.357 mag levergun recommendations?


Arrogant Bastard
September 10, 2008, 03:47 PM
Some time down the road, I am considering picking up a .357 mag levergun. The two I have seen thus far are the Marlin 1894c (which i hear has a tendency to jam), and the Puma M-92.

What other recommendations would you make, and why?

(I'd like to stick to .357 mag, as I already have a .357 mag revolver, and can shoot that or the cheaper .38 spl out of it.)

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September 10, 2008, 03:54 PM
The Marlin 1894 is the best of the lot. It is drilled and tapped for scope or peep sights. I have had mine for many trouble free years and am very pleased with it.

Dr. Fresh
September 10, 2008, 03:55 PM
Keep in mind that .38s are of a different length than .357s. This isn't an issue in a revolver, but some .357 leverguns won't cycle .38s very well.

That said, I have an Italian replica of the Winchester 1866 in .38 Special and I love it.

September 10, 2008, 03:57 PM
My 1894C happily feeds .38 Special LSWC, .357 Magnum SJHP, and whatever other hard-to-feed ammo I can stuff in it. Accurate, too.

Hasn't jammed yet. I've really liked it.

The Marlin is easier to clean, and a solid design that resists rain and dirt. It balances and points well for me, but is a bit more center-heavy than the 1892. The only reasons I'd consider the 1892 is that the old Winchester design has wonderful handling, and is available in stainless. Y'all sweat in Houston, I'll bet.

If you want to scope it or put on ghost rings, the Marlin is the only way to go. If you want stainless, the Puma is. Otherwise, I think the Marlin is a simpler, easier-to-maintain design, but some find the 92's handling irresistible.

Swing both around and give it some thought.:)

Beware: these guns can get VERY, VERY expensive. The recoil is minimal to nonexistent, they're really fun, and they hold a good number of rounds. You can go through a box of 50 in no time flat, and you won't be able to stop.:)

stan in sc
September 10, 2008, 03:59 PM
Don't overlook the Henry in .357.I have seen one being shot at 100 yards and they are accurate as well as pretty.

September 10, 2008, 04:00 PM
I paired my Winchester Trapper with a Ruger GP100


September 10, 2008, 04:01 PM
Yep...don't do it. Its just enough to be too litle.

September 10, 2008, 04:07 PM
I love my Marlin 1894c and have never had a problem with .38spcl jamming. Only those that are short in overall length will jam. I don't remember the dimensions but there is info on that online and easy to check before you buy ammo.

September 10, 2008, 04:23 PM
Check this thread. Kinda the same question asked the other day.


September 10, 2008, 04:52 PM
I have a win94 in 357 mag. I bought it with the plan of having it rechambered to 357 maximum. We all know what happens to the guns we buy and have plans for.

September 10, 2008, 05:29 PM
my marlin 1894c prefers 357's to 38's, and hates a semi-wadcutter.

September 10, 2008, 08:19 PM
I've fondled the Puma and was not impressed. I would stick with the Marlin.

Landlocked Pirate
September 10, 2008, 08:25 PM
I've never had a jam with either .38s or .357s in my Marlin.

Crazy Fingers
September 10, 2008, 08:44 PM
I've fondled the Puma and was not impressed. I would stick with the Marlin.

Interesting. I am in the market for a .357 lever gun as well, and was in Gander Mountain looking at them the other day. I held the Marlin and the Puma and the Puma is definitely the better looking piece. The wood to metal fit seemed better on the Puma. The wood of the Marlin looks like sawdust with some orangeish stain thrown on it, then sprayed with a can of hardware store brand lacquer. The old Marlins have okay wood, but the new ones are just an eyesore.

Supposedly the older Pumas were not assembled as well as they are today. The early ones also supposedly had reliability problems, so if you go with the Puma buy new.

The Puma is also available in a stainless octagonal barrel. Mmmm. Supposedly the dark wood that comes with the stainless is easy to refinish and is great looking when you do so. I did notice that Gander was very over priced on the Puma. Look at Budsgunshop.com.

September 10, 2008, 09:07 PM
The main thing that threw me off the Puma was the wobbly little safety on top of the receiver.

I looked over a brand new Marlin 39A in a shop last weekend and noticed the wood and fit was subpar. The guy behind the counter mentioned something about lower quality on the new "Remington-Marlins."

September 10, 2008, 09:11 PM
What type of hunting can you do with a .357 levergun?

