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Old November 19, 2022, 09:44 AM   #1
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FINALLY got a lever rifle in .357mag

I've wanted one for years (over 20), and like the title says, I finally got a lever rifle in .357mag.

My lever history isn't extensive. I've had a Winchester 94 in 30-30 since my first 3 or 4 guns (over 20 years ago). I love it, and it is one of my favorite guns (if not my favorite) to shoot. However, I do most of my shooting at pistol ranges. 5-10 years later I bought a Winchester 94AE in .45LC. It wasn't totally reliable and I partially bought it for home defense, so a few years later I sold it when I needed the money (I almost immediately wished I didn't, or that I at least traded it on a .44mag or .357).

So, yesterday when doing the paperwork to buy a SA 1911 Garrison I had bought online (from a local dealer, but through their website), I saw they had a good selection of revolver caliber lever rifles. I really wanted the Henry Big Boy in .44mag, but it was a bit too much (right after buying the 1911 anyway). They had two Rossi 92's in .357, both stainless (they looked almost as good as the Big Boys). I had always wanted one of theses as a carbine so I first took a look at the 16", but found myself surprised to like the 20" better when I later checked that out. I didn't even think any further, I plopped down my credit card and it was mine.

I went to the range with it yesterday, but only shot 50 rounds of .357mag through it (I had a mishap with my knife when cutting the tape on some old Magtech .45ACP ammo for another 1911 I have, though I'm going back later today).

It was a lot of fun to shoot. It had enough recoil and noise to be fun and to know you are shooting a rifle, but of course, it was light. I only shot at a pistol range, and started at the 20 yards that I was shooting my 1911. Groups were good (as I'd expect at that range) and continued to be when I maxed out the range to 25 yards. However, at first I was disappointed that it was grouping several inches high, but then I thought about it... I'm shooting a rifle at 25 yards, even a .357mag rifle is probably sighted to 100 yards from the factory, maybe to 50, but it definitely isn't sighted for 25 yards.

At first, I had trouble loading more than 5 rounds in the mag, it was apparently quite stiff. However, after a few 5 round cycles, it was fine and I had no trouble loading up all 10 afterwards. I've only shot 100 rounds, but so far, it is 100% accurate.

After reading for years about Rossis being a good platform, but being a bit rough, I was very surprised at how smooth the lever was and how nice the trigger is. The wood is absolutely gorgeous, and the workmanship seems spot on. My only complaint... The little plastic dial safety on top of the receiver looks and feels cheap and doesn't feel like it otherwise fits the gun.

The only thing, I've always envisioned a gun like this for use as a home defense carbine (one of the reasons I was initially attracted to the 16"), especially when paired with some .38spl and/or .357mag revolvers. However, my Mini-14 has seen that duty for some years now so I'm not sure I'm going to make the change. Maybe occasionally, but I like the ease of unloading the removable box mag gives me over the tube mag, but 10 rounds of .357mag that can be easily topped off on the fly in a very handy package still does make for a capable home defense carbine IMO.

I really did enjoy shooting this, and I love lever rifles. I don't think it will be long before I finally add a .44mag and a .22lr lever rifle now that I have this.
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Old November 19, 2022, 11:08 AM   #2
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I've got the basic Henry 22 lever action, which I bought as a plinker/farm pest gun a couple of years ago. I really wasn't expecting much from it; but it runs slick with any 22 cartridge and it's turned out to be one of more accurate 22s that's ever lived here.

It's not uncommon for R92s to shoot 6-12 inches high at 50 yards; and IMO buckhorn rear sights encourage vertical aiming errors. I use this same basic sight scheme on all my iron sighted rifles and it's worked really well for me-

You at least need a taller front sight. To sort that out you need to shoot from a rest at a known distance--say 50 yards--with the load/bullet weight you want to zero. Do this with the sight elevator on its lowest step, or the one just above it. Then measure the vertical dispersion between your point of aim and and point of impact, to the nearest half inch.

Next, measure the distance between the visible faces (from the shooter's perspective) of your front and rear sights, again to the nearest half inch. This is your sight radius.

Then plug your vertical dispersion at a known distance, along with your sight radius, into a sight correction calculator. I like Dillon's.

The result will be the amount of elevation correction needed, in thousandths of an inch. For the sake of discussion, let's use 0.030".

