded with a new locking bolt, short receiver to enable cartridge compatibility, a two-piece firing pin, and an improved one-piece trigger.
The Marlin 1894 model gun is the first gun to eject used cases from the receiver’s side rather than the top. This design was implemented to improve the safety of the shooter in a cross/hang fire. The safety level was turned a notch higher with the gun featuring a two-piece firing pin and a one-piece trigger that would prevent the piece from firing if the finger level has not been adequately shut.
- 20” barrel with a Ballard style rifling that suits any bullet
- Sling swivel for attaching rifle sling
- Made in USA
- Adjustable sights with drilled and tapped receiver
- Features a lever fire system capable of cycling rounds
- Has shooting accuracy even from miles away
- Closed top for easy scope mounting
- Powerful Ballistics
- Very powerful in self-defense and hunting situations
- Doesn’t perform so well outside 125 yards
- Quite expensive than other rifle options
- Lack of tactical look due to its traditional wood, steel, or structure
- Not considered robust enough for big games
7. Henry Octagon Frontier Lever-Action
The Henry Octagon Frontier is a lever-action rifle designed after the famous gun used in the West in the late 1800s. These guns are quite useful and reliable that they remain in use up until today. The Octagon Frontier has a heavy barrel, which aids its constant shooting and diffuses heat like the modern day bull barrel rifles.
The Octagon Frontier receiver is deeply blued to give the gun a rare look and also stop corrosion. The straight grip and Fore-end are made to look like the 1800s style, which provides the rifle with superior hold. The barrel and the high capacity magazine are secured to the walnut for-end by a metal barrel band.
The Henry Octagon Frontier is genuinely a great rifle due to its shooting range and speed. The only difference between the gun now and the ones used back in the day is the modern look and feel given to the rifle. The receiver is perfectly grooved while the forearm and stock are crafted from hand-finished American walnut.
- Machined Steel receiver
- American Walnut Fore-end and Stock
- High capacity tubular magazine
- Deep blued Octagon receiver and barrel
- Can shoot for an extended period due to its weighty barrel
- The shooter gets control of nearly all aspects of the shooting process
- May require special tools for the cleaning process
- People who are not used to this rifle may develop a hard time finding their rhythm
8. Winchester Model 1873 Lever-Action
Need a rifle that connects you to American history? Then you need the Winchester Model 1873, also known as the gun that won the west. This rifle has its place in history and boasts of a rugged and formidable reputation.
The Winchester Model 1873 is quite similar to the Henry rifles. The Winchester rifle has a toggle-link bolt, which aids the gun to muzzle up. This joint aid the user in putting new magazine rounds as when they pull the lever down, the joint helps pull fresh rounds from the tube to the ejection pit. All this operation stops when you put the lever back in place.
The Winchester Model 1873 has no ejector, so when you fire the rifle, you have to pull the lever again to eject the bullet. Pulling the lever makes the cartridge move forward and aligns with the ejection port, which is by the receiver’s side. Before the new cartridge aligns, the empty pot has to eject first.
- Receiver made from steel
- Straight grip stock
- Tapped and drilled rear tang to aid easy attachment of tang mounted rear
- Passive bolt safety
- Lever interlock with trigger
- No firearm is more iconic than this lever-action rifle
- High cartridge capacity
- Perfect ballistic performance for long-distance
- Has a halfcock notch in the hammer for semi cocking the firearm when not in use
- The firearm is quite expensive
- Would need to pull the lever to discharge already used cartridges
9. Marlin 1895 Lever Action
Do you need a tested and trusted configuration of the famous lever-action rifle? The Marlin 1895 Lever Action is the best rifle that fits that description. The firearm delivers to notch lever-action performance like no other rifle.
The producers added over six heat-treated and machined steel forging to make the rifle stronger.
This famous lever-action rival features a 22” barrel, which has deep cut Ballard type rifling. The gun also possesses a standard black American walnut grip stock and fore-end, an adjustable folding rear sight, and a four-shot magazine.
You would also find a clean flat solid top receiver which shields the rifle mechanism from snow, debris, or rains. This receiver also acts as a perfect place to mount the scope and take aim, which gives the rifle the accuracy it needs to deliver.
The stainless steel used in producing this firearm offers corrosion resistance while the laminated stock keeps the grip away from the effect of high humidity or water on wood.
- Side Ejection
- Rubber rifle butt pad
- Hammer block safety
- Deep blued solid top receiver
- Offers quick cycling of cartridges due to its standard loop
- Has enough power to be suitable for big or small game
- Delivers enough firepower at close range
- Can handle increased pressure while shooting
- Most of the rifles are short-barreled lever action
- Comes with valued safety features
- Quite tricky to use for long-range because of its slow velocity and low ballistics coefficient of the bullet
- Do not produce enough shot power from long range to hit a thin-skinned animal
- Beware of the low maximum pressure from the rifle
- May not give off warning signs before it jams due to the pressure
- Have a small amount of caliber
Essential Factors to Consider before Buying the Lever Action rifles
Lever Action rifles are like shoes. They need to balance and fit correctly, or they will not provide the required result. So when you want to purchase the Lever Action rifle, these are the few critical factors to consider.
When you want to get a lever-action rifle for game hunting, there’s likely no perfect range of caliber because every hunter has their choices and would defend them vigorously. Therefore you must choose a caliber you have confidence in and shoots perfectly fine when choosing your caliber type.
Also, remember to choose a caliber that fits your area of hunting. If you want to take a long-range shot across an open field, a flat shooting caliber would be the best option. If you’re hunting in the woods or going after big game, a caliber with a fatter cartridge should be your pick.
It’s important to get a rifle that fits you because it’s quite challenging to shoot at a target with a rifle that’s too long or short for you. So if you want to get a lever-action rifle, you need to get what fits you, especially the new shooters.
If you use an ill-fitting firearm, it will lead to bad habits on the shooting range and an increase in felt recoil. So look for what fits.
You have to know the availability of bullet types in your area before selecting a rifle to use. Because accidents happen, and people sometimes leave their ammo at home or run out of ammo while on the field. So why you may be considering getting the latest magnum, your local vendor/ gun shop may not have stocked up on the new rounds. So go for what can be easily replaced.
While concluding on a rifle to buy, go for one that matches your hunting style. It’s imperative so as not to waste time and achieve results.
What is a good caliber for a lever-action rifle?
There are lots of good lever action rifle out there. However, looking at the number of hunting scenarios applicable all over Europe, the few calibers to choose from include .30-30 Winchester, .45-70 Government, .348 Winchester, .38-55 Winchester, and .405 Winchester.
How reliable are lever-action rifles?
Lever Action rifles are quite complicated and are the least reliable of all repeating actions. But that doesn’t mean they’re unreliable, just that they’re the least to bank on among their level.
How many bullets can a lever-action rifle hold?
The capacity of each magazine is 10-plus rounds based on the caliber and barrel length.
My Top Pick
Now, you know what to do and things to put into consideration to make the right choice. Put everything written in this article into use and come up with the best decision!
As for me, my top pick is the Winchester Model 1873 Lever-Action because it is very durable, lightweight, and has massive shooting power. Suitable for hunting big game, easy and safe to use, and gives the confidence needed to handle any shooting situation!
Do you have any other contributions? Is there any other AR-15 trigger you would like to know about? Kindly drop your comment in the comment box!!
Travis Mike is a firearm enthusiast and author passionate about all things guns. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Travis Mike has gained a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He is skilled in gunsmithing and tactical training. In addition to professional experience, Travis Mike is an avid hunter and shooter, regularly participating in local shooting ranges and hunting trips.