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Old 10-04-2009, 12:02 PM
mattieboy131 mattieboy131 is offline
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Default Lever action .38/.357, good SHTF rifle?



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So I wondering what you guys thought of this as a good SHTF rifle. Decent caliber, quick follow-up shot ability, and it can have shared ammo with your pistol.

I like to think that it would be quite helpful to be able to carry 1 type of ammo and be able to use it in both your hunting/long-range weapon as well as your defensive side-arm.

So, what you guys think?
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:06 PM
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I have a Marlin 16inch bbl 44mag - and S&W 629 = great combo.

Love the marlin - just put a scout mount on it
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:12 PM
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It would beat not having anything, but I would always suggest a rifle caliber over any pistol caliber.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:13 PM
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I agree with your basis, my BOB has a stainless .357 SW 686 pistol and a stainless .357 Marlin lever action rifle.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:15 PM
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I also have a Marlin .44 magnum lever action. The .44 magnums make a slightly better saddle carbine for hunting purposes like dropping deer and feral pigs. And you can also shoot .44 specials out of the .44 magnums too. If you get a .357 magnum lever action, you will be able to also shoot .38 special loads out of it too. So I would go with at least a .357 magnum lever action for the saddle carbine and a decent Ruger .357 magnum revolver for my combination pair of firearms. Rugers are strongly made firearms and they last and last. I would also think about putting a simple 3 X or 4 X scope on my saddle carbine if I were you to enhance the overall shooting accuracy of it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:15 PM
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I have a marlin .357 lever action, model 1894CS, its thity six inches long, 9 shot tubular mag, 6 lbs. Its a pretty ****ing brilliant weapon, I think it would make a great shtf rifle, its not my primary one but I do have a big ziplock bag full of hollow points(will put a huge hole in anything) for it just waiting. I dont have a .357 mag pistol, but if you have both then hell yeah, more versatilty for your ammo, Im not sure exactly how much they are going for right now, im sure its somewhere under 500 bucks, I would check gunbroker.com, its the ebay of firearms, pretty sweet. I also have a scabbard for it so I can hook it to a horse saddle and pretend Im John Wayne

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Old 10-04-2009, 12:16 PM
mattieboy131 mattieboy131 is offline
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Goalie,

How is the accuracy with the Marlin lever when you shoot .38 out of it? That was one question I had, mainly due to the fact that being able to practice with .38 over .357 would save me some $$.
Old 10-04-2009, 12:26 PM
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I have the Marline .357 lever action model 1894css, extra s is stainless. I have not shot anything but .357, thats the only ammo I've bought in bulk at big savings, so I haven't shot .38 cal.

If you have one, you have none; if you have two, you have one. Thats the philosophy for having the backup pistol in same caliber. Stainless is always better, imho.
Old 10-04-2009, 12:26 PM
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I would reccomend starting reloading your own ammo, Ive found .357 very hard to find, and .38 nearly impossible to find right now, it comes down to like fifteen cents a round when reloading, and nearly a dollar a round buying factory stuff. and I have never shot .38 out of the .357 and probably never will, but it does work, I cant imagine it would be that much less accurate though
Old 10-04-2009, 12:34 PM
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BTW, I recently bought the Henry reproduction .357 lever action, don't waste your money. The Marlin 1894css is better and lighter. Pick a caliber and stick with it, simplicity will be the key when SHTF.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:26 PM
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those are great little rifles!
my only grip with 'em is that they tend to be rough on brass due to loading, cycling and ejection.


ps - if i had a choice of drinking sour milk or cleaning a heavily lead-fouled Micro-Groove barrel, i'd drink the sour milk!
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:40 PM
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I've always liked the idea of the Marlin 1894css as a SHTF carbine, especially with a scout scope mounted.
Old 10-04-2009, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattieboy131 View Post
Goalie,

How is the accuracy with the Marlin lever when you shoot .38 out of it? That was one question I had, mainly due to the fact that being able to practice with .38 over .357 would save me some $$.
Just using iron sights, I can't see any significant diff at 50 yards, where I sight in my guns. Matter of fact, at that distance, I can't see a practical diff between low power .38 cowboy loads at around 750 fps or full .357 loads at 1400 fps. (and these are actually increased by 200-300 fps out of rifle barrel.)

Obviously, using a scope and shooting for precision, there would be significant diffs, I guess, but as far as minute of torso, even 100 yard shots with iron sights (from a steady rest) all seem to find the mark okay.

