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School me on Lever Actions (please?)

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by CoastieRon, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I feel as though I was starting to hi-jack @The5thDentist thread, so I thought I would start a new one.

    I've decided that rather than get a Mosin, I would like a used lever action. Something well used but well cared for. I've always wanted one, and seeing the prices of Mosins, I'd rather scratch the lever action itch for my own collection, and then just shoot my BiL's Mosin when I get the hankering to dislocate my shoulder.

    I'm looking for something in 357/38, 44 or 45, with a barrel length of 16-20". I'm looking for these particular calibers because this is going to be a range gun, and I want to keep the price per round down, and also might enjoy a wheel gun down the line in the same caliber. I'm not interested in a scoped rifle, but am looking for accuracy up to 50 yards (above that out to 75/100 is a bonus). My questions are:

    1. Which makers should I avoid?
    2. Which of the three calibers will be more accurate to shoot?
    3. What features should I look for?
    4. Are there certain years that are better than others (build wise)
    5. What else should I look for?
    6. Am I asking the right questions?

    I've hit quite a few shops but haven't found what I'm looking for used, but maybe my set budget is too low ($600 and lower, preferably lower). I've seen a ton of 30-30 that's in my price range - used (and new for that matter), but I'm not interested in that cartridge/caliber. I've seen other calibers such as 41 mag, 32 win (32-20?), 35 Rem etc, but those calibers seem to be expensive per round. I'd love to stay under $0.50 per.

    I do not reload. But I am familiar with the smiles per dollar formulas....

    I even made room for a new caliber in my safe......

    ammo drawer.jpg
     

  2. Rugerfan

    Rugerfan NES Member

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    I have a Marlin 1894 in .357. I can say that it has decent accuracy, about 2MOA at 100yds. with my reloads. and a good red dot.

    Shooting .38 special in it is like shooting a .22 and loads of fun. The gun functions flawlessly with either caliber and even if mixed in the same tube full.

    Mine is on the order of 15 years old, but was never fired much before I got it. I take it deer hunting in NH when I am going to be in the brush and distances are likely to be 100yds. or less.

    It does have a safety besides the half-cock position. Not sure if that is a necessary complication to the manual of arms, but is manageable.
     
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  3. fshalor

    fshalor NES Member

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    Does your wife know?

    I'm wishing for a .38/.357 some day, probably a Henry . I had the chance to shoot a match with a .22lr Henry and was in love.

    Almost more fun than an ancient Savage sporter bolt gun. Not as easy to clean .
     
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  4. grizquad

    grizquad NES Member

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    Cant go wrong with ANY Henry.
     
  5. Fritz the Cat

    Fritz the Cat NES Member

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    My son just picked up a Henry in 357 and It is a lot of fun. I don't think there is a "bad" manufacturer of lever guns but I do find the Henry to be a little cheap feeling compared to my Marlin 336 which is in 35 Rem.
    357 ammo tends to be less expensive and more available as are 357 revolvers so when you decide to compliment your lever with a wheel you will have an easier time finding one. Running 38 subsonic through a rifle is very enjoyable as well.
    We have not shoot for groups yet but at 100 yards the Henry hits all the steel on the range down to the 4" dueling tree and we shoot off hand.
     
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  6. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    HA! Yes, I have made mention of it multiple time and have been given zero resistance. In fact, she asked me about my cash reserve and asked what I was saving for. I simply stated "I'm looking for a nice used lever action rifle to play with at the range". She says "that's nice" LMAO. So not a secret. I'm pretty sure she knows that there is more to that safe then I let on.....
     
  7. Mr.E

    Mr.E

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    let me query my wife to husband translator for " that's nice"......oh, here it is: "that's nice can be translated to mean that if you go ahead with said purchase, deal, agreement, etc. you are to reciprocate with a good or service comparable in US dollars "..
     
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  8. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    Perhaps. Especially with this being her "birthday week". Which reminds me, where can I find a good cast iron pan....?
     
  9. gxx9sdb

    gxx9sdb

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    I would be happy buying any “JM” Marlin.
     
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  10. edmorseiii

    edmorseiii Navy Veteran NES Member

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    I wish someone would make a 357/38spl lever gun with a threaded 16" barrel, I would probably buy it tomorrow.
     
