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Old April 14, 2013, 09:15 AM   #18
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,160
Classic Deer rifle

When and where I grew up, 4-5 guys out of 6 (on the average) carried either a Marlin or a Winchester.

Now, as a 16year old, the Winchester 94 beat the snot out of me to shoot it. And the steel buttplate of the one I used really did a number on my shoulder after a summer day of practice. I could shoot a Remington bolt gun in .308 and it felt like it kicked me less than that Winchester.

The Marlin didn't to that to me. The stock fit me better than the Winchester, and being about a pound heavier, with a wider, more comfortable butt didn't hurt any, either.

The older Winchesters fling the brass nearly straight up, newer ones with the angle eject feature throw it up and to the right. Marlins eject straight out the right side.

Both rifles usually have basic "semi buckhorn" rear sights, but there are many variations found, both factory and after market.

Trigger pull ranges mostly from fair to good, in both guns, although some aren't so good. Its very much a matter of the individual rifle. If you find a used one with a very light, crisp trigger, be very wary, that's not the norm. It could mean someone (who may, or may not have known what they were doing) worked on the inside of the gun. Done wrong, a whisper trigger on a .30-30 may not stay cocked when you need it to. If you do find one like that, have it checked by a competent smith before you trust it.

Older models of both guns have only the traditional half cock safety. Guns made in recent years often have an additional safety, usually a button.

Here's a tip, common to both, when loading, use the nose of a round, or similar blunt object to push the base of the cartridge into the magazine, each time. If you use your finger, at some point, you will get pinched by the loading gate!

for what you are describing, either one will do just fine. The best one is the one that fits and feels best to you. For me, that's the Marlin. The Winchester is lighter, and that can be significant if you are carrying it all day (especially since a lot of these guns aren't fitted for slings), but from a treestand, it makes no difference. Both feel light in your hands when the deer are in sight....
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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