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Old April 3, 2012, 07:45 PM   #1
davery25
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357 mag vs 44 mag in a lever gun

Hi guys,

I'm going to buy a lever action in either 357 or 44 mag.

I'm pretty keen on the 44 mag chambering but wouldn't mind either because with the 357 ill be able to use 38 specials as well. I don't hunt so power isn't a factor. Is there much difference in ammo/reloading price?

Can you guys shed some light on a good lever action for these calibres. I really want the Marlin but am a bit worried about this Remington takeover and the subsequent quality and feeding issues that may or may not come with.

Would I do well with a Rossi 92 or a Winchester?

Also up to 300 meters/yards how much different is the trajectory of the 2 calibres?
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Old April 3, 2012, 08:15 PM   #2
Jimro
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Out to 300 meters? Good luck with that, really.

As far as a ballistic curve goes, a .357 158gr soft lead round nose at 1800 fps drops 58.4 inches at 300 yards. A .429 240gr projectile at 1800 fps drops 59 inches at 300 yards. The ballistic rainbow is the same.

If you are hitting a metal gong though, the heavier 44 mag bullets will make a more audible hit.

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Old April 3, 2012, 08:21 PM   #3
oldpapps
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"Is there much difference in ammo/reloading price? "

I no longer load/shoot 38s/357s but...
Component prices work out like this:
Primers - same
Powder - save maybe 2 grains or so of 231/HP38 when loading 38s from a soft 44 loading.
Bullets/Cast lead - 38/357, around 9 cents each - 44, around 13 cents each

Brass runs: 38s-14 cents, 357- 14 1/2 cents, 44spec & Mag- 18.3 cents

Jacketed bullets are more expensive and will use greater amounts or different types of powder.
Running 158 grain .357s near max are close to 1800fps. 240 grain .44s near max are close to 1450fps. These are velocities from pistol length barrels, so expect greater.

Cost wise, reloads are a hair more for .44s. But soft loads from a 44 beats a 38 anytime.

I run 5.6 grains of 231/HP38 with 240 grain cast lead, LP primers, in 44 Mag brass (it will last forever with this light load) for 850fps from a 6 1/2 inch barrel. No leading and a nice easy round that smacks hard. A 357 can smack just as hard, the 38, not so much.

Now you still have to pick the lever and still determine the clambering. What do you load now? That could be the deciding point.

Enjoy,

OSOK
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:23 AM   #4
davery25
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haha, never said i wasn't gonna aim at the sky Jimro! at least once at the end of every range session i'll fire my 22LR at a gong at 500metres at the range, i basically have to fire it at the sky and it lobs its way over there and takes many seconds, but its very fun

can you guys suggest a rifle? I've only fired the Rossi 92 in .357. The action was cr@p, the trigger was worse then on a Marlin T-900 trigger system but it was super fun.

As i said i really want the marlin because of the side eject, but the quality rumours put me off
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Old April 4, 2012, 07:01 AM   #5
Jimro
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I owned a Marlin 94 in 44 mag for a number of years. It served me trouble free.

If I had to do it again I'd go with a Puma in 454 Casull for hunting and just shoot 45 Colt for "plinking".

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Old April 4, 2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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Out to 300 meters you're going to be lobbing either of them in ... so forget that unless you are a former FDC chief or something. (30-30 may be more to your liking for 300 meters, but even then, that's twice the distance most will shoot 30-30).

As far as platforms, there are plenty of JM stamped Marlins still out there to be had. Yes, I too would avoid the REM Remlin roll stamped productions for now - but they'll get it together sooner or later.

44 Mag is the way to go imho. I own both, an 1894 CB LTD in 357/39 and an 1894P in 44 Mag. Both are great leverguns, but I'm biased towards the ported 44 whereas my wife loves the CB LTD although with it's long octagon barrel it is a bit heavy for her to tote around for long.

Rossi makes a good levergun. The Brazilians have gotten a lot better in the past decade, but they are no Marlin ... not the JM stamped Marlins, at least not imho.

You've also got Henry and Chaparral to chose from if you want.
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Old April 4, 2012, 10:30 AM   #7
AlaskaMike
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I've got a Rossi 92 in .44 mag and I actually like the action of mine better than my father in law's Marlin .44 mag.

