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Old December 4, 2010, 12:10 AM   #26
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WHEW! Didn't know that when I pust this post up I'd scatter so much dust on the trail! But a big "thank you" to you all for your replies. Now to clarify a couple of things . . . I've collected longams for over 40 years and have had opportunities to hadle original Henrys, 1866 Winchesters, 73s (even one of the 1 of 1,000) and yes, the Henry of today does not even resemble the original Henry's - first of all, the originals didn't have forearms. The Henry of today doesn't even resemble a original Winchester 66. If I could find a Winchester 94 in .357 that was pre-Japan, I'd snap it up and be a happy camper - but, that's never going to happen. I shot several pre-war Winchesters in 30/30 and 32 spl. and they were great. I sold my collection but had a Canadian Centennial 30/30 that I could have kept but to be honest - I found it to be a pile of crap (personal opinion) - it couldn't hold a candle to a early '94 as far as quality. You've all been very helpful with your comments on the various brands and I greatly appreciate that. At this point, since I don't shoot competiion nor do I hunt anymore, I'd just like to have a decent lever action carbine that shoots 347/38spl. - not because i want to dress up like Roy Rogers - but, because I associate the lever action with the west as far as scabbard carry on a horse as a "working tool" and I'd like to use it for plinking/target shooting in conjunction with my New Vaquero. I doubt if any of them are going to be "exact replicas" but "close enough" is fine with me. I'm more interested in reliability, good balance and good construction. A 38 spl. is not going to give a whole lot of recoil and I'm looking for something that is well balanced and not as heavy as a railroad iron to carry around on a hike or at the range. In my humble opinion, folks who try to shoot hotter loads than they should along with liability worries has caused some of the manufacturers to "overbuild" their weapons and some of them end up weighing as mucha as a boat anchor. I've had several opportunities to look at and handle the Henry Golden Boy in 22LR and I was impressed with it - one of them will follow me home to stay at some point. For the 357/38 spl. I am more concerned about getting something with a smooth action that performs well and is a pleasure to shoot and kill empty pop cans with. You've all given me some excellent information and the next step is for me to get out and examine and handle the brands and see what "feels right". Thanks again very much for you input - as soon as I decide and purchase, I'll report back! Thanks again amigos!
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old December 9, 2010, 10:23 PM   #27
Nite Ryder
Join Date: June 29, 2009
Location: So. Oregon
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Need more advice on lever action "cowboy" rifles

Well Bedbug, you've gotten quite a few answers to your question about a rifle with a cowboy flavor. I've been collecting guns for close to fifty years, yes I'm an old guy, raised on a cattle ranch and consider myself a cowboy. I'm a life member of SASS, and have been to many, many cowboy shooting matches at our local range, and to other ranges in our state. For the money you can not beat a Marlin 1894. I own 14 lever action rifles, all but three can be used in cowboy matches. I have Marlins, a '73, a '66, a Rossi '92 and a Winchester '94. The '73 is made by Uberti and is 357 caliber, it is my favorite and was the most expensive. I prefer it to the '66 because of the side plates, which allows you to get to the toggles for cleaning, etc without disassembling the rifle. Another advantage to cowboy shooters, the '66 and the '73 toggle action rifles can have a true 'short stroke kit' installed, possibly making them a bit faster to shoot than a Marlin. A Marlin is easy for almost anyone to slick up, and usually gives shooters very little trouble. Some of them are sensitive to the over all length of the cartridges, others are not. I would not waste my money on the Cowboy Competition Model of the Marlin 1894. It has an octogon barrel and color case colors on the receiver, the one I have has 38 Special written on it instead of the usual 357 Magnum, it costs almost twice what the standard model costs, and is no better. Several first time shooters have showed up at our matches, and a few of them have purchased Henry Rifles, usually in 44 magnum. Very few of these guys that continue shooting at our matches continue using the Henry's. Most of the other cowboy shooters think they are a piece of junk, but they are not cheap, they are expensive for what they are. If I could have only one rifle, and I wanted it to be a lever action, it would be no other than a Marlin. At one time I much prefered a Winchester model 94, but they are no where near as easy to work on as a Marlin. I do my own repair work on my own guns, and those of others in our club. I know Steve Young, owner of Steve's Gun's, while he specializes in '92, I think he might recommend something else.
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Last edited by Nite Ryder; December 9, 2010 at 11:05 PM.
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Old December 10, 2010, 08:40 AM   #28
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1860 Henrys and Henry Rifles

Morning Nite Rider
Please help with the Henry Issues.

