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Lever-Action .357--Best, Worst?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Eightball, Aug 6, 2006.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Recently acquired S&W 620, and figured out "hey, I love .357/.38, and have long loved lever-action rifles--maybe I should buy one". That being said, I'd obviously like to stick with a .357 chambered Levergun. Every so often, I hear that ".357 chambered have occasional problems feeding .38"--which I don't believe, since there's only 1/16th" difference in length, which you could get that much variance bullet-to-bullet. So, I walked into a local gunshop and handled an Uberti 1873 in .45 LC, just to get a feel for the action--long, and smooth, and very very nice. That being said, that's about the only experience with lever-actions, other than a browning or a Marlin (and I hate the "clunky safeties" of the marlin). So, any advice for which levergun company to look towards when i finally do make this purchase? Thanks!
     
  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    My Marlin 1894C feeds .38 Special rounds without a hiccup, to include 122 grain cowboy bullets. Excellent quality, great accuracy, smooth reliable functioning.

    Very slick right out of the box, and getting better all the time.
     
  3. esldude

    esldude Member

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    I liked and owned a Marlin. It shot 38's without a problem with one exception. Do not use Zero brand reloads. They jam the Marlin requiring partial disassembly almost everytime. Any of several factory 38's worked fine. As did factory 357's. The Marlin is a handy, slick, accurate unit, safety notwithstanding.
     
  4. chunk

    chunk Member

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    get a marlin, you wont regret it!!
     
  5. cnyankee

    cnyankee Member

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    i just got the marlin 1894c but in the instruction manuel it says that i cant use swc rounds and also the length of the round has to be within a certain length...wel i have fmj rounds that are shorted than the specs? any reason why?
     
  6. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    My Marlin 1894C is my favorite long gun of my collection. It's more accurate than i am and i've never had a feeding, firing or extraction problem. .38 specials work just fine and, infact, that's 90% of what I feed it. It's pretty attractive to boot.
     
  7. tube_ee

    tube_ee Member

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    I love mine. Marlin 189C. The Winchesters felt like BB guns to me, the Marlin's a bit heavier and studier-feeling. Feels more like a gun, if that makes sense. I prefer American-made leverguns and revolvers, but that's just me.

    Mine feeds everything I've shoved into it, and shoots them all better than I do. With a full wadcutter, it takes a slower hand on the lever, just to allow the shell time to settle into the carrier. If you work it too fast, they hang up going into the chamber. Doesn't tie up the gun, but stops the lever dead.

    .38s are like shooting a big .22. In a good way. With full-tilt magnums, it's still a light-kicking gun. using slow powders, folks with chrony's report a gain of 300-500 fps over a service-sized revolver. 180s at over 1800 are quite doable, and 158s can break 2k with the right loads. Not all of them will shoot that fast, but most people seem to get around there.

    It'll cover everything from small game to deer, within it's range envelope. I see no reason to scope mine, the iron sights cover any range at which it'd be responsible to shoot at an animal with it. The power within the gun's natural range, is quite good, but a scope would just encourage me to take longer shots than I should. If eyes are a problem, maybe a fixed 2-4 power would be appropriate.

    As a home-defense weapon, it's pretty good, too. Holds 10 rounds of full-power .357s, can be reloaded from a pocket while still being ready to fire, accurate and easy to shoot. Others have commented on lawyerly aspects before, but I'm not really sure that's a real issue.

    The only downside is the rate at which it eats ammo. If you shoot it like a big .22, and you will, you'll go through rounds like it was a .22. If you don't reload now, you'll start. You'll have to.

    Get one. You'll understand.

    --Shannon
     
  8. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Member

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    Any time you ask about the best and worst of anything you open a can of argumentative worms who start wetting on each other.

    There's someone everywhere who has had a great or terrible example of any brand, and isn't reticent about sharing his (it's always a he) opinion.

    I personally like the now out of production Browning 92's in .357. You often see them for sale on gunsamerica.com. They are usually highly regarded by cowboy action shooters, who can puta lot of lead downrange.

