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Old January 11, 2014, 08:17 AM   #1
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If you were buying a used Lever Action?

I hope to be in the market for a .357 carbine soon. I am reloading for my GP100 and a lever action carbine seems like a great companion gun. I am looking at the used market which begs the question, "How do I buy a GOOD one?"
I am good with my hands and will have it apart and back together several times, but I have no Idea what types of problems I should be on the lookout for. Would some of you long time shooters be able to enlighten me?
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:10 AM   #2
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I thought the "companion" gun idea would be great when I was shooting my Ruger Redhawk .44 mag. But it turned out to be very pointless.
I bought a used Marlin lever gun and it never worked. Sent back to Marlin three times for repairs and they messed it up worse each time. (maybe that explains why they are now under new ownership)
But, even though the idea seems romantic it isn't.
Buy a rifle in a rifle caliber to be the "companion" to your pistol caliber.
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:22 AM   #3
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I had a Marlin 357mag and it worked great. It was fun but never as much fun as shooting the revolver for hunting. I ended up selling it. That being said, if I were buying one, I'd look for a good used one and would focus on one thing when looking at it.......will it cycle and feed shells? The single biggest complaint about 99% of the lever guns is that they won't cycle through the tube and feed into the chamber reliably. Other than that just make sure some yahoo didn't do a shade tree trigger job on it and screw up the trigger. Ask the seller to cycle the gun or take some dummy rounds with you and do it yourself. If it won't feed and cycle, walk away and look at another one. Good luck.
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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There's nothing wrong with wanting a firearm "just because", I have a few in that catagory, however, I'm also of the opinion that pistol cartridge carbines have a somewhat limited "usefullness". Short range and/or small game, except for perhaps, near point blank on a pig cornered by dogs or a trap.
My vote is for a Savage 99 in 300, 303, or 308 and load for it yourself. Second choice would be a Marlin, not of recent manufacture though.
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:15 AM   #5
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Look for a Winchester 92 clone in 38/357. Perhaps the greatest read on one of these was written by my buddy Jim Taylor. If you're serious about a 357 rifle, go here a spend a half hour:
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:57 AM   #6
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I did the lever gun comparison. Spent weeks holding different guns, snd reading every online review. I decided on a rossi rio grande and I couldn't be happier. ,y buddy shoots a marlin 1895 and he was commenting on how the build quality and finishes on my Rossi are superior to his marlin. 68 rounds through my Rio Grande so far and I am in love.
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Old January 11, 2014, 11:49 AM   #7
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Quite often the reloading requirement for the lever action rifle will be different than for the revolver, for the best effect.
Different bullet diameters, different overall length, different powders for best results, 'etc.
So, you might wind up reloading for two different guns, anyway.
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Old January 11, 2014, 01:24 PM   #8
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I love old Marlin 1894. It was cut down by my grandfather to 16.5 inch barrel and has a Youth sized stock in it. I have killed more deer with it than all my other guns combined.

But i believe in keeping it simple. Read my sig
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 January 11, 2014, 01:45 PM   #9
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Look for a Winchester 92 clone in 38/357.
+1. Don't go with a Winchester 94 as it was designed for a rifle cartridge and many of them do not work well with pistol cartridges.
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Old January 11, 2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Deja vu View Post
I love old Marlin 1894. It was cut down by my grandfather to 16.5 inch barrel and has a Youth sized stock in it. I have killed more deer with it than all my other guns combined.
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Old January 11, 2014, 07:23 PM   #11
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Good Luck - Used .357 leverguns are apparently as scarce as hen's teeth.

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Old January 11, 2014, 07:35 PM   #12
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Marlin 1894C

I love old Marlin 1894.
That would be my one and only call, but understand that I am not current on other options. ...

Marlin 1894C in .357 .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 11, 2014, 11:36 PM   #13
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I'm looking for one also. Alas, the cowboy action crowd has driven the prices up, and availability down...

At least so sayeth my local gun shops.(yes, plural)
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Old January 12, 2014, 12:17 AM   #14
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Used lever guns

Most lever guns in pistol caliber need the cases crimped. I was having a little problem with chambering reloaded 357 cartridges. After I crimp a few, I worked them through the lever rifle. No problem at all. Now I crimp all my 357 cases just in case I want to use them in a lever gun.
Free People own firearms, subjects do not !!
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:01 AM   #15
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As far as I have been able to find, there are still no pistol caliber carbines coming out of Ilion (Marlin)...

Anything 'new' on shelves was produced before the lines were shut down in late 2012...

