Best Lever Action


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Soldier0117
March 17, 2008, 12:19 AM
Hey everyone, I have been interested in a good lever action rifle for a good price. What do you think is an affordable but good company? Also what lever action caliber has the best balance of power, accuracy, range, good handling, and somewhat cost. I heard .35 and .30-30 are two of the best but what are your thoughts? Thanks.

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umc180gr
March 17, 2008, 12:23 AM
Marlin 336 .30/30 all the way.

Hypnogator
March 17, 2008, 12:31 AM
I second the Marlin 336 as probably the best levergun out there. I'm personally partial to the .35, but .30/30 is more popular and ammo will be easier to find.

Vaarok
March 17, 2008, 12:37 AM
Marlin 39, because .22 does more than most people give it credit for, it's hellacious fun, you can plink with it, and it's cheaper than any other caliber.

Byron
March 17, 2008, 12:37 AM
My favorite has always been the Winchester 94. It carries nicely in the hand.The Marlin is a superb rifle also but a bit heavier. Byron

MilsurpShooter
March 17, 2008, 12:53 AM
I highly enjoy my 336 in .35 Remington.

krustoleum
March 17, 2008, 01:06 AM
Marlin 336. My Dad has one, my brother has one. Good gun. I like the 30-30.
Personally, I prefer the Marlin to the Winchester 94. My cousin has the Winchester. The shells eject out of the top rather than the side. He has had problems with the debris getting in the top ejection area.

You can now get the Marlin chambered in "XLR" meaning extra long range. It shoots a shell pioneered by Hornady that allows a pointed tip in the stacked magazine. You can fetch an extra 100 yards...so they claim anyway.

How come nobody has mentioned any Henry Repeating Arms rifles? The .44 mag or 45-70 Govt. They are heavy, but feel so good in the hand. The wood and brass are gorgeous.

Rifleman 173
March 17, 2008, 01:14 AM
I love my Marlin .44 magnum lever action. It has plenty of punch, great accuracy and is a comfort to have around. It is simple to operate and reliable. I can shoot either the .44 magnum or the .44 specials out of it. What's nice is that I can also get a Marlin in .357 magnum and get pistols for either or both Marlins so that my ammo is the same for the lever action and for the pistol too.

Hunter0924
March 17, 2008, 01:29 AM
I like both Winchester 94 and the Marlin 336.
Either one should serve you well.

Shawnee
March 17, 2008, 01:33 AM
Browning BLR in .243 or 7mm/08.

Best ever designed.

:cool:

30-06 lover
March 17, 2008, 01:59 AM
I own a savage 99 in 308 and I love it. It shoots 1.25" groups at 100 yards and has never jammed. Many "Boom, Flop" deer with my 99.

Jackal
March 17, 2008, 02:12 AM
Marlin 336.

dakotasin
March 17, 2008, 02:23 AM
if i knew then what i know now i would have picked up the marlin 336 in 35 or the marlin 1895 in 45-70. as it is, i have a marlin 336 in 30-30 and am picking up a marlin 1895g in 45-70 on wednesday. i think the marlin is a solid design and an accurate rifle.

you won't go wrong w/ a 336 in 30-30, but i would rather have it in 35...

occasionally you can come across a savage 99 for a good price and i think the savage 99 is as good as a lever gun gets - but they are difficult to find and usually pretty expensive.

i'm not much of a fan of the winchester 94, and i think the browning blr, while innovative for a levergun, misses the mark.

i have no experience w/ puma or henry.

Leanwolf
March 17, 2008, 02:33 AM
I've owned five Winchester 94 rifles. Three pre-'64s and two post '64s.

I've owned three Marlin 336s, two .30-30s and one .35 Rem.

I prefer the Marlin 336. I no longer own any Winchesters. I presently own a Marlin 336 .30-30, Marlin .35 Rem., and a Marlin 1894S in .41 Magnum.

The Marlins work for me.

L.W.

qajaq59
March 17, 2008, 07:49 AM
I'd have to say that the Savage 99 in .308 caliber is probably the most accurate. But finding one of those is pretty tough. And while the Winchester is lighter, they look weird with a side mounted scope.

Go for the Marlin in either ,35 or 30-30. That will be the easiest for mounting the scope and there's no doubt that they're a good rifle

TAB
March 17, 2008, 07:52 AM
I can't say on the quality, but mosberg just came out with a modifed model 94 in 30-30 that should be in the low 400s.

