Big Horn Armory Model 89 Rifle – Teddy’s New Big Medicine

Big Horn Armory Model 89 Rifle – Teddy’s New Big Medicine
By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Big Horn Armory Model 89 Carbine
Big Horn Armory Model 89 Carbine

Cody, WY –-( Teddy Roosevelt took a Winchester model 1895 lever action rifle, chambered in the .405 Winchester cartridge to Africa to hunt dangerous animals.

At the time the .405 was the most powerful American manufactured rifle cartridge. Roosevelt called his rifle “Big Medicine.”

There is now a newly designed lever action rifle being made by Big Horn Armory of Cody Wyoming ( that I believe could be a modern day Teddy Roosevelt’s new big medicine.

Smith and Wesson developed a handgun cartridge in 50 caliber, designated the 500 S&W Magnum. The case size is so large that even after introducing a new larger pistol frame (X-Frame) to handle the 500 S&W Magnum, the cylinder could only be chambered for 5 rounds.

Of course as soon as the new pistol cartridge was released to the public the idea of using it as a rifle cartridge was quickly born. Frank Ehrenford, the owner of Big Horn Armor and his master machinist Dan Brown have been working to bring the 500 S&W Magnum to the lever action rifle shooting community.

In his own words he wasted too much time trying to make someone else’s lever action rifle work chambered in 500 S&W Magnum. Pressure is the driving factor with the 500 S&W Magnum round and an entirely new designed lever action rifle needed to be developed.

The venerable models 1886 and 1892 were used as a basis to start from. By combining features from both rifles and enhancing the strength, Frank has come up with what he calls his Model 89 which is in between “86” and “92”.

I knew Frank back in the early 1970s, when we worked at a gun shop and indoor range. Frank always talked about “kicking harder-booming louder” when he discussed his ideas of big manly firearms. I would suggest his new Model 89 is right up there in the higher recoil and increased decimal area.

I would also suggest that Teddy Roosevelt would loved to have of had a Big Horn Armory Model 89 to take to Africa with him. I could envision that great, turn of the century hunter with his Model 89 in his hand and a Smith and Wesson 500 S&W Magnum pistol on his belt, stalking the most dangerous wildlife the African continent could offer up for his hunting adventures.

Of course the idea of having a cartridge that you could carry into the backwoods that allowed you to chamber it in either your rifle or handgun has been a desired feature since the early days of western expansion. The problem with pistol cartridges of the late 1800s being shot out of a rifle, was the lack of power that left the shooter wanting for more.

The 500 S&W Magnum does not leave you lacking or wanting in either the handgun and most assuredly in a rifle. However, other than some single shot rifles and I assume some custom bolt action rifles, there is very little out there that you can match your 500 S&W Magnum revolver up with, to take on nature’s largest and most dangerous.

Large caliber, lever action rifles were becoming very popular for hunting in the thick alder-brush of Alaska when I was stationed up there with the Air Force in the early 1990s. A fast handling lever gun could be just the trick in the thick and dangerous quarters of the Alaska bush. Now envision a lever gun in 500 S&W Magnum with a nice 450 grain gas check Keith bullet (Frank’s design and production) moving down range at 1850 plus FPS to stop that bear who is unhappy with your presence.

If you need great power and a fast handling shooting platform that is also very good looking, the Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever action rifle will fill that void in your personal shooting adventure and provide you with new big medicine.

There is a sense of anticipation about the debut of this rifle and the expected demand by North American hunters of large and dangerous game. New big medicine will put big holes in big animals and the winner is the owner of a new Big Horn Armory Model 89.

For manly Oklahoma hunters and Methodist preachers who hunt the high Veld (plains) this is a must have shooting iron. Last week a pet dog was taken from its own back yard here in Colorado by two mountain lions. You don’t want to face off with that type of dangerous animal with a 22 rifle. Bad things deserve nothing but the best in response, two legged or four legged.

Did I use the word manly enough?
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
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Rexford L

I have one of their 18″ bbl carbines in 500 S&W Magnum. It’s an exemplary example of how a long gun should be made. I also have some pictures of it on the foundation stones of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch house on the banks of the Little Missouri River.


Thought I bought my last levergun ! Looks like I’m going to have to get back in savings mode again! I waited 2 years for my 92! I still want to know more about the Compamy. Beautiful product though!

Larry Maulding

Was introduced to Greg at a private facility and was immediately impressed with his technical knowledge and the rifles he had brought to “unwind with”. Placed an order with Big Horn Armory for my son’s wedding gift of a .500 S&W. If I knew that it would of been such a magnificent firearm I would of ordered 2 and just waited for the second. I have never found a smoother action, well balanced powerful snap shooter finer than this. The Wood is beautifully crafted and gorgeously finished. Looking forward when I can place an order for myself soon. OH yes,… Read more »

Rich H.

Waited about 8 months for mine.
Received it last week,
Beautiful rifle… Pricey, but worth it.. No one else is making one so I expect value will sky rocket,

Even if I waited two years it would have been worth it.
If your a lever action enthusiast , you have to have one!

I am ordering another!


Has anybody thought this may have been a cheap way to find out how shooters would respond to their product?Get a rifle that looks similar to what their’ s will look like, name a cartridge it will be shooting,set back for a while and gauge the response, then decide if going further with the product will be worth it. Not saying this is what they did, but think of the savings in R&D.

david e hughes

I had a rifle paid for in full and waited for two years and no rifle, Joe refunded my money so how long will I have to wait now.


We are finally shipping rifles. Sorry about all the delays. It took more time then we thought, but wanted to get it correct. We are slowly filling backorders and hope to be caught up by the end of the year.

Brad H

Been waiting for more than a year. Haven't received an update since March. BHA has never initiated contact. Sending another email today, after a little "review" research.


I waited a full year with all the money paid and all I got was bullshit, and more bullshit. I just took back my money . I was really pumped about this rifle as I have two .500 smith wesson revolvers so it would have been a really good match. They had better get on the ball or someone else like smith might shoot them out of the saddle so to speak.


Got tired of the B.S. regarding this imaginary 'rfle' and I went down and purchased a .50 Alaskan lever action by a real store, no imaginary firearm, a 'real' firearm – not one talked up to death at every internet blog and then never actually put out to sale by anyone yet. Talk is cheap.


Another 6 months "waiting list" I was told by a person at "Big Horn Armory".

I don't believe these will ever be produced for sale to the public. How many times has the this rifle been stated that it will be 'made' in the past year or two? More than a couple…

Bob Bossom

Please advise as to the availability of the Mod 89 and who they are sold through or when they will be available.

Major Van Harl USAF

Two Big Horn Armory model 89s spent the night at my house last night. Their owner / designer Frank Ehrenford (an old friend) stopped by on his way to show his 500 S&W lever action rifles to some folks down at Raton, New Mexico at the NRA facility. Having one of those model 89s in my hands convinced me Frank got it right. There is nothing in the US that you can not stop with this rifle and when you snap it up to your shoulder you will want one. The feel of this rifle and they way it lines… Read more »

bill wood

do you make the m 89 in other calibers and if so what ones.. would like a 460 s w myself.


The name is pretty close the same as Big Horn Arms of Montanna


not to bad for some who didn't know much about bullets 8 years ago

russ norvell

i would like to know how much the modle 89 in 500 s&w will cost and where can i buy one and how soon will it be out.

Richard Harmon

Please advise as to price and availability for your carbine Model 89 in .500 S&W. Thank you. Richard Harmon


that rifle and cartridge sounds like just what i need to hunt big, mean, and nasty piney woods rooters in the river swamps where Ihunt, here in middle georgia!