Thoughts on lever actions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by chris in va, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Ok my 2 cents. I’m a levergun guy through and through. All mine are JM Marlins. 357, 44, 30/30, 35 Rem, 444, and 45-70. I almost bought a 41 mag but didn’t need another cartridge to load for. The 357 is the way to go for you. The 45’s are cool. But the 357 gives you better options because you can also load 38spl. Just be sure if you shoot a lot of 38 that you clean out the chamber really well before going back to 357. You’ll get carbon buildup.

    My brother has a Henry in 357 and he loves it. The only drawback for the Henry in my opinion is if you’re planning on putting any kind of optic on it. I think they look hideous. But the purists in leverguns would say the same thing about my scoped Marlins.

    The Rossi’s have a pretty decent reputation. I don’t think you’d go wrong by owning one. Most everyone on here that have them, really seem to like them.

    Now to the part you don’t want to read (and have read before). Don’t sell the AR. You may not be an AR guy. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an AR guy. But I have 5. And while they aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as nice walnut and deep bluing, they really do have a place.

    I don’t know what caliber your AR is. Mine are a 24” heavy barrel 5.56, 2 16” 7.62x39’s, and a 16” and 18” 450BM. And honestly, I do enjoy shooting and hunting with them. The 450’s really turn heads at the range. I could sell them tomorrow for 3 times what I have in them. But why? I owe nothing on them. If I decide later on that I want one, then I have to replace them. If I never shoot them again, they will never cost me a cent.

    And lastly, and this is just a personal choice, if I have to sell a gun to afford another one, then I’m not really in a good position to buy a gun. You may feel differently. And that’s ok. That’s just me. Some guys buy and sell all the time. I’m just not one of them.
     
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  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    No one has mentioned the Miroku Winchester lever actions. I bought a 357 Magnum 1873 last summer and am impressed with it. I'm sure the other models, like the 1894, will be as well put together. They will be high on my list when I want to get another lever action.

    I have a 1980 vintage JM Marlin 1894C (357 Magnum) and 1960's vintager 39A, a 1890 vintage Winchester 1873 (32-20), and a Henry 327 Fed.Mag. All are good rifles.

    I'm interested in the side gate Henry's. I do not have any experience with the Rossi's.

    45 Colt would also be my next lever action interest, but I also reload so ammunition is not an issue. The lever action would be a good pair with my 45 Colt Blackhawk.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  3. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I would not sell the AR either. Bought mine in 2012, shot it twice and haven’t shot it since. I won’t sell it though. I’d get a 30-30 also.
     
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  4. dredd

    dredd Member

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    Finally!!!!

    Real world advice that everyone can benefit from!!!

    "Hey Ferb.... I know what we're gonna do today!"

    :D:D:D
     
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  5. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    I have an early 80's era Marlin .357mag. It runs great with .357, but I have to go very smooth and deliberate and not to quickly with .38's or it'll hang up. I bought it for deer, and I just wanted an older Marlin but based on the research I had done at the time 5 years ago I decided the best options was either a 20 year old Marlin, or a new Rossi. I didn't care for the weight or cost of the Henry.
     
  6. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    personally I would keep the AR if I already had it and opt for a decent lever gun.
    Both are basic firearm platforms with good utility and lotsa aftermarket support.
     
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  7. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    I have studied and tried out .45LC levers quite extensively. I have seen, handled, and shot some rifles from Winchester, Rossi, Uberti/Taylor, Marlin, and Henry.

    Here are some observations: (Strictly my opinion - take it for what it is worth)

    Winchester - 94's lever throw is longer and more clunky. Not always the easiest feeding of the levers. Very stylish and have a great western look. The modern Japanese made ones are excellent quality but pricey. The pre-64 are desirable. Don't know if they (pre-64) can be had in 45LC. Have seen a few newer ones in .45LC at gun shows. Going for 4 to 5 hundred. A little hard to find.

    Rossi - Good value for the money, Carbines come up really nice. Most reports are that the actions need work to "smooth them out". Shorter barrel lengths will not hold ten rounds. Nice appearance. Saw one at LGS for 6 hundred. "Up In Arms Shooting Supply, Inc" in East Smithfield, PA had a brand new one for $675. It looks gorgeous. Definitely the "handiest" of the choices.

    Uberti/Taylor - Very good quality. Nice lookers in the '73 model. Local gun shop, Serbins in Estella, PA, has two but won't sell them. Says he can get more. Priced at about $1250 a rifle. A little front heavy. Much preferred by SASS shooters.

