Everything is a debate—pineapples on pizza, round or flat earth, and scopes mounted on lever action rifles.
Let’s discuss that last one today! Can you put a scope on a lever action rifle?
I was curious about that one myself, so I decided to try it out (but first doing my own research, of course!)
I’ll explain my results in this article and hope to achieve a little world peace by the end of this article!
- So, Can You Mount Scopes on Lever Action Rifles?
- What Is a Lever Action Rifle?
- What Sights Can I Mount on a Lever Action Rifle?
- Lever Gun Scope Recommendations
- Why Are Scopes Beneficial for a Lever Gun? [Pros]
- Why Are Scopes Not Ideal for Traditional Lever Action Rifles? [Cons]
- What to Look For in a Lever Action Rifle Scope
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
So, Can You Mount Scopes on Lever Action Rifles?
It’s a matter of personal preference.
Mounting a scope on a lever action rifle is possible and isn’t exactly a crime, but there are implications, especially concerning traditional lever actions.
The original design of traditional lever action rifles doesn’t require optic scopes to be mounted.
But with its rise, some people have been doing it, while some are shaking their heads.
What Is a Lever Action Rifle?
Lever actions are repeating firearms you can easily differentiate, thanks to the metal lever behind the trigger.
You manually pull the lever down and forward to open fire. This action ejects the cartridge and loads another.
What Is a Lever-Action Rifle Good For?
There’s a reason why traditional lever guns remain a classic despite the newer bolt-action rifles.
Think about it, why do cowboys use them?
Lever action rifles have an excellent knock-down power great for hunting, especially deer, hogs, and smaller bears!
Because it’s a repeating firearm, the loading and follow-up shots are fast.
In my experience, they’re light and not a hassle to carry. Plus, the target is easy to control!
Are Lever-Action Rifles Good for Long-Range?
Traditional lever action rifles are NOT for long-range shooting. It has a capacity for 100-120 yards only.
You can increase the power to 125 yards with good ammunition and optics. Yes, optics as in rifle scopes!
However, even my best hunting rifle scopes can only increase the power up to 125 yards at best. It may also depend on the magnification of the scope.
What Sights Can I Mount on a Lever Action Rifle?
The most common sights used for lever guns are traditional, scout scope, reflex, and red dot sights.
They don’t have magnification but serve as a guide for better aim when mounted.
Reflex sights use reflective glasses; without going into all the technicalities, it uses the basic science of reflection.
The shooter looks into the mounted reflector sight (a transparent lens) while he aims, and the light bounces back from the reticle.
They’re also called open sights, are not compatible with filters, and don’t need housing.
In my experience, reflex sights really helped with FAST target acquisition! Plus, I can shoot with both eyes open.
Red Dot Sight
Red dot sights are essentially tube sights.
As the name suggests, they look like telescopic tubes mounted on top of rifles, and you can use them with different filters.
Red dot sights align the target and reticle in one optical plane for a better target. It’s typically used for closer ranges.
I recommend red dots for better accuracy and brighter reticles.
A scout scope is mounted forward on the barrel. It has low magnification, and the lightweight characteristic makes it handy for traveling.
Additionally, a scout scope helps with fast recoil, a primary characteristic of traditional lever guns. I like it for good eye relief!
People mount a scout scope because of its good distance from the hammer.
Other scope types interfere with the parts, which is why some people don’t prefer mounting one.
A scout scope is not as bulky as traditional ones, but it’s more on the larger eyepiece that I find to be more disturbing.
Traditional hunting rifle scopes are the standard ones you usually see mounted on most bolt action rifles. Their large objective lenses make them useful in low-light situations.
Although technically compatible, I advise you to be CAREFUL in mounting the scope.
It should be mounted HIGHER to avoid contact between the objective bell and barrel.
Lever Gun Scope Recommendations
These are some lever action rifles that I’ve used to get started. No doubt you can try them as well!
1. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope Duplex
The Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 scope is a 30-30 with a 3x to 9x magnification range. It can enhance the optic sight for a target up to 400 yards away.
I like the eye relief on this scope as it can protect me from intense recoils, which frequently happens when using a traditional lever.
It’s LIGHTWEIGHT and compact, making it an excellent choice to mount on guns.
However, I wasn’t confident in the build quality. I read that it wasn’t the most weather-proof, so I didn’t want to risk it.
2. Barska 3-9×40 Riflescope 30/30 Reticle
Speaking of 30-30, this Barska scope is one of my favorites because of its magnification power that helps with extended ranges.
The eye relief is commendable, and it’s a durable, lightweight scope that you can mount perfectly without throwing off the gun-handling balance.
The only con is that the scope mounting rings are purchased separately. It’s fair, though, because this scope is affordable.
3. Burris Scout 2-7×32 Ballistic Plex Scope
I can never go wrong with a scout scope! This scope eliminates the hassle of back-and-forth adjustments during hunts!
This scout scope has a magnification range of 2x to 7x.
Although not as high as the first two, it’s already more than enough for 300 yards and a small to medium target.
But since it’s a scout scope, it requires a particular mounting setup that may require more time.
This Burris scout scope is also more expensive than a traditional scope.
4. Leupold VX-R HOG 1.25-4×20
If budget is a consideration, you can still achieve a reasonably priced but high-quality sight with this Leupold scope.
As the name suggests, this Leupold VX-R Hog scope is best for hunting hogs.
