Buying a lever action


August 16, 2007, 12:34 AM
I have been looking at lever actions recently and would like to purchase one. I haven't owned one and just started looking into them, so I don't really know much about differen't models. I have $500 to spend but would like to spend less than that. So what model do you like and why...the gun will be used to shoot for fun mostly but also as a brush gun for deer. Thanks in advance.

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Pine Cone
August 16, 2007, 12:56 AM
For lots of info on leverguns check out the Marlin 1894 club here at
or the Marlin 336 club at

I have had my 1894C in .38/.357 for a little over a year and just picked up a used 336 last week. It took me two days to read and digest all of the post in the 336 club thread.

Either are in the brush gun/deer rifle category, with the pistol caliber guns (1894s) usually being much cheaper to shoot while the .30-30s (336) has more power = greater shooting distance.

I'm still a newbie, but there are plenty people with lots of experience here who can answer questions and give advice.

August 16, 2007, 01:01 AM
Look at a marlin 336 or 1894.

Marlin 1894

.44 magnum (
.357 magnum (

The 1894c can take cheep .38 special reliably while the 1894 can take .44 special reliably. They’re good on dear out to about 100 yards with good ammo. Ammo is much cheaper than 30-30 so plinking won’t destroy your pocketbook. They are both extremely handy and way about six pounds. Parts accessories are everywhere so you won’t get bored with it. Only problem is they can be very hard to find sometimes they are under high demand. Usually a little more than the 336 but you’ll make up the difference quick with ammo cost these days. About $500.00

Marlin 336c

walnut (
stainless (

The 336 is a classic and lives up to its reputation. With normal ammo it’s good on deer out to about 150 yards, but with new Hornandy leverution ammo it’s a deer stopper out to about 200-250 yards. If you pick up any marlin lever action you won’t be disappointed. Check out their 45-70’s too though that’s a little much for deer without the right load. About $ 450.00 for the walnut and about $ 550.00 for the stainless

Both are ultra reliable, capable of taking dear, have a great fit and finish, accurate, have slick actions, and are fun.

P.S. Buy buffalo bore ammo for hunting with the 1894 it’s tailored especially to them. Buy everution ammo for the 336.

August 16, 2007, 01:03 AM
I was thinking .44 rem mag/.44 spcl or .357/.38 spcl rather than a 30-30, .444 or other rifle calibers because I would like to shoot the gun a lot and not pay or feel it as much.

August 16, 2007, 01:10 AM
A few more things, how do the winchester 94's stack up to marlin lever actions, how does a .357 or .44 mag do on a deer out to say 75 yards, and does anyone make a gun in .357 or .44 that looks and feels like the 336? I held a 336 the other day and it felt near perfect to me and I think it looks better than the 1894.

Also how much would a used 1894 go for if its in 85-95% condition?

August 16, 2007, 01:31 AM
A good used one typically isn’t much cheaper. They are really well made so they depreciate rather slowly. They are also hard to find used because buyers tend to buy them then like them then keep them. They have the Model 1894FG ( that has ergonomics similar to the 336 but it’s chambered for .41 magnum so ammo is kind of pricey and scarce. I believe they used to make a 1894 in .44 magnum or .357 magnum with a pistol grip stock like the 336.

With buffalo bore ammo ( potential of the pistol rounds is truly recognized and both can take dear out to about 100 yards. This ammo is specially tailored for the guns. The pressures are higher than that of normal pistol ammo.

August 16, 2007, 01:46 AM
I have several lever actions. The smoothest one I have is a newer BLR. I'm waiting on picking up an Marlin so can't speak to it.

Check out ammo prices, availabiltiy, and ballistics of the round for what you want to do. As a brush gun the range isn't going to be an issue so go with price and availability or cross over use like .44 or .357.

You might also what to check out the Mag fed vs. tube fed. Another reason I like the BLR is that it is Magazine fed so when I jump in the truck I only have to remove one round plus the mag vs. clearing the entire tube.

Good luck!

August 16, 2007, 02:15 AM
Honestly in your position I would get a Marlin 336 in 30-30 or maybe 35 remington. I was calling around town about a week ago looking for a 444 Marlin, and several places had used 336's in 30-30 for under $250

EDIT: Academy has remington 30-30 ammo for 12.76/20

August 16, 2007, 01:09 PM
I want a more traditional gun than a BLR, and don't want to pay as much. I think that I should get a .44 mag because of the availabilty of ammo and the price isn't to bad either. How do you think that .357 would compare to the .44 on a deer between 30 and 50 yards?

August 16, 2007, 05:54 PM
I have a .357 and a .44 Mag. They are both fun. The .357 is easiest on noise and recoil, but the .44 is much better on deer. .44 Spls are super easy on the shoulder and have little noise. They work great in the .44 Mag. I have also had good luck with the Win's, but like the shorter and simpler action of the Marlin.

