Opinions needed on New Lever Action Rifle


December 27, 2006, 06:17 PM
Hi everyone. I will be purchasing a new lever action rifle before February of next year and need some input as to which caliber/model to get. I have narrowed it down to the following;

Marlin 1894 in .357 or 41 mag.
Puma '92 in .357
Uberti 1873 in .357 or 45 Colt

I prefer the Uberti 1873 Special Sporting Rifle, 24 1/4" Full-Octagon bbl, however I am not sure that the action is strong enough for non-standard 45 colt loads. Such as those for the Ruger Blackhawk.

Primary purpose for the rifle is for taking game no larger than deer, in south central Virginia and for target shooting or general plinking. Most of the ammunition well be reloads and cast bullets.

Any information, pros/cons would be greatly appreciated.

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December 27, 2006, 06:23 PM
You are correct - the 1873 is not strong enough for hot loads. However, the 1892 is plenty strong I have one in .357 and really like it.

December 27, 2006, 06:29 PM
I have a Puma in 357 and the Marlin 357 and 44. I'd pick the Marlin in whatever caliber sidearm you have or prefer. Either one will do the job. The 357 has the added benifit of shooting 38's.

The puma is lighter and carries easier but the sights leave something to be desired and at least on mine are attached to the barrell band and would be a PITA to change.

December 27, 2006, 06:30 PM
I would go with the Puma for the simple fact that they are available. I know from looking that the Marlins are seemingly scarce. I am uncertain if that is production / Demand or that the Puma's are that inferior. I would think a production / demand issue is more the case.

December 27, 2006, 06:32 PM
if you are going to go with a marlin, why stop at .41, go with the .45/70. I got one and reload alot. Thing is she got a walop. figure out your best load. I mainly go with .357 sabot, with 42 grn 4198 pwdr. hot rnd, at 3200 +fps. smooth shooting and stable flight out 300 ft with 2" drop.

December 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
You are correct - the 1873 is not strong enough for hot loads.
Hi roscoe, Yeah that is what i had heard, really bums me out LoL...

yooper_sjd -- 45/70 is a bit more than i need. Besides would have to buy all new dies for my reloder and too lazy for that. I forgot to mention that I already have Ruger Blackhawks in the calibers metioned, so would like to carry a rifle to match my revolvers.

Appreciate the Very fast responses everyone. Looks like the Marlin and Puma are going to take the lead here. But still deciding.

December 27, 2006, 07:05 PM
Consider the Ruger lever action in .44 mag? Not traditional but a good brush gun. Mine holds 3" at 100 yds with 300 grain XTPs.

December 27, 2006, 07:06 PM
I don't know about your area but it is difficult around Atlanta to find a pistol caliber lever gun. I assume it is bc of cowboy action shooters but don't know for sure. I guess I could get one but paying premium price is not in the realm of possibilities right now. If I ever do manage to get one I am planning on it being in .357 but that is simply for revolver / lever ammo compatability and I plan on it being a Marlin.

December 27, 2006, 07:08 PM
Marlin 1894 in .357 or 41 mag.
Puma '92 in .357
Uberti 1873 in .357 or 45 Colt

Any of these would probably serve you well. I've only had direct experience with the Marlin. It is an excellent little carbine.

December 27, 2006, 07:08 PM
I have the '94 in .41mag and really enjoy it. Since you already reload, ammo will be no problem. It shoots true out to the 100yd targets with ease and does not leave me feeling beat up after 50-100 rounds.
The only complaint that I have is that with the drop at 100 yards, the elevation sight doesn't quite lift up enough. I have to adjust the site picture to completely cover the bullseye with the front sight.


December 27, 2006, 07:10 PM
Incidentally, I also have a Winchester 1894 in .45 Colt and it is reliable and accurate. You could probably find one used.

Brian Williams
December 27, 2006, 07:14 PM
I prefer a Marlin 1894C, with a set of receiver sights, it will do most anything inside of 150 yards.

