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Old April 24, 2018, 11:59 PM   #26
Charlie_98
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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.
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Old April 25, 2018, 07:21 AM   #27
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I snagged a pre-64 Winny in 30-30 about twenty years ago sitting quietly gathering dust in a pawn shop. It usually stays in the safe and I use the 30-30 Western Field lever gun I found in the same pawn shop for hunting. It's old but it functions flawlessly and is very accurate.
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Old April 25, 2018, 07:58 AM   #28
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A well cared for Marlin 36 is a really sweet rifle.
Lots of variations too, rifle, carbine.......
32 spl maybe also be a better deal than the 30-30.
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Old April 26, 2018, 12:44 AM   #29
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Well, I don't know about buying once and crying once, because there are so many great leveractions out there from the past and present, that accumulating and shooting them can become addictive.

For me personally, a good leveraction has been my go to gun for most of my centerfire hunting needs for most of the last 30 yrs. My go to gun, and probably just about the last one I own that I would give up is an older steel framed Browning BLR in 308 Win with a 2 x 7 Leupold scope on it. From 0 to 300 yds or so, it will get the job done, if I do my part, always.

Now, going beyond the purely practical side of things, I love the original Winchesters, and no leveraction fancier should be be without a pre-64 Model 94 Winchester carbine in 30/30 with the original semi-buckhorn open sights. Try to find a good clean rifle at a gun show or maybe on a used gun rack somewhere, but be ready to give $600 for a well used one, up to $800 or so for a nice one.

Also, I like the heavier Octagon barreled commemorative rifles, post 64, like the Buffalo Bill model or Canadian or Teddy Roosevelt, and you can still find a good shooter probably without the box for $600 to $800, however you might end up having to replace the cheap stamped lifter if give you troubles but the Buffalo Bill model I own has never failed me even with the cheap stamped lifter. Many of the later year Commemorative s, like the Legendary Lawman Trapper saddle ring carbine were made after they went back to the better quality lifters. But whatever you do, you will want to get a Pre-64 Carbine at least.

I love the 71's and the 86's, and even the 95's, and don't forget for a fun gun to shoot, a Uberti 73 replica in .357 mag is a great fun shooter.

An older Savage 99 in 300 Savage can be a fine gun.

And Marlin had some good ones too, if you have to have a scope, and you don't want to spring for a BLR, a good Marlin 336 with a scope, will still handle about anything needed done within 150 yards anyway, but it won't carry and handle quite as nice as a fine pre-64 Winchester.

As far as the Replicas go, the original Browning, 73's, 86's and 95's from Japan are some of the best, and were made before the safety police and Lawyers screwed up the Winchester replicas by adding rebounding hammers and extra safeties and stuff.
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Old April 26, 2018, 01:33 AM   #30
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I have, or have had Winchester 94s (.30-30 & .32Spl), Marlin 336 (.30-30 & 35Rem), 1894s (.357 & .44 Mag), & 1895 (45-70), Savage 99 (.300 Sav), and a Browning BLR (.308 Win).

Also have experience in a different direction, and one I suggest you consider, the lever gun in .22LR.

Winchester 9422 was always expensive for a .22, and they're worse now, but they are literally the same size and weight as a model 94, (nearly the same look) and in a very affordable caliber.

The Marlin 39M is a classic and very well regarded. The Browning BL-22 is a trip, classic lever gun look with an extremely short lever throw.

There many others, as well. If you're only going to get one, its not going to be your main hunting rifle, why not get an "American" plinker???

Something you can shoot as much as you feel like, for a fraction of the cost of a centerfire??

My 14th birthday present was a Winchester model 270, a .22 lever gun that resembles the model 88 (non traditional look, no exposed hammer...) Tube mag fed, shot LR, L, and Shorts. Being a kid, I wanted a semi auto, of course, and I got one the next year, but that lever gun was an important teaching tool, and a better rifle than I deserved at the time. (or so I tell myself nowdays...)
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Old April 26, 2018, 03:27 PM   #31
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Please. Somebody first started making rifles under the Henry name 150 years ago, but the current company has nothing in common with that firm except the name.

They are nice rifles and I don't mean to knock them in any way, but to say that they have been making guns for 150 years is a bit of a stretch.
Very true. The contemporary Henry company has absolutely nothing to do with the original Henry (which, for the most part, was a Winchester) other than the name.
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Old April 27, 2018, 10:27 AM   #32
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Have you watched Paul Harrell's recent video on lever guns?

Even if you don't buy either one of these models, it gives you several things to think about.

https://youtu.be/SJ0kC_5v6JA
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Old April 27, 2018, 11:45 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by chadio View Post
Have you watched Paul Harrell's recent video on lever guns?

Even if you don't buy either one of these models, it gives you several things to think about.

https://youtu.be/SJ0kC_5v6JA
He has other levergun videos worth watching, too.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
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Old April 27, 2018, 04:52 PM   #34
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My favorite lever gun is my buddy's Marlin 1895 in 45-70. 350 grains at 1100 fps is a breeze for me in that gun even though I'm a bit recoil shy with rifles. His is from the early 2000's.
The 45-70 is a handloader's dream cartridge.
The 444 Marlin is another option, you might find a nice used one at a great price. Cast .44 caliber handgun bullets can be had a good prices if you have a press.

