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Top Selling Guns | January 2024

Could we be poised for a lever-action revolution?

Top Selling Guns | January 2024

The annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas serves as a springboard for new firearm models as well as a sort of divining rod that indicates the direction in which the industry is moving. In recent years AR rifles, precision bolt guns, and optics-ready pistols have been all the rage, but in 2024 a surprising subcategory of guns seems poised to make a major comeback: lever-action rifles.

There were almost a dozen new lever-action rifles on display at this year’s show. Henry released their new Lever Action Supreme Rifle (LASR), the company’s bid to develop a lever gun that’s capable of bolt-action accuracy. Winchester’s value-priced Ranger .22 rifle was a major hit, and Marlin continues to expand its catalog with the addition of the 1895 Dark model. Rossi released R95 .45-70 and Uberti has a new Hunter version of their 1873 rifle complete with a forward-mounted Picatinny rail for mounting optics.

Perhaps most surprising, though, was the number of new lever-action guns offered by companies that have not traditionally played in that market. Smith & Wesson’s new Model 1854 .44 Magnum pays homage to the company’s very first lever gun, but it’s been quite a while since a S&W-branded lever-action hit the market. Even Aero Precision and Stag Arms, which have historically offered bolt-actions and AR rifles and accessories, both got in the lever gun game this year.

Is this lever-action renaissance a result of growing interest in straight-wall cartridges, an effort to sell tactical/defense-style rifles in areas where semiautos are restricted by local law, or simply the product of renewed interest in an aging platform? It’s likely a combination of the three, and gun companies are certainly noticing how popular Marlin firearms have become since the brand was purchased by Ruger and want to capitalize on this newfound interest in lever-actions. Whatever the reason, a whole new generation of lever guns has arrived.

two Henry Big Boy lever-action rifles
Henry Big Boy lever-action rifles.

Ruling the Lever-Action Roost

In the week following SHOT Show and the launch of so many new lever-actions, we’re taking a look at which lever-actions are best-sellers on January’s GunBroker.com Top Selling Report, presented by GunGenius.com. Two companies represent 80% of the best-selling models for both new and used lever-actions—Henry and Marlin. Henry rifles occupy three of the top five spots for best-selling new rifles. The company’s Big Boy rifles rank first in new lever-action sales and Henry’s Side Gate lever actions rank second, positions that both guns held the previous month. Moving up into fifth place for January 2024 is Henry’s Golden Boy. Other lever-actions that made the list are Rossi’s 92, which places third in new rifle sales, and Marlin’s 1895, which places fourth.

Henry Golden Boy Silver (top) and Marlin 1895 SBL (bottom) lever-action rifles
Henry Golden Boy Silver (top) and Marlin 1895 SBL (bottom) lever-action rifles.

Henry’s rifles are clearly in high demand, and they have been since the Civil War. Benjamin Tyler Henry developed his lever-action repeater in 1860 and two years later Union troops began using these rifles. It was immediately apparent that Henry’s rifles would change the course of the war and all armed conflicts in the future. A handful of soldiers with Henry 1860 .44 Rimfire rifles was a lethal fighting force, even when substantially outnumbered by musket-bearing enemies. It’s no understatement to say that Benjamin Tyler Henry’s shaped the outcome of the Civil War and, as a result, the country’s destiny.

Anthony Imperato secured the Henry trademark in 1996 and he and his father Louis began producing .22 lever-action rifles in Brooklyn, New York the following year. The Henry brand has grown substantially over the years and is now one of the top-selling firearms brands in the country. Headquartered in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, the company currently employs 800 people and the brand’s three manufacturing facilities total 350,000 square feet. Their guns are all manufactured in the United States.

Marlin 336 (top) and Winchester Model 94 (bottom) lever-action rifles

Marlin 336 (top) and Winchester Model 94 (bottom) lever-action rifles.

A single Henry model appears on this month’s best-selling used lever-action list: the company’s Big Boy rifles remain the fifth most popular used lever-action rifle according to GunBroker.com. The Model 336, Model 1895, and Model 1894 occupy the second, third, and fourth-place positions (respectively) among used lever actions this month. Marlin was founded in 1870 by John Marlin and produced a variety of sporting arms, but by World War I the company was manufacturing machine guns for the military. Marlin’s 1895, 1894, and 336 rifles competed chiefly against Winchester rifles, but the Marlin’s solid-top design made them more suitable for mounting magnified optics.

In 2007 Marlin was purchased by Remington. When Remington’s assets were sold in late 2020 Ruger purchased Marlin and has slowly begun ramping up production and adding new models and variants to the Marlin line. These rifles were in very high demand immediately and remain so today.

1860 Henry Uberti Replica (top) and Henry Brass Lever Action .30-30 (bottom) rifles
1860 Henry Uberti Replica (top) and Henry Brass Lever Action .30-30 (bottom) rifles

Marlin and Henry occupy second through fifth place on this month’s list of best-selling rifles at gunbroker.com, but which rifle claims the top spot? Winchester’s Model 1894. Known universally as the ’94, the Winchester has been a best-selling rifle for decades and generations of shooters have learned to love this gun. John Browning designed the 1894 and licensed it to Winchester that year. Originally these rifles were chambered for black powder .32-40 and .38-55 cartridges, but the following year the 1894 was available in the then-new .30 WCF, or .30-30. The .30-30 was a smokeless cartridge that offered better reliability and improved performance over older black powder cartridges, and the Winchester 94 became one of the best-selling hunting rifles of all time. Even a century after it was first released the 94 is still in high demand, a testament to the rifle and its brilliant designer. To date over seven million Model 94s have been sold, so to say that the used market for these rifles is robust is an understatement.

Looking Ahead

It will be interesting to revisit the best-selling lever-action list at gunbroker.com this time next year. Will any of the new models we saw released in Las Vegas this year occupy a top-five position twelve months from now? We’ll have to wait and see. What’s clear is that today’s shooters are rediscovering lever-actions, and this classic rifle design will survive well into the future.

Top Selling Guns Sold in January 2024

Source: gungenius.com/top-selling/

To learn more or shop for any of the guns listed, visit Gun Genius at www.gungenius.com/top-selling.

Editor's note: In the report, guns are rated from one to five within each category, with the number one gun being the most popular that month. The numbers are color-coded to show any changes in the ranks from the previous report.

Black = Steady
Green = Up
Red = Down

Source: gungenius.com/top-selling/

To learn more or shop for any of the guns listed, visit Gun Genius at www.gungenius.com/top-selling.




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