Lever-Action .357--Best, Worst?


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Eightball
August 6, 2006, 10:01 PM
Recently acquired S&W 620, and figured out "hey, I love .357/.38, and have long loved lever-action rifles--maybe I should buy one". That being said, I'd obviously like to stick with a .357 chambered Levergun. Every so often, I hear that ".357 chambered have occasional problems feeding .38"--which I don't believe, since there's only 1/16th" difference in length, which you could get that much variance bullet-to-bullet. So, I walked into a local gunshop and handled an Uberti 1873 in .45 LC, just to get a feel for the action--long, and smooth, and very very nice. That being said, that's about the only experience with lever-actions, other than a browning or a Marlin (and I hate the "clunky safeties" of the marlin). So, any advice for which levergun company to look towards when i finally do make this purchase? Thanks!

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Sistema1927
August 6, 2006, 10:08 PM
My Marlin 1894C feeds .38 Special rounds without a hiccup, to include 122 grain cowboy bullets. Excellent quality, great accuracy, smooth reliable functioning.

Very slick right out of the box, and getting better all the time.

esldude
August 6, 2006, 10:11 PM
I liked and owned a Marlin. It shot 38's without a problem with one exception. Do not use Zero brand reloads. They jam the Marlin requiring partial disassembly almost everytime. Any of several factory 38's worked fine. As did factory 357's. The Marlin is a handy, slick, accurate unit, safety notwithstanding.

chunk
August 6, 2006, 10:15 PM
get a marlin, you wont regret it!!

cnyankee
August 6, 2006, 10:20 PM
i just got the marlin 1894c but in the instruction manuel it says that i cant use swc rounds and also the length of the round has to be within a certain length...wel i have fmj rounds that are shorted than the specs? any reason why?

stevekl
August 6, 2006, 10:23 PM
My Marlin 1894C is my favorite long gun of my collection. It's more accurate than i am and i've never had a feeding, firing or extraction problem. .38 specials work just fine and, infact, that's 90% of what I feed it. It's pretty attractive to boot.

tube_ee
August 6, 2006, 10:27 PM
I love mine. Marlin 189C. The Winchesters felt like BB guns to me, the Marlin's a bit heavier and studier-feeling. Feels more like a gun, if that makes sense. I prefer American-made leverguns and revolvers, but that's just me.

Mine feeds everything I've shoved into it, and shoots them all better than I do. With a full wadcutter, it takes a slower hand on the lever, just to allow the shell time to settle into the carrier. If you work it too fast, they hang up going into the chamber. Doesn't tie up the gun, but stops the lever dead.

.38s are like shooting a big .22. In a good way. With full-tilt magnums, it's still a light-kicking gun. using slow powders, folks with chrony's report a gain of 300-500 fps over a service-sized revolver. 180s at over 1800 are quite doable, and 158s can break 2k with the right loads. Not all of them will shoot that fast, but most people seem to get around there.

It'll cover everything from small game to deer, within it's range envelope. I see no reason to scope mine, the iron sights cover any range at which it'd be responsible to shoot at an animal with it. The power within the gun's natural range, is quite good, but a scope would just encourage me to take longer shots than I should. If eyes are a problem, maybe a fixed 2-4 power would be appropriate.

As a home-defense weapon, it's pretty good, too. Holds 10 rounds of full-power .357s, can be reloaded from a pocket while still being ready to fire, accurate and easy to shoot. Others have commented on lawyerly aspects before, but I'm not really sure that's a real issue.

The only downside is the rate at which it eats ammo. If you shoot it like a big .22, and you will, you'll go through rounds like it was a .22. If you don't reload now, you'll start. You'll have to.

Get one. You'll understand.

--Shannon

Bullet Bob
August 6, 2006, 10:33 PM
Any time you ask about the best and worst of anything you open a can of argumentative worms who start wetting on each other.

There's someone everywhere who has had a great or terrible example of any brand, and isn't reticent about sharing his (it's always a he) opinion.

I personally like the now out of production Browning 92's in .357. You often see them for sale on gunsamerica.com. They are usually highly regarded by cowboy action shooters, who can puta lot of lead downrange.

