Purpose of the loop on a lever action


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Dobe
July 16, 2011, 11:50 AM
Besides looks, what is the purpose? Is there one, or is this just something made famous or infamous by the silver screen?

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AethelstanAegen
July 16, 2011, 12:06 PM
I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Dobe. The loop on a lever action rifle is generally part of the lever, allowing you to easily cycle the rifle.

cmdc
July 16, 2011, 12:08 PM
Are you talking about the small ring on the side of the rifle? If so, that was used with a leather thong through it to secure it in the scabbard while on horseback.

David E
July 16, 2011, 12:08 PM
They come from the carbine ring which was common to most weapons used by Dragoons (the US Army didn't use the term Cavalry until the Civil War). The Dragoon wore what was called a Carbine sling which was a wide leather band which went over the left shoulder and hung down the right side. The sling had a large snap which snapped into the carbine ring and was what supported the carbine while the trooper was mounted. To keep the gun from flopping around, the barrel went through a leather ring called a Carbine Boot which was mounted on the saddle rigging. This Boot was merely a tube, open at both ends usually, which only controlled the gun but didn't support it. As the trooper rose in the saddle to dismount the carbine would pull free from the boot and he didn't need to take any particular mind of his weapon as it was attached to him, not the horse.

(copied and pasted from elsewhere)

SharpsDressedMan
July 16, 2011, 12:16 PM
The loop lever allow a shooter, with careful practice, to "twirl" the rifle, which chambers a round and brings the lever up locked, all in one fancy motion. The standard lever is too small to let the lever "twist" around the hand. It DOES work, with a properly tuned rifle, and is SAFE, as the action is not closing on the live round until the muzzle is forward and downward, and thus "downrange". Think I'm kidding? Try it with a dummy round.................

cfullgraf
July 16, 2011, 12:17 PM
The large loop on the operating lever, as opposed to the more standard oval, race track shaped loop, was a creation of Hollywood, I believe. I think it was part of the john Wayne mystique, but I could be mistaken--frequently am.

It allows you to cycle the action by swinging the rifle in a big circle. There is enough room for your hand to rotate in the loop. Not so with the conventionally shaped lever.

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 12:22 PM
The large lever loop was made popular by The Rifleman tv show starring Chuck Connors back in the '60s.

Dobe
July 16, 2011, 12:23 PM
Sorry fellows. I didn't mean to be cryptic, the operating lever on a lever action. I was just drooling over the 1892s on the Winchester site. I saw one with a large lever, not a saddle ring.

I can really think of no reason for it, other than the use with gloves. Yet, and maybe because I grew up watching and admiring John Wayne and Chuck Norris, I actually would like to shoot one.

Just wondering if there were any real benefit to the looped lever.

Jim Watson
July 16, 2011, 12:31 PM
John Wayne had a large loop lever carbine in Stagecoach, 1939, which considerably predates The Rifleman.

Notice that these are short carbines - IMFDB says Wayne's was a Trapper, even shorter than standard - and both John Wayne and Chuck Connors were tall men. If you are of short to medium height, you can get ground contact trying to twirl a lever action. Or foot contact.

Dobe
July 16, 2011, 12:39 PM
Being on the short side, I consider myself well-grounded, I don't think twirling a carbine is meant for me. I was wondering how it cycles. Do you keep your hand in the ring, or grasp the outside?

I realize Chuck Norris' show rifle was fitted with a set screw, which pushed the trigger as the action closed. I was just wondering, if anyone on this forum shoots one, and if so, how do you operate it, hand inside or outside the ring?

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 12:39 PM
John Wayne had a large loop lever carbine in Stagecoach, 1939, which considerably predates The Rifleman.
That is true but more sixty's era boys (myself included) saw The Rifleman" than saw "Stagecoach" and were influenced by it.

CraigC
July 16, 2011, 12:44 PM
Still trying to figure it out. IMHO, it's more gimmick than anything. I know that I will never own one.

