• Digital Magazine
        • Single Issues
        • Annual
  • Insider

Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Smith & Wesson 1854 .44 Magnum Lever-Action Rifle Review

S&W Dives In To Help Redefine The Modern Lever-Action Game

Over the last few years, there has been a welcome resurgence in the classic lever-action rifle. Partially driven by the new “tactical” modifications, there has also been growth in classic design sales. Following that new growth, Smith & Wesson showed off a new rifle at the 2024 SHOT Show. The Model 1854 lever-action rifle melds precision engineering and timeless design with modern features, including M-Lok slots and a Picatinny rail for optics.

Smith & Wesson’s Modern Touches

The Smith & Wesson 1854 is a side-gate-loading lever gun chambered in .44 Magnum. This rifle comes with a set of XS Sights pre-installed at the factory. The system consists of a brass-beaded blade up front and a ghost-ring sight at the rear. The rear sight is set into the last two notches of a 4.75-inch long, 11-slot Picatinny rail. Its 19.25-inch barrel sports a 1:20-inch twist, eight-groove rifling, and a muzzle threaded at 11/16-24 TPI to accommodate popular big-bore muzzle devices including compensators and suppressors. A thread protector is provided. Overall length is a handy 36 inches.

Smith & Wesson 1854 .44 Magnum Lever-Action Rifle
Loading and shooting Smith & Wesson’s 1854 was smooth right out of the box. The gun called for zero break-in time.

The Smith & Wesson 1854 has other great features such as a large loop handle for running the action, a modern flat trigger, and a removable magazine tube. The polymer forend has a traditional rounded profile with panels of molded-in stipple-type texturing. The stainless steel cap features a flush-fit sling mounting port that pairs with a sling swivel stud set into the shoulder stock. The controls include a spurred hammer and a push-button, cross-bolt safety. The three-position hammer can rest fully forward, set to a partially cocked position, or be fully cocked either manually or by cycling the lever. It also has a compact style optics rail, which is a nice feature. The ability to add an optic to this classic gun is a tip of the hat by S&W to those who want to do some serious hunting with the rifle. 

S&W 1854 Range Report

On the range, the 1854 was a winner. Even with the .44 Magnum rounds, the gun was easy to run. This is one of the benefits of chambering a lever gun in a pistol cartridge. Cycling was smooth, and the flat trigger had a good break at about 5 pounds. Of special note, loading the 9+1-round-capacity gun was surprisingly easy. I say surprisingly because in most lever guns there is a break-in period required to smooth it out. The 1854 was smooth right out of the box. A side note: If the .44 Magnum is a bit frisky for you, the rifle will also run .44 Special. While the gun is a classic hunter, it also has excellent home-defense applications. If you live in a state with restrictive gun laws, lever guns are typically still allowed. 

Ready For The Trail?

If you are a lever gun connoisseur or maybe just entering the lever gun world, you should take a serious look at the S&W 1854.


Pairs Well With…

If you’re looking for fast target acquisition and accelerated accuracy in EOTECH’s smallest non-NV HWS package, look no further than the XPS2. At 3.8 x 2.1 x 2.5 inches, the XPS2 is a great compact and lightweight (9 oz.) option for any rifle platform. MSRP is $629. (eotechinc.com)

Specifications: S&W 1854 .44 Magnum Lever-Action Rifle

Caliber: .44 Magnum

Barrel: 19.5 inches

OA Length: 36 inches

Weight: 6 pounds, 12 ounces (empty)

Sights: XS Sights brass bead blade front, ghost ring rear

Action: Lever

Stock: Textured black polymer; soft rubber recoil pad

Finish: Matte stainless steel; matte-black appointments

Capacity: 9+1

MSRP: $1,280

URL: smith-wesson.com

S&W 1854 .44 magnum lever-action rifle

smith & wesson 1854 walnut lever action rifle

Editor’s Note: The Smith & Wesson 1854 just got a “Traditional” upgrade option! That’s right, the 1854 is now available with Walnut furniture. SKU 13809 carries all the same specs as above, but with the stunning furniture upgrade, the MSRP rises to $1,399. Learn more at smith-wesson.com.

Disclaimer: We may earn a modest commission from the sales generated by our affiliate links. Thanks for supporting us!

Lever-Action Rifle Resurgence & M1 Garand Rifle Facts
Did you enjoy this story? SUBSCRIBE today to get more like this!

Leave a Comment

Trending articles

Related articles

Shopping Cart

You’ll hear from us one time per week!

The Latest Content
Hook & Barrel INSIDER
Sneak Previews of  Upcoming Issues
Exclusive Discounts & Special Offers