Favorite Lever Action Caliber for Plinking...


January 24, 2004, 12:31 PM
...with disregard to ammo cost and practical purposes would be what (.22LR, .357 Mag, .44 Mag, 30-30, 45-70, ect.)?

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The Tourist
January 24, 2004, 12:56 PM
Boy, I hope you get lots of replies to this!

My one and only lever action rifle right now is a Marlin Guide Gun, a stainless 45-70. I'm not that sensitive to recoil, and even if I was, I am a caster and handloader. I could beg a softer load recipe from friends of this caliber.

Still, I cannot imagine myself sitting down at the bench for a lovely afternoon of 45-70 plinking. I find shooting a brick of .22's fun, I enjoy an afternoon of long distance shooting with a 22-250 or a varmint loaded .243 WIN.

Somehow I think a 'brick of 45-70's' might be a tad painful.

January 24, 2004, 01:17 PM
I enjoy my Marlin 57M (.22mag) the most, and I have a .35 Rem. that is a joy to shoot as well. I have a 45-70 ...but I haven't gotten around to shooting it yet...shame on me. But ror all- around plinking, the rimfires and pistol calibers are hard to beat.

Dave Markowitz
January 24, 2004, 01:20 PM
I have a Winchester 9422 XTR Classic in .22 LR which is a great plinker. But I think my fave now is my EMF Hartford Model (by Rossi) M1892 Short Rifle in .357 Magnum. Not much recoil or noise, but it's great for vaporizing overripe fruit and other frangible targets.

January 24, 2004, 01:30 PM
I'd say .357 Mag. in a carbine.

Fairly flat shooting for a pistol caliber with lotsa bang and flash but little recoil in a rifle. As a bonus you can shoot the much cheaper .38 Special in some of these rifles *if* cost does become a factor.


January 24, 2004, 01:32 PM
Somehow I think a 'brick of 45-70's' might be a tad painful.

Only in a rifle. Try it in a TC Contender if you want to enjoy it.


For just plinking, it's got to be a .22, preferably a Marlin. Though the .357 is a lot of fun, too.

January 24, 2004, 02:01 PM
Marlin 39A in .22lr. A real fun gun. The first gun I ever bought, hope to pass it on to my son, along with many others.

January 24, 2004, 02:24 PM
I've got 3 Winchesters in .357, .44 Mag and .45 Colt. Of the three, I enjoy the .45 most. It's a Trapper with 16" barrel.

I almost picked up a Guide Gun in 45-70 last night but figured it would be just to painful for a day of shooting.

January 24, 2004, 03:03 PM
My marlin 1895g 45-70 is a 7 pound gun. Has a shorter 18.5" barrel and the barrel is ported at the end. If you ask me.....that gun gives recoil = to about a 20 guage shotgun with a 2 3/4" shell. Recoil for the gun I have seems to be very little. That is shooting a 300 gr. supreme partition winchester round.

Would the above gun be ideal for plinking? Probably not unless you are wanting to keep the targets within 100 yards or if you really want a challange figuring out bullet drop compensation. Also the real downside for the rifle is I use it for deer hunting.....with no ear protection the ported barrel really rings my ears. I hear a buzz for a day after popping it off a few times in the woods.

Far as plinking caliber I would prefer? I would have to go with .22 magnum or if you have the money go with a .357 and use .38's for close range and step up to .357 mags for long range. Just my .02


January 24, 2004, 03:06 PM
I had a Winchester .30-30 that was very fun to plink with. Sadly, like almost all the guns I owned while married to my first wife, it was sold.

Car Knocker
January 24, 2004, 03:12 PM

January 24, 2004, 03:15 PM
Is it Winchester who's offering a lever gun in .32 magnum?
If I were to do a fair amount of plinking of a caliber other than .22LR, I would love to reload for the .32 magnum and hunt some Pepsi cans!

As my only lever action is a Marlin 1894 .44 magnum... I suppose that's my favorite.