I have a lot of fun with the Rossi. It's very accurate with my cast loads using a 300 grain flat nose bullet. Sometimes I'll also load up some 200 grain Lasercast RNFP bullets I still have laying around, over a small charge of 231 or Clays. If those bullets hit 1000 fps coming out of the muzzle I'd be very surprised, but they're very quiet and accurate within 50 yards.
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Old April 4, 2012, 12:30 PM   #8
BigJimP
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I've had a Henry Big boy rifle ...chambered in .357 mag for about 3 yrs ...and its a well made gun / good trigger / good accuracy.

http://www.henryrepeating.com/rifle-big-boy.cfm

I think you get a lot of rifle for the money .../ so I'd at least put it on your short list. A couple of my buddies have the marlin versions ...and they seem to like them...but one of them did have some issues on his rifle - had to send it back a couple of times for service / it wasn't feeding right ( something was bent or not installed properly in the action as I understood it ) - but that happens with all companies / hard to know going forward what some of these companies will be or become.

My reloads - using a 158gr Montana Gold bullet ..are at about $ 8 for a box of 50 rds...( and I use the same round in my .357 mag revolvers and my rifle ).

I load the same bullet --- if I reload .38 spl ...so its about the same price / but way less recoil ( some of the younger grandkids like it a lot in .38 spl ).
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Old April 4, 2012, 12:41 PM   #9
buck460XVR
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I have both .357 and .44 mag carbines. For hunting the .44 mag has a slight advantage. For range use the .357 wins hands down. Not only are factory rounds cheaper, but reloading components are also. Recoil from my powder puff range loads(7.5 gr of Unique under a bulk 158 JHP) outta my .357 levers is comparable to a .22mag. Most folks I take to the range with me prefer the .357s to the .44s. Reactive targets like bowling pins and chunks of 4X4 last longer when hit by .357 loads also.
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Old April 4, 2012, 01:58 PM   #10
Airborne Falcon
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I just thought of another option ... Uberti. They make a heckuva levergun and how I forgot that one in my early post is beyond me. Shame on me.

Now, I'm a Marlin man, or older Winchesters. But what I have seen and shot of the Uberti line has impressed me. I've always been a big fan of Italian gun makers anyway and have toured the entire Brescia region - it's hard to go wrong with an Italian firearm. They take great pride in their small arms manufacturing over there.
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Old April 4, 2012, 07:37 PM   #11
JimCameron
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I have acquired 2 lever guns recently.

I first tried to purchase a Marlin made Marlin 1894C in .357. The barrel was marked Marlin, North Haven, Conn., it had a JM proof mark on the barrel, but after one session at the range, I returned it to the LGS. The owner had assured me it was indeed a Marlin, made Marlin. It would not feed, or even cycle empty, without brute strength being applied. It was a POS. The LGS said they could fix it and after a week, they advised that contrary to all the JM markings, it was Remington inside. I received a refund, and then went on a hunt for a real leaver gun. My buddy had just bought a Rossi, .357, and although it shot well, the stock was cheap, and there was a lot of plastic to the cycling mechanism. No thanks. So... I bought a Winchester pre 1964 (actually made in 1952) Model 94 in .32 Winchester Special. It is such a vastly superior gun, (at the same price as the pos Marlin)that it is not even fair to compare it. It is in better condition at 60 yrs old than the Marlin or Rossi were new. Second gun is a Marlin 336 made in 1958 .30-30. It too, is nicer than either of the new guns, and .30-30, or .32 Special will out easily compete with any .357 or .44mag.

Start looking for something from the 50's, 60', etc. and don't waste your money on something with very little craftsmanship involved.

Just my .02 worth, enjoy.
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Old April 5, 2012, 10:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
The ballistic rainbow is the same.
I got a chuckle outta that
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Old April 6, 2012, 07:02 PM   #13
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I'd put a Browning 92 on my list also. I like the 92's in pistol calibers. A Browning may not be as esy to find and may cost a little more but worth the wait and extra cash. I'd go with the 44, you can load heavy for hunting or light for plinking.
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Old April 6, 2012, 07:13 PM   #14
huntinaz
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Quote:
Brass runs: 38s-14 cents
Whoah, for new brass maybe. Anybody want to buy some 38 spl brass? I have a bunch and would let it go for half of that...

38/357 brass is definitely more common, especially 38. Overall it's cheaer to do 38/357...

I think as a reloader though, I'd prefer the 44 mag. That's just me.
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Old April 7, 2012, 04:51 PM   #15
oldpapps
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Yup 'huntinaz', the prices I listed came directly from the 'Star Brass' web page.
Wanted to give a fair shake to all options.

We all know that much lower prices can be had if we look around and buy used brass. The prices listed for bullets are not what I pay but what is listed on line with a quick search.

I just love seeing these guys tout how much cheaper 9MMs are to shoot. When they cost me the same as 44 mag soft loads. The big differences being I trust my loads and can take little Missouri white tails with them and the 9s throw their brass away just like my .45s.

