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Old October 3, 2009, 07:16 AM   #1
mapsjanhere
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Lever action .357 Mag vs. 30-30

My wife is finally coming around to shooting, but she thinks I pulled a fast one by answering her wish for a lever action with a 450 Marlin. So I'm looking for either a 357 Mag or a 30-30. Has anyone got experience with both calibers out of lever actions, and which one has the lighter recoil?
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Old October 3, 2009, 07:42 AM   #2
garryc
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The 357 has lighter recoil.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:19 AM   #3
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Yeah, the .357 has lighter recoil. I brother has a 30-30 and I have a .357 mag so I was able to compare side by side. Even though it is lighter, it still kicks a bit especially for someone who is inexperienced. You can also use for deer hunting if you are in thick woods and extreme distance is not needed.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:35 AM   #4
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One thing I might suggest is to get (either) one with a longer barrel as it helps a lot in these rifles. The 357 will be the easiest but I would not pass up a sweet looking 30-30 deal, (or even 44 mag which shoots pretty soft too) because of recoil sensitivity - as long as it has a recoil pad. I do wholeheartedly applaud your approach. Any rifle in particular you are thinking about?
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:43 AM   #5
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Is she going to hunt with the rifle? If so, my choice would be the 30-30 only because the ballistics are some what better than the .357 or the .44 mag. I own all tree calibers and the difference in recoil between them all isn't enough to worry about.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:46 AM   #6
bcarver
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shooting or hunting

For just plain shooting go with the .357. It will shoot .38 specials just fine.
I have a marlin cowboy with a long barrel and it is a pussycat with the 38 specials.
But for hunting with a lever action I would suggest the 30-30 or .35 remington.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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[My wife is finally coming around to shooting, but she thinks I pulled a fast one by answering her wish for a lever action with a 450 Marlin.]

Yep. She probably figured you were after her life insurance - handing her a smoker like that !

.
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Old October 3, 2009, 08:53 AM   #8
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For plinking or hunting? Do you reload?

My wife hates recoil and loves to plink with my 1894c .357 because she can use .38spls.

OTOH, I recall reading a thread where the shooter described loading .30-30 brass with a few grains of bullseye (a .22LR shell-full, IIRC) and a .30 cal buckshot ball (just "pushed" in). IIRC, the combo was surprisingly accurate and good enough for small game, and it really enhanced the versatility of the .30-30.
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Old October 3, 2009, 09:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tips, I don't think she's going hunting anytime soon, so I'm thinking 357, starting her out with a box of 38. I do reload, and the idea was to load the 450 down to trapdoor levels before she gets her hand on it, just didn't get around to it. But she insisted trying it now ...
I don't think promising her special handloads in 30-30 are going to be calming her
A quick look at gunbroker says Marlin 1894, Winchester 94 AE or the Rossi copies. And reason to prefer one over the other?
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Old October 3, 2009, 09:35 AM   #10
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The .357 will be much more fun to shoot, especially for a woman, with significantly less recoil. Contrary to popular belief, the cartridge becomes a whole nuther animal when handloaded for a rifle. You get another 300-500fps out of the longer barrel. It is nipping on the heels of the .35Remington with heavy loads. A fine 100yd deer rifle.
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Old October 3, 2009, 10:09 AM   #11
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I have both, and the .357 is less like everyone is saying. If its just for fun and plinking, its cheaper to run too. Give her the .38's to start with and let her work up. If its for any type of hunting, the 30-30.
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Old October 3, 2009, 10:25 AM   #12
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  • If the gun is part of your home defense plan, remember that the .357 holds twice as many rounds in the magazine.
  • Don't kid yourself; the .30-30 is better for deer. (but the .357 is more than adequate for the task)
  • The .357 will be cheaper to shoot.
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Old October 3, 2009, 11:12 AM   #13
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Finding A Marlin in .357 will be the hard part. But worth it.
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Old October 3, 2009, 11:58 AM   #14
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I have the Marlin

Quote:
A quick look at gunbroker says Marlin 1894, Winchester 94 AE or the Rossi copies. And reason to prefer one over the other?
Lots of reasons to pick one of those over the others, but do they apply to you?

