Recommend a lever gun in .357/.38 Special


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CTGunner
December 23, 2012, 10:11 PM
Maybe I have been watching too many westerns but I would really like to pick up a lever action rifle to keep around for HD. I would like to buy new. And I would like the gun to be reasonably light weight and compact. What do you think?

I'll add to this. I owned an AR and probably foolishly sold it before the election. With that said I just wasn't that into shooting it. If I go lever action I do want something reliable. Local shop has a 30 30 but I don't know much about the round and how it compares to .38.

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Isaac-1
December 23, 2012, 10:17 PM
It depends I have a Marlin 1894C in 357, overall a good gun, but can be very picky about which ammo it will reliably feed.

303tom
December 23, 2012, 10:25 PM
Henry..............

shrewd
December 23, 2012, 10:29 PM
haha shoot and read about enough lever guns and you'll get used to seeing "an older marlin."

I have one such rifle and it's pure joy. They seem harder to find these days but the Rossis seem to be alright. There's a guy out there that slicks them up for competition guys or people that put too much stock in online forums. :)

Steel Horse Rider
December 23, 2012, 10:39 PM
I have had a Marlin 1894C for about 15 years in .357 Mag and enjoy the heck out of shooting it. I added a Williams peep sight and have probably used it to teach at least twenty newbies how to shoot. I have yet to have anyone tell me it wasn't the most fun they have ever had. Hollow points and water filled gallon milk jugs make for an exciting time!

sleepyone
December 23, 2012, 10:44 PM
+1 on the older Marlin. The Freedom Group Marlins are not near the rifles of old.

GP100Wii
December 24, 2012, 12:49 AM
If you don't mind a bit of extra weight, the Henry Big boy in .357 is a tank. Can throw a scope on it too.

Desert Panther
December 24, 2012, 03:43 AM
Have you looked into the Ranch Hand, in 45 long colt?

CTGunner
December 24, 2012, 09:14 AM
I don't know much so educate me...

Loosenock
December 24, 2012, 01:30 PM
I love my Uberti 1866 'Yellow boy' in .38. Very accurate, low recoil and a very fun to shoot. Everybody who shoots it hands it back with a very big grin.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y220/loosenock/66n72001.jpg

I handload for it using Trail Boss powder and Moulten Lead truncated bullets.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y220/loosenock/66n72006.jpg

Loose

CraigC
December 24, 2012, 02:07 PM
Browning B92 if you want the best made, strongest action and most traditional but prefer iron sights. Used only expect to pay $700-$800.

Late model Winchester 1892 if you want the best made, strongest action and a rebounding hammer with tang safety. New production, expect to pay $800 and up.

Uberti 1873 if you want the best made replica of the 1873, one of the highest quality levers available and totally traditional. Again, iron sights. Expect to pay $900-$1400.

Marlin 1894 if you want to scope it. New and used, expect to pay $400-$700.

Rossi/Puma/Legacy 92 if you want the strongest action, iron sights and probably the most affordable available. These are still $400-$500. Less for used guns.

Henry Big Boy if you want a mediocre build quality and 2lbs heavier than necessary. Last I looked, these were $700-$800.

acmax95
December 24, 2012, 02:10 PM
I had a Winchester 94ae in 357/38. It was a great gun that fed everything and was very accurate.

The only reason I sold it was I wanted an ar and I made some money on it.

Vette
December 24, 2012, 02:28 PM
Sorry, I dont agree with CraigC about the Henrys. The one I own (Big Boy 357) is very well made and the finish is exellant. the weight makes it very steady. Also has the smoothest action I have encounterd and the trigger pull is great. Added to this it was dead on accurate right out of the box.

OilyPablo
December 24, 2012, 02:46 PM
I have an old Winchester 1892 (profession conversion) .357/.38Special. I bought it already converted, I would never do such a thing. Anyway it cycles and shoots like a dream, but the best part is the accuracy. Holy smokes.