    Marlin - I have the 1894 Cowboy Limited. Light, smooth action, holds 10 rounds, JM stamped and a good looker.... Older ones in good shape are pricey thought at $850 to $1,100. Mine is a keeper. Took it deer hunting this year.

    Henrys - Great USA themed guns - great lookers in my opinion. A little heavy and clunky but a not that bad. I prefer side loaders and Henry has seen the light. Available in lots of calibers and configurations. Heavier than the first three on my list but smoother than the first two. Generally not recommend for heavy use. Not MY opinion but that which I have read from experienced cowboy shooters.

    Caliber notes: I bought the .45LC for the "cowboy nostalgia" and possible SASS use. I also have a six gun in .45LC so I wanted a pistol/rifle caliber compatible combo. I suppose that if I was just to get one for general use I might prefer the .44 magnum. I do think the .357 would be fun for range work but too small for ME to use for deer. .45LC is more pricey than the .357 or .44mag, and harder to find - but it is out there. I might add that ALL of the RIFLES that I have handled and referenced above were, in fact, in .45 LC. If you want to go to a regular "deer round" the venerable .30-30 can be found most anywhere (except these days). the .32 WS is also a fine deer round. The .444 Marlin and .45-70 are great, albeit more niche rounds. I have fired everything EXCEPT the .45-70.

    Remember - doing the research, looking, and deciding is part of the fun of buying a new gun. Good luck. And hey, you can always get more than one!
     
  8. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I would also opt to keep the AR. I'm not really into trading guns, though.

    I have three lever guns. A Model 99 in 300 Savage and a Winchester 94 in 30-30 that are both 1950's vintage, and a JM Marlin 336 from the early 1980's. The Savage is obviously a little bit of a different kind of lever gun. In comparing the Marlin and Winchester, the former is quite a bit heavier and thicker but it would probably be the one I'd use if I were going to actually hunt with it. I think the design is more solid and mounting an optic would be much easier. The Winchester is undoubtedly the cooler gun, though, and it has a great look and feel to it and I enjoy shooting it more. But it isn't quite as stoutly built and the action with it's top eject probably wouldn't work well with an optic. If I were going to get another levergun I think I'd lean towards an 1894 in 357/38. Less recoil and cheaper ammo. Terminal performance would lag quite a bit but it would just be a toy so that's fine.
     
  9. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    We use pistol caliber lever action rifles in cowboy action shooting. .38/.357 is the most popular chambering, 45 Colt is second place. If you ever think you want to try shooting a match, you want a rifle with a ten round capacity.

    The 1873 and 1866 rifles are the top choice because the mechanically simple action can be made to run very smoothly and quickly. These are expensive rifles, though. Most are made by Uberti but Miroku in Japan makes the current Winchester branded rifles.

    A Marlin 1894 is a good rifle. Less expensive than a ‘73 and not S expensive to slick up a little. Marlin made some bad ones after Remington moved production to New York but I’ve heard good things about the rifles made over the last couple of years. Ruger bought the Marlin brand recently but it will be a while before they make any.

    The Winchester 1892 is a good design with a strong but compact receiver. They can be improved but not as much as a ‘73/‘66. Miroku makes the current Winchester but they are pricy. Chiappa in Italy makes a mid priced version and the bargain rifles are made in Brazil. Some of those rifles are rough but can be smoothed.

    You might encounter a Winchester 1894 in a pistol caliber. Avoid it.

    Henry Repeating Arms has done a wonderful job marketing. Their Big Boy, especially in the “steel” configuration, is supposed to be a good rifle for plinking or hunting. They have a poor reputation in the Cowboy action shooting world.

    A pistol caliber lever action rifle is a lot of fun to shoot. You will enjoy whatever you end up choosing.
     
  10. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I agree. The Model 1894 action was designed for a longer cartridge such as the 30-30. Chambering it for 45 Colt or any other 'pistol caliber' cartridge is a compromise

    In order to have a long enough throw for the longer cartridges such as 30-30 the floor plate of the Model 1894 drops down to allow more throw for the lever. This allows the action to feed longer cartridges.

    plsmNbFwj.jpg



    plbNVEtSj.jpg




    The 1892, at the bottom of this photo, does not need to feed long cartridges, so the action is simpler, more compact, and there are fewer mechanical parts.

    polGOgV5j.jpg




    I knew a guy years ago who had a Winchester Model 1894 chambered for 45 Colt. It was fussy about feeding the shorter cartridge.
     
  11. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    I am being mean but the Henry looks like the box a Marlin of any era came in. I am waiting for the new Ruger Marlins. If I do not find them endearing I will search about for an older .45LC or .44 Mag 1894. Frankly my two Marlins by Remington shoot better than my several JM Marlins. So I kinda take each rifle as an individual and try to avoid Rem Hate.