The Winchester is out of print (at least for the time being), and while there are lots of parts available (should you ever need any) they are no longer made. And everything marked Winchester is selling for a lot more than they should, just because of that. The Rossi's are copies of the Winchester 92, but I have no personal experience with them.

The Marlin 1894 is a fine little gun, outstanding in .357, virtually no recoil shooting .38s, and only a loud bang and a slight push shooting .357s. Be aware that some of the guns sometimes hang up feeding SWC bullets, so rounder noses work better, but it seems to be an individual thing.

In .30-30, the Marlin 336 is a bit heavier than the Winchester, and has a larger butt, making the recoil feel softer, at least for me.

I have all three, .357, .30-30, and .45-70 Marlins, and like them a lot. While I think the .450 is a fine idea, I prefer the .45-70. I'd rather load up to get heavy rounds than load down to get plinkers. And I have other .45-70s, so ammo (or at least case) commonality is a big thing for me.

Remember when loading for lever guns that overall length is important. You can load rounds too long to feed in the Marlin (yes in .357), and while they will go into the mag tube, they won't feed into the chamber. I have seen this done, and taking the gun apart was the only way to clear the stuck round.

The only bad thing I can (or will) say about the 1894 Marlin is I find the square lever "loop" to be a bit too small for my confort sometimes. Your wife, who probably has smaller fingers than I do, might find it just right.

Also, the Marlin is easy to mount a scope or red dot sight. Not traditional, but a great help for beginners, and fun besides! If you do mount a scope, get a hammer extension. Makes life a whole lot easier.
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Old October 3, 2009, 12:33 PM   #15
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Since some seem to think that the .357 rifle is no better than the .357 sixgun, here's some good reading on the subject.

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa...literature.htm

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/357magnum.htm

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/357_magnum_safari.htm
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Old October 3, 2009, 12:47 PM   #16
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Yeah, .30-30s buck pretty good and especially so in really light weight rifles like the Win 94 Carbine. My wife and kids don't like shooting my .30-30 as a result. They'll shoot my .357 Model 94 all day though - we all love it.

Best,
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Old October 3, 2009, 03:01 PM   #17
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For just having fun I would go with the .357 for her. If your looking for her to deer hunt I would go with the 30-30. The .357 will work out of a rifle for deer. I have a cousin that I reload her .357 for deer, and she has taken a few with it, and wounded a few. The one's she wounded she flat out should not have shot at. You need the placement like any rifle, or leave it walk. But I do like the 30-30 better for deer. For deer I got my wife a .243 again shot placement is key. She shot at two and dropped two. I had her practice alot, and she new if she could not get the placement to leave it walk, and she did. Her buck was a double lung went about 40 yards or so. Then she filled her doe tag, and thought she would try a neck shot, and if she missed no big deal. She did'nt dropped right on the spot. Good luck, and keep it safe!
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Old October 3, 2009, 03:12 PM   #18
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I have both and here is my take on it. If you plan to hunt, get the 30-30. Mine is an old Winchester 94. You can load the 30-30 down to 357 mag levels for easy plinking. But it's hard to get good accuracy as the store bought cast bullets are too hard for this application. Still fun to shoot though. Then use full throttle loads for hunting. Ya can't load the 357 up to 30-30 levels. If ya never plan to hunt, get the 357. Bullets for the 357 are cheaper and the brass lasts much longer. That 30-30 brass may split on the second load as it's so thin. I shoot the 357 gun all the time for fun. Forget using 38 if ya reload. You can load the 357 down for a soft shooting gun. And only one set of brass to fool with. My Puma seems to be more finicky with what bullets I use with the 38s. The same bullets cause no problems in 357. Just my take on it.
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Old October 3, 2009, 03:14 PM   #19
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If she or anyone else might go hunting (think of a son or nephew), then go with 30-30. Home defense, then go with .357 especially if there's a revolver of the same caliber laying around the house.
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Old October 5, 2009, 10:38 PM   #20
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Got a 1894C on order (hoping it makes it by Christmas), and don't tell my wife about the need for a matching revolver just yet!
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Old October 5, 2009, 10:46 PM   #21
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Try a Marlin 336 in .35 Rem. My wife shoots mine and really likes it. It has a little more umph behind it then the 30-30 but the recoil seems to be a little smoother. Mine is older (1964) and is my favorite rifle for damn near everything out to 175 yards with Hornaday LeveRevelution.
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Old October 5, 2009, 10:55 PM   #22
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If she has a "typical female frame" (whatever that is... smaller than a male frame anyway) I'd sugges the Marlin 336Y (youth model). Having the proper L.O.P will help with recoil. My Ex had one and she was pretty recoil sensitive, it didn't bug her a bit. If you reload you can load it down even farther.
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Old October 5, 2009, 11:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Don't kid yourself; the .30-30 is better for deer. (but the .357 is more than adequate for the task)
.357 bullets are designed for a particular velocity, usually from a handgun. If you shoot them from a rifle and they pick up another 300-500fps, the way they react and expand changes dramatically. A hunting hollowpoint designed for handgun velocities to expand and fully penetrate through a deer @ 1500fps, may explode violently at 1900fps and fail to fully penetrate.

