Lever action rifle training

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Lever action rifle training

Post by Hanzo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:00 am

I have recently inherited a lever action 30-30 and was wondering what kind of "tactical" training I could do with it. Now I know a black rifle would be better for tactical training, but honestly I just really like lever action rifles and would like to learn how to use them in a tactical setting. Please try and keep this from being a "get an AR/AK" thread.
Do you all think I would be able to do a tactical carbine course with a lever action (I know I would be slower then everyone else but I really don't care)? Does anyone know of a good school to do a lever action course at? Would it be POSSIBLE to do a 3-gun with a lever action? If anyone has any experience doing any of these with a lever action your advise would be greatly appreciated and any tactical course instructors please feel free to be honest (like if you feel i would be wasting your time if showed up with a lever action (i would tell the instructor ahead of time)). Thanks for your thoughts.

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-Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: 'Why did he do it?'
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by nacho » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:21 am

Watch and learn from this guy.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Aonghus » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:40 am

What about Cowboy Action Shooting? There's gotta be some training in there that would be aplicable and at least it will get you out shooting. You'd have to dress funny, but you'd be shooting steels and learning how to maneuver and handle the action or the rifle, reloading, and manage some stress from the competition aspect of it. Not exactly "tactical" I guess, but it would be a start.

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Cap'n Trainwreck » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:17 am

Aonghus wrote:What about Cowboy Action Shooting? There's gotta be some training in there that would be aplicable and at least it will get you out shooting. You'd have to dress funny, but you'd be shooting steels and learning how to maneuver and handle the action or the rifle, reloading, and manage some stress from the competition aspect of it. Not exactly "tactical" I guess, but it would be a start.
30-30 won't work in cowboy action, needs to be pistol caliber. My only rifles (minus my .22) and my favorite shotgun are all lever guns. I'm pretty sure there are 3 gun events where your rifle would be applicable.

Personally I think lever guns are underrated nowadays. I know in CAS a lot of fellas have their gun slicked up by a decent smith with a short stroke kit. I've also seen some of these same guys that could accurately fire as quickly as most semi-autos.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Lionheart » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:33 am

Gabe Suarez wrote a good piece on tactical lever action rifles, unfortunately I don't have a link but look it up, maybe you could even find a place to train with it.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by pasha » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:41 am

Here's that article. A lever action is old school tactical. I carried one in .357 in the back of my car for years. I could of put a mini-14 or AR, but you end up with the stigma of the black rifle. But no one ever batted an eye at the lever-gun.
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THE TACTICAL 30-30 LEVER ACTION RIFLE
Copyright 1999, Gabriel Suarez
All Rights Reserved

Ask any student of small arms to name the most typically American rifle and chances are that they will name the .30-30 lever action rifle. Manufactured for over a century by Marlin, Winchester, and others - the lever action invokes images of the Old West. We see Jimmy Stewart in "Winchester '73" smiting the enemies of justice and freedom with his "repeater". We see John Wayne admonishing his adversaries to "fill their hands" as he gallops forward, a stubby Winchester in each hand. And, of course, we see photos of that most American of presidents - Theodore Roosevelt wielding his lever action against all manner of beasties in Africa. This ubiquitous and understated weapon has played a very major role in this country's history.

Today the lever action is most often seen in the hands of close range deer hunters as a brush gun. It is not likely to be the first weapon that comes to our minds when the talk turns to fighting. But make no mistake friends, as a fighting (anti-personnel) weapon, the lever action is just as useful and deadly today, on a lonely stretch of highway in the bad part of town, as it was in the dusty cow towns of the Kansas Territory more than a century ago.


Today a rifle of this sort might be kept in tactical storage in a hall closet, above the hearth, or in the trunk of a car for unexpected social unpleasantries. In such a role the lever action has several advantages over other weapons that are more commonly thought of as fighting tools.

Primarily, the lever action is inexpensive. Used examples in perfect working condition may be had for about a hundred bucks. Even brand new weapons will set you back less than the price of a night on the town for two. Compare that with the price of a more military-like, and hopefully still legal, Sturmgewehr-fighting rifle (If you can find one for sale these days)!

