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View Poll Results: Which One?
Krag Rifle 6 35.29%
30-30 Lever Rifle 10 58.82%
Other 1 5.88%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 17, 2024, 08:38 PM   #1
5whiskey
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Next Gun Purchase: Which One and Why?

Well, I've mostly been a good boy the past year and have managed to pay off debt and set aside a little cash. It's been about 3 years since I've bought a gun, and it's time to reward myself for staying on course. I really have only 2 main options, and I'm looking to stay under $1000, and even better if it's under $800.

Option 1: An original (unmolested and not sporterized) Krag rifle. These can be found for under 1k if you are patient. I really like this piece of history and want to own one sooner rather than later. I do reload, so I could shoot for less than $4 per round. The big downside here would be adding a vintage military bolt action to a collection that consists mostly of... vintage military bolt actions. I do like variety too.

Option 2: A vintage lever action in 30-30. Probably a Marlin 336 or Winchester 1894. While much more boring than the Krag, I already have 100 rounds of ammo given by my BIL. And I don't currently have a lever rifle... I feel compelled to remedy that. And it's honestly a safer bet, condition wise. Obviously much less a collector item than the Krag, but I am trying to stick to the mid 20th century era when these rifles exhibited craftsmanship. This will be much easier to find under 1k, and possibly even as cheap as $600.

Option 3: I've already kicked around other options. A 1909 Colt would excite me a bit, but I'm worried about buying a revolver that I can't feel and check time on first. I also would be interested in a Colt Official Police if it fell in my lap for $400 bucks. I'm also open to suggestions for anything I may not have thought about.

I get that my options are quite different. That's part of the reason I bring it here. If I was picking between 2 similar options, I can usually make a choice. Picking between completely different directions... I'm interested in other people's thoughts.
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Old February 17, 2024, 09:33 PM   #2
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Sigh and now I'm looking at Henry side gate rifles...
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Old February 18, 2024, 12:54 AM   #3
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There are so many vintages and styles to the Winchester '94 that it's hard not to find something you find particularly compelling.
For my tastes, I mostly prefer pre-1950 Carbines, or, if a rifle, there is a version of the 1894 that goes by a different model number, that is, the model 55...
But everyone has their own preferences.
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Old February 18, 2024, 02:51 PM   #4
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If you can find any model Krag in complete, proper military configuration for $1,000 buy it, yesterday!

I've owned a few Krags over the years, seen a bunch more, none of them were in complete, unaltered GI configuration at any reasonable price. The first things nearly everyone (who bought a Krag to use, not collect) back in the day, did, was toss the handguard wood to save weight.

Lots of them got the stocks chopped and even barrels shortened for the same reasons, to make it a better hunting rifle. I don't currently have any .30-40s but I do have a Krag, in 6.5x55 Swede. But it got sporterized a bit, probably about 100 years ago or so.

IF you're looking for a classic lever gun made the "old way" those would be the Marlin's made before they added the crossbolt safety, and Winchester 94s made before 1964. Don't know if they appeal to you, but the Savage 99s with the rotary magazines are great guns, too.

I don't have any personal interest in old Colts, but you're on the right track about being able to inspect before buying. If you are buying any gun with the intention of shooting it, buying sight unseen is a crap shoot. Sometimes you win, often, you crap out.

There aren't many people left in the country who can do quality work on old Colts, and those that can are pretty spendy and often have significant waiting lists.

Good Luck on your search, Finding one of the older lever guns in decent shape will probably be the easiest thing on your list.
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Old February 18, 2024, 03:38 PM   #5
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You might also consider the Savage 340 if you just want a classic 3030. They were not as popular as the lever guns but were a decent 3030 from the ones I've seen that should do well with cast bullets.
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Old February 18, 2024, 07:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm still kicking around my options at the moment, but I'm leaning heavy toward a lever action in 30-30. Now the decision is whether to get the vintage Marlin or Winchester (i did want to snag a pre-64 or a Marlin without the crossbolt safety if i picked up one of them)... or maybe a new Henry. I don't know that I would call any of the above truly "collectible." Not yet anyway. I may pay a bit more for the Henry, and it's not "vintage," but supporting an American company making guns in America that hasn't sold out to a corporate conglomerate appeals to me too.


