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Old December 2, 2010, 06:14 PM   #1
bedbugbilly
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Need more advice on lever action "cowboy" rifles

O.K. - so I put a post up a few days ago in regards to a lever action rifle/carbine chambered in .357 so I could shoot 38 spl. in it since that is what I shoot in my New Vaquero SA. Several of you were kind enough to give me your opinions on the "Henry" and one of you compared the barrel to a "crowbar" out front. One suggested that I look at the Marlin which I thought was a pretty nice rifle as well. I don't shoot CAS but I would like to get a lever action rifle with a "cowboy flavor" to it. Since looking on Gunbroker to see the different makes and photos of them, I've run across even more brands . . so . . . can some of you with experience give me some "insight" on them. Some have octagon barrels, some round, etc. etc. Can you fill me in on the quality of the brands, reliability, dollar for dollar value, etc. I want something that will be "well balanced" and enjoyable to shoot as well. I guess that I'm finding the wide number of makes and models confusing . . . but then I'm usually confused most of the time anyway.

The brands I'm seeing are:

Henry
Marlin
Taurus
Chapparel Arms
Rossi
Uberti

Are some of these brands made by the same manufacturer but sold under different brand names? I've seen several Chapparel models - 1866, 1873 with iron frames versus brass, etc. I realize it is probably like comparing Pietta to Uberti, etc. - a personal preference - but I'd like to know which makes/models to avoid and which are good shooters, reliable and have good balance without being muzzle heavy and needing a prop to keep it up. Many thanks for whatever light some of you can shed on these. Sincerely, bedbug
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Old December 2, 2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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In my opinion, the Henry leveraction rifle made in USA Definately without a doubt has a cowboy feel to it. The Henry is a very reliable and traditional firearm to say the least. You have a lifetime warranty on the rifle. Henry will fix it someday if your grandson needs it fixed even if he can't show who bought it. When I bought mine, I called the owner on the phone and asked questions which was nice too. The firearm holds 10 shots(actually 11 if you put one in the chamber). Keep us posted


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

the above link are the bigboy rifles: .44, .45, OR .357 calibers. I decided upon the .44 when I bought the rifle though I have multiple .357 revolvers. I wanted something different and more powerful I could shoot across my property 'just in case' the big animal came. you seem interested in the .357 - a very good choice too! These rifles were born in 1860 the year before the civil war. The distinct octagon barrel is great, and the American walnut stock is real nice! The weight is more than some hunters prefer, but it makes every shot extremely smooth and is easily handable. Obviously I like my weapon a lot, so that's why I am giving you my pick. Read the history on the above website. If you just want a tool to hunt than there might be better choices more lightweight and/or less money. I don't think your choice is based upon hunting, but I might be remembering wrong.

Every single Henry rifle is guranteed warranty for life - just having a henry rifle accomplishes this. You don't need to prove you bought it. It has a very nice wood on it
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Old December 2, 2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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IMNSHO:

Henry - not in the least bit Cowboy. I've only seen a few of them run smoothly in a CAS Match. The few I've shot had gravelly/clunky actions. The Big Boy loads from the front like a tube fed .22 making reloads a hassle.

Marlin: Good rifles, although the 38/357 varieties can be a little fussy about cartridge OAL. These can be slicked up really nice (action job) and are very reliable. Only thing I dont like about them is they eject the case out in front of you making it difficult to retreive your brass on a CAS stage.

Taurus: There is a reason why they are cheaper than other rifles.

Chaparral: Like the Taurus, there is a reason why they are cheaper than other rifles.

Rossi: Good rifles. Easy to slick up and reliable. Not as easy to work on as the '66/'73 models. Had a 44-40 Rossi that I wish I hadn't sold a few years ago. It was a sweet running gun.

Uberti: (1860, 1866, and 1873 models) Again, IMNSHO, the best rifle out of the box. Takes very little to tune them up and make them run really fast. The 1873 Winchester is probably the most widely used rifle in CAS with the '66 a close second. They are easy peasy to work on and keep clean and running smooth.
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Old December 2, 2010, 08:00 PM   #4
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One thing to consider is whether one of these has Ballard rifling which CAS shooters prefer. Marlin switched to it some years ago, I am not sure about the others.
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Old December 2, 2010, 08:54 PM   #5
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Rossi, I don't do CAS, but I like to shoot 45lc in conversion pistols and the rifle. Never had any problem and the price is right if you're not brand name consious. Plus they have plenty of choices in style options (I went for a case hardened receiver 92')
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Old December 2, 2010, 09:19 PM   #6
youngunz4life
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I guess we can agree to disagree, Fingers.

