Lever Actions: Marlin, Mossberg, Rossi or Henry Boy


November 2, 2010, 04:21 PM
I am wanting to buy a plain lever action rifle in walnut stock with blued barrel in 30-30 cal. I am leaning towards the Mossberg because it is built after the old Winchesters. But I am looking for feedback and advice on which lever action is the best for the money. Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about "Lever Actions: Marlin, Mossberg, Rossi or Henry Boy" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 2, 2010, 04:30 PM
I would buy a new Marlin 336, or an older Winchester 94.
Both are time proven rifles with a great track record.

The Marlin is easier to strip for cleaning from the rear of the barrel and inside the action.
And much better for mounting a scope then the top-eject Winchester.

But the Winchester IS a real Winchester!

The new Mossberg has nothing in common with a Winchester 94 or a Marlin 336.
It looks more like a Marlin then any Winchester, but it is different then a Marlin too.

I especially don't like the big crack between the barrel and mag tube on the Mossberg.
It is just plain fugly!


November 2, 2010, 04:33 PM
Can't beat a Marlin 336. Bought one for my wife and can tell you it is a very nice rifle, especially for the money. Walnut on her's is quite nice for an off the rack rifle.

The Mossberg seemed ok. I personally am not a fan of the straight stock, but if you are drawn to the Winchester style, this may be a positive for you. I haven't seen them in Walnut (just walnut stained hardwood), but they may be available.

Rossi/Taurus get spotty reports regarding quality and customer service. No personal experience with them though, so I can't really say. Made in Brazil I believe?

I did look hard at the Henry. Seemed like a nicely made rifle. However, the long barrel length, the weight, and the high price turned me off. To me, lever actions are supposed to be short, light, carbine style rifles. That Henry was a beast.

November 2, 2010, 04:45 PM
It appears I can get a Marlin 336 for around $400. I can get a Mossberg 464 for about $350. The Rossi Rio Grande is going for about $375. So, they are all in the same price range. Of course, the Henry is well over that in price.

By the way, thanks for the input. I am maybe changing my thoughts and now considering the Marlin 336.

November 2, 2010, 04:54 PM
There are thousands of used Winchesters and Marlins gathering dust in used gunracks at bargain prices. You'll get a better gun for less money.

If buying new Marlin is the only one I'd consider. The Mossberg LOOKS more like the Winchester, but is one heavy clunky hunk of steel and wood. Nothing a lever action should be.

If you want a straight grip like the Winchester there are a lot of older Marlins made that way as well

November 2, 2010, 05:04 PM
Marlin, if you think you may want to mount a scope on it someday. Winchester, if you want lighter weight with iron sights. Its tough to beat a 336 or a 94, so it's more a matter of taste.

November 2, 2010, 05:50 PM
I vote for an older 70s 336 with the slim forearm, feels more solid than the Winnie to me

November 2, 2010, 05:56 PM
don't do Rossi, if you need customer support they blow smoke up your butt. The new marlins are still really nice right out of the box. Customer support is great if you need them. (you won't) :D

Jonny V
November 2, 2010, 05:58 PM
I have a Winchester '66 commemorative, new, unfired, and in the box with all price tags, paperwork, etc from 1966. I also have a Rossi 44 lever gun, and I'd like to get a Marlin in 45-70. I like lever guns as much as most people and more than some.

Having the brand new Winchester from 1966 and the new Rossi from a couple years ago, I can say that the workmanship on the Winchester is far higher. I like my Rossi, it's reasonably accurate, the action is smooth, and the wood is nice. It's just that the old Winchester, made by the American working man (back in the day) is a LOT nicer. The machining is first rate, no tool marks, nice tight fit with the wood and metal to metal parts.

It may well be worth it to look for an older (1960's vintage) Winchester. Don't know what the price might be, but there should at least be some in your price range. I know that I advocated for buying a used rifle on another thread and don't want to sound like the old broken record. The problem is, whenever I compare a modern rifle to one a few decades old, I'm just floored by the huge drop off in quality. I'll admit, my price range is below about 600-700, and that might have something to do with it.

November 2, 2010, 06:13 PM
marlin 336 hands down. When you shoot one, then disassemble it, you will appreciate its accuracy and the quality of the parts then know why you chose the Marlin!!!

November 2, 2010, 06:22 PM
Tough to beat either the Marlin or the Winchester. I like the slim, nimbleness of the Winchesters, but the Marlins are great quality. Marlin may be easier to find. I'd say go check them out in person, decide from there. I have both and would miss either one If i had to pick one over the other.