Just as with wheel guns, though, if you shoot a bunch of .38, best to clean the breech before going to .357 because of the crud buildup short of where the longer shell wants to sit.

- OS
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:57 PM
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I have a Marlin 1894c with a custom leather ammo buttcuff and a paracord sling.It is the one rifle that I always seem to grab for everything around the farm, from pest control to bumps in the night.It goes real well with my everyday carry GP100.I have shot everything from light .38's to heavy 357's.with cast boolits ,and hollow points.There isn't much that this rifle can't handle.I am going to deer hunt with it this fall.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:33 PM
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Food for thought;

I stopped by a local range one Sat. and they were ahving a Cowboy Action Shoot.

Things I noticed;

Almost everyone shot the same caliber from their pistols and their rifles. They only used solid lead bullets. Each person shot 160 rounds for the shoot.

These were the slow guys since the faster guys went to a regional shoot in WV. I watched one guy keep 3 emptys above his rifle throughout the 10 rounds fired. I swear it sounded like a semi.

In doing some follow up reading to find out more about it;

It seems that you can get lever actions with different action ratios. Ie. Some will open farther with a shorter stroke. This equals faster follow up shots.

Also for almost all shooting by the average person a pistol caliber rifle is adequate. If you practice like Elmer Keith then 600 yard shots with a 6" .44 magnum aren't impossible. Yes that's a 6" pistol. Seems he shot an elk at that range 2 out of 4 times. They estimated the bullet was still doing 650+ fps. The bullet exited the opposite side.

You might want to check the ballistics charts especially with the new Leverevelution ammo that's out. It adds a whole new demention to lever guns. Oh and while the .357 magnum ammo is out on the pistol ammo isle there's plenty on the rifle ammo isle.

I dodn't think you can go wrong with this as a choice. If you want a long range gun (500+ yards) then almost no lever action will get you the accuracy that's needed. You'll need a good bolt action or semi auto in a full blown rifle caliber for precision shooting.
Old 10-04-2009, 07:32 PM
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.38 special levers make poor hunting rifles. A near gut shot or a shot too forward of not close to spine will cause the deer to run off. Pistol ammo is hard to find right now. If hunting focused 44 magnum is much more "rifle".

Cowboy action shooters can shoot fast, but maybe not that accurate. They rarely aim for things past 15-20 yards. It take practice to even come close to matching the rate of a semi-automatic.

One of the best pistol carbines is a semi-auto in 45acp. But 45 is hard to find.

If you do not own a semi-automatic rifle, get one of these instead. For less money, the SKS can be bought. Yes, you will need a handgun, but your loosing on what the rifle can offer by not having velocity or power.

I have a 38/357 lever, it is accurate roughly 3-4" groups at 100 yards with iron sights. Hollow points with a hole that big on the nose are not accurate. My groups open up to 5-6" with several makes. Round nose bullets are the accurate ones. It is about as accurate as my skills make it with proper ammo. Most hunting experts say you need a bullet with 1000ft-lbs of energy when the deer gets hit. 357 magnum is only 625 ft-lbs at the muzzle, not to mention 100 yards down the road. I am in the process of selling my 38 special lever in favor of something of more power.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:30 PM
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Marlin 1894 and S&W 686, both in .357. Had them a long time. Very pleasant to shoot.
Old 10-04-2009, 09:43 PM
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With proper practice the Levers can be made to shoot VERY fast and accurate. I used a Marlin for Cowboy Action for many years and yes they will shoot very well. Here is a vid of one of the guys we shot with at a match. I think it will answer your question about speed.

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Old 10-04-2009, 11:17 PM
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Great SHTF rifle. Load it with (expensive) ammo from Buffalo Bore and you'll get very decent performance, almost as good as a .30-30 (158 gr @2150 fps from a Marlin.) and .38 is still pretty darn cheap for plinking. Israeli Arms makes a Desert Eagle semi-auto in .357 if you don't care for a revolver.

Some would prefer .44 mag. You can get it as a lever gun or a tube fed semi and use .44 special for plinking. .45 long Colt is also available in revolver and lever gun.

I order my plinking ammo in bulk from Sportsman's Guide. Still pretty cheap. Out to 100 yards there is only a couple inches difference between spl. and mag, ammo. After you shoot a couple of boxes you'll have memorized the drop of the different types of ammo.

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Old 10-23-2009, 02:00 PM
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I have one of these, a Marlin 1894c .357. I use Buffalo Bore 180 grain rounds, but curious as to why NOT use hollow points? Like for example, Black Talon, Winchester SXT 158gr or 180gr?
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