.357 leverguns: Rossi vs Marlin?


November 12, 2009, 06:49 PM
Howdy folks-

I've been wanting a .357 levergun for a long while now, and would like to take the plunge. This will be a jack of all trades gun, from home defense to plinking to hunting. It will be carried often when woods-bumming. The shorter 16" barrel available on the Rossi makes it a tempting choice.

Can anyone help me make a decision between the Rossi and Marlin?

Is it worth a bit more price for the Marlin?

Will both reliably feed .38 special ammo as well as .357?

Either more smooth in action/trigger, more reliable?

Thanks for any thoughts or info!

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November 12, 2009, 07:16 PM
I bought a Rossi for my son about 20 years ago and it was a real jam-o-matic. We never found anything that it really liked to digest consistently. Feeding was the real peoblem. It was fairly accurate and always ejected OK. Now, that was a long time ago and they might be better now. I was looking at getting one recently and can't believe that they want 500 bucks for the things now. I think we paid around 100 for the one I bought.

November 12, 2009, 07:18 PM
Yes, the Marlin is worth the extra money.

November 12, 2009, 07:21 PM
I have both. 16" rossi, and an 18" 1894c. they have both been worked on and smoothed up some. the marlin has a smoother action and a better trigger. the rossi is lighter, handier, and cycles 38's and semi-wadcutter better. the marlin has better fit, finish, sights and wood. I would choose the marlin 10 times out of 10 if I had to keep one. I haven't priced them lately, but if there is 120 bucks or less difference in price I would get the marlin. if not, well, it becomes more of a toss up. now, apparently marlin is coming out with a stainless 357. That is the one gun I would rather have than my 1894c, my stainless 44, or my rossi.

also, the rossi holds 9 rounds instead of 10, making it unsuitable for CAS. or so I was told. sounds like a non-issue in your case though.

November 12, 2009, 08:02 PM
16" doesn't attract me that much, since I have the Marlin and it already feels really short to me.:)

The 1892's handling is legendary, but the Rossi doesn't exactly feel like the Winchester used to when you cycle it, at least without some work by a good cowboy action gunsmith.

The Marlin is a lot easier to clean. Mine feeds .38 FN great, and .357 LSWCs great, but haven't tried a lot of others. These are my standard revolver handloads (light target and hot magnum trail loads), and they work fine in the lever gun.

November 12, 2009, 08:06 PM
The Marlin is a MUCH better rifle. It is way smoother to lever out of the box , easy to mount a scope on , and a much more handsom rifle, IMHO. I have owned 3 Marlins with the 24" barrel and all of them were tackdrivers.

November 12, 2009, 08:08 PM
Thanks for all the great info guys! From handling the Marlin, and doing a lot of reading, the Marlin seems like the nicer gun by a good margin. I also like that it's a bit easier to disassemble.

Might have one in my future soon!

November 12, 2009, 08:27 PM
You can stake your life on a Marlin.

November 12, 2009, 09:04 PM
easy one -- MARLIN!

November 12, 2009, 09:13 PM
I bought the Rossi loving the 16" barrel. It would feed 38s pretty well but didn't like the .357s. I tried different ammo...same problem. I returned it to the dealer who sent it to Oklahoma for repair. Came back in three weeks, I could'nt wait to test it. Same problem. Buy the Marlin.

Janos Dracwlya
November 12, 2009, 09:55 PM
I bought a stainless .357 magnum Rossi for cowboy action shooting ten years ago and the only problem I have ever had was that it doesn't like some brands of semi-wadcutters. It works with the brands it doesn't like, but you have to lever it with a bit more authority to get it to cycle properly. Otherwise, it is a solid, accurate gun that never let me down in six years of cowboy action shooting and was my go-to gun for home defense for a while.

As for smoothing out, that's what happens when you use it. In fact, after I had been in CAS a year, I ended up sharing the rifle with a fellow shooter who's Winchester had broken during a match. He wanted to know who had done the smithing on my Rossi - after a bit of use, the action was (and still is) really smooth.

I don't know anything about the Marlins, though they do have a good reputation.

For CAS, I always felt that the Rossi looked more Western than the Marlins, but that's just my perception, I know.

November 12, 2009, 10:39 PM
Marlin Marlin Marlin. have one in 45LC love it, shoot the "ruger" only loads great!

November 12, 2009, 10:48 PM

November 12, 2009, 11:09 PM
I've owned both and thought they were both fine guns. I currently have a Stainless 454 Casull Puma which is a very handy slick weapon. The Puma 92 action is stronger than the action of the Marlin. Marlin could never chamber the mighty 454 Casull in their guns because the action is too weak and would fail. It is a non issue with you because you wish a 357 magnum and as long as factory ammunition is used (or published handloads) the Marlin is perfectly safe. The biggest advantage I see for the Marlin over the Puma is how easy they are to scope. If I wanted a 357 magnum, 44 magnum, or a 45lc I would choose the Marlin. Not that the Marlin is a "better" gun but because it's design lends it to being scoped without having to buy one of those ugly scope mounts which clamps on the side of the receiver. I have never owned one of the older Rossi lever actions. Perhaps Puma has better quality control now. All gun manufacturers will throw a lemon from time to time and all firearm designs have weak points. I wouldn't hesitate to buy either as far as quality is concerned. Handle them both. Shoot both if you have an oppourtunity. Then, buy the one you prefer...

