The Best Lever-Action Rifles of 2020

The Best Lever-Action Rifles

Lever-action rifles are one of the coolest rifles that you can get your hands on. It has a unique loading mechanism and can be a collection for many people. To be able to pick the best lever-action rifles out of all the choices available, it is crucial to understand some important information before you explore your options and purchase one. 

Rifles Name Editor’s Comment Rating Get The Best Deal
Marlin 1894 SS .357 MAG Lever Action Rifle

Most Recommended Option

1. Similar feeling of a .357 Magnum pistol caliber carbine
2. Tapped receiver to install mountings
3. Stainless steel barrel that is threaded

10/10 Check Current Price
Browning BLR Lightweight Lever Action Rifle with Pistol Grip .308 Winchester 1. Lightweight aluminium alloy receiver
2. Detachable box magazine chambering for calibers used for hunting
3. Half-cock safety hammer
9.5/10 Currently unavailable
Henry Repeating Arms Lever Action .22LR H001 1. Aesthetic American walnut stock
2. Adjustable rear sight and hooded front sight
3. Grooved receiver to mount a scope
9.5/10 Currently unavailable
Browning BL-22 Grade I .22 S-L-LR Lever Action Rifle 1. Magazine capacity of 15 rounds
2. 33-degree lever throw to cycle through the rounds quickly
3. Tubular magazine that can hold different versions of the .22
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
Marlin Model 1895 .45-70 Government 22″ Lever Action Rifle 1. Solid-top receiver with blued metal surfaces
2. Deep-cut Ballard-type rifling
3. Adjustable folding semi-buckhorn rear sight
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
Winchester Model 94 .38-55 Win Deluxe Carbine 1. Standard trigger pull and pull weight of the Winchester rifles
2. Trigger and the trigger guard made of steel
3. Bore size is not fixed
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
Henry Big Boy Carbine .41 Magnum Large Loop Lever Action Rifle 1. Brass receiver and octagonal barrel
2. Adjustable rear sight and brass beaded front sight
3. Straight grip stock and forearm made of American walnut
8.0/10 Currently unavailable
Chiappa LA322 Kodiak Cub Take-Down .22 LR 1. Take-down design which allows the rifle to be separated into two parts
2. Matte hard chrome finish
3. Black Soft Touch coating that gives a better grip
7.5/10 Currently unavailable
Marlin Model 336W .30-30 Win. 20″ w/ 3-9x32mm Scope 1. Comes with a 3-9x32mm scope
2. Walnut finished stock with pistol grip
3. Rubber butt plate to help reduce stress on the shoulder
7.0/10 Currently unavailable

A Clear Definition: What’s A Lever-Action Rifle?

A lever-action rifle has a similar mechanism to bolt-action rifles. The long lever is used to load new cartridges into the chamber and is connected to the bolt. Lever-action rifles usually use a tubular or a box magazine, but there are some that use a rotary magazine. 

The Benefits of a Lever-Action Rifle

Using a lever-action rifle can have several benefits over a semi-automatic gun or a shotgun. 

Sporting rifle

Firstly, some of the best lever-actions are used for casual and competitive sports like hunting. Lever-actions are also available in various calibers making it capable of taking down different North American game animals. However, it is not the best choice for cowboy action shooters.

Versatile

Lever-action rifles can be used in various occasions like hunting, home defense, competitions and practicing. There are many calibers that you can choose from that will satisfy your needs. 

Rate of fire

When compared to a bolt-action rifle, the lever-action will definitely have a better firing speed. It has a similar fire rate to a shotgun, but some lever-actions are able to fire more rounds than a shotgun. 

The Important Factors of a Good Lever-Action Rifle

Accuracy

As a rifle, it is important to have decent accuracy, so choose the best lever-action gun, how accurate are the shots will determine whether it’s a good pick or not. 

Aesthetics

The looks of your rifle can be a crucial factor that affects how much you like it. However, this heavily depends on your own taste so it is important to purchase the one that you like most for its looks. 

Customizable

Since lever-action rifles are usually good for short-range only, it is important for the firearm to have mountings for optics. That way, it can be helpful for rifles that can fire a long range.