It did bag this troublesome alligator-ish dino though.

My 3-year-old nephew is growing tired of me borrowing this guy

January 24, 2004, 04:21 PM
Is it Winchester who's offering a lever gun in .32 magnum? I believe marlin has one currently coming out as well if it is winchester that has one. http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/leverActionCB_rifles/1894Cowboy-32.htm

Peter M. Eick
January 24, 2004, 06:07 PM
22 LR as in my wifes 9422 with the williams peep sight. Just a lot of fun to play with!

January 24, 2004, 06:11 PM
Something satisfying about putting a few of those big ole' 45-70s through a gun. :p

Guess that'd be my answer.

January 24, 2004, 06:24 PM
My 3-year-old nephew is growing tired of me borrowing this guy

Folks, we need to take up a collection so Snowdog can get his own stuffed animal. Something in a Barney suit you, 'Dog?


Dave Markowitz
January 24, 2004, 06:30 PM
I see that Snowdog has answered the question that's been nagging at me lately:

"What gun should I use for Godzilla?"


January 24, 2004, 06:37 PM
This is a timely post as Iv'e been contemplating buy a .357 cal Winchester or Marlin in the 20" barrel version. I currently own a a 16" trapper 45Colt it is very novel but I 'd like to get a full size rifle. What are the pro's and con's of the Marlin vs. Winchester. Is one better than the other? Any input will be appreciated. :confused: RB

January 24, 2004, 06:44 PM
Winchester 9422M .22 mag - great fun.

January 24, 2004, 07:15 PM
and I perfer the marlins. They are simple to strip all the way down to the parts and I like the flat top for attaching ghost rings sights or red dot scopes. Winchesters are a lot more difficult to take a part for a detailed cleaning. I know that ghost rings are available for the winchesters, but I do not like the way they fit. It is also much easier to remove the much hated cross bolt safety on a Marlin. I do not recomend this for anyone else, but for me it makes the gun much more enjoyable and safe (I was raised on a half cock safety). You should visit marlintalk on marlins web site for some good info and this topic discussed in greater detail by folks much more informed than I .

Have a good one.


January 24, 2004, 07:21 PM
Stuffed animal?! What makes you think that's a stuffed animal?!
Stuffed by a taxidermist maybe! :D

I don't know, Quartus. Everyone and his brother has taken Barney... no real trophy there. I could go for a SpongeBob SquarePants though.
I'll just draw an angry face and fangs on him, that should impress the ladies.

Thanks for the link, ProCharger. I believe that's the one I was thinking of.

The Tourist
January 24, 2004, 07:24 PM
ProCharger and Cratz2,

I forgot to add one thing, I'm a bullet caster. My profile is a 405 grain flat point. I think this profile works the best if cast from lino and dropped into ice. The Ballard cut of my Guide Gun would validate the hunting/lead aspect of that rifle.

I just got it, and it laid longer than I wanted to before I started thinking about it seriously. In the purchase, I asked for a box of 300 grain hollowpoints and a commercial box of 405 flat-points packed 500 in number.

I figured I had ample time to figure out a load with somebody else's flat point, and shoot the 300 grainers at Wisconsin whitetail deer.

To that end, my goal has always been a 'working load.' I just finished an article by Venturino where he loads five different varities, one of them just for plinking. That gave me an idea, but do far, none of them have been loadeds

So, to be truthful, someday there WILL BE a plinker in 45-70, but I don't have one as yet.

He recommends 5744. Is that a good start?

Zeke Menuar
January 24, 2004, 07:32 PM
I have only one lever action at the moment. Savage M99-R. Totally impractical for plinking but what the heck, it's a blast to get this old timer out to hit the popcans.


4v50 Gary
January 24, 2004, 07:40 PM
Marlin 94 in .357 mag. Very mild, pleasant and no shortage of fun.

Brian Williams
January 24, 2004, 08:32 PM
It has got to be my Marlin 1894c

January 24, 2004, 08:54 PM
Whoa! OT, but I had to tell you. I was just scrolling down reading this thread, and my daughter saw the pic above and asked what it was.

