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Some questions for the lever action rifle shooters Login/Join 
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I am looking to get an inexpensive/decent,(not cheap), lever action rifle for plinking and maybe home defense, as I like the idea I can leave it by the bed at night and put it into action if need be without having a loaded chamber. I don't know much about the manufacturers making them and the only experience I had with a lever gun was a Winchester 94 in 357 I had years ago. I kick myself for letting that one go but am looking to get another carbine,preferably in an 18-20" barrel length or close to it. I was looking at maybe getting another 38/357 model ( or other pistol cartridge),so the wife can shoot it as well but have also been looking at a 30-30. How harsh is the recoil on a 30-30? I am not a hunter and have no plans to use it as such, so I am not sure if the 30-30 would be too much for home defense. In the research I have done,the 30-30 rifles are usually cheaper than most,is there a reason for that-longevity,ammo. cost,etc.? Any manufacturers to stay away from-other than maybe Taurus? I won't be doing any reloading for it,(I know that is probably the best option), but I really don't have any space anymore plus the added cost of getting equipment. Without making it futuristic/tacticool, does/has anyone put a red dot on it? I know it is not a modern designed rifle and I have ar-15s that do have dot sights, but I would like the option for one if poss.. I have enjoyed reading here about some of the members exploits with the lever action rifles and now have the bug to get another. Any light that can be shed would be appreciated.
 
Posts: 3785 | Location: Treasure Coast,Fl. | Registered: July 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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I don’t have extensive experience with the model 94 in 30-30, but the ones I have fired had some of the most unpleasant recoil I’ve experienced.




“[T]ry not to shoot any friendlies ….”
— JALLEN
 
Posts: 37355 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm not laughing
WITH you
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Pat,

30-30 is not a "pistol caliber". While I don't find it "punishing", it isn't exactly "pleasant" either. I don't think most wives would enjoy it.

Now, with that said, I would recommend you look at the Marlin 1894. Either in the Carbine configuration (1894c) or the short rifle 1894. I'm going to say something "radical" now. I suggest you look at the .44 Magnum. With the weight of the rifle, .44 Mag isn't that bad, AND if you (or her) find it too bad, you can shoot .44 Specials which are devastating!

Now, why the Marlin? Simply because it has a solid receiver top which makes mounting an optic easier. Also, the .357's are typically snapped up by Cowboy Action Shooters and command a premium. You can find .44's for much less.

It is well known that I do not favor the Centerfire Henry rifles. I just don't like the fact that a) they are not based on any of the Historical Lever Action designs, and b) they load from a Magazine tube and not from a loading gate. I do love their .22s.

Not that I would feel bad about a Mirouku/Winchester, Uberti or Beretta Renegade, but their "top ejection" would make mounting an optic problematic. The also cost more than a Marlin.

Food for thought. Happy to answer any more questions. If you ever get to North Georgia, I'd be happy to let you shoot mine.




Rolan Kraps
SASS Regulator
Gainesville, Georgia.
NRA Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Instructor - Pistol / Personal Protection Inside the Home
 
Posts: 21818 | Location: Gainesville, GA | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Not really from Vienna
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.30-30s are cheaper because there are lots of them and comparatively little demand. It would make a dandy HD weapon if your neighbors live a mile or so away. It's essentially like a 7.62x39 with a heavier, flat nosed soft point bullet.

I've seen low recoil 30-30 ammo for sale. Hornady loads it, and I believe Federal used to. It isn't easy to find at the corner store, though.

Roland-none of the Marlin 1894 .44 magnums I've had experience with worked with 44 spl cartridges. They tried to double feed. I guess they're too short. What type do you use?




 
Posts: 21090 | Location: Young American Teen Club | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A teetotaling
beer aficionado
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As recoil goes for center fire rifle loads (not hand gun loads in a rifle) 30-30 is one of the lighter ones. Far below .308 or 30.06, but heavier than .223/5.56.

The are zillions of Winchester 94 chambered in 30-30 that go to the deer woods each year and I'll bet they account for a big chunk of the game taken. That said, I wouldn't consider it a plinking load or one particularly suited to home defense unless it's the only gun one owns. For your described purpose a hand gun cal would be best. .357 or .44 are good choices. And stay away from a 44/70 or .444, they'll knock you silly.



Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.

-D.H. Lawrence
 
Posts: 8968 | Location: Fort Worth, Texas | Registered: February 07, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the responses guys, I really do appreciate it. I will stick with the 38/357 variety and will definitely check out the Marlins. Just often wondered about the 30-30 and you all are right about it being more gun than I need,especially in the home defense department. I hated letting go of the 94 I had years ago but the more I read, the Marlin seems to be the one I am searching for. I think I prefer the gate load version more, as it seems maybe more sturdy/durable. I had a little .22 tube load years ago when I was much younger and remember having an issue when the "plunger" for the lack of a better term,bent when I was loading the tube and after that it crippled the rifle. It was only a plinker but was a fun gun at the range.

Also, thanks Rolan for the invite and I wished I lived closer. I read your postings and appreciate your insight, as you seem to be the go to guy for lever action rifles/cowboy shoots. I would like to try it one day.
I use to enjoy watching Bob Munden perform and saw him once many years ago. It's not everyone's cup of tea but it is amazing at the technique used in cowboy shooting,for either rifle or revolver. I always had fond memories watching old westerns with my father and grandfather. It's a shame that time has past.
 
Posts: 3785 | Location: Treasure Coast,Fl. | Registered: July 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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JM marked Marlin 1894. In .357, if you can find one. And replace the stock sights with a quality receiver sight to enhance the guns accuracy.
As a home defense gun, my only caution would be with the admin handling of the gun. It must be done with care, as you must cycle the action to unload it.
The lever gun was the AR of its day and 144 years later is still going strong.


