Big Horn Armory Black Thunder 89BT, the tactical lever-action rifle in .500 S&W

Big Horn Armory was founded in 2008 in Cody, in the U.S. state of Wyoming, with the intention of designing and manufacturing a Browning-type lever action rifle chambered in the very powerful .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum caliber. The Big Horn Armory Model 89, 100 percent made in America, closely follows the work of John Browning with refinements made possible by today's metallurgy and machining capabilities. The first rifles were introduced to the U.S. market in 2012, and since then Big Horn Armory has enriched its big bore lineup with a Models 90 carbine in .460 S&W, the Model 90A in .454 Casull, the Model 90B in .45 Colt, the Model 89A in .500 Linebaugh and the Model 89B in .475 Linebaugh. Now it is time for the Model 89 Black Thunder, described as the first lever-action rifle with a tactical set-up.

Black Thunder 89BT, the first tactical lever-action rifle

The Big Horn Armory 89BT lever-action rifle is optimally sized, with a configuration perfect for use even in confined spaces, and is chambered in the powerful and versatile .500 S&W Magnum caliber. With its short 16.25" (41 cm) barrel, it is a fast and handy rifle perfect for hunting, home defense or survival situations. 

The aesthetics of the BT89 Black Thunder carbine are characterized by its short barrel fitted with a conspicuous muzzle brake.

The extremely robust design of the new Model 89BT is made possible by its stainless steel construction coated with a black nitrided finish, making it nearly impervious to corrosion. The black laminate stock adds strength and additional weather resistance, as well as no-nonsense aesthetic. The Model 89BT lever-action rifle comes from the factory with a drift-adjustable fiber optic front sight and an excellent quality Skinner rear aperture adjustable sight, as well as a factory-installed "Scout" mount rail, also perfect for a red dot sight.

The .500 S&W caliber is not only very powerful but also versatile, being able to shoot loads from 200 to 700 grains.

To maximize the Model 89BT's capabilities, the front of the forend is made of metal and is equipped with an M-LOK rail that allows for the mounting of additional rails, tactical flashlights, laser sights or any other accessory. The stock ends in a one-inch-thick Pachmayr Decelerator butt pad while at the opposite end of the gun we find an effective three-chamber muzzle brake.

The chambering in the extremely powerful .500 S&W Magnum lets the Model 89BT to shoot loads from 200 to 700 grains. This incredible weight range, combined with the availability of almost any style and type of bullet imaginable, makes the Black Thunder rifle capable of taking any game animal on the planet. The tubular magazine has a capacity of 6 cartridges, making the Black Thunder one of the most powerful lever-action guns on the market.

Like all rifles based on the BHA 89 action, the 89BT features a hunter-friendly curved lever, which ensures a comfortable and smooth cycling of the action, even when wearing heavy gloves.

The retail price of the Big Horn Armory Black Thunder in the U.S. is about $2,900, which at current exchange rates is about 3,000 euros.

Big Horn Armory Black Thunder specs and price

BT89 Black Thunder
$2,899 (about 3,000 euro) 
Lever-action rifle 
.500 S&W
Magazine Capacity: 
6 rounds
Overall Length: 
914 mm
Barrel Length: 
16.25”/410 mm
Adjustable aperture rear and front sights
Trigger Pull Weight:
1,800 g
3,400 g 
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