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Old January 30, 2014, 12:02 AM   #1
RodTheWrench
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I REALLY like lever guns, but should I like this one?

The LGS I patronize the most just bought a pretty good-sized lot of guns from a pawn shop that was closing. They just got them put into racks (they used to only deal in new guns) and had them out yesterday. The fact that I'm a lefty may explain why I always gravitate to lever guns, but regardless that's where I headed first. And of course the gun I liked the best...was a Marlin chambered in...wait for it...308 Marlin Express. WTH?

So, talk me into or out of buying this thing. Does anyone have experience with this cartridge? I guess it was supposed to give 308 Winny performance out of a lever gun and kind of-sort of got close? It's in darn good shape and is under 400 bucks. Only Marlin I own is an 1895 SS Guide gun in 45-70 that I like a lot.
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Old January 30, 2014, 12:59 AM   #2
chris in va
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Roughly duplicates a 308 cartridge in a lever gun. I guess it's fine if you use it for hunting, but ammo seems to have limited availability. Doesn't look like you'd get to shoot it much.
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:33 AM   #3
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I wouldn't offer more than $250.00 for the rifle. While it might be in great shape, that caliber will be extremely hard to find. Hornady has the MSR at $1.30 a round.($36.00 a box of 20).

The price he is asking would be good for a 30-30 but way too high for that caliber Unless someone has a large supply of 308 Marlin Express, shots from that rifle will be few and far between.

If the dealer does not want to budge on the price, I would just pass on it.

Jim

http://www.hornady.com/store/308-Marlin-Express
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:35 AM   #4
dakota.potts
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Jim, just a note, that price is actually $1.80 a round That's almost $2 a pop
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Old January 30, 2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Just reload than who cares how much ammo costs .The 308 marlin express seems to have alot of fans. I see dies for it every were brass may be tricky.
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Old January 30, 2014, 08:58 AM   #6
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Winchester tried the 307 win and 356 win, which were basically a rimmed 308 and 358 loaded with round nose bullets back in the 1970's. Both flopped. The 308 and 338 Marlin are almost identical. I don't see them having any more success 40 years later.

Most guys who want a lever action are completely satisfied with 30-30 and similar rounds. The rubber tipped pointed Hornady bullets offer some ballistic advantage on paper, but not that much in the real world.

Most of those rifles had 24" barrels to get a little more speed. The end result is a rifle longer and heavier than a typical magnum chambered bolt rifle, with far less performance.
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Old January 30, 2014, 10:09 AM   #7
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Its a great deer cartridge. Ammo is limited BUT not dead. Hornady makes it in their excelent FTX bullet. I see SG has 160 FTX for $24.00 a box. That's a 160FTX going 2660fps. Considering a 30-30 is a good all purpose gun, the 308 Marlin Express ought to be even better. I would buy 4 boxes of the Hornady ammo and reload the brass afterwards. Its a easy rifle caliber to reload and Midway has the dies in stock. I think it would be a fun and caliber and gun to own if you want a niche caliber. Think of it as the 41Magnum of the lever gun world. Obviously a 30-30 is a much easier caliber to own all around.
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Last edited by Mystro; January 30, 2014 at 10:14 AM.
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Old January 30, 2014, 10:34 AM   #8
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Not sure what the price is/was, but Savage made a lever rifle in .308 win.
My father-in-law has one. I am not buying a lever rifle b/c he no longer shoots nor do my in-laws, so that one is theoretically destined for my safe.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:22 AM   #9
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Years ago Marlins owners came to the Marlin forum and asked for our wants and desires. This gun was one of them. A longer distance 30 caliber gun. I bought one in 2007 and so far have shot several deer at distances longer than 250 yards. Two of which were over 400. I've never had a shot farther than 419. The guns are more accurate than the typical Marlin and except for some of the problems with the production of this gun type (barrel drooping), this is a rock solid cartridge. Hodgdon imports Leverevolution powder and the 308MX bullet is easy to get ahold of. I've bought a number of seconds and am probably good to go for the rest of my life. My go to load for both of my 308's (son has one), is 41.5gr. of LEV with the 308 bullet. These bullets are thought in general to be a big soft, and fully intended to be used on chests, rather than bowing through bone. Its my favorite gun. Its got less recoil/blast than the 30-06 family of guns, and a similar effect. There is one other loading by Remington that does not have a pointed bullet. Ballistics are impressive because of the bullet Hornady loads. We can buy them locally and have a decent supply. I'd highly recommend it, but if supply is a problem, just buy on the internet like so many have learned to do. I've got 50 other guns. This one is my choice for tough hunts.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:41 AM   #10
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If you don't want it, post the info at MarlinOwners.com so someone else can pick it up...
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Old January 30, 2014, 12:25 PM   #11
dvdcrr
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That rifle is an mxlr. Marlin had to beef up the rifle to handle the 308 mx. They are good rifles. The nicest one I saw was a stainless grey laminate in 338 mx. There surely is a guns and ammo review or shooting times review on these from about 2008. I remember reading it. Another option would be a mag fed lever in 308 win.
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Old January 30, 2014, 02:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Considering a 30-30 is a good all purpose gun, the 308 Marlin Express ought to be even better. I would buy 4 boxes of the Hornady ammo and reload the brass afterwards. Its a easy rifle caliber to reload and Midway has the dies in stock. I think it would be a fun and caliber and gun to own if you want a niche caliber. Think of it as the 41Magnum of the lever gun world.
Well said, Mystro. I kind of like "niche calibers" and if the op can get the rifle for under $400.00 (assuming it's in good shape, of course), if I were him I'd sure enough get it. Seems like a better than average price. I also like the .41 Magnum in a rifle analogy.
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Old January 30, 2014, 03:09 PM   #13
Grundy53
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I have one in .338 mx. I love it! Great lever action round. I imagine the .308 mx would be good also.
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Old January 30, 2014, 03:30 PM   #14
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essentially a .308 Win with a rimmed case, and a bullet intended for tube magazines.