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 5681 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like the Marlin levers. Not a 30-30 shooter, but it's ubiquitous and common, heavily used and they're everywhere.

I have a Winchester 1894 in .45 Colt that's a pussycat to shoot. I'd like on in .44 mag, and missed a chance at one in .41 mag last year. They're very hard to find.

If you carry .357, then a lever in .357 makes a lot of sense, and is a great choice, depending on your intended use.

The older Marlin 1895 is a very good choice for a lever, and will hold up to the field a lot better than a Henry.
 
Posts: 1494 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Aside from the 30-30’s recoil for a house gun, it has a magazine capacity of only six cartridges, whereas the 357 will give you eight or nine, IIRC.

If you are inclined to go with a 30-30, why not an AR upper in 300 BLK? One pull of the charging handle and you’re ready to go. Basically the same ballistics as a 30-30, but with a 30 round mag. Unless the whole reason is the charm of a lever, which I totally understand.

ETA: If you do go with a lever, you must go with a side gate loader. You don’t want to take the gun out of action to top off, and besides, tube loaders like Henry tend to have the muzzle pointing at your head while loading.



[i]
 
Posts: 5077 | Location: Utah | Registered: December 18, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Winchester 1873 in 357 mag. It is a pleasure to shoot and I would recommend this rifle without hesitation. Mine is a 24" octagon barrel but it is also offered in 20".

This message has been edited. Last edited by: arlen,


Regards,
arlen

======================
Some days, it's just not worth the effort of chewing through the leather straps.
======================
 
Posts: 267 | Location: Colorado | Registered: August 13, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm not laughing
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quote:
Originally posted by arfmel:
.30-30s are cheaper because there are lots of them and comparatively little demand. It would make a dandy HD weapon if your neighbors live a mile or so away. It's essentially like a 7.62x39 with a heavier, flat nosed soft point bullet.

I've seen low recoil 30-30 ammo for sale. Hornady loads it, and I believe Federal used to. It isn't easy to find at the corner store, though.

Roland-none of the Marlin 1894 .44 magnums I've had experience with worked with 44 spl cartridges. They tried to double feed. I guess they're too short. What type do you use?


arfmel,
All my .44 Specials (I had two Marlins and a Winchester 1894 AE) had Action jobs. The helped them feed .44 Specials well. I used Lead Flat nose rounds that I loaded myself with Clays Powder. I dodn't even remember the recipe. I used a 240gr RNFP lead projectile.

RK




Rolan Kraps
SASS Regulator
Gainesville, Georgia.
NRA Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Instructor - Pistol / Personal Protection Inside the Home
 
Posts: 21818 | Location: Gainesville, GA | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Arlen,that is a beauty. I think I have the fever for a lever.
 
Posts: 3785 | Location: Treasure Coast,Fl. | Registered: July 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Like a party
in your pants
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Do any of the 357 rifles feed the 38 spl. better or more reliably than other brands?
 
Posts: 2713 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm not laughing
WITH you
Picture of Rolan_Kraps
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quote:
Originally posted by armored:
Do any of the 357 rifles feed the 38 spl. better or more reliably than other brands?


Marlin, Uberti, Beretta, Winchester/Miroku, all feed .38 specials fine.

Rossi and other 1892 clones can be made to feed .38 specials.




Rolan Kraps
SASS Regulator
Gainesville, Georgia.
NRA Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Instructor - Pistol / Personal Protection Inside the Home
 
Posts: 21818 | Location: Gainesville, GA | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
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It's definitely possible to put a red dot on them...

Marlin 336 C .35 Remington, with Sig Romeo 3. I like the Marlin guns, but the Browning in .357 is very nice also.




We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled. - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012
 
Posts: 8541 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by armored:
Do any of the 357 rifles feed the 38 spl. better or more reliably than other brands?


Loading problems can be caused from the length of the bullet. I found that my 38 special ammo (Blazer Brass) is 1.425" overall length. It will not cycle in my rifle.

357 magnums with an OAL of 1.55" or 1.59" cycle just fine in the rifle. As long as I shoot the correct length of 357 magnum and avoid the revolver cheapo ammo, then I am good to go with my lever rifle.


Regards,
arlen

======================
Some days, it's just not worth the effort of chewing through the leather straps.
======================
 
Posts: 267 | Location: Colorado | Registered: August 13, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Like a party
in your pants
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Do you have the Miroku manufactured Winchester?
 
Posts: 2713 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diversified Hobbyist
Picture of Steve 22X
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
I don’t have extensive experience with the model 94 in 30-30, but the ones I have fired had some of the most unpleasant recoil I’ve experienced.


^^ This.
For whatever reason, IMO it felt much worse than the Marlin 336.


-----------------------------------
Regards, Steve
The anticipation is often greater than the actual reward
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Wylie, Texas | Registered: November 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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quote:
Originally posted by armored:
Do you have the Miroku manufactured Winchester?

Yes, I believe that it is the Miroku manufacture.


Regards,
arlen

======================
Some days, it's just not worth the effort of chewing through the leather straps.
======================
 
Posts: 267 | Location: Colorado | Registered: August 13, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Like a party
in your pants
Picture of armored
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quote:
Originally posted by arlen:
quote:
Originally posted by armored:
Do you have the Miroku manufactured Winchester?

Yes, I believe that it is the Miroku manufacture.


Well, I hope Santa does not have a problem coming down my chimney with a Miroku -1892 -357 in one hand and a pre-64 Winchester 1892 -30/30 in the other.
My lever action craving will then be satisfied.
 
Posts: 2713 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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