The Marlin can also be taken apart for cleaning much easier than the Win.

Hope this helps you out,


PS at less than 50 yards, the .357 should be great. You want to think about the size of deer you are shooting. If you are shooting small white tails they will drop with ease, however if your deer are more than 150 lbs, I would go with the .44.

August 16, 2007, 07:35 PM
The reason I am asking is because the .357 is about half the price to shoot, but I think I am going to get into reloading soon, so I will probably go with the .44.

August 16, 2007, 10:11 PM
FWIW, I got the Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .38spl/.357mag 'cause it's so much fun to shoot, and it complements my Ruger GP100 so well. I can reload for both all day for a mere pittance of what factory ammo costs. You can plink with .38spl and take the magnum round out into the field.

August 17, 2007, 11:34 PM
I decided that I am going to get a 336 in 30-30, unless I find a cheaper .35 rem.

August 18, 2007, 12:45 AM
Look at a Puma Model 92. Strong action. You can get it in 357, 44 mag, 45 Colt (what I use) 460 Ruger, 454 Casull, to name a few. And they are reasonably priced. If you want a looker, get a Cimarron Arms 1873. You can slick those up real nice.

August 18, 2007, 02:14 AM
what grayrock said. The Rossi 92's (Pumas) are great little shooters at a modest price. I have the 45 with oct barrel and I love it.

August 18, 2007, 02:34 AM
I decided that I am going to get a 336 in 30-30, unless I find a cheaper .35 rem.
There's nothing wrong with a classic 30-30 lever gun. Cabela's has an in-store ammo sale going right now. They have Federal Blue Box 30-30 for $9.99 a box of 20. Get some fast plus any other ammo you need for the same price. (.308, .30-06, .243, .270, 7MM)

If you decide to get a .357 Magnum you can take deer a little better with 170 gr Semi-Jacketed Soft Point ammo better than 158 gr JHP ammo like those made by Speer.

Buffalo Bore has a 180 gr Hard Cast and 170 gr JHC rounds which are reported to achieve over 1850 fps out of a 18.5" barrel Marlin.

Or you can use 180 gr or 200 gr Gas Checked Hard Cast rounds like those made by Double Tap for hunting.

My point is, if you are going to use the .357 Magnum round for hunting, use a hunting round in your .357 Magnum.

August 18, 2007, 07:09 AM
The .357 isn't enough for deer and isn't legal for deer in most places. You could pick up a 336 for deer and a Henry .22 for plinking both for 500 with a little searching. And the .22 ammo is about 10 times less than even the .38 spcl for an 1894c

B.D. Turner
August 18, 2007, 10:45 AM
I own both the 336 in 30-30 and the 1894 in .44 mag. I love them both. If I intended to use the rifle for hunting only I would go with 30-30 for no other reason than the development of the LE ammunition. For a plinker/hunting rifle combo I would go with the 1894 in .44 magnum. The .44 mag does a fine job on deer and black bear. You can also shoot .44 specials through the 1894 and they will handle cast lead bullets so you can cast your own. WalMart was selling the Marlin 336 in 30-30 for $289.00 + tax back during Christmas. The 1894 will set you back a bit more price wise.

August 18, 2007, 10:57 AM
I can't believe I haven't seen more suggestions for Winchesters. I love my model 94 in 30-30 and you can get a good used one for less than 400.00. You can get a new in the box old stock for about 500.00. (For the record I bought 1 at a pawn shop for 230.00 in almost new condition just a few months ago. It's a pre crossbolt/tang safety model)

Just a note, I also have concerns about $ and ammo so I started to role my own. It's way cheaper and you can create light plinking or heavy hunting rounds. For instance, the 30-30 can be shot with a light 110gr bullet that is about the same as the 357, then just switch to a 170gr hunting round out to 100 yards.

For the record there is nothing wrong with a Marlin, and I like the 336, but Winchesters are great to.

What ever you decide, shoot safe and have fun.


August 18, 2007, 11:10 AM
"The .357 isn't enough for deer and isn't legal for deer in most places."


From the Buffalo Bore webpage:

18.5 inch Marlin 1894

170gr. JHC (jacketed hollow cavity) = 1860 fps

From the Winchester webpage:

30-30 Winchester (barrel length not specified, but I'll bet it's longer than 18.5")
170 gr. Super-X Power-Point = 2200 fps

So, comparing 170 grain bullets, the .357 Buffalo Bore is only 340 fps slower than the .30/30 at the muzzle. If we accept the premise that the .30/30 is okay for deer (hard to argue against that!), then it seems to follow that that the only slightly slower .357 should also be enough for deer.