The eye relief is incredible at three to four inches, and the lenses are clear. Unfortunately, this Leupold scope doesn’t come with mounting rings.
But it’s compatible with other Leupold scope mounts, such as the Leupold Mark 30mm Matte Mount.
5. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20
We’re not Leupold-biased; it just so happened that they offer scope variations that work well with a lever gun.
This particular Leupold scope is a 45-70 that offers crisp images.
It has the Leupold signature technology called the Twilight Light Management System that helps with low-lit sights.
Staying true to the Leupold branding, this riflescope is known for its DURABILITY and performance despite being lightweight.
6. Aimpoint Pro Red Dot
You’ll enjoy the Aimpoint Pro Red Dot if you hunt in close ranges from the target. It features a 2 MOA red dot reticle that makes aiming easier.
The eye relief is excellent, and I can open both eyes while maintaining accuracy!
For more scope recommendations, here is a guide on the best 1×4 scopes to get you started!
Why Are Scopes Beneficial for a Lever Gun? [Pros]
Despite what other folks say, mounting a scope on top of your traditional lever guns increases your accuracy.
My default iron sights only do so much.
You’re good if you find compatible ones that don’t interfere with the barrel, cartridge, and rings.
Some people use iron sights for their Winchester 94 guns, while others use a 30/30 scout scope with other traditional lever action rifles.
It’s all a matter of preference!
Who doesn’t like to improve their sights?
The reality is that as some shooters grow older, eyesight tends to decline. A good rifle scope helps them maintain precision.
Why Are Scopes Not Ideal for Traditional Lever Action Rifles? [Cons]
The problems come when your scope doesn’t fit your lever action rifle.
Getting massive and expensive ones is unnecessary since you won’t need high-powered magnification for these bad boys.
Of course, having something else mounted on your lever gun is extra weight.
Lever guns are known for their easy handling characteristics, so increased weight seems to defeat the purpose.
If you want to mount sight enhancement equipment, I suggest practicing getting used to the added scout scope and maintaining proper balance.
Additionally, many people point out that these things are not meant for more intense activities – thus, riflescopes are unnecessary.
If you’re going outside the ranges, it’ll be best to use a different armor instead of putting a riflescope on a lever gun.
What to Look For in a Lever Action Rifle Scope
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect riflescope for your traditional lever.
Compatibility to the Traditional Lever Gun
The most crucial factor is its compatibility with your lever guns. Consider the SIZE if it’s blocking vital features such as the barrel and cartridge.
It would be best if you also considered the elevation mounts. There may be a false sense of sight enhancement if not done correctly.
The drop in the stock can be intense. If the line of sight is set too high, you might not be able to achieve a good cheek weld.
Lever guns have intense recoil and a high caliber.
Ensure that your sight enhancement tool mounted on your traditional lever can HANDLE the rifle.
There are various kinds, from affordable to expensive. Invest in one that can stand the test of time, based on how you use your rifle.
If you go on serious and competitive hunts, you may want to go for weather-proof ones. It’s more reasonable!
Mounting and Rings
A rifle scope is useless if you can’t mount it on top of your guns. It’s excellent if your sight comes with all mounting parts, such as rings.
But it’s not included in many instances.
This is where you have to do an excellent job in looking for the mounting parts. Ensure that you have the correct kind and sized rings and scope mounts.
Heavy-duty riflescopes will require high-quality mounting rings.
These mount rings can incur extra expenses, but it’s a worthy investment for added durability.
For an estimate, some mount rings can cost up to $260.
For a traditional lever rifle, you don’t need high-powered magnification. For the most part, you only need sight enhancement mounted for a better shot.
What matters is that they help you control the target, back, and front sight for a good aim.
Even my low-power variable scope can do that!
Weight When Mounted
No matter how good a riflescope is, it won’t do you any good if it mounts awkwardly on top of your guns.
The purpose is to improve your sight, not throw off your balance; what’s the point if it does?
Always consider if the added sight mounted on the rifle helps or not.
But you don’t have to worry since most riflescopes are compact and lightweight.
You can also mount those proven to be compatible with traditional rifles.
Okay, this is more optional; brands don’t define quality.
But of course, top-of-mind names give a bit more guarantee. For instance, Winchester is to lever rifles, and Leupold is to riflescopes.
You might have noticed that we’ve mentioned quite a few from Leupold above because it has been tried and tested.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions? Let’s address some of the FAQs in this section!
Are Lever Action Scopes Different from Regular Scopes?
Traditional lever guns don’t have (or need) scopes. However, there are regular rifle scopes that are compatible with lever action rifles.
Can You Put Red Dots on a Lever Rifle?
Having these mounted on your rifles improves sights. It’s perfect because most of these sights don’t have high magnifications.
It improves the image minus all the unnecessary weight and components.
You can browse through some of the best, affordable red dots to help you out!
What Happens if You Mounted an Incompatible Rifle Scope?
An unfit rifle scope mounted will still increase the sight but ruin the accuracy and precision.
Balance is crucial when shooting, and inaccuracies make everything pointless.
A truly enhanced sight improves the image and the entire performance of the shooter or hunter.
So, the quick answer is YES; you can have a rifle scope mounted on your traditional lever gun.
It entails some adjustments, but it’s not wrong.
The point is, don’t sweat it the next time a person mounts a rifle scope on their guns! If mounted equipment helps with better sight, then that’s great.