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Lever action carbine

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Krustofski, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Krustofski

    Krustofski Loaded Pockets

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    So... I don't know if EDCF is the right place to ask this, but with the amount of gun nuts on this boards, someone will be able to answer my question. I may or may not crosspost this in the forum which-name-shall-not-be-said-but-starts-with-a-Z.

    The problem at hand is:

    For me, any firearm for any practical purpose has a shoulder stock FULLSTOP. I like handguns. I own a revolver and an autoloader and I train and shoot IPSC matches. It's just that I suck with them. I'm fully aware that the purpose of a handgun is not to be the ultimate answer in terms of range and accuracy, but to have something you can carry conveniently and have ready for immediate action wherever you go. Still, I need a stock.
    I want something rugged and compact that can primarily serve me while chasing game up to the size of fully grown roe deer in dense brushwood, and can secondarily function as a home defense implement should the need arise.
    Yes, I am going to buy an AUG-Z Sport semi-auto bullpup carbine at some time next year, when decent paychecks start to roll in. Yes, I do own a pump-action shotgun. But I don't think those are the perfect weapons for me. Not only that there are magazine restrictions which make selfloading long guns pretty much useless for hunting, no, I also smell even stricter gun laws coming my way after the next federal election. And semi-autos and pump guns are on top of the list of things which politicians don't want to see in the hand of civilians in this country. Plus, I prefer the classical approach anyway. You know what, I'll spare you the rest of the buildup and just say:

    I want a lever action riffle. I want it bad. And I don't know heck about them. Please enlighten me!

    What I'm searching for:

    lever action carbine
    cal. .357 Magnum (yay for sidearm and rifle sharing the same awesome cartridge)
    short length (long enough not to spew out unburned powder with hot loads)
    magazine capacity: as large as possible given the length
    iron sights suitable for quick target acquisition
    accurate between 0 and 80 meters with iron sights
    rugged construction, good reliability and durability (I'm used to my prewar 98k, I have standards in that regard)

    Price is not much of an issue. I would prefer a high-value gun (a Rossi maybe?) of course, but I'm willing to pay for quality if necessary. Availability in Germany shouldn't be a problem with all major manufacturers.

    So, any recommendations?
     
  2. revs
    • In Omnia Paratus

    revs Loaded Pockets

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    Marlin and Winchester are the first two that come to mind. I own a Marlin 336 in 30-30 Winchester. It has been in my family for probably 60 years or so. A 357 Magnum would be a great choice for a lever action. A friend of mine has one but I forget the maker. I think it is a Marlin, but I am probably wrong.

    Marlin model 1894 in .357 Magnum or Winchester Model 94 Ranger Compact in .357 Magnum are the two I found. My dad owns a Model 94 Winchester in 30-30. Great gun.
     
  3. jda

    jda Loaded Pockets

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  4. jwhite75

    jwhite75 Loaded Pockets

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    That 94 Ranger Compact is what you want but the marlin would be a fine substitute.
     
  5. Krustofski

    Krustofski Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for your input guys, I appreciate it.

    I've done a bit of googling on all guns you mentioned, and I have to say I like what I found about the Winchester 94 Ranger Compact. 16 inch barrel and 9 rounds of .357 seems pretty decent. Looks like the perfect solution for me ATM. I still need to think this through, but this piece of gear is on top of my list now.

    Speaking of 9 round magazines: A rather embarrassing question, really: You can work one cartrige into the chamber and then top off the tube mag on a lever action, right? So that would make this a 9+1, effectively?
    Sorry, but where I live, a repeating rifle is bolt action almost per definition, I don't know hell about levers.
     
  6. Gryffin
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    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, you can top 'em off.

    Keep in mind, though, that you have to use flat-nose (including hollow point) bullets, since the primers are resting against the tip of the bullet behind it! (In the olden days, round-nosed bullets were considered safe, too, but with the sharp recoil of the magnum, I'd stick with flat-nose ONLY.)

    I may be wrong, but I believe the Winchester Ranger is based on the longer 1894 action. The Marlin should be more compact, since it's sized for pistol-length calibers. Personally, I have a Rossi 1892 clone in .44 Mag, and it's pretty accurate out to 100m, and packs a serious wallop… at both ends!
     
  7. dovk0802

    dovk0802 Loaded Pockets

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    Yes you can "top off" a lever (there may be an exception I can't think of but, at least for the most part). One thing to remember is that original designs were not meant to be carried with a round chambered and did not have modern safety mechanisms such as rebounding firing pins. Newer models usually have some type of hammer blocking safety.

