Lever Gun as a SHTF Rifle


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AnklePocket
January 19, 2004, 12:30 PM
My appologies for another SHTF thread, but your thoughts on a Marlin 1894C (.357 Mag) as a "rifle behind every blade of grass" rifle rather than a modern auto feeder.

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Mikul
January 19, 2004, 12:57 PM
Lever guns are about as politically correct as you can get in a carbine. The 1894C is good to 150 yards. That's too close for comfort for my tastes, but as a close-quarters, target-poor environment it is excellent. It's not even a bad hunting gun should you need to take food with it.

A lever action in 30-30 would open you up to 300 yards.

Nathanael_Greene
January 19, 2004, 01:33 PM
I recently acquired an 1894C, and I can't say enough good things about it. My concern is more about home defense than any societal apocalypse, but the important thing is to have confidence in your firearm, and this Marlin has a lot going for it. The fact that it shares ammunition with a handgun is just one of many advantages.

dadman
January 19, 2004, 01:58 PM
http://www.warriortalk.com/showthread.php?t=649

Dave R
January 19, 2004, 02:08 PM
This gets discussed from time to time. Do a search for past threads. Short version: its a good idea.

Some would argue that a better caliber would be .30-30 or .44mag, but nothing wrong with .357 mag.

Col. Cooper is another one who has spoken favoriably on the "tactical levergun'.

AK103K
January 19, 2004, 02:50 PM
The only down side I see to the lever gun is its magazine. One good whack on something hard and/or sharp and its now a single loader. I think this is one of the reasons the military never accepted it.

Dave R
January 19, 2004, 03:02 PM
You'd have to whack that tubular mag pretty hard to dent it. Harder than the whack it would take to disable an AR mag.

OTOTH, tubular mags let you "shoot one, load one", which can have tactical advantages. That's hard to do with a box magazine.

David4516
January 19, 2004, 04:19 PM
I too was interested in the "lever action assault rifle" concept. So I made up a batch of 110 gr JHPs for my Winchester model 94 .30-30

They worked great, and they kicked less. Since the only semi-autos I own at the moment are handguns, the model 94 is my SHTF rifle. I've also got one of the elastic shell holder thingys on the stock.

But I think .30-30 is overkill for home defense, at least in my area, there are too many people around, I worry about over-penatration, even with these lighter bullets...

But when you arn't in the middle of the city, I think the .30-30 lever gun with JHPs is a good way to go...

Brian Williams
January 19, 2004, 05:02 PM
Sure what better to have ammo compatability than a 357 lever and a S&W 586 or 13.

Sure you could whack the mag tube but you could have a truck run over the foreend or rear end of an Ar and wreck the gas tube or buffer tube, you could pull wrong on that M1A and bend your Op rod...... you could trip and fill the muzzle of your shotgun just before you pull the trigger and blow the barrel, you could have a double load of bullseye and blow the top strap off of your S&W, you could Blow your nose and hemmorage and die but.............:banghead:

I was at home by my self the other day and I was comparing the win 1300 with the 1894c and the lever was more compact and easier to go thru the house with. My 1300 has a 22" pipe but that 18.5" pipe and the smaller size of the 1894 made for some quick handling.

AK103K
January 19, 2004, 05:02 PM
You'd have to whack that tubular mag pretty hard to dent it. Harder than the whack it would take to disable an AR mag.
Yea, but I can dump the AR mag and replace it with a new one. I dont know if you've ever had one apart, but those tubes really are not all that heavy, at least not on the Winchesters. Think about swinging that levergun as a club, or wacking it against a door jamb or the corner of something on that tube. It wouldnt take much to dent it or collapse it to the point the rounds woud no longer feed. I agree you can shoot one and load one, but you can do the same with a bolt, especially the older military guns with a cutoff, or swap out a mag on a detachable mag gun. The lever gun is slow to load when its empty and your in a hurry, not a problem with the bolt gun and strippers or a mag change. Dont get me wrong, I have a couple of lever guns and would not hesitate to use it if it was all I had, but I think if your planning on making it your main gun, I'd pick something else. As for the over penatration issue, I'm still a fan of guns that will. I WANT to be able to shoot through things, especially if whats on the other side means to do me harm.

Balog
January 19, 2004, 05:08 PM
AK103K: couldn't you make the same objections to the poor, fragile pump shotguns? They're tube fed, but I've never heard of anyone complaining about them.

AK103K
January 19, 2004, 05:11 PM
The tube on a pump gun or auto is covered by the forearem or pump, the leverguns tube is just hanging out there. Hey, dont get me wrong, I like my leverguns, just not for this.

