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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 13:22
RifleDude View Drop Down
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I recently picked up an interesting new rifle and thought I'd share with my fellow OT'ers.

It's the Big Horn Armory Model 89, in .500 S&W. For those unfamiliar with BHA, they are a new company out of Cody, WY who manufactures a line of lever action rifles that are an interesting blend of "old" and "new."

I first heard about BHA a couple years ago, when they began placing ads for their Model 89 in gun magazines. I was intrigued by their concept but for at least 2 years after their announcement, actual rifles were nowhere to be found. I sorta wrote this gun off as a unicorn and moved on with life, skeptical of whether it would ever be available, while at the same time keeping my eyes and ears open on the gun auction sites. I finally located a nice one about 3 weeks ago, my sickness took hold, and it found a loving home.

At first glance, the rifle looks just like a Winchester 1886 when you look at the loading gate design and receiver contours. Yet it's a little smaller than the '86, but larger than a Winchester '92. The '92 action is too small to accommodate the .500 S&W, and the '86 too large. Neither is designed to handle the 60K psi max pressure of the .500. So, rather than produce an exact reproduction of an existing classic lever action and attempting to engineer it to accept higher pressures than the design permits, BHA instead created their own action halfway between the size of the '92 and '86 (hence the reason for the "Model 89" designation), out of a superior steel. The result of their efforts is a unique action that looks like a scaled down Winchester '86, built entirely out of CNC machined 17-4 PH stainless, which has very high tensile strength.

BHA offers 2 versions of the 89, a "carbine" version with 18" barrel and 7-shot tube magazine, and a "rifle" version with 22" barrel and 5-shot magazine. The standard version of either has natural matte stainless finish with a decent grade of uncheckered American walnut stock and forend. They also offer a "hunter black" finish, which is the same salt-bath black nitride finish used on many guns today as a better wearing, more corrosion resistant alternative to bluing. BHA also offers wood upgrades and checkering, as well as different front sight designs as options. The rear sight is a special Marble's aperture sight specifically made for this rifle. They also offer both carbine and rifle models in a Model 90 version in .460 S&W.

My M89 is the "rifle" version with the "hunter black" finish, wood upgrade, checkering, and fiber optic front sight. It is extremely well-made, with great fit and finish and parts mated to tight tolerances. Again, it's a beautifully executed blend of nostalgia and modern manufacturing. Here she is:










Note the rear aperture sight is attached directly to the bolt. Having the sight mounted on a moving component is rather odd, but bolt to receiver fit is very tight, and it does make for a very "clean" setup, without any protrusions from the side of the receiver...



The forearm has a nice swell in the center, providing a secure grip and good feel in the support hand...




The action is tight, but it operates very smoothly. Like some other lever actions, you have to work the lever "like you mean it," or you may get a misfeed. I never had any misfeeds as long as I cycled the lever quickly.



The front sling swivel stud is machined integrally into the forend cap, a nice touch...



I've now had 3 range sessions with it. It shoots great! This is a typical rested 5-shot group at 50 yards. Not bad for open sights, where the front sight completely covers the target.



As for recoil, full house 450 gr loads can be a bit salty (feels about like a .375 H&H), but 300 - 350 gr loads aren't bad at all. The rifle's 8 lb weight and its thick recoil pad make it relatively pleasant to shoot. One can expect 400-500 fps velocity increase out of the .500 S&W fired from the M89 vs a revolver length barrel!

Before anyone asks... no, I'm not going to scope it! It shoots plenty well enough for the purpose I have in mind for it: a potent close range feral hog thumper. Plus, I think a scope spoils the classic appeal and handling qualities of a rifle like this, not to mention it has nice open sights.

My only complaint is the loading gate provides minimal clearance for the rounds, so inserting rounds is a tricky exercise for my big, clumsy thumb. If I had to load this rifle multiple times in quick succession, my thumb would be sore for sure!