Seafarer12
March 17, 2008, 10:36 AM
It all depends on what you want to do with it. For pistol calibers I like the Rossi winchester 92 copies. My 357 is slicker than snot and better looking than the Marlins in my opinion. For the bigger stuff I would say Marlin. I have a Marlin 45/70 and it is a great gun. It use to be my go to gun for hunting till I got the .357. I use to have a 35 remington pump but sold it. Ammo is hard to find and costs a lot. If you reload it isnt an issue. A 30-30 is cheap and ammo is everywhere. I like to be different though. My next lever action will probably be a Marlin 1894 CL in 32-20.

Harve Curry
March 17, 2008, 11:14 AM
QUOTE 30-06 lover :
"I own a savage 99 in 308 and I love it. It shoots 1.25" groups at 100 yards and has never jammed. Many "Boom, Flop" deer with my 99."
-Michael

I have a Savage 99A in 308 and it shoots the same 1.25" groups as yours.
, Bill

Brian Dale
March 17, 2008, 02:22 PM
Winchester/Marlin/Savage = Ford/GM/Chrysler

They're all good. Choose the one that grabs you. There's a lot of detail available here at THR through the Search function at the top of each page. Calibers, top-vs-side ejection, magazine type and other details.

.30-30 ammo is available absolutely everywhere; .35 Rem is reputed to hit slightly harder. Again, they're both good, and so are the Savage calibers.

Pick the one that calls to you.

Avenger29
March 17, 2008, 02:51 PM
Marlin is superior in construction. Better reciever, better design. Bolt easily removed for cleaning from the rear. Best parts/accessories availability (like a ghost ring sight set and scout set up, among other things). And Marlin is one of the few companies that hasn't cheapened in quality- still using good quality steel and wood.

Go with .30-30 as a general purpose round.

Hokkmike
March 17, 2008, 03:00 PM
Try this:

http://www.henryrepeating.com/

foghornl
March 17, 2008, 03:39 PM
Currently in production...one word:

Marlin

The Henry brand rifles seem to be decent shooters, but I'll stick with Marlin.

dakotasin
March 17, 2008, 03:46 PM
while i generally agree w/ avenger's statements, i have a point of contention w/ the marlin bolt. to the point, i think the design of the bolt and firing pin sucks, and is a general nuisance to clean. and if you don't clean it well on occasion you will get failure to fires. i know this because i just went thru it w/ my 30-30... aside from the bolt/firing pin, i think the marlin is a fine rifle.

Seafarer12
March 17, 2008, 03:56 PM
Marlin is one of the few companies that hasn't cheapened in quality- still using good quality steel and wood.
I have to disagree with you on that one they started using beech wood stocks on some models. Not nearly as nice as the walnut ones but cheaper.

Wolfgang2000
March 17, 2008, 05:07 PM
It depends if you want a western style rifle. If you do The marlin is the way to go.

However if you just want a lever that is more caliber friendly look at the BLR. I have a BLR 81 (all steel) straight stock in 308. It is my #1 go to rifle for hunting. It is a really handy rifle that has a detachable 4 round magazine. I put a Burris 1.5 to 6 signature scope on it. It's a great little brush rifle.

Yes I have a Marlin 336 in 30-30. (It's a rule in the south. :D) But my go to hunter is the BLR.

Urbana John
March 17, 2008, 05:33 PM
While I don't own a Marlin, Winchester, or a Browning,,,,I have owned them all,,,,,first in 30-30, then in 357 Mag.
Always had "feeding" problems with all three of them in the 357 Mag round.
Since I have a "set" of Rugers in 357, I wanted a "good" lever rifle to go along with the pistol cal. so I bought a Rossi Puma------
WHAT A POS!!!!
I now have 2 Uberti levers,,,one in 45LC ( Henry replica ) and one in 357 Mag. ( Winchester replica ). Both are "tack drivers", but are VERY more $$$$$ than the other three mentioned.

I really, really liked the Browning in 357 Mag, but don't think they make it anymore...I don't like the new Winchesters, so I'd vote for the Marlin!!! ( as long as it's a rifle cal.)

UJ

Cosmoline
March 17, 2008, 05:36 PM
It depends on the chambering. In my experience here's the best of rundown:

.45-70 Marlin 1895, full size unported
.35 Rem Marlin 336
.30-30 Old school Winchester '94
.32-20 Winchester 92
.44 Mag Marlin 1894
.357 Puma 92

2dswamp
March 17, 2008, 05:46 PM
Marlin MXLR in .308Marlin Just got one last year. Beautiful gun combo'd with a great cartridge.

Not sure what your plans are...but not much in the US except browns and Grizz that the .308 can't handle.

Avenger29
March 17, 2008, 06:23 PM
I have to disagree with you on that one they started using beech wood stocks on some models. Not nearly as nice as the walnut ones but cheaper.