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  11. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    If I could find one that's not 30-30, and in my price point range.

    I've hit a few stores in my area (Pete's G&T-emailed, The Barn Store-emailed, Merrimack Firearms, 619 DW, Gunrunners101a, Shooter's, Riley's) and saw no .357 carbine/trapper length rifles. I emailed Old Glory in Mason today, but haven't heard back. I get the feeling I probably won't find what I am looking for unless I buy new.....
     
  12. Mr.E

    Mr.E

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    err. My other book specifically warns against "any and all cooking or cleaning equipment, materials, services" as appropriate gifts..
     
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  13. garandman

    garandman Instructor NES Member

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    Subscribed, currently own zero lever actions!
     
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  14. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I saw exactly that at Merrimack Firearms. I believe it is a brand new Marlin. Was about a grand. https://www.marlinfirearms.com/lever-action/model-1894/model-1894-cst They had one in stock. I believe they were selling it for around a grand
     
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  15. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    But she asked for one! She said it would be her "bowling ball" gift (a-la the Simpsons episode where Homer gets Marge a ball that says Homer on it).

    Wait a minute...,.,..
     
  16. edmorseiii

    edmorseiii Navy Veteran NES Member

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    f*** me, man. Way to call my bluff. [laugh]

    Stainless Steel, too? Man, good looking out. [cheers]
     
  17. BarnBuilder

    BarnBuilder NES Member

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    How about Theodore Roosevelt's Winchester 94 Take down suppressed rifle

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    Yeah, it was beautiful. I'm not interested in getting a can.

    Yet.
     
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  19. fshalor

    fshalor NES Member

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    Oh why did you put that bee in my bonnet.

    Hmmmm.
    I think I can still load up solid works.
     
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  20. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 NES Member

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    Some don't like them but a Rossi/Puma is a good place to start for an inexpensive lever action. My first lever was one in 38/357 w/ a 26" octogon barrel in stainless. One sharp looking rifle. I will say the action isn't the best, but with a set of stones you can slick up the action/trigger in a couple hours. There are several videos on You Tube on how to do this. Now my Rossi is a slick as my Uberti Henry 1860. Also, it's always interesting to shoot 38s and have enough time between the shot and the strike against steel at 100 yards.
     
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  21. edmorseiii

    edmorseiii Navy Veteran NES Member

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    I have an Omega 9k in NFA jail, this rifle would scratch my PCC itch with out going the gay route with a 9mm rifle, AND it will still be a useful woods rifle. I am 100% in on this.
     
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  22. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    Nice. The owner there is pretty funny, we were walking out on Saturday and he stops us with "hey guys, you forgot your guns". Talk about a sales pitch. If I were buying new, I'd probably get what I want there. I've had good transactions there, bought both my 22 takedown and 1911 there.
     
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  23. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Finding a nice JM stamped Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum is like finding hen's teeth these days, and always on my want/need list.

    As Rockrivr1 posted above, you can find older used Rossi/Puma's relatively cheap. A few years back I scored a minty Puma in .44 Magnum for an even $200... just gotta do the footwork and get lucky at the same time. They're good shooters, and the actions can be smoothed up well too, for relatively short money, definitely keep them on your radar.
     
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  24. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    The good thin is there’s millions of lever guns out there that many new gen shooters won’t ecen look at.
    You know that old wood and steel junk grandpa used to shoot.

    You need to just get out there and look.
    Some models fit better than others.
    I have shouldered a few that had such a low drop at the comb/heal they just did not fit me right.
    My favorite was s 39a sold off to help fund buying house. One of the true, “wish I kept that” guns
     
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  25. Parker Duofold

    Parker Duofold NES Member

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    I agree with this. All of the CAS must buy up the used Marlins 94s in 357/38.

    A friend of mine has a Rossi and after some cleaning up of the action is it very smooth. He bought his new.
    I have two Winchester 94s in 30-30 (one an early 80s side eject and the other a 1951), a Henry in 30-30 and a "modern" Winchester 73 in 45LC. I'd like to sell the 1980s Winchester and look for a 357/30 lever rifle.
    winchester_94_6_51.JPG
     
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  26. meh

    meh NES Member

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    I'm just going to ramble a bit. No advice here, at least not as such.