CraigC
December 24, 2012, 03:16 PM
I don't expect a Henry owner to agree with me, nothing new there. If they were $400, I wouldn't complain about their quality but with an MSRP of $900, they should rival the Miroku guns but they do not. If you look at the octagon barrel on a Marlin (Badger), Uberti or Winchester, the flats are flat and the edges are nice and crisp. On a Henry, the flats are wavy and the edges are rounded over because they are not properly polished. The rest of the rifle is very unrefined and chunky. I don't mind a heavy rifle and routinely hunt with 9-10lb guns but everything has its limits. A 20" .357 carbine should not be 9lbs. The 1873 is heavy but that's okay because it's a replica of a late 19th century rifle. It's a very elegant design and has an appeal all its own. The Henry is not a replica of any historic rifle, is not very refined, is very inelegant and weighs a half pound more with a four inch shorter barrel.

Vette
December 24, 2012, 05:24 PM
Craig did not mean to upset you in any way. just saying the one I have does not have all the problems you mention and I payed nowhere near the price you mention. I must have a good lgs to deal with. Again soory if my comments upset you.

AABEN
December 24, 2012, 07:54 PM
Marlin or a Henry get it in a 357mag or 44mag GOOD LUCK

Grunt
December 24, 2012, 09:54 PM
I have an EMF Hartford 1892 rifle in .357/.38 that works pretty well and is tough enough to handle the stoutest loads. Only problem is that normal .38 Special rounds tend to pop out the top when the lever is cycled quickly. My solution for this was to get in on a group buy of a 160 grain "Snakebite" mould from LEE. This cast bullet is a little longer than a normal .38 bullet and eleminates this problem. When I was into SASS, I believe that many Marlin shooters also experienced this problem as well and they too also had good luck with this bullet. I admit that I haven't shot it as much as I should since I got it for the ex when she was doing SASS and wanted mouse-fart loads. I prefer .45 Colt an BP loads for that game!:evil: Anyways, with 4 grains of Unique, it's right on at 50m. The other issue is when using .357 Magnum ammo, it shoots about 8 inches high at 50m but I still want to see how she will do at 100m and further. I just finished setting up my 300m and 500m ranges so now I just need to wait for the weather and wind to cooperate and see where she shoots at longer ranges.
The 1873 is a SMOOTH rifle to shoot!!! The same can be said for the 1866 and 1860 as well. I still have my '73 Uberti in .45 Colt and it is a dream to shoot. The only catch with their design of the '73 and earlier guns are that the toggle link isn't nearly as strong as later designs like my 1892 Rossi carbine also in .45 Colt. That little rifle is light, easy to handle and like the larger .357 magnum rile, is a very strong design! Now both my 1892s don't have any of the extra manual safeties on them which I personally find to be silly and really is a good way to ruin a good design. :cuss:
This is why my Marlin 336 as well as my 39A and 39M all lack these stupid cross bolt safeties as well. A buddy of mine back home has a Marlin in .444 that shoots very well but that cross bolt safety has left a "click" sound rather than a "boom" sound when deer hunting on more than one occasion. Big reason why I don't like the idiot buttons right there! But the pre-Remlin Marlin 1894 is still a good deal and like the 1892 Winchester, is a very strong design. They aslo have an excellent reputation for easy disassembly for cleaning (something I can't say about my 1892s) great accuracy and in pre-Remlin rifles, excellent quality. There is a reason the old 1894 Marlin has been VERY common on SASS ranges.
Now as far as the Henry brand Bigboy rifle goes. I guess they work alright but I just never bothered with them. The magazine loads like a .22 tubular magazine rather than through a loading gate like every other rifle other than the 1860 Henry but since the 1860 Henry rifle is historical in it's loading from the front, I give that one a pass. I guess that's the biggest reason I have never had any interest in a Henry brand rifle is that it is the lever action equivelant to an in-line muzzle loader. Yeah, it's a lever action and an in-line is considered a muzzle loader but in both cases, they just don't have a soul like a 1894 Marlin, 1892, 1873, 1866 Winchester or 1860 Henry has. Even the reproductions by EMF, Rossi and Uberti just seem to have that sense of history about them that the Henry brand rifles just will never have.

