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Lever Action Rifles


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#1 chevymann

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:54 PM

I've been thinking of picking up a lever action rifle. Never owned one before and thought it would be a nice addition to the collection. My first thought was "what caliber?" Part of me wants the traditional 30-30, but the thrifty side of me wants a caliber that I already keep on hand (.308, .223, .300win mag. .38sp or maybe 30-06). The Winchester's appear to eject from the top, which would be tough for optics. I'm not necessarily going to use optics, but it is worth considering. The Marlin 336's seem affordable, but too cheap? I like the Browning BLR takedown's, but they are a bit higher in price.

Any info from lever action owners regarding brand and caliber will be greatly appreciated?

#2 TheDarkHorse

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:00 PM

I have two, both in 30-30.

The Marlin I bought myself years ago. The Winchester I inherited from my Father.

The Marlin is a right-side eject where the Winchester is top eject.

Both are top quality and I would buy the Marlin again in a heartbeat. Don't mistake inexpensive with "cheap".

If AK's were not available to us here in the States, the lever rifle would be my go-to weapon.
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#3 chevymann

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:05 PM

I have two, both in 30-30.

The Marlin I bought myself years ago. The Winchester I inherited from my Father.

The Marlin is a right-side eject where the Winchester is top eject.

Both are top quality and I would buy the Marlin again in a heartbeat. Don't mistake inexpensive with "cheap".

If AK's were not available to us here in the States, the lever rifle would be my go-to weapon.



ThanksTHD... That's great to know about the Marlin's... May try a new Marlin if I can't find a steal on a used WInchester.

#4 RangerM9

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 05:14 PM

Agreed, the marlin 336 is a great buy in a gun....i've been planning to pick one up but put my money toward an AR first since i doubt lever actions will be banned anytime soon.

Never met a marlin i didn't like.....
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#5 WarriorJudge

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 05:33 PM

I have a Winchester 30.30 lever action made in 1951. My Grandfather bought it new and it has had, so I'm told, 20 rounds through it. It is in excellent condition, but as it is the only thing I have from my Grandfather, who drowned before I was born, I am not going to fire it. I have been thinking about buying one to actually shoot and the Marlins look like a good option.
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#6 aresv

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 06:16 PM

Marlins are great. We've had a 444 in the family for the last 30 years and it's still going strong. Really solid brush gun for deer, hogs, bear, even larger game with the right ammo.

One of these days I'd love to have an 1895SBL.
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#7 chevymann

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 06:18 PM

The Marlin is looking pretty good for a first lever. I can get one brand new with a scope and rail package for under $400... thanks guys!

#8 buckandaquarterquarterstaff

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:42 PM

I've been thinking of picking up a lever action rifle. Never owned one before and thought it would be a nice addition to the collection. My first thought was "what caliber?" Part of me wants the traditional 30-30, but the thrifty side of me wants a caliber that I already keep on hand (.308, .223, .300win mag. .38sp or maybe 30-06). The Winchester's appear to eject from the top, which would be tough for optics. I'm not necessarily going to use optics, but it is worth considering. The Marlin 336's seem affordable, but too cheap? I like the Browning BLR takedown's, but they are a bit higher in price.

Any info from lever action owners regarding brand and caliber will be greatly appreciated?


It's tough to beat a 357/38 rifle. You can whip up ammo on a progressive press in not much time at all (think hundreds of rounds in a couple hours start to finish). The cases don't need lube. The bullets (for fun stuff) are cheap, more sturdy bullets are available for hunting, and 6 bullet casting moulds can be doubled up to produce many many hundred wheel weight bullets in an afternoon of listening to the ball game. You can use a mild 38 load to hunt rabbits or squirrels, and full house 357 loads for deer. The recoil is pretty minimal (in the rifle), and the same rounds can go through your carry gun. Makes a nice trunk gun, carry piece combination. I've been sold on it for years, since I reload extensively.

The 44 is the same thing, just more power, recoil, and less ability to use the same loads in your carry piece.

Buck

#9 KrisFox

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:40 PM

My Puma .454 is a fine levergun.

I got it for $425 and someone had already done a very nice action gob on it. They are normally quite rough out of the box.

It's a bit of a handful when loaded with 32 grans of H110 behind a 350 grain Hornaday XTP.

Edited by KrisFox, 09 October 2009 - 09:47 PM.

Yes it's a $250 shotgun. No, I paid $550 for it. Yes, I did a lot of work to it. Sure, I can build you one just like it for $1500.

#10 bernerz

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:03 PM

Have a Henry .44, smooth action, nice weight in the barrel, would opt for something other than brass though. My dad has the Browning BLR in 30-06, nice as you can get, the mechanics of it really are that of a bolt action. It's nice to be able to take down and transport. There is an outfit in Anchorage that turns the Marlins into breakdowns, smooths out the actions, etc. I think they call it the "Bush Pilot."
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#11 chevymann

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:25 PM

I hadn't ruled out the .357/.38 caliber yet, for the same reasons buck and a quarter staff mentioned. I'd might would go with the Browning if I could trade/sell something first. Good info. Thanks to all.

