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Ruger 77/357 or Henry Big Boy 357

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by GunnerShotz, May 18, 2012.

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  1. GunnerShotz

    GunnerShotz Member

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    I've never owned a lever action rifle let alone a .357, but I've decided I want one pretty bad... a .357 rifle that is. I like the idea of the Ruger, but haven't even seen one up close, let alone fire it. The Henry is a quality rifle I'm sure, but again, no experience with it.

    The two are at the top of my list for now. Same category, different platforms. Ideally, folks who have any experience with both will chime in. Other suggestions are okay too.

    For medium sized game, plinking fun, portability, durability, and reload forgiving... which would you pick?


    Oh, and how's the action and accuracy out of the box?
     
  2. ctdair

    ctdair Member

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    Love My Henry Big Boy. 44 mag version and 22 rimfire. Henry is a company that will stand behind what it sells. Marlin fans will chime in soon saying buy one , not having a Marlin to compare to can't comment there. But I cannot say enough good things about the Henry and the way they do business.
     
  3. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I personally have never cared for Henry products and yes I have owned them. Their .22's are made with very mediocre/cheap quality materials glossed over with a pretty nice finish. The styling of the Big Boy while also very nicely finished with good wood, is "boxy," especially the receiver, and a bit "tacky" in my opinion. Marlins and Winchesters are much "trimmer" and despite the fact that they aren't nearly as "glossy", I'd rather have even a “Remlin” Marlin or a Rossi/Winchester 92 clone than the Henry. As far as the Ruger is concerned, while I have nothing aginst the rifle, I would much rather have a quick and handy lever action .357 plinker, small/medium game gun than a bolt action .357
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  4. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    This is a tough one. While I generally agree with BP and his comments on leverguns, those Rugers are pretty slick. I have a couple of Winchester Trappers in .357 and am really considering selling one to purchase a Ruger. I handled one at a store the other day and it was very nice. I will probably end up keeping the Winchester, as they are very hard to find, and saving up for the Ruger thus adding yet another gun to the collection.

    As for the Henry, I have not handled one. They do seem bulky and oversized for the .357, but that is based on me reading the specs. I would try and find one near you and handle it.
     
  5. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    The Big Boy is way overweight and overpriced. I don't mean a few ounces but two full pounds heavier than the competition. I do not find them to be particularly well-made and all the customer service in the world does not make up for an inferior product. While the Ruger is a fine rifle and no doubt it would serve well, I just would prefer a levergun and see no disadvantages to choosing so. Only advantages. One of the various 1892 replicas would be my first choice as well.
     
  6. Magwa45

    Magwa45 Member

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    I was lucky enough to pick up a Marlin 1894C in .357 Mag a few years ago. I put a scope on it and it is a great gun. It is just terrible what has happened to Marlin. You have to look for an old gun and no one is going to let go of something like that. I guess you have to look for an estate sale.
     
  7. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    I have the Henry .357 Mag. It is without a doubt my favorite rifle. I've shot deer with it and any time I go to the range it goes with me and you can bet that whenever I go to the range I come home with no .357 ammo. It's all been shot up! I mounted a tang site on it and from a seated position with my elbows on my knees I can easily shoot groups that my palm will cover. I like it so much I am thinking of buying another to mount a scope on.

    The only down side (if you can call it that) is that the Henry .357 is heavy. Stated weight is 8.78 lbs. At that weight it is too heavy to be a carry all day up and down hills rifle. Doesn't bother me as I put a carry strap on it and I am a "stand hunter" so I just sling it to carry to my stand. One nice thing about that weight is that it makes the gun rock steady when shooting offhand. For me, light weight rifles just wobble all over the place shooting offhand whereas the Henry .357 is solid.

    Get the Henry. You'll love it!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    Nice buck 2few...
     
  9. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    THANKS! That was my second buck that season. The other was a puny little spike that I shot to get out of the gene pool. The Henry .357 dropped them both in their tracks with enough blood sprayed around that if they had run, tracking them would have been a piece of cake. The Henry .357 is a FINE deer rifle for 100 yards or less and a BIG FUN plinker!
     
  10. GunnerShotz

    GunnerShotz Member

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    Appreciate the feedback folks, thank you!

    I had seriously considered a Marlin 1894c a few years ago (which still isn't out of the question really either), but at the time they were scarce (still seem to be) and vanishing faster than I could find them, so I gave up. Is taking a chance on a new 'Marlington' the answer (if I can even find That)? IDK with the current state of affairs

    I Need to hit a gun show's what I need to do!

    Obviously, handling any of these considerations would be ideal... side by side, even better. I've got up to a grand to sink into it, but Half that would be much nicer. The reality.... ?? Probably won't happen.

    That newish Ruger bolt (which looks and sounds well made, accurate and reliable) ... Or a Good lever (if I can find one)?... That's what I'm wavering on so much now. You know, I'll probably end up with the first thing a can find in the category at a halfway decent price and be happy with it.

    That was most certainly a nice encouragement in the Henry direction though 2few.
     
  11. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    Glad to Gunner!

    No personal experience with them, but I wouldn't touch a new Marlin. There is a forum...marlinlovers or marlinowners....something like that....and they are very unhappy campers.

    If you are looking for a gun a little less expensive than the Henry, look at a Rossi. "Street price" is under $500 and they are considered sound guns. Usually a little rough right out of the box, but you can slick 'em up and have a real good rifle.

    Happy shopping!
     
  12. Furncliff

    Furncliff Member

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    Older Marlin 1894c .38 special/.357magnum. I don't know anyone who has been disappointed. This is my daughters favorite rifle and with Skinner peep sights and my hand loads it's very accurate. The time you spend looking for one (and it will take some time) will be time well spent. Because the new Marlin guns are such trash the older ones are becoming more valuable. Paying a bit too much now will pay off later.
     
