Would you be interested in a semiauto .357 or .44 rifle?


March 24, 2008, 06:31 PM
I've wondered about this for some time now. I've got a lever action rifle in .357 mag and love it. Given the variety of ammo it takes it can be used for everything from plinking to light or even deer sized hunting as long as you're realistic about range. I've seen the ruger semiauto rifle in .44 mag and like it but it's a rotory mag fed gun with 4 or 5 rounds.

I was thinking more along the same design as they use for semi-auto shotguns. Tube magazine, can be topped off on the fly without taking the gun out of battery. The magnum pistol rounds and shotgun shells both have similarly shaped bases so extraction would be similar.

This would give you a light, agile, semi-auto rifle with little recoil in a reasonably powerful caliber without having to deal with magazines or clips. They could make them in .357, .41, and .44 mag.

If someone produced this particular gun would you buy it?

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March 24, 2008, 06:35 PM
I would be VERY interested in one in .357mag

March 24, 2008, 06:44 PM
I was actually madly scribbling down something along those lines a few night ago. Here's what I had in mind:

-Feeds from a tube magazine above the barrel. This keeps the barrel axis low and the magazine clear of the bolt, which allows downwards ejection without too much fuss.

-Delayed-blowback action that uses the bolt attached to a counter-mass at considerable mechanical disadvantage. When the bolt is blown back, the counter-mass is driven forwards and vice versa. This should generally smooth out the recoil.

Yes, this does seem like a useful line of inquiry. A pistol caliber carbine that combines the hitting power of a .357 lever-carbine and semi-automatic convenience seems like a winner to me. I would certainly buy it.

March 24, 2008, 06:45 PM
a problem would be the huge differences in recoil and pressures generated by different loads, and the probable inability to use .38 special.

I'd rather have a pump rifle.

March 24, 2008, 06:52 PM
I'm fairly sure that pump rifles for .357 can't chamber .38, since it would chamber in the barrel rather than in a cylinder like a revolver. Do any of the revolver or pump rifle gurus know?

I'm told that many of the purported reliability shortcomings of the Desert Eagle come from people who try to shoot low-recoil .44 loads out of them, which don't have enough power to cycle the action, so that objection is probably valid. If the rifle was gas-operated with an adjustable valve, that could solve part of the problem.

March 24, 2008, 07:09 PM
I'm fairly sure that pump rifles for .357 can't chamber .38, since it would chamber in the barrel rather than in a cylinder like a revolver.

Not sure about the pumps, but my Marlin 1894C lever gun shoots .38's and .357's just fine.

And no, I wouldn't be too interested. Blowback semiautos get really dirty and are touchy WRT velocity and pressure as people have noted.

Pistol caliber lever guns have survived for well over a century for a reason, and remain my choice. Recoil with a .357 long gun is really not an issue, either, though a .44 has a bit more punch. Either way, these are low-recoil rounds, by rifle standards, even when you shoot them in light lever guns.

March 24, 2008, 07:12 PM
I'd rather have pump action rifles.

March 24, 2008, 07:13 PM
Perhaps because they headspace on the rim it would work just fine?

Does anyone know how much a gas system could be made to "self-adjust"?

March 24, 2008, 07:14 PM
Shotgun gas systems self-adjust, but they're gas-piston systems.

With a blowback, the weight of the bolt and the tension of the return spring are all you've got. Maybe you could put a buffer spring near the end of the bolt's travel to keep the gun from knocking itself to bits over time, but that might worsen the perceived recoil from heavy loads, rather than improve it. Benelli's shotguns work with a wide range of shells and no gas system, but the design recoils badly. Benelli does all sorts of neat stuff to absorb that recoil, but without the high-tech add-ons, the guns are known as shoulder-bashers.

AFAIK, mods to common blowbacks (e.g. Ruger 10/22 and rimfire pistols) so they can shoot .22 Short or .17M2, all include a bolt that's lighter or heavier than the standard one. It'd be hard to dynamically change the mass of the bolt without going nuclear.:D

March 24, 2008, 07:58 PM
The primary concern seems to be a reliability issue and not a usage issue. With all the newer technology being used in firearms they are doing things that wouldn't have been possible a few decades ago.

So lets modify this question a little.

Assuming that the weapon design allowed it to be very reliable (as reliable as you could expect a semi-auto to be) THEN would you be interested in a semi-auto, tube magazine fed, magnum pistol caliber rifle?