    Mine won't feed most .38's well, but has never bobbled a .357. I had a Lyman aperture sight put on, and a trigger smoothing job, and it's my favorite centerfire rifle.

    standard.jpg
     
  9. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    Rossi (Interarms) Puma 92

    I like mine... it doesn't have some idiot lawyer's (oops, redundant term) :cuss:
    required safety on it. Slick enough, handles 38s very well. 20" barrel is nice, and I'm going to break it down and smooth the action up some this winter. I certainly don't have anything against other brands but I like the handling of the Rossi enough I bought another in .45 Colt. It's quality, well fitted and finished, and certainly accurate - 1 1/4" groups at 50 yards from an ironsighted levergun shooting pistol ammo is good enough for my needs. 10 shots, and oh by the way, the price is very competitive. It's worth a look if you're shopping around. The Puma has pretty graceful lines and a nice rather dark stock, more eye appeal than most if that means anything at all, not a big deal in my book but it doesn't lose points for being ugly, something I can't say for some of 'em. My eyes are old, so I need a receiver sight like the pic above, but
    it and its .45 cal brother are guns I've bought and never been sorry for it.
     
  10. jdl357

    jdl357 Member

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  11. jdl357

    jdl357 Member

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    He tuned it for 38 specials, but also feeds 357's just as well.
    98736560.gif
     
  12. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

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    You really can't go wrong. I adore my Marlin 1894C too. They're an absolute hoot. I mostly run .38 specials through mine and haven't had a problem yet, aside from one guy short-stroking the lever and jamming it up real good on the range one day. Didn't take much to fix it and I let anybody that shoots it know too fully rack the lever down before coming back up.

    No problems after that.

    I got my brother (not a gun guy) out to the range a couple of weeks ago. My collection of guns is geared toward what I would call "fun stuff" as that's the only type of shooting I do. So, I had him out there shooting an AK-47 clone and an AR-15 for a while. Stuff that any guy can identify and have a blast (no pun intended) shooting.

    After a while I whipped out my 1894C and shoved some .38's in there for the guy. An odd transition, I suppose, but he really took a liking to it. He didn't think it would be that much fun after shooting an AK, but it was!

    Regarding the safety on the Marlin -- is there really any compelling reason to use it? My standard practice is to cock the rifle, put the safety on, lower to half cock, load the rifle, take the safety off, and rack a round into the chamber. If I were carrying it in the field I'd likely just rack a round in the chamber, lower to half cock, then take the safety off and thumb the hammer back when it was needed.

    Are there lever-guns out there with safeties that are easier to operate than the Marlin's?
     
  13. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    I HATE the marlin "chunky" safeties. Maybe I should have made that clearer. That, and I like Octagonal Barrels. Seeing howas I started the thread, I might have made that clearer, too.

    But, what, exactly, makes the Marlin the "Mother of all" Leverguns? I've seen many marlins pass through my work, and I hate the lever-throw on every single one; Excessively Lawyered-up, clunky Actions need not apply for this gun, no matter how "safe" it is--this is going to be a "fun/range" gun, I don't need it to protect against all of the elements, CA lawyers, T2000 Terminators, Toddlers, anti-gunners, ants, rocks, etc etc etc (anyone seeing my point, here?).

    Anyone have an opinion on the Uberti, one way or another (price aside)? And, anyone have a .357 Chambered (not .38 chambered) that has no problem feeding .38?

    So far, good feedback. And some slick lookin' leverguns. But I like the 8-sides......stupid expensive tastes of mine:eek: .
     
  14. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    I have a Uberti chambered in .357/.38 that I love.

    It's the deluxe 1873 from Taylor's with 20" octagonal barrel, color case hardened reciever, and checkered pistol grip American walnut stock. Not only is it very accurate and soft shooting with cowboy loaded .38s, it also happens to be the most beautiful gun I've ever owned, but also the most expensive at $900ish retail.

