Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Plan2Live, Mar 15, 2018.
My little '94C is a joy despite its slightly overtightened barrel.
I had a marlin in 357 that I enjoyed in the 90's. Not much of a deer rifle, it was just a range toy. Got rid of it and replaced it with something useful for me.
The little Marlin 1894CS at the bottom of this photo is a nice little 357 Mag rifle. I bought it used about 15 years ago for my wife when she started shooting CAS with me. A 24" Winchester or Marlin was too heavy for her. I don't believe they are still making this exact same model, but I see Marlin is making a Model 1894C and a Model 1894CB, both chambered for 357 Mag. The CB model has a 20" octagon barrel, and is said to hold 10 rounds of 357 Mag. The C model has an 18 1/2" barrel and only holds 9 rounds of 357 Mag.
This one has an 18 1/2" barrel. A friend slicked it up a bit, and cut the magazine spring and the follower down just a tad, so it holds 10 rounds of 38 Special in the magazine. We need to be able to load 10 in CAS. You have to get the Overall Cartridge Length correct for some 357 Mag lever guns to feed 38 Specials well. My rounds are about 1.475 long and they feed fine.
You also want to avoid semi-wadcutters in some lever guns. If they have a tilting carrier, like Marlins do, the sharp corner of a semi-wadcutter can hang up as it enters the chamber. Not much different than rounds hanging up on the feed ramp of a 1911. Round Nosed Flat Points or Truncated Cone bullets are best.
This little rifle is a real pleasure to shoot with 38 Specials, no kick at all, and it can get real serious with 357 Mag ammo.
You know...all my FiLs .38 reloads were SWCs... Two of you have said that in particular...I may need to try some other .38s to see how they chamber...thanks for the tip boys...I haven’t pulled it out of the safe for a real long time..
Marlin and Rossi both make good rifles. People complain about the 357s having feeding problems, but all you need to do if find the range of cartridge lengths your particular gun feeds well and stay within that range.
Or you could simplify the feeding issue by searching for a rifle chambered for a single caliber.
Hello from Upstate SC. Pistol caliber lever action rifles are great and a .357 is very versatile. With mild .38 Special ammo it has little recoil and a mild report. With full power .357s it has more velocity than a revolver.
The .38/.357 is the most popular chambering with cowboy action shooters. There are two monthly matches in Columbia if you'd like to check it out.
The Marlin 1894 used to me one of my favorites but since Remington took over and moved the Marlin factory there have been few .357s produced. The quality of the Marlin 1894 "Remlin" has been the source of much discussion. Word is they are better now. I hope that is true but new ones are hard to find and prices on older "JM" Marlins have gone way up.
The Rossi/Braztech 1892 is the most affordable rifle but they have been hard to find lately. They tend to be really stiff out of the box but can be slicked up somewhat.
The Henry Big Boy "Steel" variant is a pretty nice rifle. I don't recommend it for competition use but for general use it should be fine. As you stated it loads from the muzzle.
My favorite is the 1873 rifle, either the Uberti or the Winchester that is made by Miroku in Japan. With a bit of action work they are very smooth. Be prepared to pay at least $1100 but there is a reason they are so popular.
I have a Marlin 1894CP,and it's a great rifle.16" barrel(ported for whatever reason)and it's a great shooting rifle.I have a Lyman 57 sight on it and with the small aperture,it's surprisingly accurate.Works great as a short range deer gun with the rare 180 gr Partition bullets.Older Marlins have gotten pricey though.
Little brother and I bought a shot out 38-40 for $45 back when the Rifleman was on the air. Sent it to Koozer for barrel to .357. Wish we'd got a carbine instead of a rifle but it looks cool and shoots great. 24" barrel let's those .158s build up serious steam.
Don't have a .357 lever, but do have a pump (similar concept) in the form of an 18" IMI Timberwolf, so let me give you my thoughts.
1. www.ballisticsbytheinch.com and other experiments have shown that the .357 mag, more than any other handgun round, and possibly more than any other rifle round either, for that matter, benefits tremendously from a longer barrel, relative to a handgun, with oddly, very little diminishment of the returns - in fact, bordering on magically-so. It's a real thumper from an 18+ or longer barrel, almost on a par with .30-30, when using the right powder such as L'il Gun. It is for this reason that I have this rifle but do not have any .357 mag handgun - not a fan of the latter. Go take a look at the claimed vels of the Buffalo Bore heavies from a rifle - unreal.
2. Reloading this round, like all straight-walled, is a relative joy, with good case life. I recommend reloading for it if you hadn't already planned to.
3. As mentioned, you can run .38 special in them, particularly if you adjust the COL to match .357 mag - the Timberwolf feeds them just fine, anyway, and the Marlins do too from what I read.
