Ruger 77/357 or Henry Big Boy 357


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GunnerShotz
May 18, 2012, 03:42 AM
I've never owned a lever action rifle let alone a .357, but I've decided I want one pretty bad... a .357 rifle that is. I like the idea of the Ruger, but haven't even seen one up close, let alone fire it. The Henry is a quality rifle I'm sure, but again, no experience with it.

The two are at the top of my list for now. Same category, different platforms. Ideally, folks who have any experience with both will chime in. Other suggestions are okay too.

For medium sized game, plinking fun, portability, durability, and reload forgiving... which would you pick?


Oh, and how's the action and accuracy out of the box?

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ctdair
May 18, 2012, 05:56 AM
Love My Henry Big Boy. 44 mag version and 22 rimfire. Henry is a company that will stand behind what it sells. Marlin fans will chime in soon saying buy one , not having a Marlin to compare to can't comment there. But I cannot say enough good things about the Henry and the way they do business.

Bushpilot
May 18, 2012, 06:53 AM
I personally have never cared for Henry products and yes I have owned them. Their .22's are made with very mediocre/cheap quality materials glossed over with a pretty nice finish. The styling of the Big Boy while also very nicely finished with good wood, is "boxy," especially the receiver, and a bit "tacky" in my opinion. Marlins and Winchesters are much "trimmer" and despite the fact that they aren't nearly as "glossy", I'd rather have even a “Remlin” Marlin or a Rossi/Winchester 92 clone than the Henry. As far as the Ruger is concerned, while I have nothing aginst the rifle, I would much rather have a quick and handy lever action .357 plinker, small/medium game gun than a bolt action .357

ECVMatt
May 18, 2012, 09:50 AM
This is a tough one. While I generally agree with BP and his comments on leverguns, those Rugers are pretty slick. I have a couple of Winchester Trappers in .357 and am really considering selling one to purchase a Ruger. I handled one at a store the other day and it was very nice. I will probably end up keeping the Winchester, as they are very hard to find, and saving up for the Ruger thus adding yet another gun to the collection.

As for the Henry, I have not handled one. They do seem bulky and oversized for the .357, but that is based on me reading the specs. I would try and find one near you and handle it.

CraigC
May 18, 2012, 10:33 AM
The Big Boy is way overweight and overpriced. I don't mean a few ounces but two full pounds heavier than the competition. I do not find them to be particularly well-made and all the customer service in the world does not make up for an inferior product. While the Ruger is a fine rifle and no doubt it would serve well, I just would prefer a levergun and see no disadvantages to choosing so. Only advantages. One of the various 1892 replicas would be my first choice as well.

Magwa45
May 18, 2012, 10:46 AM
I was lucky enough to pick up a Marlin 1894C in .357 Mag a few years ago. I put a scope on it and it is a great gun. It is just terrible what has happened to Marlin. You have to look for an old gun and no one is going to let go of something like that. I guess you have to look for an estate sale.

2fewdaysafield
May 18, 2012, 01:16 PM
I have the Henry .357 Mag. It is without a doubt my favorite rifle. I've shot deer with it and any time I go to the range it goes with me and you can bet that whenever I go to the range I come home with no .357 ammo. It's all been shot up! I mounted a tang site on it and from a seated position with my elbows on my knees I can easily shoot groups that my palm will cover. I like it so much I am thinking of buying another to mount a scope on.

The only down side (if you can call it that) is that the Henry .357 is heavy. Stated weight is 8.78 lbs. At that weight it is too heavy to be a carry all day up and down hills rifle. Doesn't bother me as I put a carry strap on it and I am a "stand hunter" so I just sling it to carry to my stand. One nice thing about that weight is that it makes the gun rock steady when shooting offhand. For me, light weight rifles just wobble all over the place shooting offhand whereas the Henry .357 is solid.

Get the Henry. You'll love it!

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t119/2fewdaysafield/SANY0034.jpg

Bushpilot
May 18, 2012, 03:25 PM
Nice buck 2few...