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 12:48 PM
IMHO, it's more gimmick than anything.Yeah,that's how I see it too. I have one (for a 94 Winchester) hanging on a hook in my shop that will likely stay there for quite a while.

FuzzyBunny
July 16, 2011, 12:58 PM
What show/movie did Chuck Norris use a Winchester?

Tommygunn
July 16, 2011, 01:24 PM
He meant Chuck Connors. -- "The Rifleman."

hardluk1
July 16, 2011, 01:42 PM
Still have to thank the move gun shops and john wayne for the invention of the loop.

briansmithwins
July 16, 2011, 01:46 PM
I recall seeing somewhere that the large loop lever was originally sold to guys that were heading to the Yukon and parts North.

Always made sense to me as a standard lever would be hard to work while wearing bulky mittens.

BSW

ball3006
July 16, 2011, 02:02 PM
The lever loop on a 92 Winchester lets you blast off alot of ammo, like bump firing an AK. You spray alot of lead and don't hit much......Worthless hollywood mod to a nice rifle.....chris3

JFrame
July 16, 2011, 02:07 PM
I recall seeing somewhere that the large loop lever was originally sold to guys that were heading to the Yukon and parts North.

Always made sense to me as a standard lever would be hard to work while wearing bulky mittens.

BSW


Yeah -- I always thought the big loop was to facilitate the use of large, bulky gloves.

But whadda I know...


.

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 02:07 PM
Always made sense to me as a standard lever would be hard to work while wearing bulky mittens.It does make sense for cylcling the action with heavy mittens but how about pulling the trigger? Some mittens have slots to allow for a finger to slip out but if the hand is inside a rifle lever it seems just as difficult to operate/fire. Personally I don't know as I haven't tried it( heavy mittens aren't very common in Alabama).

JFrame
July 16, 2011, 02:11 PM
It does make sense for cylcling the action with heavy mittens but how about pulling the trigger? Some mittens have slots to allow for a finger to slip out but if the hand is inside a rifle lever it seems just as difficult to operate/fire. Personally I don't know as I haven't tried it( heavy mittens aren't very common in Alabama).


I'm thinking "glove" rather than "mitten" -- although there are mittens with a separate part specifically for the trigger finger...


.

Panzercat
July 16, 2011, 02:14 PM
Owning a lever here, I can say it's more than a gimmick. I won't be twirling my 336 around or any such nonsense, but there are days when i'd love the wider gap to make throwing the lever easier.

JFrame
July 16, 2011, 02:16 PM
Owning a lever here, I can say it's more than a gimmick. I won't be twirling my 336 around or any such nonsense, but there are days when i'd love the wider gap to make throwing the lever easier.


I kind'a wish I got my Trapper with the bigger loop. I can see where it would be more comfortable to manipulate.

I just wanted a slimmer, trimmer profile at the time...


.

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 02:18 PM
I have never had a problem working any of my levers(Marlin 336s in 30.30,.35rem and 1894 in.44mag and Win.1894 in 30.30) with "normal" levers while wearing gloves. My gloves aren't the thickness of Yukon worthy gloves or mittens though. I'm guessing that unless you live where VERY HEAVY gloves/mittens are a necessity,personal preferrence will make the call.

Averageman
July 16, 2011, 02:40 PM
Think multiple pairs of hand protection, like a pair of gloves over mitten with knit gloves inside.
The Military used to issue trigger mittens with liners. It was often cold enough to wear my glover liners inside my mitten liner under my water proofed leather and canvas mittens. I also had a string through my coat sleeves (just like 2nd grade) so I didnt lose them when I took them off.
Often in the 19th Century Trappers had a similar system but the outter shells were made of Beaver Skin with the fur left on and the either had a trigger finger or cut built in to them.
Watch the movie Jerimiah Johnson, I believe several pair are shown in use in the movie.