    While you said you were interested in a "classic approach" one difference between the Winchester (and copies) and the Marlin, is that the former are top ejecting and difficult to mound optics on, while the latter is side ejecting.

    I think, the Winchester looks better & has more historic flair, while the Marlin is a better gun to shoot. No experience with Rossi's lever guns but the rimfires & handguns are a good value & their products have gotten better over time. Something else to consider for a bit of classic flair is Uberti which, might be easier to find in Europe. Something that might be hard to find (in Europe & out of production) and only available in .44 mag is the Ruger 96/44.
     
  8. solocanoe

    solocanoe Empty Pockets

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    Krustofski -
    lever actions are beautiful - such a classic feel to them! I know you'll have great fun on your search!

    I always liked the look/feel of the golden boys...and they make a "big boy" too, here's a link:
    http://www.henryrepeating.com/h006_bigboy.cfm
     
  9. vegassprky
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    vegassprky Loaded Circuits

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    +1 on the Marlin, have it .357 and its a blast to shoot! Like an oversized .22! Can't use the aluminum shell case ammo tho. Most if not all ammo is blunt nosed in .357. Pretty sure you can use .38 ammo too, its been along time since I've used the gun! Someone correct me if I'm wrong please! Have a blast!!!!
     
  10. revs
    • In Omnia Paratus

    revs Loaded Pockets

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    The Winchester Ranger Compact is the shortest I have found. But, I still love my Marlin 336. The Winchester is based on the Model 94 action. Dad has the 26" barrel Model 94. I think it is made of lead, lol. Heaviest gun I have ever carried hunting.

    Either of the rifles I listed would be excellent choices. Biggest decision I can see would be if you were putting a scope on it. Then, I would take the Marlin because it has a solid top for mounting a scope. And you can get a Picatinny Rail The Winchester uses an angled ejection set up and I have never seen it work. Dad's was top eject.
     
  11. oronocova

    oronocova Loaded Pockets

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    I own a Marlin, Winchester and a Henry. I hunt with the Marlin most of the time, chambered in .30/30. The Winchester 94 in .30/30 I also used to hunt with but as others have mentioned they are not very conducive to optics. The Henry in .17HMR has the smoothest action I've see on a lever action. Like you... I'd also like to get a .357 lever action. A while back I handled a Puma in .357 at a gun show. It was all Stainless Steel and really tough/nice looking, and the action seemed pretty smooth on it, and for a new gun was pretty reasonably priced... Someone else might chime in with more info on them
     
  12. amacman
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    Was curios what you choices in ammo over there are going to be or if you reload. If you reload or can get ammo from specialty companies like buffalo bore, you can really make the .357 sing in rifle barrels. Buffalo bore makes a few loads that actually meet or exceed some .30-30 ballistics. For the hunting purpose you mentioned, you are going to want the heavier bullets and those can be hard to find on the shelves over here sometimes.

    Either way you gonna end up with a great gun that with skilled use will handle good size deer no problem. Who knows, you might end up picking up a lever gun in .444 marlin or 45-70 that can take just about anything that walks.
     
  13. Krustofski

    Krustofski Loaded Pockets

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    That is good to know, thanks.

    Yeah, thanks for the warning. Thankfully there aren't that many pointy .38/.357 on the market to begin with. I probably would use round-nose bullets, but only soft lead ball, no FMJs.

    With a .44, I bet it does! ;D
    I honestly don't care for accuracy over, let's say, 80m for the intended purpose here.

    Thanks, I'm planning on iron sights or a red dot, no scope. I will consider this. Didn't know of the ejecting issue and would never have though there is such thing as a top-ejecting gun. I guess we Euros don't have much of a thing for levers, eh? And all I meant with "classic approach", really, is "not evil-black semi-auto with a lot of plastic on it".

    You're _so_ right, I'm allready having fun researching all the options.

    I won't do this. My long range needs are exclusively covered by Mauser-98-type actions, which I love to death. But thanks for the heads up, if I ever plan for a scoped lever action, I now have a starting point for my research.