2fewdaysafield
May 18, 2012, 03:34 PM
THANKS! That was my second buck that season. The other was a puny little spike that I shot to get out of the gene pool. The Henry .357 dropped them both in their tracks with enough blood sprayed around that if they had run, tracking them would have been a piece of cake. The Henry .357 is a FINE deer rifle for 100 yards or less and a BIG FUN plinker!

GunnerShotz
May 18, 2012, 10:30 PM
Appreciate the feedback folks, thank you!

I had seriously considered a Marlin 1894c a few years ago (which still isn't out of the question really either), but at the time they were scarce (still seem to be) and vanishing faster than I could find them, so I gave up. Is taking a chance on a new 'Marlington' the answer (if I can even find That)? IDK with the current state of affairs

I Need to hit a gun show's what I need to do!

Obviously, handling any of these considerations would be ideal... side by side, even better. I've got up to a grand to sink into it, but Half that would be much nicer. The reality.... ?? Probably won't happen.

That newish Ruger bolt (which looks and sounds well made, accurate and reliable) ... Or a Good lever (if I can find one)?... That's what I'm wavering on so much now. You know, I'll probably end up with the first thing a can find in the category at a halfway decent price and be happy with it.

That was most certainly a nice encouragement in the Henry direction though 2few.

2fewdaysafield
May 19, 2012, 12:48 PM
Glad to Gunner!

No personal experience with them, but I wouldn't touch a new Marlin. There is a forum...marlinlovers or marlinowners....something like that....and they are very unhappy campers.

If you are looking for a gun a little less expensive than the Henry, look at a Rossi. "Street price" is under $500 and they are considered sound guns. Usually a little rough right out of the box, but you can slick 'em up and have a real good rifle.

Happy shopping!

Furncliff
May 19, 2012, 12:57 PM
Older Marlin 1894c .38 special/.357magnum. I don't know anyone who has been disappointed. This is my daughters favorite rifle and with Skinner peep sights and my hand loads it's very accurate. The time you spend looking for one (and it will take some time) will be time well spent. Because the new Marlin guns are such trash the older ones are becoming more valuable. Paying a bit too much now will pay off later.

Sheepdog1968
May 19, 2012, 02:07 PM
Both are no doubt fine rifles. I think the Henry by far will have the better fun factor. That would be my deciding factor.

2fewdaysafield
May 19, 2012, 02:35 PM
I agree with you sheepdog! I buy a lot of guns and most of them go down the road after a while, but my Henry .357 won't be going anywhere except to the woods or the range with me!

exiledtoIA
May 19, 2012, 04:37 PM
If it's .357 you want and don't have your heart set on a specific action give the H&R Handi-Rifle a look. I have one in .357 Magnum and it fun to shoot. Admittedly it's only a single shot.

whetrock
May 19, 2012, 10:27 PM
My dad owns/shoots a Henry Big Boy in .44 and I must say it's a quality piece. With that being said they are, well...... A bit too ornate IMO for a woods gun and kinda a pain to load seeing as they load like a rimfire lever. If you can handle those 2 cons that I associate with the Big Boy you should find it to be an excellent choice, but for me I like being able to top off my magazine and appreciate a lower profile blued finish in place of the superbly polished brasslite receiver still it's a fine rifle and the quarrels I have with it are pretty much just personal and overall it's a good woods worthy lever rifle regardless of how I feel about it.However if I were in the market for a 357 lever rifle I'd probably skip the marlins and go for a Rossi R92 and have it slicked up by Steve'z guns or I'd just go for the more modern but IMO more practical Ruger M77/357, still I wouldn't sweat it too much all of the rifles you have in mind will perform the task you expect out of them it just boils down to personal preference in the end.

2fewdaysafield
May 19, 2012, 10:57 PM
whetrock....

Just a heads up...The receiver on the Henry Big Boy rifles is solid brass. It's the "Golden Boy" that has the Brasslite receiver cover. The actual receiver on the "Golden Boy" is steel.

CraigC
May 19, 2012, 11:05 PM
Pretty sure the actual receiver on the Golden Boy is zinc.

2fewdaysafield
May 19, 2012, 11:17 PM
No sir. The receiver is steel. What you see when you look at the gun in a cover that fits over the actual receiver to give it the traditional lever action look. HRA calls it brasslite, but IIRC the actual metal is ZAMAC or something close to that.

