Ultimate badassery

What’s more badass than a classic lever-action rifle?

If you answered “nothing,” you get partial credit. That would have been my answer too. But apparently, this exists. Yes, lever-action rifles have been made — and presumably, somewhere, also used — with bayonets.

Check it out.

Winchester Model 1873 with bayonet.
Winchester Model 1873 with bayonet. (photo courtesy of invaluable.com)

According to the auction site, this rifle was manufactured and shipped in 1903. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was meant to go to Russia; I’ve heard that the Russian military ordered a bunch of Winchester lever-action rifles for the Crimean War. (Whether they ever saw use in the war is a different question.)

Interestingly, this here badass rifle is called a “lever action musket.” We think of muskets as ancient things with smooth bores — like the famous British Brown Bess, for instance — but for a long time any full-sized military long gun was a “musket.” (Shorter guns were called carbines, and still are.)

Semi-political side note: You want to know one reason why I scoff at the notion that gun bans could ever remove firearms from a populace that really wants them? This gun was designed 145 years ago and manufactured 114 years ago. And it’s still in fine condition, ready to take aim and fire.

You could hunt deer, defend your home, or fight a war with it right now. With only a little bit of practice, a lever-action rifle like this one can put a bullet on target every second. Ammunition for a gun this old is going to be hard to find, but it can be scraped up in stores or even made at home if you’re motivated. And when the ammo runs out, you can affix the bayonet and get medieval.

Guns are very durable. Kept indoors away from the elements, they can last decades. Centuries, if they’re treated well. Also, guns are not super difficult to manufacture. Tribesmen in Afghanistan are making serviceable AK-47 rifles with hand tools in tiny stone huts that don’t even have electricity.

Now consider the fact that law-abiding citizens in the U.S. own upwards of 350 million guns (and nobody knows how many the criminals have, cuz they aren’t telling), and that there are billions of guns floating around the world…and tell me again how you’re going to take enough of them out of circulation to keep bad people from getting hold of them.

Keeping them away from people who naturally want to obey the law is easy. But the people we really need to worry about, they don’t care about laws. You think gun control could be a big success in America, let alone worldwide? Ha! We can’t even keep a legit shithole like North Korea from developing nuclear bombs.

Now let’s get back on topic…

Here’s something even better than the 1873 Winchester: an 1866 Winchester “yellow boy” rifle with bayonet lug. The great thing about this is that the bayonet is also a (somewhat) functional knife. And the attachment system is genius. Here you can see how the bayonet’s crossguard slips over the barrel of the rifle and engages the front sight. For extra stability, and so that it doesn’t slip off, a bayonet lug has been machined into the barrel band. You can’t see it here because it’s slotted into the handle, but it’s clearly visible if you go here and enlarge the photo.

Bayonet attached to a Winchester lever-action rifle
Bayonet attached to a Winchester lever-action rifle


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