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Lever Guns for Whitetail Deer


In the early days of deer hunting, the lever action dominated the scene. Calibers of .30-.30, .32-40, .45-70, and others were the norm. As more and more firearm manufactures got into the game, different calibers emerged along with different actions.

Today, the dominant action for hunting guns is without question bolt action. It’s reliable, accurate and affordable. However, there is still a place in the woods for lever action rifles. Typically the lever guns have tubular magazine which relegates it to the round nose bullets. This is to prevent the trailing bullet from putting pressure onto the primer of the one preceding it in the tube. So, just at today the more popular calibers for lever guns are .30-.30 Win., .35 Rem., .308 Rem.,  .45-70, .41 Rem Mag.,  .444 Marlin. All of these make excellent calibers for whitetail deer. And to choose one over the other is really a difficult task. However, like many others, I too have a favorite. No doubt the good ole stand by, .30-.30 has probably killed more deer than any other caliber. At least for the first seventy five years of the last century. And while it is a good caliber and effective at modest range. If I have to choose one caliber for a lever gun it would without question be the .45-70. All lever gun manufactures build rifles chambered in .45-70 s finding one should not be difficult.

The best of the best lever guns include

1. Marlin  1895 GBL – -This classic Lever gun with great looks and function. This is my personal favorite and is a great shooting gun and with its short barrel, ease of loading and shooting be superior. The GBL is for the big loop lever, if you prefer the smaller loop, it is available also. This gun comes also in a straight and pistol grip version, as well as an all-weather version.

2.Browning BLR –  the Browning BLR is an excellent firearm. Available in many calibers, the BLR carries the Browning name and reputation for excellent guns. The advantage of the Browning is the drop out magazine which allows for more variety of calibers. The BLR comes in calibers ranging from .22-250 through .450 Marlin. This feature alone makes the BLR a great choice for those who prefer pointed bullets.

3. Marlin 336 – this edition of the Marlin lever guns is one of the most popular lever guns in history. Whether it is in the .30-30 Win. Or the more powerful .35 Remington it is a great gun for anyone who loves lever guns.


All of the modern lever guns have side ejection which allows for the addition of optics or other sighting options. Typically used in tighter cover, a scope in the 2x-4x range is ideal for this gun. What they lack in down range performance they make up in looks, feel and quick action. Lever guns have definitely come a long way since Winchester first introduced them over a century ago. Today, they still have their place, in cowboy action and in the field.

Whether you like the look, feel, caliber or just the nostalgia of the lever gun, it is one that you will fall in love with and one that you will enjoy shooting.