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Putting the Wild in Wild West

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Lever action rifles, once “America’s Rifle”, aren’t as popular as they once were. The AR-pattern rifle has usurped its title as “America’s Rifle”, and bolt-action rifles seem to have mostly replaced lever-actions in the hunting field.

They still have their adherents, however, for being slim, handy, and fast handling.

The main ground they give up to bolt-action rifles is in overall power. The classic designs were generally limited to cartridges like .30-30 and .35 Remington which, while plenty potent for whitetail, were limited in their usefulness at range.

It was thus with some interest that we noticed a cased switch-barrel set on Wild West Gun’s booth. The takedown Co-Pilot in .457 Wild West Guns has been their flagship product for years now. Based on a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun action, the Co-Pilot in .457WWG launches 350gr bullets at about 2,300 fps. Additionally, it will fire regular .45-70 loads and you can single-load standard 2.5” .410 shotgun shells.

Already pretty versatile in just its standard configuration, the switch-barrel set adds more versatility via two new chamberings based on the necked-down .457WWG case. The first is the .35WWG, which fires a 180gr bullet at about 2800 feet per second.

What caught our eye, though, was the .30WWG. This cartridge fired a 150gr Speer Hot-Cor at about 3,000 feet per second, which is getting into .300 Win Mag territory. Out of a lever-action rifle. So much for leverguns not having enough velocity.

Wild West Guns sets the rifles up with several upgrades over the factory parts, including their proprietary extractor and aluminum magazine follower. A 3-pound trigger tune completes the package.

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