November 2, 2010, 06:22 PM
Put the mossberg next to A marlin you will see that there is no comparison. You will buy the Marlin!

murdoc rose
November 2, 2010, 07:26 PM
marlin all the way, but if you really like the Winchester design then get a Winchester there not rare

November 2, 2010, 07:45 PM
Marlin, then winchester, rossi, maybe the mossberg. if you ever plan on taking appart the rifle, then marlin, i have 3 336's and one win. ill take the marlins appart once a year for a good cleaning, ill take the winchester appart maybe once in the next 5 years.

Love the marlin action, go with a 60s rifle if you can find it. smooth, check the bore, Hit pawn shops. you should be able to get good deal around 300ish depending on the area. good luck and remember if you go to a pawn shop, talk them down. get an OTD price bring cash and you get a good price.

November 2, 2010, 08:12 PM
Lets see, I own a few of the above mentioned and a Savage 99 (.308).

Of the bunch, the Marlin is the beefiest and the most adaptable in terms of accessories, etc. You can get syn-stocks for a Marlin, different scope mounts/system, ghost ring sights, mag tub bands and slings, etc. They are easy to strip and easy to refinish. They are cheap in the used market. That's where I'd be looking.

The Winnie stays stock except for a finish job in KG black receiver with blue barrel - came out very nice (post 64 investment cast receiver was ugly). The reason it stays stock mechanically is because ... it's a Winchester, it's so light and slim, why would you mess around making it heavier (?), and it's top eject so scoping is a pain or at least an issue. The gun balances in one hand wrapped around the receiver, which is why mine was ugly - a lot of glove wear and sweat stains. Now with KG, it's even better to carry :)

The 99 is the most accurate and it carries well too. But, it is not the same as a Marlin or a Winchester. It's bulkier due to rotary magazine and since mine is scoped (Nikon) it's in a different league. More like carrying an auto-loader than a plain 30-30 lever. However, they are out there in 30-30 and they shoot very well. So a Savage 99 should be on your list. But, even used - they'll be twice your Rossi budget.

Have used a Rossi and it was fun. I would not say no to one :)

There was an older Mossberg lever in 30~30. You might find one around. As I understand it, they shoot well enough. I think both Mossberg and Marlin have made store brand guns for Sears, Wards, Penny's, etc. I have seen some nice Ted Williams levers out there, so don't discount them as a way in for less $$.

I'd definitely be looking used. There are a ton out there. A lot of the folks who traded them in, did so before LeverEvolution ammo was available (safe pointy bullets), so they don't know that any of these are now 200 yd rifles if you practice and upgrade the sights :)

November 2, 2010, 08:16 PM
Marlin 336 FTW. Fit and finish are nicer than the mossberg, and its just a plain ol' classic.


November 2, 2010, 08:24 PM
with the options you gave i would go with the Marlin hands down, but if i could add one to the list...Winchester with out a doubt

November 2, 2010, 09:57 PM
Love my Glennfield (Marlin) 39A 16'', my next will be an 1895. I only paid $160 for it and there are many many more Winnies and Marlins at my local GS. I'm sure your local GS has a ton of Marlins or 94's from $250-$400.

November 2, 2010, 11:10 PM
Go with the Win., you won't/can't go wrong! As far as the Savage 99, around here they go for about $700-$900, and they are a shooter alright, but stick with the Win., you'll do alright. I have a Win. 94 in the Big Bore .375 I bought about 20 years ago, what a shooter this dude is!!!!!!:what:

November 2, 2010, 11:48 PM
I have a 1970 Cent. model Marlin in .35 Rem that hits pretty hard.

I have a 1966 model Win. 94 in .30-30 that looks brand new.

If you look around, you can find some deals on either...find a good one and enjoy shooting the classics.

November 3, 2010, 01:03 AM
I have Winchesters, Marlins, & Rossis. Love them all. I do not have a Mossberg . But would try the Mossberg if I can afford next time. Problem, I never want to sell one to gain another .

November 3, 2010, 01:12 AM
I saw a near-new Mossberg 464 for $250 in a shop near Greenville, TX yesterday. I was not looking for one, but the price was interesting.

November 3, 2010, 01:15 AM
I vote for an older 70s 336 with the slim forearm, feels more solid than the Winnie to me...

I think this is the best answer so far. I have five 336s, three 94s (all pre-safety), and two Mossberg 464s. The 336 is a better rifle. The 94s are classic and have a "cool" factor for sure, but not as "solid-feeling". The Mossbergs are sticky in their cycling/feeding and have wood that looks like it belongs on a Daisy BB gun.

My .02

November 3, 2010, 08:40 PM
Side eject, tapped for scope, easier to strip and clean, slick as snot action.

All other things being equal, I'd go Marlin.

Of course, all other things are never equal.

November 3, 2010, 08:55 PM
My reccomendation is Marlin. I have three of them, a 336 and two 1894s, one .44 mag and one .357 mag. Good simple rugged rifles.

If you enjoyed reading about "Lever Actions: Marlin, Mossberg, Rossi or Henry Boy" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!