A fine round for hunting, but scarce. If the idea of having to invest in a quantity of uncommon ammo doesn't bother you, I'd say enjoy!

If you want something you can feed "off the shelf", I'd say keep looking around.
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Old January 30, 2014, 04:58 PM   #15
RodTheWrench
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Well I guess I don't need to think about it anymore - I just stopped by and turns out some guy went in yesterday and bought 5 of the 7 used lever guns they had in stock - including that one. For the best I suppose but knowing me, I'll be kicking myself for no good reason for a while... :/
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Old January 30, 2014, 06:36 PM   #16
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Adapted from a poem I once saw on a used books website:

"...I realise now with bitter pain, I'll never see those guns again."
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Old January 30, 2014, 07:30 PM   #17
Mystro
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That's a shame. Its my worst fear when finding a unusual gun and thinking it over for a day. I generally buy on the spot now.
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Old January 30, 2014, 07:31 PM   #18
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Is there a (parent cartridge) case to the 308 Marlin's?
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Old January 30, 2014, 07:37 PM   #19
PetahW
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.

It's better to put a (say) $10 deposit on whatever, if one has to "think" a gun purchase over B 4 buying - that way, if you decide against it, a tenspot isn't a big loss.


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Old January 30, 2014, 10:37 PM   #20
RodTheWrench
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Yeah, I know not to dilly dally when it comes to buying something you want, the only thing that gave me pause and made me ask you great folks on here is not knowing anything about the cartridge.

I DID see that there was one Winny 94 Big Bore left in 375 Winchester.... how 'bout that one?
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Old January 30, 2014, 10:55 PM   #21
Mystro
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375 Winchester is very expensive ammo. Like $50.00 for the cheap stuff and $95.00 for the better stuff.
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Old January 31, 2014, 12:13 AM   #22
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The 375 winchester is a great round/rifle combination. It's got more smack than the 30-30, but doesn't thump you like the 444 and the 45-70.
I had one for a while, then traded up to a 45-70, but the 375 has plenty of punch, and is pretty accurate. It's great with cast bullets.
If you reload, and can't find brass (usually not a problem), you can blow out 30-30 brass and use that until you can buy the official stuff.
Do a google search for articles by Paco Kelly... he's written some good stuff about the 375.
Get it...
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Old January 31, 2014, 12:22 PM   #23
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The downrange p

The .308 Marlin Express has a neck/shoulder shape quite similar to that of the .308 Win, but, ballistically, it is closer to the .300 Savage. Hornady uses the LeverEvolution technology for the .308 ME, a soft-pointed spitzer bullet with Hodgdon LE powder, which results in down-range performance far superior to any .30-30 load, including the LE .30-30. If you send the 160-gr spitzer out of a .308 ME at 2,660 fps (2,513 fp muzzle energy), it will arrive at 300 yards still travelling 2,026 fps with 1,457 lb of kinetic energy. If it is sighted in to be 1.7" high at 100 yds, it will arrive at 300 yds only 6.7" low. This is really outstanding performance for a cartridge short enough to work in the Marin Lever Action. I have BTW, duplicated this performance in the .300 Savage by using th 160-gr Hornady FTX bullet with Hodgdon LeverEvolution powder.
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Old January 31, 2014, 01:12 PM   #24
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How different is it from the 307?
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Old January 31, 2014, 01:41 PM   #25
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Sure Shot's Idea for a Happy 308 Relationship.

FWIW: Save your money. Forget the Marlin. If wanting a lever rifle with 308 performance. Simple resolve. Buy a lever rifle that shoots 308s.

Look to: Browning's BLR 81. Whats not to like about a Browning's capability. It's being Clip fed. Shoot's common easy to find ammo. Any 308 bullet weight you can purchase off the shelf functions. Perhaps all are disappointments to some others. Please !!__Why spend the time looking at a want-a-be 308 lever rifle when the real Mc Coy are available. Marlin as far as I'm concerned. Are just ~~~marlin's!! Everyone should at the very least own (only) one in their lifetime.
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