Now that you have a better understanding, it is time to go through the list and pick one for yourself. 

The Best Lever-Action Rifles You Can Get In the Market Right Now

1. Browning BLR Lightweight Lever Action Rifle with Pistol Grip .308 Winchester

Features

As the name suggests, the Browning BLR Lightweight is extremely lightweight, weighing at 6.5 pounds only. This allows shooters to be able to move around quickly with this rifle. It is able to achieve this weight mainly due to the lightweight aluminium alloy receiver. The receiver also has a polished black finish. 

This lever-action rifle features a detachable box magazine chambering for calibers used for hunting as well as modern bullets. With the box magazine, it puts this gun at an advantage compared to other lever-action rifles that employ a tubular magazine which cannot chamber for pointed bullets. 

The Browning BLR has a pistol grip black walnut stock that is gloss finished with checkering. This feature is able to provide the shooter with maximum comfort while shooting. Besides that, there is also a polymer recoil pad to help reduce felt recoil, allowing for a smoother shooting experience overall.

Performance

Since this lever-action rifle uses a box mag, it can be reloaded quickly and the high-pressure chamber can allow the bullet to reach a high velocity. The result of that is the improvement of the range and good performance in both long and short action. 

To further improve the accuracy of this rifle, adjustable rear sight and a gold bead fitted front blade is included. If the sights are not up to your standards, the receiver is drilled and tapped to accommodate for scope mounts and for you to mount the scope that you think can improve your performance. 

A special detail of this lever-action rifle that is worth pointing out is the half-cock safety hammer. As opposed to some other Browning rifle that uses a top tang safety, the one that the BLR uses is quieter. 

Who will use this?

.308 Winchester is commonly used for hunting big animals like deer, moose or elk. Since this rifle is chambered in it, it makes this lever-action gun a good pick for hunters. It can also be a great choice for home defense and target shooting. 

Pros

  • Chambered for high pressure cartridges
  • Quiet half-cock hammer safety
  • Aesthetic walnut finish
  • Versatile for many uses

Cons

  • Low capacity

2. Henry Repeating Arms Lever Action .22LR H001

Features

The Henry Repeating Arms Lever Action is one the most popular .22 in the market. This lever-action rifle is popular as it is smooth overall, fittings and finishes are of high quality as well. On a side note, its price point is also remarkably lower than other rifles of similar standards. 

This rifle has an aesthetic American walnut stock and the quality of this stock is rarely found in rifles of the same price range. The rear sight of this rifle is adjustable and the front is hooded. However, the sights are not the best of quality and are not iron sights so the rifle is made with a grooved receiver to mount a scope. 

The overall length of this rifle is 36.25” and the barrel length is 18.25”. The blued steel barrel is also constructed with modern groove rifling. 

Performance

Accuracy of this rifle is surprisingly good. It is a result of the blued steel barrel and the rifling. Besides that, the Henry Lever Action has a smooth action that makes you feel like there aren’t any parts in the rifle. 

The tubular magazine used by this rifle can also allow you to load up to 21 rounds of .22 Short. For .22 Long Rifle, you can load up to 15 rounds making this rifle more fun to shoot compared to a bolt action rifle. This rifle can be considered as on par with a semi-automatic rifle in terms of shooting speed and it is a result of the combination of the smooth action and high capacity. 

Who will use this?

Since this is an affordable and a fun gun to shoot, it is an ideal lever-action rifle to be used for target shooting. It is also a great choice for hunting small things too. If you are looking to have some fun in the fields, this .22LR rifle can satisfy you too.  

Pros

  • Good reliability and durability
  • Smooth action of lever 
  • High ammo capacity
  • Able to mount a scope

Cons

  • Scope mount might be in the way of the ejection port

3. Browning BL-22 Grade I .22 S-L-LR Lever Action Rifle

Features

This lever-action rifle chambers one of the most common cartridges in the market, the .22 Long Rifle cartridges. It also has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds and this rifle features a short 33-degree lever throw which gives shooters the ability to cycle through the rounds quickly.

