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Old December 17, 2012, 08:02 PM   #1
wuluf
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Lever Action

I'm a handgun guy, only own a Remington bolt action .22 and an 870 shotgun. Lately, I've become interested in getting a lever action, just to have something in a rifle round, 30-30 or so. New or used, under $750, what should I look for, what should i avoid. Educate me please!
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:27 PM   #2
Shotgun693
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Look for a lightly used Marlin .30-30. See if you can find a shop that warranties their used guns at least for awhile.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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Check out the Mossberg line. I am very happy with mine. You don't get the history but your get what you are looking for.

http://www.mossberg.com/products/rif...4/mossberg-464
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:48 PM   #4
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I'm partial to Marlins, so I'll second the recommendation for a used 336 made in New Haven. I haven't had any experience with the Mossberg lever gun other than handling one at a store, but it looked pretty good, particularly if you can find the deluxe walnut stocked model.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:09 PM   #5
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Check around a few pawn shops. You can find used ones there pretty low priced. Most will have a scope on them as well. A coworker bought one last month that had a scope that was worth half of what the rifle was. He paid what was a fair price for a used rifle. The scope was just along for the ride.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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I vote for any Marlin pre-2008. Look for a "JM" stamped in the barrel near the receiver. If it has an "REP" stamped on the right hand side of the barrel near the receiver it is a Remington made Marlin aka a Remlin. The true Marlin guns made in No. Haven CT are much higher quality than the Remlins. I recently picked up a 2003 Marlin 336 in 30-30 with a factory scope for $299 in about 98% condition. Yeah I know GTM (Grand Theft Marlin). You can tell the year buy subtracting the 1st 2 digits of the serial number from 100 for anything 1973 and newer. for older guns they used a letter prefix to determine the year except for 1968-1972 some '68s carried the AD prefix.

Date Prefix(s)
1946 C
1947 D
1948 E
1949 F
1950 G
1951 H
1952 J
1953 K
1954 L
1955 M
1956 N
1957 P
1958 R
1959 S
1960 T
1961 U
1962 V
1963 W
1964 Y, Z
1965 AA
1966 AB
1967 AC
1968 AD, 68
1969 69
1970 70
1971 71
1972 72
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:01 PM   #7
reynolds357
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I like the 336 Marlin. Mine has killed many deer. Not a tack driver but not a dog either.
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:06 PM   #8
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Marlin 336 in .30-30

Preferably one before they were bought by Remington. Don't be at all afraid to buy used if the stock is acceptably clean, these guns will last forever.

I killed my first deer with my grandfathers Marlin 336 .35 remington.

The main things to look for are the stock and the action. The action should ideally be pretty smooth. If the gun has any sort of age to it, the insides of it probably need some cleaning. Old oil just kind gums them up and they don't operate as smoothly as they can. Our 336 .30-30 works like brand new after I took it apart and cleaned all the parts.
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:47 PM   #9
LittleBilly
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Lever Action Rifles

I have always been a lever action fan from my earliest days. I like the .22 lever actions in the Winchester brand.

The Winchester Brand is my personal favorite in the Model 88, in the .308 Caliber.

Browning makes some real nice lever action rifles in many calibers. Nonetheless, I still go for the Winchester lever action rifles.

You may not know that Winchester is out of business; and Browning bought the line for the shot guns primarily.

The Winchester lever actions like the beautiful 9422 XTR, will never be made again so the value keeps going up; as with my Model 88's too.

I believe, Marlin makes a pretty good lever action too.

I bought my Model 88's used and love them. They shoot very well and are very quick in chambering a new cartridge.

In picking a lever action you want to be sure that it discharges the empty cartridge to the side so you can mount a scope on top of the action. Some Winchester Model 94, 30-30's had the empty cartridge discharge on top that made scope mounting difficult or impossible. Marlin, caught on to this Winchester problem, for 30-30's and ensured that the discharge was on the side making scope mounting practical.

Once in awhile one can find a deal on a Winchester lever action that is like money in the bank.

I hope this helps with your decisions

Last edited by LittleBilly; December 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:24 AM   #10
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I love marlins and have 3. I bought my 1894 .44 mag in 2010 and am very happy with its fit and finish. After hearing more about new marlins quality issues I took and closer look and mine is a JM marked gun. I have also seen alot of great used marlins for sale that i would not hesitate to buy. The lever action is one of the most fun guns to operate in my opinion.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:25 AM   #11
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I have several lever guns ( yes I've been bitten ) seems the 30-30's will out number most other guns, so they are around in all the shops, the older guns all seemed to work well, Winchesters, Marlins, etc.

the Marlins with the solid reciever top is more conductive to scopes or better sights, but the old "buckhorn" sights on a 30-30, have probably taken more deer than any other cartridge... I think you'd do well to get one in 30-30

that said, everything from 22 to 45-70, are fun to shoot in them, there are also the traditional style guns, like discussed so far, the pistol caliber levers are really popular right now with cowboy sport shooting, & there are the "untradional guns like the Rugers, guns like Savages, Brownings, etc. that can offer more tradional bolt action type cartridges to be used, as they don't use tube magazines
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Old December 18, 2012, 09:23 AM   #12
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Plus one on the Marlin 336 choice, in any caliber it shoots...(.35 Remington, .30-30, or .32 Special). I've owned a number of Winchester Model 94's in .30-30 and .32 Special and none would shoot like the Marlins. Another plus for the Marlins is that you can mount a low powered scope centerline on the receiver if your eyesight isn't all that good, and if it's a smaller scope, you don't completely destroy the handy carry characteristics of the trim lever action receiver. Just my opinion, but I really hate to scope those old lever actions,,,carrying one with out that added weight is a joy, and with a decent peep sight you can still shoot 2" gps off a rest out to 100 yds or so...