Mine won't feed most .38's well, but has never bobbled a .357. I had a Lyman aperture sight put on, and a trigger smoothing job, and it's my favorite centerfire rifle.

http://www.fototime.com/0ADDFE3FE4CE93B/standard.jpg

jjohnson
August 6, 2006, 11:00 PM
I like mine... it doesn't have some idiot lawyer's (oops, redundant term) :cuss:
required safety on it. Slick enough, handles 38s very well. 20" barrel is nice, and I'm going to break it down and smooth the action up some this winter. I certainly don't have anything against other brands but I like the handling of the Rossi enough I bought another in .45 Colt. It's quality, well fitted and finished, and certainly accurate - 1 1/4" groups at 50 yards from an ironsighted levergun shooting pistol ammo is good enough for my needs. 10 shots, and oh by the way, the price is very competitive. It's worth a look if you're shopping around. The Puma has pretty graceful lines and a nice rather dark stock, more eye appeal than most if that means anything at all, not a big deal in my book but it doesn't lose points for being ugly, something I can't say for some of 'em. My eyes are old, so I need a receiver sight like the pic above, but
it and its .45 cal brother are guns I've bought and never been sorry for it.

jdl357
August 6, 2006, 11:14 PM
I bought a 357 lever from this guy and I love it. Sweet!!!! trigger.
http://www.stevesgunz.com/
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v234/jdl357/e91e20e2.jpg

jdl357
August 6, 2006, 11:25 PM
He tuned it for 38 specials, but also feeds 357's just as well.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v234/jdl357/98736560.jpg

GigaBuist
August 6, 2006, 11:45 PM
You really can't go wrong. I adore my Marlin 1894C too. They're an absolute hoot. I mostly run .38 specials through mine and haven't had a problem yet, aside from one guy short-stroking the lever and jamming it up real good on the range one day. Didn't take much to fix it and I let anybody that shoots it know too fully rack the lever down before coming back up.

No problems after that.

I got my brother (not a gun guy) out to the range a couple of weeks ago. My collection of guns is geared toward what I would call "fun stuff" as that's the only type of shooting I do. So, I had him out there shooting an AK-47 clone and an AR-15 for a while. Stuff that any guy can identify and have a blast (no pun intended) shooting.

After a while I whipped out my 1894C and shoved some .38's in there for the guy. An odd transition, I suppose, but he really took a liking to it. He didn't think it would be that much fun after shooting an AK, but it was!

Regarding the safety on the Marlin -- is there really any compelling reason to use it? My standard practice is to cock the rifle, put the safety on, lower to half cock, load the rifle, take the safety off, and rack a round into the chamber. If I were carrying it in the field I'd likely just rack a round in the chamber, lower to half cock, then take the safety off and thumb the hammer back when it was needed.

Are there lever-guns out there with safeties that are easier to operate than the Marlin's?

Eightball
August 7, 2006, 12:00 AM
safety notwithstandingI HATE the marlin "chunky" safeties. Maybe I should have made that clearer. That, and I like Octagonal Barrels. Seeing howas I started the thread, I might have made that clearer, too.

But, what, exactly, makes the Marlin the "Mother of all" Leverguns? I've seen many marlins pass through my work, and I hate the lever-throw on every single one; Excessively Lawyered-up, clunky Actions need not apply for this gun, no matter how "safe" it is--this is going to be a "fun/range" gun, I don't need it to protect against all of the elements, CA lawyers, T2000 Terminators, Toddlers, anti-gunners, ants, rocks, etc etc etc (anyone seeing my point, here?).

Anyone have an opinion on the Uberti, one way or another (price aside)? And, anyone have a .357 Chambered (not .38 chambered) that has no problem feeding .38?

So far, good feedback. And some slick lookin' leverguns. But I like the 8-sides......stupid expensive tastes of mine:o .

Texfire
August 7, 2006, 12:49 AM
I have a Uberti chambered in .357/.38 that I love.

It's the deluxe 1873 from Taylor's with 20" octagonal barrel, color case hardened reciever, and checkered pistol grip American walnut stock. Not only is it very accurate and soft shooting with cowboy loaded .38s, it also happens to be the most beautiful gun I've ever owned, but also the most expensive at $900ish retail.

It would go hansomely with a 640, but looks even better my 5.5" Taurus Gaucho chambered in .357/.38 if I say so myself. Can you tell I love my cowboy guns? :)

That said, if price is an issue my first rifle in .357/.38 was a Puma Legacy 16" with large loop lever handle. Handy rifle, light and shoulders quickly. Took the removal of a burr on the ejector to make it eject reliably, but it's been a great performer since that, and it cost about $400.