Ditchtiger
December 24, 2012, 10:45 PM
My daughter wants a 357 lever and I found a Rossi for $350.
Should we pass or is this a good rifle???????

bubbacrabb
December 24, 2012, 10:59 PM
The Henry in my opinion is a great firearm. Completely beautiful, the fit and finish on mine is amazing. Cycles like butter. I wouldn't drop that kind of money on something if it wasn't good. I put a Skinner site on mine, I have one of the newer ones that are drilled and tapped. The quality of my barrel is very well finished. The furniture on it is second to none. Plus on top of all that its made here in the USA and not south America. Just check it out. I'm sure like anything else there are good ones and bad ones. I've shot some puma guns that I would never purchase.

OilyPablo
December 25, 2012, 12:16 AM
My daughter wants a 357 lever and I found a Rossi for $350.
Should we pass or is this a good rifle???????

$350? I would say if it functions, jump on it. It can always be further tuned.

Some great posts in this thread. If some kind of silly mag limit gets imposed, I think I will take my 1892 357 to the range in shoot it for about 4 hours, just to let off steam.

Lone Ranger
December 25, 2012, 02:18 AM
Marlin 1894C +1. Nice about the 38/357 is that 38 ammo is cheap for range and 357 HD coming out of the barrel is great. Many fine loads in 357. On top of that own a revolver in 38/357 caliber and you interchange ammo and makes shooting booth even cheaper.

Christobevii3
December 25, 2012, 03:57 AM
I have an 1894 marlin with a nikon 2-7x32 scope and the thing is amazingly accurate at 100 yards. The difference at 100 yards between 357 and 38 special is noticeable in bullet drop.

hq
December 25, 2012, 06:45 AM
Another +1 for 1894C. The only issue I ever had (or didn't have, fixed it as soon as I bought it) was the jam-inducing sharp edge on the lever. Light, handy, accurate and fun to shoot. Newer Remlins seem to have a bad reputation so a slightly used or NOS gun gets my vote.

BCRider
December 25, 2012, 03:38 PM
I tend to prefer thw 20 inch barrel. But if you're after a compact and lighter over the shoulder trail gun the Rossi with the 16 inch carbine length barrel might be just the ticket.

Because Rossi is pretty much a budget firearm some folks have found that they work with some degree of roughness. The good news is that if you are one of those and want the action to run more smoothly that the work needed to get there is not hard. It's just a case of doing a little smoothing and de-burring of the internals. If you're not comfy doing such things yourself then a good cowboy action smith cand do a basic functionality slicking up job in about an hour to hour and a half. So the cost to get such work done would not be excessive by any means.

I can tell you that a slicked up Rossi '92 clone is a sweet handling gun. I've got one I'm using for my Cowboy action. And even if it eventually gets replaced I suspect I'll be keeping it as a great plinker.

It's certainly not a better or worse gun than any other but they aren't junk either. And I've found that the barrel sends the bullets out with more accuracy than I can hold for my usual freestyle standing plinking.

35 Whelen
December 25, 2012, 04:31 PM
I own a Rossi and I'll say straight up: if you buy one, do NOT expect to shoot .38's in it unless you handload. My wife uses it for CAS and I have to load her .38's to almost .357 o.a.l. With these longer cartridges it's fine. And FWIW I've done TONS of work to the internals of the Rossi. It's very slick.
I own two Marlin's but neither is a .357 soi my only experience is watching others shoot them. They seem OK, but some complain about they're picky about ammo.
If you can afford it, get a Ubert 1873. I bought one in .44 Special and love it. This design is in my opinion the simplest, most rugged and most fool-proof design I've ever seen. Far fewer small moving parts than the Rossi and Marlin. Several of the folks with whom I shoot CAS have them in .357 and they all run .38's slicker than you-know-what through a goose...and I mean as fast as you can lever the rifle.
No, you can't mount a scope on them, and that used to bother me, but anything in .357 is a 100 yds. rifle...maybe 150, and that can be done easily with sights.

