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Old 04-27-2011, 11:57 AM
sablesdad sablesdad is offline
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Default advice on a lever vs. bolt action rifle



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last post i made about a pistol received some very good responses, and i'm hoping for the same with my new question!

what are your thoughts on a Henry Big Boy lever action, as opposed to a Ruger M77 Hawkeye bolt action?

i realize it's an apples to oranges comparison as far as type of rifle, but i like both of them and can afford only one at this time.

a big plus for the Henry is my sidearms are a .357 and a .38 special, so i could use the same ammo if i bought the .357 rifle.

on the other hand, my revolvers are both Rugers, and i am very happy with their quality and performance, so i'm giving a lot of credibility to the Ruger name.

usage will be on the gun range, as well as home defense. no hunting planned at this time.

suggestions? comments? personal experiences? thanks!!
Old 04-27-2011, 12:12 PM
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My problem is, I like 'em all!
But Henry does make a butter smooth lever action rife... and sharing a caliber with your handguns is a plus. Leverguns are just plain fun to shoot too.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:20 PM
LongInTheTooth LongInTheTooth is offline
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The Henry is a work of art...now made in Bayonne, NJ...but kind of expensive...Company Management is great and personal. Marlin is the way to go...real easy to mount a "GHOST-RING" aperture, fast target aquisition or a scope, if needed. Henry, not so much. Also for picking off the "VERMIN" and general over-all use, more than adequate. Only thing with Marlin...Remington "bought" them out, so If they keep to the same specs, they should be ok...IF YOU CAN FIND ONE. A "boltie" requires more work regarding "rapid fire" and re-acquiring the "TARGET" off-hand...accuracy should be better...though not as rapid as a lever-gun which naturally points. .38/.357 is still cheap, so you could stock-up easily, if you're just starting out. Some complain that it is still a handgun cartridge and not a rifle round...but it'll get 'er done...within reason. If it is allowed where you live, check out PAWN SHOPS/better ESTATE SALES...you might fine what you want a lot cheaper than a "FACTORY NEW".
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:15 PM
bighanded bighanded is offline
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I chased the .357 dual gun game for a bit too..but just could never love a small carry wheel gun in 357 enough to really get good with it...the levers are great fun and if there is any pistol cal that can perform at all in a rifle it's the 357.

that said I returned to my 40 and 45 on my hip and my old 30/30 for a small saddle/brush rifle.

in the southeast, woods can usually be very thick with underbrush and getting long 300-500 yd shots just isn't realistic. A basic non-scope saddle gun has proven itself through the generations. but again, it's a question of what you want to use it for.

Around here, coyotes and an opportune deer, the 30/30 is plenty of rifle at the distances that we experience. i wouldn't ask it to reach out beyond a 100 yds..some guys claim 150, but it'd be a lucky shot for me and I'd be aiming way high to make it happen.

I like my shorty rifles.. I also keep a ruger mini 14 ranch rifle and while it does currently have a scope on it, don't really need one cept for reaching as far out as possible to ping those shy coyotes.
Old 04-27-2011, 01:24 PM
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IMO there is very little utility in having a handgun and rifle shoot the same ammo. There are very few handgun cartridges that do well enough in a rifle to make it worth the weight penalty. A few that I can think of are:

.22LR
5.7x28 (if the "rifle" is a carbine)
.454 Cassull - which surprisingly does pretty darn good in a lever action, and then you can also use the .45 LC. I wish that there was a .458 Magnum handgun cartridge that would work in a .45-70 rifle - but it would have to be a .458" projectile and all the .45 handgun chamberings are .452"

And even then, with each of those cartridges, the range is limited - even more so for lesser cartridges.

IMO, if you are going to carry a rifle, then carry one chambered for a rifle cartridge.

The only rifles I own where I use a cartridge that can be shot in a handgun is the .22LR (not counting handguns chambered for rifle cartridges - like the TC COntender).
Old 04-27-2011, 01:26 PM
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since you said it will be used for home defense, I would say go with the Leveraction
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:35 PM
bighanded bighanded is offline
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in- home defense is a good pistol that you wife is comfy and capable of using and a 12ga for Daddy's gotta get out of the bed.

my comments on the rifle/handgun were because I own some property and I'm often out and about...unwelcome visitors range from poisonous snakes to coyotes to people who seem to think the 'no trespass' signs don't apply to them and their 4 wheelers.

I keep an old retired police duty gun (my smith 4006) on my hip as it will cycle the snake shot. I keep a spare mag of real bullets on hand should I ever need to shoot something larger than a snake.
The rifle..in season..is the lever 30/30 in the honda's scabbard, or the ranch rifle otherwise.
Old 04-27-2011, 01:36 PM
biathlon biathlon is offline
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I don't think I'd try to feed the lever gun the 38s.
Old 04-27-2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biathlon View Post
I don't think I'd try to feed the lever gun the 38s.
Why not?
Old 04-27-2011, 02:00 PM
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Case length difference is very small between 357 and 38spl, but it can be enough to cause some lever guns to hiccup. Some folks end up light loading 357 brass to improve feeding while still getting 38spl performance.

The Henry is a pretty gun, basically a Marlin in it's design so that's good (I have a Marlin, it is a simple and strong design).
IMHO, a lever 357 is one of the great pistol caliber carbines. You do gain significant 'oomph' from a 357 when using a 16+ inch barrel, and you can load lower power 38's so that the wifey or younger ones can shoot without too much recoil. It's not a rifle cartridge, so you have range limits, but you can own anything 100 yards in. Flat shooting in that range too.

