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Been thinking about a lever action for HD/SD

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Quoheleth, Jul 29, 2012.

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  1. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    I've been thinking about getting a lever action chambered in a pistol-cartridge for HD/SD/BUG, particularly after reading Jim Wilson's thoughts on his blog. It makes sense in a lot of ways: I'm in a suburban subdivision with houses surrounding me for blocks. I'm on a quarter-acre lot. I don't hunt. When I go to the range to shoot, I'm a plinker, not a precision shooter. Having a gun/rifle combo in the same caliber is also a nice idea, should I need to hit the road - just grab one box of ammo for both guns. Since I reload for my pistols and am set up for .38/.357 and .45 Colt, so ammo is not a problem.

    I have champagne tastes (Winchester, old Marlins) but a beer budget, so that leaves me looking at Rossi's model 92. Prices are in the high $300s to low $400s. A couple months and I can save that up.

    As far as caliber, I'm looking at either the .38/.357 or .45 Colt. I have several .38/.357 revolvers, guns that should something bad happen, I'm very comfortable grabbing and using. In .45, I have a Uberti SAA clone. I'm comfortable with it, but while I love the idea of the big ol' bullet thrown by the .45, I don't think that a SAA is the best handgun to grab when things go bump in the night. My heart says .45, but logic says the .357 would be the more practical choice.

    Next is barrel length: 16", 20", or 24"? The 24" is kind of self-eliminating. Weighing 7lbs (the barrel is also octagonal), that's kind of heavy for a HD/SD/bug-out gun. The shorter barrels are in the 5lb range. How much of a difference is there between the 16" and 20" when it comes to balance, handling, velocity, etc? I prefer rifles with a bit of weight out front. Is a 20" barrel too long for my intended use?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated on caliber choice, barrel length, and even the Rossi line.

    Thanks,
    Q
     
  2. tryshoot

    tryshoot Member

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    I had a Marlin 44 MAG with 20" bbl that would have been a great home def. gun. I think it held 11 44 SPL. Not too long.
     
  3. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    The lever action rifle is a good choice. lots of used ones around me and prices are reasonable. Caliber, personally, I like them large, so I would opt for the 45 long Colt. I also reload so I would get a couple hundred of the 45 Cowboy Special hulls and load them with a 240 or 260 grain lead bullet. This would increase the magazine capacity. It would require a bit of riflesmithing but it is a worthwhile endeavor.

    Pair it up with a S&W in the same cartridge and you would have a formidible system.

    If you prefer the 38 caliber, I imagine the Special would allow you a few more rounds in the magazine than the magnum. Again, paired with a double action revolver.

    For use in a house, the 24 inch may or may not be too long. Get a 48" dowel from the lumber yard and see how that plays in your house. (Much easier to cut down a dowel than a rifle barrel.)

    My personal choice would be a lever action in 45 ACP paired with my 4" N frame. They don't make a facry lever action for the ACP and gunsmithing one will seriously dent my IRA! Maybe someday.
     
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'd be looking for a used Marlin 94 in a pistol caliber if you insist on a rifle. The Winchester is a good rifle in 30-30 and other rifle calibers, but it was not designed to be used in pistol calibers and is less reliable in those calibers. None of the others impresse me Caliber is less important, I'd buy either 357 or 44 mag whichever I found a good deal on. Same with the barrel length. If I had my prefernce 16-18" would be ideal,but 20" would not be a handicap really.

    To be honest you will find may more options in either Marlin or Winchester in 30-30 than pistol calibers,and they are much less expensive. Loaded with 7 rounds of 125 gr HP ammo the 30-30 won't recoil much if any more, will be a deadly load, and will penetrate buildng material LESS than the pistol calibers. You'll have 3-4 fewer rounds, but I think 7 should be enough.

    If on as tight a budget as you say you are a good pump shotgun is the most gun for the money. You can find a good new 870 or 500 for $300, maybe less.
     
  5. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    I keep a 1977 Marlin 1894c .357 stoked next to my 870. It is a quick handling smooth running short carbine. .357 is nothing to sneeze at and from a 16" barrel even better.

    It has never failed to feed anything, even .38 specials (I have not tried wadcutters) but for HD it is loaded with the .357 Hornady Leverevolution rounds simply because I think the shape practically guarantees feeding if I do my part.