September 10, 2008, 09:14 PM
You can hunt deer to 50-75 yards with standard 158 grain SP. If you use the Buffalo Bore ammo you are getting into 30-30 territory.

September 10, 2008, 09:26 PM
You could hunt up to medium sized whitetails with a .357 lever action. Use bullets that will penetrate adequately and you should be pretty good out to 75 yards, maybe 100 if you're good enough.
I'd also like to have another one - they're about the most fun gun you can imagine.
You can show up at the range with a whole pick-up full of guns but you'd better bring a lot of ammo for a lever action .357 because everyone will want to shoot it.

September 10, 2008, 09:32 PM
I know nothing about Puma, but I bought a Marlin, used but like new condition, recently and it's AWESOME. It is probably an older one as the checkering is actually cut into the wood rather than stamped, as I have seen on some newer rifles. Never jams with a cartridge with an exposed bullet...won't feed wadcutters, but I wouldn't expect it to. Very accurate, and from the ballistics I've seen, probably accurate to at least 75 yards or more...probably more. Now I am looking for a matching pistol just to have "the set".

September 10, 2008, 10:14 PM
My Dream Combo is a Marlin 1894C and a S&W 586 4".

September 10, 2008, 10:56 PM
I have a Marlin 1894C in .357 and a Rossi 1892 in .45 Colt.

Both are excellent firearms. If you buy a Rossi, do yourself a favor and ship it to Steve Young for an action job. He is the pro, and will really slick it up. Some say that they have problems cycling .38s in the Marlin .357, but that has never been a problem for me, even using bullets as small at 122 grains.

September 11, 2008, 12:12 AM
The local gun store here has both a .357 Henry and a Marlin 1894c and I think the Henry is better by far, altough it is more expensive. They use to have a pair of 336 .357's that were nice. Out of all of them the action on the Henry was the best on any lever gun I've ever touched.


September 11, 2008, 01:32 AM
Most Marlins, especially the newer ones, are pickly about .38 ammo. This isn't a problem if you roll your own ammo. Just keep the OAL to around 1.45". And as someone said, they usually don't like semiwad bullets.

Although I share the perception that Marlin isn't as QC oriented as they once were, the Marlin still has certain advantages.

The mechanism is simple, strong, and relatively trouble free. The lever throw is short. And the rifle is easy to slick up even for the non-handy types. Detailed directions on how to do this are available on the net. The Marlin is tapped for either a peep sight or scope. Such is not the case with the Puma.

The Puma is a sound gun but the 92 is a very complex design compared to the Marlin. The lever throw is fairly long. But it is an attractive gun. I ditto the suggestion to send the Puma to Steve Young for an action job. He is super reasonable and does great work. Or buy a Puma from him complete with action job. He will ship to your dealer.

The silly little safety lever mounted on top of the Puma receiver is present on the guns from certain distributors. It is possible to get the Puma 92 without that safety from other distributors, and that is certainly what I would want.

There are several other lever action carbines available and they are fine guns, but they cost about twice as much as the Marlin or Puma.

For plinking or hunting either Marlin or Puma will serve well. Both are very accurate. I haven't put my guns on paper but I can certainly bounce a gallon can all day long at 125 to 150 yards.

I have a Marlin 94 and a repro Win 73 in .38/357 and a Puma 92 and a repro Win 1866 Yellowboy in .45 LC.

I like them all, but the Marlin gives the biggest bang for the buck,

September 11, 2008, 10:23 AM
I don't currently own a Marlin 94, but my old one, a very early production C-model in .357, was dead-solid reliable and very accurate. The only issues I ever had with .38 Spl. ammo were all related to full WC's, flush-seated or slightly extended. Everything else functioned just fine as long as I paid attention to my 'levering' technique.

I currently own two pre-Taurus Rossi 92's and a much-treasured IMI Timberwolf pump in .357. IMO, there are few combos with as many practical advantages as a good revolver and a carbine chambered for the same ammo.

Of the two Rossi's, my most used is the little 16" Trapper, mostly because of its outstanding handling and all-around usefullness when 'woods bumming'. It s petite dimensions also proved to be invaluable as a training aid for my youngest nephew when none of the .22 RF longarms I had at the time were small enough for him to shoulder comfortably. With mild .38 Spl. 158 gr. SWC handloads the recoil was negligible and he was able to ring the swingers just as often (and with enough more 'authority') to engender some envy in his older, larger brother. Good thing I brought enough ammo along!