So in answer to your question a lever action rifle required a larger ring in order for you to operate the action with these gloves in this enviroment.
Twirelling a rifle doesn't make safe sense to me, in an enviroment that you wont wear those gloves the larger ring is actually uncomfortable as your hand tends to bang around in the larger loops as you cycle the lever.

rcmodel
July 16, 2011, 03:01 PM
Just wondering if there were any real benefit to the looped lever. No, but there are certainly some disadvantages.

Too much room and lost monkey motion to run the lever fast from the shoulder.
Which is a lever guns main reason for being.

If you want it for show, get it.
If you want it for GO, don't.

I might add that you need to be 6' 4" like John Wayne, or 6' 5" like Chuck Conners to do the rifle twirling reload act.
Us short guys arms ain't long enough to clear the muzzle under your armpit.

rc

DammitBoy
July 16, 2011, 03:19 PM
I've always called it the John Wayne loop. I have the winchester trapper with that loop and it is easy to do the spin. I'm 6'3" though - and no, I don't use the twirl method, I just had to try it (unloaded) when I got the rifle.

I have never found the larger loop to be uncomfortable or slow. I wish my rossi in .454 casull had the larger loop, as the standard loop is much too small for my hands.

CapnMac
July 16, 2011, 03:27 PM
I'm half-stuck trying to think of a "lever" that does not use a looped lever. But, that's a fault of my memory, like as not.

You can get some speed up with that loop. Take your support hand and 'suck' the weapon into the shoulder pocket. After firing, release your thumb, and use the back of the three fingers in the loop to cycle it forward. Your fingers then pull back to close the action (near as I can tell, that's why the loop is really only "finger thick" wide).

Remember to point your index finger straight, and angled out from the stock, as you close the action--unless you are keen to find every possible pinch point between lever and trigger and finger.

Keeping the weapon shouldered means a lot less futzing around getting the front sight back on target, and can be done from cover or concealment. Neither of which can be done while spinning a weapon around like a baton.

A person new to a lever carbine might want some fingerless gloves (no matter the weather) to practice up that hand-always-in-loop cycle, as the back side of the fingers are not as naturally padded as the inside. (That, and until you build the muscle memory, it's rather easy to pinch the very sensitive skin on the palm and inside of fingers between the very unyielding stock/frame and the extremely unforgiving metal of the lever.)
My 2, spend it as you will.

DPris
July 16, 2011, 03:50 PM
The Wayne version was cooked up between he & legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt specifically for the original Stagecoach movie.
It's purpose was to enable Wayne's character to carry a very different & showy gun, and to allow him to spincock it.

The Rifleman's version was created largely for the same reason, with the added attraction of the rapid-firing capability using a set-screw on the lever and a further modification on the receiver itself to keep blanks from falling out while the 20-inch carbine was spun.

Today, there are various makers such as Wild West Guns, DRC, and Brockman who produce different versions & configurations of enlarged levers, and those are for more finger room with or without gloves. They are not configured for spincocking, and do offer some practicality.

The more exaggerated & larger loops offered by Winchester/USRAC from the late 1980s till the New Haven plant closed in 2006 were intended more for show and nostalgia. Same with the one listed on the current Winchester site made in Japan by Miroku.
Ditto with Rossi 92 versions sold by Legacy Sports in the past, and current Italian-made Puma-branded 92s sold by Legacy.

The large loop is somewhat slower, as the Cowboy Action Shooters found, since there's more room to bounce your hand around inside the lever loop while cycling the gun.

I've found on my .30-30 Win Model 94 Trapper the large loop gives me better leverage (it's longer) in working the heavily sprung rebounding hammer action.
I tried that gun with & without, and kept the big loop on it.
Coincidentally & parenthetically, while I do not advise such things at your place, I did find the .30-30 can be spincocked IF ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and run one-handed in an injured-off-hand scenario.
Not always the case in pistol-calibered 94 or 92s. May or may not feed or chamber.