#12 chevymann

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:27 PM

My Puma .454 is a fine levergun.

I got it for $425 and someone had already done a very nice action gob on it. They are normally quite rough out of the box.

It's a bit of a handful when loaded with 32 grans of H110 behind a 350 grain Hornaday XTP.


I bet the .454 is something to shoot. Lots of weight behind that round!!!

#13 RobRez

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 07:40 PM

I have loved my Marlin .44 Magnum lever action from the moment I got it!! I would absolutely recommend it! Top eject lands on your head. Side eject is better. I have gotten several Deer with this rifle. I shoot a 240 gr. JSP. @ 1350 fps. Does a real good job. Fun to shoot, cheap if you reload ammo, goes nice with the pistol. It will shoot a 1-2 inch group @ 100 yards. It has become my "lucky rifle".

#14 Wakal

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 07:42 PM

I've got an old Winchester 30-30...great gun.

I second the vote for that 45-70 with the oversized lever and the rail upper...mmm...hog wacker...

My personal 1873 is in 45 Colt...as you might expect from my personal guns, there are not many factory parts in it any more. Short stroked toggles, light carrier, new firing pin, coil spring mainspring, correct (instead of "whittled out of a piece of wheat by a blind guy with ten thumbs") angles on the trigger and hammer, fancy checkering, brass bead front sight (pinned, of course)...yeah, it is geeked up...runs like a striped ass ape, though :)



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#15 chevymann

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:46 PM

I've got an old Winchester 30-30...great gun.

I second the vote for that 45-70 with the oversized lever and the rail upper...mmm...hog wacker...

My personal 1873 is in 45 Colt...as you might expect from my personal guns, there are not many factory parts in it any more. Short stroked toggles, light carrier, new firing pin, coil spring mainspring, correct (instead of "whittled out of a piece of wheat by a blind guy with ten thumbs") angles on the trigger and hammer, fancy checkering, brass bead front sight (pinned, of course)...yeah, it is geeked up...runs like a striped ass ape, though :)



Alex


Cool! I'm really considering this sharing caliber thing with the pistol cartridges. Wifey carries a .38. I also like the idea of it as a "trunk" gun since it is less "shocking" to "others" if it were ever exposed.

When I do get one, we could have a whole thread on smithing them. I can't wait to learn a new action.

Edited by chevymann, 10 October 2009 - 10:47 PM.


#16 Gadsden Flag

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 01:00 AM

Marlin 1895G "Guide Gun" in 45-70, I've had one for a few months and love it. It's a beast!

#17 Mullet Man

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 02:23 PM

does anyone have any good sites on modding a Marlin 336 in 30/30?
i inherited one from my grandfather (RIP) and was able to fire it for the first time last weekend. man what a great feeling rifle!

however, i wouldnt mind going through the gun to make the action a little smoother and less "notchy" if possible, and maybe make it a little bit easier to load the rounds into the tube. it does a number on my fingers trying to squeeze them in there.

also, this one has a weaver rail on it already and had an old school red dot site with a bulbous glass piece at the front end. i would like to mount a scope on it without breaking the bank. i'm open to recommendations on brand and power if anyone has any.

thanks

Edited by Mullet Man, 11 October 2009 - 02:24 PM.

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#18 Azrial

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 04:01 PM

I had a Marlin .444 lever action. I was a great little pig and brush gun!

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#19 GeorgiaPD

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:25 PM

Chevymann,

I would go with the Marlin (own 4), even though I also have a Browning BLR in .308. The Marlins are cheap, shoot well and are very easy to work on and maintain. There are also many aftermarket parts for the Marlin guns to help with the action and reliability (lighter springs, sights, one piece firing pins). The .38/.357 is a great gun for plinking and even short range open field deer hunting, but I would go with the .44 mag or .45-70 as a light and easy to use brush gun without any hesitation. Then again, the .30-30 has taken how many millions of deer for the past decades. Hard call to make.
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#20 termite

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:51 PM

Chevymann, the 454 is fun as all crap to shoot. I have the Puma in 454 too. It'll also shoot the 45LC, which is a lot tamer round. I picked up a Marlin 30/30 with scope that shoots just fine, and also have a Henry in .22 that I bought for my granddaughter. The Henry is the better of the 3 guns, IMHO, but they are all good shooting guns.

#21 KrisFox

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 09:29 PM


My Puma .454 is a fine levergun.

I got it for $425 and someone had already done a very nice action gob on it. They are normally quite rough out of the box.

It's a bit of a handful when loaded with 32 grans of H110 behind a 350 grain Hornaday XTP.


I bet the .454 is something to shoot. Lots of weight behind that round!!!

I have a vid of me blasting water melons with it somewhere.
Yes it's a $250 shotgun. No, I paid $550 for it. Yes, I did a lot of work to it. Sure, I can build you one just like it for $1500.

