The Lever Action Survival Rifle
Dr. John Woods 05.24.17
Trust me, there actually is another whole world out there beyond the AR-15 rifle and assorted semi-auto clones. Preppers and survivalists are typically AR crazed and that is entirely understandable. But, there are other options for very practical reasons beyond these magazine fed rifles. One of the very best options is the ubiquitous lever action rifle.
The very first centerfire rifle I ever owned intended for deer hunting was a classic Winchester Model 94 in 30-30 bought in 1970. I took my first white-tailed buck with that rifle and it served me well. It was plenty accurate for hunting game out to 100 yards with its rather basic open sights and the 30-30 was completely powerful enough for deer sized game at that range.
This lever action rifle was really one of the very first “handy” rifles and it fit that description well. It was lightweight, had a short overall length, and could be put into shooting action quickly. The 30-30 chambering was easy on the shoulder with mild recoil, and the six round capacity with one in the chamber was ample.
The basic design of the lever action rifle was engineered to be functioned to cycle rounds through the action while holding the gun in the shoulder shooting position. It was likewise easy to operate the lever holding the rifle down in front of the chest. With the open sights, the rifle could be brought to bear quickly upon a target and it swung smoothly on moving game as well.
Loading was simple, too, with the rifle’s action side loading gate. Cartridges were simply pressed forward into the under barrel magazine tube through the loading gate. The lever was actuated to draw a round from the magazine tube and a lifting plate raised the round up to the chamber. Closing the lever operated the bolt to slide the cartridge into the chamber.
Lever action rifle users were cautioned to use round or flat nosed bullets in the magazine tube to prevent ignition of a round by recoil action pressing a bullet forward into the next cartridge’s primer. This could potentially occur with pointed tip bullets. Thus most lever action ammo uses blunt nose bullets, but new technologies in ammo have changed this in some cases.
The lever action rifle makes a good choice for a basic survival gun at home or in camp. Models are available from Winchester, Marlin, Mossberg, and Rossi. Consider a lever gun as your prep rifle.