The ammunition (.30-30 Winchester Centerfire) has all the characteristics desirable in a mid-range fighting rifle cartridge. In fact, the ballistics of the .30-30 cartridge are amazingly similar to those for the most specifically designed fighting cartridge of all, the 7.62X39 Russian chambered in the AK-47. Shot for shot, the .30-30 will do everything you could ask from a mid-range tactical rifle. And it will do these things far better than many military weapons will!

Being "sporting guns", lever actions are usually issued with fairly good triggers which are crisp and conducive to hitting. Even if the trigger action is rough on some pieces, it is a simple matter to have it brought up to speed by a gunsmith. Additionally, you'd have to look long and hard to find a gunsmith that isn't familiar with the lever action lock-work. This is certainly more than we can say about the gritty as-issued, or modified triggers of the various SKS, AK, HK etc.

Finally, the lever action rifle is more compact in its 16 inch barrel configuration than most other rifles that might be chosen to fill the role. Equally important in this age of sensitive, touchie-feelie, felon huggers, it looks innocent. Don't dismiss this last attribute too easily. In our troubled and ignorant times, juries release violent murderers and rapists because they are not intelligent enough to discern the real facts from the spun fiction. Such things as a bayonet lug or a 30 round magazine from East Germany may confuse them enough to change your life's plans...drastically.

The standard .30-30 will suffice as issued for most duties. But enhancement may be undertaken to improve its performance. One area where improvements may be made is the sights. These weapons are issued with the old buckhorn type sights. They will do, but a rear ghost ring aperture sight with its accompanying front sight post will, in my opinion, do much better. These are available from various sources.

My .30-30 carbine has a modified 1903-A3 rear sight whose aperture has been opened up to ghost ring configuration. This rear sight, coupled with a ROBAR front sight at the end of the barrel, works very well indeed.

Also useful is a leather butt-cuff. This keeps extra ammunition on the weapon itself. This may compromise the concept of the light carbine, but if you have to grab the rifle and run out of your house at 0'dark 30 one night to repel the Visigoths, you'll be glad the extra ammo was there. I know that I was always glad to have a few extras!

Winchester still provides their lever action rifle in the "Wrangler" 16 inch barrel configuration. Marlin once made a similar model called the "Marauder". If your fighting lever gun is too long, it is a simple matter to have your excess barrel lopped off at the local gunsmithy (make certain it remains at least 16" long to keep "you know who" away). Such a conversion will greatly enhance handling, as well as keep the spirit of the compact weapon.

I thus modified an old Marlin 336 rifle that I rescued from the used gun rack at the local gun store. Total cost of the entire package was less than two hundred bucks (including a nice 4X Leupold scope, which I eventually mounted on another rifle!). It is short, light, hard hitting, rugged, cheap to replace if necessary...and well, it looks innocent. I obtained a supply of hunting grade PMC 150 grain .30-30 ammo and tested the combative utility of the carbine via a series of rifle exercises from Suarez Internationals Tactical Rifle school. The drills involve both close range reactive shooting as well as longer distances possible in combative encounters. For purposes of uniformity, all drills commenced from the Rhodesian ready position - that is gun held loosely at the belt level with the muzzle depressed to the offside.


Head shots were fired from the shoulder at 25 meters. Body shots were next at 50 meters, 75 meters, and 100 meters. Multiple targets were shot at 50 meters distance as well as up close at 7 meters. Close quarters targets were engaged both with snap shots from the shoulder, as well as from the Close Contact CQB position. Approximately 200 rounds were fired to get an overall impression of the lever action rifle in the anti-personnel role. Our findings were that there is very little that a realistic rifleman (acting as an individual - not a member of a military rifle squad) can expect from his weapon that the lever action cannot deliver.

If you are in need of an economic and effective rifle that offers as many advantages as a single rifleman can use within "defensive" or "urban" conflict distances, take a serious look at the lever action carbine. I think you'll like what you see.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Hanzo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:36 am

I did look into cowboy style competitions but as mentioned the 30-30 is not a pistol round, but maybe I could pick up a used pistol caliber lever gun for cheap. Does anyone on this board compete in cowboy style shooting? Any recommendations as to good pistol caliber lever guns? Thanks for posting the article about the home defense and tactical lever gun, it was a good read. Anyone else have any thoughts or suggestions for me?
-Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: 'Why did he do it?'
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Rock_Steady » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:01 am

