First Rifle


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SabreHorsie
May 25, 2006, 05:05 AM
I'm getting close enough to having enough set aside, so I thought I'd start soliciting advice. My top consideration at this point is a Marlin 336C or Winchester 94 in .30-30, but I'm completely open to other suggestions.

1. This will likely be my only firearm for quite some time, so versatility is definitely called for.

2. The primary purpose is self-defense, both at home and in the woods.

3. Cost is an issue -- I'm a college girl on a very tight budget. I'll wait longer to save up for something worth having, but I can't afford anything fancy. Definitely nothing over $750, and preferably below $500.

4. I live in Boston, so a "non evil looking" design is probably preferable. I won't sacrifice performance on the altar of political correctness, but I think it's wise to hold off on Evil Black Rifles until I finish school and move out of Liberal La-La Land.

5. Since virtually all the ranges in Boston are members-only with substantial yearly fees, my ability to conduct live-fire practice will be extremely constrained. Therefore, a design which can be dry-fired without damage is desirable. And yes, I know I shouldn't ever "play with" a gun.

6. I have a distinct fondness for lever-action designs.

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qajaq59
May 25, 2006, 08:27 AM
Well to be honest, since you can't hunt deer in MA with a rifle and you are looking for long gun as a self defense weapon, then you certainly can't carry it on the streets of Boston. Plus you're not going to get any practice if you don't join a club, so hitting much with a 30-30 is going to be tough. I think you'd be better to get a 12 gauge shotgun and load it with buck shot.
You're not going to be doing any long range shooting, because if the bad guy is that far away in Massachusetts, you'd never be able to expain why you shot him in the first place. Also it is a lot easier to hit a BG in a dark room with the shot gun .
And keep in mind that shooting someone takes a micro second, but the paperwork and law suits go on for years.
Just my opinion because I spent many years working in Boston.

CB1961
May 25, 2006, 09:00 AM
I agree with the shotgun approach. 12ga or 20ga would be best. Price is low on most self defense type models. Shotgun is very versatile. Recoil might be the only drawback depending on the user. Short barrels are available to make them more handy. Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 are both good models. If you are hooked on the Lever action idea then maybe a .357mag carbine, which are easy recoil but less versatile, but good for in home self defense. Not having anyplace to shoot is a really big drawback though...hard to understand your firearm without using it. Snap-caps are good for dryfire practice and protect the firing pin.

Starter52
May 25, 2006, 09:43 AM
If you like the lever-action design, buy one. Your first gun should be a gun that you like.

Of the two choices you listed, I would recommend the Marlin 336. I think you will find it is superior to the Winchester.

Deer Hunter
May 25, 2006, 11:30 AM
I agree Starter. Get what you want to get for your first gun. If it's a 30-30, then I really do suggest a Marlin 336. Great gun for the money. If you can find a .357 magnum carbine levergun, I'd pick that up over a 30-30 for your situation though. You can cheaply shoot 38 specials out of it for practise.

Red Tornado
May 25, 2006, 11:47 AM
There are so many choices (and you'll probably hear most of them :rolleyes: ) but you won't ever regret the lever in 30-30. It may not be best for your situation,(there's always endless debate here) but as far as versatility and being happy with your purchase, it's an excellent choice. Even though I don't have one...yet...I still believe it's the best one-gun gun.

Welcome to The High Road. Hope your stay is enjoyable and educational. Mine certainly has been.
RT

ojr
May 25, 2006, 01:48 PM
Hi,When I was young and starting out[with only hunting in view mind]I looked around for a rifle that would give me the best versability for my $$$.I chose the Marlin 30-30 and never regretted that choice, the caliber in my opinion boxes well above it's weight, and these days with the new hornady ammo it's even better than it was. Most people even if they aren't levergun fans have a soft spot for one, maybe it is the wholesome cowboy image,your right they don't look as menacing as a modern black gun and I belive it would serve you well.Some 28 years later I still have one, not the same one, and definatly not my only rifle anymore,but nevertheless there is still one there.

dakotasin
May 25, 2006, 01:50 PM
a remington 870 in 20 gauge is probably your best option at this point. inexpensive, and lots of defensive power for short range work.

if it must be a rifle, i'd advise a marlin 336 in 35 rem. take the gun to a gunsmith, have the barrel shortened to minimum legal specs, and get the stock cut to fit you (this is important w/ either gun, actually), and have a sims pad installed. you should be able to do all this within your budget easily enough.

hoghunting
May 25, 2006, 02:13 PM
Sabre,
If you want the lever gun, take the Marlin. It is much easier to clean than the Win. You remove one screw, and all the parts ( bolt, lever and ejector) will come out to give access to the barrel. Later on when you leave Mass., you can easily put a scope on the Marlin for hunting.