You do have a press, don't you?
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Old April 28, 2018, 07:17 AM   #35
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I have the Henry H009B brass in 30-30 , outstanding quality for the money, excellent customer service and cost me about $750 from my LGS. Awesome shooter, fun to cast and handload for.
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Old April 28, 2018, 07:35 AM   #36
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In my previous post I miss typed the last comment regarding the Browning Replicas. I mentioned the 73, but Browning did not make a 73, I intended to say model 71 instead. Browning made Replica's in the 71, 86, 92, and 95.

I you get chance to buy one at a reasonable price, you ought to buy it. Generally, they were quite well made and of better steel then the originals.

I will also second the comments by others on the .22's as those are great rifles in their own right. I have a Winchester 94/22mag and one of the little Browning BL22's. The Marlins are fine guns also, I have owned and traded off several of those, some I wish I had kept, especially since they have increased in price quite a bit in the last 10 years or so.
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Old April 28, 2018, 07:47 AM   #37
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I will say a couple of other things. While the pistol calibers are fun to shoot, they are IMHO a little more temperamental in the reliability dept. Most of them can be tuned to work pretty slick, but I have seen and owned a few that were jammers, and I will say that the Marlin 1894 in 44 mag has been well know for developing feeding issues, and I know a lot of people that love the Rossie 92's but lots of them are rough out of the box, and give problems until slicked up. However, others will state glowing reports on them.

But if you really are going to just buy once cry once, find a nice Pre-64 Winchester Model 94, for your first leveraction.
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Old April 28, 2018, 11:02 AM   #38
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I will say a couple of other things. While the pistol calibers are fun to shoot, they are IMHO a little more temperamental in the reliability dept. Most of them can be tuned to work pretty slick, but I have seen and owned a few that were jammers, and I will say that the Marlin 1894 in 44 mag has been well know for developing feeding issues, and I know a lot of people that love the Rossie 92's but lots of them are rough out of the box, and give problems until slicked up. However, others will state glowing reports on them.
Are you referring to the "Marlin jam"? It is an overstated issue and easily solved. Rossi does not even fit into this conversation if we are talking high end levers.
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Old April 28, 2018, 11:46 AM   #39
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My favorites are the Winchester 1895 in 405 or 30-06. But I have been eyeing the new steel frame Henry in 44 Magnum too. If they would make it in 454 Casull, I'd have one already.
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Old April 28, 2018, 04:25 PM   #40
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Yes, the Marlin Jam. I know it can be fixed but the problem is it quite often must be fixed.
For a first time Lever guy, I would not recommend just to save him the aggravation. There used to be a gun dealer I bought from for years who has long passed on now, who would not hardly trade for Marlin 44 mag, because he had had so many people bring guns back to him with problems.

And I noticed that a lot of used ones would show marks on them where someone had used a screwdriver to clear a jam, and a few years later, I took a chance and bought a nice clean one, without the so called screwdriver marks, but eventually, I hate say but mine ended up with screwdriver marks on it too.

I no longer own it, and wouldn't buy another, however Marlin could have headed off those issues during manufacture but were too cheap to do, and would rather fix the ones that get sent back in for repairs.
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Old April 28, 2018, 05:30 PM   #41
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Yeah, even before Rem got a hold of them, Marlin was a bit disappointing with their 1894 line. I've had 3 of them and didn't think they were worth mentioning here.

I had better luck with my old Rossi Puma 1892 clone.

These days if I needed a revolver caliber carbine I would save up for a nice Italian or Japanese 1872 or 1892 clone.
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Old April 28, 2018, 06:22 PM   #42
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And then there is always the Savage 99. Note that since it has a vertical feed magazine you aren't limited to flat or round nosed bullets.
Best choice, IMO
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Old April 29, 2018, 04:44 PM   #43
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Best choice for sure-if you can afford to choose.
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Old April 29, 2018, 05:39 PM   #44
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You want the history then you can't go wrong with your basic Model 94. The pre-64 versions are a little nicer and command a premium. I got this one off Gunbroker a few years ago for $!65. The wood and metal show a lot of history.

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Old April 29, 2018, 06:28 PM   #45
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Savage 99, yum, that Winchester 94, beautiful rifle to be proud of and enjoy shooting, nice! The 99s are so unique.

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Old April 29, 2018, 07:17 PM   #46
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How are the Mossberg 464s?
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Old April 30, 2018, 03:21 PM   #47
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+1 for an older, nice condition 1894.

30-30 is a fine cartridge.
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Old April 30, 2018, 05:36 PM   #48
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I'd give my left nut for one of them pre 64 94s.

BEAUTS.
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Old May 3, 2018, 12:30 PM   #49
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I laugh when everything I hear that Marlin is a high quality gun, I am 67 years old and in my youth when you could not afford a high end gun you bought a marlin, because it was cheap and affordable. I have owned a number of marlins in my life time and I don't consider them a quality firearm. they are a budget gun that will do the job but are a far cry from a quality high end gun.
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Old May 3, 2018, 07:01 PM   #50
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I laugh when everything I hear that Marlin is a high quality gun, I am 67 years old and in my youth when you could not afford a high end gun you bought a marlin, because it was cheap and affordable. I have owned a number of marlins in my life time and I don't consider them a quality firearm. they are a budget gun that will do the job but are a far cry from a quality high end gun.
I never considered Marlin to be high end either. They were and are an affordable, functional, accurate and reliable weapon for hunting. Some of the older Marlins did have nicer wood fit and better walnut with more figure but the new REP guns have nicer metal if I were pressed to say so. But high end, now or in the past, no. High end might be rifles costing $2,000 plus or more, not the current sub $1,000 where nearly all Marlins live or adjusted for inflation $ in older times.

But then, what makes a gun high end, apparently that term is defined by the user?

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