I don't compete in CAS, but have a few friends that do. One has a Rossi 357 rifle, the other has a marlin 1894c. His made me go out and get mine. :) The marlin I have was purchased used from Cabela's. It was pretty slick to start off with, but it keeps getting better. My friend's Rossi is a copy of the winchester action, and it has some jamming problems with wadcutters, especially in .38 spl. My marlin has been pretty much flawless with feeding once I figured out how to make my reloads right - it never had any problem with any factory ammo. I don't know where you are, but Big 5 sporting goods normally has the Marlin for pretty cheap in the blued/beechwood version.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by wagdhead » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:30 am

I do not compete in CAS, but I have acted on many occasions as a host at my club for these events. My job was to handle the security gate and make sure everyone was following the rules (not CAS rules, the safety rules) Most of the folks shot .38 or .44.
use some Goglefu and find a local shoot, every person I have met from the CAS are beyond friendly and helpful. The groups around here set aside a block of time for noobs to learn the weapons and fire them usually for free or a few bucks. It is well worth the time just to go look, and it is amazing what these guys can do.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by MVegas » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:30 am

Also a levergun fan here. And for real-world defensive applications they are IMHO absolutely a valid choice (some here will disagree). They're tough, robust guns that make people a lot less nervous than a black gun. Would I want to take on a platoon of ninja-cannibals with one? Well, there are better choices. But 99% of what a civilian might need a defensive carbine for, it can handle. The nay-sayers will conjure images of huge gangs of thugs armed with state of the art equipment bent on eating your family. But the fact is, if you've gotten yourself into one of the fights they describe, you've already s***wed the pooch.

If I'm not mistaken, one of the Thunder Ranch guys is a big fan and might run a course.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Hanzo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:58 am

Rock_Steady, thanks for the gun information. I have been looking at Marlins and maybe when I get back from Ecuador I will buy one. What model did you wind up getting?

Wagdhead, good to hear that CAS events are generally friendly. I will have to look one up and go see what it is all about. I have read that they also use single action revolvers in the competitions too, and I was just wondering if you think they would let me run a course with a double action "just for fun" or if anyone already does it?

MVegas893.1, I agree with what you are saying. It often surprises me how people talk about being the "grey man" then go out and buy a black rifle and tactical gear :roll: in my opinion you really can't do both. I guess I would rather be seen as a non-threat with an option to defend myself rather then the "look at me, I can kill you" type. I also look into Thunder Ranch, looks like a nice training facility, but they are in the wrong part of the country for me to attend. Do you know if the guy from Thunder Ranch is on this forum?

I was also wonder what people thought about the straight stock vs a pistol grip stock? Sorry if anyone takes my "grey man" tangent the wrong way. I think ARs,AKs, FALS, M1s, and all the other black guns are cool, just not my cup of tea right now. But I guess when the SHTF and I have an fireteam (sporting the latest mall-ninja+ gear) kicking in my door I will feel like an ass with my cowboy hat and spurs.
-Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: 'Why did he do it?'
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by OkieZombies » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:27 am

To be honest, unless there were hordes of zombies at my door and I had to make a Spartan last stand.... I would much rather have a 30-30 lever action than an AR-15. They are just retarded simple to run, and with Hornady lever-evolutions they are pretty accurate out to about 200 yards. Just keep the tube loaded and if you ever need it all you have to do is stroke the lever.

If I was looking for the most tactical lever-action, I would go with the .44 or .357 magnum ones. They are a little quicker than the 30-30, but I bought the 30-30 for hunting.

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Zell959 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:49 am

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/thunder_ranch.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by JohnE » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:21 pm

There's a lot to be said for the "tactical" use of a lever gun and a side arm that are both chambered for the same ammunition. Those cowboys were onto something. The Marlin and a good quality revolver, ie, Smith & Wesson, Colt, etc. would make a very nice package and would more than suffice in most real defensive situations.

Black guns are cool but they're not the end all and be all of defensive weaponry.

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Hanzo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:56 pm

OkieZombies-I like retarded simple things, it's like they were made just for me :mrgreen: ....I think shooting accurate out to 200 yards in a three gun should be fine. How much are 30-30 lever-evolution rounds? Are they a lot more then normal rounds? And yes that guy is fast.

