15 Best Lever Action Shotguns for Unmatched Performance

Lever Action Shotguns

Lever action shotguns have a rich history and continue to be popular firearms for various purposes, including hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense. Their unique design and reliable action make them a favorite among firearm enthusiasts.

In this article, we will explore the 15 best lever action shotguns available in the market today.

History of Lever Action Shotguns

The history of lever action shotguns dates back to the 19th century. This section will delve into the origins of lever action shotguns, highlighting their evolution and contributions to firearms technology. From their early prototypes to the modern-day designs, we will explore how lever action shotguns have become an integral part of firearm history.

Popular Lever Action Shotgun Models

Winchester Model 1887

The Winchester Model 1887 lever-action shotgun is a timeless classic. With its distinctive exposed hammer and sturdy build, this shotgun is a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts. Its 12-gauge chambering provides ample firepower for various shooting applications, including hunting and sport shooting.

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Model 1887's lever action mechanism allows for quick and smooth cycling, making it a reliable choice in the field. Whether you appreciate its historical significance or its practicality, the Winchester Model 1887 offers a blend of style and functionality.

Winchester Model 1892

The Winchester Model 1892 lever-action shotgun is a versatile firearm that combines classic design with modern features. Chambered in various calibers, such as .44-40 and .357 Magnum, it offers options for different shooting preferences.

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Model 1892 features a lightweight construction and a compact size, making it maneuverable in tight spaces. Its smooth lever action allows for rapid follow-up shots, while its reliable feeding system ensures consistent performance. Whether you're a cowboy action shooter or a fan of lever-action firearms, the Winchester Model 1892 is a reliable and accurate shotgun that stands the test of time.

Winchester Model 1894

The Winchester Model 1894 lever-action shotgun is a legendary firearm with a rich history. Its sleek and streamlined design, combined with its chambering in various calibers like .30-30 Winchester and .38-55, makes it a versatile choice for both hunting and sport shooting.

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Model 1894 features a tubular magazine that holds multiple rounds, allowing quick and efficient reloading. Its smooth lever action mechanism ensures fast cycling, enabling shooters to engage targets rapidly. Whether you appreciate its iconic status or its performance in the field, the Winchester Model 1894 is a reliable and proven lever-action shotgun.

Winchester Model 1895

The Winchester Model 1895 lever-action shotgun is renowned for its strength and power. Chambered in potent calibers like .30-06 Springfield and .405 Winchester, it delivers a hard-hitting performance suitable for big game hunting.

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Model 1895 features a box magazine that allows pointed bullets, enhancing its long-range accuracy. Its smooth lever action operation, and robust construction makes it a reliable companion in the outdoors. Whether pursuing a big game or seeking a reliable shotgun for target shooting, the Winchester Model 1895 offers the power and versatility needed to get the job done.

Winchester Model 1901

The Winchester Model 1901 lever-action shotgun is a historic firearm that paved the way for modern shotgun designs. Chambered in 10 and 12-gauge, it offers excellent firepower for various shooting purposes.

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Model 1901 features a unique sliding breechblock, allowing for the use of smokeless powder and increasing its reliability. Its lever action mechanism is smooth and easy to operate, making it suitable for shooters of all skill levels. Whether you're a collector or a hunter looking for a vintage shotgun with modern capabilities, the Winchester Model 1901 is a remarkable piece of firearm history.

Henry Repeating Arms Side Gate

The Henry Repeating Arms Side Gate lever-action shotgun is a modern take on the classic lever-action design. It combines traditional aesthetics with practical features, such as a side-loading gate for convenient reloading.

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Chambered in 20 and 410 gauge, it offers versatility for different shooting needs. The Side Gate shotgun from Henry Repeating Arms features a smooth lever action and a robust construction, ensuring reliable performance in the field. With its timeless appeal and user-friendly design, this lever-action shotgun is an excellent choice for both seasoned shooters and newcomers to the sport.

Marlin Model 1895

The Marlin Model 1895 lever-action shotgun is a rugged and reliable firearm. Chambered in hard-hitting calibers like .45-70 Government, it is a favorite among hunters pursuing large game.

marlin 1895

Model 1895 features a 4-round tubular magazine and a robust lever action mechanism that cycles smoothly. Its solid construction, and ergonomic design makes it comfortable to handle and shoot. Whether hunting in dense woods or wide-open spaces, the Marlin Model 1895 lever-action shotgun offers the power and accuracy needed for a successful hunt.

Marlin Model 336

The Marlin Model 336 lever-action shotgun is versatile for various shooting applications. Available in various calibers, including .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington, it offers options for different hunting and shooting preferences.

marlin 336

Model 336 features a tubular magazine and a smooth lever action mechanism, ensuring reliable feeding and quick follow-up shots. Its ergonomic stock design and adjustable sights enhance accuracy and user comfort. Whether you're a hunter or a sport shooter, the Marlin Model 336 lever-action shotgun delivers dependable performance and timeless style.

Marlin Model 410

The Marlin Model 410 lever-action shotgun is a compact, lightweight firearm chambered in .410 bore. It is an ideal choice for small game hunting and recreational shooting. The Model 410 features a 5-round tubular magazine and a reliable lever action mechanism.

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Its compact size and low recoil make it easy to handle, particularly for younger or smaller-framed shooters. With its versatility and user-friendly design, the Marlin Model 410 lever-action shotgun balances performance and ease of use.