Tex

achildofthesky
August 7, 2006, 01:09 AM
Eightball:

I too don't care for the safety but you could either forget it or check out the leverguns website under articles and there is some info on a "safety delete" kit that installs pretty easily. I haven't got irritated enugh by the safety to delete it though. While I can't speak for the Rossi's (I do like octagon barrels but perfer short barrels) and the like as I have not shotone yet, I do have a pair of 1894 SS LTD (357 & 44 mags) editions from/for Davidsons with 16 1/2" (+-) barrels, Laminated grey stocks and Williams fire sights that I really enjoy shooting. Either one is quite light and simply a ball to shoot. I traded a standard 1894 in 44mag for the 357 + some cash as I wanted the short barrel and stainless and liked the firesights, but the regular 1894 44 was my introduction to leverguns and I could smack myself for not trying one sooner. I fond it easy as pie to skip cans at 25 - 40 yards rapid fire and also was able to shoot plastic on the fly (a safe location and low angle shots), I don't claim to be to be the worlds best markswoman but the Marlin fits, hefts, points and fires well. Typically I shoot the 357 at least once a week about 50 to 100 rounds and 0 misfires or jams. The action now has gotten pretty smooth as compared with new, given about 400 rounds and about 4-500 cycles on the lever on an unloaded gun. The trigger is a bit heavier than I'd like (soon to be addressed with a WWG trigger happy kit) but it is otherwise snick-snick slick. For the time being I have put a 4x Burris mini/matte on it with a Leupold one piece mount and some Warne QD rings that see it return pretty dang close to zero when I removed it to see what would happen. At 100 yards it shoots quite nicely and I may well use it for deer this year even though I have several other decent choices to use (30-06, 30-30, 44 Mag, .338 Win mag) as the the place I likely will hunt is pretty heavily wooded.

I also have a Winchester trapper 30-30 AE pre safety and while It is a decent rifle I like the feel of the 1894 by a wide margin. I reckon saying "it fits" is pretty accurate. Granted my universe of leverguns has been limited to marlin 336 & 1894's and Winchester but I am quite happy with what I have.

I do find the idea of the Rossi/Puma/Legacy in 454 intriguing in SS and 16" barrel but that will have to wait for a bit.

My .02c fwiw

Patty

Eightball
August 7, 2006, 05:20 PM
Anyone else? Anything?

I see that a lot of people think the Marlin's the best (alas, no octagonal bbl, which might put it out of the running), but which one is the "worst", that I should stay away from?

steven04
August 7, 2006, 06:14 PM
For a traditional lever action , its Marlin all the way for me.

I have an 1894C in .357 mag. It feeds .38's but I've always found mine to provide much better accuracy with the longer .357 cases, even when downloading for paper punching at 25 yards.

The Marlin action appears to be stronger than the Winchester or Rossis copies that other guys at our club have. We hold informal bowling pin comps fairly often, and the guys that jam the action during fast and furious matches always seem to use a Winnie or Rossis...

I also like the solid top reciever and side eject that makes scope mounting easy.

If you want an octagonal barrel, go for the Marlin Cowboy series.

I also have a wild west trigger happy kit and hammer spring in mine, which improves it.

My modern lever action is an AR in .30 carbine....ever seen one of these before ? (Its a UK thing :D )

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v520/nokiapics/la302.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v520/nokiapics/CIMG0945.jpg

Cheers
Steven

jjohnson
August 7, 2006, 07:27 PM
Oh, PLEASE. :barf:

That's a Marlin advertizement you must be looking at. I had to laugh years ago when they invented microgroove rifling thinking... yeah, wonder how that shoots cast lead? This was before Cowboy Action was anything - like the 1970s. Son of a Gun!! Wow! They (hold on to yer hat pardner) DISCOVERED... BALLARD RIFLING!!! :what: Whoa! Like DEEP Grooves for LEAD!!! Imagine! And they made it a big deal. Oh, please.

Not to kick 'em in the seat, mind you - it's not like they sold their souls to the Belgians (do NOT get me started on Winchester). But, come on... they found out that new and improved wasn't at all better than something a century older. Sheesh.

