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357 Magnum: Lever vs. Bolt Action

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by kcofohio, Oct 25, 2015.

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  1. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I'm looking for some practical comparisons of the two different actions. I have skimmed through several threads on different forums. And those usually led off into rabbit trails (Remlins and whatnots).

    I see many saying that the levers are just more fun to shoot. I get that. But for me, I like the bolt actions, and the levers are more of a nostalgia (The Rifleman). :cool:

    I was looking back in early '12 for the 1894C, the LGS quoted me one for $625. But they couldn't locate one. (I think around that time was when the Marlin production ceased while they worked out the bugs.) And now, with production back up, they seem just as rare on the market.

    Then I started giving serious consideration of the Henry Big Boy. Shot my brother-in-laws and it shouted quality. Only about $100 more than the 1894C.

    But then I started checking, reading up, on the Ruger M77/357. The Ruger has very little, if any nostalgia value. But it seems to be more of a practical choice for me. From my readings I gather that the M77/357 is of good quality, though early on, there was reports of feed problems linked to the magazine.

    I say practical for several different reasons;
    *Easier to clear the weapon, drop magazine and disengage bolt.
    *Safer and easier to check bore for any obstructions.
    *Simpler to break down for deep clean.
    *Less concern of the type of bullets loaded in the rotary compared to the tubular.
    *Scope mounting integrated on the receiver.

    Either way, the use for the rifle would be mainly for 50-150 yd. range on paper targets. And the 357 is because I have acquired much brass and bullets in this caliber. And it would be a companion to my Trooper.

    If I have any obvious misconceptions, I'd like to hear them. As I have never handled the Ruger, only read what is on the web (Gotta be true, right ;) ).

    TIA, Kevin
     
  2. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    Other than fun value, the only advantages a lever gun has are (a) easier to get a quick second or third shot, and (b) flat receiver profile, which might also contribute to more comfortable hand carry.

    Bolt actions are, in addition to what you mentioned, less ammo sensitive wrt feeding, and easier to operate when shooting prone.
     
  3. 200Apples
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    200Apples Member

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    .
    It appears to me you have already made your decision. Either way, a .357 from a rifle barrel is, as someone notable put it, "a whole different animal", and I would agree. Great fun, extremely accurate in my experience through 100 yds.

    I use the round in two different levers; a Marlin 1894 and a Rossi 92. I prefer the Winchester/Browning Model 1892 design over the Marlin but that's just a subjective observation.

    How long is the M77 barrel of the rifle you're considering? .357 is mostly topped out speedwise at 16 to 17 inches unless you're rolling your own (Edit: you are). This may be one reason why my 16" Rossi is so danged much fun.

    Please post pictures of whatever it is you get. I like the idea of a bolt action igniting short, fat cartridges but I find myself filled with admiration for my Model 92s. I think I may find my Browning 92 in .44 mag to be even more fun!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  4. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    You gotta buy the one that suites you best. I love a lever gun. But a Ruger bolt is hard to beat. Tough choice.
     
  5. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    MikeJackmin, thank you for the feedback. I will take that into consideration about the follow-up shots.

    200Apples, 90% of my mind is made up. :)
    I believe the M77/357 is offered only with a 18.5" barrel, 1:16 twist rate.
    I plan on making my final selection the fall or early winter. Unless of course, a deal I can't refuse falls in my lap.

    dh1633pm, ain't is always a tough choice. ;)
    That is why the gun inventory keeps going up. lol

    Thanks for all your replies. The thing about 357 rifles, whether bolt or lever, I never see any used for sale locally.
     
  6. pps

    pps Member

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    I love my 1894 Marlin. Skinner receiver site with fire sight fiber front sight makes it very quick into action.
     
  7. barnett

    barnett Member

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    Let me just say this. I have a model '92 Rossi in .357 that is my constant companion when I'm at the farm, and there is NO WAY I would trade it for a bolt action.
     
  8. geologist

    geologist Member

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    Speed of cycling can be a good thing in certain applications.

    Lever or pump for me in a .357 carbine.
     
  9. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    I have a Rossi in 45 Colt. Good shooter. My dad has a Ruger Carbine in 44 Mag. Also a good shooter. I always liked pistol cartridges in a Rifle. I am working on a Roller in 45 Colt and even thought about making it in 45 ACP. Roller, Lever, Semi, or Bolt. I have always liked the concept.
     
  10. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    The MSRP of $999.00($1060.00 in .44 Mag) for the Ruger would put me off. That is ludicrous. Especial vs the MSRP of $765.65 for the Marlin.
    $899.95 for the Henry isn't much better though.
     
  11. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    The 77/357 actually retails for around $700, on par with the Henry Big Boy Steel.
     
  12. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Get em both
     
  13. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I keep hearing a voice saying the same thing in my head! ;)
     
  14. Unistat

    Unistat Member

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    I have the Rossi and I pure love it.

    I looked for four years to find a lever in .357. I saw 4 of them in that time at gun shows, shops, etc. It was always a matter of not the right bank balance at the right time. Finally I walked into a gun shop last year that I had never been in before. Right there they had 4 different .357 levers!

