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Why didn't Ruger make a rifle-cartridge lever action?

This is a discussion on Why didn't Ruger make a rifle-cartridge lever action? within the Ruger Lever-Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; ^^^^^^^^Let me sell you a nice Savage in a .308...........LOL!!!! I have said I don't like the Savage, so why do I have one? For ...


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Old December 6th, 2016, 01:50 PM   #16
 
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^^^^^^^^Let me sell you a nice Savage in a .308...........LOL!!!!

I have said I don't like the Savage, so why do I have one? For whatever reason my dad wanted one in a 308 so I bought it. His health never got good enough for him to shoot again before he passed. So he never saw it, nor did I ever even tell him I bought it for him. He wanted one, I bought one, but never gave it to him, so I really have no attachment as it was never really his.




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Old December 6th, 2016, 05:52 PM   #17
 
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Thanks, gents. Very informative. The lever action market is more traditional than I expected. I did not realize Henry offered lever actions in 223, 243, and 308. I just saw the Long Ranger on their website - intriguing. Even if it is closely based on the Browning, Henry deserves credit for taking the risk and offering their version. 6-lug rotary head bolt, free floating barrel, detachable box magazine... what's there not to like? I like hunting guns in stainless/laminate, but I doubt Henry will offer that if they are sticking to traditional looks. But that's fine, it has my attention.
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Old December 6th, 2016, 06:09 PM   #18
 
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I just saw that Henry does offer stainless / laminate rifles in their "All-Weather" line. So, I'll wait and see.
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Old December 6th, 2016, 06:13 PM   #19
 
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Upon a closer look, they are finished with a hard chrome plating on all metal surfaces (except springs and sights), and a durable industrial-grade coating on hardwood furniture. Sounds useful to me.
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Old December 6th, 2016, 06:45 PM   #20
 
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Because HAMMERLESS lever guns don't sell well......Case in point......Win 88.....Sako Finnwolf.....Ruger 96........Only hammerless lever gun that ever sold well was the Savage 99....And time killed it too...........
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Old December 6th, 2016, 06:56 PM   #21
 
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[QUOTE=Ivan Ruger;2586650]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Model 52 View Post
However, my question was specifically about Ruger developing lever-action rifles chambered in typical lever-action calibers such as 30-30, 35 Whelan, and 45-70. If Ruger adopted proven designs such as the Mauser, Garand, M14, and M1 Carbine, why stop there? Why not come up with an adaptation of something that worked in a lever-action in these calibers?

I figure someone on this forum knows if Ruger considered it, and what his reasoning was for not pursuing it.
It's just a matter of market share and sales potential.

As I noted above, the Win 88 and Savage 99 had a very narrow market in the first place, tucked between bolt action rifles and traditional lever action rifles, and shooters from other camp were just not interested in a "modern" lever action repeating rifle. In the 1990s Savage was the only company still serving that market and it finally discontinued the Model 99 in 1998 as apparently 100% of that market still wasn't enough.

Ruger got into the DA revolver business and in particular the law enforcement market in the early 1970s when S&W had it all but sewn up (and Colt had most of the rest) and Ruger still succeeded. I suspect that had a market actually existed for a modern repeating lever gun, Ruger would have pursued it.
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Old December 6th, 2016, 09:44 PM   #22
 
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Google Winchester Model 88 and you'll get a pretty good idea why Ruger did not pursue a lever action rifle chambered for high pressure rifle cartridges.

Winchester introduced the Model 88 in 1955 and it used a rotating bolt actuated by a lever. It was a very state of the art design with good aesthetics and performance chambered in modern short action calibers. The .243 and .308 iterations sold fairly well while the .284 and .358 didn't, but the rifle over all just didn't have much of a market and it was discontinued in 1973.

Bolt action fans were never going to buy one, and lever action fans were happy with the Model 94, etc. Plus, the Savage Model 99 had a reputation for growing headspace with high pressure rounds and that reputation probably rubbed off on potential Model 88 customers who didn't understand the significant differences in the locking systems.

Not much had changed in the 20 years since the Model 88 was discontinued, so in effect, Ruger would have been competing with used Winchester Model 88 rifles and carbines for sales to what turned out to be a very, very small market that wasn't enough to keep Winchester in the game, let alone justify Ruger's development costs to get in the game.
??? I see nowhere in the OP's post about a lever action in .243, .308, .284, or .358. He specifically mentions typical lever action calibers such as .30-30 and .45-70. How did you come up with 'high pressure rifle cartridges' from the original post?
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Old December 7th, 2016, 06:32 AM   #23
 
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It helps to remember that the Model 96 was essentially just a 10/22 with a lever attached to the bolt. Really. If you disassemble one you will see how dead-nutz simple it was to come up with the little lever-action. This was possible because the .22's pressure and recoil could be handled by this simple linkage. This was also apparently adequate for the .44 version, as well. A full-on centerfire rifle version would have required something considerably more robust, as evidenced by Wincheser, Marlin, and all the rest.

