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Old April 24, 2018, 11:59 PM   #26
Senior Member
Join Date: August 22, 2011
Location: McKinney, TX
Posts: 962
If you are looking at levers, you need to figure out what cartridge you want to shoot. Pistol, rifle, or big bore. Probably the most universal 'lever-gun' is the .30-30, and not a bad choice for a rifle. I have a Marlin 336, but the Winchester isn't terrible; my 336 is a late '60's rifle, if I'm reading the SN correctly.

I also have a Marlin 1894 in .41 Magnum... a very fun rifle to shoot. I don't hunt with it, but I've banged steel out to 600yds with it. My brother has a Winchester Trapper... 16" barreled .45 Colt. It's even more fun to shoot than my Marlin, but I prefer the Marlin action.

Someone mentioned the Winchester 71 in .348... I have a Browning 20" carbine. It's a hell of a rifle, but a bit esoteric... ammo is VERY hard to find. If you reload, the big problem is finding cases to reload.

I also have a Savage 99... but in the not-so-classic .308. It's a looker, for sure, and I like the slick action. It's one of those rifles you will either love or hate the way it fits and shoots.

As far as big bores go, I have a Marlin 1895... just a slightly upsized 336 is all. I don't consider .45-70 to be an everyday cartridge, it's expensive in factory ammo, and even reloading components are pricey. The .45-70 is versatile, but it takes handloading to get the most out of it.

Biggest advantage of the Marlin over the Winchester... you can pull the bolt in about 30 seconds and clean it from the breech. I don't really care for the Henry's front-loading tube magazine, but that's just me. I prefer the older guns... I think they are built better with a nicer finish and wood (usually, not always.) The one exception to that would be the Miroku-built Brownings and Winchesters... they are all very well built and finished. Besides the Browning 71 I have, I had a Browning 1886 45-70 for a while, just as wonderful as the 71... but it's a big rifle, my 1895 feels almost svelte next to it.

Wherever you go, there you are...
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