#22 sparky63

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:19 AM

henry makes a dame fine rifle



#23 Steppe Sweeper

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:46 PM

I'd like to see a tactical training dvd put out on them, they're as well suited to fight or defend with as they were in the 1870's, but it would be nice to see some action-specific techniques. Many gunwriters of the EBR type have praised and reccomend them for a SD/HD weapon today. Thinking of picking up a buddies Win. 94 .30/30 20" after the holidays (which was the designated hitter in Utah and Idaho firing squads recently as the 90's maybe still today, 4x 150gr. Silvertips and someone with a blank unknowingly; That right there tells ya it's up to the job, it's x39 manually loaded and single fed).Told him before that gun money now needs to go to stuff I might not be able to get in the future, though it was a good deal and have still thought bout it. You could call a lot of guns "The" long counterpart to the 1911, but I think the 94 Winchester is pure Americana, blue collar rifle of generations. I wanted a 16", .44 Marlin but if funds allow will go with the .30/30 and a guy online who does good cheap laser engraving. Maybe go with the John Wayne "fill your hands" quote.

Wild West Co-Pilot is an awesome custom rifle, those Mare's Leg or Puma Bounty Hunter pistols too but are a lot of money.

Edited by Steppe Sweeper, 18 November 2009 - 02:51 PM.

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#24 Bean.223

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 03:22 PM

As stated numerous times above both Marlins and Winchesters are excellent choices.

Have you considered something in 12 gauge?? The ole Winchester 1887 is a 12 gauge lever action rifle I have been thinking of getting!!!
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#25 chevymann

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:21 PM

Have you considered something in 12 gauge?? The ole Winchester 1887 is a 12 gauge lever action rifle I have been thinking of getting!!!


Neat! Lever action shotgun... I may look at getting one of those oneday.

#26 Steppe Sweeper

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

Norinco/IAC 1887, Pumas jacked the price up. 1887s were 10 Ga. only really, the original Winny 1901 was the 12 gauge. Seen in action in Public Enemies (also sawed off in Terminator 2) used by Agent Winstead. Out on DVD 12/8. You'll know it when you hear the 10 gauge tearing into trees.
I think the Winchesters only take black powder loads.

Edited by Steppe Sweeper, 18 November 2009 - 05:14 PM.

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#27 GunFun

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:03 PM

Have a Henry .44, smooth action, nice weight in the barrel, would opt for something other than brass though. My dad has the Browning BLR in 30-06, nice as you can get, the mechanics of it really are that of a bolt action. It's nice to be able to take down and transport. There is an outfit in Anchorage that turns the Marlins into breakdowns, smooths out the actions, etc. I think they call it the "Bush Pilot."



They are beautiful. Super big bore stainless, compact.... want... (cosmetic engraving if that's your thing) Those always seemed like exactly my idea of a modern lever gun, and a great boat gun. Plus broken down it would fit under most car seats.

I have been trying to remember the name of them for a couple of years now.

That and an old fashioned lever gun.

#28 GunFun

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:08 PM

I looked at that winchester 1895 12guage lever gun too. browning designed, chinese made, 2.75 only and so fugly you have to love it.It is just so different, and i like lever strokes over pump any day.

If it were $350 instead of $575 I would get one. The one at the local shop had some chinese fringed suede crap on the lever that was supposed to make it look 'indian' but mostly looked cheap... I would cut that junk off as fast as I could get the thing home, or maybe in the car on the way.

I wish I could get one and a modernized colt's revolving shotty to match.

#29 Gadsden Flag

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:57 AM

I'd like to see a tactical training dvd put out on them, they're as well suited to fight or defend with as they were in the 1870's, but it would be nice to see some action-specific techniques. Many gunwriters of the EBR type have praised and reccomend them for a SD/HD weapon today. Thinking of picking up a buddies Win. 94 .30/30 20" after the holidays (which was the designated hitter in Utah and Idaho firing squads recently as the 90's maybe still today, 4x 150gr. Silvertips and someone with a blank unknowingly; That right there tells ya it's up to the job, it's x39 manually loaded and single fed).Told him before that gun money now needs to go to stuff I might not be able to get in the future, though it was a good deal and have still thought bout it. You could call a lot of guns "The" long counterpart to the 1911, but I think the 94 Winchester is pure Americana, blue collar rifle of generations. I wanted a 16", .44 Marlin but if funds allow will go with the .30/30 and a guy online who does good cheap laser engraving. Maybe go with the John Wayne "fill your hands" quote.

Wild West Co-Pilot is an awesome custom rifle, those Mare's Leg or Puma Bounty Hunter pistols too but are a lot of money.


Gabe Suarez had a video out at one time. I remember seeing something about it on the Marlin forum.

#30 Lakedweller

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:05 AM

Winchester Model 94 30-30

Have two, one 1897 take down that was my Grandfather's and one 1940 saddle rifle that was my Dad's.

Good enough for them, good enough for me.... :super: :super:

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