    I acquired it a few years ago before they got so popular, based on pricing today I think I'll be hanging on to it. It would not be easy to replace.

    I know prices are nuts right now but you can't go wrong with an older Marlin.
     
  6. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    I agree with Tryshoot. The .44 mag version, loaded with .44 special, would be the best SD/HD caliber, in my opinion. However, the others are certainly capable if reloading is a personal concern of yours.

    Lever actions are a great choice! They're as quick to reload as a pump shotgun and come in better calibers for the job, as opposed to bolts and semi-autos (usually too small, like .22lr, or too big/penetrating, like .223 or .308.)

    20" seems like the only real choice to me. That's most of what's out there that I've seen. 24" is pretty long for sneaking through doorways and down halls, and I really haven't seen a 16"...
     
  7. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    Get the .357. load it with whatever you use in your handguns, even if that's .38s. The whole point is to have the same box of ammo... otherwise, you may as well have a 12 gauge, right? others will tell you the 38 in a lever gun ain't much. well, it's more than a .38 in a revolver for sure. longer barrel, longer sight radius. higher velocities, easier to shoot straight. anything you can do with a .38 revolver at point blank range, you can do with the carbine at 50 yds. get the 16". you don't need the extra barrel length; you don't hunt or compete, or shoot over a chronograph... you won't notice the difference, or miss the length. rossi makes them in stainless now, and they feel nice. it's currentl #2 on my top 3 list to buy. enjoy.
     
  8. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    16 inch .38/357. That was my HD gun until I bought a Mini-14 (The Marlin is not for sale, so don't ask ;)) .357 Magnum gets a bigger boost from a long barrel than most pistol cartridges.

    Another way you could go is a used .30-30 because they are far more plentiful and you'll save a couple of hundred dollars. That'll buy a lot of ammo, and it's a more powerful cartridge -- but it's not *that* much more powerful and it won't match your pistol, and it only holds half as many rounds in the magazine. Still not a bad choice.

    You really don't want to shoot .45 Colt unless you reload. It's really expensive, and hard to find good ammo. It's a great cartridge for reloaders though.
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    The Rossi 92s (YES, the Win 92s were designed for pistol cartridges!) I've handled were very nice. Certainly a great bargain. I'd greatly like to have one in .44 Mag to pair up with my 629.

    For $300-$400 that they're going for (unbelievable, really, considering the fit and finish and slickness of the one's I've seen) only a pump shotgun really can match it for home-defense bang-for-the-buck.

    I'd get one without hesitation if you feel the need to add a rifle to your defensive preparations.
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Check this thread for some great links on the R'92s: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=670164

    A few quotes from the TruthAboutGuns link:

     
  11. WNC Seabee

    WNC Seabee Member

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    As the owner of 1/2 dozen lever actions of various calibers (.22, .357, .44, .308, .30-30), I would suggest a semi auto carbine instead for HD. You describe yourself as a casual shooter; in an HD situation, do you want to worry about short stroking the lever? Or fumbling with reloads?

    Ugly as they may be, I'd strongly recommend a .45ACP Hi-Point Carbine. Reliable, accurate and dead simple. Light and red dot can be added easily. I've never heard anybody that actually owns one disparage them.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  12. oldpapps

    oldpapps Member

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    'Q',

    It looks like you have worked out an acceptable set up for you.
    I agree with the .45 Colt round for your selected Lever Action.

    My problems, these are mine not yours, are:
    a. The SAA type revolver is too slow to reload, particular if under stress.
    b. The selected round would be better served if replaced with the .44 Mag. Soft rounds out of Mag brass are both very controllable and still potent.
    c. Barrel length for a Lever Action that is long, gives better accuracy (longer sight radius) and short is more handy in close quarters. Your selected 20 inch sound good for both options. Or drop to a shorter barrel and add a cheap 'Red Dot' but keep the iron sights.

    Best of luck in your search.
     
  13. jim243

    jim243 Member

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    I'd have to agree with Sam1911 that the 44 Mag in rifle/revolver combination would be be the best.

    But since you have a batch of 357 Mag revolvers that would be the way to go.

    Jim
     
  14. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    I own a Rossi 92 in 454 Casull ... but mainly shoot it in 45 Colt.

    It would make a FINE HD/SD weapon.