Quote:
Henry - not in the least bit Cowboy.
OP said: a little cowboy or moreso
Quote:
cowboy flavor
. A rifle that has been around since the days some lucky boyz had the $ and luck to get a repeating rifle during the battles of the civil war, remains very traditional plus was around during the wild west, and has a picture of a cowboy on their website: does have cowboy flavor and is a little cowboy.

also a reload after 11 shots is far from a hassle, in my opinion. I don't shoot in matches, but my henry is a very smooth rifle shot.
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Old December 2, 2010, 09:40 PM   #7
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IMHO We could argue whats cowboy and the hypocrisy about it like using a computer, an Italian made gun, the CAS being the yardstick of "whats cowboy":barf: and dressing up like Roy Rodgers to shoot at steel plates................or we could talk good lever rifles

The Henry's muzzle heavy and unwieldy. Its also very pretty plus the smooth action and fit/finish is superior to my marlin 1894 cowboy by far.

I still shoot the marlin more, but its in 357 while the henry is in 44 mag.
The 1892 clones are various sorts all shoot, some are a bit stiffer then others. I never had a reason to keep any of them, plus the puma 357's barrel was strangely thin, very thin as I recall. But it shot fine

No 1866 or 1860 lever guns are made in 357 magnum to my knowledge (also have a heavy brass receivers), so you have the 1873 clones, which are heavy and expensive.

Since I'm not cowboy enough to wear a 10 gallon hat, one thing to consider is that side shuckers (marlin and henry) spits the empties out the side, which is nice. Because every damn Winchester or clone I've had has managed to drop a shell or two down my shirt collar, If you hunt in the winter, snow, water, ice, pinecones ect will dump down in that action just as you're shucking it for another shot, seems to be a law of nature, unless your hunting where there is no trees to dump snow on you.

If I had to buy a 357 lever gun again, I'd still go the marlin route with the 1894 c if you want something practical and useful, and the 1894 cowboy if you like a TAPERED (this is the difference between the crowbar henry and 1892 clone barrels, which are a straight octagon, heavy and chunky.) barrels, which makes a world of difference.

Unfortunately remington closed the marlin plant, and I have not seen the new 1894s yet so I can't comment on the new production ones.

Edited to add: Say what you want about a tube fed centerfire lever action (the henry) you can continue reloading and thus shoot FAR more then the fellas with blistered thumbs and half their fingernail stuck in a loading gate of a winchester or marlin will. Its nice for plinking, as the thumb does get tired.

Last edited by hickstick_10; December 2, 2010 at 10:27 PM.
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Old December 2, 2010, 10:02 PM   #8
Hawg
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Quote:
The Henry is a very reliable and traditional firearm to say the least.
No tradition to it. It has no ties to the original Henry except for the name. It bears no resemblance to an original Henry or any other period rifle. It's a good gun no doubt. I have a Henry Golden Boy and wouldn't take anything for it but the Big Boy is the same gun in a bigger package.
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Old December 2, 2010, 10:40 PM   #9
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Long Guns

Howdy Cowboys ,Cousins and Brother Rangers
My side of the Hagen Clan Shoots Uberti Long Guns in 45 Long Colt and they have never let us down.
Brass Frame 1860 Henry “That tarnation Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week.”
Brass Frame 1866 Winchester Yellowboy
Steel Frame 1873 Winchester "The Rifle That Won The West"

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Old December 2, 2010, 10:58 PM   #10
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hawg, I am not sure if you are entirely correct here. the below quote is from the link from my first post:

Quote:
Are you a fan of our nation's Wild West era? Do you go all out and participate in the growing sport of Cowboy Action Shooting? Are you one of the many thousands of avid big-game hunters?

