Which Levergun to get?


June 22, 2006, 05:02 PM
I recently had to sell my deer rifle and my AR15 to pay for AC repairs to the house. When I have the money, I am wanting to replace them with a levergun that I can use for both Cowboy action shooting and deer hunting. My other requirements are that it be the same caliber as a cowboy action revolver and cost less than $500. So what should I get and in what caliber? I have thought about a Taurus Thunderbolt, but I don't know how easy it will be to obtain one when I have the money to purchase it. So what should I get and in what caliber?

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June 22, 2006, 05:13 PM
Friend of mine has a Puma in .45 LC / .454 Casull he likes a lot.

That fit your bill?

It's a pretty neat gun, and not expensive ($400ish, iirc)


June 22, 2006, 07:46 PM
How about a Marlin in .44 mag?

June 22, 2006, 07:54 PM
Marlin .44 Mag.

June 22, 2006, 10:23 PM
i have a puma in 480 ruger. it's a hoot to shoot, and plenty accurate for deer, but appreciably shy of impressive from the bench. for the money, it's not bad at all, but it's walmart quality, not a work of art.

June 22, 2006, 10:37 PM
Marlin in .44 mag

June 22, 2006, 11:41 PM
The Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum is a really lovely rifle.

June 22, 2006, 11:45 PM
another vote for the marlin in .44 ;)

June 23, 2006, 12:33 AM
+1 on the marlin .44 mag

June 23, 2006, 08:39 AM
Given your requirements...another vote for the .44 mag.

June 23, 2006, 08:50 AM
I like the marlin 44, or maybe a win trapper in 357?
Just a thought

June 23, 2006, 09:38 AM
So far it looks like the Marlin 44 for the win. I don't have the pistols yet either. But, I am wanting the calibers to match.

June 23, 2006, 09:58 AM
I'd ask the experts at:


RE: the .44 Marlin, I'm a big fan of Marlin, but many consider the rate-of-twist to be terribly slow (1 in 38", and, no, that is not a typo) and it key-holes bullets over 300gr's.

I'd also read the articles here:


You might consider one of these guns:


steve's sells a modified version of the Rossi-made 92 that geek's friend has. BTW, its a clone of the Winchester model of 1892 (which was designed for pistol-caliber-length cartridges like the 44-40 and 38-40) as opposed to the model of 1894 (which was designed for rifle cartridges like the 30-30, the 1894 being the 30-30's original platform). The action for the 1892 was designed to cycle shorter cartridges; the action of the 1894 for longer ones.


June 23, 2006, 10:09 AM
I have the Puma in .44 mag to go with my Uberti SA revolver. They are both great shooters. .44 mag is great because you can also use .44 spec. which is ballistically very similar to 44-40.

Brian Williams
June 23, 2006, 10:12 AM
I am going to buck the tide and suggest an 1894C in 357. Loading it with Lil' gun and either 158Gr or 180 gr it is amazing.

June 23, 2006, 10:20 AM
Lots of folks echo Brian's comments among the levergun crowd. The .357 Marlin is generally considered the "best all-around" levergun. As in, "if you could only have one rifle..."

June 23, 2006, 10:24 AM
.357m is my choice.....

June 23, 2006, 10:34 AM
It's true that the Marlin 1894 in .44mag has a 1:38" rate of twist. I think, that's too slow to stabilize a 300-grainer. If you're only shooting up to 250-270gr it should be OK, I believe. (It should be perfect for 240gr.) Although I also have the 1894C in .357mag, if I can only have one, the .44mag would be it.


June 23, 2006, 10:49 AM
Marlin 1894C in .357. You'll be glad you did.

June 23, 2006, 01:33 PM
.357 Marlin. Upload it for deer (handload or a box of Buffalo Bore 158), shoot light .38 Special loads for CAS. Probably the same effective range for deer as a .44 Magnum, but a lot cheaper to shoot (except for the deer ammo, which you won't be shooting much of anyway).

.44 Magnum puts some severe limitations on your choice in CAS pistols. .38 Special does not. Everything from the matte finish Ubertis for under $300 new (I have one; with $20 of Wolffs it shoots wonderfully) to the nicest USFA Rodeos and cool Open Top replicas can be had in .38 Special and/or .357. And .38 can be had for a lot cheaper, if you buy box ammo.

June 23, 2006, 09:16 PM
I have the stainless steel Marlin in .44 and I love. I wish Marlin would make a stainless steel model in .357.

June 23, 2006, 09:25 PM
Another vote for the Marlin 1894 44 mag

June 23, 2006, 10:16 PM
1894 Marlin in .44 Magnum! Dennis

June 23, 2006, 10:35 PM
I like my Rossi M92 in .357 Mag!

