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Old May 16, 2017, 01:45 PM   #1
Tony Z
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Want another plinking rifle

I'm looking for a 44 mag plinking rifle in lever action. Local store has (new) a Rossi 92, with 20" barrel and a Marlin 1894, with 20" barrel. Any opinions? The Rossi weighs about 5 lbs., and the Marlin about 6-1/2 lbs.
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:34 PM   #2
Model12Win
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.44 Magnum and plinking? I assume you reload and cast?
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Old May 16, 2017, 03:00 PM   #3
Tony Z
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Yes, plus I don't have a 44 Mag!
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Old May 16, 2017, 03:04 PM   #4
Model12Win
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I hear some really good things about the new Rossis. For a plinker, the slightly heavier Marlin might be better though.
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Old May 16, 2017, 04:16 PM   #5
Hawg
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I've had a couple of pre safety Marlin 94's in .44 mag and have a pre safety Rossi in 44-40. I'd go with an older pre safety Rossi.
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Old May 16, 2017, 08:45 PM   #6
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I would look the Marlin over closely and probably choose it unless there were some glaring defects.
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Old May 16, 2017, 08:49 PM   #7
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Buy a Ruger Mini 14 or Mini 30.
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Old May 16, 2017, 11:58 PM   #8
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If the traditional Winchester look is important to you, get the Rossi. Otherwise get the Marlin, it will be easier on your shoulder. The recoil of a .44 Mag in a carbine can be surprising, especially if the stock fit isn't perfect for you.

Marlins have a bigget butt, weigh a bit more, and feel "softer" shooting for me. Also easy to add a low power scope or red dot on a Marlin. Makes traditionalists cringe, but adds a lot to the "plinkability" of the gun, especially when your eyes get a bit older....

If you scope, I recommend a hammer spur extension, highly.

I've had Marlin lever guns in .30-30, .35Rem, .357 & .44 mag, and .45-70. I like them better than Winchesters, but that's just me...
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Old May 17, 2017, 04:58 AM   #9
Tony Z
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Thanks one and all. Like most here, I have plenty if firearms-though I buy, I never sell or trade.

What I like about the Rossi is the 94 look and lightweight. What I like about the Marlin is also the styling and more substantial feel. How much use will the guns get? Not nearly as much as I would like to think they would. Like how I like to be surrounded by books, I feel the same about my firearms, antiques and my woodworking tools. Some have other vices, mine are accumulating items, and with some, such as a portion of my Civil War artifacts and veteran memoribilia already at the local historical society museum.

Plinking? I'll be 65 in a few months and plinking for me is simply taking a gun tor a walk in the fields or woods. Takes us all back to when we were 10 or 12, trying to make our way through Teddy Roosevelt's tales of big game hunting, imagining aBoone & Crockett size white tail a few yards off. I could make do with another .22, or one of the existing guns in one of the safes, but that may restrict my tales to my grandsons when they first read Robert Ruark's books about "The Old Man and the Boy".

Ah simpler times! Maybe today, I'll just not go to the office (I own a manufacturing plant) and just go spend the day at our hunting camp (30 miles away). You see, my wife is a middle school teacher and neither of us think we will ever retire, but will do or buy, things we enjoy. But as you approach a certain age, you don't want to force that enjoymeny on the grandkids, but have it nearby for them to enjoy if they want.

But back to the Rossi or Marlin, the Marlin does advertise ability to fire 44 Special, so regardless of which I buy, I will probably reload some lighter loads for it.
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Old May 17, 2017, 12:13 PM   #10
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The beauty of handloading and the lever gun (or any manually operated action), as long as the rounds are the right size (length) to feed, you can shoot monster magnum or cat sneeze loads equally well.

As long as the bullet reliably clears the barrel, its all good!

I had one of the Marlin .44s years ago, good gun, but eventually traded off, excess to need, as I did a few years later with the .45-70.

I kept the Marlin .357 for a plinker (with serious energy if needed), shooting .38s from it is fun, a bang, and about no recoil. .357 is BLAM and light recoil. The .44 with full house loads definitely has very noticeable recoil, but light loads are pussycats.

Keep the COAL below max and it should feed fine, they do like RNs better than SWCs, and can sometimes jam on SWC slugs, if the action isn't worked "smartly". (the "square edge" of the SWC can catch on the edge of the chamber, if this happens, simply bump the lever FORWARD a bit, taking the pressure off the round. It will then drop back into the correct position on the lifter and feed into the chamber properly when you close the lever).

I can't say I noticed that problem with my .44, but then I didn't feed it many SWCs. It will happen with my .357 sometimes (often with .38s), so it may be something more caliber specific than general.
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Old May 17, 2017, 12:25 PM   #11
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I have the Rossi with a 16" barrel. One of my favorite, albeit more expensive rifles to plink with. The .44mags let you know your alive that's for sure...
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Old May 19, 2017, 01:09 PM   #12
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The Rossi should also cycle 44 Spl just fine, especially if you load it a bit on the long side. I have two Rossi 357 mags, a 24" rifle with a tang and globe sight set for 300 yd steel plate shooting and a 20" carbine. Both have been treated to a action and trigger job via Steve's Gunz parts and Dvd (makes it really simple, even for an old coot who's older than the OP).

Anyway, the OAL Spec for 38spl is 1.460" while the OAl for 357 mag is 1.580". I shoot 95% 357 mag through mine, however, I've found that if I load my 38 spl a bit long to 1.500" OAL, they feed just as smoothly as the 357 mag do. Same approach should work with the 44 spl. It's OAL spec is 1.460" and the 44 mag's OAL is 1.600" so loading the 44 spl a bit long at 1.530" should do the trick.
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Old May 19, 2017, 06:36 PM   #13
Tony Z
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Thanks one and all. I'm pretty much settled on the Rossi, with the primary reason being the lighter weight.
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Old Yesterday, 08:25 AM   #14
jhoyda
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You can get $75 cash back on the Marlin right now.
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Old Yesterday, 09:39 PM   #15
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Either a Marlin or a Henry.
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