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Lever-Action Rifles for Self-Defense?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Tequila jake, Dec 1, 2006.

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  1. Tequila jake

    Tequila jake Member

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    How effective would lever-action carbines in .357 Magnum and 30-30 be as defense weapons in situations such as those that occurred in Los Angeles and New Orleans, i.e., armed bands of hoodlums wandering around looking to steal anything they can? I figure the 30-30 would be good out to 100-150 yards and the .357 magnum would be good for 50 yards or so. I also have handguns and a shotgun for the short-range stuff. The reason I'm asking is that I think that a lot of LEOs feel that weapons like the SKS, the AK, and the AR-15 are politically incorrect.

    Tequila Jake
     
  2. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

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    Actually the .357 coming out of a lever action carbine has almost the same range as 30/30, still the 30/30 is better. More like 100yards for the .357. Is the lever action more PC...sort of I guess. It's not like a cop is going to drive by you as you sit on your roof with a marlin 1894 and say...Naahh I'll leave him alone, let me go after the other guy with the AK. A rifle is a rifle. Actually if you want to scare looters off without firing a shot, its better to have a scary, less PC looking weapon.

    a .357 lever action is real handy if you already have a 38 or 357 revolver.
     
  3. Boats

    Boats member

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    On a human, the effective range of the two levers you mention is greater than you suppose. I'd say .30-30 would wallop a guy out to 200-250 and the .357 Mag to about 100-150 yards if you do your part. The thuddy will defeat more cover than will the mag and the rifle will beat thugs in any just about any looted body armor whereas the mag probably wouldn't.

    The weaknesses of the lever are a relatively low initial capacity, they are kind of clumsy at prone, and the inability to use normal spitzer bullets. The strengths are that they are easily topped off, really handy and lightweight for all day carry, and look relatively non-threatening compared to an EBR.
     
  4. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    Just about any reliable firearm that you are proficient in is likely to be adequate self defense for any reasonable situation that one is likley to face.

    Remember that you are likely defending yourself from thugs, who would just assume go somewhere else where the prey is easier. You will likely not be defending against a well trained, well armed unit.

    I would not feel underarmed with a good lever gun.
     
  5. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    A lever action .357 with a good load is easily useful out to 120 yards (though in my own opinion that would be pushing the envelope, after that you might get lucky but who wants to count on luck). It would probably be plenty because there aren't that many urban situations where you could shoot past 100 yards anyway.

    Another potential benefit of a levergun is that you tend to avoid "showdown syndrome" where you blast away and suddenly all your ammo is gone.

    Now on the other hand, it's hard to tell how many rounds you have left in a levergun and reloads are SLOW. I've thought about drilling "witness marks" into my ammo tube any number of times but I never actually do it.

    Another handy benefit is if you have both your handgun and rifle in the same cartridge it sure makes it easier to carry ammo.

    Finally, a .357 chambered rifle or carbine is light and manuverable and (relatively speaking) quiet. (sucks to fire prone though).

    other side of the coin

    I'm a recent SKS convert (and you know nobody is more of a zelot than the recently converted) and I can't even begin to tell you how much it has grown on me.

    An SKS was DESIGNED for combat, which is really what you are talking about if you get to brass tacks about it. Need I really say more?
     
  6. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    Yep an SKS would work very well too, as would a Reminton 700, AR15, AK, Remington 7600 etc.

    One could do much worse then a thutty thutty.
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I'd take the .357 for self-defense. Marlin's little 1894 is 36" long and weighs 6 lb. in .357, so it's quick and convenient.

    .30-30 recoil is pretty unpleasant in a 6 lb. gun. .357 is no big deal.
     
  8. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    There are better choices than say a lever-action .30/30 .357Mag....SKS, Ak-xx, M1, FAL, etc

    But if it is what you have in hand when things go wocka! wocka!...Run Whatcha Brung. A good marksman with a Marlin/Winny levergun will be more effective than somebody just chunking lead around randomly.

    I have a Marlin .30/30, and in situations other than a "Thundering Horde" arriving in Amored Personel Carriers, I'm probably pretty well set. Using one of the leverguns is certainly a "shoot 1/load 1" proposition.
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Some old guy name of Cooper once did some tests and articles on the subject. He found that a lever action was faster to the first hit than an AK and if you know your stuff, not enough slower to the second to worry about. If you are expecting sustained firefights with determined enemies, you need a military weapon. If you need self defense against common criminals, the deer rifle will serve you well.
     