June 23, 2006, 10:46 PM
The only levergun I would even consider is one with both a detachable or fixed BOX magazine ala the Wichester 1895 Teddy Roosevelt gun and with the takedown feature.

Reasons are as follows:

1.-The box magazine allows all Modern bullets

2.-The takedown feature allows cleaning from breach with a threaded boreguide so as not to damage the accuracy.

Make mine a Browning BLR in .450 Marlin custom converted to a takedown gun!:D

June 23, 2006, 10:55 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post, and don't let that be your only contribution to this fine forum. However, the author of the thread stipulated that he wanted a levergun chambered in the same cartridge as his cowboy action revolver, hence the suggestions for carbines in .44 Mag, .454 Cassull, and .357 Magnum.

Your Model 1895 box-mag levergun was chambered for longer, full-powered cartridges like .30-40 Krag, .30-03, .30-06, 7.62x54R, and .405 Winchester. Just a bit too big and powerful for the author's purposes.

Myself, I like the idea of the .44 Special/.44 Mag levergun, but make mine a Winchester Model 94 like the Trapper variant, please. Lighter, cleaner lines, trim appearance, and less clunky than the Marlin counterpart. Better grab one quick, since they are no more as of earlier this year...


June 23, 2006, 11:19 PM
1. Do the Rossi/Pumas come tapped for mounting a scope? I know that you can't use a scope in cowboy action. But, for hunting, I want as much accuracy as possible. And, considering I have a hard time seeing some targets at 50 yards with an AR15's sight, I need a scope.
2. Nobody has mentioned the 45 Colt round. Why not?

June 23, 2006, 11:39 PM
It's a good round, probably better than .44-40 because there's no bottleneck in the case, but you'd have to talk to the CAS folks about them. I know Winchester did sell the Model 94 Trapper in the round, but I don't know if Marlin offers their levergun in .45 Long Colt. I'll wager they do, if just to keep the CAS folks sending money their way.

BTW, Some levergun owners feel the Model 94 Winchester action is ill-adapted to handle the shorter revolver rounds, since it was designed to originally use the .30-30 (.30 WCF) and .32 Winchester Special rounds, which are considerably longer than the revolver cartridges. Many feel the Winchester Model 92, and modern copies thereof as made by Puma and Rossi, are best suited for the revolver rounds.

Part of the draw to the .44 Magnum vewrsions of leverguns is that if you don't need the full power of the .44 Magnum, you can always run .44 Special rounds through it for less recoil and blast. Unless you handload, there really isn't a version of the .45 Long Colt that could be called a .45 Special, although the ancient .45 Short Colt would probably work, once you found or made brass. (Don't know about running the .45 Schofield without some modifications, because of the different rim thickness)

The .357 Magnum versions of leverguns are also supposed to allow shooting .38 Special, which makes for economical shooting, especially for younger or smaller shooters.

June 24, 2006, 02:24 AM
I have a .45 Trapper and love it. No misfeeds yet, through 400 or so rounds of both heavy Buffalo Bore stuff (stronger than .44 magnum) and cowboy loads (like the .44 special). I am glad I picked it up just as Winchester was folding. It is handy, accurate, and quick firing.

Marlin does offer an 1894 in .45 Colt, but it is the 20" barrel version.

June 24, 2006, 03:34 AM
I'd go with the Puma '92 clone or the Marlin .357. The USRAC '94's were an attempt to use the design for small handgun bullets which JMB NEVER INTENDED. The three I owned were jam-o-matics and would even throw rounds under the carrier, completely jaming the action. The '92 design is specifically made to handle handgun rounds and is actually stronger than the '94. You simply don't need the action to disassemble itself with every cycle as the '94 does in order to cycle small handgun rounds.

Also, the USRAC '94's were never designed to cope with maxed out .44 Mags or .454 Casull level .45 Colts. With hot long colts mine would give me a good spit of gas in the glasses.

June 24, 2006, 12:37 PM
Well, my wife and I went to our favorite local gun store and looked at lever actions. As expected, no Winchesters were available. I've decided on the Marlin in 357. What sold me on it is the fact that they came pre drill & tapped for scope mounting.
Only slightly off topic, my wife found a lever action rifle she liked (a lot). It is a Savage 99 in 300 Savage. I then pointed out that this will provide new reloading opportunities for it.

June 24, 2006, 01:00 PM
That Savage is pure class. One of the finest rifles ever made. Is it a takedown? Pics are required here!

June 24, 2006, 01:15 PM
I don't think it was a takedown. And, since it was still in the shop, no pictures of it.

