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Old September 20, 2010, 01:37 AM   #1
therealdeal
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henry big boy .44 rifle VS .357 or .45 henry big boy rifles

I am going to buy a Henry Big Boy .44 magnum rifle(or Henry Big Boys are @ the top of my list @ the moment), and I just want to know if anyone agrees with this and/or thinks the henry bigboy .45 colt or the .357 would be better?? This is my 1st rifle, so the advice willnot be taken lightly. All three of these rifles are the same except for the calibers. I have also heard that they're like the marlin 336 but a little safer(less of a chance for accidental discharge which honestly I am not worried about but it helps). thank you guyz+gals.
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Old September 20, 2010, 03:51 AM   #2
UpstateGlocker
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Have you looked at the Marlins? When I bought my first handgun caliber rifle I looked at the various offerings from Marlin, Henry, Rossi, and some older Winchesters, but the Marlins seemed best built with most easily available replacement parts. But, to respond to your post, I chose 44Mag since ammo is more available in my area. If you load your own that's another story. The comparative ballistics you can get off the internet sites. The other decision is handgun vs rifle caliber, and what you are using it for. The handgun calibers edge up against the 30-30 in performance at under 100 yds, but for any distance work over 100 yds I would definitely choose a true rifle caliber instead.
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Old September 20, 2010, 03:55 AM   #3
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p.s. -- when I said "have you looked at the Marlins" I meant the 1894s in .44mag. Their 336 gets into the handgun vs rifle round debate. The 1894 is a classic, though, if you are interested in a handgun caliber. As for 44mag vs 357, it depends on intended use. For hunting varmints and rabbits the 357 is fine and cheaper, while if you're going for deer, coyote or hogs you'd want a 44mag, again assuming we are talking under 100 yards. For over 100 yards the 336 is a better choice.
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Old September 20, 2010, 04:27 AM   #4
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I'm gonna check out the 1894 marlin now. I have no problem maybe getting something different and marlin is my 2nd choice but I like the bigboys too. as far as the 100yards, I dont doubt you, but I was reading at least one review and they were talking about the .357 for 100yards but were saying the .44 would do 200yards. also, yes a true rifle caliber is something that interests me too
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Old September 20, 2010, 04:48 AM   #5
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I have been reading too the .357 are more popular than I thought upstateglocker. the 30-30 is better for longer ranges and is more popular when hunting is thrown into the mix. I have two .357 revolvers but I don't think I can buy a rifle that isn't .44 or 30-30(@ least my 1st one anyways). the .357 bigboy has to be an option though since my two revolvers take the same hollowpoints
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Old September 20, 2010, 11:32 AM   #6
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All of the Henry Big Boys are heavy for carrying. The .357 I shot was not as accurate as the .44, but that could have been just single-sample variances.

If you plan to carry at all, go Marlin.
If it's just a toy, it doesn't matter.

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Old September 20, 2010, 12:50 PM   #7
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You can't go wrong with a Marlin no matter what caliber you choose...I would, however, suggest a 30-30.
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Old September 20, 2010, 06:57 PM   #8
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The henry big boy in 44 mag was my first rifle to. As well as my first lever action.

Gun is pleasant to shoot, very pretty and yes it is heavy. But heavy gun makes for nice shooting. I liked that Henry so much I bought various winchesters and marlins to add to the lever gun collection.

And best of the breed I think for a first rifle is a marlin 1894 in 357 magnum, if you get the cowboy version (like I did) you get a superior tapered octagon barrel that handled 10 times better then the Henry's crowbar clunker of a barrel.

Or get the plain marlin 1894 and save some dough eather way its the best choice by far.