Balog
January 19, 2004, 05:17 PM
Uhhhh, I've never seen a tube fed rifle without a forearm. It might not go quite as far as the forearm on shottie, but it's still there. I was thinking of shotties with "extended" tubes that go to the end (or near the end) of the barrel.

Nightcrawler
January 19, 2004, 05:26 PM
I WANT to be able to shoot through things, especially if whats on the other side means to do me harm.

Blah blah blah FRAGMENTATION blah blah blah penetrates less than 9mm blah blah blah

Better stick with 7.62 or .30-06 if you want penetration. :evil:

I think a levergun would work just fine for any social occasion you're likely to encounter. When's the last time someone fired 30 rounds in self defense, that wasn't part of an infantry patrol?

DMK
January 19, 2004, 05:54 PM
Think about swinging that levergun as a club, or wacking it against a door jamb or the corner of something on that tube. It wouldnt take much to dent it or collapse it to the point the rounds woud no longer feed. I agree you can shoot one and load one, but you can do the same with a bolt, especially the older military guns with a cutoff, or swap out a mag on a detachable mag gun. I don't disagree with you, but depending on where you dent that tube and how bad, you might just reduce it's capacity rather than make it useless.

I don't know of too many bolt guns except the Krag that let you top off a fixed mag while a round is chambered.

PO2Hammer
January 19, 2004, 06:07 PM
My Marlin 1894 CP (16" .357) is my SHTF rifle. Don't worry about the mag tube, they are thicker and tougher than you might think. Ballistics from a carbine bring the .357 up near, repeat NEAR, the 30-30 and 7.65x39mm. If the SHTF, people carrying assault rifles will be the first targets. If you were a rural land owner, who would you shoot first, the guy in fatigues carrying an AK, or the guy in plaid carring a lever gun? Also having a carbine that uses the same ammo as you revolver lets you stock/carry more ammo. When iI need more than a .357, I go straight up to a bolt .308, skipping the intermediate cartridges like .223, 7.65x39mm.

AK103K
January 19, 2004, 06:14 PM
I'm not saying its going to happen, just that its a weak point in the rifle, at least to me. I think if it takes a hard enough hit, it would jam at that point and the spring pressure would be off the rest of the rounds in the tube and it wouldnt feed. Not that you couldnt hold it muzzle up and get the loose rounds down. Your right about the Krag, I wasnt thinking of a round in the chamber, just that you can still top them off if you need to.

grendelbane
January 19, 2004, 06:24 PM
Having a handgun and a long gun chambered for the same cartridge is an appealing idea. The problem is if you want to use the most effective hollow point ammunition. The heavier bullets will perform better out of the carbine, while the handgun might prefer lighter bullets.

The lighter weight hollow points in a carbine may not penetrate adequately, and the heavier hollow points may not expand from the shorter handgun barrel.

Of course, if you prefer cast bullets, this is not a problem.

Balog
January 19, 2004, 06:33 PM
I'm not saying its going to happen, just that its a weak point in the rifle, at least to me. I think if it takes a hard enough hit, it would jam at that point and the spring pressure would be off the rest of the rounds in the tube and it wouldnt feed.

I imagine if you went around smacking your rifle into hard surfaces it might affect it's reliability/accuracy, regardless of the feeding method. As has been pointed out, it would take a pretty good thwack to damage the tube, and any hit that hard could probably also damage other parts of the rifle.

AK103K
January 19, 2004, 06:43 PM
The lever guns are not combat rifles. They make nice hunting and coyboy game rifles, but they are not combat rifles. If they were in that class, I think the US government would have adopted them when they first came out. Off the top of my head, the only lever guns I know of that were adopted by a major army, were the mag fed Winchesters adopted by the Russians, but I'm sure someone else did too, maybe the Turks. I guess they will never get handled roughly in your SHTF situations, so its a moot point, so forget about the mag tube issue and carry on. :)

grendelbane
January 19, 2004, 06:53 PM
The Turks were the ones who taught the Russians about lever action rifles.

I too, would like to see a reproduction 1895 Winchester chambered for the 7.62x54R, with stripper clip guides.

Between Smith & Wesson, and Winchester, the Czarist troops were well armed. Not that it helped that much.

The fragility of magazine tubes is a serious consideration. I have a Mossberg shotgun that was taken out of action by a dent on the magazine tube. Perhaps that is why the old makers always used full stocks on the lever guns that they tried to sell to the military.

The French Lebel was an example of a tube magazine military weapon. While breaking new ground, it did not last too long.

We have pump action AR's and AK's, Why not a lever action assault rifle?

4v50 Gary
January 19, 2004, 06:57 PM
Beats rocks and flipping the byrd.

Balog
January 19, 2004, 07:18 PM
AK103K wrote:The lever guns are not combat rifles.
You could've fooled the soldiers in the War Between the States who shelled out several months worth of pay to get Henry rifles. Or the settlers in the west who chose them to fight off Indians as well as put game on the table.