There are some models still available with walnut, you can get a custom stock made, and I also like the look of the laminate wood on the XLR series. And then there's synthetic. The 336W (the basic model) that you get at Walmart will still be the same quality as the higher grades. And at about $320, it excels in affordablity. Put a Wild West Guns Bearproof ejector in it, maybe add a one piece firing pin, some decent sights, and you are good to go.

while i generally agree w/ avenger's statements, i have a point of contention w/ the marlin bolt. to the point, i think the design of the bolt and firing pin sucks, and is a general nuisance to clean. and if you don't clean it well on occasion you will get failure to fires. i know this because i just went thru it w/ my 30-30... aside from the bolt/firing pin, i think the marlin is a fine rifle

I don't know about the newer rifles, but my older marlin (made in '64) doesn't seem to have this problem. I have seen one piece firing pins for sale, and I don't know if that might help you.


Marlin also makes the 1894 series in pistol calibers (like .357 and .44 Magnum), and they are excellent guns, too- if you can find them.

TimboKhan
March 17, 2008, 06:49 PM
I own a Winchester Model 94 in .30-30, pre-64, and I like it fine, though I will likely never own another one.

The 94 is OK, though I think that the later models were kind of junky and that the older models are over-priced as shooters, thus the reason for me not owning another one. The 336 has at least one real advantage: The design allows for fairly easy mounting of whatever optics you choose, if any. Mechanically, I can only say that I have never had a problem with my 94, nor have I ever had a problem with any 336 that I have shot. Possibly one of the two rifles has some mechanical advantage that I am not aware of.

Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people that like both guns just fine, and more than plenty of people who prefer the 94. Neither is a bad rifle, but I do think that the 336 is better suited to modern hunting optics.

Edit to add: There is actually a thread that is current right this minute in which the guy bought a Marlin 1894 in .357 that he is dissatisfied with. His story is ultimately more about the need to inspect stuff before you buy it, but it also illustrates that it is possible to get a lemon regardless of manufacturer.

Dave Markowitz
March 17, 2008, 08:28 PM
The Marlin has another advantage over the Winchester: It's easy to field strip, requiring only one screw to be removed. This makes it feasible to clean the rifle from the breach, and also makes regular maintenance easier.

Cosmoline
March 17, 2008, 08:45 PM
The Marlin is indeed easier to field strip. If you try to take apart a '94 Win without instructions you will be in over your head real, real fast.

But I would say the 336 is OVERBUILT for the .30-30. That's the frame they use for the .45-70, after all. There's not much point in trying to crank up the thuddy, but the 336 can really shine with hot .35 Rem loads. The Win 94 is just perfect for the .30-30. It's lighter and faster than the Marlin and realistically isn't going to need to be taken apart very often.

Avenger29
March 17, 2008, 09:08 PM
But I would say the 336 is OVERBUILT for the .30-30. That's the frame they use for the .45-70, after all. There's not much point in trying to crank up the thuddy, but the 336 can really shine with hot .35 Rem loads. The Win 94 is just perfect for the .30-30. It's lighter and faster than the Marlin and realistically isn't going to need to be taken apart very often.

I say that overbuilt is a good thing. I buy guns for life. That means they must last for my life, and I would prefer to be able to hand them down to my children and so on. Overbuilt is good. Steel is good. Wood is good. Easy to care for is good. Many small parts, hard to reassemble- BAD.

I've shot '94s. Not impressed. Had feeding problems. Just cause JMB designed it doesn't mean it is the greatest.

Cosmoline
March 17, 2008, 09:20 PM
No, and just because it said "Winchester" doesn't mean it *was* a Winchester. The USRAC rifles (post 82 or so) were terrible in my experience. I had three in a row that would not function. A real pre-64 Winchester 94 in .30-30 is another creature alltogether. These are the rifles that built the legend, and they have been handed down from generation to generation.

I'm a fan of overbuilt firearms when that extra steel means anything. Love Ruger magnums, love Mosin-Nagants for just that reason. But in the case of the .30-30 extra steel is just wasted. The '94 is plenty strong to shoot them for ages. As far as the flat top, I've never understood the sanity in scoping a .30-30. It's like you-know-what on a bull ;-)

That's not to say the 336 is a poor rifle. I love them, but I think they're much clunkier and about a pound and a half heavier than they need to be for the .30-30.

xd9fan
March 17, 2008, 09:37 PM
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z152/xd9fan/P1010271.jpg

My NP3'd 336SS in 30-30.

Built to last..but then I hope my grandkids are glad it was..