I think we have some folks reading these Posts that are not aware of some
us Cowboys use Uberti-1860 Henrys not Henry Repeating Arms Rifles.
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Old December 10, 2010, 11:20 AM   #29
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I was timing a match last Saturday when one of the shooters was having trouble with his brass framed rifle. I had never seen a 66 act up like that so I watched to see what was going on. It was not feeding and when it did it did not want to extract. I went to offer what help I had gleaned with my 66. When I took a look at the gun I realized that it was a new Henry. Nothing I wanted any part of. I offered my rifle but he elected to suffer through the match with his.
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:19 PM   #30
Join Date: May 10, 2012
Location: Georgia
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Discussions cannot be had without definitions:)

The term "cowboy" is more ambiguous than "assault weapon."

If you want to be a cowboy, go be one, whatever you define it as, go do it. Be what you want to be (this world would be better off with a few more cowboys, personally).

If you want to LOOK like a cowboy, go hook up with some CAS guys and gals. They have the look and feel of yesteryear down to a science.

But it seems your original post was more along the lines of: "What gun would you suggest that will make me feel like a cowboy, be fun to shoot, and be worth the money." I could be wrong, but that's the vibe I get from your OP.

Since you said you're not into CAS, you probably don't have any need to invest in the more expensive, competitive, high-performance CAS approved brand names like Winchester, Henry, or Cimarron. While these firearms are great and attempt to celebrate heritage only after being performance ready, they are probably an unnecessarily high price for the non-competitor.

If you don't mind a smaller caliber, go invest in a Marlin or Rossi .22 for your plinking pleasure. Plus, they're excellent get-rid-of-the-garden-pests rifles.

If you want a big bore, but to not break the bank, Rossi and Marlin also make affordable lever guns in the bigger calibers (I.e. 45LC and 357 mag).

My overall suggestion, go with Marlin. They are a standard favorite among CAS competition shooters and recreational trigger pullers. They are reliable, versatile, affordable, diverse (most major calibers), and popular (the advantage there is that you'll never have a shortage of advice, replacement parts, or experienced shooters).

The first question I ask anyone when they ask for weapon purchasing advice is this: why do you think you want this or that kind of weapon?
I'm not trying to invalidate your question at all, but weapons are a financial investment at almost any level, and aside from being dangerous, firearms should not be purchased lightly.

If you know someone who has a lever gun, go offer to buy them a beer if they'll let you shoot theirs.

Make sure the beer comes AFTER the shooting (be safe!).

Best of luck.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:48 PM   #31
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No need for the beer, just show up at any SASS match and plenty of shooters will let you try their rifles.

I tried to start with a $425 Rossi M92 shooting .38 spl, but it liked to jam, and a fellow shooter loaned me his custom engraved Uberti 1866 Henry model for the rest of a two day match; it was a Codymatic action job.

The difference was amazing, like comparing a Jennings J-22 to a Ruger 22/45., or a flea-market knockoff to a Spyderco. Quality.

Soon I found myself spending $1250 on a new Uberti-Beretta Renegade slicked up and sold directly by Cody. Slick, smooth, fast and I can't outrun it.

Once you've been spoiled, it's hard to go back; It's cheaper to buy the best the first time.
The Rossi is still a pretty good rifle, long as I don't try to spray and pray, but it's not ready for cowboy action shooting.
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Old August 9, 2012, 07:12 PM   #32
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It causes confusion because there's a difference between a copy of a Henry Rifle, as made during the American Civil War, and the Henry Rifle Company. The Big Boy Henry rifle has no relation to any historical rifle made in the Old West. The Big Boy does convert to an excellent canoe oar. The Henry .22 is a decent rifle but again, and I don't care who uses them in their school, it's not a copy of anything used Pre-1900. I've used all kinds of Old West type guns, clones if you will, and now have a '73 clone. Both the '66 and '73 were widely used out West mostly by real Cowboys. They are reliable and fairly easy to work on. Either is more than adequate for SASS, plinking or close range hunting.
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Old August 9, 2012, 07:59 PM   #33
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If you want a pistol caliber lever rifle for something other than cowboy action shooting, most any of the ones named in this thread will work. If I was going to carry a .357 rifle in the woods or whatever I would probably try to find a decent '92 with a round barrel. A Marlin would probably run a close second.

If you ever think you might shoot a cowboy match (and everyone who likes lever guns should give it a whirl), I would definitely choose the '73 or '66 if I could scrape the nickels together. A Marlin is almost as good and a very solid rifle. The others can be made to work but not as satisfactorily in my opinion.
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Old August 12, 2012, 10:13 AM   #34
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Henry - PASS! Also very heavy and unbalanced in .357.
Marlin - JM stamped guns are great - the QC of the REP stamped guns (Remington) is spotty.
Taurus - BIG PASS!
Chapparel Arms - For the most part, the 1876's were crap, but I've heard the 1866's & 1873's were better. Parts are tough to come by.
Rossi - Good guns, and most .357's will feed .38's just fine.
Uberti - Very good guns, and have been imported by a variety of importers such as Stoeger, EMF, Taylors, Cimarron, Dixie, Navy Arms, American Arms Inc (AAINKC), High Standard, and probably a few others I've forgotten about.
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