Click pictures for a larger version.
It has been almost two and one-half years
since I fired and reviewed the Model 89
lever gun from Big Horn Armory. At that time, the rifle was
in prototype form, but the guns are now finally in production,
and I have been shooting serial number 25, to get a feel for how
well the production rifles are shooting, handling, and
The lever gun shown here is the rifle
version, that has the twenty-two inch barrel and short five-shot
magazine, for a total loaded capacity of six. The rifle is built
primarily of stainless steel and walnut, just like the carbine
that I reviewed in 2010. However, the stainless steel receiver
and barrel of this rifle wears Big Horn’s Hunter Black finish,
which is a non-glare, durable finish that looks great on this
rifle. The sights are a brass bread front, and an adjustable
rear aperture that rides on the bolt at the rear. This is a very
good sight combination, and works very well in most lighting
conditions. The walnut is figured very well, and fancy walnut
with checkering is available for additional cost, as well as
custom engraving. The rifle is specified to weigh in at seven
pounds, fourteen ounces, but weight will vary a bit, depending
upon the density of the particular wood. The test rifle weighted
in at eight and one-quarter pounds, measuring 40.25 inches in
overall length. The length-of-pull measured 13.75 inches.
I went into detail on the construction of
this Big Horn rifle in my earlier review, so won’t plow the
same ground here again, but refer the
reader to that review for details.
The chart below lists the velocities of the
ammunition fired in this Big Horn rifle. I am including the data
from the previous review for comparison, as I was curious to see
if the four extra inches of barrel would add significantly to
the carbine velocities. Also, I have been shooting a new load
from Buffalo Bore that wasn’t available to me back when I
wrote the previous review. This load uses the excellent Barnes
375 grain XPB bullet, that is built for good flight
characteristics and terminal performance. These bullets
penetrate very well, and expand dramatically. Velocities were
recorded at twelve feet from the muzzle, at an elevation of 541
feet above sea level, with an air temperature of thirty-five
degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of seventy-two percent.
Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). JHP is a
jacketed hollow point bullet. DPX is an homogenous copper hollow
point bullet. JSP is a jacketed soft point bullet. WFN is an LBT-style
hard-cast lead bullet with a wide, flat meplat. Please note that
the air temperature was higher when recording the velocities of
the carbine loads back in 2010, but the ammunition temperature
was close to the same. XPB is the Barnes homogenous copper
|Buffalo Bore XPB
Velocity increased slightly in the longer
barrel with some loads, and significantly with other loads.
Accuracy was very good. I tested for accuracy from the bench
using the new Target
Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 Rifle Rest with optional Recoil Pad,
which allowed for a steady hold, and no pain at all to the
shooter’s shoulder. Recoil is not too bad from this Big Horn
rifle, as the recoil pad and stock design do a good job of
absorbing the recoil, but long testing sessions at the bench can
start to beat up the shooter a bit, so the Target Shooting rest
was greatly appreciated, as it absorbed all of the recoil from
this 500 magnum rifle. Being as I did not have the optional
scope mount available to me, I bench-tested for accuracy at
fifty yards, with groups measuring between one inch and two and
one-half inches, depending upon the ammunition used. The Buffalo
Bore load turned in the best accuracy. Groups pictured are
representative of the ammo shown.
The Big Horn rifle performed flawlessly;
feeding, firing, and ejecting perfectly. As with any Levergun,
the action should be worked quickly for best performance. These
Big Horn rifles are shipping now, and are made in the USA. They
offer a lot of performance and power, and are capable of taking
any game on the planet.
Check out the rifles and options offered by
Big Horn Armory online at www.bighornarmory.com.
Big Horn Armory sells direct to individuals,
with shipment to your favorite licensed gun dealer.
To order any of the high performance 500
S&W Magnum ammo shown here, go to www.cor-bon.com
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Click pictures for a larger version.
Left to right: 400-grain JSP handload, Cor-Bon
500-grain hard-cast lead, Buffalo Bore 375-grain XPB, Cor-Bon
Accuracy testing using the Target
Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest with recoil pad.