    However, I'll still grab my 18.5" barrel Rem 870 first. :evil:
     
  15. zeke

    zeke Member

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    Next to bed is 16 in Marlin cp 44 mag, with cut down stock (12.5 in lop) and thick recoil pad. It is loaded with 180 jhp's that chrono around 1600 fps. Recoil is negligible, and accurate to 100 yards. Unlike a semi with high sights, there is not a huge change in poa from 5 to 100 yards. The sights are right on top of the barrel.
     
  16. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Since your post is actually about handgun/rifle combo I would like more information about your handgun plans.

    Is this a mano-mano handgun?

    That is. Are you going to be the only user? A 44 or 45 is going to be a large frame and heavy and may too much for a female to handle comfortably.

    Or is it going to be used by females?

    If so the K-frame revolver would be a hard choice to beat. Small and light and able to chamber the .357

    The ultimate mano-mano gun for me would be the S7W Model 627 10 shot revolver.

    P.S. It is unlikely a 357 rifle will feed 38 Specials without gunsmithing.
     
  17. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Thanks all for the comments. A couple of my comments in reply:

    As to the .44 Mag chambering - Part of my goal is to have a one-caliber handgun/rifle combination --- or, at minimum, to buy a rifle that I already reload for. I don't own any .44 Mag handguns and don't load for it, so that defeats my purpose.

    I do own pump shotguns, both in 20 and 12 ga.

    As to what handguns I own and would grab in a "bad day just got worse" scene, I'm a K-frame man. My daughter is hell-on-wheels with my Model 15 in .38 Special and my Smith 66 has as slick of an action as you've ever tried. Bill Jordan would have been jealous. I can pair those with a Colt DS, if I need to. So, the .38 and .357 will be represented.

    I love the big ol' .45 Colt. I had a Smith 25 N-frame in .45 Colt, but that was just too big for my smallish hands. A Blackhawk in 45 Colt is on my short-list but I'm not there yet...and even at that, then we're back to the SAA issue.

    I guess I'm answering my own question. While the Colt round might be the sentimental favorite, the .357 makes more sense for me in my plans.

    Q
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Even from a carbine, the sharp blast of the .357 cartridge is something to consider indoors. The .45 Colt will be much easier on the ears, and they will recover faster. I would rather have the .45 Colt for ballistic reasons as well.
     
  19. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    A couple things,
    My Marlin .357 lever carbine feeds .38s fine.
    Albeit maybe not recommended I can run the .357s in the carbine without ear muffs, from a pistol that is painful. I am not saying it wouldn't hurt shooting it inside but would it be more than a 12 gauge? a 5.56 rifle?

    I suppose you could load soft for any round if you roll your own though. Someday I gotta get some reloading equipment.
     
  20. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    If it were me, I would go with the .357. It is a real gem out of a carbine. You don't specifically mention over penetration concerns, but you do speak about your situation. FYI any handgun round will penetrate more than a high velocity rifle round that breaks up.
     
  21. iyn

    iyn Member

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    Do they make .357/.38sp lever gun in stainless? I live near the ocean. In my old age I'm shooting a .38 revolver and was looking for a rifle using the same ammo and I will have to worry about spare magazines and my wife can shoot it too.
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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  23. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Lever guns are a great choice in places where other shoulder arms are frowned upon.

    357 is a good caliber choice, I wouldn't bother shooting 38's in it, unless thats all I had on hand.

    I prefer Marlin's action but Rossi's 92's are pretty slick. I'd get the 10 shot rifle over the carbine for the added capacity and sight radius with minimal weight.



    I have a Marlin in 44.. 'slicking up' the action is as easy as not messing around when you work it. Within 100 yards it's a pretty accurate rifle. Out side 100 it starts dropping like a rock. 357 should shoot a little flatter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    You're on the right track. You really can't go wrong with either chambering. I don't care for the .357 in sixguns, even though I just bought one but it is fantastic in a levergun. I would recommend the 16" over the 20" for maneuvering around indoors. I like the Marlins and own two .44Mag's but the 92's are really a nicer, more refined and usually lighter design. Rossi/Legacy/Puma is a very good choice. Miroku-made Winchesters and Brownings are the best made but not cheap. I have a wonderful little late model Winchester Trapper .45.
     
  25. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

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    Lever guns are hard to load/keep loaded, and IME, less reliable than a good semi-auto.

    I'd be more inclined toward something like an Ar-15 than a pistol caliber lever gun, just based on the ease of use.
     
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