A lever-action firearm usually has a shorter barrel, is lighter to carry, and is easy to operate for follow-up shots. A popular style of action among rifles, it is a good choice if you are hunting in thick brush (remember to cover the trigger guard to protect the trigger). Most lever-actions have a loading gate where the cartridges are pushed into a tubular magazine. To load a cartridge from the magazine, grasp the lever and swing it down and away from you. Make sure that the barrel is pointed in a safe direction. Next, swing the lever up and towards you. This releases a cartridge from the magazine, chambers the cartridge and closes the action. After you load, engage the safety if your lever action has one; otherwise, place the hammer at half-cock position. After firing the lever action, swing the lever down and away from you to eject the cartridge.
Unloading and Inspection
To safely unload a lever action, point the muzzle in a safe direction. Swing the lever forward and back again - do this as many time as required until no more cartridges are ejected, then leave the action open. With your eyes and finger, inspect the chamber to ensure there is no chambered cartridge. Say the word "empty" when you are certain the firearm is unloaded.
SAFETY FIRST! Many lever action firearms do not have a safety to engage before unloading the firearm, and unloading a cartridge will usually cock the hammer. Be EXTREMELY careful to keep your fingers out of the trigger guard and away from the trigger! KNOW YOUR FIREARM!