35W

9 fingers
December 25, 2012, 05:23 PM
If you really want 357/38 sp then the Marlin 1894 is light and compact. I have an Uberti 1873 and love it but it is about a pound heavier and it is longer than the Marlin, also much more expensive and it can't be scoped in the traditional way. Not sure why you have not looked into 30-30 as a Winchester 94 is very light, handle really well and the 30-30 round is cheap and as common as dirt. A Marlin 336 would work also (I have both the Marlin and Win) but it is about a pound heavier. A bit more recoil from the 30-30 than from a 38, especially from the Win.
9 fingers
Uberti 1873 in 357/38
http://i55.tinypic.com/wwmeq8.jpg

jlucke69
December 25, 2012, 08:29 PM
I own Winchesters and Marlins in the 357. I like the clackity clack of the Winchesters, but the marlin is nice and tight. Both cycle fine for me. My Winchesters are trappers and I like the shorter barrel length and do not shoot over 100yds, so have no concerns with it. I have a Henry in 44, but prefer the others as they side load instead of front tube load. After coming from Winchesters and Marlins, Rossis are just not up to snuff.

76shuvlinoff
December 25, 2012, 08:57 PM
At the current pricing of .223 I am pretty sure my Marlin 1894c is going to see some .38 time.

thralldad
December 25, 2012, 09:00 PM
I really like my Rossi although I haven't shot .38s in it yet.

Saiga39
December 25, 2012, 10:41 PM
I wish Marlin would make a 336 in .357. I prefer the 336 style stock. I'd buy one right now if they offered it.

Surculus
December 26, 2012, 03:48 AM
CTGunner sed:
Local shop has a 30 30 but I don't know much about the round and how it compares to .38.

Well, one is a rifle round used by generations of hunters to take down medium-sized game and is legal to hunt with pretty much everywhere, unlike the .223Remington used in the AR15 you regret selling. And the other is a pistol round that was a moderate increase in power over the 38 Colt that was deemed completely inadequate against man-sized opponents in the Philippines over 100 years ago and has largely been abandoned by law enforcement over the last 20 years.

If you're going to get a lever gun chambered in a pistol round, at least get one rated to fire .357 Maximum, if not .44 Mag or .45LC. Better yet, get a Puma that's chambered in .454 Casull: that's pretty capable as pistol rounds go, and much better fired from the shoulder than out of a handgun. :)

masterofchaos
December 26, 2012, 05:12 PM
+1 to the Marlin 1894C 357 Mag. Older style without safety. Add a peep sight and you'll have a blast. It's short barrel makes it easy to control (coming from a petite 5'4" woman). Here's a 1980. I shoot mostly 38s due to price. BTW, the electric tape padding was added from previous owner, but I kept it because it does help.

stiab
December 27, 2012, 12:10 AM
Here's mine, 1894C, I'll be keeping it...

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1600/481405/1103798/379701586.jpg

rhinoh
December 27, 2012, 06:12 AM
I really like my Rossi although I haven't shot .38s in it yet.
Another vote for the Rossi's. I have both the .38/357 and the .45 Colt. No issues with either one once you get the sights set up. Both shot way high out of the box. Rear sight on both had to go lower than the ramp allowed. Remove the ramp, problem solved.

WVRJ
December 27, 2012, 11:41 PM
I have an 1894CP in 357 and can only say good things about it.But it was bought when a Marlin was a Marlin.I'm not too fond of the muzzle brake,but the lil booger shoots 180 grain Partitions great and that load will do a number on deer out to 100 yards.Plinker loads with cast 158's are cheap and accurate.They say the CP is rare,so I haven't shot it much in the last couple of years,but other variations of the 1894 would be hard to beat.

joeg26er
December 28, 2012, 12:09 AM
Is that a giant deer rub on that tree?

bannockburn
December 28, 2012, 09:37 AM
I love my Rossi Model 92, though it is chambered in .45LC and not .357/.38 Special. The action was very slick right out of the box and the overall fit and finish of the gun is great.

natman
December 28, 2012, 11:56 AM
Browning B92 if you want the best made, strongest action and most traditional but prefer iron sights. Used only expect to pay $700-$800.