Welcome to the forum. You can learn a lot from the members. Mass. is a nice place to visit, but thank goodness I don't live there.

hessy
May 25, 2006, 04:05 PM
If you are getting an LTC in Massachusetts, why not to get a handgun for self-defence?? If you are set on a rifle, a 30-30 rifle cartridge will overpenetrate in a self-defence situation, and I would recommend a .357 magnum Marlin 1894c. It can be had for below $500 and is inexpensive and reliable. Join a club (Reading Rifle and Revolver in Reading-not far away from Boston) and practice with inexpensive .38 special.

goon
May 25, 2006, 05:17 PM
I would take the 336 out of the choices you have listed. If you can get a 1894 Marlin in .357 I would agree with others that it may be a better choice. Ammo is going to be cheaper if you use .38 Special. You may even get away with shooting it at an indoor pistol range. This is something that you won't have much chance at all of getting away with if you go with a .30-30.

I have owned a whole lot of rifles and even with the couple of EBR's that I currently own, I still would like to have a .357 mag 1894.

Something that I have found to be very helpful when I am looking for a gun...
Post a wanted ad in the classifieds on this forum.
I have done this a few times and saved some money over buying something new but still wound up with an excellent gun. I generally feel pretty safe buying from another THR member, especially someone who has been "around" for awhile.
I figure that since many of my purchases are funded by selling something I have lost interest in, other people may be the same way.
If it will save you some money that you could use for more ammo, why not?

One more thing...
If you REALLY WANT a 336 or a Winchester 1894, then that is what you should get. Buy what YOU like.

Good luck.

Foxtrot427
May 25, 2006, 05:34 PM
Try an M1 Carbine or Kel-Tec SU-16C or CA.

SabreHorsie
May 25, 2006, 07:35 PM
If you are getting an LTC in Massachusetts, why not to get a handgun for self-defence??

Because Massachusetts only requires an FID card for a "non large capacity" rifle or shotgun, and those are much easier to get than the LTC required for handguns (or large capacity rifles/shotguns).

SabreHorsie
May 25, 2006, 07:43 PM
Try an M1 Carbine or Kel-Tec SU-16C or CA.

Both are considered "large capacity" rifles and therefore require an LTC rather than a FID.

runninmike
May 25, 2006, 07:48 PM
They are both very good (marlin & winchester).
The Marlin 1894c .357 mag is shorter than the 30-30 versions and makes it very handy. My fiancÚ likes it alot and so do I.
Best-MC

SabreHorsie
May 26, 2006, 10:30 PM
I looked through the Marlin and Winchester websites again, and the Winchester Model 94 Timber Scout looks just perfect -- Marlin doesn't appear to have a comparable model with a forward-mounted "scout" scope setup, and I've always thought those were a really nifty concept. I'll probably get it in .30-30 rather than .444 Remington Magnum to keep my ammo costs down.

ugaarguy
May 26, 2006, 10:47 PM
Jump on that M94 quick if thats what you want. With the New Haven plant closing they're only gonna get harder to find and more expensive to buy.

Chipperman
May 26, 2006, 10:49 PM
The .357/.38spl option may be good for you.
1. Ammo will be less costly than .30-30, esp if shooting .38spl
2. Less overpenetation issue if you did happen to use it for HD
3. It could be used at any indoor range, where .30-30 sometimes cannot

If you really are Jonesin' for a levergun, then go ahead with that. Try to get a LTC if you can, but starting with the FID is perfectly reasonable. That will also allow you to possess the Uber-Deadly pepper spray for self defense. :rolleyes:

Have you joined GOAL yet? If not, do so IMMEDIATELY.
www.goal.org

The GOAL newsletter that gets sent out every month shows events hosted by the various clubs. Sometimes you can come to events at a local club and shoot without being a member. They are always looking for more women shooters also, so that is in your favor.