    Both .38 and .357 are available in a broad variety of loads over here. While the all-time favourite of German handgun owners is and willl forever be 9 mm, .38 revolvers are No. 2 for sportive large caliber use. Only a small fraction of hunters own handguns, but most who do, have a .357 revolver.
    There are hundreds of .38 Sp loads in lead ball and FMJ for target shooting, and dozens of .357 Mag loads for hunting in HP and EFMJ. The later are available in extra hot "boar defense loads". Please keep in mind that:

    - European C.I.P. loads are stronger than American SAAMI loads; what you call ".357 +P+" we call ".357". So, if you buy a "hot" load in Europe, you can be sure it will pack a punch. Gun manufacturers are very aware of the difference. The reason most guns on the American market are rated "+P" nowadays is also due to the fact that they sell in Europe as well, for our standard loads. ^^
    - The largest game on my parent's land are roe deer. Roe deer are significantly smaller than white tail deer. A large male roe deer would have a shoulder height of 90 cm and weight 30, maybe 40 kg.
    - I don't plan on long-distance shots with the .357. See below.

    I'd like to explain what I want this gun for again:

    Primarily:
    Plinking. It's fun.

    Secondarily:
    The land my parents (or, sooner or later: my brother) own is for the most part covered in dense brushwood, shrub and blackberry. Per law, land owners (over a certain size of their estate) are responsible for wild animals on their property. There are two large country roads bordering the land, plus a lot of other private property which is all hunting grounds. So, it happens quite often that we chase wounded game (traffic accident or our neighbour who is a terrible shot) into said brushwood. Not only because the law says we must, there also aren't any predators anymore which could take care of the problem and we don't like the idea of animals needlessly suffering because of human stupidity. This is what I would use a carbine for in hunting. Actually, hunting deer with a .357 would be illegal outside of coup de grâce, because it doesn't have 1000 Joules of kinetic energy at 100 m. :sigh:

    Tertiary:
    Home defense. It's very, very unlikely ever to happen, and this would be the first of my guns to be purchased with a defensive purpose in mind. But hey, you know what they say about save and sorry. I'm a terrible shot with a hangun, and I guess under stress even more so. I need something compact with a shoulder stock for CQC. I consider a lever action as some kind of old-fashioned SMG in that regard.

    Okay, very lengthy post, but I put a lot of thought into this issue, so I may as well share it. ^^

    I'd like to thank all you guys for your help and comments. It means a lot to me.
     
  14. Sharpdogs

    Sharpdogs Uber Prepared

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    The Marlin lever actions are great. I have also heard good things about Rossi. I believe they have some 16 inch barrell models which makes for a sweet little rifle. I believe the Marlins come in 18 inch barrells and up.
     
  15. Krustofski

    Krustofski Loaded Pockets

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    I will do some research on 16 inch Rossis. I like everything I read abou the Winchester, but saving some change would be nice. Thanks.
     
  16. dovk0802

    dovk0802 Loaded Pockets

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  17. concho

    concho Loaded Pockets

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    I am a cowboy action shooter. I have owned and shoot Winchester, Marlin and Rossi/Pumas.

    Winchester 94s are rifle caliber actions. They are bulkier and have a longer leaver throw in pistol calibers. The action is big and wide open making it easier to clog up but also easier to un-jam. The wide open ejection port allows for top loading if needed. The barrels are thick and heavy ( my 45lc is lighter than my .357 same barrel just diffrent hole drilled out). Newer models are side eject making them optics friendly. The locking lugs make the action a little stiffer than the others but will break in fine.

    Marlins are slightly more accurate than either of the others but are usually more expensive. Flat top receiver makes them very optics friendly. They have a shorter leaver throw than 94 Winchesters making them slightly faster. Enclosed receiver makes it less likely for forign material to clog the action. On the other hand if it jams you are going to have to tear the whole gun apart to fix. They have the best sights and smoothest action of the three.

    Rossi/Pumas are 92 action which is designed as a pistol caliber action. Making them shorter and lighter than 94s. They also have a shorter lever throw as well. Most that I have seen are not optics friendly though. Smoother action than the Winchester94s. Barrels are light and thin. Generally they are less expensive than Marlins or Winchesters.
     
  18. QDaddy

    QDaddy Loaded Pockets

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    I would love to find a 9mm carbine that doesn't use a clip. One that looks just like a Winchester .30/.30, but tube feeds 9mm. I don't know if it is even possible, but I can dream.
     
  19. chavez

    chavez Loaded Pockets

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    Anybody shot the new Rossi Rio Grande? It caught my eye and wonder if it is worth it though the Marlin 336C seems a better buy.
     
  20. dcaptd

    dcaptd Loaded Pockets

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    Look up XS sights online from the US they have scout type mounts for levers that work great for red dots and don't cover the recievers for top ejects.