March 24, 2008, 11:33 PM
Ruger made one called the Deerstalker back in the 60s for .44 Magnum.

March 25, 2008, 12:09 AM
A floating chamber along the lines of the Remington 550 could work.

I agree with the other people who said that a pump-action .357 or .44 rifle would be cool, but I mean only mean one with an enclosed bolt, a pistol-grip stock like a modern hunting rifle, double action bars, and a magazine and forearm that doesn't impinge upon the barrel. Whether it uses a tube magazine or mags for a Desert Eagle, it would be good if it could feed some of the heavy bullets of each caliber: 180s in .357, and 300s in .44. (It would obviously need a faster twist-rate to allow this.) Its receiver would be drilled and tapped for a mount.

March 25, 2008, 12:47 AM
I would like a pump action or semi-auto ala Mossberg with changeable barrels in .410 shotgun and .45 colt.

March 25, 2008, 01:44 AM
I would love a tube-fed semi in .357 with classical Winchester lines. But it would have to be gas-fed, I expect, and that would mean three tubes. It would look pretty ugly with three tubes coming out of the receiver unless you could conceal it somehow.

March 25, 2008, 02:58 AM
A pump .357 will use 38 Special ammo with no problem whatsoever.
There is a semi auto carbine around now that uses pistol size ammo, hits harder than any pistol caliber, and can use a 30 round magazine. It is called the M1 Carbine and there were 6 or 7 million of them made. With JHP or JSP ammo it is an excellent HD weapon, and for hunting medium size game.
Just do not believe any of the stories about how the quilted jackets of the chicoms in Korea would stop the 30 Carbine.
If the 30 Carbine will routinely pierce lower level body armor, it will most certainly go through any quilted jacket ever made.
It is my opinion that the quilted jacket story was concieved to deflect stories of poor shooting by the troops.
BTW, I am retired military(and retired LE) so I do have a grasp of the concept. I would carry a Carbine, a good shotgun, or SMG for the Korea type of combat before I would carry an AR platform. Reason is simple, stopping power is greater at close ranges with either of the three than the 223.

Rifleman 173
March 25, 2008, 10:38 AM
I would love a carbine, like an M-1 carbine, magazine-fed in either .357 or .44 magnum. The Ruger stuff just doesn't have the ammo amount needed to make them really viable or useful. About the best of the Rugers looks to be the PC-4 which used the pistol magazines in .40 caliber S&W but even they look awkward to use. If I wanted tube-fed in .357 or .44 magnum I would go, and do own, a Marlin lever action saddle carbine. A great gun.

March 25, 2008, 10:43 AM
Yes!!! I have been talking about this for years. Especially one magazine feed. 10+ rounds!!!

March 25, 2008, 11:13 AM
The M1 Carbine is a fine rifle, BUT .30 Carbine is not as widely available as .357/ .38 Spcl or .44 Magnum. I value weapons chambered in common calibers that you can find at Walmart without any fuss.

Like .22LR, .223/5.56, .243, .270, .308, .30-06, 12 and 20 gauge, 9mm, .357, .38 Spcl, .40 S&W, .44Mag and .45ACP

I would love a tube-fed semi in .357 with classical Winchester lines. But it would have to be gas-fed, I expect, and that would mean three tubes. It would look pretty ugly with three tubes coming out of the receiver unless you could conceal it somehow.

Mag tube in the buttstock?

March 25, 2008, 12:14 PM
My beloved IAI Timberwolf .357 pump carbine functions every bit as well with .38 Spl. ammo as it does with .357 Mags, ie: flawlessly. The sole exception is with full wadcutter loads where the bullet is seated flush, or very nearly so, with the case mouth. FWIW, my Rossi 92s don't like 'em either unless you single-load them.

Until I finally wore out the last of my accumulated hoard of .38 cases a few years back I kept my progressive press set up for them and used the reloads in all of my .357s for practice, plinking and small game.

While the concept intrigues me, most all of my .357 shooting is still with mild-to-moderate loads and cast lead bullets. At present I don't believe that there's a conventional gas-operated system out there where that wouldn't be a problem.

Given the huge and growing difference in cost between the respective projectiles, I don't think that I'd be switching from my pump and LAs.

