As you may or may not know, that is the most popular cartridge used for Cowboy Action shooting. Most of the fast guns use the .38 Special out of either an italian import or one of the above mentioned lever guns.
I personally am a big bore man, in more ways than one I am told, but several of my friends shoot them. Few, if any have complained about the rifles or the cartridge.
Ammunition is available, usually, but most reload.
Good choice for plinking.
Not sure I would want to choose it for hunting larger game though.
August 26, 2009, 11:52 AM
Love my Marlin. Much easier to strip and clean than a Winchester design, built really tough, but still light and handy.
Shoots light .38 Special loads, and heavy .357 Magnum loads.
No recoil on the .38s, and very accurate. With the right .357, it's no .308 but it turns in respectable performance. Fun, too.
August 26, 2009, 11:57 AM
There are also couple of options for pump action .357s that are also old-timey and a viable alternative. Taurus (http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=403&category=Rifle&toggle=tf&breadcrumbseries=TH3)makes less expensive ones, others make more expensive ones.
August 26, 2009, 11:59 AM
I don't believe that any of the .357 pumps will shoot the hot stuff you can shoot in the Pumas and Marlins.
I'd only consider them to be viable alternatives for CAS and plinking, not for hunting.
August 26, 2009, 12:10 PM
I have an older Rossi "Puma" in .357 and absolutely love the thing.
Don't forget Henry they still make the "Big Boy" in .357 mag.
August 26, 2009, 06:00 PM
I have a .357 Rossi 92 clone on order for my sons xmas gift. I have one of the Rossi's in .45 colt and I love it.
A buddy has a Marlin 1894c in .357 and it's an awesome shooter as well.
I think the Marlins run about $75-100 more than the Rossi's but either should be a great rifle.
August 26, 2009, 06:20 PM
I have a Model 92 .357 Mag Rossi Puma (LSI) from the last year that PUMA was made by Rossi for LSI. It is really a nice rife. It is the "short rifle", 20" octagon barrel, but no barrel band; CCH finish. These are less expensive than the new Itialian LSI Pumas-- many dealers still have them in stock. A friend was checking with www.budsgunshop.com, and they had three different .357 model 1892 rifles in stock. The Rossi Puma was everybit as nice as the new Puma (from Italy), but a couple of hundred less. If money were not a concern, Uberti 1892's are very, very nice. But for significantly less, the Rossi is also very nice and very strong.
I have a few Henrys in .22 cal-- and I really like them-- smooth as silk and good shooters. I don't know anything about the design of the action on the Henry Big Boys-- but as ArmedBear indicated above the Marlin/Rossi/Puma 1892 clone levers will handle anything you can fit in the chamber or casing-- it's a really great design (ok, I know the Marlin is not a clone-- but it also is a design over a century old and stong!)
August 26, 2009, 06:49 PM
If you like something that looks historcally cool and shoots accurately, get a Uberti/Cimarron 1873 rifle !
I've got the Marlin .357. I put a Wild West trigger and a peep sight on it and it's turned out to be (at least with my reloads) one of the most accurate and fun guns I shoot. Knocks down the plates at 100 yards so well that it's almost boring.
August 26, 2009, 10:08 PM
A Model 1873 is about an 8 lb. gun; kinda heavy.
Model 1892 is about 6 lb.
With 20" barrels.
August 26, 2009, 10:14 PM
You can make that 357 into a real deer rifle with some custom loads out of a 20 inch barrel.
August 27, 2009, 02:01 PM
I have a m92 trapper in puma357/38. It's a hoot.i like the big loop because i have tubby hands.the 16" barrel swings fast but still does well to 100yards+ in 357.
August 27, 2009, 04:28 PM
I've got the marlin and the rossi in 357. marlin is heavier and smoother, the rossi is lighter and seems to cycle 38's more reliably. I prefer the marlin. the wood on the rossi is very dark and plain.
For close up deer hunting it would work great. I can't see more then a few yards on my place so the deer have to be close to shoot at them.
August 27, 2009, 10:52 PM
I have Marlins in both .45 Colt and .357 and love them. The Win 92 clones are also very strong and excellent rifles. Both the Marlin and the Winchester-Puma are strong actions that can be loaded hot for hunting. The 73 clones can be slicked up and have short throw levers installed that make them faster than the 92s and 94s (assuming you will spend the time to develop your technique). However, the 73s are not as strong and should not be souped up, and as mentioned above are heavier, if that is a concern.
Sounds like you are about to jump into the pistol cartridge rifle pool, I think you will enjoy it, and there are many many good choices. Buy with confidence, any of the major players will provide a good gun that you can enjoy for years.
August 27, 2009, 11:11 PM
Try Henry rifles.
August 28, 2009, 12:04 AM
One significant advantage of the Marlin 1894 over the various 1892s, in my opinion, is the shotgun-style buttstock. The '92s have that goofy crescent butt supposedly made for shooting from between the bicep and the rotator cuff, instead of from the pocket of the shoulder--that's not something I can get too excited about, especially in a 6lb. rifle that I might be launching heavy .44 magnums and .45 Colts from. I guess I shouldn't knock that until I've tried it, though, but as a shotgun guy, I would prefer the shotgun-style stock that much more.
August 28, 2009, 12:19 AM
I do not like the crescent style butt-stock :(
August 28, 2009, 03:35 PM
I have a Winchester 94ae in 357 mag. I would have to say I love it. Very reliable, comfortable to carry, and pretty good take down power. I got it to go with a 357 Ruger Security Six. This is the main combo I use when I run the fence lines. I have taken to using Fiocchi 148 gr sjsp round and found my Winchester likes it. As for take down power, I haven't taken it deer hunting, but out to 125 to 150 yards it has really spoiled the day for a number of yotes. Right now the main horror story for me is finding ammo.
August 29, 2009, 09:10 AM
In .357, I've got a B-92, one of the Miroku-made Winchester '92s and a stainless Rossi '92 knockoff. So, I obviously like the 1892s. However, I recommend the Marlin; of those '92-types one of them needed a LOT of fussing and another just a bit before they'd run well and with any degree of reliablility. I know quite a few folks that use Marlins and are quite happy with 'em and the several I've owned were trouble free; it's just that they don't feel quite right in my hands, is all.
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