So, the 96 was a quick-and-dirty offering with hardly any engineering or manufacturing changes, and it could be offered with little chance of losing money big time. A marketing dream with manufacturing's blessing.


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Old December 9th, 2016, 05:53 PM   #24
 
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[QUOTE=msp3903;2589786]^^^^^^^^Let me sell you a nice Savage in a .308...........LOL!!!!QUOTE]

Are you serious?
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Old December 9th, 2016, 06:42 PM   #25
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firescout View Post
??? I see nowhere in the OP's post about a lever action in .243, .308, .284, or .358. He specifically mentions typical lever action calibers such as .30-30 and .45-70. How did you come up with 'high pressure rifle cartridges' from the original post?
That's what I was wondering. However, I hesitate to complain when other forum members don't answer the right questions because most of the posts are well intentioned and usually informative - even if they don't really answer my specific question. The high-pressure distraction gave me an idea (more on that later). In the end, a few members answered the question, each in their own way. It seems Ruger didn't think there was enough profit in the lever action, apparently because:

1. The market for traditional looking (external hammer) lever-action in typical lever-action calibers was limited and competition was tight. I don't think this was the more heavily weighed factor because Ruger has historically jumped into markets full of competition.

2. There was no market for modern (no external hammer) lever-action regardless of calibers (competition irrelevant) because of the traditional culture of the lever-action market. This was probably the real reason, because if Ruger had entered the lever-action market, they probably would not have simply made a traditional lever-action, they probably would have developed a modern rendition of the lever-action with some never-before-seen features. After all, that's what they historically have done. But Ruger wasn't going going to do that if it wasn't going to sell.

As for my idea... I now think it would be kind of cool if Ruger made a lever-action version of the Gunsite Scout rifle with all its features such as adjustable length of pull, scout scope mounting rail, muzzle brake, and all. Why not? After all, Henry now offers the Long Ranger, which AGAIN proves that it is possible to mimic another design without infringing on the patent. Sure, it would require R&D and money for Ruger to design a new gun, but that's the whole idea... ingenuity... make something new and different than what the competition does. For most shooters, it would be faster than the bolt, and with the right design, would be strong and accurate.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 04:35 PM   #26
 
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I actually see a possible future in a modern slide action (pump) carbine, both in smaller rifle calibers, such as .30-30, and pistol calibers. It would be fed from a detachable box magazine below the receiver, so that all styles of bullet profiles could be used in such a rifle. Tubular magazines have two main limitations: flat/round bullet noses are required and they are slow to reload.

Being a 'manual action' rifle, it would exempt from any stupid anti semi-auto laws, but would still offer the fastest accurate repeat shots. An inate problem with a lever action rifle is that it requires one to disturb their trigger finger hand in order to manipulate the action.

I think it is a splendid idea...
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Old December 11th, 2016, 05:05 PM   #27
 
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[QUOTE=Ivan Ruger;2598866]
Quote:
Originally Posted by msp3903 View Post
^^^^^^^^Let me sell you a nice Savage in a .308...........LOL!!!!QUOTE]

Are you serious?
VERY serious. I have a really clean Savage 99 in 308 that I have zero use for and will never shoot
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Old December 11th, 2016, 06:57 PM   #28
 
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I wished that Model 99 was a .243 I would be making arrangements for pymt!!! Those rifle's do have quite the value these days!!!
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Old December 14th, 2016, 05:48 PM   #29
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firescout View Post
I actually see a possible future in a modern slide action (pump) carbine, both in smaller rifle calibers, such as .30-30, and pistol calibers. It would be fed from a detachable box magazine below the receiver, so that all styles of bullet profiles could be used in such a rifle. Tubular magazines have two main limitations: flat/round bullet noses are required and they are slow to reload.

Being a 'manual action' rifle, it would exempt from any stupid anti semi-auto laws, but would still offer the fastest accurate repeat shots. An inate problem with a lever action rifle is that it requires one to disturb their trigger finger hand in order to manipulate the action.

I think it is a splendid idea...
Yep, you are not alone with that splendid idea. I thought of it as well, but didn't get into here because it's the lever-action part of the forum, but I suppose this is the next closest thing. Lever-actions, slide-actions, and bolt-actions have their own advantages and disadvantages over each other. In general, and assuming all three use a box magazine, bolts are strong and inherently accurate, but slowest of the three; levers are faster but typically weaker actions and don't lend themselves well to shooting from the prone; slides are fastest but don't lend themselves well to shooting quickly supported because the forend moves to cycle the slide action. I would love to own all three if Ruger made them. It would be neat if the slides and levers sold well enough to keep them in production, but probably never as well as the semiautomatics and bolt-actions.
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