March 25, 2008, 09:39 PM
I looked at the Timberwolf, but the distance between barrel and magtube just struck my eyes as jarring.

The colt lightning repos are too expensive, the inexpensive timberwolf is too ugly (why didn't they put the barrel right on the mag tube or vice versa)

I think ruger's carbine in .44 mag was a wonderful idea except for the paultry mag.

If you could make a semiauto 357 or 44 mag that looked as much like the lightning as a remington 870 looks like a 11-87 and feed 38s or 357s, wonderful!

on the other hand, a very different, short carbine built similar to the mini-14, ruger deerfield, M-1 carbine, etc, with a detachable mag of decent capacity (12 rounds lets say) and the ability to take out a few screws and switch from standard configuration straight stocked wood to pistolgrip folding stock black polymer, wow, I'd really go for that.

Ghostring sights on it too

March 26, 2008, 01:41 PM
akodo: Tastes vary. IMO, the fewer and smaller the areas in direct contact with the barrel the more consistent the accuracy is likely to remain. If you'll look closely at most any tube feed design, there will be some gap visible, and part of the reason for that is to help prevent random contact from affecting the harmonics of the barrel's vibration cycle.

A Timberwolf in nice condition isn't exactly what I'd call "inexpensive" anymore, assuming that you can find one for sale. The nicest examples of the very few that I've seen on Gun Broker over the last couple of years have brought prices averaging around $650. The single LNIB w/papers example I can recall sold for almost $900.

Beagle-zebub: The Timberwolf had every feature you described as being desirable except the PG stock. It also had a scope/optics mount integral with the receiver. Not pretty, but hellaciously tough and practical.

Jack 2427: My late father-in-law was one of the survivors of the long walk back from Chosen Reservoir. His gripe concerning the .30 carbine wasn't that it wouldn't penetrate those quilted jackets, but that you could hit the guy wearing one four or more times solidly in the torso (he described them as being close enough that he could see the cotton stuffing puff from the exit holes in their backs) and not put them down.

Speaking of the M-1 carbine design, I recall the late Col. Cooper describing a conversion being done at the time as part of an experiment toward realizing his "Thumper" concept. This was what he called his idea for a self-loading carbine and/or SMG utilizing a cartridge more powerful and effective than standard pistol rounds while remaining of the same general size.

There was an outfit (I regret that I can no longer recall its exact name or location) that was converting M-1 carbines to fire 10mm and even .45 Win. Mag. ammo. To the best of my recollection it used highly modified GI magazines which reduced the capacities from 15 to 7 and 30 to 10 in .45 Win. Mag. I may be mistaken, but I believe that he mentioned that the difficulties involved in getting rimmed revolver cartridges to feed reliably from a box magazine in that platform was a major reason for the decision to concentrate on the most powerful production rimless handgun rounds then available.

The conversion supposedly worked well, but was very expensive. The "Thumper" concept didn't catch on in either military or LEA circles either, and lack of demand killed both of them off.

Percy, I believe that the old Winchester 1905, 1907 and 1910 SL carbines used an operating system which could be broadly defined as being "delayed blowback" very similar to what you describe. It was relatively complex and could only operate safely and reliably with one specific loading. The .401 Win. SL proved to be about the most powerful that the basic platform and concept could handle. Even if such a system could be designed to handle the pressures of .357 or .44 Mag., I seriously doubt that a practical solution to the problem of making it usable with a variety of loadings can be found within its inherent limitations.

Gas operation can be regulated to some extent via some sort of variable valving or the like. But I still don't see how one could use more than a very few lead bullets in any existing system without messing it up in short order.

Just a thought, but I'd like to hear some other opinions: What about an inertial system a la the Benelli shotguns?

March 26, 2008, 02:17 PM
I only found out about the timberwolf after it was discontinued, which is pretty disappointing. I'd like to see a pump .357 that isn't really expensive.

March 26, 2008, 02:18 PM
As I understand it, benelli shotguns operate on the assumption that the gun, and therefore the shooter holding it, are going to recoil. With a 12 gauge shotgun, that is surely a reasonable assumption, but with a heavy pistol caliber carbine, different shooter weights might affect cycling.

Although the handloaders might find something gratifying in having to match loads to their particular body weight!

