Author Topic: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense  (Read 6859 times)

Offline Patriot:Ex Machina

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The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« on: January 06, 2013, 10:59:08 AM »
Nothing will replace a good semi auto rifle such as the AR-15 as a defensive long gun.
And that's just how it is.
But for folks living in restrictive areas such as California, and NY...and soon quite possibly the whole bloody country, or for folks who cannot afford a black rifle (especially now with the price increase due to panic buying), a possible option is the lever action rifle.
I myself just picked up a Marlin 336A in .30-30 Winchester as a truck gun, considering the political climate of today.  I am by no means giving up my ARs and other semi autos....no way in hell. But I also don't need any more prying eyes than nesessary. And a black rifle tends to give youHere' much more attention these days. Here's a link to my blog post on this, and you'll find links to an article by firearms instructor Uli Gebhard on the lever action as a defense rifle as well as some video links on the subject.

http://patriotgunandgear.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-lever-action-rifle-alternative.html
 
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Offline CR Williams

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 11:45:47 AM »
This is a very good guide to setting up one of the original 'assault rifles':

http://www.onesourcetactical.com/leveractionriflegunfightingdvd.aspx#.UOm31XdazzI

Once my finances are back where I want them, I will be keeping an eye out for a .357 LA carbine with a 16" barrel.
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Offline American freak

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 12:16:03 PM »
Thank you for the links Patriot. I recently received a Mossberg 464 SPX for Christmas. I know that most people loathe this rifle but I feel that it is quite functional for home defense. However, up until now I have had a herd time finding quality instruction on how to use a lever action for defensive applications. I would like to add that this rifle was very affordable. My wife said she only paid $400 for it at Academy.
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Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 01:25:45 PM »
I'll add that if you are considering a lever action rifle (be that for self defense, hunting, or a combination of both) I would suggest a Browning BLR in .308 caliber.  I mention .308 caliber only because it would prove to be versatile and is a common NATO round, but the BLR is offered in a variety of calibers.  The BLR uses a detachable 5-round magazine which will aid in speed and convenience if you have multiple preloaded mag's on hand.  They even offer the BLR in a takedown model.
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Offline American freak

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 03:38:58 PM »
That sounds like a very unique alternative Nelson. That would be a very good option for somebody that already has another rifle in. 308. I wonder how pricey the extra mags would be.
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Offline ib71

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 03:47:21 PM »
I have my grandfathers marlin in 35 remington . Never shot it anyone know where to get ammo that is inexpensive? Does anybody know about this caliber?

Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 04:02:12 PM »
That sounds like a very unique alternative Nelson. That would be a very good option for somebody that already has another rifle in. 308. I wonder how pricey the extra mags would be.

Both the rifle and extra mag's aren't cheap.  I won the rifle at an RMEF Banquet and purchased an extra mag from Midway but don't remember what it cost me, just that it was more than I was used to paying for a mag.
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Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 04:15:15 PM »
I have my grandfathers marlin in 35 remington . Never shot it anyone know where to get ammo that is inexpensive? Does anybody know about this caliber?

It won't be cheap no matter where you go, but there are a number of places you can find it, just Google .35 Remington ammo.

A rifle chambered in .35 Remington would be considered to be a medium power rifle with moderate recoil, for short to medium ranges.  For a rimless rifle cartridge, it takes second place to the .30-30 Winchester.  It is far less common than the .30-30, but if you already own a rifle, there's nothing wrong with it excpet for finding ammo at most retail stores.
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Offline hillclimber

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 07:22:37 PM »
The tagging stations up here keep track of the caliber used buy hunters tagging their deer. It's taken years for the 30-06, 308, 270, etc to catch up with the former top three which were 30-30, 32Winchester special and 35 Remington. If I remember it was the mid 1980s when the bigger calibers started tipping the scales the other direction. For nearly a hundred years nearly every house had at least one or more old lever guns behind a door. The BLR is a really nice rifle. I have one in 243win. Mine is a little long compared to a model94 or a Marlin 336. I have two 30-30s. One Winchester, one Marlin. I also have a 1895Guide Gun in 45-70 that's pretty handy too. if I had to live with just one rifle, it would be one of my 30-30s or my 308 bolt gun. A choice I hope I never have to make. ;)
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Offline Patriot:Ex Machina

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 07:46:30 PM »
Thank you for the links Patriot. I recently received a Mossberg 464 SPX for Christmas. I know that most people loathe this rifle but I feel that it is quite functional for home defense. However, up until now I have had a herd time finding quality instruction on how to use a lever action for defensive applications. I would like to add that this rifle was very affordable. My wife said she only paid $400 for it at Academy.

How do you like the adjustable stock on the SPX?
 