The Browning BL-22 is a rimfire rifle that uses a tubular magazine that can hold different versions of the .22. You don’t need to worry about the magazine coming loose because as soon as the magazine tube is loaded, it is locked securely in place. In addition, the overall construction and design of this rifle are also very appealing to the eye. 

Performance

The short lever throw allows for quicker follow-ups and the easy-to-load magazine also reduces the time taken to reload. Despite being a traditional style of rifle, it still has the accuracy of a modern rifle. The contributing part of this accuracy is the 20-inch barrel with a 1/16 twist rate. 

If you would prefer to take more precise shots, there is also an adjustable rear sight for you to take those shots. This rifle is also drilled and tapped to be able to install a scope for taking a shot at long range.

Who will use this?

Being a .22 caliber rifle, it will definitely lack the stopping power that a hunter looks for as compared to other options. However, it is compensated with a high magazine capacity of 15 rounds, making this rifle a good gun to be used in a home defense situation. 

Pros

  • Chambers the popular .22 LR rounds
  • High magazine capacity 
  • Adjustable rear sight and scope mountings to improve accuracy
  • Short lever throw for quicker shots
  • Magazine stays in place after magazine tube is loaded

Cons

  • Lacks power with the .22 calibers

4. Marlin Model 1895 .45-70 Government 22″ Lever Action Rifle

Features

This is the well-known Marlin rifle with the .45-70 Government caliber. It has been around for a very long time and the fact that it is still available in the market shows how reliable this lever-action rifle is. It is also a rifle of the Model 1895 Big Bore lever-action series along with six other different models.

The Marlin 1895 has a solid-top receiver with blued metal surfaces, a side ejection and a hammer block safety. The barrel length is 22 inches and has precise deep-cut Ballard-type rifling that contributes to the accuracy that this rifle has. Despite not using modern cerakote finishing, the rifle still has a certain degree of longevity. 

This Marlin 1895 lever gun is equipped with an adjustable folding semi-buckhorn rear sight and a brass bead and wide-scan hood front sight. If the sights do not satisfy you, the receiver has also been tapped for mounting a scope. 

Performance

Even though the Model 1895 fires a heavy and powerful cartridge, you will not feel as much recoil as it has been designed to effectively reduce the recoil. In addition, this lever-action rifle is also very stable and tough. In conclusion, the low recoil and stability that this rifle offers won’t make you feel like you are shooting a heavy cartridge. 

The downside of this powerful rifle is the ammo capacity. It has only 5 rounds which put this rifle at a disadvantage against other firearms that have up to 30 rounds of ammunition and can go through the magazines quickly. 

Who will use this?

The heavy and powerful cartridge gives this Marlin lever-action rifle exceptional firepower and making it ideal for big game hunting. If you are looking to hunt some large size targets like bears or a big deer, this rifle can be the one for you. It can also be a good collection if you are into collecting old rifles. 

Pros

  • Powerful caliber that is ideal for big game hunting 
  • Adjustable and foldable sight
  • High reliability
  • Low recoil and high stability
  • Side ejection to allow for mounting of optics

Cons

  • Low capacity

5. Winchester Model 94 .38-55 Win Deluxe Carbine

Features

Rifles made by the company, Winchester is known for the smooth trigger pull of its rifles. With no exception, this Model 94 has the standard trigger pull and pull weight of the Winchester rifles. The material used for the trigger and the trigger guard is steel and a polished blue finish. It gives the Winchester Model 94 an aesthetic look along with the black walnut and blued steel construction. 

This Winchester lever rifle can use a different caliber of ammunition easily as the bore size is not fixed. It is made to hunt different sizes of preys from different distances. The Winchester Model 94 can be considered as one of the best lever-action rifles made for hunting. 

Performance

Besides being the best lever-action rifle for hunting, it is also the first lever-action rifle that is designed to have smokeless powder centerfire rounds. If compared to a modern bolt action gun, the Winchester Model 94 is definitely on par with those rifles. 