Nod yes to any of the above, and you're ready to step up and grab hold of the new Henry Big Boy .44. It's big, brutal, and beautiful. Henry rifle owners were inquiring when we'd look back to our historical roots and our designers did just that. The result is the first American made .44 Henry lever action featuring a solid brass receiver since the original Henry rifle of 1860.
one of the reasons why I bought the .44
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Old December 2, 2010, 11:20 PM   #11
hickstick_10
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Hawg is right younguns.

Neither the company, nor the arms design has any relation to the original Henry, if anything its closer to the marlin 336 (which was a 1948 design I think), minus the loading gate and twice as chunky. Even how it loads isn't the same, as the tube feed is identical to a 22 rim fires, as opposed to the Henry tube feed, its a weird, flashy hermaphrodite of a gun.

Still a neat rifle, and a nice range toy, I wouldn't sell mine, but it occupies the safe more then anything else. I despise the new brass 30-30 they came out with, the thing is gigantic.

The one nice thing is its made in the US, which the various spaghetti Winchesters are not, and I like to support domestic industry.

You have stock in the Henry Repeating Arms company or something?

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Old December 2, 2010, 11:46 PM   #12
Fingers McGee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hickstick_10
You have stock in the Henry Repeating Arms company or something?
I was wondering the same thing. Comes off as a true believer in advertizing hype.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Haggen
No tradition to it. It has no ties to the original Henry except for the name. It bears no resemblance to an original Henry or any other period rifle.
Agree 100%

As for "Cowboy Flavor". If that's what BBB is looking for, one of the '92 Winchester clones would be right up his alley - the Rossi comes immediately to mind. The most prolific rifle in all of the B Westerns - as well as feature films - was the '92. It was the real gun that won the West - in the movies anyhoo.
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Old December 2, 2010, 11:58 PM   #13
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no, no stock in company hick. Lol! I'll give it my grandson someday though. I just like the history and think its a great, cool rifle. Thats why I didnt say I thought Hawg was wrong becasue it was a stretch. It does have cowboy flavor though. to say it it isnt 'the least bit cowboy' is just as much of a stretch. they were heavier in those days too. henry gets the job done just like many others. I guess its safe to say fingers you don't like henry? Many people do enjoy them. the tube load is no big deal. but again I dont shoot in matches
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Old December 3, 2010, 12:04 AM   #14
youngunz4life
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ask this guys opinion bedbug remembering he wants a sale

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=431829

other TFL thread
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Old December 3, 2010, 12:16 AM   #15
Fingers McGee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngunz4life
I guess its safe to say fingers you don't like henry?
I'd say that's a pretty safe assumption. I've tried a few Golden Boys, and Big Boys, and they just didn't suit me. Action was too stiff and clunky for my tastes & I couldn't get a good site picture with either model.

I dearly love my '66 Carbine in 44-40. BP loads only.

O yeah.................... Mary Ann

FM
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Old December 3, 2010, 12:21 AM   #16
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Hello, guys, hickstick-10 & Hawg Haggen are right about the Henry not being a decendent of the original Henry of 1860, built by the New Haven Arms Company. The reciever is NOT brass, let alone the original material that was used in the Henry, and later Winchester 66': Gun Metal..a form of bronze long used for cannon making. On the Henry samples I have seen, the wood to metal fit looks like something out of a middle school shop class.
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Old December 3, 2010, 12:40 AM   #17
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Marlin 1894C 18.5" or 1894CB357 20"
Winchester 1892 Short 20"
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Old December 3, 2010, 06:12 AM   #18
shafter
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The Henry has nothing at all to do with the old west except it's a levergun and happens to be made by a different Henry than the original. It doesn't look the least bit western to me
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Old December 3, 2010, 07:20 AM   #19
hickstick_10
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Idealtool
Quote:
The reciever is NOT brass, let alone the original material that was used in the Henry, and later Winchester 66': Gun Metal..a form of bronze long used for cannon making.
The Henry center fire receiver IS solid brass, sorry but your mistaken.

I'm shocked how many have such an in depth opinion on this gun that have held it once in a gun store. So take the advice given here with a grain of salt, as some fellas clearly haven't seen much of the guns they are commenting about.