You must remove your front sight* and measure it with a micrometer, to determine its overall height from the bottom of the dovetail to the top of the sight. Again for the sake of discussion, lets say the overall height of your front sight is 0.420". Add the 0.030" of the correction indicated by the calculator. A 0.450" tall front sight is needed.

Two caveats-

The computer is only as accurate as the data plugged into it.

Rossi sight dovetails have varied quite a bit over the years, so make sure whoever you order any replacement from understands that.

* tutorials abound
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Last edited by Sarge; November 19, 2022 at 11:14 AM. Reason: sperring;)
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Old November 19, 2022, 11:39 AM   #3
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Chaim, like you I lusted after a Marlin lever action in .357 for a long time (in my case almost 40 years). 3-4 years ago I came across an excellent deal on a JM marked Marlin 1894. It immediately became one of my favorite rifles to handle and shoot.

The Rossi's have a very good reputation. Enjoy yours.
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Old November 20, 2022, 04:46 PM   #4
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I've had a Marlin for decades.

Before you start replacing the sights, try different AMMO, and also different rear sight settings. OR you can just use the field expedient of aiming lower when the rifle shoots high at a given distance....
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old November 22, 2022, 07:56 AM   #5
Deja vu
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My primary deer gun for years was a marlin 357Magnum. I have taken more deer with that gun than with all my other guns combined. My marlin was a gift from my father when I was young. He got it because I was a pretty frail child and the 30-06 I got my first deer with was too much for me.

This rifle he has cut down to 16.5 inches and the stock is still shorter. Because of this it has no real collectors value but it has tons of sentimental value to me. It would be the last gun in my collection I would sell off.

They are great little guns. I did have to take it to the gun smith about a decade ago, it was having a lot of light primer strikes. At the smith for about 15 min I walked away with a new firing pin and some new springs.

I have other 357Magnum rifles now but my old marlin is still my favorite.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old December 7, 2022, 08:33 PM   #6
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I have the Rossi 92 Carbine in .357 and it's really handy for home defense. The sights are dead on at 25 yards, so the previous owner must've used it at indoor ranges. I wouldn't mind getting a 20" Rosi in stainless steel, since my wife has commandeered the Carbine.
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Old December 8, 2022, 08:12 AM   #7
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Don't have a Rossi, but do have more than a couple of levers. Depending on what sight it uses, simply changing the location how the front post within the rear opening may be all that is required. Or as already mentioned, adjust the rear height if possible. With open sights and full powered rounds, the setting change between 25 yds and 100 yds is likely minimal, which is a serious advantage for having sights right over the bore.

With most my levers, made sure the front and rear sites were centered over the bore before making any other adjustments.
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Old December 8, 2022, 02:16 PM   #8
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I've been shooting guns for many many years now, I owned and shot everything from flintlock fowlers to dangerous game rifles to AR-15 SPR builds and got to say, I don't know any guns that are more fun than a lever action rifle chambered in a revolver cartridge.
Its just not possible to beat a long barrel .357 lever with a slick action. Its fun offhand at the 25yd pistol range loaded with .38SPC as it is fun shooting small groups at 100-150 from the bench with full power .357.

Owned a couple Rossi levers and liked them, slick actions and they worked and fed most bullet styles. And boy they're accurate!

My favorite is still the 1866 Uberti in 44-40 though
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Old December 8, 2022, 07:55 PM   #9
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Congratulations !
I have always felt the 357 mag. Lever Gun made a great home defense weapon and nobody could slam you for having an "assault rifle" ...
I've been looking for one in 41 mag. , a buddy has one and wont turn it loose !

Nice Score ,
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Old December 8, 2022, 10:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
Congratulations !
I have always felt the 357 mag. Lever Gun made a great home defense weapon and nobody could slam you for having an "assault rifle" ...
I've been looking for one in 41 mag. , a buddy has one and wont turn it loose !

Nice Score ,
Keep looking, I have Henry BBS’s in both .357 and .41 and they are a blast.
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Old December 10, 2022, 11:59 AM   #11
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I've been lusting after a lever action in pistol caliber for years...

But I want a specific cartridge... I want a .32-20. I have two revolves, a Colt and a Smith, in .32-20.

I wouldn't hunt with it or anything like that, but I just want it.

I adore the .32-20, along with all of the rest of the .32s. They're so polite when you pull the trigger.

I've had opportunities to purchase lever rifles in .32-20, but every time I've seen one it's been a case of desire rich, money poor.

