Reader John C sends me a pic (with all sorts of apologies) and a plaintive cry of “How can anyone do that to a lever gun?”
Strangely enough, I don’t think it’s completely horrible, especially given the times we live in. If you take away the lever action and replace it with a bolt action, it becomes a simple “chassis” rifle, e.g.
Is it ugly? Oh hell yes, and I’ve made my feelings clear about this plastic nonsense on many an occasion.
If we are going to level criticism at the chassis lever rifle (CLR), it would be this: note that while the CLR has a bipod, it’s fitted with a red-dot sight and not with a scope — and for good reason, because at its heart, the primary terrain of the lever rifle is in the deep woods, where a scope is more often than not counterproductive in that it can limit the shooter’s field of vision.
The second criticism is this: removing the standard wood stock and adding a bipod and chassis must add weight to the rifle, which therefore takes away the lever rifle’s most important features: its lightness and handiness.
All that said, I don’t have a problem with adding a bipod to a lever rifle; there are times when I, for one, would have found it quite useful — i.e. when faced with a 100-plus yard shot across a clearing in the woods.
(As an aside, if you do a search for “lever rifle with bipod”, there are precious few pics thereof, which might mean something.)
Lastly, I would suggest that unless the bipod is extended quite substantially (as in the above pic), the downward drop of the lever will slam on the ground and prevent the action from cycling properly. Shooting from prone, therefore, would be awkward.
Also, I quite like the idea of adding a red dot sight to a lever rifle, although it compromises the clean, classic shape of the thing.
So yes, the chassis lever rifle is as ugly as Nancy Pelosi with a hangover, and definitely falls foul of the maxim that “even if you can do something, there’s no reason why you should“. Frankly, though, I think its impracticality is more of a reason why it should be ignored with extreme prejudice.