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Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
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I've been doing a bit of shotgun training lately, and tonight while sitting in my living room with my oldest son watching The Magnificent Seven (the Steve McQueen version) I was struck with a question. Why is the loading gate always on the right-hand side of a levergun?

When we train tactical loading of the shotgun, the gun is shouldered and a firing grip is maintained with the right hand (for those of us who weren't born backwards Razz). We drop a shell in the open chamber, close the bolt, then proceed to feed rounds into the magazine with the left hand, all the while keeping the gun shouldered and aimed downrange with the right. This allows an immediate response if a threat presents itself, even while in the process of loading the magazine.

The beauty of a Levergun as a fighting rifle was it's handiness and ability to deliver a high rate of fire for the time period...it was basically the assault rifle of the late 1800s. As such, why not design it so that the manual of arms promotes this even further? I understand why you can't bottom-feed it like a pump shotgun...it would interfere with the lever. But it seems to me that putting the loading gate on the left side would facilitate loading with your left hand while keeping the rifle on target and ready to fire with your right...which is basically impossible with the loading gate on the right side of the receiver.

I got my 1894 and some snap caps out and tried the technique shouldering the rifle on my left side and loading with my right hand...it seemed to work pretty well (apart from the fact that I'm VERY right-handed and also right-eye dominant, so while I can shoot long guns off my left shoulder, it's not my favorite thing to do). From what I know about the internals of these rifles, it doesn't seem like there's anything that would mechanically prevent them from having the loading gate on the left side. Does anybody know of any Lever-Action designs that did this, or if it was ever considered?

I know the lever action market has traditionally been dominated by those looking for a reproduction, or at least the basic look and feel of an old west gun. Believe me, I can appreciate that...I'm a pretty traditional guy. But lately we've started to see companies releasing lines of "tactical leverguns", which IMO might be a platform that could leverage something like this without alienating it's target demographic. I get that it's cheaper to just use an existing receiver design...but could making some changes make it better suited to it's intended goal?

Its really just idle curiosity for me, as my leverguns are all hunting rifles and range toys, not tactical tools. I thought it could be an interesting discussion, though, especially if we have anyone here who can speak to the history of the designs or the development of more modern lever-action offerings.
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I see your point but would counter that while slamming a pmag left handed is easy, the amount of dexterity required to shove 4-10 small rounds into an often overly tight small loading gate would be difficilt left handed.





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Posts: 3904 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The deals you miss don’t hurt you”-B.D. Raney Sr.
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This very line of thought is what led several cowboy action shooters that I know, to shoot their 1897 pump shotguns left handed. To facilitate faster loading. But there is a big difference between tossing a 12 gauge round into a big open receiver and feeding a 357 or even 44 caliber cartridge into a loading gate (as Ottosig pointed out).

How much would right AND left hand side loading gates weaken a receiver? If at all?
And would just a little polishing and blending and spring work make the feeding a little easier? Or a whole bunch easier?
I’ve seen spring kits for lever action loading gates. And I’ve heard of ‘smiths doing a little work on the feeding tube to ease loading. ...
 
Posts: 6060 | Location: East Texas | Registered: February 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well if Henry chooses to develop their box mag-fed Long Ranger series (or if some adventurous and enterprising soul in the aftermarket does), we could very well see the lever equivalent of a black rifle, complete with M-Lok and M1913 and infrared laser and the rest of the tacticool fixings. Imagine a drum mag-fed lever gun in 7.62x51...I know you can... Big Grin


-MG
 
Posts: 684 | Location: The commie, rainy side of WA | Registered: April 19, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
How much would right AND left hand side loading gates weaken a receiver? If at all?
And would just a little polishing and blending and spring work make the feeding a little easier? Or a whole bunch easier?
I’ve seen spring kits for lever action loading gates. And I’ve heard of ‘smiths doing a little work on the feeding tube to ease loading. ...


Now you're talking Big Grin. We've got Henry's these days that are tube fed and have a gate...maybe Ruger needs to counter with a "double-gate" model! They're going to have to set all the tooling back up anyway...what better time than now? Big Grin.

quote:
we could very well see the lever equivalent of a black rifle, complete with M-Lok and M1913 and infrared laser and the rest of the tacticool fixings. Imagine a drum mag-fed lever gun in 7.62x51...I know you can...Big Grin


Ugh. But yeah, you're probably right. And it would be hard to argue the effectiveness. The weight and bulk of a drum mag would really ruin the handling characteristics of a Levergun...but drum mags pretty much do that to any gun you put them on. Something like that (with a reasonably sized box mag) could actually be a really practical choice in markets that limit or restrict semi-auto ownership.

It's kinda out of character for me to even pursue this line of thought, as I'm traditional enough that I don't even put scopes on my lever-actions. Just looking at some of these new "tactical" offerings (especially that hideous Mossberg with the collapsible AR-style stock) makes me puke in my mouth a bit. I'm just surprised that over the past 150 years of lever-actions nobody's tried it.
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Because you are holding the reins in your left hand.
A man on horseback could hold his rifle and reins in his left hand, and load with his right while riding. This also gave them access to their sidearm for immediate action.