Ideally I'd LOVE a late make smokeless proofed Winchester 1873 rifle with an octagon, 26" barrel and full magazine, but last time I priced one of those out?

Yeah... no.

Congrats on the new rifle, Chaim! Enjoy!
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Old December 11, 2022, 09:33 PM   #12
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I don't have a .357, but I have a Marlin 336 in 30-30. I went to the range today to sight it in with a new LPVO i have. I got it sighted in, but went through another box of bullets. Just because it is fun to shoot. Not a tack driver like my bolt guns, but easily shoots minute of deer heart at 100 yards. The blind I am hunting right now has the longest shooting lane to 90. I have been using my 6.5CR, but the 30-30 is with me in the blind for the rest of the year.
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Old December 12, 2022, 12:45 AM   #13
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.357 lever

I've had a Marlin(.357) for nearly 40 years. For better than half that, it was my favorite woods walking carbine. When my eyes began to slip a bit using the bead and blade sights, I put a Lyman peep on it, and carried and shot it another decade. Still have it, but it does not go afield as much.

Been all over the scale with ammo power. My woods load was a 158 gr lead SWC loaded to 1000 fps, as used in my revolvers. I don't know what velocity the carbine drove that bullet, but it was extremely pleasant to shoot. The carbine has Micro-groove rifling but did OK at modest velocity with my lead reloads accuracy wise, good enough for a peep at woods range. Shot quite a bit of .38 +P+/110 gr JHP too as it was readily available to me. Later I fed it .357/125 gr JHP and that load was terribly destructive, likely running close to 2000 fps and grim death on flesh. When bamaboy was learning to shoot, the .357 carbine with .38 wadcutters could be single loaded and shot to the same POI as the 125's, very convenient. Today the Marlin is zeroed with 158 JHP to match a .357 Blackhawk, though I seldom if ever carry both at the same time.

All those load changes required sight elevation changes (except the WC v. 125 mag). The OP does not mention if he attempted to adjust the rear sight to get his Rossi to POA/POI. As a clone of the Win '92, the rear sight should have a slider and some adjustment and load experimentation should certainly get him on target. There is no mention of what load the OP was shooting either.

A .357 carbine is a dandy rig.
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Old December 15, 2022, 06:34 PM   #14
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I have a Marlin 1894 CSBL 357 MAG Just added a adjustable merit peep sight
It has XS Sights Working fine now the ghost sight didn't work for me
No Gun Big Or Small Does It All
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Old December 15, 2022, 07:24 PM   #15
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Very Nice!

I wanted a Marlin in .35 Rem for a long time, and last year, the LGS just happened to have a JM marked in the rack for a steal of a price on's mine now.

I've wanted a .41 Magnum Lever action for a while too. I stupidly sold my 1894FG a long time ago. Could not get it to shoot as good as I thought it should, but did not really know what I was doing at the time just shooting some factory ammo. They are like $2K now, and Henry's at $1K are rarer than Hen's teeth.

A .41 Lever action and a 12g lever action are my last two searches that remain unfilled.
Good Shooting, MarkCO
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Old December 16, 2022, 07:18 PM   #16
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I recall Skeeter Skelton was quite fond of the 32-20, mentioned a Colt SAA he bought with his mustering out pay in 1946 or so. I have the Marlins-pre-crossbolt safety-in 357 and 44 Magnum, shooting Specials out of them is like shooting 22s and yes, they are excellent choices for home defense.
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Old December 18, 2022, 04:23 PM   #17
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Don't know if anyone has told you, but in case you are unaware, you need to kjnow that the extra 500fps or so velocity from a carbine barrel can change the expansion properties of bullets designed to expand at pistol barrel length velocities.

Various 125gr JHP .357 slugs are prone to this. Driven up to 2200fps in a carbine, they tend to expand like grenades. This usually has the result of a huge surface wound and less than normal penetration.

The jacketed 158s are heavier built, and can't go quite that fast, and generally aren't a problem the way 125s can be.

Machts nichts if you're shooting paper or plinking, but if you're shooting game (like deer) it's something to pay attention to.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old December 21, 2022, 07:08 AM   #18
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Hornady produces a chart showing their recommended velocity range for various XTP bullets. I'm working up a varmint-buster for the 35 Remington and in that case, selected the 158 grain over the 140 grain.
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