Lever-Action .357--Best, Worst?

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

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  1. Rock_Steady

    Rock_Steady Member

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    I've got the 1894c and love it. My only problem with it is that I don't get to shoot as much as I want. Honestly, I have never had a misfeed when I do my part. I don't think it is clunky - just sturdy. I removed the crossbolt on mine, and the kit works well and is barely noticable.

    This is my go-to gun, my knocking around the farm gun. Had some issues initially getting set up with good sights for it - the original front sight post too low. Other than that, it's great!
     
  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    My Rossi 1892 (.45 Colt) is smooth and reliable, but only since it has come back from Steve Young. It was stiff and had ejection issues prior to his work.
     
  3. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I have a Rossi 92 in .357/38 that I bought used years ago. I think it was my first rifle larger than a .22 LR. Good gun.
     
  4. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    My '73 is a lot smoother than my '92, but I'm willing to believe that it's more the individual rifles than the action.

    Tex
     
  5. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    If it stronger than the '92, then it is stronger than the '94. The '92 is the stronger of these two actions. The '92 is a shrubk down '86. The '94 is the result of browning trying to fit a true rifle caliber into the same form factor as the '92. I can't say whether the marlin actions are as strong as the '92, but they probably surpass the winchester '94.

    Usually yup. The 73s and earlier ('66 and henry) feed the cartridge straight into the chamber. They do not have any sort of feed ramp nor do they need one. In the newer actions, cartridges have to negotiate a feed ramp which is why full wadcutters and semi-wadcutters can cause problems.
     
  6. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Member

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    I'd like to amend my statement to say that original Winchester's and Browning reproductions are smoother! Sorry about that!
     
  7. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So...wouldn't that mean that an Uberti is the smoothest, since they're accurate reproductions down to the thread on the screws from the original 1873s?
     
  8. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So does anyone really have any opinoin/experience with Octagon Barrel .357 leverguns? Round is nice, but it just isn't doing it for me.
     
  9. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    Only ones I know that are offered in octagonal are the various cowboy action replicas. Uberti is good to very good and Rossi/Puma is fair to good. In this as in most things, you get what you pay for finish wise, but most of the models on the market should function. Action wise your main two choices are an 1873 clone or 1892 clone in .357/.38 chambering. As I mentioned I've had good luck with both a Puma '92 and a Uberti '73. The Uberti is very good, and the Puma worked well after a little minor work.

    Tex
     
  10. Rem700

    Rem700 Member

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    Any of the mentioned guns can be had with octagon barrels.
    The 66 is 38 special only
    The 92 at least for cowboy action shooting is probably the least desirable of the bunch crappy action unreliable feeding etc.
    The Marlin is probably the middle of the road can have feed issue with 38spl but can handle hot .357 loads. There is a allen set screw that can be tighened on the safety which makes it unmovable, Or look for a Ludwig screw appx $10 replaces the safety and looks like a screw just like all the others already on the gun.
    73 can be tempermental with 38sp handloads if oal gets to short but will run just about any commercial 38 ammo. The action is not as strong as the Marlin if wanting to shoot hot 357 loads.
    The reason for not useing swc is the same for not useing rn or pointy bullets in a tube magazine the bullet is resting on the primer of the cartridge in front of it.
    I shoot a 73 in CAS but would use my Marlin for regular plinking it used to be my CAS gun until I moved upto a 73. If CAS shooting is in your future and you want to be competitive get a 73 otherwise get a Marlin.
     
  11. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    What causes the .38 feeding problems?
    I don't reload, yet. Would any of them have problems with a factory .357 and factory .38? This is the kinda stuff I started the thread to find out about. Thank you.
     
  12. Gohon

    Gohon Member

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    I think you may want to re-read that. My manual says wad-cutters (WC) not semi-wad-cutters (SWC).
     
  13. dracphelan

    dracphelan Member

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    My manual states that the overall length of rounds must be at least 1.4 inches (if I remember correctly). Apparently, some 38s are shorter than this. The manual also says to not use aluminum cased ammo (Blazer).
     
