Sixguns And Lever Guns … The Perfect Combo By: Jeff "Tank" Hoover



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Whether big, or small, combo guns are handy indeed. Here are a Rossi R92
454 and Ruger Bisley, both in .454 Casull, top, with a Henry Evil Roy and
Ruger old model single six, both .22 long rifle, below.

There’s no denying a sixgunners propensity for wheelguns. The very name states it. The diehards cling to their thumb-cockers while the more progressives like double action shooters. Me? I’m partial to both. I like the simplicity, strength and style of a good single action yet appreciate the speed double actions provide when shooting and reloading. As Andy Larsson says, when in bear country, “what will you do if an enraged bear bites your thumb off?” Food for thought, eh?

Either gun shoots the most powerful cartridges available, something their high-capacity, semi-auto cousins can’t. For when it matters, power trumps capacity — period! Guns capable of delivering large diameter, heavy bullets deep and true get the job done. That’s why Revolvers rule the roost.


A Rossi R92 and Marlin 1894, middle, with a Ruger GP100 top
and old model Blackhawk, bottom. Dandy combo guns, indeed!

Long Gun Love

When it comes to long guns, sixgunners have a preference too. No surprise there! Having more opinions than bullet loops, the levergun is the long gun of choice. And it makes sense, too! By having a long gun chambered for the same caliber as your favorite sixgun it keeps things simple when purchasing, handloading and carrying extra rounds when you’re far from the nearest gun store. They make short work of longer shots, too.

Leverguns are simply cowboy cool! Like single action revolvers you feel a comforting confidence when thumbing each individual round one at a time. It’s soothing dropping a cartridge past the loading gate of your sixgun or stuffing a cartridge up the port and into the magazine of your levergun. There’s time to examine each cartridge for defects or simply admire its beautiful perfection.

Vigorously levering a cartridge into the chamber of a well-tuned levergun is a symphony of pure delight. Follow this up with the ability of fast follow-up shots and its no wonder sixgunners love their leverguns! Their flat bodied actions, light weight and balance make them a joy to carry, whether in scabbard, or between the seats of the ranch pickup truck.


Here’s a rare pair — a Marlin 1894 and Ruger New Model flat top,
both in the versatile .41 Magnum. Those are holly stocks on that sixgun!

Versatility By Caliber

Show me a single action sixgun and I’ll match it with a levergun of the same caliber. Same holds true for double action revolvers. Every house, barn, ranch or truck should have a good .22 long rifle within reach of it. They’re handier than thumbs in my book. Vermin may disagree, but that is where their beauty lies. Ammo is cheap compared to their centerfire siblings and kids can shoot it practically all day without pounding their shoulders or the family budget. From garden raiding groundhogs to pesky pooping pigeons, the .22 is worth ten times more than its weight in lead. It’s a cheap and fun way to keep your eye sharp too. Everyone loves shooting .22’s through sixguns and leverguns!


A power couple if I ever saw one! A Big Bore Armory model
89 and S&W 500 snubby, both in .500 S&W Magnum.

The .357

I never met a .357 I didn’t like. Their versatility is legendary! Next to the .22’s, they’re probably the most popular caliber in sixguns and leverguns. From lightly loaded cast .38 special plinker loads to full-throttle factory magnum loads, the .357 is handy indeed.

Great for coyote-sized varmints to whitetail deer table fare, the .357 can do it. A known man stopper, especially in a carbine levergun, you can keep the homestead safe and sound with plenty of extra rounds in the magazine.


A Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum, sandwiched between a
Ruger Blackhawk, top, and Redhawk, bottom.

The Holy Trinity

The holy trinity of big bore cartridges being the .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt are, more or less, in the same power range. Alright, let the brawls begin! Now dab off your bloody lip and let me explain. Ask any whitetail what hits harder and you’re more than likely to get a silent response. In sidearms or leverguns, all three are hard hitters. I have guns in all three calibers like most of you. I surely can’t tell the difference, but I’m glad I have them — variety being the spice of life and all.

There is a noticeable difference compared with the .357. Bullet holes from .41 to .45 caliber bleed out quicker and create larger wound channels. I keep things interesting with my own Rossi 454 Casull levergun and Ruger/Freedom Arms/ Magnum Research single actions.


The Marlins are known for having plenty of field accuracy.
Here’s how the .41 Magnum shoots.

The Biggin’s

As you can see, there are many combos to keep things interesting. And I surely didn’t mention all the different combos available like the .32-20’s, .22 Magnums, and .45-70’s to name a few. Over time, I will go into each with more detail including my favorite handloads for each.

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