Keep in mind that the Henry rimfire guns are a design dating back to the 40's or 50's originated by a German company that sold them to Ithica I think it was. Mr. Imperato Sr. was involved with Ithica (I think it is) at the time and eventually wound up owning the design.

If you would like coroberation on all this, let me know and I'll dig it up tomorrow. Just back from 6 hours in a 120 degree kitchen and I'm too beat to go dig this all up now.

As an aside, HRA made a limited run of "brasslite" receiver covers for their "blued" models for a bunch of guys on RFC. I have 2 of them.

whalerman
May 19, 2012, 11:36 PM
I recently purchased my first Henry and I love it and the company. Buying one is something we all should do, at least one time or another.

Not to shift the focus here but do any of you guys ever consider Browning BLR's when you're thinking about these quick, lever type rifles? I have old Marlin's, old Winchester's, the new Ruger bolts in .357 and .44, but I like my BLR too. It has a lot of capability the others don't offer. Money doesn't matter as much now that everything is so expensive.

2fewdaysafield
May 20, 2012, 09:01 AM
whalerman...

I have been considering a BLR for quite a while. Only thing holding me back is that I want a take down version and have been unable to find any reports on how the takedown models are about returning to zero after being taken down. Any intel for me?

1madss
May 20, 2012, 09:54 AM
I've been looking for a lever 357 for about year now. Always loved the Henry story and their CS sounds fantastic. I really wanted to pick up a Henry 001 a few months back, but came home with a pristine 1982 Marlin 39a. The gun just fit me better.

On the 357, what made my choice was the side loading gate. I have many 22 rifles and wanted something that did not have to be loaded from the front so my choice was the Marlin 1894. After hunting for one for quite some time now I just purchased a 1978 1894C off of GB for $450. Hopefully it will be in as good of shape in person :)
Seen a lot in the $550 - $800 range lately.

whetrock
May 20, 2012, 01:26 PM
2fewdaysafield thanks for the heads up. I own
/shoot several henrys including a Golden Boy I have no problem with brass, brasslight or even lowly zinc (as long as it's on a rimfire) as an outer receiver cover it's just that the metal has such a high sheen that it scratches pretty easily and I kinda feel bad scratching up my Golden Boy which IMO is the most attractive rimfire I own, but I have seen threads on Rimfire central about refinishing the brasslight on the Golden Boys so I guess it isn't just a huge deal by any means. All in all I have a great deal of respect for henrys but when it comes to a centerfire lever rifle I'm just a tad bit partial to the Winnie 1892 and Marlin 1894 actions.

2fewdaysafield
May 20, 2012, 01:57 PM
whetrock....

I sincerely hope you did not take my post as any sort of criticism. Not intended that way at all.

Marlin used to make a fine gun. I never liked them 'cause to me they always felt "heavy and clunky" in my hands. I preferred the Winny '94. But then, it was my first deer rifle so what do you expect? ;) By most reports the guns Marlin is making since the Remmy takeover are not up to the standards that Marlin used to put out.

"Course I let my kid brother kill his first deer with my Winny '94 and well....I sorta never got it back....

But by then I was in my 20s and was all excited about my Winny Model 70 and my Remmy 700. :banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:

Being a little older (and I hope wiser) I have come back to my roots and my love for the lever-gun. 2 Henry Rimfires, a Henry .357 and I am about to close a deal for a Rossi .357 in .357 with brass receiver and 24" octagonal barrel.

Yeah...I have all kinds of good bolt-guns and they go with me for out -of-state big game hunts, but I am happiest back up in the woods with a Henry levergun.

22lr
May 20, 2012, 01:59 PM
Its easier to convert a Ruger 77/357 into a .357max so its clearly the better choice here! :D

whetrock
May 20, 2012, 03:44 PM
No hard feelings here 2fewdaysafield I feel that the words in my post came out wrong I wasn't trying to flame or start thing but still they didn't come across in a respectable or friendly manner so it's my bad. I've got to slow down a bit and think my post through a bit more carefully. Ive actually come to appreciate a hair of constructive criticism know and again.

