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Hello from Scotland~

I love my Marlin .444 lever rifle but then around here they think Im strange ! Lets face it the U.S.A will always be the largest market for lever guns with only "slight" interest in other countries.

The appeal and "modernization" of the Lever gun has been tried by Browning with there BLR.

What do you think the future will hold in store for the LEVER GUN ???
Should manufactures continue too strive to modernize the classic lever gun ?


Interested in what "YOU" think on the subject ?????????????


Englander :)
 

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Englander,
This is a personal opinion, nothing more, nothing less. There are two trends I've noticed. One is the resurrection of the styles that have been disgarded by the manufacturer's from long ago. Witness the Winchester Models 1886, 92's, and 95's. These are fine firearms, but due to the improvements of the industrial revolution and the onslaught of the bolt action rifle, were not equitable or termed obsolete for continuous manufacture. I suppose the ressurection of these, in part, are owed to Cowboy Action Shooting Sports.

The other trend seems to be ever improving the materials used because of new developments in the ammunition industry. I believe all of today's models are more metallurgically refined than they were 80 - 100 years ago. This could be attributed to new understandings of the steel used and the higher pressure ammo from Garrett, Corbon, Buffalo Bore and individuals that handload.

Lever gun manufacturers have, by necessatity, always tried to provide a platform for using handgun cartridge chamberings, and with the 454 Casull and the stronger 45 Colt loadings, adjustments have been made (at least by some) to improve 100 year old designs.

Hopefully we will continue to have a market for models such as the 1873, 1892, 94's, 86's etc...

Will we see new designs (other than the BLR) for the magnum chamberings? Time will only tell, but I don't think so. Will the Savage 99's get a rebirth? Hopefully, there definitely seems to be a market for them. I do sincerely hope that Winchester will continue their parternship with Miroku or continue on their own to offer (at the very least limited) offerings of the 1895's and 1886's. I can't wait to get my hands on an 86 in 50-110 if it is ever offered.
 

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Hey Englander,

IMHO the lever gun will be around quite a bit longer. There are still some design improvements to make (gasp). I think that as the market for replica/repo 92s, 86s etc. is satisfied you may finally see a revival of new designs (well I hope anyway). Since the lever gun is very traditional in the U. S. a successful design would have to maintain the outward appearance and handling qualities that have made them so popular here. As good a gun as it is, the BLR doesn't do this.

But what if the BLR mechanical design was fit into a package that looks and handles like a Winchester 94. Or what about a "modified" 94 with a front locking rotating bolt that can chamber .308 Winchester or other high intensity cartridges.

The tubular magazine problem remains, as well as the "accuracy issues" brougth about by the tube to barrel securing methods. These could be addressed by developing a free floating barrel with the tube affixed to the receiver and the forend attached to the tube. And didn't Remington solve the "pointed bullet" issue in a tubular magazine with the spiral tube magazines they put on several of the older pump rifles? Surely something similar could be adapted to the leverguns tube. If not that, well what about ballistic tip bullets? Couldn't Nosler or someone develop one that would be soft enough so that they could not possibly detonate under recoil in a tubular magazine! Ballistic Tip spire point 30/30s anyone?

Modern metals and materials must also make inroads in the lever action segment of the market. Marlin has already begun this with their stainless leverguns. Think about titanium!

With "proper developement" and modern materials not only would the levergun be around for a while longer, but they would be able to compete or even out compete bolt action rifles in nearly any field.


My two cents worth,

Reb
 

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All true, the above. I'd like to focus on use and the market. The majority of leverguns are "woods range" guns, inexpensive and best with no, or a small scope. This means carbine configuration and <200yd use. Production bolt guns are still inherently more accurate as long distance rifles.

Attempts, and some success, has been attained with stretching the type to 300yds; notably the .300 Savage 99 and BLR, but they are really not "mainstream" and are generally rifle length and cost as much as a bolt gun, anyway. You also *must* hang a scope on long range guns and that takes away a lot of the shotgun balance that is the advantage of the lever carbine over the bolt gun.

Today's leverguns are darn "optimized" for short to mid-range, so it's hard to radically improve the type. You can update the action with front (rotary bolt or collet) lockup and spitzer-capable magazines, but those are simple refinements and probably additional complexity, with little functional gain. It should cost more, too.

It's really hard to beat accurate, light and $300 leverguns in the brush.

Given that, and the stickiness of tradition, The mainstream makers have been producing variations of existing and modernized re-introductions of old models. It keeps costs down, meets the hunting requirement and stokes the marketing need for "new."

Marlin, particularly, has taken the tech road by adding stainless steel and porting, but these are refinements focused on <200yd hunting.

As leading indicators, look to the custom levergun guys like Jim West. Bigger rounds, greater reliability, more durabilty, and more compact packages all seem to play on the strengths of the type.

