John Wayne used the large-loop lever on his rifles in several movies, and TV’s Rifleman used one as early as 1958. Was it ever used in real life?
I’ve never seen or read anything in my research on Old West firearms that mentions those large-loop levers.
Gun and Westerns expert Jim Dunham concurs, saying: “I know of no historical use of the expanded size rifle levers. The story I heard was that it was the idea of famed stunt man Yakima Canutt, who suggested that Wayne, as a big man with big hands, could handle it better. The actor Chuck Connors, who played the Rifleman, was also a big man. Both guns were Winchester Model 1892 carbines in .44-40 caliber.”