The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Bolt, Lever, and Pump Action

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 27, 2020, 02:44 PM   #1
DirtyHarold
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2015
Posts: 109
I just inherited a Marlin 357 lever action

Hello,

I just inherited my grandpas Marlin 357 lever action. It seems to be in pristine condition, especially considering it’s somewhere around 30-50 years old.

I haven’t shot it yet but I plan to. Is there anything I should be weary of to make sure it’s still in good safe working condition? Can a gun of this age still safely handle the hottest magnum loads?

I’ll upload pics of it when I get a chance.

Thanks


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
DirtyHarold is offline  
Old January 27, 2020, 02:50 PM   #2
NoSecondBest
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2009
Location: Western New York
Posts: 2,447
You must be pretty young yourself. I don't consider that to be an "old gun". If it's pristine (meaning nothing's obviously broken) just make sure the barrel isn't obstructed and then shoot all you want. I had one of those guns and they are a great gun. Good luck
NoSecondBest is offline  
Old January 27, 2020, 02:59 PM   #3
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 4,365
If it's a pre-"Remlin", pre-safety lock, I'd say it's quite a an inheritance. Only caveat is it probably has Microgroove rifling which isn't the best for lead bullets.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old January 27, 2020, 03:08 PM   #4
kenny53
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 30, 2015
Location: My back yard
Posts: 707
I have one almost that old and I shoot some hot 357's out of it without a problem. DO NOT SHOOT aluminum or steel cased ammo out of the gun. Stay with brass ammo. If you don't have the owners manual I believe you can down load it from Marlin. The rifle is fun just shooting 38's out of it. Sorry for the loss of your grandpa.
kenny53 is offline  
Old January 27, 2020, 04:25 PM   #5
cslinger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 14, 2002
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 1,720
Don't shoot round nosed/pointy bullets in any lever action. (errr any tube fed gun, I know there are magazine fed levers)
You can shoot .38 special in it as well as .357 although .357 may be more reliable.
You should be fine with magnum ammo.
About the only thing to watch out for in my experience is what is called the Marlin Jam. Its basically where with lots of use the lever can cut into the lifter and eventually the two MATE and lock up. (You should be able to look up pictures of this and how to mitigate it).

Other than that you have an old Marlin .357 lever.......a very desirable gun for a great many people.
__________________
"Is there anyway I can write my local gun store off on my taxes as dependents?"
cslinger is offline  
Old January 27, 2020, 05:19 PM   #6
TJB101
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2017
Posts: 379
I just inherited a Marlin 357 lever action

Watch a vid on how to pull the bolt, clean it up, give it a nice lube and load ‘em up.
TJB101 is offline  
Old January 28, 2020, 03:31 AM   #7
mellow_c
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,824
You lucky duck!


Since everyone has told you about all you need to know... I'd like to congratulate you!

I think it's safe to say that your Grandpa enjoyed that rifle, and now you can enjoy the experience of owning and shooting it too.

Lets hope he got ahold of a particularly nice one and that it's everything you could ask for from a 357 lever action!

:-)
mellow_c is offline  
Old January 28, 2020, 03:47 AM   #8
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 20,854
Quote:
Don't shoot round nosed/pointy bullets in any lever action. (errr any tube fed gun, I know there are magazine fed levers)
Round nose bullets are ok, in tube magazine rifles if they are blunt (and close in size or larger than the primer) and made of a soft material, such as LEAD. Pointed bullets, and "pointed round nose" (such as many 9mm Luger bullets) with hard jackets are BAD. pointed bullets with soft tips like the Hornady plastic tips lever gun ammo are ok.

And, just FYI there was a rifle, a tube fed pump specifically made for pointed bullets. The Remington model 14 and later 141. Made for the pointed bullets used in .25, .30, .32, and .35 Rem cartridges. The tube mags were made so that the bullet tips were in a "spiral" arrangement and did not contact the primer of the round ahead of them.

I've never had a Marlin Jam, guess I don't shoot them enough.

What I have had, with the 1894 carbine in .357 is a jam feeding SWC bullets. Under the right conditions, the round "bounces" a little bit on the lifter and the sharp shoulder of the SWC bullet catches on the edge of the chamber.

If this happens, DO NOT force the lever shut, simply pop it forward a little, and the jammed round will fall into its proper place when the pressure from the bolt is removed. THEN you can close the action normally.

