The lever-action rifle is America’s most iconic firearm and possibly the most popular deer rifle in the world. Funny thing a lot of folks don’t know how to load one. The lever-action is such a popular rifle and has been around so long, you’d think they’d be teaching the proper manual of arms for this rifle in junior high schools.
Lever-action rifles are loaded by slipping cartridges in the loading gate which is on the side of the action. You push the cartridge in the gate and it slips into the magazine tube. Sometimes, when you slip the cartridge in all the way it slides back under the gate from the pressure of the spring plunger in the magazine tube. This makes it difficult to start the next cartridge because you have to force it against the loading gate which must push the already loaded cartridge / cartridges further up the magazine tube.
The answer is to not fully ins the cartridge into the loading gate unless it is the last cartridge you’re loading. Leave the back portion of the cartridge protruding from the loading gate. When you start to load the next cartridge, use it’s bullet to push the previous cartridge all the way into the gate. This really smoothes and speeds up the loading process. You’ll also look like a real cowboy in front of all your hunting buddies.
Some folks also worry about loading a lever action rifle while the hammer is to the rear. This is not an issue if you keep your fingers away from the trigger and the muzzle pointed down range. Actually, the lever action rifle was designed so that it could be loaded while you were shooting. In other words, you could keep the rifle on your shoulder and thumb live cartridges into the magazine while keeping your target – be it an Indian or a bear – covered.
The lever action rifle has been around for more than 140 years. It is without question the most popular deer rifle in America as well as our most iconic firearm.
When loading a lever action rifle, do not ins the cartridge all the way into the loading gate unless it is the last cartridge you are loading. This makes inserting subsequent cartridges much easier.