Gun Library ArticleLever Action
There are two particular firearms that use the lever-action operating system and they both represent distinctive inventions. The first is the Winchester Repeating Rifle, manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms and the second is the Marlin 1894.
Winchester Repeating Rifle was extensively used during the second half of the 19th century, gaining an immense popularity amongst Americans. The gun managed to impress due to the tough constitution and also because of the innovative lever-action mechanism that permitted for a number of shots to be fired before recharging.
One of the first models of the Winchester Repeating Rifle was released on the market in 1866 and was especially chambered for the 44 Henry rim-fire cartridges. In 1873, new rifles were released, this time adapted for multiple cartridges including the 44-40, 38-40 and 32-20. The cartridges that were introduced for the Winchester Repeating Rifle were available in many other firearms of that time, a lot bearing famous names such as Colt, Remington or Smith & Wesson. Thus, a lot of gun enthusiasts have started to carry two firearms, meaning a revolver and a rifle, using the same ammunition. They considered that it offered better protection and they had every right to consider that. Winchester Repeating Arms was a company dedicated to producing the best American firearms; the Winchester Repeating Rifle has remained in history as one of their most famous models, particularly the limited number of 1873 rifles manufactured and chambered for a 22 rim-fire cartridge.
The second half of the 19th century was constantly dominated by the name of Winchester, the 1866 model being improved on a regular basis. In 1876, the Winchester Repeating Rifle was redesigned once more and this time it was chambered for center-fire rifle cartridges. The gun was introduced at a special celebration, meaning the American 100th Anniversary and persisted as one of the most potent hunting rifles. This particular model was used for a long time by the Federal Police Force of Canada and at the same time it was owned by the 26th President of America, Theodore Roosevelt, who considered it to be just perfect for his hunting expeditions. The next Winchester Repeating Rifle was designed by the illustrious John Browning and it was released on the market in 1886. The firearm was chambered for powerful cartridges, using black powder and it managed to impress everyone.
Though it was chambered for pocket-size rounds it had an incredible firepower and it surpassed by far the previous existing models. Almost one million models were made and they are even manufactured today under a different name. The modern models of the 1892 Winchester Repeating Rifle are made from innovative materials, being long-lasting and they are especially chambered for more powerful cartridges, including the famous 357 and 44 Magnums. Not many people know that the 1892 rifle had in fact replaced another firearm designed by the same John Browning, the 1873 model.
John Browning continued to be for many years an important member of the Winchester team, designing various firearms and introducing revolutionary ideas. He is the one who allowed Winchester to remain just as famous and defeat competition. Together, they formed an incredible partnership and they came up with the first rifle and cartridge for the new smokeless powder, namely the Winchester 1894 model. North America was definitely impressed with the firearms developed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company and the 1894 became one of the most popular rifles, being sold in millions of units.
In 1885, Winchester issued another innovation to the general public using a previous design of John Browning from 1878. The rifle was called the Winchester Single Shot and it was especially welcomed by those who were into sporting shooting competitions. At that time, target shooting was one of the most popular competitions and the Single Shot Rifle increased their popularity even more. Winchester was competing at that time with important names in the American firearm manufacturing industry including Remington and Ballard but somehow the company managed to win all battles and remain the undefeated champion. The gun was described as dependable, powerful and was probably one of the best single shot rifles ever made.
Specialists working for Winchester Repeating Arms Company decided to test all the newly-made ammunition with this rifle and the results were more than satisfactory. Due to the increased demands from hunting and sporting shooting enthusiasts, the Single Shot Rifle started to be mass-produced, being chambered for a wide variety of cartridges. It took another 85 years for the rifle to be produced once more, having the same 19th and 20th century cartridges. The limited editions were extremely well received among gun collectors. Today’s 1885 Single Shot rifles are far from being the firearms John Browning imagined. They are made using the latest technological innovations, use long-lasting materials such as steel and are chambered for groundbreaking cartridges.
And if you are wondering what kind of weapons are used in those old country Westerns you love so much to watch, then you should know that they belong to the same famous name, Winchester. They were not only adopted by the filming industry but they were also used extensively in the Second World War. Winchester’s rifles have started to be exceeded by new bolt-action rifles; the response came in the form of the 70 Winchester rifle in 1936. It was one of the most successful bolt-action rifles ever made and discovered a whole new world of possibilities for hunting enthusiasts.
As for the 1894 Marlin rifle, history has probably just as many things to recount. The lever-action repeating rifle was designed and produced under the name of Marlin Firearms Company. The rifle had a barrel of 24 inches and was chambered for several cartridges including: 25-20, 32-20, 38-40 and 44-40. It was not the first lever-action repeating rifle produced by Marlin Firearms but it was by far the most popular. The very first model was manufactured in 1881 and it was followed by an 1889 model, completely improved. The final 1894 model was a result of many years of hard work and dedication, featuring an innovative trigger and firing pin mechanism. There are several versions of the already famous 1894 rifle but they are all lever-action rifles. As for stainless steel editions, there is one single firearm to fit that description, meaning the 1894 SS rifle, chambered for the 44 Magnum calibers.
If you want to understand the history of American firearms, then there is no better way to start than with these two prestigious manufacturers. As one can observe, both these two famous personalities have a very interesting story to tell, proving that America is indeed a country where all dreams come true. They worked extremely hard for what they believed in and their inventions stand as testimony today. And if there is one thing that could be mentioned about their prestige and incredible dedication, that would be bravo!