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Talk me into/ out of a Marlin 1894 in .357

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DogBonz, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    I am seriously considering getting a 1894 in 357 but I hear conflicting reports about feeding. So, for those of you who have one; do they feed both 38’s and 357’s reliably? Is there anything that they do not feed well, or any thing that you have found to be 100%?

    Also, is there anything that I should know about these rifles? How is the over all fit and finish? Anyone encounter any issues or problems? And, lastly, what is a good price for a new one (I’m at work and the internet Nazi’s don’t let me enter any gun sites, except this one and 50beowulf.com…. Go figure)

    Thanks in advance

    KINGMAX Well-Known Member

    357 is one of the 'BEST' pistol rounds. I just got rid of a RUGER DEERFIELD 44 magnum rifle. It too is a pistol caliber. I used it for my 'brush gun' for deer and having it around for protection on mountians trails for black bear.

    I don't think much of the pistol calibers being used on rifles. Stick to a 30.30 for the Marlin 1894. == (JOMHO).
  3. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill Well-Known Member

    Yo Dog- feeding was ok, but not on a par with 30-30 or rifle rounds. I had one and got real tired of chasing wounded deer.....off it went. Just not thrilled with the combination.
    If I were to buy another lever action, I'd go for a 32 special, a 45-70, 307, or one of the older rounds such as 38-55. 38 and 357 from a lever gun just....sucked. Your mileage may vary, etc,.,,,,,,,,,,,
  4. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Well-Known Member

    What are you planning on using it for? I have a Rossi 92 that doesn't care what I put in it (.38 special or .357 magnum). TinyGnat has a Marlin that hates .38 special (too short OAL) but runs like mad with .357

    I've seen other Marlins that don't care what round you put in them, and I've seen Rossi that are fussy as hell.

    'course we're both using these for cowboy action shooting so it's not quite the same "responsibility" as with hunting.
  5. davera

    davera Well-Known Member

    Mine is top notch in fit and finish, Marlin makes a quality product. It's only jammed once for me with some cheapo range .357 reloads, probably due to OAL problems.
    It's great fun as a plinker with .38 special.
    It's a highly credible home defense weapon against anything in my yard or my neighbors yards. (and I'm thinking of serious SHTF scenarios)
    If you are an excellent shot and stalker it is a decent deer rifle.
  6. PaladinX13

    PaladinX13 Well-Known Member

    I bought one last year after searching for months for one. I'm not sure why, but the 1894C (.38/.357) seems to be scarce in the mid-Atlantic region. So if you come across one, be ready to snatch it up quickly (the 1894 in .44 and 336C in 30/30, by comparison aren't as hard to find).

    So far it's had no problems with everything I've fed it- including SWC, ball, & hollow-points. I've not tried full wadcutters because of the horror stories of those jamming up the action. I paid exactly $500 cash in western PA for mine (or about $420 before taxes and fees)... on the high side, I know, but worth it for something I really wanted and had trouble finding locally. Mine has the black walnut stock and the checkering.

    There's an "economy" version that sells for $100 less with a hardwood stock and no checkering found in outlets like Big 5, Dick's, and Walmart (but not around here, AFAIK). As you travel west/south, prices can drop another $50-$80 for either model. If I could've got the $320 version locally, I would've went that route, since I imagine it shoots just as nice as it's prettier cousin.

    For my region of NJ, the 1894C's a great rifle. There's very few high-power ranges meaning the additional power, range, cost, and blast of true rifle cartridges does me little good. In terms of defense, it's certainly more "politically correct" than an EBR around here while giving you more punch than a handgun and [maybe] more range than a shotgun. But given NJ's ammo storage laws.... You can't hunt with a centerfire rifle in NJ, so this is mainly a gun for shooting and, for that, .38/.357 just makes sense. Those .44 rounds are going to be a $1 or more a shot and 30/30 around 50¢ every time you pull the trigger... that's a little too pricey for me. If you do your part in getting close, accurate, and acting ethically, you absolutely can take deer with the .357 should you go hunting in PA.

