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Time: 0900 to 1800 hours

See schedule for pricing.

Location: Range location to be provided

Prerequisite: Completion of Defensive Pistol 1 through 4.

Lever action rifles are very popular with outdoorsmen, equestrians, Cowboy Action shooters and those who travel in states where semi automatic rifles are restricted. Lever action rifles can be efficient tools for self defense with the proper training. This class will teach you how to run a lever action rifle in a self defense situation.


You will practice loading, unloading, speed reloading, tactical reloading, close contact and weapon retention shooting, multiple target drills and rapid fire techniques. A lever action rifle in a handgun caliber such as .357 Magnum is strongly suggested. To accommodate our steel targets, ammunition is limited to lead bullets only at less than 1,400 FPS. Cowboy Action ammunition works well for this course.

Equipment List for the Lever Action Rifle Class

A suitable lever action rifle in a handgun caliber–Rifle must be safe, reliable and reasonably accurate

Open sights are recommended –Aperture sights are best, buckhorn sights will suffice, If you have an optic you want to use, check with us.


In order of suitability for defensive use we rate lever action rifles as follows:

1894 Marlin due to ruggedness and ability to mount a compact optic
1873 Winchester as made by Cimarron and others due to smooth action
1892 Winchester as made by Rossi and others
1866 Winchester as made by Uberti and others
Henry Big Boy lever action rifle (last due to lack of a loading gate) (no longer allowed in class due to safety concerns)

Calibers for self defense in order of recommendation:

.357 Magnum- low recoil, sufficient power, less expensive, very common ammo

.44 Magnum-more recoil, more expensive to shoot

.45 Colt-less common ammunition, more recoil with +P ammunition

Note: Clients often ask if they can use a lever action rifle in a rifle caliber such as a .30/30 or a .45/70.  Yes you can with certain stipulations. Rifle actions are necessarily more robust and harder to operate quickly. Also, reduced loads will be required. For example in the .45/70 you would need a 300 grain all lead bullet down loaded to about 1,200 FPS. In the .30/30 you would need a 170 grain all lead bullet down loaded to less than 1,400 FPS. As long as you are able to bring ammunition that meets these safety requirements and understand that working a lever action in a rifle caliber will be slower and more difficult than working a lever action in a pistol caliber you may use a rifle caliber.

150 accurate, safe and reliable factory cartridges for your rifle

If you wish to shoot hand loads please contact us for a waiver to do so

Lead bullets only with no jackets or gas checks
This is to enhance safety when shooting steel at close range
Velocity not to exceed 1,400 FPS from your rifle to avoid steel target damage
Approximately 1,000 to 1,200 FPS would be ideal

The number of rounds fired will vary between individual classes.  

No ammo with any steel in the bullet such as Russian

REQUIRED: Must have flat nosed ammunition for tubular magazine (lever action).
We suggest you have soft lead flat nosed ammunition.

NO pointed FMJ ammunition allowed.

Rifle ammunition must all be of the exact same load.

Note: Any change in the load can/does change the zero.

Learning will be impeded if ammunition is changed during the course.

Cartridge Loops-minimum of 12 loops in the appropriate caliber

Butt Cuff Ammo Carrier is desirable-Nylon or leather

A good recoil pad on the rifle will make shooting more comfortable and reduce slippage on the shoulder.

Field grade (thin) PAST shoulder pad worn under the shirt for calibers above .357 Magnum is suggested.

A butt cuff ammo carrier

A shooting mat will be required.

You may use a piece of carpet or a heavy movers blanket for a mat.

Elbow and knee pads are recommended and strongly encouraged.

We recommend that you use some type of leather wrap on the bottom of the rifle lever to slightly reduce the size of the opening and to provide a softer surface for the back of the fingers of the primary hand when running the lever quickly. Contact us for more information

A suitable pistol as used in Pistol 1-4

Strong side butt to the rear holster with some form of retention which allows you to rapidly assume the prone position without losing the pistol

At least three magazines for the pistol

A pistol magazine pouch (Single magazine pouch is ok)

Fifty accurate, safe and reliable factory pistol cartridges

Shooting gloves with fingers exposed are recommended.

Boots or sturdy high top shoes to protect ankles

Sixteen to twenty A-Zoom dummy cartridges for the rifle and 6 for the pistol (Please note, most 1873 will run better with 357 a-z0oms than 38 special a-zooms (we have seen several 1873 fail to function with 38 special a-zooms, but run 38 live cartridges fine). Please refer to your manufacture’s documentation on 357 vs 38 tolerances) 

Baseball cap

Ear plugs and ear muff type hearing protection.

Both clear and dark shooting glasses

A wide heavy duty belt that will fit your belt loops to support your pistol

Trousers with belt loops are required

Bug spray is recommended

Sun block is highly recommended

One gallon of water (minimum) for each range day per shooter is suggested

Tools required to adjust iron sights.

Cleaning rod suggested.

A pocket notebook to record all zeroing and range data

A writing device (Pen/pencil) to record information in your notebook

Binoculars will be helpful

Cleaning kit is recommended

Fire extinguisher is optional, please bring one if you can

Personal first aid kit is suggested

Larry and Stacey Mudgett

Marksmanship Matters