As for its manufacturing and fit/finish, theres lemons from ALL manufactures of guns these days, marlin didn't even bother to remove the machining marks from the part of my barrel that was covered by the forestock on my 1894CB and that gun costs around 120 bucks more then a Henry in my neighborhood. The Henry I own has a fully polished barrel even the part thats covered by wood.

Like I said, I dont particularly care for the gun, but it has some perks, another being no goofy marlin safety, nor ancient half cock notch or ridiculous plastic top plug like the new 1892 clones. The just let the hammer down with the finger off the trigger (transfer bar).

You'd think Winchester or Marlin might still be making guns in Connecticut, if people had half the loyalty to something made at home then they do to these foreign made products.



Ah well I've said enough, back to talking about REAL cowboys, with Italian Winchesters, 40 gallon hats and saddling up a giant rocking horse to shoot at metal gongs.:barf:

Last edited by hickstick_10; December 3, 2010 at 08:44 AM.
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Old December 3, 2010, 07:22 AM   #20
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lever gun

I have a pair of Uberti Model 73 Special Sporting rifles. One is a .357 Mag. the other is a .45 Colt. Love them both. I posted pictures of these rifles somewhere on this site.

Jeff
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Old December 3, 2010, 09:32 AM   #21
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Since the O/P said he is not going to use his gun for SASS most of this thread misses the point. The Henry guns are fine and the non-blue ones have a "Brass Alloy" receiver which is far stonger than "brass." Evil Roy knows more than any of these posters and he uses .22 Henry Golden Boy Lever actions at his school and says that the Henry has the best action out of the box.The Rossi 92 actions are the strongest of what are discussed here and would be a good choice as would a Henry or a Marlin. The Ubertis are really nice guns and you pay $$$ for it. I would probably get the Rossi M92 and have it worked on by Steve's Gunzs or at least get his parts kit. http://store.stevesgunz.com/

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Old December 3, 2010, 11:27 AM   #22
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Gus McCrae an his Henry

Hey BedBug
Think about the Campfire Stories you could create with the Uberti-1860Henry YoungGuns Listed.
You will not go wrong with the same rifle Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae used
in The Classic Western-Lonesome Dove.

00 Hagen
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Old December 3, 2010, 12:08 PM   #23
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I've got one of the Rossi '92s and after a couple of hundred rounds, it turned into a really smooth, extremely accurate shooter. I've shot the Henry and it's a solid, heavy rifle. Too heavy for me, and, as a curmudgeonly Luddite, I just can't get behind the tube-loading business. Now, I've got a Golden Boy and I think that it's just the bees' knees, but something just doesn't seem right about a centerfire rifle that loads like a .22. Different strokes, I guess.

The Rossi is a top eject rifle, but it's never gifted me with a red-hot empty down my shirt. It ejects like a rocket launcher - the problem is chasing after the cases at the end of a match. And, for me, the epitome of a cowboy rifle is one that ejects straight up.

I've also shot a Marlin 1894c and there's not a thing in the world to complain about. I guess that there's some consternation about micro-groove rifling, but I shot both cast and jacketed rounds out of one, about a hundred rounds, and every bullet went straight to where I pointed.

I bought the Rossi because I got a great deal on it and I'm a sucker for Winchesters. Since Winchester doesn't make an 1892 anymore, my choices were a little bit limited. I'm 100% satisfied with the Rossi, now that it's gotten over the initial somewhat gritty action. I would probably be nearly as satisfied with a Marlin. And, from what I've heard, an Uberti would also make me happy.
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Old December 3, 2010, 03:31 PM   #24
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I don't know much about the Henry Brand rifles but I have a Win 73 and 92 and a Rossi 92 and really like them. I have had a Marlin 94 Cowboy (not microgroove bbl) and I liked it also. The Italian replicas of the Winchesters and Henry are all good from what I have seen. The Rossi is stiff when new but can easily be 'slicked up' and is a solid gun. The Henry may be a good gun but It is not as historically as correct as some of the others if that is important to you.
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Old December 3, 2010, 09:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
The Henry center fire receiver IS solid brass, sorry but your mistaken.
Yeah it is.



Quote:
You'd think Winchester or Marlin might still be making guns in Connecticut, if people had half the loyalty to something made at home then they do to these foreign made products.

If they still made decent guns that weren't overpriced they might still be.
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