Personally, I think they're clunky, and anybody who caved in and put manual safeties on leverguns is about as bright IMO as the ones putting safeties on revolvers. That being said.... hey - if it makes you happy, go for it. I'm pretty sure, yeah, the action is stronger than the 92 and I THINK more than the 94, too. My taste - I think the 92 and its close copies made by several are fairly graceful, and the 94 a close second. That Savage 99 was in a class all its own. I will admit, the Rossi 92 dumps ejected brass on my head, something that sideshucking Marlin won't do. :scrutiny: I'd heard they're pretty popular with the Cowboy Action crowd but I have no hard data to back it up with.

Eightball
August 7, 2006, 07:54 PM
Personally, I think they're clunky, and anybody who caved in and put manual safeties on leverguns is about as bright IMO as the ones putting safeties on revolvers.:D It makes me happy to see someone else with the same mindset. Unforunately, my Smith is one of those "safeties on revolvers".....but I'll live.

And Steven.......WHAT ON EARTH???????? Do explain that AR in .30 Carbine levergun with a shotgun scope on top. It bedazzles and confuses me.

Wes Janson
August 7, 2006, 08:46 PM
Now, I've seen everything. Is that truly lever-operated?

Nhsport
August 7, 2006, 09:56 PM
I have the marlin cowboy in 44mag and it is a great gun,I expect the 38c (cowboy or competition) would also be good.
I wouldn't give you 2cents for one of their revolvers (I think they are poor copies of S&W) but the Puma/Rossi lever guns are pretty nice.Several of the guys at my club have them and I shoot them a bit and they run pretty slick. One of the models is mostly stainless which besides giving it a different look is a good thing for a banging around gun.
I think much like BULLET BOB in that I believe nothing is finer than a lever gun with a nice trigger and a peep sight!
I have the marlin 44,2 Win 94's in 30/30 and 32win sp,and a Henry goldenboy rimfire. I need to talk my friend out of his marlin 39a takedown (.22lr) with high grade wood. Dummy has a $10 wall mart scope on it and I know for certain he has shot it only twice in the ten years he has had it! I also need to look around and grab up the full sized marlin lever gun in 45/70

HighVelocity
August 7, 2006, 10:22 PM
I have an 1894E and an 1894C Marlin Lever action in 357 mag. Both have been 100% trouble free. Steel plate at 100 yards with open sights? No problem. :evil:

michael_aos
August 7, 2006, 10:35 PM
Check out the Cimarron Texas Brush Popper.

http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/New2006/images/TexBrushPopper.jpg

I've read a lot of comments that the 1873's feed more reliably and operate smoother than the 1892's and onward.

I bought an 1866 for plinking.

http://homepage.mac.com/michael_aos/.Pictures/Guns/1866/UB-1866YellowboyCarbine.jpg

steven04
August 8, 2006, 05:55 AM
I don't want to hi-jack the thread, but briefly, yes, the .30 AR is a lever action, cycled by using the pistol grip. It uses modified M1 mags (15 and 30 rounds IIRC) and new CNC mags that allow me to use Speer 125gr TNT handloads.

It was also available in 9mm, but cycling reliability was an issue.

The Front Vert grip allows the shooter to anchor the rifle into the shoulder whilst the action is cycled.

Rifle is built by a UK company called http://www.southern-gun.co.uk/

Magazione review (scanned) of the LA30 can be found here: http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=F867CC3E6ED582F5

Magazine article detailing the history of this lever action can be found here:
http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=DA42040C1DCC8DA8

ETA: The scope is a Simmons 1.5-5X20, do you guys put them on your Shotguns too ? ?

Cheers
Steven

Bullet Bob
August 8, 2006, 08:43 AM
Michael aso, no offense, really; but you need to read some more - nothing is smoother or more reliable than a 92 in lever actions.

Rock_Steady
August 8, 2006, 09:05 AM
I've got the 1894c and love it. My only problem with it is that I don't get to shoot as much as I want. Honestly, I have never had a misfeed when I do my part. I don't think it is clunky - just sturdy. I removed the crossbolt on mine, and the kit works well and is barely noticable.

This is my go-to gun, my knocking around the farm gun. Had some issues initially getting set up with good sights for it - the original front sight post too low. Other than that, it's great!

Sistema1927
August 8, 2006, 10:47 AM
Michael aso, no offense, really; but you need to read some more - nothing is smoother or more reliable than a 92 in lever actions.

My Rossi 1892 (.45 Colt) is smooth and reliable, but only since it has come back from Steve Young (http://www.stevesgunz.com). It was stiff and had ejection issues prior to his work.