  10. 115grfmj

    115grfmj Member

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    the .357 is the way to go...

    my 1894c has a capacity of 9+1 in .357, or 10+1 in .38. With .357 if you sight in for 3" high at 100 yrds you will have a dead on hold out to 175yds with commercial 158grjsp. I regularly shoot out to 200yds with my peep sight equipped marlin. Not tack driving at that range but 10 round out of 10 on a pie plate (from a rest;) ) at 200 yards:D . In todays day of scopes, I think it amazes people just what you can do with a good peep sight.

    Also the power of the .357 from an 18.5" barrel allows to maintain it's energy and only drop down to the ME of a four inch revolver when it passes the 172 yd mark.

    Granted in a self defense situation you will not be shooting at this range, but practically everthing you will need a carbine for will be in range for the .357.

    Needless to say get an AR if you feel you will need to lay down alot of cover fire, or if you will be trying to fend off a determined fire team assaulting your position:uhoh: .But then your **s is grass anyway:neener:
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  11. Tequila jake

    Tequila jake Member

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    Lever-Action Carbines for Self-Defense

    Thanks for all the helpful recommendations.

    I don't think I'd ever be facing a determined, disciplined, trained enemy. Most likely it would be a few hoodlums roaming town in the aftermath of a hurricane, tornado, or some other natural disaster just to see what they could steal/take away from good folks.

    In such a scenario I think a few well-aimed shots would probably scatter them and send them looking for easier prey. Then, if I had put one of them down for keeps, you can be sure his family would scream bloody murder and sue me for killing their "poor, innocent, misunderstood, underprivileged" son/brother, etc. In such a situation I think my chances with some bleeding-heart jury members would be much better if my weapon were a common-as-dirt, traditional looking M94 or 336 rather than an "evil assault weapon."

    Tequila Jake
     
  12. bclark1

    bclark1 member

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    I've often thought about going for the levergun instead of the AR if I was ever in an HD situation with one or two opponents. Much handier than a shotgun, and I simply can't imagine anyone continuing a fight after taking a 45/70 COM at close range. 30/30 would still pack a heckuva wallop, and a .357's going to be hotter than out of a pistol with a longer barrel. Unless you do a lot of pistol training and have your double-taps down, you'd probably end up doing more damage with followup shots with an easier-to-shoot rifle as well.
     
  13. AK-74me

    AK-74me Member

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    I have too recently been having those same thoughts, I really want a Marlin 1895G and have been trying to convince myself I need it.
     
  14. torpid

    torpid Member

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    I can't speak towards using it for HD, but as someone who does have an 1895G...

    ...you need it.

    :evil:
     
  15. High Planes Drifter

    High Planes Drifter Member

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    Well, TJ, I myself carried my M1A in the days after Katrina, but I wouldnt have felt undergunned with my Marlin. My FIL brought his little .357 lever with him when he came to stay at our house; his power was out longer than ours. I had a few nieghbors who had thier Marlins close at hand also.
     
  16. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Member

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    a 30-30 is a fine defensive weapon. 170 grain FP moving along at 2200 fps is bad medicine for bad guys. Min. of bad guy accurate out to 150 yards.
    I was living in Miami last year, after Katrina, and then Wilma. When Wilma went through, she knocked out power to the whole county. Millions were in the dark. All the street and traffic lights were out, and the cell phones died in a day.
    I carried my Marlin 336Y in the floor board of the car on the way to work for a week.
     
  17. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Member

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    Saw a few posts saying that a lever action is difficult to operate in the prone position. Huh??? I frequently shoot my lever actions prone without removing my cheek from the stock. A simple rotation of wrist to about the position your hand would be in using a pistol gripped rifle and a slight extention of the fingers and there is another one is ready to go. I would even submit that I can get lower with my lever actions than I can with an AR/AK with 30 round magazine.

    I have several lever actions including 357 & 30-30. Both are enjoyable to shoot, accurate and capable general purpose carbines that would likely work well in most self defense circumstances. Not my first picks but certainly up to the task.

