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Why fewer side eject levers?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Scrumbag, May 6, 2015.

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  1. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    Hello all.

    It seems to me that whilst there are some good but more budget focused lever actions out there, most seem to be replicas that use top eject:

    Chiappa
    Rossi
    Mossberg etc

    Even Winchester 92 and 94s that are built today are top eject.

    It seems that only Marlin and Henry are still making side ejecting lever actions.

    Given the ever increasing popularity of scopes. Would you not think it would pay these other manufacturers to make side ejecting lever actions?

    Any thoughts on why?
     
  2. Daveboone

    Daveboone Member

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    just guessing due to so many of todays lever guns being based on vintage designs that were top eject. Especially the Winchesters were designed for open sights so top mounting a scope was not a concern. Also, both the Marlins and Savage 99 were generally heavier due to the extra metal required with the side eject construction/solid recievers.
     
  3. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    Just speculation on my part. Many of the top eject replicas such as the (original) Henry, Winchester 1866, 1873, 1876, 1886, 1892 are purchased by people who want the historic configuration and have no interest in mounting a scope. With the exception of the 1876 and 1886, these replicas are in calibers that don't really need a scope. Plus it would be in my opinion a travesty to mount a scope on a most pre-1900 lever guns or replicas thereof.

    At one time, Winchester made the Model 94 in a "side eject" version that allowed mounting a scope. The receiver was I believe drilled and tapped by the factory.

    I have several lever action rifles including replicas, a Marlin 336 in .30-30, and several Winchester model 94s. The Marlin and the 94s are handy, compact, good in the brush, and for relatively short range shots. These advantages would be compromised with a mounted scope. If I need a scoped rifle for long range shots, there's my Winchester 1960 Model 70 in .30-06.
     
  4. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Winchester never made a "side eject version" of the Model 94.
    They modified the pattern to produce the angle ejection still in place, for scope use if desired, but it was never a true side ejector.
    Denis
     
  5. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Even when Marlin came out with the side eject versions back in the 1890's it wasn't because of scopes. It was to aid in keeping dust out of the action compared to the "open wide" nature of the Winchester actions.

    Again even the Savage (18)99 was intended to keep dirt out by minimizing the openings and to avoid the need for dull bullets as required by tube magazines. Scoping them wasn't a big deal at the time.

    The only real modern lever guns are the recently done Mossberg and the Browning BLR. And while still being based on the earlier models the Marlin 336 and Guide Guns are both scope friendly.

    The continuing popularity of the open top lever guns is the draw of history and the somewhat historical use in cowboy action shooting. That and the basic soundness of these old John Browning designs. A lot of us enjoy that connection with the past. And good designs just never do get old.

    With the emphasis on bolt guns that can shoot the very high pressure rounds to be found out there I don't see a new lever gun being a good financial risk for companies. And in fact I suspect that Mossberg was late to the party but didn't realize that the party was all but over as far as the mass market goes.
     
  6. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    That's interesting input folks.

    My reasoning is that whilst I enjoy iron sight shooting and would use a lever for it on the range, my eye sight isn't great so feel that if I was to take the rifle muntjac shooting a scope would be better for the quarry at 1st and last light.
     
  7. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Unquestionably, but the levergun is what it is. :)

    You can get a license to hunt muntjac in London?
    Place has obviously changed a bunch since I was last there. :)
    Denis
     
  8. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    It has apparently escaped many peoples attention that since 1982, Winchester 94's have been as easy to scope as a Marlin.

    The Savage 99 isnt a side eject, in the sense that Marlins are. The receiver is open on the top, and ejects at an angle (wait, where else have I heard about ejecting at an angle?)

    Scopes arent only for longer range. They make all sorts of shooting easier, from very close to any distance the gun/crartridge/shooter is good for. They also give quite a lot more usable shooting light, and make identification of horn points or horns at all easier, in those areas that restrict number of points or whatever.

    Its often mentioned about scopes being slower. I dont think they are if the right scope is chosen and is set up correctly for the shooter. If you have to hunt around for the image or crosshairs, it isnt set up correctly for you. Hitting running small game isnt that hard with the right scope (low power, like 1.5-5 or 2-7 set at low power) set up properly.
     
  9. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    DPris, not in London itself but I'm a member of a syndicate just to the SW of London.
     
  10. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    Malamute, I agree that scopes help a lot.

    Mind you, finding a Win AE isn't so easy over here....
     
  11. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Levers are great with just iron sights - if your eyes are good enough - mine aren't any more. My 336 wears a VX-3 1.75-6x32 with a German #4 reticle and sight acquisition is very fast.
     
  12. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    Then again, it could be they want to cash in on 10% of the shooting public. Ever seen someone left handed shoot an "off the shelf" side eject?
     
  13. The Alaskan

    The Alaskan member

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    Because angle/side eject on a lever action is an unholy abomination, and putting a scope on a lever action is a violation of the laws of nature. If John Moses Browning wanted us to have scopes on our lever guns, he would have designed a bolt action.

    Now go do 12 hail mary's, 10 our father's, and flog yourself 10 times for this sacrilegious heresy, and never have these Satanic thoughts again.

    =)

    Okay now that the fun is over...

    About the only reason for side eject is, as you surmise, the use of a scope. Problem is, putting a scope on a lever gun pretty much eliminates all of the best qualities for which people admire lever guns. A stock Winchester (because that is the ONLY lever gun) is a rugged, dependable, naturally pointing, quick to shoulder-aim-fire, fast follow up shot, type of gun. It is easily carried in a scabbard, slung on the back, tied to a canoe (my preference), hung on a 4 wheeler or snow machine, behind the seat of the truck, etc etc etc.

