357/38 Rifles???


February 18, 2012, 07:44 PM
I'm thinking of getting a 357/38 rifle. Now the problems I can't find one localy to look at so I need some input. I'm looking for a rifle to use as a hunting gun / survivle rifle. I like the looks of the Rossi Puma R92 with the octagon barrels, I love the matal forend cap. I know the round barrels would be lighter but the octagon just has something about it. And then there is the new Ruger M77 357 bolt gun. Eny one have eny of these guns your input would be great.

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February 18, 2012, 07:53 PM
I like the Rossi. I have one with a round 16 inch barrel. A tad rough at first, but slicked up nicely with use. There's a lot of info out there on how to perform actions jobs that supposedly make them smooth as butter, but it wasn't necessary with mine.

I think this length or even a 20 incher makes a nice HD gun. I even shot a doe with it last year.

Sights are not the best, but I'm planning to put a receiver mounted peep on it pretty soon.

If you want a scope, take a look at the Marlins. They have solid tops for easy scope mounting.

February 18, 2012, 07:57 PM
I have an older Marlin 1894 in 357. Easy to slick up the action and also to modify so it will load and shoot the shorter 38 s. Very accurate rifle. I installed a Skinner peep set.

February 18, 2012, 08:06 PM
I have had a Rossi for almost 20 years. It has a 20 inch barrel. If I had it to do over again I would get the rifle length with the half octagon barrel....chris3

February 18, 2012, 08:10 PM

February 18, 2012, 08:22 PM
Marlin 1894 C

February 18, 2012, 08:27 PM
MGRAY, That's exactly what I've been trying to find for a couple years now. They're as rare as hens teeth around here now because of their popularity with the Cowboy Action shooters...

February 18, 2012, 08:35 PM
I've owned the following in 357

ROSSI puma 92, handi rifles, Marlin 1894, a ruger 77/44 (same as the 357) and a Uberti rolling block.

I can't stress enough not to buy a Rossi unless you can inspect it first. These things are very much "you finish it) kit guns. There's an entire cottage industry dedicated to making these things usable.

The ruger of course will be GTG as will the Marlin

But by far my favorite is this one


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February 18, 2012, 08:36 PM
mgray, what did you modify to have it accept 38's better? radius the chamber mouth?

Tcrocker, the rossi's are nice enough, and have my current recommendation over the crap marlin/remington is putting out since the buyout. They are a little tricky to slick up, but can be made smoother than a marlin. I prefer the 16" version for being lightweight and handy, but if you like the 20 octagon, go for it. There is an aftermarket peep sight that replaces the cheesy safety on a rossi. For a hunting gun/survival gun there are better choices, a 30/30 is probably a better caliber, and an su-16 is lighter, but nothing is more fun. Also, "any" is spelled with an A in most parts of the country.

the ruger bolt 357 seems to be an answer to a question nobody asked. I"m sure it's a fine shooting, fairly accurate gun, but why? I honestly don't get it.

February 18, 2012, 08:50 PM
Greyling22 I have a 30/30 ,45/70, acouple ar's but I was wonting a rifle to go with my 686s in 357.

February 18, 2012, 08:52 PM
Here is some eye candy.

February 18, 2012, 08:55 PM
Mgray had it right as far as I'm concerned. Our Marlin 1894c has become a family favorite, it has the skinner sight also, for a short range rifle like this it's perfect. I reload 357 magnum for mine. But if you don't reload Buffalo Bore Ammo sells some "hot" loads that come close to 30-30 velocity. I've changed some parts in the trigger group and I've got a great trigger pull and smooth action.


These are fairly simple to work on at home and very easy to clean from the chamber end.

February 18, 2012, 09:09 PM
I do reload for most of my guns. But not realy looking for max loads I like to beable to shoot the same ammo in my S&W and don't wont to stress the actions out with hot loads.

February 18, 2012, 09:16 PM
I have a couple of Winchester 94's and a HR Handi rifle. They are a hoot to shoot. The Rugers are good rifles, but don't work so well with .38's. I reload and only use Mag brass, so it is not a major issue for me, but if you don't reload and want to shoot specials it may be a concern.

The Winchesters are great rifles. I have XS sights on one and the other is stock. I am also a fan of Marlin 1894's.

February 18, 2012, 10:06 PM
I have done all the polishing needed. Best improvement is to remove the extractor from the bolt and bend the spring to relieve the tension, then the shorter 38 s will load without the "double clutching". This Marlin is 30 years old and is so much fun to shoot. I shoot these 38 loaded with 4.7 Unique and 158 rnfp lead.

February 19, 2012, 12:07 AM
huh. I've tweaked every part of all my marlins except the ejector. Good to know something can be done. I just went to reduced power 357's for several reasons.

My old 1894c is probably my favorite gun and pairs well with my 686, however, it's a little heavy for the 357 platform (my .44 feels better in the beefier 1894 action, the .357 in a '92 ) I'd love to put together a thoroughly worked over 16" stainless bead blasted rossi with synthetic stocks, and a good peep.

February 19, 2012, 12:27 AM
We can't keep .357 rifles on the shelf at our store, but we get the horror stories from customers where they tried to cycle .38's through them and they locked up. It ain't rocket science to see the case length differences between .357's and .38 cartridges, so figuring out that short cases won't cycle cleanly shouldn't come as a surprise.

It's seldom we get any problems when the gun owner uses .357 magnum cartridges, but when they go "on the cheap" and start pumping .38's through them, the guns simply lock up. We get a lot of EMF and Marlin rifles through our shop, with few complaints regarding "feeding problems", primarily because when we sell them, we take particular care to tell the new owner to use only the ammunition called for by the manufacturer. We've had several of the new Ruger bolt guns in .357 lately, and so far as I know, without any complaints.