44 mag and 30-30 are expensive to feed compared to 357 mag or 3 8special. I do beleive I shot my way through enough factory loads to buy another Henry before I smartened up and bought a 22 rimfire to plink with.
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Old September 20, 2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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.357/.38 are nice for plinking or rabbits. The .44mag is definitely for hunting deer or hogs close in or brush. Yes, the .44mag can carry over 100 yards but I would not recommend it for hunting over that distance unless you are very experienced and can figure the rainbow trajectory and impact point so you ensure a humane kill. If you look at the ballistic charts you really shouldn't be hunting with any handgun caliber over 100 yards unless you are very experienced. Go with a true rifle caliber like the 30-30 if you like the classic 336 lever. Or with Marlin or Browning you can get the levers in a wide range of calibers. I've got a Browning BLR in .308 and love it -- great handling and natural aiming.
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Old September 20, 2010, 11:43 PM   #10
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I'm undecided but I'll let you know what I end up doing. thanx for advice, I am thinking marlin 30-30 or bigboy .44(possibly.357 but I doubt it). If I can find some really good deals I'll get a marlin 30-30 and bigboy .44

I want to buy new but if you all know how I can handle that with another brand and its not too much let me know(like price dropping from what a bigboy .44 plus 30-30 marlin would cost put together while still getting 2similar ones new)
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Old September 21, 2010, 12:19 AM   #11
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I like all the Henry Lever actions. One thing for sure is that they all have smooth actions. Would love to have the Big Boy in .45 Colt. Loaded hot, it would kill anything on earth, and loaded to "cowboy" levels it makes a fine plinker.
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Old September 21, 2010, 01:54 AM   #12
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mortimer .45 ammo is never hard to come by right? is the .45 stronger than the .44 by much? I had been saying. 44 because I figured I'dget a .44magnum revovler sometime too but the colt might be way to go!?
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Old September 21, 2010, 02:21 AM   #13
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I think lever actions are great in general. I own a Marlin and love it, but I have to agree with UpstateGlocker- if you are shooting over 100 yds go for the rifle caliber.
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Old September 21, 2010, 02:35 AM   #14
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thanx bflobill I am having trouble making this decision but its a rifle so the 30-30 marlin seems like a good choice. I dont hunt a lot but my buddies do and I might end up hunting more. I wish I could get 2
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Old September 21, 2010, 02:46 AM   #15
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Really depends what you want if for.

The .357/.38 in a carbine is a great plinker, self defense, and small game getter. The ammo is inexpensive and easy to find in a variety of styles and weights. recoil is light.

The .44 Mag is the one for hunting deer. As someone else said don't figure hunting much beyond 100 yds though as it drops significantly past that. It would be good for defense against marauding black bear or any 2-legged varmints out in the woods. The ammo is much more expensive, more like rifle ammo. I had a .44 mag win 94 trapper with a 16" barrel and the recoil was more than my 20" Win 94 in .30-30. Seemed about in between a .30-06 rifle and shotgun with slugs.

I've never shot .45 Colt but ballistically it would seem to be about the same as the .44 Special unless you get it hot loaded beyond SAAMI specs. Good for plinking, self defense, and small game to 50 yds or so.

The .30-30 is a good all around cartridge especially for hunting deer to 150 yds, maybe more. In the country it could also be a good self defense round if you don't have neighbors close by.

If plinking and self defense against humans or pest control is your purpose then the .357 is ideal. If hunting deer, coyotes, bear or cougar to 150 yds then the .30-30 is best. If you don't mind the expense and like big booms then the .44 mag is a lot of fun and can handle anything out to 100 yds.
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Old September 21, 2010, 03:10 AM   #16
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thanx pilgrim. I am getting the bigboy, the 30-30 marlin, or both for my first rifle(s). I guess I am where I started but your last post really helped. I am leaning to the .44 since unless I start hunting a bunch a 30-30 isn't necessary. I will shoot but not so much where the money will be too much or the weight will become so serious an issue. I bet I could get the .44 150yds but that just might be my imagination. lol. ps-my wife said she'll shoot my ass if I try to pickoff the hedgehog by the barn. lmao. I actually was just pulling her chain- I wouldnt go after the little guy. One time when I got home late three deer were sleeping in my backyard; I think they eat the stuff I avoid raking up
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Old September 21, 2010, 08:18 AM   #17
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The .45 Colt and .44 mag have similar ballistics except the .45 Colt is a larger caliber and operates at lower pressure. So you can get the same performance at lower pressure with a larger (11.5 mm) bullet. No caliber has more history than the .45 Colt. You can shoot low power "cowboy loads" and high power "Buffalo Bore" loads which are similar to .44 mag. If you reload a 250 grain hard cast round nose flat point with around 9 grains of Unique would be a great general purpose round. There is a reason that manufacturers have been developing new .452 calibers and not .429 so now we have .454 Casull and .460 S&W which are both .452" - The .45 Colt just makes sense and has been around for 138 years and still going strong.
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Old September 21, 2010, 09:06 AM   #18
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thanx jmortimer. I will keep that in mind+learned from that post
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Old September 21, 2010, 09:31 AM   #19
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I have a few rifles and of all of them I like my Henry 44mag the best. Others hold a fond place in my heart but for other reasons. The weight of the barrel makes it a very comfortable rifle to shoot and there is nothing like a good lever action.