    It would go hansomely with a 640, but looks even better my 5.5" Taurus Gaucho chambered in .357/.38 if I say so myself. Can you tell I love my cowboy guns? :)

    That said, if price is an issue my first rifle in .357/.38 was a Puma Legacy 16" with large loop lever handle. Handy rifle, light and shoulders quickly. Took the removal of a burr on the ejector to make it eject reliably, but it's been a great performer since that, and it cost about $400.

    Tex
     
  15. achildofthesky

    achildofthesky Member

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    Marlin is just a well built rifle...

    Eightball:

    I too don't care for the safety but you could either forget it or check out the leverguns website under articles and there is some info on a "safety delete" kit that installs pretty easily. I haven't got irritated enugh by the safety to delete it though. While I can't speak for the Rossi's (I do like octagon barrels but perfer short barrels) and the like as I have not shotone yet, I do have a pair of 1894 SS LTD (357 & 44 mags) editions from/for Davidsons with 16 1/2" (+-) barrels, Laminated grey stocks and Williams fire sights that I really enjoy shooting. Either one is quite light and simply a ball to shoot. I traded a standard 1894 in 44mag for the 357 + some cash as I wanted the short barrel and stainless and liked the firesights, but the regular 1894 44 was my introduction to leverguns and I could smack myself for not trying one sooner. I fond it easy as pie to skip cans at 25 - 40 yards rapid fire and also was able to shoot plastic on the fly (a safe location and low angle shots), I don't claim to be to be the worlds best markswoman but the Marlin fits, hefts, points and fires well. Typically I shoot the 357 at least once a week about 50 to 100 rounds and 0 misfires or jams. The action now has gotten pretty smooth as compared with new, given about 400 rounds and about 4-500 cycles on the lever on an unloaded gun. The trigger is a bit heavier than I'd like (soon to be addressed with a WWG trigger happy kit) but it is otherwise snick-snick slick. For the time being I have put a 4x Burris mini/matte on it with a Leupold one piece mount and some Warne QD rings that see it return pretty dang close to zero when I removed it to see what would happen. At 100 yards it shoots quite nicely and I may well use it for deer this year even though I have several other decent choices to use (30-06, 30-30, 44 Mag, .338 Win mag) as the the place I likely will hunt is pretty heavily wooded.

    I also have a Winchester trapper 30-30 AE pre safety and while It is a decent rifle I like the feel of the 1894 by a wide margin. I reckon saying "it fits" is pretty accurate. Granted my universe of leverguns has been limited to marlin 336 & 1894's and Winchester but I am quite happy with what I have.

    I do find the idea of the Rossi/Puma/Legacy in 454 intriguing in SS and 16" barrel but that will have to wait for a bit.

    My .02c fwiw

    Patty
     
  16. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Anyone else? Anything?

    I see that a lot of people think the Marlin's the best (alas, no octagonal bbl, which might put it out of the running), but which one is the "worst", that I should stay away from?
     
  17. steven04

    steven04 Member

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    For a traditional lever action , its Marlin all the way for me.

    I have an 1894C in .357 mag. It feeds .38's but I've always found mine to provide much better accuracy with the longer .357 cases, even when downloading for paper punching at 25 yards.

    The Marlin action appears to be stronger than the Winchester or Rossis copies that other guys at our club have. We hold informal bowling pin comps fairly often, and the guys that jam the action during fast and furious matches always seem to use a Winnie or Rossis...

    I also like the solid top reciever and side eject that makes scope mounting easy.

    If you want an octagonal barrel, go for the Marlin Cowboy series.

    I also have a wild west trigger happy kit and hammer spring in mine, which improves it.

    My modern lever action is an AR in .30 carbine....ever seen one of these before ? (Its a UK thing :D )

    la302.gif
    CIMG0945.gif

    Cheers
    Steven
     
  18. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    Mother of all WHAT?