December 27, 2006, 07:16 PM
I prefer a Marlin 1894C, with a set of receiver sights, it will do most anything inside of 150 yards

. . . like cratering a friend's steel dueling tree. Ask me how I know!

Jim March
December 27, 2006, 07:49 PM
I'm looking into the same question. One thing I like about the Marlins is the availability of a scout scope mount from XS Sights:


I'm cross-dominant: right handed, left eyed. A long eye relief scope is probably the best way for me to adapt to riflework at all.

The Marlin side-eject system is very compatible with scope mounting in general.

Yooper_sjd: on those .357 width sabot loads in 45-70, are you using slugs meant for .45cal muzzleloaders? I thought of that same exact thing:


I found a link to:


Is this what you're using, or something else? In the other thread we weren't sure if the muzzleloader sabot/slug combination was actually close to 45-70 bore spec and also what the feed reliability was like.

I have been assuming that using such loads would mean you've basically got a two-shot gun? In other words it would NOT be safe to load one of these behind another round in the magazine as the pointy tip would act as a firing pin under recoil and blow the magazine all to hell. You could load one "pointy nose" in the magazine, lever it into battery and then load one solo into the magazine safely.

Finally, did you mean to say you were getting good accuracy and 2" drop at 300 *feet*, or yards? 300 feet is 100yds and standard 45-70 won't do hardly any drop at 100yds. 2" drop at 300 *yards* on the other hand compares favorably to at least 30+ inches in standard 45-70 fodder.

December 28, 2006, 12:14 AM
I'm very fond of, and would recommend, the Marlin 1894CS; I added a set of XS peep sights to mine, and I find it makes a significant improvement over the factory-issue open sights.

I would like to add a Rossi-made or older Browning-made 1892 in .357 to my collection, but the new-production Rossi's have a fragile-looking safety-switch on top of the bolt, which leaves me cold; thus, I'm looking for a used older-production gun without the little doofus-switch-doohickey.

December 28, 2006, 02:12 AM
I incorrectly used the word "drop". What I was attempting to describe was that my groupings at 100 yards, 300 feet, were two inches lower than I can compensate for by raising the rear sight,without some sort of modification that I have not yet undertaken. Actually, my .41 pistol has more sight adjustment available and does not require me to change my sight picture when adjusted.

December 28, 2006, 03:15 AM
I would grab the Marlin in .41 while they are still in production. They dropped that caliber for a number of years before so there is a good chance they will again.

December 28, 2006, 07:48 AM
I have two pistol calibre Rossis and one 1894 Marlin. I have used the Rossis a lot, especially the 357 which is not a current model and has good sights, apart from the foresight mounted on the barrel band which seems to be a be problem with most guys, but mine seems to work well. The rifle is a hoot! I also have a near new 44Mag and I haven't used it much because the sights suck. OK for cowboy (barely), but useless for any fine work. Great rifle apart from that and virtually half the price of the Marlin here. I owuldn't have bought the Marlin, I was about to upgrade the sights on the Rossi, but saw one nib at a considerable discount when I was cashed up, dang!

I'd factor in a set of sights for the Rossi (your eyes might be young enough to use them) and go with that because of the price, but the Marlin does have the adantage of being able to take a scopesight if you so desire. Nowwwwwwwwwwwwww, I have a nice 1.5 Weaver that I might be convinced to part with (just joking).

Dave Markowitz
December 28, 2006, 09:43 AM
I've come to prefer Marlins over Winchesters and replicas thereof, mainly because they are easier to maintain. To field strip a Marlin, all you need to do is remove the screw holding the lever on, then remove the lever and slide the bolt out the back. This allows cleaning from the breech. Stripping a Winchester is more involved.

Ranger J
December 28, 2006, 10:19 AM
Go with the Marlins. Depending on your recoil tolerance you could get the 1894 in either .357 or .44 mag. I have the 1894C in .357 but rarely get to shoot it. My wife who finds the .44 mag just a tad over her recoil limit can shoot full bore .357 all day with no problem. She also has the option of shooting .38 special loads. This gun can be either used for squirrels with the .38 or for deer under 100 yds. with 158 SP in .357. I am expecting word anytime that my new 1894 in .44 mag has arrived at my dealers store. If recoil is not a problem you could get the 1895 marlin in 45/70. Mine will shoot near same hole at 50 yds but as you load it up it can begin to thump on both ends. A good recoil pad turns this thump into a push. Itís not nearly as cheap to reload for, as are the 1894s. Either way go Marlin.