I have a Miroku 92 here at the moment, with rebounding hammer. It's the 20-inch standard carbine, not the 16-incher with the big loop.
I have no doubt the bigger loop would give me the same leverage advantage on it as it does in the .30-30 94, with the current actions on these Winchesters. A shade slower, yes, but with some practice & muscle memory the big loop can be run decently by using the right technique, and for most occasional users, hunters, or plinkers, the difference in speed is no issue at all.

Denis

SlamFire1
July 16, 2011, 04:18 PM
If you spin the rifle around your arm, like the movie stars did reloading then, what keeps the round from falling out?

When I have examined M1894's and M1872's, they are open top and the cartridge just rises up to the chamber.

DPris
July 16, 2011, 04:31 PM
In the Rifleman's 92s, it was a plunger set above the chamber.
In my .30-30 94, the longer cartridges just sort things out themselves.
Denis

SharpsDressedMan
July 16, 2011, 04:40 PM
I've had a few 16" carbines with the loop lever, and had a problem with one (cant remember if it was a '92 Browning or Rossi, but the round always fell out of the shell carrier), but several reliably allowed me to do the "John Wayne twirl". I would lightly thrust the carbine vertical, muzzle about even with my forehead in front of me, then let the weight of the rifle work against my upward thrust of the lever (which opened the action), then start the rotation of the rifle with muzzle passing right past my armpit (a 16" barrel worked for me that way, a shorter barreled rifle would have been better, say 14", but that would be NFA registered, etc). Then inertia would bring the rifle muzzle up, and THEN THE ACTION WOULD CLOSE on the round being fed, after the muzzle was well forward of the shooter. Sounds ands looks dangerous as hell, but as stated, you have to verify it for yourself with a dummy round. Chuck Conners used to do a 20" barreled rifle, but he had a way of doing it to the side, not past or through his shoulder. Pretty sure JW did it like I do, as his barrel was always shorter, maybe 14" or 15", on his carbine, prop guns from Stembridge being what they were.;)

Float Pilot
July 16, 2011, 04:45 PM
what keeps the round from falling out?

I have spun loaded rounds in both the 1892 and 1894 Winchesters, using the standard issue lever loops. But I can only get two or three fingers in there. (I am only 6-1)
The rounds do not fall out when done correctly. In fact the spinning action moves the rounds into the chamber via centrifugal force.

The over-sized lever loops on the rifles modified by Wild West guns are not as big as the movie versions and lend themselves to use with heavy mittens or gloves.

Remember that all the movie guns were Win-1892s. And that lever was made for the average sized American hand back in the 1800s. They are really too small for my hands without gloves.

Back when I lived up in the interior of Alaska, just north of the circle, I used a Win 1892 for some time during my winter trapping trips. Whenever I had to shoot something, it was a big deal at 40 below. (it once went to 76 below for a week) I used the thumb of one hand to move the lever and the other thumb to pull the trigger with the rifle laid over a stump, snow machine or other object to steady it.

Now I live where it only gets down to 20 below at times... all warm and toastie...

That being said I have never seen an old original Winchester with an old original over-sized lever loop at least not here in Alaska.

jimmyraythomason
July 16, 2011, 06:48 PM
Dragoons rode their horses to a position then dismounted to fight conventionally. During the WNA there were cavalry units as well as mounted infantry such as Gen.Nathan Bedford Forrest commanded.

Remo223
July 16, 2011, 06:52 PM
You guys crack me up. The large loop on the lever acton guns was for use with extremely large furry gloves/mittens.

SharpsDressedMan
July 16, 2011, 08:17 PM
Tell that to the Duke!

Lonerider357
July 16, 2011, 09:14 PM
Yep, Trappers/Mountain Men ect.

DPris
July 16, 2011, 09:27 PM
Believe me, the large loop lever had nothing to do originally with either trappers or mountain men. :)
Denis

Dobe
July 16, 2011, 10:12 PM
What show/movie did Chuck Norris use a Winchester?
He meant Chuck Connors. -- "The Rifleman."Thanks TommyGun. You're right. I drove to the range shortly after typing that, and thought to myself as I drove how ridiculous that must have seemed.

