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The toggle-link action used in the iconic Winchester Model 1873 rifle, one of the most famous lever-action firearms Lever action is a type of
action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now ) in the south and in the north. The service was first known as Canberra City Omnibus Se ...
for
repeating firearm A repeating firearm, or repeater, is any firearm (either a handgun or long gun) that is capable of being fired repeatedly before having to manually reload new ammunition into the weapon. Unlike single-shot firearms, which can only hold and fire ...
s that uses a manually operated
cocking handle The cocking handle, also known as charging handle or bolt handle, is a device on a firearm which, when manipulated, results in the bolt (firearms), bolt being pulled to the rear, putting the hammer (firearms), hammer/firing pin, striker into a sprin ...
located around the
trigger guard rifle A trigger guard is a protective loop surrounding the trigger (firearms), trigger of a firearm designed to prevent unwanted contact with the trigger, which may cause an accidental discharge. Other devices that use a trigger-like actuator mechan ...
area (often incorporating it) that pivots forward to move the
bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener) A bolt is a form of threaded fastener with an external male thread requiring a matching pre-formed female thread such as a nut. Bolts are very closely related to screw ...
via internal
linkage Linkage may refer to: *Linkage (album), ''Linkage'' (album), by J-pop singer Mami Kawada, released in 2010 *Linkage (graph theory), the maximum min-degree of any of its subgraphs *Linkage (horse), an American Thoroughbred racehorse *Hierarchical cl ...
s, which will feed/extract
cartridge Cartridge may refer to: Media * Broadcast cartridge, used in radio stations * 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storage format * Compact Cassette, used with sound recording and reproduction and data storage for early microcomputers * ...
s into/out of the chamber and cock the
firing pin #REDIRECT Firing pin , showing the integral firing pin A firing pin or striker is part of the firing mechanism used in a firearm or explosive device, designed to ignite combustions/detonations by delivering an impact (mechanics), impact force to ...
mechanism. This contrasts to other type of repeating actions such as the
bolt-action Bolt action is a type of manual firearm action of a typical double-barreled shotgun, with the action open and the extractor visible. The opening lever and the safety catch can also be clearly seen. In firearms A firearm is any type of gu ...
,
pump-action Pump action or slide action is a repeating firearm A repeating firearm, or repeater, is any firearm (either a handgun or long gun) that is capable of being fired repeatedly before having to manually reload new ammunition into the weapon. Un ...
, semi-automatic or automatic/
selective-fire Selective fire is the capability of a weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities suc ...
actions. A firearm using this operating mechanism is colloquially referred to as a levergun. Most lever-action firearms are
rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water gu ...

rifle
s, but some lever-action
shotgun A shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a long gun, long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge (firearms), cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small ...

shotgun
s and a few
pistol A pistol is a handgun, more specifically one with the chamber integral to its gun barrel with its massive bore and the stacked barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, longer than it is wide. Th ...

pistol
s have also been made. The
Winchester Model 1873 Winchester rifle is a comprehensive term describing a series of lever-action Lever action is a type of repeating firearm action that uses a manually operated cocking lever A lever ( or ) is a simple machine consisting of a beam (structure), ...

Winchester Model 1873
rifle is one of the most famous lever-action firearms, but many manufacturers (notably
Henry Henry may refer to: People *Henry (given name) Henry is a masculine given name derived from Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century ...
and
Marlin Marlins are fish from the family Istiophoridae, which includes about 10 species. A marlin has an elongated body, a spear A spear is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat Close combat means a violent physical confron ...
) also produce lever-action rifles. Even Colt's Mfg. Co. produced the 6403 lever-action
Colt-Burgess rifle The Colt-Burgess rifle, also known as the 1883 Burgess rifle or simply the Burgess rifle, is a lever-action repeating rifle produced by Colt's Manufacturing Company, Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company between 1883 and 1885. The Burgess ...
s from 1883 until 1885. Mossberg produces the Mossberg model 464 in
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to la ...
.30-30 and rimfire .22.