Here's a cpl of pics of two of my Marlins; the first, with a 2.5x scope mounted. It's a .35 Remington, but the more common .30-30 is identical. Below it is a .44 Magnum 336, straight stock "Texan" model. I've mounted a William WGRS peep sight on this one, and most recently added a Fire Sight front sight...a truly great timber rifle out to 100 yds or so.

HTH's & Best Regards, Rod



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Last edited by rodfac; December 18, 2012 at 09:28 AM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 09:51 PM   #13
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Another vote for the Marlin 336 preferably one manufactured before the cross blot safety which to me spoils the look of the receiver. I bought mine in early Oct. and absolutely love it, It's a 1971 336 chambered in .35 Rem, It's an absolute blast to shoot and shoots very well with the Williams 5D receiver sight on it. You should be able to pick up a used 336 in .30 WCF for under $400 which leaves you at least $350 for ammo or dies and components if you reload. Average price for .30-30 ammo here is about $20/box on sale so that translates to about 17 boxes of ammo (340 rounds). Plenty of practice ammo and if you reload you can load more than that.

Here's mine before the receiver sight:


Stu
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:01 PM   #14
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If it were me I would get a winchester 94, but this just a personal preference
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:11 PM   #15
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I have a 94 in 7-30 and 30-30. To me, the 94 is vastly inferior to the 336. Triggers on both 94 and 336 are bad, but the 94 is awful. Action on 336 much smoother. Side eject makes scope mounting easier than "Angle eject." 336 in my experience is more accurate.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:15 PM   #16
Chowder
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Rodfac and stu, those are some VERY beautiful rifles. I may have to get myself and older 336 some day. I have a 2008 manufactured 1894 and am in love with it but those rifles have a personality all there own.
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:49 AM   #17
rodfac
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Thanx Chowder; I like 'em both, and thanx too for your kind words....I've hunted deer since the early 60's with just about any rifle type you can imagine...everything from a 1918 vintage Springfield '03, as well as Savage, Winchester and Marlin lever guns, to a pristine scoped Sako .308 Forester...and in my hands, those lever guns carry the best.

I'd opine that east of the Mississippi, (and west of it too, if we're really honest), 90% of the deer killed are done-in at 100 yds or less...exceptions noted. For those types of ranges, a lever gun in one of the classic calibers with open or peep sights does just fine. Accuracy, even now with 66 yo eyes, albeit with my glasses on, is easily less than 3" at 100 yds from a deer stand type position (sitting with your back up against a tree or fence line...ie. not off a rest). Though for real gilt edge lever gun accuracy (mine does 3 shots into a little over an inch, rested on the porch rail), the Savage 99's are hard to beat. Mine's a .300 Sav., with that elegant, schnable fore end and a vintage Weaver K4 up on top. (See pic below.)

And did it mention, ease of carry?....Nothing fits the carry hand better than a classic lever gun!

Best Regards, Rod


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Old December 20, 2012, 10:33 AM   #18
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In that price range, I'd look for a used short-action Browning BLR. MUCH more accurate than any 30-30.
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Old December 20, 2012, 06:09 PM   #19
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love the savage 99 i have one in 30-30 and it is truly excellent
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Old December 20, 2012, 06:21 PM   #20
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For that price range I would look for a 99 Savage. Winchester 88's are usually a tad higher in price. The rest are so common they are like fleas on a dog. Just an opinion.
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Old December 20, 2012, 07:19 PM   #21
reynolds357
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I wish I could find a 99 Savage that someone was willing to part with. Every one I have ever seen their owner thinks it is his first born child.
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:34 PM   #22
stu925
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowder
Rodfac and stu, those are some VERY beautiful rifles. I may have to get myself and older 336 some day. I have a 2008 manufactured 1894 and am in love with it but those rifles have a personality all there own.
Thanks for the compliment. Rofac's rifle definitely has nicer wood than mine but I really like the rifle. After I filled my buck tag this year with my father's deer rifle I started carrying the 336 to fill the doe tags with. Never got the opportunity to shoot one but the rifle carries like a dream. I know there's people that feel the lack of a crossbolt safety makes the rifle a bit slower to bring into action, but if I carry the rifle at the ready I find my thumb rests on the hammer, thumbing that hammer back as I bring the rifle to my shoulder is effortless. Nope it's definitely not a hindrance for me. Just something you need to practice a bit.

Stu
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Old December 21, 2012, 07:54 PM   #23
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reynolds357

First born? What do you think I traded for my Savage?
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Old December 22, 2012, 11:58 AM   #24
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Quote:
Check out the Mossberg line. I am very happy with mine. You don't get the history but your get what you are looking for.
I was looking at older Mossberg lever rifles made back in the 70's, the model 472 both with pistol grip, and straight grip. They resemble the 336 in style, and in the ejector port/loading port, so there is a bit of a history.
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Old December 22, 2012, 07:59 PM   #25
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I am somewhat familiar with the 336. Newer or older, I don't have much trouble with either vintage. I appreciate the fondness for the old rifle, but I also lack the problems sometimes talked about for the newer models. I've had then sold Marlins in 30-30. No real trouble, but just wanted the 45-70 instead and needed cash so I sold the 30-30's and kept the 45-70. Along the way, I've discovered the Henry 30-30. Since I already have a 45-70, I can't see why I need a 30-30. But if I ever decided I can afford to buy a deer rifle I don't really need, it would be a 30-30. And it would be a Henry 30-30.
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