Earlier, we talked about one of the classics of American television: The Rifleman. Here's the introduction to the show:
A couple commentors added some clarification about McCain's rifle. Earl said:
With care one can modify a lever action rifle to fire semi-automatically. The work is not something that a garage level gunsmith could handle. John M. Browning used a Winchester lever action rifle for early experiments in developing a self-loading rifle mechanism.
In The Rifleman, the rifle was a Winchester Model 92 with a lever fitted so that as the lever was closed the trigger was pulled. Such a rifle was not a semi-automatic but a manually cycled rifle. A semi-automatic rifle uses either gas pressure or recoil energy to operate the mechanism of the rifle.
Jeff the Baptist wrote:
You can't modify a lever action rifle to fire semi-automatically. By definition, it would cease to be a lever-action rifle at that point.The '92 used on the rifleman was reworked so that it could fire whenever the lever was closed. The prop gun used a set screw so they could turn this feature on or off.His rifle also had the classic big loop lever. What's funny is that this feature was not added for the rifle-spinnging trick shots, but because Chuck Connors had such huge hands that he couldn't fit them in a standard lever.
Here's a video of trick shooter Mike DiMuzio using the same model rifle:
I have nothing to add except that my fondness for the show is probably coloring my consideration of a first gun: the Marlin 1894C .357 lever-action rifle, pictured below.
My father-in-law thinks that I'm not being practical and should just get a shotgun. Well, it's a pipe dream anyway. I can't afford either gun and don't have the time to learn how to use it.
Jeff the Baptist has thoughts about first guns, which influenced my thinking, as well as Westerns.