History

left, Spencer-carbine M1865, .50 inch In 1826, a lever-action revolver capable of firing six shots in less than six seconds was produced in Italy by Cesar Rosaglio and patented in 1829. Colt-Burgess rifle The first lever-action rifles on the market were likely the Colt's 1st and 2nd Model Ring Lever rifles, both
cap and ball The percussion cap or percussion primer, introduced in the early 1820s, is a type of single-use percussion ignition device for muzzle loader A muzzleloader is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and us ...
rifles, produced by the Patent Arms Mfg. Co. Paterson, N.J.-Colt's Patent between 1837 and 1841. The ring lever was located in front of the trigger. This loading lever, when pulled, would index the cylinder to the next position and cock the internal hidden hammer. left, Colt Paterson Ring Lever rifle Multiple lever-action designs including the Volcanic pistol were designed before the American Civil War, but the first significant designs were the
Spencer repeating rifle The Spencer repeating rifles and carbines were early American lever-action firearms invented by Christopher Miner Spencer, Christopher Spencer. The Spencer was the world's first military metallic-cartridge repeating rifle, and over 200,000 exampl ...
and
Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action tubular magazine rifle famed both for its use at the Battle of the Little Bighorn and being the basis for the iconic Winchester rifle of the American American f ...

Henry rifle
both created in 1860. The Spencer was a lever-operated rifle with a removable seven-round tube magazine designed by Christopher Spencer. Over 20,000 were made, and it was adopted by the United States and used during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
which marked the first adoption of an infantry and cavalry rifle with a removable magazine by any country. The early Spencer's lever only served to unlock the action and chamber a new round; the hammer had to be cocked separately after chambering. The
Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action tubular magazine rifle famed both for its use at the Battle of the Little Bighorn and being the basis for the iconic Winchester rifle of the American American f ...

Henry rifle
, invented by
Benjamin Tyler Henry Benjamin Tyler Henry (March 22, 1821–June 8, 1898) was an American gunsmith and manufacturer. He was the inventor of the Henry rifle The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action tubular magazine rifle famed both for its use at the Battle ...

Benjamin Tyler Henry
, a gunsmith employed by
Oliver Winchester Oliver Fisher Winchester (November 30, 1810 – December 10, 1880) was an American businessman and politician, best known as being the founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company The Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a prominent Am ...

Oliver Winchester
, had a centrally located hammer that was cocked by the rearward movement of the bolt rather than an offset hammer typical of
muzzle-loading A muzzleloader is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water guns/ cannon ...
rifles. The Henry also placed the magazine under the barrel rather than in the buttstock, a trend followed by most tube magazines ever since. Inside of Marlin 39A receiver John Marlin, founder of
Marlin Firearms Marlin Firearms Co. is an American manufacturer of semi-automatic, lever-action and bolt-action rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The ter ...
Company, New Haven, Connecticut, introduced Marlin's first lever-action repeating rifle as the Model 1881. This was chambered in rounds such as the 45/70 and 38/55. Its successor was the 1895 solid top design, which we know as the
Marlin 336 The Marlin Model 336 is a lever-action The toggle-link action used in the iconic Winchester Model 1873 rifle, one of the most famous lever-action firearms Lever action is a type of action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by t ...
today. It also gave rise to the
Marlin Model 1894 The Marlin Model 1894 is a lever-action The toggle-link action used in the iconic Winchester Model 1873 rifle, one of the most famous lever-action firearms Lever action is a type of action (firearms), action for repeating firearms that uses a ...
, which is still in production today. By the 1890s, lever actions had evolved into a form that would last for over a century. Both Marlin and Winchester released new model lever-action rifles in 1894. The Marlin rifle is still in production, whereas production of the Winchester 94 ceased in 2006. While externally similar, the Marlin and Winchester rifles are quite different internally. The Marlin has a single-stage lever action, while the Winchester has a double-stage lever. The double-stage action is easily seen when the Winchester's lever is operated, as the entire trigger group drops down to unlock the bolt which then moves rearward to eject the spent cartridge. Savage Model 99 rifle The fledgling Savage Arms Company became well known after the development of its popular hammerless Models 1895 and 1899 (which became named the Model 99) lever-action sporting rifles. The Models 1899/99 were produced from introduction in 1899 until the expense of producing the rifle, and declining interest in lever-action rifles from the 1950s on, resulted in dropping the Model 99 from production in 2000. Unlike most Winchester and the Marlin lever-action rifles, which used a tubular magazine requiring round nose or flat nose bullets, Arthur Savage designed his rifle using a rotary magazine. This allowed the 99 to use cartridges with spitzer pointed bullets for increased ballistic performance. The 99 was produced in many different cartridges and several different model variations. The final models eliminated the very expensive to produce rotary magazine, using a detachable box magazine instead. But the 99 was still very expensive to produce when compared to the other lever-action rifles, and the Savage bolt-action rifles and economics determined the fate of the rifle. More recently, Sturm Ruger and Company introduced a number of new lever-action designs in the 1990s, unusual because most lever-action designs date from before
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, in the period before reliable
semi-automatic rifle A semi-automatic rifle is a rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also proj ...
s became widely available.