  14. Rem700

    Rem700 Member

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    OAL length is usually a timing issue. If the cartridge oal length is to short the carrier allows a second to start out of the mag tube and causes a jam, ie a shell on the carrier and another half on the carrier and half in the mag tube.
    Most levers will function without flaw with .357 ammo but may have issue with 38 ammo depending on bullet weight and profile. In general the 38s will work with 158gr and heavier bullets but when shooting 125gr and lighter bullet profile becomes a issue. OAL of a 38 loaded with say 125gr TC is generally longer then say a 125gr rnfp. I used to shoot a Marlin for appx a year and then switched to a 73 for CAS. I use 125gr TC (truncated)bullets functioned fine in both rifles but neither will work with 125gr rnfp bullets. I shoot appx 10k of rifle rds a year. The only reason for switching from a Marlin to a 73 was the side eject for CAS, When running a left hand sweep of targets the shell would sometimes bounce on the carrier and cause a bobble right hand sweeps where no problem because the shell is being kept stable against the receiver. A 73 is top eject and isnt prone to this problem. Keep in mind this is running at top speed for me which is appx 10rds in 5 sec. Also I have appx $600 in my Marlin and about $1500 in each of my 73s includeing action work springs, short stroke, aluminum carrier, ect. In general non of this applies to the 92 unless sent to Nate Kiowa Jones first, Most people found to be having issues with there rifles are generally found to be shooting Rossi or Puma 92s which where designed to shoot rifle length cartridges. The 73 and the 94 Marlin where designed around pistol cartridges so generally shoot pistol cartridges better as that was what they where designed for.
     
  15. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Wow, steven04

    Always wondered how those UK leveraction ARs fuctioned.

    And yes, we put scopes on shotguns (mostly for biggame slugs).
    I have a 2.5x20 on my Mossberg bullpup.

    I own a .30-30 Marlin and a Rossi Puma .357 and love both.
    The '94 Marlin .357 is a little "clunkier" than the '92 Puma.
    For jacketed bullets and 'scopes, the Marlin microgroove is the
    best way; for cast bullets and open sights, no.
     
  16. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    Mr Acheson Queston 92/94?

    Your Quote:

    HTML:
    If it stronger than the '92, then it is stronger than the '94. The '92 is the stronger of these two actions. The '92 is a shrubk down '86. The '94 is the result of browning trying to fit a true rifle caliber into the same form factor as the '92. I can't say whether the marlin actions are as strong as the '92, but they probably surpass the winchester '94.
    Really? I'd have guessed otherwise, but that would be a guess. I assumed that since a 94 does well with 30-30 and is a newer design, it would have been stronger, but not so? Just wondering. I have a pair of Rossi 92s, and but for the fact that when they eject, the brass goes straight up and falls down directly on my head, I like them very much, more than my Win 94AE in .44Mag.:scrutiny:

    I'm mostly a boltgun guy myself, but the leverguns certainly have a place in my gun rack. I do a lot of short range shooting where something like, say, an 8mm M98 just isn't a good idea.
     
  17. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Here's my take on the pistol caliber lever actions, based on quite a few years shooting them in the cowboy action game:

    Uberti 1873:

    The good: The smoothest action by far, and also the most reliable at feeding if your ammo is within the right OAL range. With a little polishing, the 1873 lever can be operated with just a few fingertips, which is how the best cowboy shooters do it. The 1873 is the single most popular rifle in the cowboy action game, despite its high price, because it is the fastest and most reliable. They can be run faster than a lot of semi-autos. A decent cowboy shooter with a slicked-up '73 can run off ten aimed shots in about 3-4 seconds (the best get it down to 2 seconds), and will have 3-4 spent cases flying through the air at any given time. A good part of the reliability and smoothness of these rifles is the action design. Cartridges are lifted from the mag tube by a brass elevator that keeps them horizontal, and then they are pushed into the chamber by the bolt. In the Marlins and later Winchesters (92 and 94), the cartridge feeds at an angle and has to make a turn into the chamber.

    The bad: It's expensive ($850-1100 depending on model and where you buy it). It's heavy (but that also helps keep recoil to a minimum). The toggle link action is not particularly strong (it can't handle the pressure of a .44 Magnum, for example, which the Marlin and Winchester 92 and 94 can).

    Marlin 1894:

    The good: The Marlin 1894 is the 2nd most popular rifle in cowboy shooting. It's not quite as smooth as the 1873, but with some slicking up can be almost as fast and reliable in expert hands. It is a much stronger action than the 1873. It is still somewhat more likely than the 1873 to jam or throw out a live round when being worked very quickly, but that won't impact you if you're not trying to win action matches with it. It can be easily single loaded through the ejection port (the 1873 cannot). it is much easier to scope, if you want optics. It is considerably cheaper than the 1873 Uberti.

    The bad: As I mentioned, it isn't quite as slick and reliable as the 1873. That's about it. The lower price and greater strength mean that it's the better choice for many people.

    Winchester 1892 replicas:

    The good: The 1892 was Winchester's replacement for the 1873. It is a John Browning design and is much lighter than the 1873, meaning it is quicker handling and easier to carry. The action is also much stronger, so it can handle high pressure loads like the modern .44 magnum.