So there you have it: beauty and brawn! A 450 grain bullet leaving the muzzle at around 1800+ fps packs quite a wallop! 

Overall, I think Big Horn Armory hit a grand slam home run with this rifle!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 13:31
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Very sexy! Man, those hogs are gonna hate it.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 13:41
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Beautiful Stick!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 13:59
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Very cool.  So I gotta ask, are they really $3500 smackers?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 14:02
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No, not even close. I paid $2600 for mine.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 14:05
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The bidness end...


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 14:17
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I would like one in .454 casull, that would be cool. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 14:25
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That is a beautiful gun Ted. It is very interesting they mount the sight to the bolt. I understand why you would not mount a scope on it. But also because I never much liked scopes on top eject Winchesters.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 14:39
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Jeez! With the barrel on that thing I'm hearing "up 200 left 50 fire for effect" LOL!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 15:11
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Stunning Ted
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 15:51
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Gorgeous!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 16:37
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Very nice.  Great to see manufacture's adding beautiful wood to lever guns in big bore calibers.  I have a Steve's Gunz Rossi 92 in 454 Casull but their Model 90 carbine looks very tempting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 18:49
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Very nice!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 21:34
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That is beautiful… does it, perchance, come in 45/70?  Very aggressive grain… It is reminiscent of the custom 30-06 (in wood quality) I sold years ago. I've always regretted getting rid of that rifle… it was the "prettiest" I've ever owned.  I wouldn't do it again….


Well, I went and looked… .500S&W, .460S&W, .454 Casull.  .500 looks like a very good choice...

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2016 at 21:46
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Schweet!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 04:48
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Ted, the next step is a Turnbull.

😎
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 07:06
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I saw this thread yesterday just after Ted posted it, but didn't have time to comment, but that is a beautiful rifle. I like that it's a miniaturized 1886 Winchester action, it just seems cool for the big revolver rounds. Can't say I'm crazy about the rear sight, but I also don't like scopes on lever actions either. As It's set up though, it is a handy rifle, and it just fits Ted, and Ted is RifleDude.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:13
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Ted (RifleDude) does have a reputation to uphold! Sweet stick to be sure.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:21
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Thanks, guys. You know Lynn, I wasn't real crazy about the rear sight either initially, but it's grown on me. Mounting the sight directly on the top of the bolt is weird and unconventional to say the least, but I certainly like the fact It doesn't involve the base being mounted on the side of the receiver, as is usually the case on aperture sights for lever actions. This makes for a cleaner, more low profile setup with minimal protrusions. Having the aperture that far back also keeps the sight radius as long as possible, which improves aiming precision. It works, and the rifle shoots well, so I guess that's ultimately what matters.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:30
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Ted You know I fell in love when I saw the stock.   Beautiful rifle!


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:32
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Now THAT is a rifle!!!  ( None of them icky black rifles that spray all them woodchuck bullets out if a banana clip that Dianne Feinstein says are bad!!! )   Shocked 



                         Thunbs Up 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:39
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Thanks, guys. You know Lynn, I wasn't real crazy about the rear sight either initially, but it's grown on me. Mounting the sight directly on the top of the bolt is weird and unconventional to say the least, but I certainly like the fact It doesn't involve the base being mounted on the side of the receiver, as is usually the case on aperture sights for lever actions. This makes for a cleaner, more low profile setup with minimal protrusions. Having the aperture that far back also keeps the sight radius as long as possible, which improves aiming precision. It works, and the rifle shoots well, so I guess that's ultimately what matters.


Yeah, I thought about the base being attached to the side of the receiver being more appropriate, but that setup is not as clean as what you have, and unless that bolt gets really worn, you'll never have an issue with the sight being off. It just looks a little weird, but it functions better than being mounted on the barrel over the chamber, and probably just as accurate if not more.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 08:44
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Ted, my deluxe 71 came with a bolt peep.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 13:56
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Ted you give me a Chubbie
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2016 at 14:16
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Laugh Above
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