Chiappa Firearms 1887

The Chiappa Firearms 1887 lever-action shotgun faithfully reproduces the iconic Winchester Model 1887. Chambered in various gauges, including 12 and 20, it offers options for different shooting preferences. The Model 1887 features an exposed hammer and a robust lever action mechanism that provides reliable cycling. Its walnut stock and polished finish give it a classic and elegant look.

chiappa 1887

Whether you're a cowboy action shooter or a fan of historical firearms, the Chiappa Firearms 1887 lever-action shotgun offers an authentic shooting experience and a touch of nostalgia.

Rossi Rio Grande

The Rossi Rio Grande lever-action shotgun is a reliable and affordable firearm suitable for various shooting activities. Chambered in popular calibers like .410 bore and .45-70 Government, it offers versatility for different shooting needs.

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Rio Grande features a 6-round tubular magazine and a smooth lever action mechanism that cycles reliably. It's durable construction and comfortable ergonomics make it a practical choice for hunters and sport shooters on a budget. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced shooter, the Rossi Rio Grande lever-action shotgun provides a reliable and affordable option for your shooting endeavors.

Stoeger Coach Gun

The Stoeger Coach Gun lever-action shotgun is a classic firearm with a rugged and dependable design. Chambered in 12 and 20 gauge, it is popular for cowboy action shooting and home defense. The Coach Gun features exposed hammers and dual triggers, adding to its traditional appeal.

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Stoeger Coach Photo by Gun Carrier

Its short barrels and compact size make it easy to maneuver in close-quarter situations. With its solid construction and straightforward operation, the Stoeger Coach Gun offers simplicity and reliability when needed.

Pedersoli 1886/71 Classic

The Pedersoli 1886/71 Classic lever-action shotgun is a high-quality reproduction of the original Winchester Model 1886. Chambered in various calibers, including .45-70 Government and .444 Marlin, it offers powerful hunting and sport shooting options.

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1886/71 Classic features a walnut stock and a smooth lever action mechanism that operates reliably. Its attention to detail and craftsmanship make it a sought-after firearm among collectors and enthusiasts. Whether you're a fan of historical firearms or simply appreciate the performance of a classic design, the Pedersoli 1886/71 Classic lever-action shotgun delivers both style and substance.

Browning BLR Lightweight 81

The Browning BLR Lightweight 81 lever-action shotgun is a modern and innovative firearm that combines the best features of lever and bolt actions. Chambered in various calibers, such as .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester, it offers versatility for different shooting applications.

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BLR Lightweight 81 features a detachable box magazine and a smooth lever action mechanism that cycles reliably. Its lightweight design and ergonomic stock make it comfortable to carry and shoot. With its sleek and modern appearance, the Browning BLR Lightweight 81 lever-action shotgun is a favorite among hunters and sport shooters who value performance and innovation.

Savage Model 99

The Savage Model 99 lever-action shotgun is a unique, innovative firearm with a rotary magazine design. Chambered in various calibers, including .308 Winchester and .300 Savage, it offers excellent hunting and target shooting performance.

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The Model 11 Scout. Photo by Savage Arms

Model 99 features a compact and ergonomic design, making it easy to handle in any shooting situation. Its rotary magazine allows for convenient loading and reliable feeding. With its accuracy and reliability, the Savage Model 99 lever-action shotgun has earned a reputation as a trustworthy and capable firearm.

Advantages of Lever Action Shotguns

  • Speed and Efficiency: Lever action shotguns are known for their quick and smooth cycling of rounds. The lever mechanism allows for rapid and reliable feeding of cartridges, enabling faster follow-up shots. This can be especially advantageous in hunting scenarios or self-defense situations where quick and precise shooting is required.
  • Reliability: Lever action shotguns have a reputation for being highly reliable firearms. They are known for their robust construction and simple mechanism, contributing to their durability and consistent functioning. The lever action design is less prone to malfunctions than other shotgun actions, making lever action shotguns a dependable choice.
  • Versatility: Lever action shotguns offer versatility in terms of ammunition compatibility. They can handle various loads, including different shot sizes and slug rounds, allowing shooters to adapt to different shooting scenarios. This versatility makes them suitable for various applications, including hunting small game, waterfowl, and even big game at closer ranges.
  • Compactness and Maneuverability: Lever action shotguns are typically more compact and maneuverable than other shotgun designs. The lever action mechanism allows for a shorter overall length of the firearm, making it easier to handle in tight spaces, such as dense brush or confined hunting blinds. This advantage can be particularly useful for hunting in dense forests or engaging targets in close-quarters environments.
  • Aesthetics and Tradition: Lever action shotguns have a rich history and a classic appeal that many shooters find appealing. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and connection to the Old West era. This aesthetic appeal, combined with their functional advantages, makes lever action shotguns popular for collectors, cowboy action shooting enthusiasts, and those who appreciate traditional firearms.
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Common Accessories for Lever Action Shotguns

  • Optics: Scopes or red dot sights for improved accuracy.
  • Sling: Allows for comfortable and secure carrying.
  • Choke Tubes: Modify shot spread for different distances.
  • Extended Magazine Tubes: Increase ammunition capacity.
  • Recoil Pads: Reduce felt recoil for improved comfort.
  • Sights: Fiber-optic, ghost ring, or night sights for better visibility.
  • Forend Grips: Provide a better grip for improved control.
  • Stock Accessories: Adjustable buttstocks, cheek risers, or pads for customization.

Lever action shotguns have a storied history and remain popular firearms for various purposes. Their unique design and reliable action make them a favorite among firearm enthusiasts. Whether for hunting, sport shooting, or self-defense, lever action shotguns offer advantages such as speed and efficiency, reliability, versatility in ammunition, compactness, and a classic aesthetic appeal.

With a range of models available, from timeless classics like the Winchester Model 1887 to modern offerings like the Browning BLR Lightweight 81, there is a lever-action shotgun to suit every shooter's preferences and needs.


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