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Offline Skunkeye

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 12:02:21 PM »
TTAG had an article last year about setting up a Marlin 336 as a "Cowboy Assault Rifle", which got me thinking about this very topic.  I can see a number of advantages of the lever action for home defense, not least of which is the ease of operation of these rifles by less-skilled members of the household.  Rack the lever, point at bad guy, pull trigger.  Repeat as needed.  It's a lot less intimidating for someone who isn't a firearms enthusiast to learn to use a simple wood-and-blue-steel "Grampa gun" than a "military" black rifle. 
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Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
I agree.  The lever action is about the most intuitive operation there is.  I have seen people struggle even with bolts and pumps who at least understand how the lever works! It may take some practice for them to operate the lever quickly and smoothly but at least there is now confusion about operating it and whether it is working or not.

Growing up in a rural area our primary home defense gun was a 94 Win made in 1916.  Backed up by the 12 ga bird guns.  For most situations that is going to be plenty of firepower for defense.  Of course, given the choice I would rather have an AR15, but if limited to non-semi-autos the lever action would be at the top of my list. And if I needed more range, then the BAR in .308 sounds worth a look.
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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 04:10:56 PM »
I remember an article that Mike Venturino wrote in either "Rifle" or "Guns" magazine where he was asked to bring a lever gun to a rifle class put on by Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch.  There were a lot of AR and tactical rifles and the owners snickered when Mike unloaded the lever. 

The snickers stopped as they had trouble with magazines, jams and other issues, while Mike simply loaded from his pocket into the magazine tube and continued with the next course of fire. 

Obviously whatever type and action being used for any work, the operator must train with and be familiar with that weapon.  For 31 years I carried and shot with double action, first revolvers and then double action (first round) auto loaders and have wanted to transition to a quality 1911 single action.  The trouble is that is am so used to what I'm used to that the transition training is not worth the effort to me.

As you can see from my avatar, I like lever guns!
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Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 04:31:22 PM »
I agree.  The lever action is about the most intuitive operation there is.  I have seen people struggle even with bolts and pumps who at least understand how the lever works! It may take some practice for them to operate the lever quickly and smoothly but at least there is now confusion about operating it and whether it is working or not.

That said, anybody remember the television series "The Rifleman", starring Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford?  He never had any trouble working the action on a quick draw and/or follow-up shots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3zVQI0dVuM&feature=player_embedded#!

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Offline American freak

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 05:36:36 PM »
How do you like the adjustable stock on the SPX?


I like it fine. However, it doesn't any purpose other than changing length of pull. I figure that it will help in the years to come when teaching my kids to shoot when they are older. The thing I dislike the most about the rifle is the length of motion required to work the lever. Seems a bit longer than other rifles I have shot. Other than that it will serve the purpose of truck gun.
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Offline chrisdfw

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 05:50:39 PM »
For shots outside the home, great, but inside, I think something else may be appropriate as the rounds for level actions would tend to penetrate, or over-penetrate. Just choose the loads wisely. A 45-70 might not be the ticket. A lighter wieght 357 load might be the ticket.

Lever actions and ARs have a lot in common as they are primarily chambered in intermediate rounds and not full power rifle rounds. The very light round of the AR does tend to penetrate less in many loadings. But they are both light and handy in most configurations, but there are a lot of variations of both.

I want a takedown BLR in 30-06.  Just because.

Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2013, 06:01:19 PM »
I want a takedown BLR in 30-06.  Just because.

If you get one, please let me know what you think of it.  Mine is not the takedown model but I do like it very much regardless.  I'm thinking the next one will be the takedown model, but I would like to get some reviews of it first.  Yes, I will be getting another BLR (probably two more).

The BLR in .308 was free (well, cost of a $20 raffle ticket) but I will keep it because it does well with the ammo I load for my LR-308. 
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Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 06:56:53 PM »

After all, they are the original Zombie gun.
I believe it was a Winchester in the original Night Of The Living Dead.
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Offline Skunkeye

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 07:41:00 PM »
For shots outside the home, great, but inside, I think something else may be appropriate as the rounds for level actions would tend to penetrate, or over-penetrate. Just choose the loads wisely. A 45-70 might not be the ticket. A lighter wieght 357 load might be the ticket.

You can also shoot .38 Special cartridges in most .357-chambered lever guns, which would give you some more options if you're worried about overpenetration.  Even a relatively mild .38 load coming out of a 16- or 20-inch barrel is going to ruin your day if you're on the wrong end of it. 
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Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 07:54:38 PM »
In the same vein, someone running a .44 Magnum lever could easily run/load .44 Special or equivalent loads.  And with the pistol caliber lever guns there is always the option of a matching revolver.  they make some brutal flying ashtrays for that size bullet too.

Think Dirty Harry meets John Wayne. :D

If things go completely sideways with this gun legislation, 2-3 lever actions are on the shopping list.  And a very long range bolt-action.

Offline armymars

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2013, 09:16:38 PM »
They use to make a 125 grain load for the 30/30 . If you load your own you can find a 130 flat point. I think it's a Speer, that should do the job. These loads will penetrate less then the 150s or 170s. I have a 30/30 Aktly improved for my Encore and a bolt action 30/30 Stevens 520 . The lever is a better choice. My 1895 Marlin with large loop is much more reliable then the bolt gun with a rimed cartage. But I can shoot pointy bullets with the bolt. My next gun will be a 760 Remington pump. They're fast,  have a box mag. and they work like my pump shotgun which I've use forever. 