November 13, 2009, 12:31 AM
My .44 Magnum Puma M92 Scout has no problem at all with adding a scope. The only requirement is that the scope must have at least a 10" Long Eye Relief (LER). I will be picking up my .357 Rossi M92 (Non Scout) on Friday and I'll check under the rear sight to see if the barrel has been drilled and tapped for the weaver mount.


To answer the OP's question. Either brand of rifle will serve you well. I like both but each has a unique flavor.

When Winchester stopped producing the Model 1892 back in 1941, Rossi and a couple of other companies stepped up to produce licensed copies... Much like today's market for 1911's being reproduced by so many gun manufacturers. Other than the additional safety, the Rossi M92 is built exactly the way John Moses Browning designed it... Perfect. There has never been a better design for a pistol length cartridge rifle in my book. The 1894 is a great design as well, but it was designed around Winchester's longer .3O WCF (.30-30) rifle cartridge. Any shorter chamberings require a reworking of the internal action.

The Marlin 1894 Cowboy is a high quality rifle and has definitely been touched over by Marlin from the original 1894 design, but the changes have been beneficial. I do like the .357 version of the 1894 Cowboy, but the .44 Mag version has a too slow twist rate (1:38") to stabilize heavier bullets. I much prefer the 1:20" rate of the Rossi .44 Mag.

November 13, 2009, 12:51 AM
I'm curious gglass, is your Puma 92 scout scope base held with screws or does the mount slide into a dovetail (or both)? The rear sight on my 454 Casull 92 Puma is held in place by the dovetail slot. I like the look of your Puma with the scout scope setup. Are these scout scope mounts available as an aftermarket item by Legacy Arms or another manufacturer?

November 13, 2009, 06:06 AM
I own a Rossi/puma 44 mag and a buddy has a marlin (1895?) in 45-70. My rossi came out of the box with an action and trigger smoother than my buddies marlin! Mine cycles both .44 special and 44 mag with ease. The only downside to the rossi is the rear sight...it suck real bad! For $45 I solved the problem with a Skinner barrel mounted peep sight.

I almost bought a 16" rossi two months ago at a gun show for $375 NIB...but I decided to check out the entire show to see if there were any better deals to be had. Big mistake, I walked back 10 minutes later and someone else was filling out the paperwork for it. That little 16" rossi is still on my buy on sight list.

November 13, 2009, 07:02 AM

November 13, 2009, 07:25 AM
apparently marlin is coming out with a stainless 357

Any more info about this ?? I would love to get my hands on a new stainless 1894 in .357 !!

November 13, 2009, 07:49 AM
I've owned both and the Marlin is far better made. The only thing the Rossi has going for it is Winchester 92 nostalgia. Unless that's the driving force behind your purchase, get the Marlin.

November 13, 2009, 08:22 AM
My father-n-law has the Marlin
I have the Rossi/Puma

Bought mine over 20 years ago - before all the interest in Cowboy Action Shooting took hold of the market. Gave less than $200 for it. I really like it now, looking at the cost of new ones.

Far as dependability - mine has never gave any problems. Neither has my father-law's Marlin. Both are good dependable guns.

November 13, 2009, 08:32 AM
I've got both. I enjoy shooting both. Never had a problem with either. The Marlin (I own ) is micro grooved and sets the spent casings to the right of me. The Rossi is standard rifleing and ejects the spents casings into the top of my hat.

November 13, 2009, 08:37 AM
It is likely you will only be able to get parts for one of the two in 25+ years.


November 13, 2009, 09:21 AM
I have to disagree with DeepSouth. He did not name which firearm design he predicts will "run out of parts" 25 years from now but that is pure folly. Both designs will always have parts availability. Computer driven CNC technology is going to do nothing but expand. There will always be affordable, easy to find, spare parts for the 1894 Marlin and 1892 Winchester type firearms. And lets not forget...both the Winchester 1892 and Marlin 1894 rifles have been discontinued in the past only to be resurrected again. The sky is not falling nor will it.

25 Pdr
November 13, 2009, 10:05 AM
Had a second hand Rossi Puma in 38/357 for just over a year. I used it for the Police Pistol course of fire here in the UK. I was going through > 5000 rounds a year.

I had nothing but trouble, the main problem is double feeding, the second round would escape and lodge under the carrier, requiring the magazine tube to be opened to clear the jam, not good in a competition. In my opinion the design of the cartridge stop does not lend itself to a large amount of use. I changed the stop many times.