    I came close to getting the Ruger at one time, but my wife is a lefty and the lever guns are just easier and more fun for her to shoot.
     
  15. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I own bolt actions and lever actions. I like both but my all time favorite rifle is my Rossi M92 lever action in .357. It wasn't my first choice when I bought it but I got the bug during the last great panic and it was the only .357 rifle that I could get my hands on for a reasonable price. It turned out to be a great choice.

    The only issue I have with it is that it is a top eject which makes mounting optics a bit of a challenge. That is something to keep in mind.
     
  16. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Gotta admit I didn't know anybody made a bolt action in .357, interesting. I have a serious lust for a Rossi 92 in .45 Colt, with the 24" octagonal barrel. But a shorter one in .357 is in the back of my mind as well.
     
  17. bikemutt

    bikemutt Member

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    I had a Ruger #1 in .357, it was not an accurate rifle. Also had the M77 in .357, in addition to being not very accurate, it wasn't a real reliable feeder.

    I'l stick with my Marlin 1894s.
     
  18. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    That Ruger is an attractive piece. I've thought to get one a time or two.

    In the end though, I rarely shoot a lever gun from a benchrest. And never prone. Given that I shoot standing or kneeling, the ergonomics of my Uberti 1873 bring the rifle up to my face perfectly each time. The sights line right up like they are supposed to do, due to the greater drop in the stock, and the crescent buttplate instinctively finds the "right" place to settle on my shoulder.

    The Ruger would be better from a bench or prone, even better with a scope. The stock requires some contortions for me to shoulder it as readily and easily with proper sight alignment from standing or kneeling, in comparison to my lever rifle.

    There is more to good shooting than mechanical accuracy, at least for me. *Probably* the Ruger bolt action, once trued and what not, would be mechanically more accurate than my lever gun.

    Then there is the issue of what appeals to you? A matte silver barrel and receiver with a sort of lumpy profile and a plastic stock or the lines of the lever rifle. For me, there is no question which I prefer. The color case hardened receiver, the octagon barrel, the checkered wood stocks, all these I prefer, but then I baby this rifle, clean it each time it is fired, and oil it and place it lovingly in the safe.

    If I were perhaps less fastidious, or just wanted something to throw behind the seat of the pickup, or wanted to shoot from prone position, the Ruger is in my view the more rugged rifle. It accepts a scope more readily, most likely impervious to rust, and if there is such a thing as unbreakable, most likely the Ruger would be it.

    I guess its pretty clear that I have an emotional attachment to my 1873 that I don't think I would have for the Ruger. It speaks to me and brings me great satisfaction. I suspect you would develop a similar feeling for the Henry, Marlin, or similar, as well. They are neat and handy and easy to use.

    Hope you make the best decision for your needs and desires, kcfohio.
     
  19. geologist

    geologist Member

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    Or even better than a bolt or lever action.........

    Timberwolf%2019_zpsj1hd54gu.jpg
     
  20. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    ^^^
    There's a gun worthy of a re-make.
     
  21. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I just picked up a Rossi M92 16" stainless. I have no intentions of optics and no intentions of hunting. I bought it for a steel plinker. I have put about 200 rds thru it using different bullet profiles with no malfunctions. With no tailor made loads and the factory sights I don't vary for, it seems to be a 2-3 inch gun at 50. I am sure worked up loads and better sights will cut that group size down. New sights are on order.
     
  22. FSJeeper

    FSJeeper Member

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    From a practical point of view, the Ruger is much, much easier to field strip and service and cleaning the bore from the breach is a cinch with the bolt out. The Ruger's powerful extractor and cam power of the bolt action gives it much more potential reliability. The Ruger has more potential accuracy of the lever action.

    The Rossi 92 I have is a pure joy to carry and shoot and in .45 colt a hog dropper. It handles better and faster than the Ruger ever will. In terms of reliability, never an issue for me. For a knock about rifle on my property the 92 is always going to be that go to rifle for anything under 100 yards and at my place 100 yards is a rare shot. 50 yards and less are typical shots at game.

    For survival use, the Ruger would be the only way to go.

    Hornady Leverevolution bullets are the only way to go for hunting and it is all I use for handloads.

    You'll have more fun with the lever.
     
  23. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    I give up, what is that pump-action rifle?
     
  24. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Sergi: Have you ever seen a pump action shotgun? The rifle works the same. I started shooting around 10 years old with an old Winchester (I believe 1897 model) pump action 22 rifle.

    As for the .357 Mag, I love my 1894C and load the cartridges for it with a slower burning powder than I use for the pistol rounds. It is scary accurate. I am sure a bolt gun has the capability of being even more accurate, but either way, with a case of cheap soda pop and some flat nose bullets you can have more fun than should be allowed....
     
  25. redbullitt

    redbullitt Member

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    I love my ruger 77/357. It makes an excellent SBR candidate if you are inclined to go that route. FWIW I have a rossi 92 that runs very well. They are two entirely different rifles in my opinion. The bolt is much less finicky about COAL though.

    It is stainless steel with a synthetic stock, so it is quite durable and I would be more comfortable subjecting it to hard use compared to a fine "JM" lever action. It is also quite light weight, almost feels like a 22.
     
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