Use in warfare

The Henry Lever Action was used in the US Civil War. Henry Lever Action firearms were used in the US until the Winchester Model 1866 rifle replaced it. The Spencer repeating rifle was also used in the US Civil War. Additionally, rifles using the lever-action design were used extensively during the 1930s by irregular forces in the Spanish Civil War. Typically, these were Winchesters or Winchester copies of Spanish manufacture. At least 9,000 Model 1895 rifles are known to have been provided by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
in 1936 to the
Spanish Republicans The Republican faction ( es, Bando republicano), also known as the Loyalist faction ( or ), was the side in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 that supported the government of the Second Spanish Republic against the Nationalist faction (Spanish ...
for use in the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebelión) or Uprising ( ...

Spanish Civil War
. Both the Russian Empire and the United States adopted the
Winchester Model 1895 The Winchester Model 1895 is an American lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7. ...
as a military weapon.


Shotguns

300px, A modern reproduction of the Winchester Model 1887 lever-action shotgun Early attempts at repeating shotguns invariably centered around either bolt-action or lever-action designs, drawing obvious inspiration from the repeating rifles of the time. The earliest successful repeating shotgun was the lever-action Winchester Model 1887, designed by
John Browning John Moses Browning (January 23, 1855 – November 26, 1926) was an American firearm designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, Cartridge (firearms), cartridges, and gun mechanisms many of which are still in use a ...
in 1885 at the behest of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, who wanted to market a repeating shotgun. The lever-action design was chosen for reasons of
brand recognition Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands ...
, Winchester being best known for manufacturing lever-action firearms at the time, despite the protestations of Browning, who pointed out that a slide action design would be much better for a shotgun. Initially chambered for
black powder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and less fouling when fir ...
shotgun shells (as was standard at the time), the Model 1887 gave rise to the Winchester Model 1901, a strengthened version chambered for 10ga
smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and co ...
shells. Their popularity waned after the introduction of slide action shotguns such as the
Winchester Model 1897 The Winchester Model 1897, also known as the Model 97, M97, or Trench Gun, is a pump-action Pump action or slide action is a repeating firearm A repeating firearm (or repeater for short) is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun desig ...
, and production was discontinued in 1920. Modern reproductions are (or have been), however, manufactured by Armi Chiappa in Italy,
Norinco The China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited (), also known as China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (), officially abbreviated as Norinco ( zh, link=no, c=北方工业; ), is a Chinese state-owned State ownership, also ...
in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and ADI Ltd. in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, while Winchester continued to manufacture the .410 bore Model 9410, effectively a Winchester Model 94 chambered for .410 bore shotgun shells, until 2006. Australian firearm laws strictly control pump and semi-automatic actions. Lever operation falls into a more lenient category, hence the recent popularity of the action in that country.