4. As far as the use / niche, I think the primary one - and the reason I kept mine, is self-defense instead the home and around the homestead, especially for a lady or teen. Very fast, handy, much lower ear damage in the event of use than a .357 handgun, and powerful enough to thump a wolf, cougar, bear, etc., attacking pets or livestock. Secondarily, particularly using .38 special, it's a decent "woods bumming" rifle (if one does that sort of thing), where you are really just out to enjoy a woods walk more than anything else, but have several smaller species in season, and don't know what you might come across - suppose there's a crossover of seasons on various game and non-game critters like rabbits, grouse, coyote, beaver, bobcat, fox, other furbearers & varmints. It won't completely destroy a grouse, but is enough gun for even a wolf / cougar size, in my view. Even in deer season, it's one choice, though wouldn't be mine, so I don't consider this a good use for it.
"You can get a a red dot mount for a M92" - and you get get regular scope mounts for the Rossi that replace the rear sight - but you need a LER scope with short length, or a dot sight - maybe we're referring to one and the same mount type.
I met a member at the gun club this week that had a Model 94 style in .357 with a suppressor on it. Looked Neu/retro! Said he took his 1st deer @ 100+ yards with it.
So far no one has mentioned the Chiappa. https://www.chiappafirearms.com/p.php?id=107
I'm not a fan of fiber optic sights but the takedown option for easier cleaning is interesting.
Thanks for that but I have no interest in reloading. My ADD would kick in about halfway through loading the third round.
I like the 92 action but have found the Rossi’s to be a little rough..
I picked up this Marlin 1894CS back in the late 80’s. When I started shootings Cowboy Action in the early 90’s, I removed the white spacer from the butt plate and the bullseye emblem from the stock. I then gave it a hand rubbed oil finish.
The only time I have ever had trouble with 38 Spl ammo was during Cowboy Action matches. It functioned great as long as I didn’t work the action to fast.
It has only been used to kill one deer, but it has spent many days at the range.
I have an older (late 1980's) Marlin 1894CS in .357 mag with a Williams peep sight and it is a 100 yard pop can killer. I wouldn't consider anything else but your mileage may vary.....
I have a older Rossi M92 with a 20" barrel it is very accurate as far as open sights go.
I have a couple of Rossi lever guns. A 20 inch .357/38 & a 24 inch 45 colt.
The 45 colt is SMOOTH and feeds everything short of full wadcutters smoothly.
The 20 incher I had to smooth out a bit and now only has an occasional bobble with short 38spl. It is like a giant .22lr when loaded with 38's and just as much fun to shoot.
The problem with a 357 lever rifle is that it's a real chick magnet. Every single female I've ever taken shooting has gravitated to it. If you have a girl-friend or wife and they shoot it, it will get appropriated and you'll never get to shoot it again. You'll need to get two.
My Rossi 16” would even feed .38 special wadcutters. I very foolishly sold it....
I, too, had a Marlin 1894SC, back in the early 90s.
Really nice for already being tapped & threaded for scope mounts. Because of the limited choices in glass back in those days, it had a 3-9x40 on it. So, it needed a hammer extension to clear the rear bell.
Took a little getting used to at the range, set up in bags to zero the scope--easy to forget to allow for that lever 
Fed all the ammo I ever stuffed in it.
Only odd thing was that the only ammo that "felt" right were the very spendy Hornady 200gr JSPs. Otherwise, it was hard to tell .357 from .38spl
Took a deer in the Navasota bottoms and the Brazos river bottoms as well.
I got a 20" Rossi .357 about 3 years ago. Added a Weaver 4x scout scope on the mount that came with it.
Very accurate rifle that takes anything I feed it, .357 or .38Spl, including SWC.
If you can find one, which is not so easy, buy it. With hot Buffalo Bore rounds it will probably do anything a .30-30 will.
Here's another vote for Marlin. Their new catalog and website once again include a .357 mag/.38 spc 1894 carbine. Given their history since Remington bought and moved Marlin (not to mention Remington's financial problems), whether or not any of these are actually produced remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Rossi and JM stamped Marlin .357 mag/.38 spc lever guns have become real unicorns.
Lately, it seems as though Rossi R92s are even harder to find than JM stamped Marlins. My advice to those interested in acquiring a side loading .357 mag/.38 spc lever gun? Bite the bullet and pay the price premium to get a used one in decent condition. IMO, their value will not decrease.
Oh, and here's mine...a JM stamped Marlin 1894CS built in 1996 that, until recently, had languished, unfired, in someones gun safe for more than twenty years. I'm glad I ponied up the asking price 'cuz it's a fun, accurate firearm.
Not to rain on the parade but I would just as soon own a .30-30.
I’d want both.
Most of us that have a lever action in 357, also have one in 30-30. I shoot my 357 more.
I've had several Marlin 1894s over the years and they're fine guns, but the price for even a well used example has gone very high. The only 357 lever gun I have now and have had for quite a few years, is an older Interarms (Rossi) M92 without the abominable "safety". It's been just as fun to shoot as any Marlin, is just as accurate if not more so, and is a lot cheaper than a Winchester M92 if you like that platform more than the side-ejecting Marlin (I'm a lefty so it's a little more forgiving).
FWIW, I also have a Marlin 39 Mountie and a fairly rare Marlin 336 Cowboy in 30-30.
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