And then I need to do my taxes and see how much money I'm going to owe Uncle Sam and the State of NC. Though that wouldn't really affect my budget realistically, it would affect it mentally if I have to pay the tax man more than I'm expecting.
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Old February 19, 2024, 10:47 AM   #7
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I was also in the market for an all original Krag and after watching a lot of them in on line auctions, I went to the big Tulsa gun show last March. If you are looking for any collectible firearm there will be five to ten of them at the Wanamaker show. I found one for $900, so fits your budget.
I’m currently looking for a Winchester 1894, 30 WCF, 24 inch round barrel rifle, pre-64. Everything on line is going for closer to 2K than 1K. So I’m considering making the trip to Tulsa again next month. There are 100’s of Winchesters there, though a lot of them are guys just showing off their collections, and only sell at a crazy price.
Vintage Marlin 30-30’s tend to sell at much lower prices and you should be able to find one easily under $1000. I didn’t answer the poll because I love them both.
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Old February 19, 2024, 04:49 PM   #8
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Do be on the lookout for the "opportunists" at gun shows. Some sellers are decent and just looking to get fair value but other are out for everything they can scam from the unsuspecting public.

One show I was at, some time back, when I was looking at a particular Winchester, the seller told me, better buy it now, next week I'm raising the prices, because Winchester just announced they were closing their last US plant.

I passed, because even at "this weeks" price, he wanted too much. Sure enough, the next week, everything he had that said Winchester on it had gone up $100!! Except the pocket knives, they only went up $20!

And some people bought them, anyway....
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Old February 19, 2024, 09:29 PM   #9
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Yeah the Krag is GOING to happen... it's just a matter of when. Honestly I could open my budget up quite a bit and get an original Krag and the lever of my choice if I wanted. I'd rather hold some funds back as family summer vacation, paying taxes, saving for a newer vehicle, etc. is coming fast. I have seen some go on the auction site at ~$1000, though patience is required. I've seen one in an estate auction that I bid on a few months back. I stopped at $800, it sold for $900. I don't know how much further I would have had to go with that particular bidder, but I have kicked myself for not bidding up to $1000 on it.

I've about settled on getting the lever rifle. Now it's just deciding between a used Marlin, Winchester, or a new Henry. Purported decent shape (functionally, at least, with some finish wear) Marlin 336's without the cross-bolt safety seem to be achievable for under $700 on gunbroker. The 1894's are a bit more expensive, and it's hard to tell what is pre-'64 or is in good shape. I see some locally here and there, but not like that. I'm beginning to lean into the idea of buying a new Henry pretty hard.

As for gun shows... the largest gun show by far in my area is coming in May (Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh, NC). I need to check the dates to see if I'll be off work. If I am I *MAY* wait until then... but honestly I've never seen any classic or C&R gun at any local gun show at a price I would be willing to pay. I've never tried to haggle much either. But at the same time, when JGSales were selling Yugo Mausers refurbed and still packed in cosmoline back in 2009 for $170 and the cheapest one I saw at the Dixie Deer Classic that same year was $380 (and it had obviously been fired)... I don't even try to start a haggle with those prices. Of course, it HAS been some years since I've been and I didn't know prices on a variety of firearms then like I do now, so honestly I may have missed the deal of the century and didn't even know it.
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Old February 19, 2024, 09:46 PM   #10
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If you're considering a new rifle anyway, you should seriously consider a new Marlin 336, in 30-30 (made in the U.S.). These new Marlins are absolutely gorgeous, and on par, if not better than the Henrys. May have to spend just north of $1000 for one, though.

https://www.marlinfirearms.com/s/model_70504/




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Old February 20, 2024, 08:42 AM   #11
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Oh, and once you get your 30-30 lever action rifle, I'm sure you'll want a 30-30 wheel gun to go along with that! https://shopkahrfirearmsgroup.com/co...nless-steel-3/




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Old February 20, 2024, 10:25 AM   #12
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Ehhh I wouldn't be opposed ro the Ruger made 336 if they had been in the wild long enough to have already been beta tested. I'm considering my options I'm never in a hurry to spend money.

I'm digging the BFR though. Not enough to drop $1500 on it, but it would be cool. And an absolute handful to shoot.
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Old February 20, 2024, 10:35 AM   #13
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problems

Unfortunately there is no cure for your condition.

There are many who have and still do suffer as you are presently.

