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Old April 22, 2018, 01:28 AM   #1
desertstormvet
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Lever Rifle - Buy once, cry once

I’m looking for advice on what lever rifle I need to buy. I do not have one and feel un-American. I plan to buy only one...the one I want, not the one I can afford, will shoot it every now and then, maybe hunt white tail and hogs with it, and will keep it in a safe most of the time. I will more than likely go with 30-30, but know 45-70 is a good option. Any thoughts on which I should consider? I’ve read that pre-64 Winchester 94 is a good one. Re: caliber, ammo cost isn’t too much of a concern as I won’t be putting a high number of rounds down range.
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Old April 22, 2018, 01:45 AM   #2
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Yeah, can't go wrong with your 94 idea for Americanism- it's got it in spades! A Winchester 1895 in .45-70 is quite iconic and provides immense pride in ownership too.

I don't know where you are, but for a good working man's levergun, take a peek around at an older Marlin 30 series (AS, AW, or something like that). They tend to do pretty well with the 160 and 140gr Hornady Leverevolution squishy tipped ammo. You can also find ammo from 125gr up to 170gr. It may just be me, but it seems Marlins are a little less picky about preferred ammo and ammo weights.

Either of those are good ways to go, you may just find that letting your hands and eyes tell you which is the rightest one when you pick one up and 'just sorta speaks to your heart' and lets you know it's The One. Have fun and good luck.

And, thanks for your service. I was in Iraq in '03 and '04 for 16 months.
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Old April 22, 2018, 03:51 AM   #3
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My nephew and I bought our lever-guns at the same time: Mossberg model 464 in 30-30. This model is easily scoped which is great for my older eyeballs to focus. Accuracy is quite good averaging 2 inch groupings at 100 yards with 170 grain Power Point ammo by Winchester. Thumbs up for this carbine!

We have toppled several deer while hunting in western Maryland and many hogs in central Florida. The 30-30 cartridge is a great one for lethal performance on game animals and moderate recoil for extended target shooting.

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Old April 22, 2018, 04:42 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your service!

The pre-64 model 94 will limit you to cartridges in .25-35, .32-40, .30-30, .32 Win Spcl, and .38-55. If you want a Winchester rifle in .45-70 you'll have to look for an 1886 model. The Winchester 1895 was never offered in .45-70 to my knowledge as well, the Marlin 1895 is chambered in .45-70 though.
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Old April 22, 2018, 05:42 AM   #5
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I agree with the need to have a lever gun so a number of years ago I swapped a new Remington 700 in 7mm-08 for a 1954 Marlin 336 in 35REM and have really enjoyed shooting it. Being I cast and reload my own rounds I needed Ballard rifling not micro groove. There were four years when Marlin had both 35rem and Ballard rifling in the late fifties they went to micro groove.

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Old April 22, 2018, 06:29 AM   #6
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If you want a Winchester rifle in .45-70 you'll have to look for an 1886 model.
Taylorce1- Oops, my bad. You're absolutely right, thanks!

My wallet tells me I ought to know better, but I still can't convince myself I don't need a 1876 in .45-75.
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Old April 22, 2018, 08:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertstormvet View Post
I’m looking for advice on what lever rifle I need to buy. I do not have one and feel un-American. I plan to buy only one...
If "only one", Teddy Roosevelt's "big medicine" might be a consideration:
https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...-1895-405-win/
https://www.americanhunter.org/artic...05-winchester/

The Miroku made Winchester's are usually available on the auction sites.
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Old April 22, 2018, 08:50 AM   #8
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You want the best lever action. You don't care about ammo cost.

In that case get a Winchester Model 71. Super smooth action, points and swings like a fine shotgun and IMO one of the best looking rifles ever made.

Browning also made some copies and they are very well made and considerably less expensive than original Winchesters.
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Old April 22, 2018, 09:52 AM   #9
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Marlin Texan 336, 30-30, looks pretty American to me:



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Last edited by 3Crows; April 22, 2018 at 04:34 PM.
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Old April 22, 2018, 10:25 AM   #10
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There are also some pretty good post 64 Win 94 rifles out there.

Those immediately after 1964 are the worst of the bunch, they made a few changes in the early 70's that improved a bit on the parts used in the original post 64.

I have a wonderful 1974 model Win 94 30-30 that found its way to me a few months back... Functions fine, shoots straight, and looks good.

Feels like it was made to fit in my hands... So sleek and trim.

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Old April 22, 2018, 10:48 AM   #11
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If I were going to buy one lever action for every kind of big game hunting and I wanted a traditional style, it would be a Browning or Winchester M1895 in either 30-06 or 270 Winchester.
If I didn't care about the traditional styling it would be a Browning BLR in 7-08 or 308
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Old April 22, 2018, 11:56 AM   #12
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"...and feel un-American..." RCMP Commemorative. It's just a .30-30 Win M94 with a 'musket' style stock. snicker.
However, hunting white tail and hogs means a plain Jane Win 94 is .30-30. Even though the felt recoil is too much for the power of the cartridge. And any Marlin has a smoother action. Far greater selection of chamberings with a Browning BLR. Those run $1019.99 though and they're very light. Mind you, there's a .243.
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Old April 22, 2018, 12:02 PM   #13
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An 1894 in 44Mag is also a respectable short range hunter. You can take deer
out past 125 yards. Much better in short brush.