So, yea, a 30-30 carbine and a 30-06 bolt gun still cover the needs in the lower 48. Add a 45-70 hottie, .375 or your .444, if you go North. Welcome to 1930!
 

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This is an interesting question.
We certainly owe a big debt to the cowboy shooters whose willingness to part with dollars has generated many new and new/old products.
Thoughts of a .454 Casull rifle fill me with wonder. In a rifle the .454 equals the .45-90-300 black powder load. This with modern brass of reasonable capacity and little mess to clean up. Whether in a lever action or the Browning Hi-Wall what a hunting rifle it would be!
Even with todays computerized machinery the 99 Savage will probably require significant start-up cost to begin production. Done properly with rotary magazine, the right metal and wood finish, barrels of ample diameter, and a an interesting cartridge selection, sales numbers would probably still be limited which will keep the cost high.
Mention of the .50-110 is interesting. At 1500fps the .50-100-450 (a load variant of the .50-110) was probably the premier black powder load in the light weight 1886's. Dave Scovill from Handloader Magazine has loaded and reported on this caliber over the years and his hunting results with smokeless powder have been good.
Someone mentioned chambering the Model 94 Winchester for the .308. The .307 gives up very little to the .308 under 200 yards. If you have the Speer #13 reloading book check the trajectory of the Speer 170 fn at 2300 fps with a 150 yard zero. Few of us hunt deer beyond 200 yards and the M-94 in .307 or .356 will bring home the venison without trouble at that distance.
I guess I am the only person left in the world who does not like stainless steel guns. Give me blued steel and wood everytime!
 

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slim,
I'm with you, I have a strong appreciation for blued steel and wood stocks. I've never been a fan of the stainless/synthetic rifles. I'm not a fan of the laminates either. A properly inletted and treated walnut stock should cause no harm. None of mine have (as of yet) and I hunt in some very harsh conditions, both to firearms and people.
 

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You sure ldo ive in a harsh environment.
When my brother and father lived in Fairbanks my brother had a stainles Model 70 with a stainless finish scope and mount. He forgot about the scope mount and ring screws and they rusted overnight on a hunt. Hard to get them out! Car wax and paint decorates a lot of airplane guns up there!
 

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I got dropped off one time in the Copper River Delta to do a survey. I had a Remington 870 (parkerized/synthetic) that I was carrying for bear medicine and by the time the helicopter came back THAT evening, the brand new shotgun (which had been oiled the night before) already had a fine coating of rust on the receiver and barrel. I was right along the coast and catching a lot of high winds, salt spray, rain and sleet mixed.

I've used my Ruger No. 1's in all sorts of bad weather up here and none of them have ever shown one bit of rust. I take care of them and have sealed the stocks completely, and they have never let me down. Typically deer and goat hunting are done in very, very wet conditions along the coast and it is very hard on firearms. You have pay quite a bit of attention at the end of the day to keep them from rusting in the rain and salt air environment.
 

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living in NYS the lever gun is they way to go. Hunting in the thick stuff, for bear and deer a lever gun is light while tracking deer...(the new way of hunting deer up north) and quick to target with a gost ring. the bolt actions are just to slow for a follow up shot when a 600lbs black bear is comming after the syrup you spilled on your shirt during breakfast! Also a lever gun allows you to keep your eye on the prize while putting another round in the chamber. A bold action is alot harder to do this with. Some people are going with the remington pump rifle for tracking deer, but i prefer my Mariln 1895M.
 

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Guess looking in from oustide gives you a different perspective. Lever guns are pretty much uniquely American...no one else seems to have developed the concept. No doubt lever guns will continue, and as we are the largest market for them, how they change will be bound by American tastes. Think the big lever gun is more unique to America than the big bore buff. rifle...that last is closs, but others had big single shot actions and big cased BP rounds.

History drives the market today...those CAS have given us lots of good reproductions of old rifles, somewhat refined, but not new in concept. the BLR doesn't sell all that well, but good enough to stay on the market. MIss the old Savage 99...never did care much for the detachable mag. units, kind of defetated the concept.

Believe the future will have rifles that LOOK more of less the same...lever shooters are traditionalist at heart...but stronger actions and perhaps some non-traditioonal calibers.

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Know we've cross-posted on other boards...and this has come up...but I'd really like to mate the Remington spiral mag. tube to a strong Marlin 336-type action and abandon the flat nose bullet requirement without going to a rotating or box-mag. design. The spiral doesn't have to be visiable from the outside (although rem. did it that way, it doesn't have to be just pressed steel)...could retain the pure traditional look)
 

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Heck lever guns were perfected many, many years ago! No need for any so-called 'improvements'!!!!