This rifle has been around since your grandfather and great grandfathers’ generation and the fact that it is still in production means that this lever-action rifle has been performing exceptionally well. Performance such as its accuracy and handling has been one of the best in the market since a long time ago. 

Who will use this?

With the non-standardized bore size that allows a change of caliber, the Model 94 is the best hunting rifle for hunting a variety of game sizes. Besides using it to hunt, this can be a great rifle to offer protection for you and your family. 

Pros

  • Can be used to hunt different games
  • Calibers can be swapped since there is no standard bore size
  • Smooth trigger pull
  • Decent accuracy and handles quickly

Cons

  • The shoulder may feel uncomfortable from the metal buttplate 

6. Henry Big Boy Carbine Large Loop Lever Action Rifle

Features

The design of the Henry Big Boy Carbine is to allow shooters to carry the rifle around with ease without having something weighing you down. This large loop lever-action rifle is made with the features of the Big Boy rifle with improvements such as a shorter and lighter barrel. With the advancements, it weighs 7.76 pounds only. 

Brass has been used for the overall construction of this lever gun. It has a brass receiver, octagonal barrel with an adjustable rear sight and brass beaded front sight. The Henry lever-action rifle has a straight grip stock and forearm made of American walnut. The lever action is smooth and crisp and separates it from other lever-actions. 

The Henry Big Boy Carbine has several options and the difference is the chamberings. The version that is featured in this review uses a .41 Remington Magnum caliber and the other Henry lever-action rifles use big cartridges like the .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .357 Magnum and also .38 Special.

Performance

This lever-action gun responds rapidly and is accurate for short-range shooting. Despite the short barrel, it still manages to maintain its accurate shots. It also has sights for you to aim at your target and to fire a shot with precision. 

A short and light barrel allows this Henry lever gun to be carried around easily and it won’t be a problem going through tight spaces. Brass construction also allows the gun to be corrosion resistant and won’t rust easily. This means it can withstand harsh conditions and can be used under rainy weather too. 

Who will use this?

Since it is a light and short lever gun, this Henry lever-action gun is a good choice if you are a hunter that is required to go through tight spaces in the woods. It is also a good gun to be used for target practice and big game hunting. However, it is not a suitable gun for long-range shooting.

Pros

  • Available in many choices of rounds
  • Built with brass to withstand different weather conditions
  • Accurate for short ranges 
  • Short and light barrel
  • Complimenting sights

Cons

  • Not good for long-range shooting

7. Marlin 1894 SS .357 MAG Lever Action Rifle

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Features

With many manufacturers in the industry, Marlin has been the leading company in making the best lever-action rifles for many generations. It has gained its popularity for its durable and good-quality lever-action rifles across America. The Marlin 1894 SS is one of Marlin’s proudest products. 

This Marlin 1894 lever-action gun is made to have a similar feeling of a .357 Magnum pistol caliber carbine. If you enjoy shooting a .357 Magnum pistol, you will find it enjoyable firing the Marlin 1894. Besides that, the receiver is also tapped for you to install mountings. 

This lever-action gun by Marlin has a stainless steel barrel that is threaded. The implementation of this design means that this lever gun is compatible with a suppressor. The black stock has a simple design and is made of wood which gives a forward-looking style. 

Performance

Although this Marlin lever gun utilizes a .357 Magnum ammo which is smaller than a .44 or .45, it can still deliver the power that you need in a defensive situation or just casual target shooting. This lever-action gun has a big loop lever which makes it easy to cycle through the rounds quickly. 

The smooth lever-action also enables the shooter to empty out all nine cartridges smoothly. Apart from fast and smooth cycling, the sights that are included can allow the shooter to get on the target quickly and have faster follow-ups.

Who will use this?

Given that this Marlin lever-action chambers the .357 Magnum, it definitely lacks power for hunting bigger targets. However, it can be useful in defensive situations when you are alone in the woods like shooting off hogs or coyotes that are attacking you. It can also be a gun that shooters take to the range to practice. 