Other applications

A one-off example of lever-action reloading on automatic firearms is the
M1895 Colt–Browning machine gun The Colt–Browning M1895, nicknamed "potato digger" because of its unusual operating mechanism, is an air-cooled, belt-fed, gas-operated machine gun that fires from a closed bolt with a cyclic rate of 450 rounds per minute. Based on a John Brow ...
. This weapon had a swinging lever beneath its barrel that was actuated by a gas bleed in the barrel, unlocking the breech to reload. This unique operation gave the nickname "potato digger," as the lever swung each time the weapon fired and would dig into the ground if the weapon was not situated high enough on its mount. The Knötgen automatic rifle is another example.


Cartridges

The cartridges for lever-action rifles have a wide variety of calibres, bullet shapes and powder loads, but they fall into two basic categories: Low-pressure cartridges with rounded bullets, and high-pressure cartridges with aerodynamic pointed ("spitzer") bullets. Some lever actions are not as strong as bolt action or semi-automatic rifle actions. The weaker actions utilize low- and medium-pressure cartridges, somewhat similar to high-powered pistol ammunition. To increase the bullet's energy at the relatively low velocities, these often have larger, heavier bullets than other types of rifles. The most common cartridge is the
.30-30 The .30-30 Winchester/.30 Winchester Center Fire cartridge was first marketed in 1895 for the Winchester Model 1894 The Winchester Model 1894 rifle (also known as the Winchester 94 or Model 94) is a lever-action repeating rifle that became o ...
, introduced by Winchester with the Model 1894. Other common cartridges include: .38 Special/
.357 Magnum The .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum, .357 S&W Magnum, .357 Magnum, or 9×33mmR as it is known in unofficial metric designation, is a smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery t ...

.357 Magnum
,
.44 Special The .44 Smith & Wesson Special, also commonly known as .44 S&W Special, .44 Special, .44 Spl, .44 Spc, (pronounced "forty-four special"), or 10.9x29mmR is a smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant ...
/
.44 Magnum The .44 Remington Magnum, also known as .44 Magnum or 10.9x33mmR, is a rimmed, large-bore cartridge Cartridge may refer to: Media * Broadcast cartridge, used in radio stations * 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storage format * ...
,
.41 Magnum The .41 Remington Magnum, also known as .41 Magnum or 10.4×33mmR (as it is known in unofficial metric designation), is a center fire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartr ...
,
.444 Marlin The .444 Marlin (10.9×57mmR) is a rifle cartridge Cartridge may refer to: Media * Broadcast cartridge, used in radio stations * 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storage format * Compact Cassette, used with sound recording and rep ...
,
.45-70 The .45-70 rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liq ...
,
.45 Colt The .45 Colt, also referred to as .45 Long Colt, .45 LC, or 11.43×33mmR, is a rimmed straight-walled handgun cartridge dating to 1872. It was originally a black-powder revolver A revolver (also called a six shooter or a wheel gun) is a ...
,
.32-20 Winchester The .32-20 Winchester, also known as .32 WCF (Winchester center fire), was the first small-game lever-action Lever action is a type of repeating firearm action that uses a manually operated cocking lever A lever ( or ) is a simple machine ...
,
.35 Remington The .35 Remington (8.9x49mm) is the only remaining cartridge from Remington's lineup of medium-power rimless cartridges still in commercial production. Introduced in 1906, it was originally chambered for the Remington Model 8 semi-automatic rif ...
, .308 Marlin Express,
.22 calibre 22 caliber, or 5.6mm caliber, refers to a common firearms bore diameter of 0.22 inch (5.6 mm). Cartridge Cartridge may refer to: Media * Broadcast cartridge, used in radio stations * 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storag ...
rimfire, and
.300 Savage The .300 Savage cartridge is a rimless A rim is an external flange that is machined, cast, molded, stamped, or pressed around the bottom of a firearms cartridge (firearms), cartridge. Thus, rimmed cartridges are sometimes called "flanged" cartrid ...
. There is dispute about which of these cartridges can safely be used to hunt large game or large predators. Even in the largest calibres, the low velocities give these cartridges much lower energies than Elephant gun cartridges with comparable calibres. However, even the smallest cartridges fit lightweight, handy rifles that can be excellent for hunting small herbivores, pest control, and personal defense. Some stronger, larger pistols (usually
revolvers A revolver (also called a six shooter or a wheel gun) is a repeating handgun A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automa ...
) also accept some of these cartridges, permitting use of the same ammunition in both a pistol and rifle. The rifle's longer barrel and better accuracy permits higher velocities, longer ranges and a wider selection of game. A pistol provides extra security. Some of these cartridges (e.g. the .45-70) are developmental descendants of very early black powder metallic cartridges. When metallic cartridges and lever actions were first invented, very small, portable kits were developed for hand reloading and bullet molding (so called "cowboy reloading kits"). These kits are still available for most low-pressure lever-action cartridges. Stronger lever actions, such as the action of the
Marlin Model 1894 The Marlin Model 1894 is a lever-action The toggle-link action used in the iconic Winchester Model 1873 rifle, one of the most famous lever-action firearms Lever action is a type of action (firearms), action for repeating firearms that uses a ...
can utilize high-pressure cartridges. Lever-action designs with strong, rotary locking bolts (such as the
Browning BLR The Browning BLR is a lever-action rifle manufactured by Browning Arms Company. It comes in many different variations and is chambered in calibers from .22-250 Remington, .308 Winchester, .325 WSM and .450 Marlin. Design The BLR uses a Magazine ( ...