    Oh, PLEASE. :barf:

    That's a Marlin advertizement you must be looking at. I had to laugh years ago when they invented microgroove rifling thinking... yeah, wonder how that shoots cast lead? This was before Cowboy Action was anything - like the 1970s. Son of a Gun!! Wow! They (hold on to yer hat pardner) DISCOVERED... BALLARD RIFLING!!! :what: Whoa! Like DEEP Grooves for LEAD!!! Imagine! And they made it a big deal. Oh, please.

    Not to kick 'em in the seat, mind you - it's not like they sold their souls to the Belgians (do NOT get me started on Winchester). But, come on... they found out that new and improved wasn't at all better than something a century older. Sheesh.

    Personally, I think they're clunky, and anybody who caved in and put manual safeties on leverguns is about as bright IMO as the ones putting safeties on revolvers. That being said.... hey - if it makes you happy, go for it. I'm pretty sure, yeah, the action is stronger than the 92 and I THINK more than the 94, too. My taste - I think the 92 and its close copies made by several are fairly graceful, and the 94 a close second. That Savage 99 was in a class all its own. I will admit, the Rossi 92 dumps ejected brass on my head, something that sideshucking Marlin won't do. :scrutiny: I'd heard they're pretty popular with the Cowboy Action crowd but I have no hard data to back it up with.
     
  19. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    :D It makes me happy to see someone else with the same mindset. Unforunately, my Smith is one of those "safeties on revolvers".....but I'll live.

    And Steven.......WHAT ON EARTH???????? Do explain that AR in .30 Carbine levergun with a shotgun scope on top. It bedazzles and confuses me.
     
  20. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Now, I've seen everything. Is that truly lever-operated?
     
  21. Nhsport

    Nhsport Member

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    I have the marlin cowboy in 44mag and it is a great gun,I expect the 38c (cowboy or competition) would also be good.
    I wouldn't give you 2cents for one of their revolvers (I think they are poor copies of S&W) but the Puma/Rossi lever guns are pretty nice.Several of the guys at my club have them and I shoot them a bit and they run pretty slick. One of the models is mostly stainless which besides giving it a different look is a good thing for a banging around gun.
    I think much like BULLET BOB in that I believe nothing is finer than a lever gun with a nice trigger and a peep sight!
    I have the marlin 44,2 Win 94's in 30/30 and 32win sp,and a Henry goldenboy rimfire. I need to talk my friend out of his marlin 39a takedown (.22lr) with high grade wood. Dummy has a $10 wall mart scope on it and I know for certain he has shot it only twice in the ten years he has had it! I also need to look around and grab up the full sized marlin lever gun in 45/70
     
  22. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    I have an 1894E and an 1894C Marlin Lever action in 357 mag. Both have been 100% trouble free. Steel plate at 100 yards with open sights? No problem. :evil:
     
  23. michael_aos

    michael_aos Member

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    Check out the Cimarron Texas Brush Popper.

    [​IMG]

    I've read a lot of comments that the 1873's feed more reliably and operate smoother than the 1892's and onward.

    I bought an 1866 for plinking.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. steven04

    steven04 Member

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    I don't want to hi-jack the thread, but briefly, yes, the .30 AR is a lever action, cycled by using the pistol grip. It uses modified M1 mags (15 and 30 rounds IIRC) and new CNC mags that allow me to use Speer 125gr TNT handloads.

    It was also available in 9mm, but cycling reliability was an issue.

    The Front Vert grip allows the shooter to anchor the rifle into the shoulder whilst the action is cycled.

    Rifle is built by a UK company called http://www.southern-gun.co.uk/

    Magazione review (scanned) of the LA30 can be found here: http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=F867CC3E6ED582F5

    Magazine article detailing the history of this lever action can be found here:
    http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=DA42040C1DCC8DA8

    ETA: The scope is a Simmons 1.5-5X20, do you guys put them on your Shotguns too ? ?

    Cheers
    Steven
     
  25. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Member

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    Michael aso, no offense, really; but you need to read some more - nothing is smoother or more reliable than a 92 in lever actions.
     
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