Opinions on lever-action rifles for hunting, please.

I want to get a new hunting rifle when I go to Colorado this summer. I still have residency there, so I can buy it and then bring it back here in a locked case.

I want a lever-action for the look and the feel. Being the only person in the country to hunt with this would be pretty cool. I want/need it in .308 because of the availability of the bullets here. The browning is the only one I have found so far chambered for .308. Winchester supposedly has one, But I couldn’t find it on their site.

So, any recommendations? Other brands? What about a scope? I was thinking of getting one of the reflex types like this one. Hunting here is mainly in blinds with a max range of 100m, but normally it is under 50m.


Are you sure that you don’t want a bolt action rifle? They are superior in most ways and they are chambered for about any round you could want. 30-30’s are the most popular lever action rifles and you shouldn’t have any problem finding them by many manufacturers. However, I cannot stand 30-30’s. They are a decent close range brush gun that is easy to shoulder but they have a trajectory like a thrown baseball. That’s not to say that they haven’t taken more than their fair share of game however. I think you are right to want a more powerful cartridge like a .308. A .308 is a fine cartridge and much better than a 30-30 but, as you can see, you limit your options by selecting that. If you are going to go that route, you might as well pick the .270 lever action or the 30/06 listed in your link. Both of those are even better all around hunting guns and even more powerful. Browning is a pretty good manufacturer but you have limited yourself to a niche by insisting on this. Those rifles are pretty expensive too. A higher quality bolt action rifle will cost less.

Why are bolt-actions superior? I’ve never really understood this. I’ve used both, and both seem to work just fine. Like I said, the lever-action is mainly for looks (which is why I am willing to spend more), the .308 for ease of purchase (30-30 and 30/06 are hard to find and expensive).


Oh, I should also say that if I were to purchase a rifle here, it would cost 30%+ more than one in the USA. That $750 price tag for the Browning is 17,650 Czech Koruna…I was looking at a Ruger Mark II .22 with a bull-barrel for 18,000Kc last week. I am sure you can get those for half that there.

      • Lever guns are traditionally shorter-range lower-48 big game guns in the US. Often they are called “woods guns” or “brush guns”, used in wooded areas on whitetail in the Eastern states (30-30 is big, but the pistol calibers are available too). And horseback riders still like them because they are compact and stow easly. Their main advantage is quick follow-up shots but if you can get the first one right it hardly matters. 100 yards won’t be a problem.
  • I would ask on gun boards about what parts wear out/break, so you can have a supply of the key pieces when you leave the US. Certianly you could order them but it would take longer and would probably happen at an inopportune time.

New production sticks you with the Browning BLR. I don’t believe that the Winchester 1895 (including the newer Winchester and Browning models) has been made in .308. Finding a Winchester Model 88, Savage 99, or Sako Finnwolf is about your only other options. They will be hard to find and expensive though.

So what defines “suprior.” Certainly bolt action rifles are suprior for many purposes and have a lot of flexiblity but the design that does the job well is the suprior one.

To screw with your head a little the BLR is a bolt action rifle. The rotating bolt lockup and rack and pinion lever system are nothing like any lever action rifle design by J.M Browning or Henry.

Tomcat, since you asked opinions the BLR leaves me cold. Outside it’s a lever actoin but inside it has none of the tradition. Like the shell of a victrola with a CD player inside. Unfortunately it’s your only choice if you want .308 but do you really need that if you are limiting your shots to 100 yards? Are you going to shoot so much that availability of any other caliber is going to be an issue? I’d choose something with a bit more panache.

The only other rifle I would prefer is a combo break-action. A 12 guage/.308 or 12/7mm or 12/???.

The seasons overlap here, so combo’s are the best. One day last year I took a shot on a fox (12g)(got it), 20 minutes later on a 150kg boar (7x65)(missed- darn!) and 20 minutes after that I didn’t know if the female danek was in season or not, so I didn’t take the shot. That day I could also have hunted jack-rabbit, pheasant, grouse, jelen (small elk), srnec (roe-buck) and mink. Huge mix of animals during the same season.

So actually an over/under shotgun/rifle would be my first choice…But the only USA one I have found is the Savage arms combo, and the largest rifle caliber is 30/30…which works, but the bullets are really hard to find and are damned expensive. If I were to buy a nice one here, it would set me back over $1,000 to $2,500. (but they are nice. This is my FIL’s combo that I get to use occasionally.)

Now a .308 has so many options with bullets that I could use it for hunting deer and boar and even fox on the same day. Or so I am told. Thus the .308 decision and the lever-action for style (and price, comparatively).


That’s exactly right. My dad has a (Marlin?) lever action .357 that we take hunting whitetail when we go down by the swamps and other similiar brushy area’s. It is also a lot of fun to shoot at the range.

This makes me realize how lucky and a somewhat spoiled I am regarding firearms since I live in the US. I’ve never had to make a particular choice because of ammunition scarcity and I reload so it isn’t likely to be an issue.

Is handloading a possibility for you? If you aren’t loading huge volumes of ammunition you can get by with some fairly simple tools. How many rounds do you expect to shoot per year?

FWIW my last firearm purchase was a Czech made rifle, a CZ 452 Varmin in .17 M2. Excellent craftsmanship for less than half the price of an equivalent Anschütz or Kimber. A sweet rifle but the petite bullets aren’t suitable for anything much bigger than ground squirrels.

Tomcat, you might want to check out Spartan Gunworks by Remington. EAA sold their interest in the rifle and shotgun division of Baikal just recently. I used to own a Baikal IZH-27 over/under (paid less than $500 for it) and it had all the bells and whistles of the much more expensive Italian/American brands. Yeah the furniture had a lot to be desired about it, but it was an excellent field gun and it put holes in things that I aimed at. Getting Remington’s backing put a lot of panache behind the product, not to mention increasing servicability.

The design of bolt-action rifles is considerably stronger than that of a lever action. I’m guessing that you can’t make a good .30-06 lever action, while it’s relatively simple with a standard bolt action. That, and I think bolt actions tend to be more accurate I believe.

One thing- .30-06 hard to come by? Where do you live? It seems to me to be the most common hunting cartridge in the US from what I can tell. There’s also a LOT of mil-surp ammo out there for cheap- probably as much as the .308/7.62 NATO.

See where your location is listed as Frisco, Texas? (At the top right of the post.) His is listed as Prague, Chzechoslavakia. Probably is hard to come by.

Not that it helps the OP, but I should tell about my lever actions.

I have probably the two most popular ones, the Marlin 336 and the Winchester Model 94. Both guns are mid fifties to early sixties vintage and are chambered for 30-30.

Both are fun guns to shoot, and are decent brush guns. I find myself preferring the Marlin, though, since it ejects to the side. Having hot shells land in your shirt collar isn’t enjoyable to me, and I’ve had this problem with the Winchester’s top ejection.

Wow! Thanks! a 12g/.308 combo! $512! That’s what I paid for a Walther P-22 here! I still might get a lever-action someday for the looks, but this is probably first on the list. Cool.

Gary T, It is actually the Czech Republic. The Slovak Republic (Slovakia) separated peacefully on Jan. 1, 1993. They are both full, independent, members of the EU.

It is not that I cannot get the ammo for other rifles, but I want to shoot A LOT of ammo through the rifle that I use for hunting. I want to put a few hundred rounds through something and call it ‘Mine!’