:)
 

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Didn't Sako make a lever, the Finnwolf?
As I remember it was fine looking rifle.
Jim
 

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MikeG said:
Heck lever guns were perfected many, many years ago! No need for any so-called 'improvements'!!!!

:)
MikeG
You have this one pegged.
The model 94 winchester as close to perfect as a gun can get.
Marlin is not behind it in any way. Just seems winchester flies out first when lever guns are mentioned.
 

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OK guys...but if I add a Rem. 141 type tube, it can look EXACTLY like it does now, but gives the option of spitzer bullets with no danger of point/primer set off. Can still use the flat nosed bullets to your heart's content...but don't HAVE to.

This from a guy who could be perfectly happy with a .32-20, a .38/55, and a 45/70 to handle any hunting he's likely to do...except varmints. With a 141type tube, would be tempted to have one built in .219zipper.
 

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ribbonstone said:
OK guys...but if I add a Rem. 141 type tube, it can look EXACTLY like it does now, but gives the option of spitzer bullets with no danger of point/primer set off. Can still use the flat nosed bullets to your heart's content...but don't HAVE to.
Ribbonstone,
In MOST levergun calibers which consist mostly of pistol caliber and the 30-30. Flat point bullets just plain work better.
I my opinion, flat point bullets in the 30-30 is one of the reasons it has stayed as popular as it has. At such velocities I just don't think a spitzer would do as well. Not that it would not work. Just don't think it would work as effectively.
Crookedshot
 

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More or less agree...but we are talking about what the future of lever guns will be Can see keeping the look exactly the same, but inroducing rounds that may increase the popularity of the lever gun as an all-round hunting rifle...to do that, the public may respond well to spitzers and higer vel. I personally dwouldn't be tempted...I like cast bullets, big and flat nosed if there is a choice (which is why I select a .379" 255gr. at 1800fps over a 170gr. .309" at 2200fps...I'll trade the 400fps for the weight and diameter when using cast bullets).

Given the amount of game killed by T/C pistols tossing .30cailber spitzers out at 30-30ish speeds, there is little to worry about losing effictivness...can make a spitzer work at whatever speed you desire.
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As useless as it may be, putting together a traditional looking lever gun in .223 would undoubtably sell...it doesn't have to make sense to make a profit, just be popular.
 

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The lever gun will live on forever. It's America and the Old West. Throughout the world the mistique of the Old West lives on.

But it is ironic that most of the western period firearms are made outside of the good 'ol U.S. of A.

I guess the only thing could bring the death of the lever gun is politics.

As for having a modern lever gun. I plan on acquiring a stainless 92. I wish someone made a synthetic stock for it. A laminated stock would be OK.

But a Marlin 1894 breakdown in stainless would be nice. Especially with a synthetic stock with a storage compartment in the buttstock. Mix the old with the new. A quick detachable scope would also fit in quite nicely.

I remember some friends who made fun of the new Knight black powder rifle a friend of mine showed up with. They ALL said it wasn't authentic enough. Ha! They ALL bought one after the hunt.
 

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ENGLANDER
IMHO I think they will be around forever!! I couldn't think of life with out Leverguns they are just to much fun to shoot!
 

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I think lever guns will be around a long time in one form or another.

Modifying a M94 to take spitzer bullets would not make much difference as at the short distance such guns are typically used the small imrpovement in ballistis would be insignificant. Besides the action length of 94's and 336's means that cartridges will always be handicapped by short COL, just like the 307 and 356 clones of the 308 and 358.

For sheer power we already have as much as we will ever need in the hot 45-70 loads. If african Professional Hunters are willing to put their lives on the line going into the brush after wounded lions, etc. with a 'hot' 45/70 then we have enough.

I always liked the M88 and the Finnwolf and wish I had some but when they came out I was in school and not in a position to buy.

Personally, I would like to see a new lever action length between the M92's & 1984's and the M94 and 336... an M92 1/2?. Something with a length about 2.25 inch. It would be appropriate fror the entire series of 'Super Mag' cartridges, the 357 SM, 375 SM, 414 SM, and 445 SM. It might even handle the .223 or similar cartridges with an appropriate bullet. If it used a magazine like the M88 or Finnwolf it could take factory loads.
 

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ENGLANDER said:
with only "slight" interest in other countries.
Englander :)
Are you kidding? Every new batch of Marlins & Winnies is pre-sold before it hits Aussie distributors. I had to plead with my gunsmith to have him divert a 9410 to me, and had to scour the continent to get a used (1982) 1895 .357. I could sell it now for twice what I paid for it.
A 45/70 is next in my sights, and I know that it'll be difficult to get one 'cos they're so popular.
Shooting a lever-action is a sensory experience like no other (which can be described on a respectable, family forum).
 
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