I have a Winchester 94AE .357 Trapper that I consistently get 2 MOA at 100 yds shooting Remington 180 grain semi-jacketed hollow points, which are reported to reach 1590 fps from a 20" barrel.

Shot placement!

I've lightened up the 94's trigger a bit, and polished up the internal parts. It's not a target rifle by any means, but is fine for hunting. I'll be using it for deer for the first time this year under Indiana's new law that finally allows rifles in pistol-class cartridges to be used. My alternative is a .50 cal Omega, which has similar ballistics (i,e., the rainbow trajectory as the .357), and which I use during the muzzleloader season.

The 180 grain Remington ammo is about $35 per 50, and I can practice with ammo that is less than half that price.

Food for thought.


August 18, 2007, 11:29 AM
The .357 isn't enough for deer and isn't legal for deer in most places.


In Arkansas handgun hunting for deer is legal as long as the barrel is 4" or longer and the ammunition is centerfire. The only restriction for rifles is that the ammunition has to be centerfire. Lots of deer and hogs have been taken with .357 handguns, so why wouldn't it be "enough for deer" out of a rifle? Frankly, there are some places where using a pistol caliber cartridge would be to your advantage, since a ricochet from a .357 wouldn't travel nearly as far as one from a 30-06.

August 18, 2007, 11:44 AM
Buy the 336 in 30-30. You will be very very happy. You can get one new for under your $500 mark, I got a like new/used one for $200

August 18, 2007, 11:45 AM
The .357 isn't enough for deer and isn't legal for deer in most places.

Wow you must have deer the size of rino's were your from.

I have 2 pumas 92.s .357, and a new .44 I picked upped used 2 days ago., and a 2 Henry's in .45 colt, and .357.

Sorry no marlins here, so cant recommend them.

Ken C
August 18, 2007, 11:45 AM
Henry Big Boy in either .44 mag, .45 Colt, .357 mag The smoothest action made.

August 18, 2007, 12:12 PM
The Winchester 94 in 30-30 is my preference. It is accurate and the carry of the rifle is well balanced. Marlins are good rifles but the 94 I like better.

August 18, 2007, 01:02 PM
I have an unfired Browning B92 Centenial in 44 Mag for sale.
Email me for pics. I don't know how to post them here.
It's a beauty......$750.00

August 18, 2007, 02:38 PM
Why are you selling?

August 18, 2007, 03:31 PM
Marlin 336 vs. Winchester 94 in .30-30 is a Fords vs Chevy discussion. For pistol calibers, however, the Marlin is the way to go. The Win 94's in pistol calibers have a reputation among SASS (cowboy action) shooters for being a bit tempermental in feeding. A '92 pattern, like the Browning or the Rossi would be a better bet if you simply want something different, but I believe the Marlin 1894 is superior. Simpler design, easier to maintain, easier to clean, more support for them by parts makers and gunsmiths.

August 18, 2007, 07:24 PM
In reference to some comments about .357 for deer, I have never used it but based my comment on Chuck Hawk's comparison table which shows the .357 magnum (from a rifle) 180gr having a muzzle energy of 920 ft/lbs. Many states require 1000 - 1200 for deer. The .30-30 170gr is listed at over 1800 ft/lbs of muzzle energy, very nearly twice that of the .357. At yardage the gap between the two widens. I don't doubt that many deer have been taken with the .357 and less, but those numbers were my basis for recommending the .30-30 over the .357 as a deer rifle. Frankly, I think everyone should have one of each :)

Mat, not doormat
August 18, 2007, 11:53 PM
If you want a pistol caliber marlin, check your local cowboy club. The italian repro toggle link guns rule the game, these days, so the marlins aren't in that much demand. I've seen a lot of used '94s go for like $300-350. 336s aren't that hard to find. If you're planning on deer, hogs, or other decent sized game , definitely go for the .44, or a rifle caliber. Not much difference in ammo prices for .44 vs .357, and a LOT more power.

As to other levers, I really like my big marlin 1895 cowboy. it's an absolute tackdriver. Only problem is that .45-70 ammo is just about as pricey as they get, short of the african game cartidges.

The other options are Winchester/Browning/Rossi/EMF 1892s, which is a top ejecting pistol caliber rifle, and the Winchester 1894, which is available for either pistol or rifle calibers. In rifle calibers, it's a fine gun, but difficult to scope, because of the top ejection. In pistol calibers, it makes a good doorstop. Ugh. No comparison to a marlin for reliability, or smoothness.

If you're wanting to use it with modern magnum ammo, stay away from the italian toggle link guns. Although they are smooth and fast, they are not strong.


August 19, 2007, 01:20 AM
I should be going to a few gun shops in the next week so hopefully I will find a good deal, I'll tell you what I find.

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