RalphS
May 20, 2012, 04:00 PM
I own a Marlin 1894c in 357. It's a very nice handling rifle. One thing I really like about it is the ease of breakdown and cleaning. Remove one screw and the lever comes off, the bolt slides out and the cleaning rod goes straight into the receiver and barrel.

2fewdaysafield
May 20, 2012, 07:26 PM
No hard feelings here 2fewdaysafield I feel that the words in my post came out wrong I wasn't trying to flame or start thing but still they didn't come across in a respectable or friendly manner so it's my bad. I've got to slow down a bit and think my post through a bit more carefully. Ive actually come to appreciate a hair of constructive criticism know and again.

Not at all man! There was nothing even slightly offensive in your post. I just didn't want you to take my post as a flame. It's all good.

CraigC
May 21, 2012, 09:28 AM
Its easier to convert a Ruger 77/357 into a .357max so its clearly the better choice here!
How does that work with the box magazine???

CraigC
May 21, 2012, 10:04 AM
The receiver is steel.....If you would like coroberation on all this, let me know and I'll dig it up tomorrow.
Better dig it up because everything I've ever heard is that the receiver is cast ZAMAK. If they were gonna use steel, they would just use a traditional steel receiver, rather than an internal receiver with a painted cover.

2fewdaysafield
May 21, 2012, 10:36 AM
It will take me a little while to find all this for you and I have to leave on a trip in a few hours, but I'll find what I can before I leave.

We can start with some basic history.

The .22 leverguns HRA sells now were originally designed by a German company "Erma" and imported at one time or another by Iver Johnson and I think Ithaca as well.

Here is a link to a PDF file that shows the schematic of one of these models. You can clearly see the actual receiver and the receiver cover as being 2 different parts.

http://stevespages.com/pdf/iverjohnson_ew22mhbl%28erma_eg73%29.pdf

CraigC
May 21, 2012, 12:14 PM
I know it's two different parts, that is not in question.

scotjute
May 23, 2012, 11:39 AM
The receiver for the Big Boy is a brass alloy that is stronger than many steels.
I own the gun in .357 and like it. Would like it even more if it was about 1-2 lbs. lighter! Their lever-action are smooth and cycle flawlessly. My favorite is the .22 mag for best value: function, price, and accuracy.
Henry states that their guns will have better than 2 MOA and the two I have owned easily beat that.

BCRider
May 23, 2012, 12:47 PM
I've currently got two Henry rimfire rifles. While I really like them a lot I would not consider a Big Boy for myself simply for the lack of the side loading gate. Those who have pointed out that they are heavier than some other options is simply one more reason.

My suggestion for a smaller and lighter .357 plinking and varmint rifle is to buy a Rossi Win 92 clone in either a 16 or 20 inch ROUND barrel and budget a couple of hundred to have a cowboy action gunsmith slick it up for you. Be sure he doesn't do the whole Cowboy Action treatment since they can end up being a little TOO slick. Instead you want it smoothened up without making it so the lever won't stay locked up on it's own.

I cap'ed the "ROUND barrel" part because the round barrel versions are noticably lighter than the octagonal styles. And for a field plinker or handy varmint gun I'd consider that as highly desireable.

Out of the box the Rossis do operate and shoot quite reliably if not used TOO fast. But start really trying to up the ammo dispensing rate and you can find things jamming up. That's where the tuning by a good smith that knows what a Cowboy Action gun should be like can help.

In the end you would have a very slick handling and reliable gun which doesn't cost any more than finding a good condition Marlin 1894 and would be less than a Winchester Trapper model.

GunnerShotz
May 24, 2012, 08:19 PM
I want to thank those who chimed in. I'll be keeping the responses in mind for down the road a bit....

I decided to hold off on the 77/357, but it's staying on the list. I went to the LGS today looking for anything in 357 lever they might have or maybe an autoloader in 12 gauge.