Late model Winchester 1892 if you want the best made, strongest action and a rebounding hammer with tang safety. New production, expect to pay $800 and up.

Uberti 1873 if you want the best made replica of the 1873, one of the highest quality levers available and totally traditional. Again, iron sights. Expect to pay $900-$1400.

Marlin 1894 if you want to scope it. New and used, expect to pay $400-$700.

Rossi/Puma/Legacy 92 if you want the strongest action, iron sights and probably the most affordable available. These are still $400-$500. Less for used guns.

Henry Big Boy if you want a mediocre build quality and 2lbs heavier than necessary. Last I looked, these were $700-$800.

I'd agree with most of this list, except that I'm not so enthusiastic about the 1873 design. The 92 is far stronger and much lighter.

I 've owned a lot of Rossis, including two 92s in 357. I spent hours smoothing and polishing them to get them to operate with acceptable smoothness. I refinished the wood to get rid of the shoe polish they were finished with from the factory. Then after all that feeding was so-so and accuracy was poor on both.

To be fair, this was 10 years ago, so things might have improved since then, but I don't plan to spend any of my money on another Rossi to find out.

I'd recommend a Browning / Miroku or an older Marlin.

CraigC
December 28, 2012, 12:26 PM
The 1892 is far stronger and significantly lighter. You have to want an 1873 because you want an 1873. They are very well made, beautiful rifles, perhaps near equal to the Miroku guns and very slick to operate. Mine is very accurate, piling every load I've tried in it into 1"@50yds.

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/rifles/large/IMG_7033b.jpg

SFsc616171
December 28, 2012, 08:03 PM
I own a Rossi, Model 92, 16-incher in .357Magnum. I have .38 Special revolvers. I have tried various types of .38 and .357 ammmo in it. If the nose of the bullet is too flat, without some ogive to it, it just might not be what the rifle 'likes'! It may sound funny, but it _will_ cycle .38 Special Nyclad loads, but the WWB 130 grain FMJ's are just that too flat for it. Now, Remington, 130 grain MC's have just a little curve on the edge of the flat meplat, and do cycle! Semiwadcutters, with a good shoulder, do not, and will not. The squareness of the shoulder meets the bottom of the ramp, too many times.
The Georgia Arms 125 grain Conical Nose Lead Bullet loads do fine, when you can get them. But, this rifle is my "home, hearth, and (ahem) worse" rifle, so, to end the 'argument' between bullet and rifle, the choice is the Remington 125 grain manstopper. "One rifle, one load, the rest is noodle windage."

Ro1911
December 28, 2012, 11:37 PM
Get the Henry, feed ports suck big time, or at least they do for me

Furncliff
December 28, 2012, 11:51 PM
I've had an older Marlin 1894 .357/.38 for some time. It's a bunch of fun and my daughters favorite long gun. I've been tempted several times to buy something in .44 magnum, but with my hand loads the .357 magnum is a thumper. Shooting .38's can be a bit tricky on the loading, but generally most rifles can be tuned for them. But there is some debate about the .38's with lead bullets leaving some lead behind in the chamber.

New Marlin rifles have been getting an awful lot of bad press since they moved to a new factory.

bubba in ca
December 29, 2012, 06:20 PM
If you are looking at stopping power or longer range accuracy, go with the 3030. Older winchesters and Marlins sell fairly cheap used as there are a ton of them out there because they were such good hunting guns.

Used older :357 marlins are hard to find-- the survivalist/pistol carbine folks have sucked them all up. I sold off all my pistol caliber carbines when I discovered 20 ga. shotguns.

Grimshaw
December 29, 2012, 06:54 PM
I just got a Rossi Ranch Hand In 38/357 for Christmas

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