    As for the 1895G, I cannot imagine a more perfect hunting rifle. I had nearly 20 hours of unslung still hunting Elk with mine (1895GS) this season in rain, freezing rain and snow across talus slopes and through fir/larch/pine/spruce thickets... up, down.... It was a pleasure to carry and was the envy of camp. I haven't found them to be too fussy about ammo, they are fun to shoot and very addictive. Hearing that big slug hissing through the morning mist and thwacking a target ... oh man... I can't wait for next year!
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Leverlution Hornady .30-30 ammo makes the old .30-30 a true 300 yard deer rifle. That's right, you get a 3" point blank range of 300 yards with the stuff, meaning the bullet never exceeds 3" plus or minus from line of the bore out to 300 yards if properly sighted in. All you have to do is set the cross hairs on the target and the bullet won't be more than 3" off to 300 yards. They use a bullet with a very high ballistic coefficient to achieve this. I've been handloading spitzer boat tails in .30-30 for a long time, but the trick is the leverlution (as someone here explained to me) uses a soft plastic nose insert to keep it from causing a chain fire in the magazine.

    I can shoot 4" groups at 100 yards with my .357 lever carbine. It'll shoot further in a defense scenario, but I limit my hunting to 100 yards with it. I don't hunt much with it anymore, have taken one deer with it using a 158 grain cast handload. The shot was 80 yards and it did a good job with a lung shot, complete penetration. But, I have better hunting rifles in more accurate bolt guns and in more powerful calibers.

    I've fired several lever carbines in .30-30 from the bench and never saw one that couldn't shoot at least 2MOA. They're far more accurate than some "experts" who've never fired one would claim. Never owned a .30-30 lever gun, though. Had a bolt gun that was sub MOA accurate, a Savage M340, and my Contender 12" .30-30 pistol shoots 1.5 MOA with a 2x scope. I think .30-30 is an inherently accurate cartridge from my experience with it.

    I love these SHTF type weekend warrior posts. Some of 'em are down right hilarious. :D If you shoot a man at long range, you are very apt to be brought up on murder charges. If you could have escaped, you have no business shooting. I suppose you could use it to protect property, but is a TV worth the legal fees? I figure my CCW is all I need in any situation I can think of. I ain't real worried about a Road Warrior scenario.
     
  19. smince

    smince Member.

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  20. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Member

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    Better check those tables again. 250 yards I might believe, not 300.
     
  21. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Except that some people here are in rural areas, and there's always the possibility that they could be a distance away shooting at YOU, first. I've always considered that possibility. Looters come when they hear the generator. They see you with a gun and run off...to a distance, and start taking shots back at your house. Police can't come. Not the most likely, but definitely possible.
     
  22. Colt46

    Colt46 Member

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    The .357 might be better urban choice

    I doubt you will be taking many long shots in that kind of environment. The .357 will hold more cartridges, be faster to recover between shots and will be quite effective against human predators. .30-30 would get the nod for a greater effective range and the potential to defeat body armor or shoot through whatever cover opponents could be using.
     
  23. AStone

    AStone Member

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    I'll stay with the thuty thuty.

    Good enough in an urban enviro,
    but a better transition for larger game
    in case one wishes to leave said urban enviro.

    Will also take deer (and if hungry enough) larger herbivores,
    as well as two-legged predators.

    Add an 870 & a .22LR,
    and you're set for the {horrendous} challenges of the next 50 years.

    Horrendous? Who said horrendous?
     
  24. Boats

    Boats member

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    I did not say the lever was tough to shoot from prone, only more awkward than a semi or a bolt.
     
  25. de

    de member

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    Since we are talking about self defense against people here lets put it into perspective. He (man) is the thinnest skinned animal on the planet, and like the mythical hard to kill feral hog, isn't that hard to take down with proper shot placement.
    As for the 3030's range? I have a Winchester Model 94 bought new in 1957, and I regularly practice on 1 gallon jugs of water at 270 yards. I shoot a standard 150 grain jacketed round nose at 2400 fps and the results are spectacular, and I don't miss very often. Being a police officer for 20 years (retired 13 years ago) I can tell you the Texas Dept. of Public Saftey issued the 3030 to Troopers up until about 1977 or 80, and they will put a man down.
    As far as the 357 mag. rifle, I have one of those in a Winchester Model 92, and the effective range is beyond 125 yards.
    The key to the issue is, can you hit at those ranges? I have receiver sights on both rifles and can, but I pratice. They are lower profile than an AR15 or some such rifle, but if it hits the fan so to speak, out comes the AR.
    As far as your shotgun at close range, I have never seen a man get up after taking a solid hit from a 12 gauge regardless of type of load. And I have seen several. Good luck on you decision. JMTCW.
     
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