    I would avoid over relieving the magazine entry on the Marlin, a round over is okay though, especially at the point the case contacts the magazine opening. I would also recommend relieving (by bending outward) the extractor spring clip and polishing the INSIDE front edge of the loading gate.
     
  12. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i have a winchester 94 legacy rifle in 44 mag and i think the action was modifed by winchester to feed the short pistol round as as the lever throw is shorter than a 94 in 30-30, i have never had a problem shooting 44 spl or 44 mag out of it. top rifle is the 94 winchester 44 mag and the bottom rifle is a 94 marlin sporter in 44 mag.
     

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  13. MTNSTRYDER

    MTNSTRYDER Member

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    I have only owned revolvers and lever guns since I got out of the Army in the 70’s. I have them in 22 to 45-70 and my Rossi in 45 is my favorite to carry and shoot.But times and firearms have changed and I’v added a Glock and built a AR in 350 legend it’s a great do all platform. I think it’s the most useful gun I have for plinking defense and hunting. I can change the upper to many other calibers without paperwork that’s a big plus.
    Keep the AR and Rossi’s are a good lever gun that just get better with fun.
     
  14. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    If I may ask, why is everyone suggesting I keep the AR? It serves no purpose for me. I got it in 2009, hasn’t seen much use.
     
  15. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    It serves a purpose to them therefore it MUST serve a purpose for you.
    Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.......

    I'd sell it.
     
  16. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I feel kind of the same way. I have 14 lever guns. Winchesters, Uberitis, and Marlins. 22s, 32-20, 38-40, 44-40, 30-30, and 45-70.

    I have one AR15 that I bought back around 2008. Have not fired it in years.

    But I don't see the need to sell it.
     
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  17. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    Never understood “pistol caliber” rifles myself. Got an early 2000s marlin 336 in 30-30 for my dad and we both love shooting it.
     
  18. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    If you’re not using it, it’s taking up space and could provide money for something you will use.
     
  19. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    1.) Cheaper to shoot.
    2.) Lighter recoil.
    3.) One ammo to have if your sidearm is the same caliber.
    4.) Just plain fun....Maybe that should be number 1.
     
  20. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    My 1894 holds 11 rounds of 44 mag and starts out creating a bigger hole than many 30-30 rounds do after expansion. It also pairs nicely with my Redhawk in 44 mag. My 1894 in 357 also holds 11 and pairs with my 66, 681, and 686+. I use less powder in my loads than a 30/30. And they’re different. Which is why I have a 444 also.
     
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  21. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    Folks are suggesting to keep the AR because there’s a possibility, under the new regime, that restrictions could be enacted making it more difficult to purchase them, or banning new ones entirely. Therefore, while you might get some money out of it now it might be worth quite a bit more down the road a bit -or simply be impossible to replace should you or someone in your family need or want it.
     
  22. sisyphus

    sisyphus Member

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    IMO pistol calibers benefit from barrel length. I like 16" for 357, but for 41, 44 I'd go 20". I went 24" for 45LC, and in a lever gun 24" doesn't feel all that long.
     
  23. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    .30-30 doesn't fit in my revolvers. o_O
     
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  24. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    ......But pay attention to you.

    So wise one, why would you sell it?

    If you’re so short on funds that you need to sell one of the most adaptable platforms made, to purchase another gun, then you probably shouldn’t be buying a new gun. Or should rethink the reason you’re selling such an adaptable platform in the first place, that has a reputation for a reason.

    Let’s say in the current market, his AR is worth $750 (maybe more, maybe less). If, IF Biden throws down a new AW ban, that gun just became worth 2-3 times that overnight. But it will likely always be worth $750. In the current market, leverguns are pretty crazy expensive. 6 months ago I could buy JM Marlin 336 30-30’s for $350. The JM 357 and 44’s I could pick up for $700 or so. Now a 336 is $700 and 1894’s are a $1k-$1.8k. Henry’s aren’t there yet. Neither are Rossi. Likely never will be.

    So selling a gun that has the absolute potential to skyrocket in value to buy a gun that likely won’t appreciate that much in value doesn’t seem fiscally responsible.

    I don’t honestly give a damn what he does with his AR. I don’t want it. I have plenty and a few lowers I’ll build later. I was (as were others) trying to help a member of our forum not make a “now” decision that if he waited, could put him in a much better position in the future. You know, looking out for the guy. Because that’s what we do here.
     
  25. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    A good point to know. When I get around to looking at 45 Colt lever actions, I'll keep that in mind about the Winchester 1894 being designed for longer cartridges.
     
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