Marlin 1894 lever-action - .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum?


February 20, 2004, 01:45 AM
I've been reading up a bit on the Marlin's and have pretty much decided to purchase one, I'm just a little stuck on which calibre to choose at this point. My local gun store has them for $995AUD blued, $1195AUD stainless steel.

Now I want to use the rifle mainly for plinking, so I'm leaning towards the .357 Magnum because it will chamber the .38 Special - a much cheaper plinking round. However, the rifle will see occasional use as a pig-hunting rifle (you yanks probably call them boars) and I'm a little concerned that the .357 might not knock them over reliably enough. The hunting aspect is only a small one though, so I didn't put this in Hunting. I'm more concerned with comfort/cost/entertainment at this point. Which is more enjoyable to shoot (at barrels, buckets of water, trees, targets and old cars :D), the .44 or the .357?

I've pretty much narrowed it down to either the .44 or .357 - the 30-30 and 45-70 Government really don't appeal to me too much, primarily because I'd rather have ten rounds in the magazine than four and I'm not overly keen on casting my own bullets (45-70).

Will .357/.38 or .44 be a better calibre choice for a (primarily) plinking rifle? Or should I maybe reconsider the full-size rifle calibres?

Should I choose blued or stainless? I like the look of the blued, but the environment here is very humid and wet. This will be my first rifle and how much/how to clean it will be a learning experience - I don't want it to rust away because I cleaned it incorrectly or put it away without oiling part of it accidentally or anything equally silly.


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February 20, 2004, 02:39 AM

I like the .44, myself. From what you describe, it sounds like the .357 would do what you want, though. I don't know how big the pigs are over there, but I would want more than a .357 to shoot them with. The .44 can also be used with .44 specials for plinking.

As for stainless or blue. For what you describe, the stainless would probably be better. You still need to oil it and maintain it, but it will give you a little more margin of corrosion resistance.

If it were me, I would go with the stainless .44.


Dave R
February 20, 2004, 03:21 AM
Another vote for .44.

If you plan to hunt hogs at all, you'll appreciate the extra power and bullet diameter. And .44spl are fine for plinking.

If there is a huge price difference between .44 spl and .39 spl, it might make sense to go with .357. Otherwise I'd go .44

(Or I'd just handload and then they both cost pretty much the same.)

February 20, 2004, 04:03 AM
Hey threeseven, if you do decide to buy a stainless .44 magnum lever rifle, Horsley park gun shop here in Sydney has them for sale for only Aud$1035 with free shipping for this month only (1894C .357mag = $850).

February 20, 2004, 04:22 AM
If you limit yourself to 125 yds., or 125lbs, the .357 will do nicely. I have one of each. If the hogs exceed this, go to a .44. The .357 would be the last to go. Here in South Texas, my dad uses a .357 due to an arm injury and he is sensitive to recoil on his shoulder. Both will please you.

February 20, 2004, 09:30 AM
No way that a .357 is enough for pigs. .44 or 30-30 would be preferable for that job. It's a dilemna though because a lever action in .357 has a lot of appeal. In a similar situation to you, I went for the marlin 336 30-30 in stainless steel and have no regrets whatsoever. I figure that a .22 is good for plinking and it's better to have a real rifle for hunting - especially a dangerous animal like a pig. The 30-30 puts them down with authority.

February 20, 2004, 09:40 AM
Ye Gods and little fishes! Those prices are OUTRAGEOUS!!! :what:

Converting them to US dollars, Threeseven, you're being charged $778 US for the blued gun, and $934 US for the stainless steel. I can get the blued guns for about $350, and the stainless for about $450! Who's putting the markup on the guns down there???

February 20, 2004, 09:43 AM
Thanks for the opinions, guys. I agree with you on the .44 Magnum - I never knew you could get .44 Specials though. You learn something new every day :)

The only thing is, I really like the stock/handgrip on the blued model, but I prefer the finish of the stainless. Are they interchangable? I dislike the straight-stock look.

Dave R: I bought Nick Harvey's Practical Reloading Manual yesterday and am currently looking at the possibility of setting up a bit of a reloading operation in my garage. I have no doubt I will eventually be reloading my ammunition, but initially I'll probably be limited to store-bought commercial ammunition.

Deadman: Thanks for the link. I probably won't be able to afford it any time real soon, so I'll probably miss out on that offer. However, you've reminded me that it is a good idea to check the websites for specials before laying out the cash in a shop. Mind you, if the difference is marginal, I'd rather the money go to the local gun store.

bukijin: How much did the 336 stainless set you back? It has the grip/finish combination I'm looking for, still not 100% sold on the 30-30 cartridge though. Does it weigh anymore than the pistol calibre models? If it's the same weight and around the same price I might seriously consider it.

Preacherman: Crikey, that is a bit rich. I'm sure there's a significant markup at the store level, but I figure a lot of it would be to cover the no-doubt ridiculously complex import procedures at the importer level. Probably has something to do with our rising dollar, too. Still, rather frustrating. I don't suppose any Australians know if it's possible to privately import guns to a licensed dealer from overseas? Private sale-type stuff?

February 20, 2004, 10:47 AM
I got one of the deals from the aforementioned shop - $1000 for rifle and 100 rounds of ammo. You'd have to look up the marlin website for weight etc - not that the 30-30 is very heavy. What's not to be sold on regarding the 30-30 cartridge ? Perfect 'only rifle' (first rifle ;) ) in my opinion.
But regarding your question I would definitely go for the .44

Somehow, I've got the feeling that ,despite the price differences, you've spent much more on firearms in total than I have :) I don't think it is so much a matter of the prices being outrageous here - more like being extremely CHEAP in the USA ! I would guess that our prices are comparable to prices in other countries (excepting the US). As to the reason why, I'd also guess that it is the government marking up the prices here with import duties and taxes. Also, demand is lower due to a much smaller population and the fact that it is a highly regulated (not free!) market. It seems that many gun shops I used to know don't exist anymore and the days of being able to buy firearms and ammunition in shops like k-mart (walmart ??) are long gone. Frankly I don't mind paying the going rate to keep the whole gun ownership thing going in this country. The cost of ammunition is more significant than the cost of the firearm in the long run.

February 20, 2004, 12:27 PM
Not to hijack the thread or anything, but I thought that they'd rounded up all the guns in Australia, and you couldn't have any anymore. I take it that I've got the story a bit confused. What's the real story down there?

Brian Williams
February 20, 2004, 12:33 PM
If you reload you could get some .357 180gr flatnose and push them with some Lil-Gun they should take care of them piggies up to about 200 lbs.

I really like my 1894c, it is blue and a light coat of hard wax keep the barrel and action rust free and a light coating of grease inside keep the rust out.

February 20, 2004, 09:10 PM
My vote is blued. I have yet to see a stainless rifle which had all stainless springs and small parts inside it. Also, stainless will still corrode if it is exposed to saltwater.

And my other vote, given your choices, is .44 instead of the .357. According to my old Speer manual the .357 loaded with a 140 gr hollow point and 13 gr of Blue Dot will give 100 yd energy of 667 ft/lb but the .44 loaded with a 240 gr soft point and 15.5 gr of Blue Dot will give 772 ft/lb. These are not at all the hottest loads, but are a comparison. .44 is about 15% more energy at 100 yds.

George Hill
February 20, 2004, 09:19 PM
Stainless leverguns? If you live near the ocean or where it rains alot... or both, like Seattle... THEN and only then should one get a stainless lever gun.
Lever actions should be blued.

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