Big Horn Armory vintage case

Return to The Lever Gun

4 Min Read

As my custom .300 Win Mag bucked, I came out of the optic for only a fraction of a second. I quickly settled back into the Kahles scope and watched as the whitetail took the bullet to his shoulder. I could see every step as he turned to his left and ran 10 yards before going down. A quick end for another Texas buck.

Seven hundred and forty-four yards from the deer, I stood and brushed the grass and leaves from my jacket and pants. I left the rifle next to where I’d been laying on the ground just moments before and I walked over to speak to John Hill as he was looking through his binoculars. My hands weren’t shaking, my breath was steady, my heart rate was normal. What I’d just done was purely mathematical and it was at that moment that I realized something had gotten lost in my hunting.

Big Horn Armory's vintage case colored action.

Big Horn Armory’s vintage case colored action.

Back at camp, John and I washed the blood off our hands and walked over to the fire to join our friends. “Maybe we should take some lever guns to Africa this year,” I said. I looked up from the fire to see John’s reaction. “Before we met, I had a whole collection of Winchesters. I love lever guns,” he said. At the time, John’s gun safe looked a lot like mine -a handful of long-range rifles, high magnification scopes, and custom ammo…but no lever guns.

Several months later, John and I stood on the side of a mountain in Africa. My hands had lost some level of their motor skills. I was breathing heavy and my heart was pounding. Thirty yards away lying dead was a gemsbok. I’d fired three rounds in rapid succession to bring the large spiked-antelope down. The first round was a hit to the shoulder. The second was a clean miss as the animal spun and took off. The third round sent the animal tumbling from its dead sprint. I’d worked the lever quickly, getting off all three rounds in just a few seconds. I’ll credit long lost muscle memory perhaps from my days watching Jon Wayne on the small screen before running outside with my Red Ryder to defend the homestead from outlaw Coke bottles.

The 500 S&W

The 500 S&W has enough horsepower for any game in North America.

John and I put a lot of animals on the ground on two separate trips to Africa in 2019.  We used our custom long-range rigs for plains game, we hunted with dangerous-game bolt actions for Cape buffalo and we killed with the steel sights of the lever gun. It’s the latter that has changed the look of my gun safe during this off season.

Buffalo Bore Loads

All 4 Buffalo Bore loads proved to function reliably and accurately in the BHA rifle. They’re loaded with as much power as you’ll ever need…and then some.

Author’s note: If you love custom rifles AND lever guns, you can always combine the two and have Big Horn Armory build you one of these fancy rifles you’re seeing in my photos. It may look like a wall hanger, but I’m pretty sure I can get a lot done in the field with seven rounds of Buffalo Bore’s hot .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum loads. Will report back once it’s fielded.

By Jason Vincent

Jason is a former Game Warden turned outdoor journalist and Editor for Sporting Classics Magazine. On Jason's third trip to Africa he shot a cape buffalo before a helicopter flew in a bottle of champagne for he and his friends to celebrate. It's a moment he's never gotten over.

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  1. Avatar

    Jason, I’ve never been hunting in Africa however I’ve hunted my whole life with lever guns. It for the most part brings you close to your game and keeps the heart pumping. Great article brother!

    • Jason Vincent

      Thanks, Scott. The ability to shoot long-range is a great skill to have in your bag of hunting tricks but hunting with a lever gun and iron sights certainly woke something back up in me.


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