I had been planning to buy an 1894 in .357, but till they start back up and I see improvement in the quality, I'll just keep loading the .35 Remington down to .357 levels...
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Old January 12, 2014, 12:00 PM   #16
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my 2 cents

I went with a Winchester 94 ae carbine in .357. It is teamed with a Ruger Security six and I LOVE them. This combo is my constant carry. Never had a problem with the Winchester. Longest shot was about 150 yards at a yote. Really spoiled its day. When I run the fences it is the combo I always carry. This is also my main home defense combo and I have never felt outgunned. The round I always use is 158 br sjfp and does everything I need around the house. Get one and enjoy.
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Old January 12, 2014, 01:09 PM   #17
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I own a 1894 Marlin in .357. Mine is a pre safety model with microgroove rifling. A very accurate rifle with loads it likes. I added a peep sight & that worked out real well. The Marlins are very expensive (around $800 for a nice one) but a quality rifle. They will add 200 fps. and more to the velocity of your revolver. Mine primarily likes the 158 grain jacketed bullets.
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Old January 12, 2014, 01:36 PM   #18
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I think your bigger problem is going to be how do I get one. rather than how do I get a good one. I shopped for 2 years for one and none of my LGS ever got one in stock. there were always plenty in 44 mag and 30-30 but never a single one in 357.

later once my brother bought a ruger M77 in 357 I completely lost all interest in a 357 rifle of any action so maybe it all worked out for the best.
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old January 12, 2014, 04:37 PM   #19
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I have a Rossi 92 and put the Gunslinger springs in it...slick as snot and a straight shooter with iron sights.
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:32 PM   #20
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Another vote for the Marlin 1894. If you are familiar with guns at all, which I presume you are since you already own a GP 100 and handload, you will have no problems. Use what you already know about inspecting firearms. The 1894's are very robust and well made rifles. Not much goes wrong with them. However be leary of "Remlin" made 1894's. The Marlin rifles now made in Ilion, NY, have been wrought with quality control issues.

Here is an good article on what to look for in general.

Below is a good write up of things to look for on a used Marlin rifle by member tomray on Marlin Owners forum.

......What I'd look for in a used Marlin............

Condition of the Bore: ......., Ask for a bore light.....should be rust and pit free, but a few pits won't hurt accuracy in my opinion, in a hunting rifle.........Although pits in the bore at the muzzle can be troublesome........Check the crown for damage and dents too.........

Over all condition: ...........Has the rifle been mis-treated?........... Neglected?.........I'll buy a well used rifle, but not a mis-treated / neglected one............There are too many others out there to choose from......A little light rust can usually be removed with oil and 0000 steel wool when no pits are present.

Stocks: ...........Are they tight?....... do they match? they fit the metal well?.........Does the butt plate and grip cap fit right?.....Original finish?.......Check for evidence of cracks and/or repairs.

Bluing: ............This is purely subjective........"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".....a well worn blue finish shows patina, and would not stop me from wanting to own the rifle.

Action: ......Is it smooth? .....or hitchy?..........Does the lever latch, and unlatch as it should?

Trigger: ..........Is it smooth?.........Have excessive Creep?..........Show signs for someone tinkering with it?............Is the trigger Original?......I wouldn't buy a Marlin rifle with an "after market" trigger..........And Yeah, I mean Happy trigger here........I'd toss it for original parts and then tune those parts.....but thats just me.....

Main Spring: ......Does it feel "FullPower"?............Or show signs of being shortened to reduce power, and as some think, "Enhance" the trigger?

Screws............Do the screw head slots show signs of being buggered up?.........Are all the filler screws present?....Any action screws missing?

Sights..............Are they both present and complete with front hood?..........Do they look original?...Are they both tight?

The Carrier:.........With the action closed, see that the carrier "tail" is free to move in the opening of the TGP. Open the action, and see that the carrier lifts to the loading position correctly....... NOW, watch the carrier as you slowly close the lever. The carrier should be supported by the follower in the high position until the bolt has moved about a 1/4 of its travel. If this is not the case, ther rifle likely has "Last shot loading problems, and needs attention in the carrier/follower area.

You will likely find small issues with all used hunting rifles........Only you can decide if they are O.K as is, or will need correction, and can you correct them easily for little or no additional $$."
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Old January 13, 2014, 07:16 PM   #21
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There's a couple Rossi 357's right now at Knob Creek in KY. Sure are expensive though, something like $750.
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Old January 14, 2014, 11:53 AM   #22
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The .357 in a levergun is worth the effort

Factory loads will do 300-500 fps faster than from a revolver.
You can handload the 158's to 1600-1700 fps and the 125's to 1800-2000.

I have a '92 Rossi and the gun is liteweight, accurate and great for anything out to 100 yards.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:20 PM   #23
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The Rossi 1892 is the most affordable pistol caliber lever rifle out there; I saw an octagon barreled rifle in a local store this week for $499 and the round barrel carbines should be less than that.

The Rossi rifles are pretty stiff when new and some of the .357s are kind of picky. I have one friend whose rifle does not feed .38 Specials very well so he loads everything in .357 cases. Another fellow bought one that would not feed the magnums well (at least, that particular ammo) but it ran my .38 Special cowboy ammo just fine.

The rifles can be improved. Google "Nate Kiowa Jones" and order his DVD. Better yet, buy the rifle from him with an action job performed.
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Old January 15, 2014, 04:36 PM   #24
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Henry Big Boy

Just go get a 357 Henry Big Boy and report back to the thread. You'll love it and your brother in law will hate you for it. For what it's worth the pre "Remlin" 1894s are as good as money can buy if you find one.
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Old January 16, 2014, 12:28 AM   #25
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I enjoy shooting a Win 92 or a Ruger #1 more than a Sav 99, Win 94, or Marlin 336 or bolt actions or semis or rolling blocks.

But I enjoy shooting a Win 1885 more than a Win 92 or a Ruger #1.

And I can shoot a single shot falling block like a machine gun when I have some adrenaline pumping.

Try shooting an 1885.
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