International Lever Rifles


February 24, 2007, 10:57 PM
Did lever rifles ever reach any acclaim internationally? They seem to be solely American, possibly Mexican?

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February 24, 2007, 10:58 PM
You're kidding, right?

February 24, 2007, 11:00 PM
No that why I'm posing the question :uhoh:

February 24, 2007, 11:03 PM
Do you mean "cowboy" type? Or the general lever activated action?

Cowboy type never really caught on elsewhere.

If you're including the Martini, then it's an international thing.

February 24, 2007, 11:04 PM
The only lever rifle I know of that was popular internationally was the Winchester model 1895, the most common chambering for this rifle was the 7.62X54R as Winchester sold a bunch of these to Russia for military use. There may be others that sold well internationally but I personally don't know of them.

February 24, 2007, 11:13 PM
I wonder if in 1895, some leftist was out there screaming 'killing machine!!!?"

But there's one thing that endears them to me like a shotty, and that is the ability to top off the magazine anytime you get a chance to. Nice feature :cool:

Old Time Hunter
February 24, 2007, 11:21 PM
Sales of lever actions internationally are at an all time high. Yet, back in the early 1900's....actually mid 1890's there were substantial sales internationally. Of all the Model 1895 Winchesters produced in history 2/3rds of them were sold to Russia. Also, one of Winchesters repeaters made world history and changed the entire tactics of warfare back in the late 1800's when a brigade of Turkish soldiers armed with Winchesters held off an entire Russian army out side Budapest for over a month until their ammo ran out. They were out numbered initially 2000 to 1. It is probably the reason why Russia bought up a few years of production for the '95.

Most foreign governments regulated "gun" control laws prohibiting the private purchase of "repeaters" based on the initial field reports of the success at Budapest. Germany, although having a fine rifle based on Paul Mauser's design, thought that it would be too dangerous to allow common soldiers to have the type of fire power that could be derived from a lever gun. So without exposure to the lever guns through the military and the gun laws in effect, they never became as popular as here. If you consider Canada international, they purchased the Model 1876 in .40-72 for the Royal Mounted Police right up until Winchester stopped producing them, then went to the Model 1886 through 1936. Lever guns are very popular in Canada, Winchester went so far as having two plants in Canada during the 1960's.

The rest of the world looked at the leverguns back in the day the same as some today regard the "assault rifle". Too much fire power for the peon's.

February 24, 2007, 11:32 PM
...I seem to remember reading a relatively recent article, probably touting the Marlin Guide Gun, that professional hunters in South Africa or thereabouts had begun discovering the virtues of a heavy-loaded .45-70 levergun for guiding clients going after dangerous game; something to the effect of, "Mounts quickly, to reload you just drop your hand and bring it back up, and you've got four follow-up shots" or similar words to that effect...

February 24, 2007, 11:47 PM
i dont believe you can call a Martini or other falling block rifles "lever guns". they do not share the major feature of a lever gun. that being the increase in firepower and rounds per minute. not to mention substantial differance in the action ;)

February 25, 2007, 12:09 AM
I believe one of our English members posted a thread a while back about an interesting .30 carbine AR variant that was lever action. The pistol grip was the lever as I recall. I'd give my eye teeth for one if possible.

February 25, 2007, 01:01 AM
.30 carbine AR variant that was lever action.

thats the proof that things that are good individualy are not always good together :eek:

February 25, 2007, 01:17 AM
The levergun had only a very brief life as a military arm, from the 1860's through the 1890's. The last were the Win 95's, which lasted until the Russian Revolution.

You have to remember, in that period the US standing army was a second or third rate force during peace time. There was little money for R&D and minimal interest from Congress. It's no surprise that our military looked to the far larger and wealthier armies of Europe to set the standard. So instead of a Savage '95 variant, we ended up with a Norwegian bolt action that was replaced by a knockoff of a German bolt action. I've posted before that had the '95/'99 been adopted instead, it would have served as an excellent rifle for WWI and beyond.

The levergun did take off among North American hunters, however. Until the 1930's and 40's, it remained the dominant long arm for civilians in Mexico, the US and Canada. It took a long time for all but the professional hunters stateside to accept bolt actions.

February 25, 2007, 01:36 PM
Spain bought rights to produce the Winchester 1892 and 1873 domestically, and did so for quite a while. Many were imported to the US by Interarmco in the sixties, along with all the other Spanish arms.

There's one of the Guardia Civil "El Tigre" .44-40 '92s at a local gunshop that I'm keenly interested in, though the price right now is double what it's worth.

February 25, 2007, 01:55 PM
Found the picture of that funky AR: (

February 25, 2007, 02:00 PM
Some lever rifles were sold abroad to militaries in Switzerland, Russia and the like. Lever action, single shots were made in Europe too, like the Martini.

In general, the focus of militaries was on cheap, simple, reliable guns like the Martini. Armies also wanted big, long range calibers which only the Win 1895 really offered. Civillians generally did not need rifles, as the worst they could expect would be a mugger or a burglar for which a shotgun or pistol would suffice - gunfights with Indians were not common in 19th century England :p Those that did have rifles wanted them for target practice or for hunting where repeatability was not important.

Today, lever actions are popular in Europe for end of trail and cowboy action shooting, and particularily here in the UK. We have very strict safety regulations so most local ranges only allow pistol calibers. When the handgun ban came into force, we needed to find pistol caliber guns that were not handguns. With the exception of .22 RF guns, they also could not be self-loading. Lever guns, especially the Marlin 1894, fitted in just perfect.

The Southern Gun Company, England, produces a lever action AR15 chambered in .30 carbine. A German company also produces a rifle caliber bullpup which is lever action (there is a pump action and a lever action variant I believe).

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