While I'm not saying they are as purely durable or effective in high-volume of fire fighting and poor field conditions, they do offer certain advantages. And they are a combat proven design.

geekWithA.45
January 19, 2004, 07:43 PM
And they are a combat proven design.

Well, combat proven in the same sense that Brown Bess is combat proven. :neener: :neener: :neener:

My take on it is that a levergun will serve the SHTF role, but I'd argue that a mag fed autoloader would still be a better choice, and that is what I consider to be the minimum ante for a militarily useful rifle for the average man under ordinary cirumstances.

I'd also take a look at the ballistics of the rounds, especially the pistol calibers, and compare them to the big 3. (.223, 7.62x39 commie, and .308) before making a final choice.

dbshabo
January 20, 2004, 10:24 AM
In a SHTF situation I'll use whatever I have at my dispoal to protect my family and property. I think the key is to know how to effectively use whatever you do have. That means range time and malfunction drills. If you can't clear a malfunction under a level of stress that most of us have never experienced you essentially have an expensive club. Train hard cause you'll fight like you train.

Shabo

MrAcheson
January 20, 2004, 11:00 AM
The lever guns are not combat rifles. ... If they were in that class, I think the US government would have adopted them when they first came out.

Tell that to Custer. Actually the reason the government didn't adopt them was the range issue. Pistol caliber ammo maxes out at a couple hundred yards at best. This is compared to the trapdoors and other rifles of the period which have much longer reach but slower rates of fire.

Kaylee
January 20, 2004, 12:37 PM
my take is that it'd likely work, but wouldn't be ideal.

If you're in urbanized or western OR and are envisioning some kind of person-to-person conflict, I'd agree that an intermediate semi-auto, detatchable box mag carbine would be better for the application (sans legal issues after the fact). There's a reason we're issuing M16s and not Marlins.

If on the other hand you're in rural/eastern OR with those looooooong open ranges, a scoped bolt gun in .308 or up might well be a better idea.

Then of course we get into the whole "SHTF" thing as something to worry about to start with. Since you say "a rifle behind every blade of grass" I imagine we're talking more of a widespread conflict type scenario than a simple riot or something.

So... If you're envisioning being part of a military conflict on homesoil against an external aggressor (aside from the odds of such being next to nothing) I'd think that as much compatibility with the local "real guys" would be ideal... say a tricked out AR. Or alternately, filling a role your line infantry can't -- say a long range bolt gun.

But honestly, I'd think things would be pretty bad indeed for ANY US military commander to say "I need help from the local civvies, please show up with your own gear." Might be the Constitutional way, but I can't honestly see it happening. I mean, if YOU were a military commander, would you want to incorporate a mess of civilians you didn't know, didn't have a reason to trust, and with no knowledge of their capabilities into your force? You could shoot like Hathcock himself, but Lt. StandingArmy won't know that. Plus, if the situation was THAT dire, I'd bet there'd be plenty of M16s (or M8s :p) lying around by that time, making any choice you made ahead of time moot.

If on the other hand you're thinking more in terms of "armed insurrection" -- I'd say a scoped T/C Contender or short range pocket pistol "HenryBowman Special" and patience would be of more value than any high dollar whiz-bang "up against the Delta boys" kinda thing. Doesn't make much since to engage the swordarm when you can engage the head much more easily. Welcome to the post-nuclear age of asymmetric conflict. ;)

For more typical, realistic concerns however -- Mr. BadMan in your living room (or on your farmstead) at 3AM -- the levergun sounds just fine. It's been doing that duty for over a hundred years, no reason it can't do it today.

And if it's just a good reason for another toy... then just plain get what tickles your fancy. :)


-K

Mute
January 20, 2004, 01:21 PM
I'd take a good shot with the lever gun over a spray-and-prayer with an AR on my side of the fence anyday. Don't let the old design fool you. If you needed to protect yourself, the lever gun will do just fine.

BryanP
January 20, 2004, 01:33 PM
I own exactly 3 rifles. An AR-15, a WASR-10/AK-47 (which I haven't had a chance to fire yet) and a Marlin 1894C in .357. I wouldn't feel under-armed with any of them.

Hmm. I need a good .22 to round that out. But not this week - I have to buy a car.

AnklePocket
January 20, 2004, 02:50 PM
The takehome message seems to be to get a rifle or more that you enjoy and do some shoot'in. I've been trying to narrow it down to one rifle, but that's not fun. The final fun tally (FFT) is a DSA Carbine, Savage 10FP and Marlin 1894C.
Chances are outstanding that their only action will be at the range. Of course, if I mentioned on September 10, 2001 the possibility of 2 hijacked planes crashing into the Twin Towers the entire free world would have labeled me a paranoid lunatic.
If I would have mentioned on September 12, 2001 that the Democrat Wannabe Presidential Candidates (DWPC) would be criticizing President Bush for his war on terror I'd be labeled a cynical, angry bastard - Sorry, wrong thread. I can't shake those damn core American values.

