Classic (and Modern) Lever Actions Worth a Look

Classic (and Modern) Lever Actions Worth a Look

Feb 21st 2024

In a world where the AR-15 is “America’s Rifle” most shooters are more interested in gas impingement, buffer weights, and bolt carrier group coatings than they are about tradition.

You know, things that “ain’t broke” so we “don’t fix ‘em.” Specifically, we’re talking about what is probably the most iconic firearm action of all time - the lever action.

While, strictly speaking, the lever action was actually developed in Europe (in Italy, actually) the first viable and marketable lever action rifles were produced right here in America, in Paterson, New Jersey (imagine that) by Colt.

That said, the classic lever action rifles of Marlin and Winchester, specifically the Winchester 1873 - you know, “the gun that won the West,” - are what made the lever action an indelible and stoic image of American engineering and grit.

Even though the repeating lever action is far, far older than modern gas and recoil-operated autoloading actions of the present era, it still has its place in the world of shooters, and it is still practical and functional.

So take a look at some of these lever action rifles (and a shotgun!) that are still worth your time and attention (and then check out our gun parts and kits if you own one of the ones mentioned here and are looking to make upgrades or repairs).

Henry’s Mare’s Leg

You might be familiar with this pattern from the old TV series “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” in which case it was Josh Randall’s (Steve McQueen) constant companion.

The Henry Mare’s Leg sidegate is a big-bore lever action with a stuffy little stock that handles more like a pistol than a rifle. Henry produces these beauties with American Walnut stocks, gleaming brass receivers, and traditional iron sights and octagonal barrels.

It’s produced in .44 Mag, .44 Spl, .357 Mag, .38 Spl, and .45 Colt - not quite the same if you’re looking for a 9mm lever action, but close. They also produce the Mare’s Leg in .22 (S/L/LR) and .22 Mag,

Henry Axe Lever Action Shotgun

Looking for a lever action shotgun? The Henry Axe is a great option. It’s basically a Mare’s Leg, but chambered in .410. This makes it great for pest or varmint control - or just for enjoying some good old range therapy.

Lots of fun and surprisingly practical, these lever action shotguns are available in three configurations, one of which features synthetic furniture, complete with sling mounts, M-LOK slots, and a section of Picatinny rail under the forend.

Marlin Dark Series Tactical Lever Action Rifles

Fairly new on the scene, Marlin’s Dark Series of tactical lever action rifles are a take on the company’s classic lever actions. Basically, these are iterations of the venerable Marlin 336 (.30-30 Win), 1894 (.44 Rem Mag/.44 Spl) and 1895 (.45-70 Government).

They’re equipped with a load of features that the “tacticool” junkies will eat right up. Just hear this list out.

These tactical lever action rifles feature nylon-reinforced polymer stocks with M-LOK slots, anodized aluminum handrails (also with M-LOK slots), threaded barrels with pre-installed radial muzzle brakes, and stocks with integrated recoil pads and risers for optimal eye relief and comfort.

They are also equipped with generous lengths of Picatinny rail mounted over the receiver, for easy mounting of optics like scopes or red dots.

Definitely a series to dive into if you’re looking for a tactical lever action rifle.

Winchester Models 92 and 94

Now to get started investigating the classics, namely the Winchester Models 1892 (the 92) and 1894 (the 94).

The Winchester 92 was the company’s replacement for its 1873 and chambered in a variety of pistol calibers, like .32-20 and .44-40 Winchester. It was produced until 1945, but owners of these respectable lever actions still love them.

The 1894 enjoyed a much longer production run, from 1894 until 2006 - over 100 years. This lever action rifle was extremely popular, available in multiple chamberings including but not limited to .30-30 Win, .357 Mag, .44 Rem Mag, .45 Colt, and .410. Over 7 million were produced.

Both of these rifles are not only collectibles, but functional lever action rifles in their own right. However, since they’re no longer in production they can be hard to find. Fortunately, we carry newly updated collections of parts for both - check out our Winchester 92 and Winchester 94 parts via the previous links.

                     Gun Parts Kits

Shop Our Lever Action Parts and Gun Parts Kits Here

In addition to the gun parts and kits we sell here at SARCO, Inc., we also carry parts for lever action rifles, specifically a large quantity of lever action parts in our newly updated Winchester 1892 and 1894 collections.

Take a look through our gun parts and kits and if you have any questions about any of them before buying, get in touch with us directly.