JNewell
March 17, 2008, 09:47 PM
Winchesters have all become overpriced due to NHaven factory being closed. Best bang for the buck and a truly excellent rifle is the Marlin 336. .30-30 is probably more flexible than the .35.

Avenger29
March 17, 2008, 09:50 PM
Beautiful, XD9fan. It'll last. Marlin is good craftsmanship- something you don't see in the gun world from production guns these days. And at an affordable price, to boot.

I've never understood the sanity in scoping a .30-30. It's like you-know-what on a bull ;-)

People with not so good eyes? A four-power scope (say, 4x32) looks pretty decent on a Marlin. I've got one for mine, but as long as I've got the eyes to use irons...

No, and just because it said "Winchester" doesn't mean it *was* a Winchester. The USRAC rifles (post 82 or so) were terrible in my experience. I had three in a row that would not function. A real pre-64 Winchester 94 in .30-30 is another creature alltogether. These are the rifles that built the legend, and they have been handed down from generation to generation.

Finding a pre-64 Winchester is going to be a bit difficult. Plus, prices rise b/c of the USRAC closing.

Dave Markowitz
March 17, 2008, 09:55 PM
But in the case of the .30-30 extra steel is just wasted. The '94 is plenty strong to shoot them for ages.

IMO, the extra pound or so makes the Marlin more pleasant to shoot. .30 WCF may not be the worst recoiling round, but I don't really enjoy shooting a Winchester 94 carbine. It's a little to frisky for comfort. YMMV.

Seafarer12
March 17, 2008, 10:30 PM
The Marlin is indeed easier to field strip. If you try to take apart a '94 Win without instructions you will be in over your head real, real fast.
I will agree they are easier but a Winchester is pretty easy too once you have done it once. Its easier to tear down and put back together a winchester than a 1911. Of course a 1911 would be easy if it wasnt for that main flat spring that does 3 things, I hate that spring.

davera
March 17, 2008, 10:55 PM
I am happy to own both a 1956 94 and a 1983 336 and like them about equally for their different strengths. I did handle a 90's vintage 94 (USRAC) recently and was pretty unimpressed.

tkendrick
March 18, 2008, 12:29 AM
Just gotta step in here.

There is only one lever action rifle- The 1895 Winchester in .405. Everything else pales by comparison.

alaskanativeson
March 18, 2008, 12:36 AM
I'd have to agree that Marlin is the clear choice in lever guns.

How set are you on 30/30? I'd definitely go for the 1894 in .44 Magnum.

TimboKhan
March 18, 2008, 04:57 AM
I guess I should have clarified by what I meant when I said "newer models" Pretty much what Cosmo said about USRAC. Mine is pre-64 and it feels a world different that those "newer" models.

The thing about the 94 is that it isn't even the smoothest lever action that Winchester made. Ever worked the action on a Model 71? Dee-lightful. The fact that .348 is hard to find and costs something like 80 bucks a box, and the fact that 71's aren't the most common thing around make it hard to recommend, but my Dad has one, and that thing works like a dream. I would also add that one possible advantage is that you can buy a 336 in stainless, at least in .30-30. That isn't necessarily everyones bag, but it is nice to have the option. Personally, I prefer stainless as a general rule, so I think it is great!

kmrcstintn
March 18, 2008, 06:11 AM
I have owned 4 lever action rifles ove the past few years...

Marlin 336A in .30-30...wish I never traded it; needed more time with it to understand how sweet it was

Winchester lever action .44 mag...yeck; fussy feeding and 'clunky' feel to action

Marlin 1894C in .357 mag...so-so; liked the idea of a pistol caliber carbine matched to a good magnum revolver...but not enough snot for work past 75 yards & could be a fussy feeder

Marlin 336W in .30-30...learned my lesson from the first one I bought...sweet all-around woods thumper!

jmr40
March 18, 2008, 01:48 PM
In my experience Winchester quality has varied a lot over the years and it is hard to predioct how good a 94 is goingh to be until you shoot them. Marlins quality has been more consistent and you are more likely to get a good one used. If you get a good Winchester it is a tie in my book.

Marlin made a lot of straight stocked 336's prior to the 1980's and these are my favorite of the 2. It combines the looks and handling of the Winchester and the best qualities on the Marlin. I have 6 that I have picked up over the years and wish Marlin would offer them again.

DevilDog0402
March 18, 2008, 02:24 PM
I may not be the most trditional type, but I love the Winchester 94.

My dad still has a pre-64 94 in .32 Winchester Special.

DevilDog0402
March 18, 2008, 02:25 PM
Oops!!

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