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Practical Riflecraft for .357 Magnum Lever Gun

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Mr. Mosin, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    *Not sure if this qualifies as "Training" in "Strategies, Tactics & Training", of if it belongs in "Rifle Country". Moderator/Admin, if you could please move it as necessary ?*


    Alrighty, here we (I) go. Any ideas for defensive/combative training with a .357 lever gun ? I recognize the necessity of a good snap shot, reloading, proper target acquisition, etc. Is there any book/article/video on this topic that would be of help ?


    And, yes. I know of Gunsite's lever gun class. I'm broke. Even if I wasn't, "traveling" is ranked last on my "favorite things to do" list.
     
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  2. oss117

    oss117 Member

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    It would be cool if such courses were more common imho, but they're not. You might have to develop a skill set from other sources. I would start by taking a shotgun course with a pump action. Much of the defensive side should carry over. Both have tubular magazines and keeping them fed from a shell/cartridge carrier is a big part of running them. The shotgun class should cover a lot of the tactical defensive skills too. Next I would start learning about how the cowboy action shooters run the lever guns. They have different ways of holding them for working the action quickly for fast follow-up shots.There are some videos on Youtube if you search "cowboy action shooting lever action".
     
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  3. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I truthfully love the idea of a lever carbine as a defensive arm. Your not going to blow through a mag quickly, and the manual operation forces you to slow down a bit and SHOULD encourage aiming. That said, there are guys who can manipulate a lever gun to make it sound like a Thompson. Quick target acquisition with a heavy emphasis on proper target identification is the name of the game in every game and especially in defensive scenarios. Beyond that it’s aim and fire. How quickly you do the former should determine how quickly you do the latter, but people get excited and let rounds rip and it gets to be a cluster. There is a whole lot to be learned on leverguns from learning about the games, but always be cautious as the games do not necessarily transition over to defense.
     
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  4. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Question with this, not sure if it applies w/ CASS or no. I have a buddy who runs three gun matches (I forget the name). The kit he actually *uses* for these matches is *nothing* like what you'd actually have on the street or in a gunfight. G19 w/ a charging handle, 33 round mag, RDS, and several other things, shotgun with a tube longer than the barrel, and an AR-15 that has so much *junk* on it, I can't identify what half of it is, or the use in any of it. If you ain't learning to run what your actually gonna carry and use, what good does it do you ?

    Does ^that^ apply to CASS ?
     
  5. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Here’s a video that you may find interesting.
     
  6. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Wh
    Where is the video ?
     
  7. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Works fin for me, butt here it is again.
     
  8. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Cane through that time... thank you.
     
  9. Koroner

    Koroner Member

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    One of the shots was after the buzzer, so he got 17 which is still a pass.

    With my .357 lever gun I load one 125gr HP first and then follow up with +P .38 spl HPs.
    The .38s are easier to load, allow an extra round and have near .357 velocities.
    The big kick tells me I've run dry.

    Gunny, my .357 lever action is a top eject Taurus.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  10. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    I had a problem with 38 Spl in my Marlin 1894. When I was shooting Cowboy Action matches they would hang up if I worked the lever to fast. But this was with cowboy loads. I never tried shooting very fast with jacked 38 Spl.
     
  11. straightshooterjake

    straightshooterjake Member

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    If you want lever gun specific training, I don't have resources to offer. But if you want general defensive rifle training, you could ask the instructor of any local defensive carbine class whether a lever action would be welcomed. I actually discussed this recently with the instructor who teaches a carbine course at my club. He said that his recent course was entirely AR-15 variants, and that he was surprised by that. He said he expected some pistol caliber carbines and maybe an AK. I asked him about lever actions, and he said that some courses of fire might have to be adjusted, but that anyone who came with a positive attitude toward improving their skills would be welcomed.

    So for someone with limited experience, I can certainly see how lever action specific training might be needed. But for someone with some experience, and the intent to use a lever action for defense, I think running it right next to other common firearms might be beneficial. It will tell you exactly where you stand compared to other people with their chosen firearms. And you may get to enjoy some shocked expressions if you beat some people with your rifle designed in the 1870's. ;)
     
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  12. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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  13. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Your biggest struggle, though manageable with a little practice, is keeping a tube-fed gun topped off. Running dry and reloading, as we do with detachable magazines, is bad ju-ju. The shotgun class suggested by oss177 will drive this home.
     
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  14. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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  15. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    seems like seeking a SASS group would be your best option. They're drying up though, peaked about 10 years ago here.
     
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  16. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    for those who reload, 38 loads in 357 cases feed very well at high speed in the 94. Mine its clunky all around with 38spl cases.
     
  17. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    That is what I ended up doing for Cowboy Action.
    Mine feeds 38 Spl. FMJ pretty good.
     