June 24, 2006, 03:58 PM
Someone at Buffalo Bore did post that Marlin uses to slow a rate of twist for 300gr loads..but then I can't think of any 300gr loads except cast flat points. Which you can't hunt with in some places anyway (Washington State requires soft/expanding point) There is a good selection out there in 250-270 that ought to work on deer...I prefer my Marlins to the Mod 94 I bought years back due to the ease of taking out the bolt for cleaning, plus there are some very good extras for the 1894s (336s 1895s) at WWG.

I'm still kicking myself for not snagging a Savage 99 in 308 years back :banghead:

June 24, 2006, 05:29 PM
my navy arms 44-40.in a win "92" action these can be loaded to 1638 fps with a 200 gr jsp bullet.(lyman #48 pg 286).
I just shoot cast in mine most of the time 200 gr lfn and 9.0 grs unique avg. 1292 fps.I am going to try it on a hog hunt with a friend this summer:)
http://www.hunt101.com/img/310863.jpg (http://www.hunt101.com/?p=310863&c=500&z=1)

June 24, 2006, 05:40 PM
That's a beautiful lever gun you have there.

June 24, 2006, 05:55 PM
thanks.the wife bought it for me for christmas a few years back.I really like the 44-40.
this one is going out for deer and hogs this year.1895ss 45/70

http://www.hunt101.com/img/358647.jpg (http://www.hunt101.com/?p=358647&c=500&z=1)

June 26, 2006, 11:07 PM
Just how is the earlier Winchester Model 92, which was designed for black powder revolver cartridges, stronger than the later Model 94 designed for higher-pressure smokeless rifle rounds? We aren't just talking about the Model 92's dual locking lugs, either.

As for the Model 94 "disassembling itself" with each and every round, the Savage 99 leaves a buttload of metal hanging out there in the breeze every time one racks the lever, too. :D

June 27, 2006, 02:31 AM
Yeah, someone explain that to me, as well. How is the 30-30 smokeless not generating more pressure than the old 44-40 or 32-20 black powder loads?

June 27, 2006, 02:45 AM
Cowboy action shooting is a whole other ball game! But lever actions are not the most accurate rifles as a rule. If I had a .44 Mag carbine it would get a bell-less straight tube Leupold VXII 1.5-5X20mm because it least affects the balance and because you don't get much past 100-150 yards with a handgun round in a carbine. So that scope is all you need.:)

June 27, 2006, 03:21 AM
The '92 action was overbuilt because steel didn't have the heat treatments in 1892 that we have today or even in 1902. Also, as cosmo said the '94 action "disassembles" everytime you cycle a round. It needed to do this for the longer .30-30 cartridge. I personally went with the Marlin because I like the feel better but theres no doubt that the '92 is the better design internally.

June 27, 2006, 03:24 PM
The '92 action was overbuilt because steel didn't have the heat treatments in 1892 that we have today
Did the steel heat treatment change that much between 1892 and 1894? By my count, that is only two years.

June 27, 2006, 09:49 PM
It's my understanding that it did. I know that the 93 Turkish Mausers required a new heat treatment when they were upgraded to 8mm but later Mausers did not. I'm not an expert though by any means.

June 28, 2006, 01:00 PM
My preference is 35 Remington, Marlin or Guide gun in 45/70.

June 29, 2006, 10:51 AM
A Marlin 1894 in 44 mag/spcl to go with a Vaquero 44 mag then I ordered a "Co-Pilot" from Wild West Guns in 457 - 45/70 with a 16" barrel being built on a 1895 XLR, while waiting I stumbled on an older, though fired only a bit Winchester Trapper 30-30 for $250 and snapped it up, was offered and bought an older Marlin 336 for $130, then on a trip to a local purveyor of arms to "just look around" I saw one of the lovely little Marlin special edition stainless steel 1894 with a 16" "trapper" barrell and laminated stock they made for Davidsons in 44 mag/spcl and couldn't hardly get the credit card out fast enough. On a subsequent trip a week later I spied the same thing in 357/38 spcl and traded the original 1894 I bought earlier for this little gem. I have been banging away with it for the last several sunday morning trips to the range with some federal 125gr jhp loads that chrono'ed last sunday at 2017fps + or - out of the 16" ss barrel and the fiber optic type sights really stand out nicely.

I know, I know you asked which ONE... But why buy just one? Keep an eye out and deals come along that are pretty hard to refuse. Granted the limited editions carried a premium over the the blued guns with the slightly longer barrels but a like new Winchester 94 with a nice little Burris 2.5 scope for $250? At those kind of prices one can justify the peice for investment value alone.

The Marlin 1894 in either 44 or 357 will make you grin, you can dance cans around all day and recoil in either is pretty reasonable especially in the 357.

In no time at all I came down with the levergun sickness. I had never liked them till I had the Marlin 44 and now, I don't see much need for anything else...


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