Zell959-thanks for that article. It's cool to see that running a carbine course is possible with a lever gun. I might have to give Thunder Ranch a call sometime

JohnE-True dat
-Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: 'Why did he do it?'
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Bubba Enfield » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:00 pm

pasha wrote:Here's that article.
THE TACTICAL 30-30 LEVER ACTION RIFLE
Copyright 1999, Gabriel Suarez
All Rights Reserved
When I got rid of my American Survival Guide collection, I kept the issue with that article in it. It makes me want a lever gun.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by roscoe » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:44 pm

I believe that Suarez periodically teaches a class in the "tactical lever action". I am a big levergun fan and I can shoot my 1894s (30-30 and .45LC) just a hair slower than my SKS, using aimed fire, until the magazine is empty (with light cowboy loads, the .45 is actually a little faster than the SKS because of quick target reacquisition). My .45 1894 holds 10 rounds, so that is a fair amount of lead downrange reasonably fast. You mainly need to practice cycling the action without losing your cheek weld, keeping your eyes on the target, and reloading quickly. And don't mash your trigger finger - I have heard horror stories.

If I could only have one rifle, it would probably be the levergun. It does pretty much everything from hunting to social work, and the short ones (like the Trappers with 16" barrels) are amazingly compact and can easily be hidden in a backpack, or baseball bat bag. They are legal everywhere, and regarded as non-threatening. The Marlin .357 with the 18" barrel, or 16" Puma in .357 would be real winners for power, versatility, size, and weight of the rifle, and availability and portability of ammo.

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by charlie505 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:10 pm

Here in NYC my gun club gave a class on using a lever action 357 or 44mag for home defense - I hope they do it again

My home gun is a marlin 1894P - 16inch barrel - peep sights and scout mount rail - loaded with 44spl gold dots - very politicaly correct - oh my back up is a Glock 17 with gold dots - same gun and ammo as NYPD

I love the marlin - accurate fast and hard hitting - Just ordered a Burris fast fire red dot sight for the scout mount!

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by T-Rex » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:14 pm

The best "tactical" training is good marksmanship. Learn to hit your target from different positions and at realistic ranges and your good. You would be surprised how many LEO's there are who are great at tactical and crap at hitting a target. :shock:

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by AgentBlack » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:35 pm

i love a good levergun too. i believe it was Col. Cooper that called the .30-.30 leveraction the "brooklyn assault rifle". they handle quick and easy, are faster than anything other than a semi and are powerful. and don't cause the same fear and repulsion of the dreaded black rifles. they're cheaper and easier to find than most military semiautos. gun bans and gun laws don't effect their prices, they're legal in every state (at least any of the ones i care to travel to) and before this ammo bullshit you could find .30-.30 at any poedunk backwwoods store. in another week or so i should have my "new" marlin 336Y.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by Fire » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:54 am

practice with it, and it will do you well in pretty much any situation- in particular, practice reloads, including shoot one load one reloads, and practice keeping the rifle on the shoulder when you work the lever- in may ways its similar to the low tech tactical that , I believe it was col. jeff cooper, recommended with the bolt action rifles which are also omnipresent and often ignored......
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by XtraBright » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:11 am

Hi.

I never stumbled upon that in gun hating europe but ..

Are there leverguns with exchangeable magazines ?

The problem in my view is feeding lose ammo from a pocket into the gun to keep it going while doing much more important tasks like aiming for those zombies.
A levergun with mags would be a clear winner in that situation.
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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by huntingohio » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:35 am

if your looking for a trainging class i think gunsite and frontsite offer a 3-day lever course saw a bit on it on tv awhile back

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Re: Lever action rifle training

Post by SamuraiBobX26 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:39 am

I have a Marlin 336 and that rifle was solid right of of the box. And now with the not so new Hornady Leverolution ammo, that rifle will definetly go hunting with me more than my trust 30-06.

But for a tactical suituation, like what was mentioned above I would go with a pistol caliber, more specifically .357 Mag and a pistol chambered in the same caliber. You then have a wide choice of ammo options, from .38 Special to Various hunting and defensive loads in .357 Mag, including the .357 Leverolution ammo.

Then practice with it at various ranges getting used to the action and how the rifle functions. Then learn how to firld strip, clean, and do basic maintenance on your rifle.

I like my black rifles, but I also like my good ol' rugged guns just as much.
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