Brian Williams
May 26, 2006, 11:10 PM
Definitely a Marlin, prefered the 1894C
This is one of the last firearms I will have. Along with my S&W 13 and 586(sold It a while ago)

http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=9771&d=1075074541
http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=5760&d=1062434611

Pocomoke
May 26, 2006, 11:18 PM
Sabrehorsie,
Both are fine rifles, though I prefer the Marlin. Let me suggest you get in contact with some of the SASS cowboy action clubs in your area,

<P>http://www.sassnet.com/AClubs-MA-001A.php.

<P>While cowboy action shooting may not be your cup of tea you won't find a friendly or more outgoing bunch of shooting folk. They practically beg for new shooters to try their weapons. That would give you a better feel for the rifle and caliber. While match lever guns are pistol caliber there 30/30 and up side matches. Also a good place to buy well maintained used guns at reasonable prices.

<P>The nominal membership fees plus a used rifle would provide plenty of ammo for serious practice within your budget.

<P>Of the several lever guns I own, my handiest and most fun to shoot is the Rossi 1892 in .45 Colt. A light sweet handling rifle that is a joy to shoot. They're available in several cals. and can be found a good prices at SASS clubs as members upgrade to slicked up competition guns.

SabreHorsie
May 26, 2006, 11:22 PM
Well, the annoying thing is that it appears Marlin doesn't make any models with a scout-scope, but Winchester doesn't make anything in pistol calibres (or big-bore calibres either, but I'm *not* interested in one of those).

SabreHorsie
May 26, 2006, 11:52 PM
It would appear that neither Marlin nor Winchester makes the exact variant I'd want, which would be a scout scope mount, 18" or 20" barrel, full length magazine tube, "pistol" style grip, and smooth wood furniture. The Winchester 94 Timber Scout is the closest to it -- everything but the full length magazine -- but it's also more expensive, with MSRP listed at $623 compared to just $386 for the basic 94 Ranger.

*sigh*

This is quite vexing.

dakotasin
May 27, 2006, 12:28 AM
nah.... as soon as you eliminate winchester from your vocabulary, you're golden - see... they aren't being made anymore. i've had a timber scout on order since january, and not only has it not shown up, but the dealer gave up on it, as well. when winchester more or less closed their doors, it made a bit of a shockwave.

Bridger
May 27, 2006, 12:42 AM
I'm pretty sure I've seen some modified Marlins with a scout scope mount up front. Might want to check into that

btw: .357/.38! :cool: Cheaper than .30-30 and will serve your purposes fine

SabreHorsie
May 27, 2006, 01:06 AM
nah.... as soon as you eliminate winchester from your vocabulary, you're golden - see... they aren't being made anymore. i've had a timber scout on order since january, and not only has it not shown up, but the dealer gave up on it, as well. when winchester more or less closed their doors, it made a bit of a shockwave.

Oh ugh, that is *so* what I didn't want to hear. They quit making them altogether?

SabreHorsie
May 27, 2006, 01:22 AM
I'm pretty sure I've seen some modified Marlins with a scout scope mount up front. Might want to check into that

btw: .357/.38! Cheaper than .30-30 and will serve your purposes fine

Problem is, it looks like Marlin only makes its pistol-calibre rifles with a straight stock, which I find both less comfortable and butt ugly. Of the Marlins listed on the website, only the Model 1895 in .45-70, the Model 444 in .444 Marlin and the Model 336 in .30-30 have pistol stocks; the rest are all straight-stock.

Hmmm...how hard is it to swap out the stock and lever on a Marlin? If it can be done as a reasonably affordable do-it-yourself modification, I'd probably be happy with a Marlin 1894 in .41 Magnum changed over to the pistol grip. Yes, I know .357 Mag / .38 Special is cheaper and more available, but I'm a fan of the 10mm AUTO and .41 Magnum.

mnrivrat
May 27, 2006, 02:59 AM
The receiver is different between the 336 and the 1894 models so I don't believe pistol grip is going to be an option on the 1894 (unless they made some this way at one time ?)

Winchester plant that made 94's is closed I believe - look for them to return with a 94 built outside the US, but not without some months of delay.

Sounding like the Marlin 336 in 30-30 is as good a choice for you as your going to find using your criteria. If wanting to mount a scout scope there are available mounts for the 336 via places like Ashley Outdoors, and Brockmansrifles.com

Good luck and keep refining your search and criteria until you get what you want - some variations of the lever guns have gone obsolete so looking into the used gun options may also be helpful. You can search Guns America or the auctions like Gun Broker and Auction Arms.

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