If I was to buy a Marlin I think I would get the 336C
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Old September 21, 2010, 11:49 AM   #20
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For new people it's necessary to differentiate in talking about power levels between .44 Mag & .45 Colt.
In STANDARD COMMERCIAL FACTORY LOADS, the .44 Mag has much more power.
To equal or exceed the .44 Mag, you have to go with a niche maker like Buffalo Bore & a couple others who push the .45 Colt caliber's pressures significantly, or load your own.
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Old September 21, 2010, 12:09 PM   #21
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I'll refer John Linebaugh and his article from his site customsixguns.com "Gun Notes: .45 Colt - Disolving the Myth Discovering the Legend"
http://www.customsixguns.com/writing...g_the_myth.htm
Actually, it would only take a "new" reloader a little effort to make the .45 Colt shine.

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Old September 21, 2010, 12:23 PM   #22
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I agree that it's easy to load your own ultra-hot 45 Colt rounds. When I got my BFR 5-shot .454 Casull, I made some really hot .45 Colt rounds that nearly equal the .454 just like John Linebaugh talks about. No problems at all with the gun or the brass. Once I got enough .454 brass, I kind of quit making the super hot .45 rounds. I was afraid I would accidentally put the super hot round into one of my weaker revolvers. I've wondered about how strong the various .45 Colt lever actions are. I know Puma used to make .454 and .480 Ruger chambered lever actions. So, I'm guessing their .45 Colt rilfes are plenty strong as well. But that's just a guess at this point.

If I didn't reload, I would probably stick with the .44 mag though. It's easier to find hot .44 ammo than it is to find hot .45 ammo. Plus, if you are stuck with buying factory ammo, the .45 Colt stuff is expensive and sometimes hard to find.
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Old September 21, 2010, 01:50 PM   #23
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It IS easy to up the .45 Colt ante.
I was refering to "The .45 Colt and .44 Mag have similar ballistics except that the .45 Colt is a larger caliber and operates at lower pressure" statement.
In standard factory loads, that's an overly broad statement that can cause confusion for people not familiar with the calibers, pressures, and ammunition available.

For the non-reloader, WalMart .45 Colt loads will not have similar ballistics to WalMart .44 Mag loads.
Most of the hotter .45 Colt commercial ammo has to be special ordered, and you have to know it exists to know where to look for it.
Regular .44 Mag ammo is widely available, on the other hand, and can be found all over dealer shelves.
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Old September 21, 2010, 02:30 PM   #24
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DPris - You make a good point and I misread your post as a personal attack which it was not and corrected my post accordingly. Please accept my apology. Actually, short of some custom 5 hole revolver, the .44 mag does have an edge in power potential as the Buffalo Bore +P .44 Mag ammunition demonstrates but they are both in the same class at the high end.
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Old September 21, 2010, 03:01 PM   #25
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My vote is for the .44mag. You can hunt with it at 150yds. if you're capable of hitting your target properly and it has more knock-down power at 100yds., maybe more, than a .30-30. If you are planning to hunt I suggest the Marlin because it's lighter than the Henry and thus easier to carry.
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