The only way to ease the pain is to shop until you drop.
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Old February 20, 2024, 07:30 PM   #14
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If you want a lever action, do not rule out a Savage 99 or a Winchester 88
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Old February 21, 2024, 11:22 AM   #15
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Savage

FITASC I get the feeling we could be good friends, I admire a man with great taste. While there are a few collectors, the grand old Savage 99 has much to recommend it. They do tend to the heavy side overall.
The 99 has been made in a lot of great calibers, there are also little known sets for the take down guns. I recall one set that featured 3 barrel assemblies, one being .410 quite rare I have not seen one in years. And you gotta love the brass cartridge counter, do not try to get to it and polish it up, I promise regrets doing so.
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Old February 21, 2024, 06:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
the grand old Savage 99 has much to recommend it. They do tend to the heavy side overall.
Absolutely. Yes, they do run heavier than the typical Win 94 but they are also longer, and fire more powerful rounds. Where and when I grew up deer hunting, where nearly everyone carried a Win or Marlin 30-30 or .32 Special, uncle Jim's Savage 99 with its 24" barrel and .300 Savage chambering made it the "big stick" in our deer woods.

Whether its the original brass or the later steel cartridge counter, DO NOT take it apart, and if it HAS to come apart, PAY A GUNSMITH to do it. Let him earn his money getting it back together. IT is possible, but its not easy without knowing the tricks, (and possibly having some special tools) I've had smiths tell me that an octopus might have enough hands to easily reassemble it, but for humans, its not easy.

If you're looking for an uncommon .30-30 the Savage 340 is one, it looks cheap (and it was the budget model) but they were decent enough guns, however, magazines are ultra rare and its unlikely you'll find one for less than the cost of the rifle itself these days. Same thing if you can find one of the Rem 788s, if you don't have, or something happens to the magazine, getting another is difficult and far from cheap.
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Old February 27, 2024, 02:43 PM   #17
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Of the options you listed, I'd go for the Krag if you can find one that fits your budget. While I do like a lever-action .30-30 as much as anyone and more than most, Krags haven't been made in over 100 years and are unlikely to ever be made again. Also, .30-30 lever guns have been made for a much longer period of time and in much greater numbers than Krags ever were not to mention than Marlin, Henry, and Winchester are still making new .30-30's. The way I see it, you're much more likely to find a nice .30-30 at a reasonable price sometime in the future than you are a Krag, so if you can get a nice Krag for a decent price now I'd jump on it if I were you.
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Old February 28, 2024, 10:19 PM   #18
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Webley, that was my exact thought process with the Krag. Ultimately I decided it's time to pick up something other than a revolver or bolt action (that's literally been my last 7 or 8 purchases). Coincidentally I'm not afraid to drop $1,400 on a rifle if I feel it is worth that, and if I save up for it. I've gone through some major life changes the past year and have budgeted well, but not quite well enough to not set a budget cap. Heck I didn't even think I would be buying a new gun anytime this year. On top of that, I'm sitting on nearly $200 worth of 30-30 ammo that I've had for years... it's past time to use it. I counted yesterday. I thought I had 100 rounds of 30-30... it's closer to 200.

I'm picking up a Winchester '94 next week. It's not a pre '64 model, more like early 70's, but it's in good shape and functions fine. The receiver finish doesn't have the awful spotting so common with post '64 rifles. It's a good bit under my "preferred" budget of $800. Enough under that I may order a rear aperture for it.
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Old March 5, 2024, 08:13 PM   #19
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I actually got a decent deal on a Sears Model 54 (essentially a Winchester 94, even made by Winchester for Sears). It's quirky, but it's in pretty good shape, functions well, and the price was right.
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Old March 5, 2024, 10:56 PM   #20
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Just watched hickok45 shoot, and talk about the Krag-Jorgensen Model 1898

Is this the same rifle you are referring to?
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Old March 6, 2024, 02:02 AM   #21
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Get a .30-30.
Leave the Krag market alone. I don't need them going up any more.
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Old March 6, 2024, 02:39 PM   #22
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If I was looking for a Winchester M94 varient, I'd take a close look at the M64. Best feeling and best handling 30-30 I ever owned, JMHO of course. Don't see them much west of the Rockies I guess as in all my gunny years I've seen three. I own two of those three, one dated to 1938, my birth year and the other to 1957.
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Old March 6, 2024, 09:49 PM   #23
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Sorry Franken, the Krag purchase was merely postponed. That's probably gonna come later this year... if I can put off buying g another vehicle until next year (that's a roll of the dice though).
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Old March 6, 2024, 11:28 PM   #24
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I understand.
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Old March 7, 2024, 03:40 PM   #25
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Get the Krag, and scratch that itch. Even if you have to stretch to get one, they haven't made any in a long time, and they aren't getting any cheaper.

I've owned several Krags over the years, have a deep love and respect for the .30-40 round and what it can do. I currently have a Krag in 6.5x55mm.

Get a Krag, learn for yourself what it does, and doesn't do. Once you're satisfied, keep it or pass it on to someone else. I seriously doubt you would sell it for a loss, unless you broke it.
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