You know how it goes: I came home with a Del-Ton in 5.56/.223 with a Vortex red dot. :D

45crittergitter
June 2, 2012, 04:15 PM
Neither. I just don't see any point at all in a bolt rifle chambered for a stubby rimmed revolver cartridge. There's just no reason for it. OTOH, a levergun is very attractive, but I much prefer a Marlin or Winchester, etc., that has a loading gate. Just my $0.02.

Hoppes Love Potion
June 2, 2012, 08:30 PM
I love my Henry 20" Octagon but a slick little 16" round barrel .357 lever would make a nice maneuverable rifle for home defense.

VancMike
June 8, 2012, 01:28 PM
I recently bought a Uberti 1873 "Sporting Rifle" (20" barrel) and love it. However, with an octagon barrel, etc., etc., it's not a light carry.

And, the 1866 through '76 Henry cartridge lift-block design precludes the use of anything other than factory or cast-RNFP bullets....but still, it's such a fun rifle.

The Uberti is $1100-plus, but I see this on GA: http://www.gunsamerica.com/970005344/Guns/Rifles/Winchester-Replica-Rifle-Misc/1866_Winchester_357_Mag_1873_style_King_s_Improvement_Copy_Chaparral_Arms_357_Magnum_20_Inch_Colo.htm Don't know anything about it, but it's certainly a lower price than the Uberti, and should be lighter with the round barrel.

Perhaps someone has experience with it?

2fewdaysafield
June 8, 2012, 01:55 PM
Not sure, but I think Chapparal has gone out of business and if correct that would mean there was no US warranty support. For a while CDNN was liquidating a bunch of Chapparal guns. May still be.

snakeman
June 8, 2012, 02:10 PM
of those two I would pick the henry if I hunted from a stand. If you hunt by walking around or have to trek in to your stand a good ways then the lighter ruger would be the top pick.

JT'sDad
June 8, 2012, 07:06 PM
I just picked up my Ruger 77/357 and got to shoot it for the first time yesterday.
I'll do a new post later with pics, but I love it so far.

LeontheProfessional
June 12, 2012, 08:19 PM
I want to thank those who chimed in. I'll be keeping the responses in mind for down the road a bit....

I decided to hold off on the 77/357, but it's staying on the list. I went to the LGS today looking for anything in 357 lever they might have or maybe an autoloader in 12 gauge.

You know how it goes: I came home with a Del-Ton in 5.56/.223 with a Vortex red dot. :D
You will regret that decision. I have bought and sold many guns over the past 5 years but the .357 Marlin that I have isn't going anywhere. ARs and the like are fun but the cool/ fun factor wears out quick and you want something more handy. Lets face it, although I have carried my AR in the woods, it isn't going to come with me regularly. It is too big and bulky and quite frankly it just doesn't feel right walking through the woods with an EBR. The fast action and quick handling of a Marlin 94 make it a joy to shoot/ carry/ and look at.

wriggly
June 12, 2012, 09:31 PM
I've currently got two Henry rimfire rifles. While I really like them a lot I would not consider a Big Boy for myself simply for the lack of the side loading gate. Those who have pointed out that they are heavier than some other options is simply one more reason.

My suggestion for a smaller and lighter .357 plinking and varmint rifle is to buy a Rossi Win 92 clone in either a 16 or 20 inch ROUND barrel and budget a couple of hundred to have a cowboy action gunsmith slick it up for you. Be sure he doesn't do the whole Cowboy Action treatment since they can end up being a little TOO slick. Instead you want it smoothened up without making it so the lever won't stay locked up on it's own.

I cap'ed the "ROUND barrel" part because the round barrel versions are noticably lighter than the octagonal styles. And for a field plinker or handy varmint gun I'd consider that as highly desireable.

Out of the box the Rossis do operate and shoot quite reliably if not used TOO fast. But start really trying to up the ammo dispensing rate and you can find things jamming up. That's where the tuning by a good smith that knows what a Cowboy Action gun should be like can help.

In the end you would have a very slick handling and reliable gun which doesn't cost any more than finding a good condition Marlin 1894 and would be less than a Winchester Trapper model.
Excellent post. If any of you were in close proximity to me, I would be glad to show you how to slick up a Rossi. Its really not very difficult. Two mandatory parts to replace are the magazine follower, and the ejector spring. The ejector spring is responsible for the lions share of the "slicking" of the action. One other item would be thinning the extractor a tad, making it a little more flexible. They make them quite thick and stout, and it requires a bit of force to get them up over the cartridge rim on closing the action.