I like the Henry's, they are pretty, but if I was spending my money I'd buy a Marlin or Rossi, and use the money saved for ammo or to put towards a M77.
BTW, I also have a M77 in 243, it is my go to deer gun and is extremely reliable and easy to point. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:02 PM
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ANy body got one of the mossberg lever actions?
Old 04-27-2011, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmedman View Post
Case length difference is very small between 357 and 38spl, but it can be enough to cause some lever guns to hiccup. Some folks end up light loading 357 brass to improve feeding while still getting 38spl performance.

The Henry is a pretty gun, basically a Marlin in it's design so that's good (I have a Marlin, it is a simple and strong design).
IMHO, a lever 357 is one of the great pistol caliber carbines. You do gain significant 'oomph' from a 357 when using a 16+ inch barrel, and you can load lower power 38's so that the wifey or younger ones can shoot without too much recoil. It's not a rifle cartridge, so you have range limits, but you can own anything 100 yards in. Flat shooting in that range too.

I like the Henry's, they are pretty, but if I was spending my money I'd buy a Marlin or Rossi, and use the money saved for ammo or to put towards a M77.
BTW, I also have a M77 in 243, it is my go to deer gun and is extremely reliable and easy to point. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either.

I agree. Marlin 1894c is my favorite rifle. Accurate, low recoil, lightweight, and ammo commonality with 357 revolvers.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bighanded View Post
I keep an old retired police duty gun (my smith 4006) on my hip as it will cycle the snake shot. I keep a spare mag of real bullets on hand should I ever need to shoot something larger than a snake.
I've never understood the idea of shooting a snake with shot.

If the snake is so close you have to shoot them quickly, then it is likely you won't be able to draw and shoot fast enough to keep them from striking. If they are far enough away that they can't strike and you can draw and shoot - why shoot them at all? Snakes are good for handling prairie dogs, gophers, rats and such (which are more of a danger to livestock because they make holes in the ground) and generally if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.

The only place I would object to snakes would be around areas my family would be - i.e., around buildings and such.
Old 04-27-2011, 06:54 PM
grumpygrady grumpygrady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
I've never understood the idea of shooting a snake with shot.

If the snake is so close you have to shoot them quickly, then it is likely you won't be able to draw and shoot fast enough to keep them from striking. If they are far enough away that they can't strike and you can draw and shoot - why shoot them at all? Snakes are good for handling prairie dogs, gophers, rats and such (which are more of a danger to livestock because they make holes in the ground) and generally if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.

The only place I would object to snakes would be around areas my family would be - i.e., around buildings and such.
A shovel works well to kill snakes
but what do you what to do with your rifle?
i don't remember if the bolt gun was going to be same cal as the lever gun
but if you just want a sweet gun that will shoot your pistol ammo then you can't beat a lever gun
but they make lever guns in most big calibers from 30-30 to a big magnum and of course the 45/70 now so that is no reason to get a bolt gun
Most bolt action rifles are more accurate than most lever action guns
most bolt action guns are easier to clean than a lever gun
but that being said i want a lever gun in 45colt to match my pistol just cause lol
i have a older 30-30 lever and have a few 308 and 30-06 bolt actions
but my truck gun is an chinese SKS {flame suit on}
Old 04-27-2011, 06:56 PM
rextex rextex is offline
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My brother has a Henry and it is a very nice rifle. Good idea to have the same cartridge. The 357 is plenty for deer and medium sized game--not long range though.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:20 PM
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I have been looking into the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle. It's a nice, short, easy handling bolt-action in .308. I am a Mini-14 fan and own a couple Ruger handguns (no wheel guns). I also own a Winchester '94 and have been shooting it all of my life, literally, it was my great-grandfather's on his ranch. I guess you can say carbines have been bred into me. I prefer a handgun ammo for the small gun and committing to a full-sized round pay off for the weight of the rifle you are lugging around. After all these years, I am very fast in shooting the saddle gun, and you can add ammo any time since there is no magazine to pull out. It won't be the gun I drag into a firefight, but you never know, do you?
Old 04-27-2011, 07:20 PM
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Lever gun. If no hunting is planned anytime soon, then buy the bolt.

Love me some Rugers too.

T
Old 04-27-2011, 07:51 PM
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Lever action is easier to use in repeated fire.
Old 04-27-2011, 08:07 PM
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D---, I hate posts like this. One can discuss the pros and cons of bolts and levers for a long time. And there are pros and cons.

Here where I'm at (or headed too). Having the option of picking the perfect gun for a specfic shot ( game, self-defense (2legs or 4legs)) is going to be crap shoot (pun intended).

One can only deal with so many weapons at the same time. Having 1 rifle can work for most situations in a pinch is something to think about.

And I think Ruger's new Gunsite Scout in .308 may be the ticket for a lots of us. The rifle that you always have handy, ready to go. The merits of this rifle have been discussed here, at 'perfectunion' and a score of other sites.

For the OP, Such a rifle can serve as your 'one and only' and there is a lot to be said for that concept. Keep in mind that Federal and Reminton offer a 'reduced' load for the .308, approximating 30-30 balistics.

From such a rifle, a person can handle most shooting needs requireing a centerfire, then if the need exists, branch out into speciality rifles (long-range, full assault, ect)

Fred
Old 04-27-2011, 08:09 PM
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I have a model 19 S and W revolver and a Marlin lever action that work well together. The Marlin lever will jam if the lever is cycled with the gun tilted far enough sideways. Not a big problem but one to keep in mind. I also have a 45 auto pistol and a Marlin camp carbine in 45 acp. The 357 cal. pair has been the better combination. But still chose what feels the best to you. I love the Henry rifle but it doesn't fit me right.
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