Both the 92's have been extremely reliable (with the same full-WC exception as the Marlin) and are very, very accurate with selected loads.

The M-92 design is more complex than the Marlin, which makes detailed action cleaning a more involved process. Routine bore cleaning must be done from the muzzle or via "Boresnake", but as I have both a rod guide and a Boresnake of the proper size it's not an issue for me.

The most "practical" advantages to the Marlin design, IMO, are the relative ease of adding a receiver sight and the stronger aftermarket support for parts and accessories.

Personally, the cost for having two holes located, drilled and tapped in the receiver for a Lyman 66 didn't faze me as it amounted to a fraction of the difference in cost between the two and I really love the way a M-92 feels and handles. YMMV, as the retail "street" cost difference now is a whole heckuva lot less than it formerly was. IIRC, the most expensive of my two Rossi's was $275 NIB and OTD at a "1500" show several years ago. At that time a new Marlin 94c went for $369.95 at our local Wally World.

September 11, 2008, 10:31 AM
One word....


H20Man...that Winchester just screams to be teamed up with a .357 Vaquero or Blackhawk, but the GP-100 is always a good choice.

My .30/30 Marlin gets matched up sometimes with my .357 "Sheriff's Model" Vaquero.

About the Marlins sometimes jamming...yeah on SOME models, the cartridge carrier/lifter would get a tiny groove worn into by a sharp edge on (maybe??) the lever cam. Radiusing the cam a tiny bit and either VERY SLIGHTLY bending or replacing the shell carrier solved that issue. I used to have the article on fixing the "Marlin Jam", but I can't find it right now.

ahhh...here is the link to fixing the Marlin Jam:


September 11, 2008, 10:35 AM
The puma is a better buy and a better rifle IMO. The Winchester is no longer available, I would consider the Puma 2nd to that. Don't have experience with Henery's, but I hear they are good.

Ben Shepherd
September 11, 2008, 10:41 AM
If you can find one, I reccomend the winchester 94. I have several of them in 357, 44, 45 colt, 30-30, and 444 marlin . All of them will hold an inch at 50 yards with iron sights if I do my part. I do have a marlin in 41 mag, only because winchester never made one. It's a nice gun for sure, but it's heavier and wider bodied than I like in a lever action.

The reason I like the winchesters over the marlins is thier handling characteristics. The winchesters are lighter and quicker handling. And, at least IME, they are very accurate.

The pumas I've seen are hit and miss. They are either very well put together and smooth, or really rough. So just be careful in your selection if you go with one.

September 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Marlin vs Puma
I own several Italin made revolvers and a model 92 copy,and NONE of them are as good looking on the inside as on the outside,and that's a fact.The metalurgy is just not as good as an American made gun.

Marlins run and feed remarkably well,and the only jams I"ve see at cowboy matches were from 1.trying to run short ammo to up the round count, or
2. Loose screws..they are machined and fitted tight.

I also have a Win. model 94 in .357.It's okay,but a loooooong lever throw for a short roud.

If I had it to do over again,I"d go Marlin,and will when funds allow.

September 11, 2008, 01:41 PM
This is a good place for me to ask a question I've asked before, but only got a partial answer on.

My wife wants a .357 lever with pistol grip instead of straight grip (and if you don't understand what that means in this context, please don't make any assumptions or comments).

I don't think anyone currently makes one.

Did anyone ever?

If not, someone suggested getting two levers--one pistol grip, one straight .357, and swapping parts. I also considered welding/machining the receiver tang and replacing the stock.

Anyone got useful input?


September 11, 2008, 07:03 PM
I'd imagine a straight-to-pistol grip lever would be complicated.

I know a company or two that makes aftermarket levers, but most lever guns I've seen, the receiver metal extends to the tang and under the lever. This metal would need to be bent/curved. I'd imagine that's a skilled process that would require a pro.

September 11, 2008, 07:41 PM
Puma 92's are made in south America if I'm not mistaken, and I vote Puma, because my .357 Puma 92 is pretty sweet shooter. Wood, and fit are excellent.

September 11, 2008, 09:39 PM
SGW: My Marlin 336 is investment cast. Assuming the 94C is the same, I could build up underneath, then reblue, buy a replacement lever and stock from the factory.

Someone else suggested buying the 94C straight grip and just swapping out parts as needed between the two. That seems doable, assuming compatibility between receivers.

