In close quarters and with capable hands, a lever-action rifle can be nearly as fast as a semi-auto. It’s one of the reasons that many Alaskan guides love lever actions as backups for Grizzly and Brown bears.
While urban predators don’t have the teeth or the raw strength of Alaskan predators, they can be cunning and come in larger numbers. The ability to engage multiple targets quickly or one target multiple times with effective firepower could be the difference between life and death.
Most people don’t think of lever actions when they consider modern self-defense rifles mostly because they were the military, law enforcement, and civilian choice of the late 1800s. The libtards aren’t as threatened by them and you can still own them in places like New York. By design, they weren’t originally made to mount optics, lights, lasers, or suppressors. Turns out that, with a few modifications, they work fantastic for all of that.
This article will focus on modernizing Henry and Marlin lever-action rifles using parts from Ranger Point Precision (RPP). Certainly, the purists will be offended by some of what is done, which is precisely the reason that we’re using a Marlin Dark in 45-70 and a Henry X .357 Magnum. I personally couldn’t do this to a walnut-stocked original rifle. Please remember that for this article we’re focused on utilitarian usefulness rather than nostalgia.
The Henry X to be fair is pretty darn good right out of the box and could be used for much of this the way it ships. It even has a small Picatinny rail and an MLOK slot in the polymer forend for accessories. The Henry X ships with a 17.5-inch barrel, which is literally my only criticism of the gun. I wish it were 16 inches or just barely longer than the tubular magazine, but that’s my opinion. Velocity isn’t my main concern if shooting a .357 rifle and the 25 fps you gain isn’t worth the extra inch and a half of overall length, especially if you’re wanting to suppress it.
While the 1895 Marlin Dark is no longer in production due to Remington’s bankruptcy, there are still thousands of 1895 Marlin’s or similar models on the used market. Also, keep in mind that Ruger bought Marlin and just recently announced the new 1895 Marlin in 45-70. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you can purchase one of Marlin’s most iconic firearms new again.
Ranger Point Precision is a family-owned company from Texas that specializes in aftermarket accessories for lever-action rifles. They also make accessories for Rossi.
Accessory #1: The Ranger Point Precision Aluminum M-LOK Handguard.
Available for both the Henry and the Marlin, the MLOK handguard allows you to place M-LOK accessories or Picatinny anywhere on the handguard so that you can easily mount lights, lasers, bipods, hand stops, or other accessories on the handguard.
It’s lightweight, well machined, and attractive. The aluminum handguard is available in black, gray, and green.
There are videos and instructions online showing how to install, but it’s not difficult. Do a Google search and you’ll find lots of install videos.
The Handguard Rail MSRP is $169.
Accessory # 2: The Form Adjustable Cheekpiece buttstock.
Available for the Marlin or the Henry, this buttstock is a work of art. The adjustable cheekpiece adjusts simply by pushing the button on the side of the stock. The cheekpiece adjusts super smoothly and it’s one of the best adjustable cheekpieces I’ve ever seen on any type of rifle. I should mention that for me the cheekpiece, even for irons, needs to be up ⅜ of an inch.
The stock is made in England by Form Riflestocks and is hand-finished. To be clear, this is a laminate wood stock. There are a number of beautiful colors available and a few different shapes. Matching forends are also available. My impressions are that it is a quality stock. I love how it looks, but more importantly, it gives me a perfect cheek weld.
MSRP is around $300 depending on the exchange rate.
Accessory #3: Rangerpoint Precision Quick Lever Takedown Screw.
This accessory has lots of options at Ranger Point (colors and styles). It replaces your lever screw so that you can remove the lever by hand without tools. If you’ve ever had a lever-action malfunction, you know that you basically have to break it down. This allows you to remove the lever and bolt without any tools for cleaning, maintenance, or a dreaded lever malfunction.
The screw has an O ring to prevent it from backing out.
Accessory #4: Marlin safety delete.
This is a Marlin-only accessory that is quite easy to do. RangerPoint sends you everything you need to remove and replace the ugly and useless cross-bolt safety. No more running the risk of having it accidentally be on when you are in an emergency situation. It also looks way better without it. The Henry doesn’t need it because it doesn’t come with a safety from the factory.
Accessory #5: Quick Detach Butt Stock Takedown Scews.
It’s a screw that replaces the factory screw holding your stock on. It’s well knurled and has a slot that should fit any coin. You remove it and your stock slips right off for transport, storage, concealment, etc. It takes me less than 30 seconds to remove the stock or replace it. There’s no disadvantage to doing it. I don’t notice the screw in my hand when I grip the rifle like I thought I would. The rifles zero also shouldn’t be affected by this takedown method.
Accessory #6: M-LOK 45-70 Cartridge Quiver.
This ammo quiver will attach to any M-LOK attachment point. It’s deburred and well-machined aluminum without any sharp points. It will hold your ammo in place, even with substantial recoil. It uses proprietary O-ring retention to keep the cartridges in place.
RPP M-LOK Quiver’s are available for most cartridges chambered in lever actions.
Accessory #7: Marlin Loading Gate
The first time I tried pushing cartridges into the tubular magazine on the stock Marlin, a large shaving of brass peeled off each cartridge. It was overly tight, had sharp edges, and was difficult to load. The RPP Loading gate made a huge difference in the effort required to load it. It has substantially less spring tension and superior geometry. It’s not difficult to install and makes loading smoother, faster, easier, and doesn’t beat up your cartridges as badly. It comes in green, gold, silver (pictured), and black.
Accessory #8: Hammer Spur Extension
RPP makes this for both the Marlin and the Henry. If you’re going to run a scope, there’s a good chance it will hang over the hammer and make the hammer difficult to access. RPP’s Hammer Spur Extension is attractive, low profile, and provides enough texture to safely manipulate your hammer.
Accessory #9: Marlin Trigger.
My Marlin’s factory trigger was heavy, gritty, and long. I dropped in an RPP trigger and it still isn’t match rifle awesome, but it’s substantially better. The RPP Marlin trigger is wider and flatter. I prefer how it feels. It also dropped the trigger pull weight by several pounds and is now just under 4 pounds and smoother. It’s definitely an improvement. If your Marlin trigger has the famous flop, it will also eliminate that. It’s still not quite as good as the stock Henry trigger, but it’s close.
Ranger Point Precision has more accessories not mentioned here in this article, including sights, scope mounts, levers, and they have parts and accessories for more makes and models than we covered here. I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve seen that they make and look forward to testing new products as they develop them.
Tell us in the comments if you would ever run a “modern” lever gun. What about if you were behind enemy lines in Commifornia or New York?