Other problems are a heavy hammer spring, throwing live rounds out the gun,and very hard to strip down and reassemble.

I get so fed up with the reliability I gave it to a friend free of charge. I'm now waiting on a Marlin coming from the USA.Our club guns are all Marlins and they are the one to go for.

The Rossi would be OK for casual use, but not for high volume shooting. IMHO

November 13, 2009, 10:10 AM
gGlass--what's that cheek riser on your scout-Puma?

November 13, 2009, 10:37 AM
Hello 25 Pdr. How much did that certificate cost you is Scotland to acquire the Marlin 1894? As much as we Americans gripe about domestic gun laws we have it pretty good compared to you guys.

25 Pdr
November 13, 2009, 11:06 AM
Hi t165,

The cost of the UK Firearm Certificate is presently 50 pounds (83 Dollars), renewable every five years.

I've just paid 600 pounds (1002 Dollars) for a new Marlin 38/357.

Our UK minimum wage is 5 pounds 80 pence an hour, (9 Dollars 69 cents).

When I got my Firearms Certificate in 1968 it cost five shillings, (42 cents) :)

November 13, 2009, 11:11 AM
I've had both. Buy the Puma. Marlin is not what it used to be.

November 13, 2009, 07:32 PM
The Rossi's are very good for the money.
My Rossi .357 was very good, I prefer the 1892 action (J.M.Browning) over the Marlin, but my Rossi didn't like anything in .38 spl. brass. I like the sights on the Rossi's better, flat rear blade with square notch, post front, I get better accuracy with those than I do with beads and buckhorns. I just got back from shooting a friends Rossi 16" stainless Trapper in .45 Colt, too freakin sweet! I'm ordering one tomorrow.
My Marlin 1894 CP (16" ported .357) was nice too, fed .38's better, but didn't feed Blazer aluminum in either caliber well, never figured that one out.
Both have very strong actions.

November 13, 2009, 07:52 PM
here,s what i shoot, 1892 win. in 32-20 made in 1917. eastbank.

November 13, 2009, 08:04 PM
I have had both, I sold my Marlin to get another Puma. Both of mine are .44 Mag, but the .357s look the same as these.

November 13, 2009, 08:54 PM
I ended up buying a 16" puma 357 because I could not find the Marlin model in stock anywhere around here. I own a Marlin in 444 and love the rifle, but this Puma is a really sweet little carbine. It is surprisingly accurate out to 100yds and the action is much smoother than my Marlin. It would be nice to mount a scope for load development, but its not critical. My only complaint is that the receiver is not already tapped for a peep sight. Other than that its a great little gun.

Owen Sparks
November 13, 2009, 10:37 PM
I have had both and recomend the Marlin without reservation. But let me ask you why do you want a .357 when they make a .44?

November 14, 2009, 03:24 AM
I've had both. Buy the Puma. Marlin is not what it used to be.
Please explain exactly what aspects of the Marlin 1894 "aren't what they used to be".

November 14, 2009, 03:26 AM
here,s what i shoot, 1892 win. in 32-20 made in 1917. eastbank.
Sweet. Of course for what you'd pay for a nice Winchester 92 like that you could buy a Marlin AND a Puma and a bunch of ammo.....

November 14, 2009, 03:51 AM
My only complaint is that the receiver is not already tapped for a peep sight.

For $45 pick up a barrel mounted peep sight from http://skinnersights.com/ I have one on my .44 mag puma/rossi and love it!

November 14, 2009, 04:08 AM
Ive always wanted a .357 lever action myself. Ive had nothing but good out of every Marlin ive owned, so im leaning towards them.

November 14, 2009, 06:08 AM
natman, i got a lot of them before they took off in price, here,s a remington 14 1/2 saddle ring carbine with thumb safety in 44-40 that i shoot and like a little better than the levers, target was shot at 100yds from a rest with 17grs imr 4227 and a 200gr hornady bullet, eastbank.

November 14, 2009, 10:46 AM
My only complaint is that the receiver is not already tapped for a peep sight.
For $45 pick up a barrel mounted peep sight from http://skinnersights.com/ I have one on my .44 mag puma/rossi and love it!

Steve Young aka Nate Kiowa Jones, is bringing out two styles of bolt mounted peeps.
Bolt mounted Peep sights to replace the ugly Rossi 92 safety (http://www.levergunscommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22164)

November 14, 2009, 01:28 PM
I have the Puma in 44 mag that I am happy with and shoots and cycles great. Marlin would be my choice between the two though if the price is the same and both were on the shelf. I like my Puma better than the marlins I handled.

November 14, 2009, 08:07 PM
Thanks for the peep sight links, I will check them out. has anyone else noticed that the stock front sight seems regulated for 100yds? seems a bit odd for a gun of this type.

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