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Old October 10, 2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 8,550
My Marlin 44mag is 10+1 The 30-30's are 6+1, both with 20" barrels and full mag tubes which is most common. I have a couple of shorter barreled 30-30's and 1 with a half length tube that are 4+1.

Ammo costs are about the same with a slight advantage to 44.

My 30-30's vary between 6.75-7.25 bs. Depends on the rifle. The Winchester is lighter than the Marlins. Some of the Marlins are lighter than other Marlins. No 2 pieces of wood will weigh the same. The 44 mag is right at 6 lbs.

This won't be popular, but all levers are the least reliable of all repeaters. That does not mean unreliable, just less so than any other. I've had slightly more issues with pistol calibers than rifle calibers.

Marlin or Winchester are the only 2 I'd suggest. There are lots of good used models. No reason to choose one of the imitations when you can get the real thing used for less money than the knock offs are selling for new. If you decide on 44 forget the Winchester. Over the years Marlin has been more consistent in reliability. If you get good Winchester, you have a good rifle. But the odds of getting a good rifle are a bit better on a used Marlin.

A 16-18" barrel will add considerably to costs. They are far less common than 20" and are priced accordingly. I have some rifles with those barrel lengths, but wouldn't really worry too much about it. A 20" barrel is plenty handy and I'd just as soon have that length and save my money.

Nothing wrong with a 357, other than the extra costs. But unless I just wanted a rifle in the same chambering as a handgun I cannot think of a single good reason to pick one over 44 or 30-30.

I think the 30-30 is more versatile and would be my pick if I could only have 1. They are much more common and much more reasonably priced. With 125 gr bullets they are great SD rifles against human attackers and with good 170 gr bullets will work on larger game at much longer ranges than the 44. Having 11 rounds of 44 sounds good, but 7 rounds of 30-30 ain't bad and it is easy to top off the magazine with either.
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