CAB

JohnKSa
January 21, 2004, 01:24 AM
IIRC, the last time the U.S. military tested lever rifles it was using rifle ammunition but the testing was marred by several magazine tube detonations. That was a long time ago.

When the contest was between bolt rifles and lever rifles, bolts got the nod on mechanical simplicity AND the fact that it's easier to cycle a bolt rifle while you're lying on the ground.

With the advent of reliable semi and full auto weapons, no one has ever really taken another look at manually operated repeaters.

matsaleh
January 21, 2004, 02:47 AM
Tell that to Custer. Actually the reason the government didn't adopt them was the range issue. Pistol caliber ammo maxes out at a couple hundred yards at best. This is compared to the trapdoors and other rifles of the period which have much longer reach but slower rates of fire.

I just saw a show on History Channel about the Custer thing. A bunch of archaeologists/forensics types recreated the battle and mapped shooting positions from spent casings and bones and other artifacts found on the field. It seems that two factors were key in the Indians' victory over Custer's men:

1) The Indians were equipped with many Henry repeaters, while the Army had Sharps single-shot rifles. The Indians could get off about 13 rounds in the same time it took a soldier to fire 3-4 rounds.

2) The Indians fought from horseback, staying mobile all the time. The soldiers dismounted, and had "horse handlers" take their animals and stay far back from the fighting. In no time, the Indians closed in and surrounded small groups of soldiers who fought back to back on foot. Although the Sharps rifles had a much longer range then the Henrys, this was wasted because the Indians decided the engagement range, and their much higher rate of fire overwhelmed the soldiers.

Cheers.

Kaylee
January 21, 2004, 10:33 AM
Little Big Horn/Greasy Grass --

Was there last year.

Army had trapdoor Springfields, not Sharps. Still .50-70 I think.
Indians had a hodge-podge, but yes a fair amount of leverguns.

There WAS a Sharps on the field, but IIRC it was in the hands of one of the Indians, who was picking off US Cav guys from quite a distance on the secondary battle site, from which there *were* US survivors.

On the secondary site, the Indians were advancing up a several hundred yard steep incline into the Cav position. There the Army guys with their Springfields DID have the advantage.

The whole "last stand" hill was dotted with little groups of two and three markers.. every marker was laid where a man fell. Chilling.


But that's neither here nor there. The effectiveness of a weapon in an engagement before smokeless powder or the dawn of self-loading arms is NOT an indication of its performance in the modern era.

-K

Al Norris
January 22, 2004, 02:58 AM
SHTF scenarios aside, when I go out into the woods a-camping, I always have my 1894S close at hand. It helps that I've also got my vaquero strapped on. Funny thing, that vaquero. It likes the same 305gr SWC that the marlin likes!

In the type of mountainous woods and brush country that I go camping in, I don't feel outgunned at all. Besides, about a 100-150 yds is all the clear area your apt to encounter. Scoped rifles are darn near useless...and them pesky little .223's will fly who knows where when encountering all the twigs and leaves they will have to travel through. Not so that heavy 305gr., it just plows right on through.

YMMV :cool:

Bartholomew Roberts
January 22, 2004, 10:29 AM
If anybody wants to get an idea of how a lever-gun will hold up in the modern era, Ashley Emerson did an interesting article for SWAT Magazine (http://www.swatmag.com/) where he attended Urban Rifle at Thunder Ranch with a lever gun. You can even purchase the article online.

As I recall, the two major factors he had issues with were reloads and heat. While it was something I hadn't thought about at the time, a modern semi-auto rifle is a lot better able to handle the heat generated by firing lots of rounds in a limited time scenario. With the exception of those two issues though, I believe he did pretty well - which just goes to show that knowing how to use whatever you brought can be a lot more important than what you brought.

Mulliga
January 22, 2004, 11:24 AM
Too bad Custer was a pompous SOB who took his guys out there needlessly...:banghead:

Lever guns are pretty reliable, pretty accurate, and pretty cool.

foghornl
January 22, 2004, 12:30 PM
Hmmm

Up to 150 Yds (about the line-of-sight limit in my subdivision) the .30/30 Marlin will do just fine. I also have the US Rifle Cal .30 M1, and a Mosin-Nagant M-44 carbine for my long-distance work.

So, if war comes down my street, I think I'll be OK with my "Smoky Mountain Machine Gun." :D

AKA Marlin Model 30A

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