    I have a Rossi 92 Trapper that I like a lot after

    1. Replacing the safety with a peep sight (and removed the original rear sight).
    2. Installing the Palo Verde spring kit.
    3. Cutting down the excessively long magazine tube spring.
    4. Polishing the edges around the loading gate.
    5. Shortening one of the receiver screws that was binding on the bolt.
    6. Refinishing the wood (felt like a chalkboard before and looked a depressing shade of dull brown).

    I also replaced the plastic follower with a stainless steel one, but I'm not sure that helped anything. I just ordered a custom leather stock cover for that gun, as I find something needed to prevent the stock from slipping around on the shoulder when trying to run the gun without lowering it.

    But the thing that gives me pause about the Rossi's is the lack of customer service, not that I've really tried. I've just read stories about their only solution to any problem being sending the gun in. I could really use a new screw for the barrel band near the muzzle.

    I do not like the loading gates. Sorry. It's OK if I'm not shooting much, but after about the 100th round or so that I shove in there on a given day, I'm really start to miss how easy it is to load a Henry Big Boy. All the time I hear how a loading gate is a deal breaker for folks. I just don't get it. With the Henry, I just clear it, close the bolt and lower the hammer, flip it over to hold at a 30 degree angle (or whatever), draw out the reloading tube far enough to reveal the loading port, drop the rounds in and stop when I can no longer insert any rounds. Then I lower the magazine tube back into place and start shooting. With the Rossi, I have to fight the loading gate and slide the rounds in against the spring tension of the magazine tube spring. Unless I count, I don't know when it's full until I can't shove the last one in. It's more effort with no payoff that I can see. Give me a rifle with a detachable box magazine for fighting, not that I'm ever likely to do that sort of thing or even think much about it, but for target shooting at the range, tube loading RULEZ! Not a close thing.

    Speaking of Henry Big Boys...there are 5 in my house (not all mine). Most of them needed the screw on the left side of the receiver to be shortened slightly (fraction of a mm), just like on the Rossi but nowhere near as bad. If the screw is a little too long, it rubs against the lever internally. My first Big Boy was the 44 magnum, and after I don't know how many rounds, the firing pin broke. Called them up. They sent me a new one free of charge. Heard lots of stories like that. I feel like the company will help me keep my rifles in service as long as the company survives.

    Thought a lot about an Uberti 1866 or 1873 but have never been able to convince myself to buy one. If I can get a good deal on a JM Marlin 1894 at some point, I might go for it. I don't plan on buying a new Marlin 1894. MFS's 1894 felt like junk to me when it was very new. Even if it had functioned well, I probably wouldn't have liked it. How do they find wood that looks so much like brown plastic?
     
  27. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    This post is fantastic. Are you saying "would not recommend a Rossi unless you plan on putting more money in it? In other words, if you found a Rossi Trapper in .357 used for say, $350, would you pass? The prices on those guns are sub $550 new, and are made in Brazil by Taurus right now.
     
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  28. meh

    meh NES Member

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    As a matter of fact, if I found one for $350, I'd probably snag it if it looked decent. I'd personally plan on putting some work into it. Forget the peep sight if you're happy with semi-buckhorn sights. Do plan on the $30 spring kit. So $350 is really $380, give or take. Still a great deal if it is in good condition. I just don't know how it's going to go for me if/when I eventually need some support from Rossi for some issue. Like I said, the stories I've heard all seemed to involve shipping the gun back, no matter how easy it would be to resolve the issue with just a part.
     
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  29. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I shall keep this in mind. I know I saw a Rossi in .44 somewhere in my travels for less than $500.

    Just got an email back from Old Glory. They have two trapper length levers in .44, a Marlin and a Henry, but a little outside the price I'm looking for ($649 and $699 respectively). I'll go take a look at them, but I think I am set on the 357/38...
     
  30. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    After just recently watching videos of suppressed 357 lever guns, it really made me hate this state even more....

    With 38s, it was ultra quiet. So awesome.

    Do all of the threaded models have 20+ inch barrels?

    Here’s one with a 16.5" barrel. Not super cheap.
    Model 1894 CST

    You wonder if companies like Henry would be willing to thread one of their carbine models if you reached out to them?
     
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