Pros

  • Threaded barrel to allow for attachment of a suppressor
  • Smooth and quick lever-action
  • Good for defensive usage
  • Can fire .38 Special ammo

Cons

  • Not good for long-range shooting
  • Lacks power compared to bigger cartridges

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8. Chiappa LA322 Kodiak Cub Take-Down .22 LR

Features

The Chiappa LA322 is an improved version of the classical American lever-action rifle chambered in the .22 LR. A compact and lightweight firearm is a result of the clever design that is implemented by the company. 

This is definitely one of the best lever-action rifles if you travel with your gun very often. The design that is implemented is a take-down design which allows the rifle to be separated into two parts and making it easy to store in small spaces. It is a technology that is uncommon in the standard American lever-actions. 

Besides being able to store it easily, the finishes of this gun is a matte hard chrome finish that allows the gun to be long-lasting and has resistance to corrosion. In addition, instead of the typical hardwood stock on many lever-actions, this gun has a Black Soft Touch coating that gives the shooter a better grip. 

Performance

Being one of the best lever-action rifles to travel around with means there are some characteristics or issues that presents itself as drawbacks. However, the functionality of this gun is just as good as others. It is obvious that this gun will have problems hitting anything at a distance of 3000 yards but its performance at a close range is definitely good enough. 

Who will use this?

This lever gun is perfect for someone who travels with their gun and has limited storage spaces. The take-down design enables the gun to be stored easily making it easy to travel around with. Since it lacks power, it is not ideal for hunters that hunt in a bear country. 

Pros

  • Take-down design to store the gun easily
  • Can fire many rounds so you don’t have to keep changing magazines
  • Corrosion-resistant and durable finish
  • Aesthetically pleasing and smooth overall

Cons

  • Do not have a good safety feature

9. Marlin Model 336W .30-30 Win. 20″ w/ 3-9x32mm Scope

Features

When people hear about the name Marlin Model 336, it is quickly associated with deer hunting. The Marlin Model 336W has gained its place for being one of the best by having a reasonable price point. Moreover, the customization process is also simplified because it comes with a 3-9x32mm scope and reduces the number of purchases. 

This Marlin 336 firearm has a stock with pistol grip that is pleasing to the eyes due to the look of it. It is walnut finished which gives the firearm a very clean and classical look. The Marlin 336 also has a rubber butt plate to help reduce stress on the shoulder. 

Performance

The Marlin 336 barrel is a Micro-Groove barrel which doesn’t cause the bullets to be deeply grooved and resulting in less disturbed bullets. The lesser the disturbance, the more accurate the shot can get and the bullet can reach higher velocity too. As a result of using Micro-Groove, this lever gun can perform better than some big bore rifles. 

Who will use this?

This Marlin lever-action, the Model 336, is the perfect weapon for a hunter that hunts big or small game. It is one of those firearms that can take down anything at long range and the Model 336W is also offered at an affordable price. 

Pros

  • Comes with a 3-9x32mm scope
  • Can get parts for this model easily
  • Good for long range
  • A non-typical barrel that improves performance 

Cons

  • Overall finishes are something that needs to be improved

Conclusion – The Best overall

In the bottom line, we find that the best lever-action rifle out of this list will be the Browning BLR Lightweight Lever Action Rifle with Pistol Grip .308 Winchester. It is ideal for you if you are a hunter and would like to keep a gun around the house in case of emergencies. It is chambered for high pressure cartridges and a versatile round. It also has an aesthetic look as well as a decent safety feature. An all-rounded lever gun from this list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the largest lever-action caliber?

A rifle cartridge known as the .444 Marlin was the largest lever-action caliber. It was designed by Marlin Firearms and Remington Arms in 1964 and was the largest lever-action caliber in history. The .444 Marlin was also used as a replacement for the .45-70 cartridge back in the days. 

What is the most powerful lever-action cartridge?

The most powerful lever-action cartridge ever made is the .50-110 Winchester cartridge. It has up to 6000-foot pounds of energy which is more powerful than the .458 Winchester Magnum. It is an ideal cartridge for hunting a variety of big preys. 

Are Henry lever-action rifles good?

Yes. While the design goes back to about 150 years ago, its performance is as good as if not better than some modern lever-action rifle. 

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