The Winchester lever-action is quite possibly one of the most famous guns in the history of guns. Known as one of the guns that won the west, it has appeared in probably every cowboy/western movie, tv show, book and radio show. The 1894 was designed by John Browning in, well, erm, 1894. It has also been used as an automotive cliché by every journalist ever when describing a good transmission. So, how good is it?

(Full discloser: Winchester wanted me to shoot this gun so badly that they made it well over 20 years ago and I bought it years later for a lot less.)


Turns out, very. Very, very, extraordinarily good. It looks as good as it shoots. John Browning did good on this one.

The gun is small enough that it is easily packed around and can be moved from target to target quickly, yet it's weighted enough that it stays on target. The weight distribution is more forward as on expects from a rifle, but my particular 94 doesn't shoot a rifle round...

Remember this picture? Well, here is the answer to what made those big holes. This is what made them. Yes, this one shoots .44 magnum. So, it's got some kick to it, but if you keep the but of the stock in your shoulder, it's really not that bad.

On to the pièce de résistance, the lever-action. The lever action just feels so natural and smooth to operate. Lever goes down, lever goes up. Spent rounds go out, fresh rounds go in. It is simple, yet elegant. No, your Civic's transmission does not feel like a Winchester, so please, shut the fuck up, Car & Driver.