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Pistol Calibre Lever Actions for Deer

27 Jul 2020
@ 03:05 am (GMT)

Michael Seager

Hi folks,

Thought I'd post a couple of things I'd found about scoping lever action rifles after Nathan mentioned them in his livestream.

Top eject on things like

Winchester 1892 (And their clones, Rossi, Chiappa etc) - 357/38, 44 mag, 45 Colt, 454 Cassull
Winchester 1894 (and clones) - .30-30, 35 Rem
Winchester 1886 - 45-70 and other big stuff

Have the issue that the ejection port throws the cases straight up into the underside of your scope and if unlucky back into your action. You also have a problem of where to mount the scope due to the bolt not giving you any solid surfaces to attach mounts

You can try and use a red dot but these can be difficult to be precise with. Best option I found was a Scout Scope. Leupold and Burris seem to be where most of the market is. A word of caution: Fixed gives you a much more generous eye relief than variable options.

(NB The Leupold VXR 1.5-5x33 is a nice scope, but eye relief tops out at about 6" - not enough in my experience to have the scope mounted infront of the top ejection port on a lever action. Which something like a Marlin and you want the scope lined up flush with the back of the receiver for easy hammer access, this scope works a treat).

So, I ended up with a Leupold 2.5x28 Scout Scope on my Chiappa.

Hope this is useful to some people, I'll draft some of the things I have found regarding ammo choice next.




27 Jul 2020
@ 03:18 am (GMT)

Michael Seager

Re: Pistol Calibre Lever Actions for Deer
Ammo choice

Where I do most of my deer stalking in England we have 6 species of deer you can stalk and 2 bullet weight / muzzle energy hurdles to get over.

For muntjac and Chinese Water Deer (CWD) the specs are:

At least a .22 bore bullet
At least 50grs bullet weight
At least 1,000ftlbs of energy

(Basically .222 Rem and up)

For the larger deer (Roe, Sika, Fallow and Red)

The rules are
.240" bore
50grs bullet weight
1,700 ftlbs of ME

Basically .243W and up.

So, in lever action terms, shooting the larger deer, 357 mag really isn't an option it's .44 mag or more.


Hodgdon do 357, 44 mag and 45 colt rifle data on their website (With a 20" bbl) so there is that resource and it's helpful.

In both .357 and .44 mag H110 seems to be the go to powder for high power loads (Though I would guess Viht N110, Ramshot Enforcer and Alliant 2400 would also work).

Interestingly to get .44 mag lever actions reliably (as in not all out max charges just making the energy requirement) it seems a 200 or 210 gr bullet does better than the 240gr and heavier bullets

I have some 200gr XTPs loaded up and also some Sierra JHC 210gr bullets to try.

If anyone has any experience of those bullets I would welcome it.

Best wishes,




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