    The moment you put a scope on a lever gun, ALL of that is taken away. Then it becomes this slow to aim and fire, delicate, thing that you have to keep in a padded case until you're ready to shoot.

    Now I took a hog last year with a friends 30-30 Marlin with a scope. It worked well. Even at 25 yards, the scope let me be certain for that behind the ear shot hogs require, which would have been more challenging without the scope. I missed the second hog, one the run, clean because of a lack of target acquisition.

    Once you put a scope on a lever gun, it becomes a single shot affair. Given the inherent diminished accuracy of the flat nose bullets required in a lever gun, compared to pointy bullets in a bolt gun, there is no reason to give up that accuracy unless you get all the benefits that come with a lever action.
     
  14. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Wow!

    Being pretty much a lifelong fan and user of lever actions (mostly Winchesters), I'm slightly surprised to have to say I disagree with every single point of your post. If it was in jest, then its quite humorous.
     
  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I just about grew up in the saddle -- my Dad had 3,500 acres in the Ozarks, and we ran several hundred head of cattle. I had a Winchester Model 94 in the saddle boot, and killed many a deer by simply riding up on them, piling off the horse while drawing the Model 94, and shooting under the horse's neck (and yes, he would stand there while I did it.)

    Putting a scope on a Model 94 is indeed an abomination unto the lord.

    Now a scope on a Savage Model 99 is a different matter,;)
     
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I'm not crazy about scopes on lever guns either. But I'm sure I'll change my tune in a hurry when my vision degrades to where I can't make do....
     
  17. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    It wasnt neccesarily about my vision as much as just realizing I didnt have to use a bolt gun to get the benefit of a scope, and I was mostly hunting with a scoped bolt gun because its so much easier to shoot well, and make a clean shot in a varity of conditions. A scope makes shooting vastly easier, target identification vastly easier, HUGELY easier to see in poor light (like I can see things that I could hit with a scope in light that I cant even SEE iron sights.

    If one shoots or hunts and doesnt mind handicapping themselves for whatever reason, thats great. I'm growing to want my guns to be as useful as reasonably possible for me. If I could afford to scope most of my guns, including the pre-war 94 carbine and model 71, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
     
  18. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    "Because angle/side eject on a lever action is an unholy abomination, and putting a scope on a lever action is a violation of the laws of nature. If John Moses Browning wanted us to have scopes on our lever guns, he would have designed a bolt action.

    Now go do 12 hail mary's, 10 our father's, and flog yourself 10 times for this sacrilegious heresy, and never have these Satanic thoughts again."

    Jeez Alaskan, I'm sorry! You may have a point though, and I do like JMB designs

    Owned in the past a Colt Woodsman, FN Trombone, SA-22 and a Winchester 94-22 (OK 94-22 might not be a JMB original but as my thread I'm letting it slide) Currently got a couple of Browning O/Us and a BPS.

    JMBrowning22s_zps1176c754.jpg

    Maybe that Winchester 94 Trapper AE should be next on the list...
     
  19. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    A-hem. :scrutiny: Winchester 9422.OK OK it's not REALLY a "scaled down" 1894, it's a .22 caliber with a completly different internal design, borrowing only the "94" from the parent gun. ;)
     
  20. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Ahem all day long.
    Winchester never made a true side eject 94. :)
    Denis
     
  21. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    My guess is there is a lack of market for new lever action designs. I suspect the Browning BLR is the last design and that is likely 40 or more years old. Having said that, I would love to see a more modern designed lever action. At one point I needed to do a detailed takedown and cleaning of my 336. Wow. So many screws and parts compared to my mini 14. Dont get me wrong. I love my lever action. I just wish it assembled more like a mini 14 or Mossberg 500.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    From time to time, Ruger has had a side ejecting lever action, but it never seems to stay on the market very long. The same for their semi-auto .44 Mag.
     
  23. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Marlin Levermatic was side ejecting.

    Yes, there was a center fire, though they are much harder to find than the rim fires.

    The Evans was also a side ejector and I believe the Kennedy was as well.

    -kBob
     
  24. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Until about 40-50 years ago levers were considered a viable option as an all around hunting rifle. Marlins were easier to scope and that kept them very competitive with Winchester. Enough so that Winchester modified their rifles to be easier to scope.

    Today most lever gun owners use them primarily for nostalgic reasons. I can only remember seeing 1 guy actually hunting with a lever action in the last 40 years. If you're going for nostalgia instead of practical then there isn't going to be a scope on it. No reason to develop any new rifles with the feature.
     
  25. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    The allure of the lever gun for many is tied to ease of carry, both with regard to weight and grasp, as well as point-ability. The top eject breeds tend to win in these categories due to their slim profile and small, lightweight receivers. Side eject lever guns tend to be heavier, with receivers that are both wider and a bit taller. Side eject = enclosed bolt, which generally means more mass, and a little rearward weight bias that I don't care for in a "carry around" gun. I own both. My favorite deer slayer is a side eject Marlin 336 with a leupold 2x7x33 scope. My favorite "dash" gun is a model 94 trapper, my favorite for walking up pigs is a pre-safety top eject 94 with a williams peep. The top eject 94's definitely balance better, both for walking about and swinging on flushed game.
     
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