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  18. oss117

    oss117 Member

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    Good question and I can't rightly say I know the answer as I am not a CASS shooter. All I can do is make observations based on videos I've seen so anything I say is suspect. I know the lever guns they use are finely tuned and polished to the point they almost cycle themselves. And their ammunition is loaded light. But they don't have a lot of excess paraphernalia hanging off them and I can't think of another discipline where people are running the lever guns fast like that. It might be a case where the defensive rifleman needs to change techniques based on range and situation.
     
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  19. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    @all, thanks for your input and advice. For some reason, THR isn't updating me when a comment is posted....
     
  20. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    If you want to learn to shoot a lever action the first thing is to get a lever action. And since your broke I suggest a Henry 22 caliber. It will let you get a lot of practice for the smallest outlay of money. And before you say you don't want a Henry because of the frame material find one of the reviews by DPris where he shot a Henry 22 over 20,000 rounds with one simple part failure.

    Get the gun and the ammo and get out in the woods and start practicing. And don't discount the 22 for a HD/SD round. There was a kid about 30 years ago that used his Marlin 22 to kill two burglers when he was trapped in the house with them. IIRC he fire a total of 3 shots and the fight was over.

    Don't worry about a speedy reload. If you need one you are in over your head anyway. Want more rounds for practice? Then load up with 22 shorts. IIRC my Marlin 39A holds 24 of them. I am guessing the Henry holds about 20 of them.

    Once you get good with the 22 then you can buy a bigger gun. If you feel the need.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  21. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Very true.
     
  22. kayak-man

    kayak-man Member

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    I’ve been talking with Mr J Daniels tonight, so I’m not sure if my input will be valuable, but I hope it will at least point you in the right direction.

    Look at the material for running a shotgun.

    They are very different tools, but have some striking similarities, mainly being effective range (100 yards), requiring a manual action between each shot, and constant Ammo management. If you want to step up to something like a 35 Rem or 45-70, then I believe the recoil control principles are also similar, but I only have range time with the older, I mean classic, anti buffalo caliber.

    For the actual shooting part of it, you may find some of the dynamic bolt action rifle material (such as the scout rifle) to be pertinent as they tend to have a similar sighting system.

    I have not had the opportunity to test these theories out, but academically, I would assume the shotgun loading techniques would be particularly valuable. Given that the loading port tends to be on the right side, I would look at the methods that involve maintaining control with your forward hand while reloading with your rearward hand as possibly applicable, while the opposite would likely be true for a southpaw.

    I believe both Rob Pincus and Micheal Bane have some stuff on YouTube about running scout rifles which could be valuable, and I’m confident Mr Bane has some lever gun specific videos.

    I have not viewed the magpul “art of the shotgun” DVDs, but having taken Chris Costa’s class, I would expect the information could also be a good starting point for this endeavor.

    I must thank you Mr Mosin, as your question has sparked a few ideas, that I had not previously contemplated, such as attempting to mount a magpul shotgun stock on a lever rifle, among other things (insert Evil Scientist Laugh here)

    Sincerely,
    Kayak-Man
     
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  23. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    While I've not considered a lever gun for defense, I did compete in CAS and have taken multiple defensive carbine and shotgun classes.

    In both carbine and shotgun, probably 65% or more of the drills were weapon immaterial. Other than malfunction drills and loading (and shotgun slug drills) you could design a lever gun class or practice regime using some of the more common long-gun defensive drills. Even some of the malfunction drills weren't entirely weapon specific. A lot of the long-gun drills also have commonality with handgun drills.

    Here's just one site that references common drills that can be used for a lever gun:

    https://www.pewpewtactical.com/best-shooting-drills/
     
  24. qwert65

    qwert65 Member

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    I used to rely on a lever gun for home defense a 30-30 (all I had at the time in long guns)
    Honestly I never considered reloading figured I would just switch to my pistol
    I don’t know if learning “tactical reloads” is even applicable to civilian SD in the real world. How would you carry your ammo? Bandolier? While that video was impressive I can’t see holding ammo like that btw fingers on a two way range not with sweaty hands, plus how would you access it? Leave on nightstand?
    To me a lever gun is perfectly capable as a self defense weapon and better then a lot of options but if you feel you need to shoot more then 10rds or whatever a 357 lever holds- that’s where a semi shines.
     
  25. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    I’m a cowboy action shooter. A skilled shooter can shoot a lever action rifle and single action rifle very quickly and accurately. One limitation of the old guns is that they are time consuming to reload. SASS (the sanctioning body for Cowboy Action Shooting abbreviated CAS, there is no “CASS”) matches usually involve the rifle and revolvers being loaded ahead of the stage and shot dry. Only rarely do we reload the rifle “on the clock” and pistol reloads are almost never done.

    SASS rules limit the external modifications to firearms. Internal modifications are fine. The most popular rifles are the Winchester 1873 and 1866; their mechanically simple actions can be made to run very quickly and easily.

    I think a lever action rifle is as effective as a defensive arm as it was in the 19th Century. You just have to accept the limitations of the design.

    In some jurisdictions a lever action rifle is available where a semiauto is not. It does not have the “scary black rifle” look.
     
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