Out of a lever action, one would hope that finding your brass wouldn't be that hard. Pick it up and use it again and again.

Oh, no, I don't want/need any .38 brass. There are many out there that do.

Looks like there are lots of levers to sort through.

Enjoy,

OSOK
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Old April 8, 2012, 12:16 AM   #16
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I just thought of another option ... Puma makes a very decent levergun.

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Old April 8, 2012, 07:43 AM   #17
valleyforge.1777
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There are plenty of genuine Winchester Model 94 lever guns out there that are chambered for 357 Mag/38 or 44 Mag/44 Special. I have a few of them in 16 inch barrel Trapper configuration and in 20 inch carbine configuration. If you are not going to hunt, and you are going to reload, I guess it doesn't much matter which caliber you choose. My 357/38, in both the 16 inch and 20 inch barrels, strongly prefer the 125 grain bullets to make tighter groups even at 25 yards and definitely out to 100 yards. I think my 44 Trapper prefers 240 grain for tighter groups, but I am not sure and need to test it with different loads in the 200 and 240 grain varieties. I definitely prefer shooting the 357/38 rifles, and I am set up to reload those calibers. I can eventually get dies and related equipment to make 44's, and I've got tons of saved brass, but I am not going to do that right now. For factory ammo, I find the 44 Specials are too soft, sort of like shooting a pop gun or a .22 (I think it is a waste to shoot very expensive ammo that makes a very large hole and have it feel like I shot a cork-gun at a county fair), and the 44 Magnums are too hard on my shoulder to really enjoy target shooting. So, that rifle will sit in the corner until the day comes that I get set up to reload 44's and then i will work up loads that are fun to shoot.

One more thing... Opinions vary about the Henry lever rifles. I know a lot of people really like them. I owned a Henry Big Boy in 44 Magnum/44 Special. That's primarily how I got a big pile of once-fired 44 brass. I hated that rifle and sold it below market price just to get rid of it. Having now owned that Henry and several genuine Winchester's, i can't really see what anyone likes about the Henry's, but to each his own, I suppose.

Things I did not like: 1. It is really heavy and so unless you shoot exclusively off of sandbags and rests, the rifle is hard to hold and carefully aim shot after shot without getting muscle fatigue that screws up your ability to hold it stable. 2. The rifle is loaded by removing the magazine tube follower and then manually dropping the rounds into the magazine tube one at a time. That is how many .22 lever rifles are loaded, but for a large caliber rifle, that is retarded and gets old fast. 3. The fore stock is as wide as my Aunt Matilda's back side. Now, for those that do not know her, just image a picture of the titanic or the QE2, or Mount Rushmore, or whatever. You get the idea. It is wide enough that it is hard to hold it well when trying to aim the rifle. 4. Mine jammed more times than I'd care to remember, often with the lever half/open, half/closed and nothing was moving anywhere until I really cranked on it. As many people have commented, "Henry has the best customer service in the firearms business, and you will find that out because you will need them." Never have had any jams with my model 94's in pistol calibers.

Seems to be some bias against the model 94 in pistol caliber since it was originally issued in a rifle caliber and the model 92 was originally issued in a pistol caliber, but as I like to point out, the model 92 was not originally issued by Winchester in 357/38 or 44Mag/44Special. It was originally issued in 44-40, and unless you are getting an original and shooting that caliber, you are already compromising, so why not get the model 94's that are plentiful and relatively less expensive than buying a model 92?
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Old April 8, 2012, 10:38 AM   #18
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Would I do well with a Rossi 92 or a Winchester?

Also up to 300 meters/yards how much different is the trajectory of the 2 calibres?

You would do well with either altho my Rossi .357 is generally the one at the range most folks prefer. Funny, mine has pretty good wood for what I paid for it and fit and finish is on par with my Marlin lever .44. It is also more accurate than any of my Winnies. If you are looking to shoot at ranges longer than 100 yards, I would suggest another option in either .357 or .44, and that is a Ruger 77/357 or a 77/44. I have a 77/44 and altho it lacks the nostalgia of a lever action it is very accurate, is much easier to load and unload in hunting situations due to it's detachable mag and for those longer shots and older tired eyes, is much easier to mount a decent scope on. At 100 yards, with a Nikon 2X7 scope, the accuracy of my 77/44 is boring and I find myself either going to 200 yards or shooting at bottle caps. As to the advice of getting a .32 special or 30/30 instead, I have both and altho they are fine firearms, the price of factory ammo and the ease of reloading handgun calibers makes shooting handgun calibers much more attractive. In the field, in most situations a properly loaded .357 or .44 round outta a rifle/carbine will do anything a .32 special or 30/30 will.
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