If you're going to actually hunt with a .357 levergun, I'd suggest avoiding any jacketed bullets at all and go with quality gas-checked hard cast lead bullets. They'll stay together on impact.

Given the OP's original scenario, the .357 is the superior choice. Good to hear you got her the Marlin: I've got a buddy with one (a 336 though) and it is a great gun to take out plinking. Enough oomph to get out and reach 150 yard or further targets so it shoots like a centerfire rifle should... but more economical than a traditional bottleneck rifle cartridge. You can shoot 2-3 times as much for the same price as .30-30. And a lot lighter recoil.
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Old October 6, 2009, 07:07 AM   #24
garryc
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Quote:
If you're going to actually hunt with a .357 levergun, I'd suggest avoiding any jacketed bullets at all and go with quality gas-checked hard cast lead bullets. They'll stay together on impact.
Generally I agree with that, I use a 173 grain GC myself.

The 170 grain Gold Dot is an exception. It expands well and stays together, no jacket core separation.

http://www.speer-bullets.com/ballist...il.aspx?id=174
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Old October 7, 2009, 12:27 AM   #25
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Inside 125 yards, the .357 magnum can match a 30-30, if not exceed its ballistics.

Quote:
As far as power, the .357 Magnum using the right ammunition is in the same class as a good .30-30 load, while shooting a bullet of larger diameter. From a sixteen-inch barrel, factory thirty-thirty ammunition from the big ammo manufacturers drives a 170 grain bullet at just under 1900 feet-per-second (fps). The .357 Ranger Compact, with the same length barrel, drives a 180 grain bullet in excess of 1800 fps, and this too is using factory ammunition available from Buffalo Bore. I tested the Ranger Compact over the chronograph using a variety of factory ammunition, along with two hand loads, with the following results:

Load Velocity (fps)
Grizzly Cartridge Co. 180-grain cast lead 1502
Buffalo Bore 180-grain cast lead 1812
Cor-Bon .38 Special 125-grain Jaketed Hollowpoint 1437
Handload 125-grain Jacketed Hollowpoint 2003
Handload 180-grain Hornady XTP Hollowpoint 1831
http://www.gunblast.com/Winchester-Ranger357.htm


Personally I think this makes the .357 magnum lever gun more versatile than the 30-30 ... light .38 Special loads if easy plinking is the order of the day ... 180 grain hard cast if someone wants to take it deer hunting.

I looked at this scenario a long time ago and picked a Marlin 1894C. Great choice I'm thinking. The only thing I'd do different is try to get a stainless steel version today, since Marlin has produced that now.
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