Offline joeinwv

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2013, 11:55:22 PM »
A 44 lever is on my list. I look at this the same as an AR - this is intermediate range gun. Shorter range than bolt rifle, longer range than shotgun. I have a Redhawk and already load 44. 18" bbl and 240 grain should be just fine inside 150 yards

Offline DrJohn

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 08:29:58 AM »
I would love a Henry Big Boy in .44, a very good firearm indeed!
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Offline Stinkie Archer

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2013, 11:45:49 AM »
I have been looking for leverguns recently, what are your thoughts and feelings on the various models? top eject vs side eject? i would most likely get a handgun calibre one to reduce different ammo types, but if i came across a good 30-30 i would not turn it down.


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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2013, 11:57:49 AM »
I have been looking for leverguns recently, what are your thoughts and feelings on the various models? top eject vs side eject? i would most likely get a handgun calibre one to reduce different ammo types, but if i came across a good 30-30 i would not turn it down.

I am also evaluating this.

As a hand loader, something that's caught my attention is the interchangeability of certain .30 cal cast bullets between different cartridges.  For example: around 160gr, the same cast lead bullet has recipes in .30-30, .30-06, 7.62x54R, .308win, .303Brit, etc.  and yes you can shoot 2000fps+ without gas checks that doesn't lead your barrel - but that's a different topic.

This fact doesn't help you during a fire fight, BUT from a component perspective, you simply stock up a particular bullet, powder and primers and load for which ever platform you need.   A large bucket of scrap lead wheel weights, a couple jugs of IMR 4064 (http://www.imrpowder.com/imr4064.html), and you'd be nearly self sufficient ammo wise for a range of cartridges.

Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2013, 12:14:13 PM »
I am also evaluating this.

As a hand loader, something that's caught my attention is the interchangeability of certain .30 cal cast bullets between different cartridges.  For example: around 160gr, the same cast lead bullet has recipes in .30-30, .30-06, 7.62x54R, .308win, .303Brit, etc.  and yes you can shoot 2000fps+ without gas checks that doesn't lead your barrel - but that's a different topic.

This fact doesn't help you during a fire fight, BUT from a component perspective, you simply stock up a particular bullet, powder and primers and load for which ever platform you need.   A large bucket of scrap lead wheel weights, a couple jugs of IMR 4064 (http://www.imrpowder.com/imr4064.html), and you'd be nearly self sufficient ammo wise for a range of cartridges.

That is correct and IMO a better direction than handgun calibers, to increase versatility of uses.
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Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2013, 01:47:17 PM »
How do the Henry rifles compare to say the Marlin?  I am considering a .44 lever action, mostly for fun, but I would like it to e lasting quality and feed reliably.

The Henry appears to have a solid brass receiver.  Isn't brass too soft for a receiver?  Or is it just brass plated?  For those knowledgeable about Henrys, why would one buy a Henry versus a Marlin (which would be my default)?  They are beautiful rifles, just wondering if they are as sturdy and well built.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2013, 02:06:04 PM »
I asked the same about Marlin vs. Henry.

My conclusion:

Marlin - more practical "Working" gun, cheaper
Henry - smoother action, nicer to shoot

Just working each gun's action across the gun counter I could tell the Henry was smoother. 

One notable downside to the brass receiver, is that it's inappropriate for tapping holes for a scope mount.  That said, most lever gun calibers I would consider have a usable range out to 150 yards at the most.  Given that, with some nice peep or ghost ring iron sights, I think I'd be happy.  Besides, the topic is "option for home defense" where a magnified scope is not appropriate.

Offline armymars

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2013, 03:17:26 PM »
There is little smoother in life then a Henry 22rf rifle in blue steel. That's my next purchase.

Offline nelson96

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Re: The Lever Action Rifle as an Option For Home Defense
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2013, 06:56:22 PM »
How do the Henry rifles compare to say the Marlin?  I am considering a .44 lever action, mostly for fun, but I would like it to e lasting quality and feed reliably.

The Henry appears to have a solid brass receiver.  Isn't brass too soft for a receiver?  Or is it just brass plated?  For those knowledgeable about Henrys, why would one buy a Henry versus a Marlin (which would be my default)?  They are beautiful rifles, just wondering if they are as sturdy and well built.

The Henry .44 is a solid brass receiver, just like the original from 1860.  I've never owned one but know many who do, and they love them.
 
Ever heard the saying "brass to steel slides ideal"?  I wouldn't have a problem with a brass receiver.  I would agree though that it's not an ideal metal for drilling/tapping and mounting a scope on to, but these weren't originally designed as scope guns. . . .  You could always go with a blued steel model if you want it scoped.
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late