I bought a .44 Magnum lever gun to carry along with my old Herter's .44 Single action, so I like the pistol caliber rifles... but if I loaded .44 Special cartridges for use in the rifle, I'd make sure they had the same overall length of the .44 magnums. That way, the gun is tricked into thinking the ammo is just what it's designed for... silly rabbit....

Anyway, the problems we hear about are when the cartridge lengths are different... and those seem to be very consistent complaints... feeding problems. Then again, we get some customers who apparently can feed anything through their rifles and it seems to work.


February 19, 2012, 01:11 AM
I"ve got one of the 77/357 guns. It may not have the 'class' of the lever guns, but it's light, cheap to shoot if you cast/reload and tough as nails. No worries about getting it dinged or wet, either.

February 19, 2012, 06:41 PM
VA27 can you get some pics up and tell me about the rifle shoots? And what range you shoot it at?

February 19, 2012, 06:49 PM
OK, I'm stupid. I get it that you can't shoot .38's through .357 rifles, but you can shoot .38's through .357 revolvers. But one more time. People have told me you can shoot .44specials though .44mag rifles AND through .44mag revolvers. Now I'm all confused. Please teach me what is going on here.

February 19, 2012, 07:11 PM
OK, I'm stupid. I get it that you can't shoot .38's through .357 rifles, but you can shoot .38's through .357 revolvers. But one more time. People have told me you can shoot .44specials though .44mag rifles AND through .44mag revolvers. Now I'm all confused. Please teach me what is going on here.

Lever action rifles are ammunition length sensitive. 38's are shorter than 357's

Some individual rifles are a little less sensitive and will CYCLE both but I wouldn't count on getting that lucky.

They will all SHOOT 38's but on a lever action you may be stuck loading cartridges directly into the chamber individually.

44's are no different so whomever told you otherwize doesn't know any better.

Bolt actions, single shots and revolvers this doesn't apply to. They'll function with just about anything.

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February 19, 2012, 07:24 PM
I pump both 38's and 357's through my Puma with no problems at all. When it was new it didn't like 158 gr semi wadcutters in 38's or 357's (the small shoulder hangs up) but now, after a buff and shine, it cycles them as well as RNFP or RN's.
It even cycles my SD XTP 38 rounds.

February 19, 2012, 07:33 PM
I guess I'm pretty spoiled, because I've never had a cycling problem with my 1894CSS even with a hundred .38s in a row. The key to getting a Marlin, I think, is to just stumble upon a good deal first. When you find one, and they're out there, pick it up ASAP.

February 19, 2012, 07:39 PM
find a nice stainless rifle,less upkeep

February 19, 2012, 07:49 PM
I had an older Rossi 1892 clone that was very nice, fed mags & .38 spl LRN's.
Marlins are nice, well they used to be, I would love to get a good look at a new one.
This is my .357 carbine of choice, a 22" NEF Handi rifle, older style with an ejector instead of an extractor.

February 19, 2012, 08:22 PM
I have loaded 38sp at a length of 1.48 with round nose, and they will load fine in a fussy rifle.

February 19, 2012, 08:24 PM
Does someone know if Rossi make a 20" stainless with a octagon barrel?

February 19, 2012, 09:40 PM
I have 2 Ruger 77/357's. One is scoped and one is used with open sights.............I love them !!!!...........:D

larry syverson
February 19, 2012, 10:27 PM
I have a Henry Big Boy in .357/.38 caliber. I haven't had any huge issues cycling .357 rounds but its not exactly stellar cycling .38s. SWC lead bullets... forget it. The LRN bullets cycle fine about 90% of the time. Basically it needs some help with regard to bullet geometry to work without issues, so I just stick with the round nosed lead (LRN) ones. Anything that doesn't transition smoothly from the tip of the bullet to the end of the cartridge is a problem. I think a bullet on the harder side would help also. Maybe a jacketed round nosed one.. if they even make them.

February 19, 2012, 10:30 PM

That is a beautiful, well kept 1894c .357 rifle. I have one that I bought used since it was impossible to find here in CA new. Mine works well but isn't as pretty as yours. If you can get ahold of one of these critters, they really are quite neat. The .357 Buffalo Bore 180 gr approach 30-30 type of power. Quite something out of a little .357.

Steel Horse Rider
February 19, 2012, 10:44 PM
I also have a late 1990's Marlin 1894C in .357 Mag. I load the cartridges for it using 125 grain XTP's for around 1900fps and it is a great 100 yd weapon. I have never had even a hiccup from it.

February 19, 2012, 11:44 PM
Thank you Mr RW Dale. And thanks for not talking down to me on that. The lever aspect was the cause for my confusion. I have a Ruger 77/44 and I had hoped to shoot specials through it. I'm relieved.

February 19, 2012, 11:53 PM
I've had a Rossi Puma M92 38/357 20" Octagon barrel Color Case for about three years. Smooth action and accurate right out of the box. Better than the Marlin I had.

February 20, 2012, 12:30 AM
I went to buy a puma in 357 once, the shop wouldn't come down $15 more. I was stubborn and left. Ended up buying my 1st 1911 that day. I waited very impatiently and found an older marlin. I must have gotten lucky because I can only remember buying 1 box of .357 mag ammo since i've had it. I have shot it quite a bit with .38's of several varities without a hiccup in fact I just got 4 new boxes of ammo for it.

It's become my favorite rifle, although my new .22 mag may compete pretty well.

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