If dreams of the old west stir nostalgic thoughts then hunting with a lever action is sure to please. Check out these fine lever action rifles as you shop for your next western-style hunting companion. With modern technology and chamberings making their way into lever guns, hunting with these cowboy-style rifles has never been better.
Henry Big Boy
Few guns stir that all-American pride like the “Made in America or not Made at All” tag-lined Henry Repeating Arms rifles. The best seller among them for hunters? The Henry Big Boy centerfire rifles of course. While the company offers a blued steel or silver receiver as well as a gorgeous color case hardened version, it is the brass Big Boy with its polished shine that catches the eye. Available in .38/.357, .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .41 Mag, and even .327 Fed Mag, there are calibers for most any shooter.
Western fans will adore the traditionally handgun-centric rounds. The 20-inch octagon barrel is topped with semi-buckhorn sights, though scopes are easily mounted as well. Those seeking something different and even more durable will appreciate the All-Weather Big Boy with its hard chrome finish and weather-resistant black-coated stocks.
One of the most affordable lever-action rifles on the market since the 1940s has been the Marlin Model 336. While the .30-30 has long been the most common chambering and accounted for plenty of deer over those years, the 336 has been — and still is — available in .35 Rem. The similar Model 1895 chambered in .45-70 is another nice option for even larger game. Several exceptionally fine Model 336 and Model 1895 lever actions are available from the Marlin Custom Shop.
Henry Long Ranger
While the Big Boy rifles have short to moderate ranges covered, there has long been a gap in the hunting market for a lever action capable of shooting longer ranges with modern calibers. When Henry introduced the Long Ranger lever-action rifle in .223, .243, and .308, hunters were quick to embrace the platform for big game. With the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering this year, the hot just got hotter.
The Browning BLR is a very similar platform, though we’re partial to the Henry for its American quality and unsurpassed customer service. Henry’s Long Ranger is the best lever action for hunting medium-to-large game at ranges only dreamed of with older lever guns.
With the 125th Anniversary of Savage Arms now upon us, few of the company’s storied rifles have achieved the fame and adoration of the lever action Savage 99. The ninety-nine’s internal rotary magazine with a brass round counter improved upon the tube design used on all other lever guns, while calibers like the .300 Savage and .250-300 Savage brought new speed and range to a rifle market seeking just that decades ago. Many Model 99s not only survive to this day, but make their way to the hunting woods each Fall, a testament which speaks volumes about both the quality and longevity of the design. Most any hunter who’s had the pleasure of harvesting game with an old ’99 would love to see that design return to production.
The Winchester 94 has been one of the longest-lasting and most instantly recognizable of lever action rifles ever produced. While the 94 is a do-all gun, it has surely accounted for more meat in the freezer than most any other lever gun. While any 94 will get the job done, it’s hard not to love the early pre-64 models for their collectability as well quality. Like other lever guns of the period, .30-30 was the most common chambering, though the .32 Special also defined the Model 94. For an old-school hunting experience, seek out either a new or used Winchester 94 and relive hunting days gone by.