MechAg94
August 8, 2006, 11:48 AM
I have a Rossi 92 in .357/38 that I bought used years ago. I think it was my first rifle larger than a .22 LR. Good gun.

Texfire
August 8, 2006, 02:36 PM
My '73 is a lot smoother than my '92, but I'm willing to believe that it's more the individual rifles than the action.

Tex

MrAcheson
August 8, 2006, 02:46 PM
I'm pretty sure, yeah, the action is stronger than the 92 and I THINK more than the 94, too.If it stronger than the '92, then it is stronger than the '94. The '92 is the stronger of these two actions. The '92 is a shrubk down '86. The '94 is the result of browning trying to fit a true rifle caliber into the same form factor as the '92. I can't say whether the marlin actions are as strong as the '92, but they probably surpass the winchester '94.

I've read a lot of comments that the 1873's feed more reliably and operate smoother than the 1892's and onward.Usually yup. The 73s and earlier ('66 and henry) feed the cartridge straight into the chamber. They do not have any sort of feed ramp nor do they need one. In the newer actions, cartridges have to negotiate a feed ramp which is why full wadcutters and semi-wadcutters can cause problems.

Bullet Bob
August 8, 2006, 03:32 PM
I'd like to amend my statement to say that original Winchester's and Browning reproductions are smoother! Sorry about that!

Eightball
August 8, 2006, 11:46 PM
I'd like to amend my statement to say that original Winchester's and Browning reproductions are smoother! Sorry about that!So...wouldn't that mean that an Uberti is the smoothest, since they're accurate reproductions down to the thread on the screws from the original 1873s?

Eightball
August 9, 2006, 10:22 PM
So does anyone really have any opinoin/experience with Octagon Barrel .357 leverguns? Round is nice, but it just isn't doing it for me.

Texfire
August 9, 2006, 11:49 PM
Only ones I know that are offered in octagonal are the various cowboy action replicas. Uberti is good to very good and Rossi/Puma is fair to good. In this as in most things, you get what you pay for finish wise, but most of the models on the market should function. Action wise your main two choices are an 1873 clone or 1892 clone in .357/.38 chambering. As I mentioned I've had good luck with both a Puma '92 and a Uberti '73. The Uberti is very good, and the Puma worked well after a little minor work.

Tex

Rem700
August 10, 2006, 12:25 AM
Any of the mentioned guns can be had with octagon barrels.
The 66 is 38 special only
The 92 at least for cowboy action shooting is probably the least desirable of the bunch crappy action unreliable feeding etc.
The Marlin is probably the middle of the road can have feed issue with 38spl but can handle hot .357 loads. There is a allen set screw that can be tighened on the safety which makes it unmovable, Or look for a Ludwig screw appx $10 replaces the safety and looks like a screw just like all the others already on the gun.
73 can be tempermental with 38sp handloads if oal gets to short but will run just about any commercial 38 ammo. The action is not as strong as the Marlin if wanting to shoot hot 357 loads.
The reason for not useing swc is the same for not useing rn or pointy bullets in a tube magazine the bullet is resting on the primer of the cartridge in front of it.
I shoot a 73 in CAS but would use my Marlin for regular plinking it used to be my CAS gun until I moved upto a 73. If CAS shooting is in your future and you want to be competitive get a 73 otherwise get a Marlin.

Eightball
August 10, 2006, 01:32 AM
he Marlin is probably the middle of the road can have feed issue with 38spl but can handle hot .357 loads. What causes the .38 feeding problems?
73 can be tempermental with 38sp handloads if oal gets to short but will run just about any commercial 38 ammo. The action is not as strong as the Marlin if wanting to shoot hot 357 loads.I don't reload, yet. Would any of them have problems with a factory .357 and factory .38? This is the kinda stuff I started the thread to find out about. Thank you.

Gohon
August 10, 2006, 02:08 AM
i just got the marlin 1894c but in the instruction manuel it says that i cant use swc rounds and also the length of the round has to be within a certain length...wel i have fmj rounds that are shorted than the specs? any reason why?

I think you may want to re-read that. My manual says wad-cutters (WC) not semi-wad-cutters (SWC).

dracphelan
August 10, 2006, 10:20 AM
What causes the .38 feeding problems?

My manual states that the overall length of rounds must be at least 1.4 inches (if I remember correctly). Apparently, some 38s are shorter than this. The manual also says to not use aluminum cased ammo (Blazer).