She was informed that it was "a gun and a bullet in it".

By my 2 1/2 year old! :what:

The kid's gonna be great! :D

BTW, my daughter commented on the nice grips on the wheelgun. She's got good taste!

January 24, 2004, 09:17 PM
I am fortunate enough to have a Winchester 1873. The real deal. Made before 1900, in 38-40. It has nail marks in the stock from the origional [?] owner which gives it character. T.E. Goss is the name.
Georgia Arms supplies the needed ammo and I keep it going.
I hope to aquire a revolver of the same era and caliber sometime.

January 24, 2004, 09:45 PM
Pre-64 Winchester 94, .30-30 loaded with 174 GR cast gas checked bullets at about 1300 fps. Almost no recoil, and accurate to 100+ yards.

Erik Jensen
January 24, 2004, 09:48 PM
now, granted, it was 11 degrees outside when we went to the range this afternoon, so needless to say, I was well-padded, but I took my roomate's dad's Marlin 1895SS (Blued) in 45/70 out for the first time today, running Winchester 405 grain softpoints through it. way less recoil than I was expecting, though the two rifles I own are Mosin Nagants. after 20 rounds, I was totally bummed that I only bought one box of 45/70! my shoulder feels fine, and it hit right where I was aiming at 100yds, after a little fiddling with the rear sight. I could plink with that all day. :D :D

however, barns the world over can breath a sigh of relief when one of my mosins are in my hands.:banghead: :banghead: :cuss: :banghead: I really need to work on that...

The Tourist
January 24, 2004, 11:00 PM

You bring up a very good point about recoil and pressure. Remington commercial ammo, even stuff over 400 grains MUST be safe enough to fire in trapdoor Springfields.

When a 45-70 is at the top of the data for MODERN guns, you are at the bottom of the data for .458's.

I do think Marlin did us all a favor when it switched these Guide Guns from microgroove to Ballard rifling. The handloaders can now put some 'spit' behind those 405 slugs.

January 25, 2004, 03:12 PM
Right now,i'ts my 57 year old Marlin 30-30 with cast gas-checked bullets.pics clays off of the 135 yd. bank with no problem.
As soon as I get another 45-70,ask me again. :) :)
Off the shouldeer the 45-70's are a ball to shoot,especially water jugs at 100 yds.! and steel at that range sure rings nice.

January 25, 2004, 03:42 PM
Cheap to feed, accurate, serious giggle factor when the wife's chasing golf balls at 100 yards with hers! :D

January 25, 2004, 03:57 PM
.22 LR is cheap, plentiful, and has a good effective range, but it doesn't do much to the average water bottle/piece of fruit/etc.

.45-70 is probably the best way to get noticeable results. As Chuck Hawks calls it, this "super .30-30" would make a decent explosion of the average watermelon.

January 26, 2004, 04:36 PM
I'll cast my vote for the 38/357. We're talking fun times!

January 27, 2004, 04:04 PM
.30-30 Winchester

I've got 2 Winchester Model 94s, both in .30-30 Win. One of them was made in the 1950s, the other in the 1970s. The older one is in great shape, and was a gift from my grandmother, so I don't shoot it much anymore (it says safe in my gunsafe). The newer one is all rusty and beat up, so its my plinker. I like the Winchester lever guns more than the marlins, because the Marlin guns are just too bulky. The Winchesters are light, and well, just plain handy.

And if you handload, you can make great plinking rounds for the .30-30. One of my favs loads is 110 gr Speer JHPs loaded to about 2250 FPS with IMR 4895 powder. Almost no recoil, and they seem to be pretty acurate (I have not tried to shoot a group, just shot at pop cans at about 35 to 40 yards). I first came up with this load as a possible 'SHTF' round for my Model 94 (I thought that maybe a JHP would be a better stopper), but found that it's also a super fun plinker...

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