How about something along the lines of a SPAS-12, using an end-of-the-barrel gas-trap system like the G41? That should keep fouling from cast bullets down, and if the loads are too weak to cycle the action, just shut the gas off and use it as a pump action.

March 26, 2008, 02:48 PM
Why not an AR in .44mag. And what's wrong w/ blowback for pistol rounds? Isn't that how the 9mm and 45acp ARs work?

March 26, 2008, 02:53 PM
And what's wrong w/ blowback for pistol rounds? Isn't that how the 9mm and 45acp ARs work?

9mm and .45ACP have far less variation than revolver rounds do. Note how touchy a .22LR blowback rifle can be about ammo with a 100fps difference. Do you want a rifle like that? I don't. I like my Marlin 1894C that will shoot anything from low-velocity .38 LSWC all the way up to overloaded .357 like Buffalo Bore hunting ammo, from the same magazine tube if I want.

Also, 9mm and .45ACP are a bit cleaner, usually. Again, I wouldn't want a rifle that only worked with a narrow range of ammo, and really wanted special clean-burning powder. That's what a blowback would be like in .357 or .44.

March 26, 2008, 03:13 PM
I say bring back the Timberwolf!



Project number 583 is to fabricate an adaptor that will slide into the Timberwolf receiver and accept 870 stocks...:)
I've got an extra Timberwolf stock with the metal parts just need to find some time.


March 26, 2008, 05:29 PM
I'd like kel-tec to make a sub-2000 in 7.62x25mm but I would definetly settle for one chambered in .357 mag that uses desert eagle mags.

March 26, 2008, 07:05 PM
I highly recommend Alexander Arms AR-15 in .50 Beowulf. It's a great gun and will do all you mentioned and more. I consider .357 magnum a light load and .44 magnum while decent doesn't alway get the job done either.

The .50 Beowulf will handle most any critter human or 4 legged that comes your way and is a darn good shooting gun out to about 300 yards.

With the muzzle brake installed it has the recoil of about a 12 gauge shotgun shooting 2-3/4 shells with 00 buckshot.

Alexander Arms is so backed up that you will have to order one now to get it by Christmas though.

My $0.02.

Molon Labe,

March 26, 2008, 07:33 PM
Not at all. I don't like pistol cartridges in a rifle. Ballistics stink.

March 26, 2008, 07:39 PM

What would you use it for...

Bazooka Joe71
March 26, 2008, 07:47 PM
Lever's in .357 and .44 are just so reliable and fun, I'm not too interested myself...That doesn't mean I wouldn't want it to happen though.:)

Fu-man Shoe
March 26, 2008, 09:49 PM
If they made what would essentially be an M1 Carbine chambered for .357 Magnum, I would beat a path down to the gunstore and heat up the credit card so fast I'd leave a puff of smoke behind me.

March 27, 2008, 02:18 PM
Lever's in .357 and .44 are just so reliable and fun

And so damn much easier to clean than a semiauto -- on the rare occasion that you really have to clean the lever at all.

March 28, 2008, 01:46 PM
ArmedBear: Gotta agree with you on the cleaning, reliability and fun. IME, they all apply to pumps, too.

The inertia-delayed recoil operating system a la Benelli still seems to be the most practical and versatile alternative to a gas system for a SL carbine using revolver cartridges to me.

There's a huge difference in the mass being propelled between the lightest 12 ga. load and the heaviest .357 or .44 Mag. It doesn't seem to me that, given competent engineering, the felt recoil would be much, if any, greater than from a locked breech design of equal weight with the same load. And there'd still be the self-regulating feature and lack of powder/lead fouling issues to deal with.

My opinion is that it could be done, and done well, but that unless they thought that there would be enough LEA/military interest to provide a large enough potential market to recoup R&D, tooling, etc. costs and show a profit within say, 5 years, no manufacturer will try it.

From what I can gather, one of the big reasons that the Timberwolf was discontinued was that the LEA market they were hoping for didn't materialize.

When it first came over here, a .357 revolver was still the sidearm most often seen in an LEO's holster. A light, fast-handling, rugged, accurate, reliable carbine capable of using the same ammo seemed almost a no-brainer for a "patrol carbine". Especially since nearly everyone can deliver faster and more precise hits out past 20-25 yds or so with a carbine than they can with a handgun.