Rem700
August 10, 2006, 01:20 PM
OAL length is usually a timing issue. If the cartridge oal length is to short the carrier allows a second to start out of the mag tube and causes a jam, ie a shell on the carrier and another half on the carrier and half in the mag tube.
Most levers will function without flaw with .357 ammo but may have issue with 38 ammo depending on bullet weight and profile. In general the 38s will work with 158gr and heavier bullets but when shooting 125gr and lighter bullet profile becomes a issue. OAL of a 38 loaded with say 125gr TC is generally longer then say a 125gr rnfp. I used to shoot a Marlin for appx a year and then switched to a 73 for CAS. I use 125gr TC (truncated)bullets functioned fine in both rifles but neither will work with 125gr rnfp bullets. I shoot appx 10k of rifle rds a year. The only reason for switching from a Marlin to a 73 was the side eject for CAS, When running a left hand sweep of targets the shell would sometimes bounce on the carrier and cause a bobble right hand sweeps where no problem because the shell is being kept stable against the receiver. A 73 is top eject and isnt prone to this problem. Keep in mind this is running at top speed for me which is appx 10rds in 5 sec. Also I have appx $600 in my Marlin and about $1500 in each of my 73s includeing action work springs, short stroke, aluminum carrier, ect. In general non of this applies to the 92 unless sent to Nate Kiowa Jones first, Most people found to be having issues with there rifles are generally found to be shooting Rossi or Puma 92s which where designed to shoot rifle length cartridges. The 73 and the 94 Marlin where designed around pistol cartridges so generally shoot pistol cartridges better as that was what they where designed for.

Carl N. Brown
August 10, 2006, 02:17 PM
Always wondered how those UK leveraction ARs fuctioned.

And yes, we put scopes on shotguns (mostly for biggame slugs).
I have a 2.5x20 on my Mossberg bullpup.

I own a .30-30 Marlin and a Rossi Puma .357 and love both.
The '94 Marlin .357 is a little "clunkier" than the '92 Puma.
For jacketed bullets and 'scopes, the Marlin microgroove is the
best way; for cast bullets and open sights, no.

jjohnson
August 16, 2006, 10:06 AM
Your Quote:

If it stronger than the '92, then it is stronger than the '94. The '92 is the stronger of these two actions. The '92 is a shrubk down '86. The '94 is the result of browning trying to fit a true rifle caliber into the same form factor as the '92. I can't say whether the marlin actions are as strong as the '92, but they probably surpass the winchester '94.

Really? I'd have guessed otherwise, but that would be a guess. I assumed that since a 94 does well with 30-30 and is a newer design, it would have been stronger, but not so? Just wondering. I have a pair of Rossi 92s, and but for the fact that when they eject, the brass goes straight up and falls down directly on my head, I like them very much, more than my Win 94AE in .44Mag.:scrutiny:

I'm mostly a boltgun guy myself, but the leverguns certainly have a place in my gun rack. I do a lot of short range shooting where something like, say, an 8mm M98 just isn't a good idea.

Father Knows Best
August 16, 2006, 10:42 AM
Here's my take on the pistol caliber lever actions, based on quite a few years shooting them in the cowboy action game:

Uberti 1873:

The good: The smoothest action by far, and also the most reliable at feeding if your ammo is within the right OAL range. With a little polishing, the 1873 lever can be operated with just a few fingertips, which is how the best cowboy shooters do it. The 1873 is the single most popular rifle in the cowboy action game, despite its high price, because it is the fastest and most reliable. They can be run faster than a lot of semi-autos. A decent cowboy shooter with a slicked-up '73 can run off ten aimed shots in about 3-4 seconds (the best get it down to 2 seconds), and will have 3-4 spent cases flying through the air at any given time. A good part of the reliability and smoothness of these rifles is the action design. Cartridges are lifted from the mag tube by a brass elevator that keeps them horizontal, and then they are pushed into the chamber by the bolt. In the Marlins and later Winchesters (92 and 94), the cartridge feeds at an angle and has to make a turn into the chamber.

The bad: It's expensive ($850-1100 depending on model and where you buy it). It's heavy (but that also helps keep recoil to a minimum). The toggle link action is not particularly strong (it can't handle the pressure of a .44 Magnum, for example, which the Marlin and Winchester 92 and 94 can).