Browning BLR
with seven locking lugs) safely use very high-powered cartridges like the .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 WSM and 7 mm Remington Magnum. Tilting block designs such as the
Savage Model 99 The Model 99, and its predecessor model 1895, is a series of hammerless lever action rifles created by the Savage Arms Savage Arms is an American gunmaker based in Westfield, Massachusetts Westfield is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, ...
are also strong enough to handle high pressures. Many lever actions have a tubular magazine under the barrel. To operate safely, cartridges for these have bullets with rounded tips, and some use rimfire primers rather than centerfire primers. The safety problem is that long range aerodynamic supersonic bullets are pointed. In a tubular magazine the points can accidentally fire centerfire cartridges. A related problem is that some pointed bullets have fragile tips, and can be damaged in a tubular magazine. Some lever actions such as the
Savage Model 99 The Model 99, and its predecessor model 1895, is a series of hammerless lever action rifles created by the Savage Arms Savage Arms is an American gunmaker based in Westfield, Massachusetts Westfield is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, ...
can be fed from either box or rotary magazines. The
Winchester Model 1895 The Winchester Model 1895 is an American lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7. ...
also uses a box magazine, and is chambered for
.30-06 The 30-06 Springfield cartridge Cartridge may refer to: Media * Broadcast cartridge, used in radio stations * 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storage format * Compact Cassette, used with sound recording and reproduction and data ...
and other powerful military cartridges. More recently, spitzer bullets with elastomeric tips have been developed. Lever-action shotguns such as the Winchester Model 1887 were chambered in 10 or 12 gauge
black powder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and less fouling when fir ...
shotgun shells, whereas the Model 1901 was chambered for 10 gauge smokeless shotshells. Modern reproductions are chambered for 12 gauge smokeless shells, while the Winchester Model 9410 shotgun is available in
.410 bore The .410 bore is one of the smallest caliber of shotgun shell A shotgun shell, shotshell or simply shell is a type of rimmed, cylindrical A cylinder (from ) has traditionally been a Solid geometry, three-dimensional solid, one of the most ...
.