If you intend to hunt with the .357 carbine, you MUST pay attention to the bullets you use. Expanding bullets are made to expand within a certain range of velocity, in a controlled fashion. A bullet meant to expand at pistol velocity can be seriously overdriven in a carbine which can add 500fps to the speed over a pistol. 125gr JHP are notorious for hyper expansion when driven up to the 2200fps possible from the carbine. 158gr JSP less so, they are heavier constructed and can't be driven as fast as the 125s.

The little carbines are great guns. Light and handy, and with magnums more powerful than you might think with very low recoil. Don't expect an MOA shooter, the sights are coarse and so are the triggers. Fun plinkers and pest guns, and even good for deer at closer ranges.

I've had 2 in .357, gave my first one to my father in law, who fell in love with it, despite him not being a hunter or shooter. For him, it was perfect for travel in his camper. Gave him a good weapon, and avoided all legal hassles in different states (and Canada) because it wasn't a handgun.

The only real gripe I've ever had with them is that little squared "loop" on the lever isn't quite big enough for all my fat fingers comfort. A small matter, really.

As to the "hottest magnum loads" the Marlins are more than strong enough for anything you will buy from a factory. They aren't "bank vaults" like a Ruger No.1 and you can make handloads that are too hot for them, but any ammo you buy off the shelf will be fine. (and so will any SANE handload )
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is online now  
Old January 28, 2020, 08:33 AM   #9
tlm225
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2004
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 878
Congratulations on receiving a fine rifle and my condolences on how it came to be in your possession. After lusting for one for years I found a great deal on one a couple of years ago and it rapidly became my favorite rifle. Cheaper to shoot than a .22 with my home cast, handloaded LSWC's @ 900 FPS, a potent sub 100 yard deer and defensive rifle with full tilt JSP magnums.
__________________
All that is neccessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke
tlm225 is offline  
Old January 28, 2020, 02:44 PM   #10
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 11,850
Again, my condolences on your loss.
Marlin first chambered their variation of the 1894 in .357 Mag some time after 1969. It's S/N will tell you exactly when.
Have a look here for a Marlin 'S/N look up'.
https://oldguns.net/sn_php/marlinlookup.php
"...a gun of this age still safely handle the hottest magnum loads?..." 30 to 50 years old is not old. Firearm steels do not go bad either. Nor do springs wear out from being compressed or with age.
__________________
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is online now  
Old January 28, 2020, 11:41 PM   #11
DirtyHarold
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2015
Posts: 109
Thanks to everyone for the kind words.

Here is the gun. I cleaned it all up today and it seems to be in excellent condition however it is quite finicky. When I load American Eagle 158 gr 357, if I fiddle with shoving the rounds in there I can manage to get 8 rds in the tube (I think it’s supposed to be 9) and when I cycle the action they get jammed on the way into the chamber often and I have to let up on the lever and try again sometimes a few times. I tried this with some Winchester 125 gr 357 which have slightly more rounded bullets though still flat nose, and it’s a little better but they also will jam on the way in to the chamber and I’ll have to let up and try again. Oddly I can only fit 6 of these in the tube before I just can’t get more in. I’m trying not to be forceful with anything I do.

Any thoughts? Should I send it in/take it to a smith?




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
DirtyHarold is offline  
Old January 29, 2020, 01:44 AM   #12
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 20,854
Quote:
Any thoughts? Should I send it in/take it to a smith?
Yes, at least to have it checked out. The magazine should hold 9 .357 rounds with any bullet profile. Feeding issues and not being able to fill the mag means something is going on. Since you don't have the personal knowledge to strip the gun and check things, a smith is the way to go.

Good Luck, and I hope tis something simple and an easy fix.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is online now  
Old January 29, 2020, 02:03 AM   #13
NoSecondBest
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2009
Location: Western New York
Posts: 2,447
Just a note: most lever guns actually require a fairly brisk lever throw to cycle properly. If you're doing it slowly and watching it cycle it's not going to be very reliable. They are designed to use the momentum/mass of the bullet and moving parts to help with the cycle.
NoSecondBest is offline  
Old January 29, 2020, 06:05 AM   #14
PatientWolf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 859
As NoSecondBest pointed out, very active cycling is the correct way to activate the lever action.

Some Marlin 1894s do have known issues with the lifters that can cause jamming. Replacement lifters are available that resolve the issue. Google "Marlin 1894 Jam" for more information.