Marlin 1894:

The good: The Marlin 1894 is the 2nd most popular rifle in cowboy shooting. It's not quite as smooth as the 1873, but with some slicking up can be almost as fast and reliable in expert hands. It is a much stronger action than the 1873. It is still somewhat more likely than the 1873 to jam or throw out a live round when being worked very quickly, but that won't impact you if you're not trying to win action matches with it. It can be easily single loaded through the ejection port (the 1873 cannot). it is much easier to scope, if you want optics. It is considerably cheaper than the 1873 Uberti.

The bad: As I mentioned, it isn't quite as slick and reliable as the 1873. That's about it. The lower price and greater strength mean that it's the better choice for many people.

Winchester 1892 replicas:

The good: The 1892 was Winchester's replacement for the 1873. It is a John Browning design and is much lighter than the 1873, meaning it is quicker handling and easier to carry. The action is also much stronger, so it can handle high pressure loads like the modern .44 magnum.

The bad: Like the 1873, it ejects from the top, so optics can be difficult to mount. It's been out of production by the original Winchester for a LONG time. Replicas have been made by Rossi, LSI and Browning over the years, and some are quite poor quality. The best replicas have been the Browning models (actually built by Miroku in Japan). They are typically quite clunky out of the box, and jam-o-matics are not uncommon. The 1892 typically needs the services of a GOOD gunsmith before it will run smoothly and reliably. Without proper tuning and the correct cartridge OAL, they are prone to "stovepipe" when you work the lever too fast. Even with proper tuning and ammo, it will never be as smooth and reliable as an 1873. If you are going to get an 1892, I recommend getting one from Steve Young, the "92 Specialist", who knows them better than anyone.

MrAcheson
August 16, 2006, 11:36 AM
Even with proper tuning and ammo, it will never be as smooth and reliable as an 1873.That isn't what Winchester said when they brought out the '92 a hundred years ago. Back then it was praised for it's shorter throw, lighter weight, and stronger action.

The real downside of the '92 compared to the '73 is cleaning. The '73 was designed for black powder so cleaning it is a breeze. Just remove the sideplates and spray it out. The '92 is a nightmare to take down and clean both in comparison to the '73 and by any measure I can think of.

MrAcheson
August 16, 2006, 12:27 PM
Really? I'd have guessed otherwise, but that would be a guess. I assumed that since a 94 does well with 30-30 and is a newer design, it would have been stronger, but not so? Just wondering. I have a pair of Rossi 92s, and but for the fact that when they eject, the brass goes straight up and falls down directly on my head, I like them very much, more than my Win 94AE in .44Mag.The '92s ejection pattern is on purpose. It ensures everyone firing them wears a cowboy hat.:D

To my knowledge the '92 is a stronger action. The 92s two redundant locking bars beat the 94s single (but beefier) locking bolt. The '92s bars are also in a better position (i.e. not at the very end of the bolt). But I'll have to admit I have never done a complete engineering analysis of the actions in question.

Father Knows Best
August 16, 2006, 12:34 PM
Back then it was praised for it's shorter throw, lighter weight, and stronger action.

That's not at all inconsistent with what I said. In fact, I pointed out that the 92 is much lighter and has a much stronger action, thanks to its dual locking lugs. I don't know about the shorter throw part, but I think the 73 and 92 are pretty comparable in that regard.

I have both a Browning 92 (in 44 mag), as well as several toggle link Ubertis (an 1866 and an 1873 in 44-40, which have identical actions). There is no question that the Ubertis require a lot less effort to cycle the action. As I said, I can index my thumb against the stock and cycle the action on the 66 and 73 with a flick of my second and third fingertips. That's not really possible with the 92, and my 92 has been slicked up by the King of 92's, Mr. Steve Young (aka Nate Kiowa Jones) himself.

The real selling points for the 1892 vs. the 1873 back in the day were the lighter weight and ability to handle hotter cartridges (and the weight difference is very noticeable -- the 1873 receiver is a very big hunk of steel). If those factors are important to you, then you should go with the 92 or the Marlin 1894. If weight and action strength aren't that important to you, but reliability of feeding and speed are, then the 1873 is the better choice. Again, there's a reason that the 1873 is by far the most popular rifle in cowboy action shooting despite its heavier weight, higher cost and weaker action -- it is smoother, faster and more reliable.