SleazyRider
July 16, 2011, 10:37 PM
Why, looky here, it's Tex Grebner (remember him? He's the feller who accidently shot hisself in the thigh last month) showin' us how to flip a large loop lever-action rifle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlOJ4_wBGiU&feature=relmfu .

dagger dog
July 17, 2011, 10:13 AM
The Whitney- Kennedy later Whitney- Burgess Morse lever action repeaters had an S shaped lever similar to the Sharpes and Spencers, they changed the lever to the loop stlye "ala Winchester" with their later rifles.

I guess configuring the lever into a loop helped get leverage needed to chamber and eject cartridges in the black powder fouled chambers, and let the shooter keep the rifle at his shoulder and the sights on target.

DammitBoy
July 17, 2011, 03:19 PM
Here's the Duke spinning his lever action in True Grit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKThgLq21Rc

CraigC
July 24, 2011, 12:46 AM
The large loop, like the buscadero rig, is a Hollyweird invention. It has simply found a secondary use among 'some' outdoorsman because it allows for heavy gloves or mittens.

Sunray
July 24, 2011, 03:24 AM
"...just something made famous or infamous by the silver screen?..." Exactly. Looked slick in a movie. Has nothing whatever to do with winter. The 'Mare's Leg' comes from TV's 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' starring Steve McQueen. Henry Repeating Arms even advertises 'em as such.

Remo223
July 24, 2011, 04:12 AM
#12: "Still trying to figure it out. IMHO, it's more gimmick than anything."

#44: "The large loop, like the buscadero rig, is a Hollyweird invention. It has simply found a secondary use among 'some' outdoorsman because it allows for heavy gloves or mittens."

not very consistent there are we?

Norrick
July 24, 2011, 05:49 AM
I thought the large loop was to allow the use of gloves.

amd6547
July 24, 2011, 12:00 PM
I have owned a few lever guns, including a Rossi trapper with large loop. While I never tried spinning the little gun, I did find that the large loop was very fast to cycle, if I used a different technique.
With the carbine shouldered, I would fire the first shot...to work the lever, I found that the large loop allowed me to merely shove the back of my trigger hand straight forward and straight back...in other words, the hand sliding against the curve of the large loop moved it...it was a bit faster than the standard lever.

BCRider
July 24, 2011, 09:02 PM
Likely the whole twirling trick was something that came later. But for the cold winters of the midwest I can certainly see the big lever for the sort of bulky gloves that would have been worn by the range hands back in the 50's and before. We didn't have all those miracle Thinsulate options back then so gloves for such way below zero conditions would have been bulky.

And besides, can you see some designer at Winchester saying to himself "If I put this big round lever on the rifle we'll be able to spin cock it. Gee, won't THAT look sweet?!". Nah, I don't think so. The bigger lever for use with heavy gloves for northern trappers or winter range hands makes FAR more sense.

I can't prove it one way or the other but if I were a betting man I'd bet that the twirling thing came from a bored ranch hand playing around with the gun and it only later got transferred to Hollywood. Purely a gut feeling on my part. But gun owners being what they are I can see such a thing easily happening.

Hell, I know that when I first put a sling onto my 870 I went through all the Tacticool methods of wearing it and bringing it up into engagement :D Empty of course. While the whole diagonal sling idea where you toss it over your shoulder to park it and then reach under and swing it up from across and below worked SUPER SWEET. I realized at the time that there's no way to do such a thing wihtout sweeping the whole world with the barrel. Needless to say spin cocking of a big lever rifle is in the same category. It's not something to be done at any sort of regular range or even when other folks are around. Leastways not with live ammo.

FlyinBryan
July 24, 2011, 10:44 PM
so that pro boxers can enjoy shooting lever action rifles without disrobing.

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