Before I started down the path to change the lifter, I’d make sure I was cycling the lever as it was intended.
PatientWolf is offline  
Old January 29, 2020, 11:01 PM   #15
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,022
twin brother

I've got that rifles twin brother, purchased in the early '80's. For a long time, my favorite woods wandering gun. I've shot all manner of ammo through it, from .38 WC single loaded, to 158-160 grain magnums. Regards the microgroove rifling, I shot a mid-range 158 gr SWC, in mag cases, at about 1000 fps, that did well as a mild utility cartridge, and matched it to the Ruger Blackhawk also in .357. SWC were a bit twitchy in their feeding, but worked well enough if the meplat wasn't too broad. Shot a lot of .38/110 JHP +P+, as that ammo was nixed as a duty load, and there was quite a bit about as .38 was no longer approved. Also shot a good bit of magnum 125 JHP, which replaced .38.......then we went to auto pistols and there was a lot of .357 about, but there were no duty revolvers to shoot it in. As noted, 125 grain magnums from the carbine were absolutely devastating on medium varmints like coyote's, ground hogs, feral cats etc.

On my carbine, I ditched the white line spacers, and installed a peep sight. These days, I don't shoot the peep as well as I did, and a scope would put the .357 Marlin back to work. I really should do that. You will not be disappointed in your .357 lever carbine.
bamaranger is offline  
Old February 1, 2020, 12:46 AM   #16
Rifletom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2011
Location: So-Cal
Posts: 720
DH, that is one fine lever rifle you have there! Very clean.Your Grandpa had good taste. What's the scope? Man, you are going to enjoy that rifle. Agree with NoSecondBest and PatientWolf on working the lever.
Rifletom is offline  
Old February 3, 2020, 02:42 AM   #17
zoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 2, 2019
Posts: 134
I'm a big fan of the Winchester trapper in .357 too. I don't know anyone who got rid of theirs and didn't regret it not long afterward. Added plus, I think they've (including the Marlin) tripled in value over the last two decades and that includes used ones.
zoo is offline  
Old February 4, 2020, 11:25 AM   #18
COSteve
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2009
Posts: 1,208
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoo View Post
I'm a big fan of the Winchester trapper in .357 too. I don't know anyone who got rid of theirs and didn't regret it not long afterward.
I've got 2 .357s I got NIB in 2009, a 20" carbine and a 24" rifle that I've added a tang sight and globe front sight to so I've got a .357mag levergun with a 30" sight radius. It's really helpful as I shoot my rifle at steel plates out at 300yds with my 158grn and 180grn full power magnum handloads. I use my carbine for plinking out in the woods and coupled with my Cavalry length pistol, also in .357, I've got a great tandem woods set. Both are hands down my favorite long guns and one or both goes with me on all trips out shooting.

I'm not a fan of the trapper length as it's balance is off to me when aiming. Further, it's harder to hold on target as the weight is too much on the buttstock. I tried a few friend's trappers and compared them to my 20" carbine which I feel is much better balanced. BTW, 3 of the 5 friends who bought trapper length Rossi 92's during the big craze for them have since sold them off and now have 20" carbines that they like better so it's definitely up to the individual as to whether or not the trapper length is a favored length or not.

As a comparison, the sight radius on my rifle with the tang sight is 30" while my 20" carbine standard sight radius is 16". The trapper, with a 4" shorter barrel has only a 12" sight radius making it harder to aim precisely at distances over say 50-75yds. Adding a scope defeats the whole purpose of the light weight trapper in my opinion as well. However, to each his own and I'd suggest that anyone considering a levergun actually handle it before you buy it as the heft, shouldering, 'hang', and balance has to fit you to enjoy shooting it.
__________________
Steve

“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” - Confucius
"When you find a find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it." - Dilbert
COSteve is offline  
Old February 11, 2020, 08:23 PM   #19
zoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 2, 2019
Posts: 134
Quote:
I'm not a fan of the trapper length as it's balance is off to me when aiming. Further, it's harder to hold on target as the weight is too much on the buttstock. I tried a few friend's trappers and compared them to my 20" carbine which I feel is much better balanced. BTW, 3 of the 5 friends who bought trapper length Rossi 92's during the big craze for them have since sold them off and now have 20" carbines that they like better so it's definitely up to the individual as to whether or not the trapper length is a favored length or not.
Costeve, I absolutey respect your opinion and I totally understand what you're saying. I didn't mean to imply the Winchester trapper was the best configuration for everybody. For me, and considering my preference for close proximity weapons, I really like it on several levels; handy, old school, etc.. Yes, one's mileage may vary.
zoo is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07782 seconds with 9 queries