Advantages and disadvantages

While lever-action rifles have always been popular with hunters and sporting shooters, they have not been widely accepted by the military. One significant reason for this is that it is harder to fire from the
prone position Prone position () is a body position in which the person lies flat with the chest down and the back up. In anatomical terms of location Standard anatomical terms of location deal unambiguously with the anatomy of animals, including humans. Ter ...

prone position
with a lever-action rifle than it is with a straight pull or rotating bolt
bolt-action Bolt action is a type of manual firearm action of a typical double-barreled shotgun, with the action open and the extractor visible. The opening lever and the safety catch can also be clearly seen. In firearms A firearm is any type of gu ...
rifle. Another reason is ammunition. While lever-action rifles generally possess a greater rate of fire than bolt-action rifles, lever-action firearms are also generally fed from a tubular magazine, similar to the one used on the first bolt-action rifle, which limits the type of ammunition that can be used in them. Pointed centerfire " spitzer" bullets, for example, can cause explosions in a tubular magazine, as the point of each cartridge's projectile rests on the primer of the next cartridge in the magazine. Some modern cartridges, such as the
elastomer An elastomer is a polymer A polymer (; Greek ''poly- Poly, from the Greek :wikt:πολύς, πολύς meaning "many" or "much", may refer to: Businesses * China Poly Group Corporation, a Chinese business group, and its subsidiaries: ** P ...
-tipped
Hornady Hornady Manufacturing Company is an American manufacturer of ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can ...
LEVERevolution ammunition overcome this problem. The tubular magazine may also have a negative impact on the harmonics of the barrel, which limits the theoretical accuracy of the rifle. A tubular magazine under the barrel also pushes the center of gravity forward, which alters the balance of the rifle in ways that are undesirable for shooting off hand from a standing position to some shooters. There are, however, some lever-action rifles—such as the
Winchester Model 1895 The Winchester Model 1895 is an American lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7. ...
, which saw service with the Russian Army in World War I—that use a box magazine. Many newer lever-action rifles are capable of shooting groups smaller than 1 minute of angle, making them equal to the accuracy of most modern bolt-action rifles. Another explanation for the lack of widespread use of lever-action designs stems from the initial inability to fire high-pressure cartridges. Safe operation could only be carried out by using low-pressure cartridges in the toggle-lock lever-action rifles such as the
Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle #REDIRECT Henry rifle The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action tubular magazine rifle famed both for its use at the Battle of the Little Bighorn and being the basis for the iconic Winchester rifle of the American American f ...

Henry rifle
and the following Winchester Model 1866,
Model 73
Model 73
and Model 76 (which was used by the mounted police of Canada). The new lever-action designs, notably the
Winchester Model 1886 The Winchester Model 1886 was a lever-action Lever action is a type of repeating firearm action that uses a manually operated cocking lever A lever ( or ) is a simple machine consisting of a beam (structure), beam or rigid rod pivoted at a f ...
, Model 92, Model 94, and the Model 1895 (in 7.62x54R, a Russian military cartridge), with a strong locking-block action designed by
John Moses Browning John Moses Browning (January 23, 1855 – November 26, 1926) was an American firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but ca ...

John Moses Browning
, were capable of firing higher-pressure cartridges. These rifles became available in the late 19th century, too expensive to build new factories to manufacture, militaries worldwide had put cheap bolt-action rifles into service and were unwilling to invest into producing a lever-action rifle after having done with an inexpensive bolt-action design. Due to the higher rate of fire and shorter overall length than most bolt-action rifles, lever actions have remained popular to this day for sporting use, especially short- and medium-range
hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism ...

hunting
in forests, scrub, or bushland. Lever-action firearms have also been used in some quantity by prison guards in the United States, as well as by wildlife authorities/game wardens in many parts of the world. An additional advantage over typical
bolt-action Bolt action is a type of manual firearm action of a typical double-barreled shotgun, with the action open and the extractor visible. The opening lever and the safety catch can also be clearly seen. In firearms A firearm is any type of gu ...
rifles is the lack of
handedness In human biology Human biology is an interdisciplinary area of academic study that examines humans through the influences and interplay of many diverse fields such as human genetics, genetics, human evolution, evolution, human physiology, physi ...

handedness
: lever actions, like pump actions, are frequently recommended as ambidextrous in sporting guidebooks.


See also

*
Antique guns An antique firearm is a term to describe a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid ( ...
* Rapid fire crossbow


References

{{refs Firearm actions Lever-action