Whatever caliber you get, be sure to get one which side ejects, if you want to mount a scope.
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Old April 22, 2018, 03:22 PM   #14
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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.
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Old April 22, 2018, 05:13 PM   #15
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everybody knows

Everybody knows that the name Winchester is the connection to the levergun world. And if you're wanting the best "Winchester" lever rifle ever made, by Winchester and not some conglomerate with a new name, it's also the last one Winchester made, the M88!

" A bolt rifle run by a lever", with no turn of the century hammer, no lawyer safety, full power, modern high intensity cartridges, (.243, .308, .358, .284) one piece stock and drop dead gorgeous looks.

As I have my grandad's, I may be a bit prejudice.
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Old April 22, 2018, 05:35 PM   #16
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If you're willing to scour the auction sites and gun shows, the well-made Sako Finnwolf (made from 1962-1974) lever-action is worth the search. Looks a lot like the Winchester Model 88 with its one-piece stock and concealed hammer but, imo, has a better trigger. Only came chambered in .243 and .308 and I imagine the cost of an extra magazine would be pretty steep if you could even find one.

For a more traditional lever-action, I'm a big fan of Miroku-made, Winchester repos; especially the Model 1886 "Extra Light Weight" variant, chambered in .45-70-no longer made but I still see them from time to time at the larger gun shows.
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Old April 22, 2018, 05:59 PM   #17
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If the OP is feeling un-American because he is without a lever gun, then should not the lever gun be, if he is to own only one, at least American made? Well, that is for the OP to decide, .

Good luck in your search, just as I think I found the perfect lever gun another comes along to make me want it more than the ones I already got. N+1 is the equation where N is a lever gun that you have and the +1 is the one you are now looking at or trying to talk your buddy out of .

J
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Old April 22, 2018, 06:31 PM   #18
105kw
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Winchester 94s are good, classy looking.
Marlins in 93, 36, or 336 are great too. Both are made in .30-30 so ammo is no great problem. I prefer the straight stock Marlins.

My all time favorite lever is the Savage 99.
Pre war guns are going up in cost, but a good .30-30, or .300 Savage is a great deer, black bear, and depending on range, elk rifles.
Look around, handle as many different guns you can, pick what fits you best.
Or what looks right to you.
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Old April 22, 2018, 07:41 PM   #19
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I bought a Marlin scout last year in 45-70.

It really is a lot of fun to shoot and draws a good bit of attention. Just a cool, old school can of whopp-Azz.

I plink with 200 grain cowboy and have a box of 420 just to rattle my teeth once in a while.
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Old April 22, 2018, 08:52 PM   #20
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If not into collecting there is this, more modern than old and it indeed can throw softball sized chunks of lead accurately well out to 200 yards:



And no it is not a JM, it is a 2016 REP. It is straight, it is tight and slick, it is very accurate and it is the best shooting Marlin that I have ever owned save for a new 336SS I bought. It eats everything, though the over length HSM Bear Load is not it's favorite. The Buffalo Bore goes through it fine, my shoulder does not fair so well though. I mostly home load 405 grain cast lead at around 1400 FPS. The fellow has around 500 rounds downrange now, a hog and a deer, lot's of steel. Nothing but hard cast lead, 405gr, 420-430 gr loads. WWG Happy Trigger, WWG Bear Claw extractor, WWG light mount, WWG mag azine follower, Ranger Point fast take down lever screw, XS rail with Burris Scout on Warn Maxima QD low rings and some other mods by little ol'me. I built it for Alaska where it accompanied me and will again for brown bear protection. I trust it that much.

3C

Last edited by 3Crows; April 22, 2018 at 08:58 PM.
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Old April 22, 2018, 10:47 PM   #21
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Look at this Winchester 45-70
https://www.hinterlandoutfitters.com...h-p-33741.html
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Old April 22, 2018, 11:34 PM   #22
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That 1886 Winchester that Water-Man suggested is a beautiful gun. The new Winchesters being made by Miroku in Japan are very well made rifles. Smooth action, nice finish and fit, and good wood. I have a 1873 octagon barreled Winchester made by them and it really turns heads when I take it to the range. Take a very good look at their guns, you won't be disappointed.
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Old April 24, 2018, 07:51 PM   #23
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I don't buy replicas & remakes. If you don't want to spend a arm and a leg buy
a pre 64 Win 30/30 or 32. These can be had for $600 and will always be worth
that. Also JM Marlins pre safety models are good guns. They have 3 models to
choose from, 1894-336- 45/70. Another gun that will retain its value. Savage
99s are going up in price, they also have large selection of models and calibres.
Buy one of these and have a good rifle and a good investment. They aren't
making the originals anymore, nor are the guns they are making now the quality
of fit and finish.
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Old April 24, 2018, 08:03 PM   #24
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I'd get a Henry's .44 Magnum Big Boy.

They've been making guns for 150 years, and know a thing or two about levers.
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Old April 24, 2018, 08:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Model12Win View Post
I'd get a Henry's .44 Magnum Big Boy.

They've been making guns for 150 years, and know a thing or two about levers.
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.
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