    The manual action means I can reliably and rapidly cycle even the lightest .38s with what feels like no-recoil (perfect for plinking). Changing over to full-house .357 the 1894C still barely kicks but has enough accuracy, power, and range out to what I trust my eyes and iron-sights with. It's a very visceral gun. It's a great pleasure to rack the lever and chamber a round and even to load the tube magazine once you get the speed technique down. It's handy, light, flat, short, balances well, and fits my hands perfectly. It's just plain fun to shoot.

    All that said, different strokes for different folks. A lot of people take little pleasure in working a lever action and would much rather simply pull the trigger on a semi-auto action carbine. You'd lose the ammo versatility but gain detachable magazines which could make the gun more viable for defense, a more easily cleaned/maintained gun, and less reloading at the range. Depends on what you want.
  7. Northslope Nimrod

    Northslope Nimrod Well-Known Member

    For hunting?

    Get a 30-30 and a 45-70 long before you get a .357.
    It may have a coolness factor, but I fail to see many good applications for pistol caliber rifles. Perhaps if you lived where trees were REALLY thick and you hunted smaller animals. If you hunt in more open areas....get a 30-30. If you hunt big animals...get a 45-70.
  8. Gustav

    Gustav Well-Known Member

    1894C Marlin

    I have an older one without the cross bolt safety it is a very handy rifle to shoot or to carry.
    Deep bluing with nice older American Walnut stocks good fit an finish and a design going back over a 100 years whats not to like?
    Works great to teach marksmanship with as some people find other rifles intimidating or too akward or muzle heavy.
    Advantages are light weight low recoil and muzzle blast with fast recovery between shots it has good balance and a low profile (politically correct) its cheap to feed and ammunition is easily availabile with compatibility between many fine revolvers.
    Many sight or scope options if your tastes run that direction.
    Mine does not like cycling the semi wad cutter load in .38 Special it often jams or chokes on them.
    With .357 magnum lead SWC this is not as bad but once in a while it still hangs up however any jacketed bullets work 100% in mine.
    A great rifle to take out for tin can safaris or to go plinking with I would not get rid of mine or sell it for any amount of $ its just too neat a little carbine not to have around.:)
    As a hunting rifle I would go with a larger caliber unless it were small critters.
    Good luck, I hope you end up with a great one.
  9. 106rr

    106rr Well-Known Member

    One advantage to the 357 lever gun is that it is easy to teach beginners. This is the first serious rifle my wife was willing to fire. I demonstrated the lack of recoil by placing the butt against my groin and firing the round. She was able to shoot it with confidence after that demo. It is a first rate defensive carbine, easy to conceal and fast to bring into action. At a campsite or in a car you can put the carbine in a golf bag, bat bag, or the leg of your fishing waders. No you can't wear the waders while it's in there!
  10. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, I should have said this in the first place...

    It would be used for plinking, paper punching… nothing in particular. I already have a Win 94 in 30-30, but I just like lever guns and I like the fact that I could have a handy little carbine that shoots the same calibers as my revolver. I will be hunting in up-state NY, and I’ll be using my model 70 (30-06) or maybe something else if I get a new rifle (260?).

    Also, my girlfriend likes shooting pistols, but is not into rifles, even though she likes my “cowboy” rifle (the Win 94), she is quite recoil sensitive, so I thought that she might pick this one up because it looks like the “cowboy rifle” but wouldn’t kick too much.

    Other than that, I already have the dies, bullets, primers, and powder for 357s, so no “retooling” cost.

    I don’t mind having a rifle that is not good for much as long as it works. I don’t want feeding problems, or any of that nonsense.

    Thanks for all of the replies…. Keep’em comming
  11. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    In you waders?

    If you did wear them would that be considered CCW?:p
  12. BADUNAME13

    BADUNAME13 Well-Known Member

    DO NOT put a Williams peep on it!