MikeS.
August 16, 2006, 06:09 PM
The 94c is a nice piece of work. I've owned 1 since 1992 and have shot a couple thousand 357 rounds through it with VERY few feed problems. A fun gun to shoot for sure.

I recently bought a Rossi that has some nice engraving work on it, it too is 357magnum. I've only fired a box of ammo thru it but am looking forward to many more.

MikeS.

AgentOrange
January 30, 2010, 10:32 AM
i know this in an old thread, but man, that "
lever action ar-15" is the ugliest thing i ever seen

PT1911
January 30, 2010, 10:52 AM
I think it is pretty damn neat... I would like to see it in action.

Rexster
January 30, 2010, 10:55 AM
I hate the Marlin safeties, too, but Marlin guys know about the solutions to that one. The simplest is to ignore it, but sometimes something might bump it to the "on" position. An E-clip or O-ring can be used to hold the safety button in the "fire" position. There is a kit that replaces the safety with a bolt that has no real function, but looks like it belongs there. I have read of folks replacing the safety with a mount for a saddle ring, and being a lefty, who wants a saddle ring on the right side of a rifle, I am going to research that for myself.

The most elegant solution is a pre-safety Marlin, of course.

With just about any other firearm on the planet, I would advise against disabling any safety device, but these afterthought add-on crossbolt Marlin (and Winchester) safeties seem unnecessary to me, and being a lefty, for me they totally in the wrong direction, anyway.

Moreover, I am always on the lookout locally for a nice Browning B92.

I've have no bad experience with lever rifles, so won't comment on the "worst" part.

Edited to add: Ah, just noticed this is a necro-post. Cabin fever seems to dredge up lots of these on various forums.

Eightball
January 30, 2010, 04:48 PM
just noticed this is a necro-post.You're telling me :eek:

craZ4Gunz
June 24, 2010, 01:24 AM
Mine feeds everything I've shoved into it, and shoots them all better than I do. With a full wadcutter, it takes a slower hand on the lever, just to allow the shell time to settle into the carrier. If you work it too fast, they hang up going into the chamber. Doesn't tie up the gun, but stops the lever dead....

.38s are like shooting a big .22. In a good way. With full-tilt magnums, it's still a light-kicking gun....

It'll cover everything from small game to deer, within it's range envelope. I see no reason to scope mine, the iron sights cover any range at which it'd be responsible to shoot at an animal with it. The power within the gun's natural range, is quite good, but a scope would just encourage me to take longer shots than I should. If eyes are a problem, maybe a fixed 2-4 power would be appropriate.

As a home-defense weapon, it's pretty good, too. Holds 10 rounds of full-power .357s, can be reloaded from a pocket while still being ready to fire, accurate and easy to shoot. Others have commented on lawyerly aspects before, but I'm not really sure that's a real issue.

The only downside is the rate at which it eats ammo. If you shoot it like a big .22, and you will, you'll go through rounds like it was a .22. If you don't reload now, you'll start. You'll have to.

Get one. You'll understand.

--Shannon

Just got me one and totally agree with these comments - we took her out 3 times so far and already through almost a 1000 rds of .38s and .357 mags. Keep her clean and she eats everything - no jams. Like Tubee said - biggest problem is keeping enough components on hand to keep her fed..Put a Skinner rear sight on her and my groups tightened up to 1/2 inch at 100 yds...the gun shoots way better than me - Going back out asap to see if I can get it tighter!!! :D

brianr23
June 24, 2010, 08:47 PM
Too funny! I was reading the whole thread thinking I really love my Henry Big Boy in .357 and no one mentioned it.....Then I saw the thread was old....Well I still love my Henry

Lone Ranger
June 26, 2010, 01:45 AM
I have a Marlin 1894C. Shoots everything from mag to wadcutter. Fun to shoot. You just have to be deliberate when cycling the lever no matter what round you fire, as that is where the failures arise.

Red Cent
June 26, 2010, 12:06 PM
Father Knows Best knows best.

Lucky Derby
June 27, 2010, 02:27 PM
Well, did the OP ever get a rifle?
Now I would recommend the Henry Big Boy, but that wasn't an option in '06.
I have 2 92's a Rossi in .357 and a Winchester that some previous owner rechambered to .44 Mag. Both shoot well. The Rossi is not as smooth as the Win, but has been 100% reliable with both Specials and Magnums. The Win will not reliably cycle with .44 Special, but will eat Magnums all day long.

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