"Escaped the liberal Borg and living free"
 
Posts: 2114 | Location: North Carolina, USA | Registered: January 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Because you are holding the reins in your left hand.


Good call! I'm not a rider, but that makes good sense as to why the original rifles were designed that way. Not really a factor for the modern lever-action, though, outside of mounted cowboy games (or around here, the Amish Big Grin).
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
Because you are holding the reins in your left hand.
A man on horseback could hold his rifle and reins in his left hand, and load with his right while riding. This also gave them access to their sidearm for immediate action.


Wouldn’t all that go out the window if you’re left handed?

On box magazines for lever actions; their prone capabilities are already pretty much ruined by having to work the lever, so a magazine that hung no lower than the extended lever should work fine, right?
 
Posts: 6060 | Location: East Texas | Registered: February 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have a new version of the old trope "Sam Colt was left-handed." Bill Grover even brought out a mirror image SAA the 'Texas Longhorn' based on that legend.
So was Nelson King, designer of the side loading gate, a southpaw, too?


Probably not. I think they both realized that you were better off handling the small pieces, percussion caps and cartridges, with your dominant hand.

If you just must go ambi, the unfortunately scarce Bullard lever action loads from the bottom, as do the Remington pumps designed by John Pedersen.
 
Posts: 2946 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Maybe I'm over thinking this, but My thought is that it would be easier to hold the rifle against your shoulder with your left hand while reloading with your right, also you work the lever to chamber a round with your right hand. Then you would be ready to shoot without lowering your rifle.


If you really want something you'll find a way ...
... if you don't you'll find an excuse.

I'm really not a "kid" anymore ... but I haven't grown up yet either Wink
 
Posts: 5400 | Registered: January 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by monoblok:
Well if Henry chooses to develop their box mag-fed Long Ranger series (or if some adventurous and enterprising soul in the aftermarket does), we could very well see the lever equivalent of a black rifle, complete with M-Lok and M1913 and infrared laser and the rest of the tacticool fixings. Imagine a drum mag-fed lever gun in 7.62x51...I know you can... Big Grin


Not mag fed or in 7.62, but Marlin already has a tactical lever gun.





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“With no police to protect you, did you own a gun? Did your neighbor?” - The Division 2

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Posts: 13891 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Probably not. I think they both realized that you were better off handling the small pieces, percussion caps and cartridges, with your dominant hand.


There's definitely some truth to this. I find that I reload a DA revolver far more quickly if I hold it in my left hand by the front of the frame and the cylinder and use my right hand to insert the cartridges. There's a lot less fumbling around by using my dominant hand for the actions hat require more precision.
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[/QUOTE] Wouldn’t all that go out the window if you’re left handed?[/QUOTE]

You are assuming the people in history have ever given one single crap about left handed people, or considering their handicap when designing anything.


"Escaped the liberal Borg and living free"
 
Posts: 2114 | Location: North Carolina, USA | Registered: January 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The deals you miss don’t hurt you”-B.D. Raney Sr.
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
Wouldn’t all that go out the window if you’re left handed?[/QUOTE]

You are assuming the people in history have ever given one single crap about left handed people, or considering their handicap when designing anything.[/QUOTE]

Oh, I have no misconceptions about that. But this thought experiment is about modernizing the lever action and improving its short comings.
So why not look into improving its “ambi-ness” as well?
 
Posts: 6060 | Location: East Texas | Registered: February 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Pale Horse:
quote:
Originally posted by monoblok:
Well if Henry chooses to develop their box mag-fed Long Ranger series (or if some adventurous and enterprising soul in the aftermarket does), we could very well see the lever equivalent of a black rifle, complete with M-Lok and M1913 and infrared laser and the rest of the tacticool fixings. Imagine a drum mag-fed lever gun in 7.62x51...I know you can... Big Grin

Not mag fed or in 7.62, but Marlin already has a tactical lever gun.


Hardly a better example of "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
 
Posts: 6838 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by hudr:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
Wouldn’t all that go out the window if you’re left handed?


You are assuming the people in history have ever given one single crap about left handed people, or considering their handicap when designing anything.[/QUOTE]

Oh, I have no misconceptions about that. But this thought experiment is about modernizing the lever action and improving its short comings.
So why not look into improving its “ambi-ness” as well?[/QUOTE]

To that end; why not have a rotating tube set up, like you see on some shotguns. If you did it right, the lever would rotate to the next tube when the previous tube was empty.

Email me for an address to send me my royalty checks.


"Escaped the liberal Borg and living free"
 
Posts: 2114 | Location: North Carolina, USA | Registered: January 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hardly a better example of "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."


Yeah, it's certainly not a looker, is it? Eek
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I forgot about the Mossberg version





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Posts: 13891 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I forgot about the Mossberg version


Yep, that's the one I was talking about in post #5. And thanks, I just puked a little Razz. Compared to that thing, the m-lock Marlin is downright gorgeous. I should have known when I brought up a little modification like a left-hand loading gate, you guys would bring this ugly stuff out of the wodwork Big Grin.
 
Posts: 4306 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yep, the Mossberg is fugly. And since the idea behind a collapsible stock is to shorten the guns overall length when appropriate, and the Mossberg stock apparently does not, why put one on the gun? Roll Eyes


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