    If you do, all will be lost and you will spend too much money on .38/357 ammo!
  13. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Well-Known Member

    Marlins are finicky critters. Mine in .357 Magnum runs anything except Semi-Wadcutters and .38 SPL rounds through it. Recoil is not an issue either and it would be a great deer rifle.

    I also own a Marlin 1894CB in .32 H&R. The thing is a complete POS. I sent it back to the factory and they have offered me a full refund because as they said: "This rifle should never have left the factory". Good on 'em for recognizing their error. This doesn't mean I will be buying one anytime soon, but I can recommend them as a first class company.
  14. 115grfmj

    115grfmj Well-Known Member

    Will feed virtually anything...

    Mine does....never a hicup with anything period!!!....ahh:eek: ...well except for 38 full wad cutters:uhoh: ....but nothing else. Accuracte as heck....and incredibly versatile.....I going out on a limb but there is a reason this rifle has a cult following (and in some cases harder to find then hens teeth), NO gun collection is COMPLETE with out one.:evil:
  15. phoglund

    phoglund Well-Known Member

    I haven't had mine for very long but I have to admit I've not shot any other of my many rifles since I bought it! I've had no feeding problems that weren't my fault. If I lever the round in smartly but not viciously it works every time. Going slow isn't the best plan. With .38 specials it's as soft a shooter as you could ask and with heavy .357 loads it has a nice little push to let you know there is a little more authority in that round. For your stated purpose I don't know if there is a better choice.

    I also wouldn't feel under armed with the 1894C for self defense. Levers are quick and with only a 18.5" barrel, weighing about 6 pounds, and having 9 rounds of .357 on tap they can be a force to reckon with.

    Someday soon I'm going to order some Buffalo Bore Ammo, check out their specs out of the Marlin:

    5. 18.5 inch Marlin 1894

    a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard Cast = 1851 fps
    b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC = 1860 fps
    c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 2153 fps---- Can you believe this?!!!
    d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 2298 fps---- Or this?!!!

    From http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#357

    P.S. I bought the model with checkering locally for $440. We don't have any "Taxes and Fees" around here.
  16. Sniper X

    Sniper X Well-Known Member

    Well, all I can say is my 1894 (winchester) feeds either .38spl or .357mag perfectly, so does my 336RC in 30-30 so I am not sure about the 336 in .357....but I hear some are perfect, some are not. But it isn't a tactical weapon, it is great for hunting. I do and will continue to hunt with both the .357 and 30-30. I feel 30-30 is a far better big deer and elk cartridge than the .357mag, but the .357 is way cheaper and more fun to shoot.
  17. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Sorry - can't talk you out of it: For all-around versatility, short of a 12 gauge, an 1894C .357 is very hard to beat. Small game, HD, plinking, deer (of reasonable size & distance), it can do it all. I love the action, too. Since it shoots pistol ammo, the action is relatively short and crisp. Smooth, too. My girlfriend is recoil sensitive as well, and she really enjoys shooting mine, so that's a bonus.

    +1 on the possible availability problem, though. I got mine about 6 months ago, when it seemed none were to be found. Turns out a Gander Mtn, about an hour from me had a single one in stock for around $320, and I was in my car before the guy put the phone back on the reciever. Very nice checkered walnut, too. I think I really got lucky.

    I haven't tried SWCs yet, but it feeds everything (.39spl & .357mag) I give it fine.

    I went with some peep sights rather than a scope. Initially, I put a Wms on it, but it sits far back on the reciever and I had to install a hammer spur, which I didn't like. I recently replaced it with a simpler (but less adjustable) Skinner Sight, which doesn't require a spur.
  18. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

  19. mgh

    mgh Well-Known Member

    My 1894CB (Cowboy version) shoots .38's mostly, and I've never had a jam. I shoot SJHPs, RNFPs, and RN rounds. It's a good rifle.
  20. Nathanael_Greene

    Nathanael_Greene Well-Known Member

    Just buy the 1894C. Even if you don't love it (which you almost certainly will), you won't have any trouble finding someone to take it off your hands.

    I've got two of 'em, and darn near bought a third.

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