Unfortunately for Action Arms and IMI, the LEA sidearm paradigm was already changing rapidly towards semiautos and the one for a rifled longarm as general issue hadn't arrived yet. There is also a quirk in the Timberwolf design that makes it less desirable from a strictly tactical viewpoint: the action must be open to load the magazine or top it off. Big boo boo.

As the Timberwolf originally had an MSRP slightly higher than the Marlin 1894c and a good bit more than the Rossi M92 and seemed to offer no practical advantages for the money in their advertising (such as it was) consumers didn't exactly flock to it either.

I managed to buy mine when a local dealer was closing them out for $235, NIB. Still only a bit cheaper than I could've gotten a new Marlin for at Wally World, but I saw a particular minor-seeming features in it that I thought might work better in my intended use.

The butt stock not only detaches for more compact storage and transport, it also adjusts for drop and (to a limited extent) for cast-on or off. This makes it easy to set it up to fit and point like a good shotgun. On small, moving targets, that makes an amazing difference.

Combined with its outstanding accuracy, it makes for a truly great small game carbine. I wouldn't trade mine for diamonds, even as much as I love my LAs.

March 28, 2008, 10:50 PM
Mainmech, you scored with your close out special on the Timberwolf! I paid $550 for mine (.44mag) used but in mint shape and I was pretty stoked at the time.....It's a keeper for sure!

March 28, 2008, 11:33 PM
They made one back in the forties I think.... a case similar to the 357 in power too....

I think they called it a carbine.... I can't be sure though...

March 29, 2008, 01:27 AM
Thanks Leadhead, but it was about 20 years ago so with inflation and all I'd guess we're about even as far as price goes. I looked at a .44 they had, too. It was factory hard chromed and I was sorely tempted.

But my state didn't allow deer hunting with rifles or handguns at the time and I already had a couple of .357 revolvers. I had my old Lyman turret press set up for for my then-standard general purpose load (Lyman 358429 cast SWC weighing 173 grains from my alloy in .38 Spl. cases over 5.3 grains of Unique) and a bunch of components so I bought the blued .357.

dscott88: I think the carbine you're thinking of could be the old Winchester M 1907 in .351 Win. Self-Loading. They seemed to still have had something of an LEO following when I was a kid in rural Missouri circa 1957. The Highway Patrol officer who lived down the street from us had one riding in a rack in his car and two of the St. Francois Co. deputies who volunteered with our Boy Scout troop also had them in their trunks. I think that they all had the 10-rd. box mags, but after 50 years it's hard to picture them exactly anymore. I don't know if they were department issue or personal weapons, but I remember that they sure looked "businesslike" to that kid.

March 29, 2008, 04:09 AM
I love my marlin1894 in 357. It would be even cooler if it came in a take down version like timberwolf but I dont know if that is feasable. I wouldnt care to see a 357 tortured into a semi. I think the 40 fits the semi auto carbine role well.

March 29, 2008, 04:11 AM
Taurus already had them on their website last year. Both .357 and .44 magnum pumps. I haven't seen one in a store yet. I would like to have the .357 myself.

March 29, 2008, 06:48 AM
If I have to use the 357 or the 44Mag, I am perfectly happy loading them into a pair of revolvers and a lever action rifle. I play a Cowboy on the weekends. What I would like however, is carbine that takes Glock mags in 357 Sig. The 357 Sig delivers the same basic performance as the the 357 mag in a package that is made for a semi-auto platform. If a carbine that took glock mags in 10mm were available I think I would probably buy one of those as well as a Glock 20 to go along with it. The 10mm comes close enough to the 44 for me.

March 29, 2008, 10:16 AM
Taurus already had them on their website last year. Both .357 and .44 magnum pumps. I haven't seen one in a store yet. I would like to have the .357 myself.

I went back to their website and actually they offer .357 magnum and .45 colt chamberings in their pumps.

March 29, 2008, 10:26 AM
You could always build an AR15 in .357 Herrett rimless! (just form the cases from 6.8spc instead of .30-30)

March 29, 2008, 12:32 PM
KodeFore: If you'd really like one there are at least a couple of custom gunsmiths doing take-down conversions on Marlin and Winchester/Rossi LA carbines. John Taffin has written them up several times and they sure look slick. The only names I recall at the moment are a fellow named Cosby and our own Alaskan madman at Wild West Guns. An email to Taffin c/o "Guns Magazine" might get you some more info on sources.

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