December 28, 2006, 11:12 AM
I have the Marlin in both 357 and 41. Good little rifles that can be made into great little rifles with receiver peep sights and a replacement trigger. The 357 is obviously significantly cheaper to shoot, but I really like the extra power the 41 has.

December 28, 2006, 11:22 AM
I have a Rossi 92, my friend has a Marlin 1894. I would recommend either of them. I'd stay away from the 1873 for anything other than cowboy action shooting or plinking, "toggle link" is just not as strong a gun design and won't stand up to the hotter loads.

The 92 design seems to be a stronger (easily handles hotter loads), and more tolerant in terms of ammo handling, the Marlin is WAY easier to field strip and clean and easier to mount a scope on if you so desire.

If you want a little more "nuts n bolts" info on both rifles go to Marauders webpage here ( http://marauder.homestead.com/Rifles.html ). Marauder focuses mostly on tuning the guns for cowboy action shooting but the info is good for general rifle knowledge as well.

December 28, 2006, 11:36 AM
I have the 1894 Marlin in .357. It'll shoot .357 all day long and is pleasant to shoot even with the Federal 158 Grain SP loads.

Definitely recommend that one over just about anything else.

My buddy has a Rossi 92 that he loves and tends to digest anything you can put into it. Not a bad rifle.

I agree with the "Ze" toggle linking bad and not too reliable.

December 28, 2006, 11:49 AM
Thanks to everyone responding.....It looks like I might just have to get the Marlin...I really do like the fact that with the .357 I can also shoot 38 specials. With the cost of the 1873 Uberti, I could probably afford TWO marlins....hmmm, that is a thought.

Again, I really apprecaite all the help.

December 28, 2006, 11:56 AM
Just remember, most .357 based rifles will shoot .38 special as well but some don't like to feed too well. Tinygnat's will eat .357 all day but gets fussy about feeding .38 special. Mine doesn't seem to care either way. Kinda luck of the draw but you can usually "tune" your rifle to feed better if you want to take the time.

December 28, 2006, 12:36 PM
I just got a Puma m92 in .357 with the 16" barrel for Xmas. The front sight on this one is dovetailed into the barrel, but I will be changing the rear sight. Damn thing barely has a V cut into it, and is really hard to see in low light. Already gave it a couple days at the range. Light, and very fast to the shoulder. Ran every .357, .38 I had on hand without a problem. No problems out to 100 yards. I like this little carbine a lot.

I also have Henry's, in .45 colt, and .357. While a bit heavy, the sights are great right outta the box, and both shoot every thing I feed it. And the Henry is a very handsome rifle.

I know you didn't mention Henry, but I thought I give you some input anyway.


Also Henry has scope mounts available on there web sight.

andy B
December 28, 2006, 03:57 PM
Go with the 1895G Guide Gun in 45/70. I have this with the XS Ghost Ring and 4x pistol scope scout mounted w/ Quick Release rings. With the Ghost Ring, you get very fast target aquisition in woods, put the scope on for longer targets. With the new Hornady LEVERevolution 325 grain bullets, you can get 200 yard accuracy. The recoil is not nearly as bas as you might expect. You can get up to 500 gr ammunition from Buffalo Bore if you need to.


December 28, 2006, 05:19 PM
I have always liked the Henry rifles. Thougt I would one day get one, but for right now, I think I will go Marlin.

andy B, 45/70 is much more rilfe than I need. Most of my shots will most probably be under 50 yards, as the area I am moving too is pretty dense. Not to mention that I wanted to have a rifle in the same caliber as my revolvers.

For those of you that have the Marlin in 357 caliber, do any of you cast your own bullets? And if so, what size? gas checks or not? etc do you use.

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