September 12, 2008, 11:08 AM
I have a 94 in .357 and love it, that said if I had the money right now I'd buy a puma. I just like the action of the 92 a lot more than the 94 or the Marlin... Try em all out and see what you like!

Dr. Fresh
September 12, 2008, 03:15 PM
I don't mean to hijack, but how can I tell who manufactured my 1866? It has Navy Arms stamps, but nothing else.

September 12, 2008, 03:17 PM
Uberti I imagine.

September 12, 2008, 03:18 PM
I have a Marlin 1894C in .357 which is quite accurate with the factory sights and has never jammed once with any .38spl or .357 I've fed it. I've generally heard nothing but good things about the Puma as well and wouldn't have any qualms about buying one.

September 12, 2008, 07:04 PM
Well, I've had mine for 10 or 12 years now, and it's fine by me. One of the earlier posts mentioned a cheesy safety :barf: that doesn't exist on mine.

I know that a lot of these gun manufacturers have gone through cycles of good and bad quality, just like auto makers. I'd be very tempted if I was in no hurry to wander the gun show circuit awhile. You might get lucky and find a nice deal on one that's been lightly used then traded on an AR or something.

The older Puma's just fine, BUT if you want to mount a scope - I'd go Marlin. Puma ejects straight up and isn't rigged for easy scope mounting.

September 12, 2008, 07:40 PM
ive got a rossi puma which is, i think, just like jjohnson's (the one with octogonal barrel)and it WILL jam once in a while... that being said, it will only happen in given circumstances like if you try to feed wadcutters from the mag to the canon and i've had some troubles with some .38 when i "pump" for the next bullet sometimes it'll come up pointing upwards instead of pointing straight where its headed but ive only had this problem with reload .38's(go figure why, balance of the bullet maybe)

September 12, 2008, 08:12 PM
I've got an EMF Hartford (Rossi) in 45Colt and would recommend it to anyone. Great gun.

Have only had one jam with a short cycle (my fault) in over 1500 rounds.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 12, 2008, 09:56 PM
I like the Puma/Rossi (Winchester 92 copy) because it's smaller/lighter/handier. But if you want to scope it, get the Marlin. Even a Williams FP sight requires a drill & tap with the Pumas. If you like the stock irons, though, the Pumas are nice and will go to work. I have two of the Pumas and am very pleased.

September 14, 2008, 12:20 PM
Was in a couple gun shops this morning There were several Puma .357s to be had. Lots of Marlin 30-30s, also found Marlin in 44mag and 45 and 45-70 but I guess you just don't run across the Marlin .357 easily.


September 14, 2008, 07:58 PM
Oh, I like mine - see previous post - but yes, mine too will jam only on occasion and only with wadcutters. I didn't mention that because I figured it was my mistake - it wasn't made for wadcutters. I have never had that sort of failure with RN, RNFP, RNHP, or SWC bullets. I figure the rifle wasn't designed for wadcutters, so to me, it'd be unfair to be negative about it. My guess is that the Brownings, Winchesters, Marlins and others would have the same problem.

September 14, 2008, 08:37 PM
I've been reading up a little as I research the 357 cal rifle. Is it true the microgroove rifling actually generated accuracy problems so Marlin went back to ballard rifling for these barrels?

September 14, 2008, 08:46 PM
I have been following this thread…
My next gun will also be a.357 levergun. I am going between the Marlin 1894c and a 92 clone, probably an EMF Hartford. All of the factors (for which I am probably over analyzing) are bogging me down concerning micro groove vs ballard, ability to cycle 38s and 357s, quality of sights, quality of fit and finish, price, ect…..
Its just getting to be a little much. At this point, I will most likely get whatever they got at the store with the best price when I go in to buy one. At the bottom line, I guess I am kind of weary of buying a non-American gun. Every gun I have ever bought was made here in the USA.

Oh and one more thing…
Are the sights on the EMF different than the Puma’s???
I would like to know about the differences between the two.
Thanks a bunch

I dont mean to change direction of the thread here, if i did...

September 14, 2008, 08:50 PM
I'm interested in one of these guns also, I think it would be a great companion for my SP101. My concerns are the cycling .38spl ammo and if the difference in rifling is really a big deal or not. I'm leaning toward a Marlin personally.

September 14, 2008, 09:29 PM
There is no problem cycling 38spl...just don't use wadcutters(where the bullet is flush with the end of the casing).

September 14, 2008, 09:31 PM
Blackbird, which gun are you speaking of? the 92 or the Marlin?

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