There are a lot of other little smaller tricks to add to a smoother Rossi, but the above items have the greatest impact. The rest is not usually so necessary.

The Rossi's come with decent triggers, and pretty darn good bluing. I like em, and they will last a good long time, and they dont have some of the problems that can crop up with the Marlins.

BCCL
June 12, 2012, 10:00 PM
I love .357 rifles & carbines and have .357 lever guns and love them, but if Ruger releases the 77/357 in a southpaw variant, I'll bite!

2fewdaysafield
June 12, 2012, 10:03 PM
As much as I like my Henry .357, I have been pining for a Puma .357 with Brass receiver and 24" octagonal barrel for quite a while. Just never found one while I had any cash. :( Happened to run across one a couple of weeks ago on GB and despite a few other bidders, I managed to snag it! http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=286087625

Fit and finish is AWFUL compared to my Henry .357. Action feels like a rock-polishing tumbler. The seller had had the trigger worked on and its now crisp, clean and under 3 1/2 lbs. If it was any lighter it would be too light.

Gotta get it out to the range and see how it groups. If it can shoot, I'll have the action slicked up and refinish the stock with a little extra sanding for wood to metal fit. All in all, pending shooting it, I'd say a real diamond in the rough with the potential to be my new favorite rifle.

Of course, that horrific abortion called the sights and safety are going to have to go.

GP100Wii
June 13, 2012, 12:53 AM
The *only* thing about the Henry Big Boy I don't like is the weight.


Everything else is FRICKEN FANTASTIC.

I had a similar internal debate before purchasing, and I went Henry.

What scared me away from the Ruger is the potential inability to fire .38's reliably.

BJ Orange
June 13, 2012, 01:30 AM
I would get a .357 long gun in this order:

1. Old Marlin
2. Rossi
3. New Marlin (roll the dice)
4. Henry (hate the weight, method of loading it, and most of all the name "big boy")
5. Ruger

BBQLS1
June 13, 2012, 10:01 AM
The Henry's look good and feel good, but they are too heavy and need a side loading gate.

It would be great if someone made a real 1860 clone in .357 Mag though.... I'd take the funky loading then. :D

VancMike
June 13, 2012, 12:36 PM
.....It would be great if someone made a real 1860 clone in .357 Mag though.... I'd take the funky loading then......

That's probably not going to happen. I see Uberti and Cimarron both make an 1860 clone in both brass and steel, but limit the choice of calibers to 44-40 and 45 Colt, both of which have a maximum SAAMI pressure of 14,000 CUP.

Both companies add .38 Special (32.40) for their 1866 versions, but don't chamber the .357 Magnum until you reach 1873 models.

That's because the maximum pressure on a .357 Maggie, as we all know, is 35000 CUP; too high for the brass receivers on the 1860 & 1866.

I know, I know: Cimarron also makes the 1860 in a steel-framed version. Can the toggle mechanism be that much different than the 1873?

Before this turns into a high-jack....maybe a topic for another thread!

LeontheProfessional
June 13, 2012, 05:17 PM
I have a new Marlin and I really think all the bad rap is way over weighted. I am sure that just as with any new manufacture there were a kinks that needed to be worked. Mine is an excellent rifle and it is out right beautiful. The checked walnut is a huge improvement over the previous stocks.
http://i843.photobucket.com/albums/zz360/lukedrylie/Marlin.jpg

revolversrbetter
June 13, 2012, 08:37 PM
the Ruger 77/357 has found some favor with those than want/can thread a silencer on the muzzle

can't do that with a lever action because of the magazine under the barrel

Sweden
June 13, 2012, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by revolversrbetter:
can't do that with a lever action because of the magazine under the barrel.

:D

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh192/SQRSaab/Weapons/delete013.jpg

I didn't have the heart to cut my '94 Trapper in 357, so I did a single shot instead:

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh192/SQRSaab/Weapons/2012Pics012.jpg

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