LEVERAGE!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: November 13, 2023

Lever action rifles are very popular. More big game have been tagged with a lever action rifle than semi-autos, bolt actions, or pumps. In the east and central USA, most deer hunters started hunting with a 30-30 caliber lever action rifle.

Even though lever action rifles were available during the Civil War, the US Quartermaster thought that soldiers would use up too much ammo, so they issued single shot long guns instead. The advantage of the long gun was accuracy, and range, but the lever action style rifles such as the Spencer, Henry, and Winchester “could be loaded on Sunday and fired all week!”

Winchester’s model 94 may be the most popular deer rifle ever made. Simple iron sights have targeted more deer than many scoped rifles. The Winchester Model 71 may be the best and smoothest lever action ever made. Savage, Martin, Henry, and other rifle manufacturers have made many variations of lever action hunting rifles. In WW1, a lever action shotgun was made for trench warfare. They called it a “trench sweeper” and the German Army called it “unfair and that it should be banned”. 

Even Daisy BB gun company made a replica of the lever action Winchester for kids. I shot a million BBs through my vintage BB gun. It felt the same as the real rifle. Today they are expensive and hard to find. Laws prevent making BB guns realistic looking. 

My first deer rifle was a Model 94 Winchester. My brother bought it for me for $50. It was used but it came with 2 boxes of shells. I bought a sling and began sighting it. My first season was just iron sights. I saw a ton of deer but could not see any antlers. Back in the day, spikes and small antlers were the most common. 

The next season I added a 4 power Bushnell scope. It required a side mount, so you could still eject the brass. Out to 175 yards I was comfortable. The scope allowed me to see antlers. My first rifle buck came with this rifle. I spotted a spike with several does and made the long 175-yard shot. There was snow on the ground, so I quickly found blood and then the buck 100 yards away. Whew! 

This rifle is now a backup but has been used by 17 other friends and kids to harvest their first deer. I will lend it but not sell this wonderful and lucky weapon. 

My buddy “Shrapnel” is a Lever Lover. He collects and hunts with vintage weapons. Kirk is a fantastic shot and iron sights do not scare him. He just has a gift for putting bulls’ eyes down range. A model 71 is one of his many lever favorites. 

My Dad bought his first lever action when he returned from WW2. His Winchester Model 71 is a 348 caliber. Back in the day this big bullet was considered a brush buster and was rated for deer, moose, and bears. He hunted the Appalachian Mountains in Garrett County Maryland. 

LEVERevolution ammo has given Lever rifles a new life and doubled their range. The poly tipped bullets can allow pointed bullets to be stacked into the tubular magazines and improved its performance. Only round tipped bullets were safe. These soft lead bullets would eventually flatten out from being stacked. Some of us reloaded pointed bullets that would fit in the chamber for a first accurate shot, but round nosed bullets would follow up. 

Lever actions require most shooters to take their cheek off the stock when leveraging another round into the chamber. Hand eye coordination was important for the best marksmen. Keeping your eye on the target will bring the rifle sights right back into position.

Shoot more to shoot better!

Montana Grant

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