  13. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Both are no doubt fine rifles. I think the Henry by far will have the better fun factor. That would be my deciding factor.
     
  14. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    I agree with you sheepdog! I buy a lot of guns and most of them go down the road after a while, but my Henry .357 won't be going anywhere except to the woods or the range with me!
     
  15. exiledtoIA

    exiledtoIA Member

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    If it's .357 you want and don't have your heart set on a specific action give the H&R Handi-Rifle a look. I have one in .357 Magnum and it fun to shoot. Admittedly it's only a single shot.
     
  16. whetrock

    whetrock Member

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    My dad owns/shoots a Henry Big Boy in .44 and I must say it's a quality piece. With that being said they are, well...... A bit too ornate IMO for a woods gun and kinda a pain to load seeing as they load like a rimfire lever. If you can handle those 2 cons that I associate with the Big Boy you should find it to be an excellent choice, but for me I like being able to top off my magazine and appreciate a lower profile blued finish in place of the superbly polished brasslite receiver still it's a fine rifle and the quarrels I have with it are pretty much just personal and overall it's a good woods worthy lever rifle regardless of how I feel about it.However if I were in the market for a 357 lever rifle I'd probably skip the marlins and go for a Rossi R92 and have it slicked up by Steve'z guns or I'd just go for the more modern but IMO more practical Ruger M77/357, still I wouldn't sweat it too much all of the rifles you have in mind will perform the task you expect out of them it just boils down to personal preference in the end.
     
  17. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    whetrock....

    Just a heads up...The receiver on the Henry Big Boy rifles is solid brass. It's the "Golden Boy" that has the Brasslite receiver cover. The actual receiver on the "Golden Boy" is steel.
     
  18. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Pretty sure the actual receiver on the Golden Boy is zinc.
     
  19. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    No sir. The receiver is steel. What you see when you look at the gun in a cover that fits over the actual receiver to give it the traditional lever action look. HRA calls it brasslite, but IIRC the actual metal is ZAMAC or something close to that.

    Keep in mind that the Henry rimfire guns are a design dating back to the 40's or 50's originated by a German company that sold them to Ithica I think it was. Mr. Imperato Sr. was involved with Ithica (I think it is) at the time and eventually wound up owning the design.

    If you would like coroberation on all this, let me know and I'll dig it up tomorrow. Just back from 6 hours in a 120 degree kitchen and I'm too beat to go dig this all up now.

    As an aside, HRA made a limited run of "brasslite" receiver covers for their "blued" models for a bunch of guys on RFC. I have 2 of them.
     
  20. whalerman

    whalerman member

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    I recently purchased my first Henry and I love it and the company. Buying one is something we all should do, at least one time or another.

    Not to shift the focus here but do any of you guys ever consider Browning BLR's when you're thinking about these quick, lever type rifles? I have old Marlin's, old Winchester's, the new Ruger bolts in .357 and .44, but I like my BLR too. It has a lot of capability the others don't offer. Money doesn't matter as much now that everything is so expensive.
     
  21. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    whalerman...

    I have been considering a BLR for quite a while. Only thing holding me back is that I want a take down version and have been unable to find any reports on how the takedown models are about returning to zero after being taken down. Any intel for me?
     
  22. 1madss

    1madss Member

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    I've been looking for a lever 357 for about year now. Always loved the Henry story and their CS sounds fantastic. I really wanted to pick up a Henry 001 a few months back, but came home with a pristine 1982 Marlin 39a. The gun just fit me better.

    On the 357, what made my choice was the side loading gate. I have many 22 rifles and wanted something that did not have to be loaded from the front so my choice was the Marlin 1894. After hunting for one for quite some time now I just purchased a 1978 1894C off of GB for $450. Hopefully it will be in as good of shape in person :)
    Seen a lot in the $550 - $800 range lately.
     
  23. whetrock

    whetrock Member

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    2fewdaysafield thanks for the heads up. I own
    /shoot several henrys including a Golden Boy I have no problem with brass, brasslight or even lowly zinc (as long as it's on a rimfire) as an outer receiver cover it's just that the metal has such a high sheen that it scratches pretty easily and I kinda feel bad scratching up my Golden Boy which IMO is the most attractive rimfire I own, but I have seen threads on Rimfire central about refinishing the brasslight on the Golden Boys so I guess it isn't just a huge deal by any means. All in all I have a great deal of respect for henrys but when it comes to a centerfire lever rifle I'm just a tad bit partial to the Winnie 1892 and Marlin 1894 actions.
     
  24. 2fewdaysafield

    2fewdaysafield Member

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    whetrock....

    I sincerely hope you did not take my post as any sort of criticism. Not intended that way at all.

    Marlin used to make a fine gun. I never liked them 'cause to me they always felt "heavy and clunky" in my hands. I preferred the Winny '94. But then, it was my first deer rifle so what do you expect? ;) By most reports the guns Marlin is making since the Remmy takeover are not up to the standards that Marlin used to put out.

    "Course I let my kid brother kill his first deer with my Winny '94 and well....I sorta never got it back....

    But by then I was in my 20s and was all excited about my Winny Model 70 and my Remmy 700. :banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:

    Being a little older (and I hope wiser) I have come back to my roots and my love for the lever-gun. 2 Henry Rimfires, a Henry .357 and I am about to close a deal for a Rossi .357 in .357 with brass receiver and 24" octagonal barrel.

    Yeah...I have all kinds of good bolt-guns and they go with me for out -of-state big game hunts, but I am happiest back up in the woods with a Henry levergun.
     
  25. 22lr

    22lr Member

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    Its easier to convert a Ruger 77/357 into a .357max so its clearly the better choice here! :D
     
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