    The bad: Like the 1873, it ejects from the top, so optics can be difficult to mount. It's been out of production by the original Winchester for a LONG time. Replicas have been made by Rossi, LSI and Browning over the years, and some are quite poor quality. The best replicas have been the Browning models (actually built by Miroku in Japan). They are typically quite clunky out of the box, and jam-o-matics are not uncommon. The 1892 typically needs the services of a GOOD gunsmith before it will run smoothly and reliably. Without proper tuning and the correct cartridge OAL, they are prone to "stovepipe" when you work the lever too fast. Even with proper tuning and ammo, it will never be as smooth and reliable as an 1873. If you are going to get an 1892, I recommend getting one from Steve Young, the "92 Specialist", who knows them better than anyone.
     
  18. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    That isn't what Winchester said when they brought out the '92 a hundred years ago. Back then it was praised for it's shorter throw, lighter weight, and stronger action.

    The real downside of the '92 compared to the '73 is cleaning. The '73 was designed for black powder so cleaning it is a breeze. Just remove the sideplates and spray it out. The '92 is a nightmare to take down and clean both in comparison to the '73 and by any measure I can think of.
     
  19. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    The '92s ejection pattern is on purpose. It ensures everyone firing them wears a cowboy hat.:D

    To my knowledge the '92 is a stronger action. The 92s two redundant locking bars beat the 94s single (but beefier) locking bolt. The '92s bars are also in a better position (i.e. not at the very end of the bolt). But I'll have to admit I have never done a complete engineering analysis of the actions in question.
     
  20. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    That's not at all inconsistent with what I said. In fact, I pointed out that the 92 is much lighter and has a much stronger action, thanks to its dual locking lugs. I don't know about the shorter throw part, but I think the 73 and 92 are pretty comparable in that regard.

    I have both a Browning 92 (in 44 mag), as well as several toggle link Ubertis (an 1866 and an 1873 in 44-40, which have identical actions). There is no question that the Ubertis require a lot less effort to cycle the action. As I said, I can index my thumb against the stock and cycle the action on the 66 and 73 with a flick of my second and third fingertips. That's not really possible with the 92, and my 92 has been slicked up by the King of 92's, Mr. Steve Young (aka Nate Kiowa Jones) himself.

    The real selling points for the 1892 vs. the 1873 back in the day were the lighter weight and ability to handle hotter cartridges (and the weight difference is very noticeable -- the 1873 receiver is a very big hunk of steel). If those factors are important to you, then you should go with the 92 or the Marlin 1894. If weight and action strength aren't that important to you, but reliability of feeding and speed are, then the 1873 is the better choice. Again, there's a reason that the 1873 is by far the most popular rifle in cowboy action shooting despite its heavier weight, higher cost and weaker action -- it is smoother, faster and more reliable.
     
  21. MikeS.

    MikeS. Member

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    1894c

    The 94c is a nice piece of work. I've owned 1 since 1992 and have shot a couple thousand 357 rounds through it with VERY few feed problems. A fun gun to shoot for sure.

    I recently bought a Rossi that has some nice engraving work on it, it too is 357magnum. I've only fired a box of ammo thru it but am looking forward to many more.

    MikeS.
     
  22. AgentOrange

    AgentOrange Member

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    i know this in an old thread, but man, that "
    lever action ar-15" is the ugliest thing i ever seen
     
  23. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    I think it is pretty damn neat... I would like to see it in action.
     
  24. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    I hate the Marlin safeties, too, but Marlin guys know about the solutions to that one. The simplest is to ignore it, but sometimes something might bump it to the "on" position. An E-clip or O-ring can be used to hold the safety button in the "fire" position. There is a kit that replaces the safety with a bolt that has no real function, but looks like it belongs there. I have read of folks replacing the safety with a mount for a saddle ring, and being a lefty, who wants a saddle ring on the right side of a rifle, I am going to research that for myself.

    The most elegant solution is a pre-safety Marlin, of course.

    With just about any other firearm on the planet, I would advise against disabling any safety device, but these afterthought add-on crossbolt Marlin (and Winchester) safeties seem unnecessary to me, and being a lefty, for me they totally in the wrong direction, anyway.

    Moreover, I am always on the lookout locally for a nice Browning B92.

    I've have no bad experience with lever rifles, so won't comment on the "worst" part.

    Edited to add: Ah, just noticed this is a necro-post. Cabin fever seems to dredge up lots of these on various forums.
     
  25. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    You're telling me :eek:
     
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