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I believe that if you're gonna go lever, go with something that delivers more "oomph" and/or range than .30-30. And definitely more so than with pistol calibers.

.45-70, .308, .300 Savage, .450 Marlin, 7mm-08, etc. out of lever guns from Marlin, Browning, Savage, etc.

I own a long used Savage 99 in .300 Savage. It's a pleasant to carry & shoot, meat harvesting machine. While I've previously owned lever guns in .30-30, I just never seem to hang onto them... because that .300 Savage simply delivers better performance and more effective range. In just as handy a package as a typical .30-30 Winchester or Marlin.

Plus, I just think it's a cool looking old-school rifle.
 
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Discussion Starter #22
Well, if I need to call long distance I do have a Czech 8mm Mauser with a scout scope but then the closet starts to look like a golf bag. Do like the idea of .308W, that is a respectable and versatile round. Need to do a little Google on the other ones though. Did notice the price per round on 45-70, do the specs match the cost compared to the more common .308W?

Getting some good ideas and info here folks, thank you. :)
 

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I'm considering getting a used lever gun but not real familiar with brands or calibers. This would be to compliment my 357mag in certain situations. Did a little research on 3030 win too and it's a rather respectable round. Still, i'm interested in other opinions and ideas regarding optimal caliber. Thoughts, concerns...?

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I'm a lever fan.
I have Marlin's in 45-70 (1895), 30-30 (336), and 22LR (39a).
I have a Winchester 94 (pre tang safety Ranger) 30-30.
I have Rossi 92's in .357 and 45LC.

Honestly, the Rossi in 357 is one of my favorite guns. With 38's it's a *****cat, 357's aren't much worse. Accurate, and a 357 out of rifle barrel is quite different than out of a pistol barrel.

That said, 30-30 is a great round. Way more versatile and powerful than it's given credit for these days.
I want to add a 44mag, but also wouldn't mind something like a 35Rem.

I've heard the Henry's are nice, but until they figured out the side loading gate I never gave them a second thought. I do like the looks of the Henry New Originals though, love the receiver.

If I'm completely honest, I'd suggest a Rossi 92 in whatever caliber you want, and if you like it, add something else. A JM stamped Marlin is also a good choice, but the Rossi is a better value IMHO. Esp if you're just getting into levers.

One place the Marlin would take preference is if you're wanting to put a scope on it. The Marlin receivers are tapped for scopes, and are side eject to accommodate them. My Winchester is 'side eject' too, and the receiver is also tapped, but it's not as simple an affair.

There are other Lever manufacturers; Browning, Mossberg, Uberti, Cimarron (which I believe are actually made by Uberti), and probably some more. But for a first lever, unless you're filling a specific niche (like Cowboy Action, etc...) stick with Rossi, Henry, older Marlins, and older Winchesters.

Ruger just bought Marlin, which I'm cautiously optimistic about, I just don't want them to magically gain three pounds... :D: But I'm going to wait a bit to see how that fleshes out.
When Remington took over Marlin there were a lot of 'growing pains,' which meant crappy QC and problematic guns. (Which is why people suggest 'JM' stamped Marlins. They were made by Marlin when it was a stand alone company.)
The 'Remlins' finally got decent, and then Remington went tits up... of course.
Hoping the Ruger acquisition doesn't have the same issues.

Whatever you do, enjoy your new rifle. They are fun, useful, and historic. Nothing like a good lever gun!
 
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Picked up a Henry X in 45-70 a couple of months ago and it has become my favorite rifle out of all the ones I own. I also have a Marlin Model 1895 GBL. Some people seem to like them but the action on mine is very rough.
 

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I was advised by the late Harry J. Archer to plan for having some sort of rifle in each handgun caliber for which you had three or more handguns and over 1000 rounds of ammunition stored. This is easy to do in calibers like the .32-20, .38/.357, .44-40, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt, but with some, such as .32 ACP, .45 ACP, .455 Webley or 7.62x25 you have to get creative, but it can be done.

Rifle barrels for single-shot, break-open, small-frame .410 shotguns are readily "scratch built" at lower cost than searching out for and having a lever-action rifle converted. Rather than cobbling the shotgun barrel in a "stub job" it is better that it be left intact so that you have a light, compact rifle-shotgun combo which is easily stowed in a backpack, suitcase or duffle. The resulting single-shot rifle can be under five pounds, be less than 36 inches overall and is capable of approximately 1 mil iron-sight dispersion out to about 100 yards or metres. The mallable-iron shotgun frames are not suitable for larger-diameter, higher pressure rounds like the .44 Magnum, but they work fine in .44-40, .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, .32 H&R Mag, .30-30. The later H&R SB2 steel frames are stronger, but also larger and heavier, so you can't build a light gun <5 pounds on one. The .44 Garden Gun when fitted with its 19-1/2 inch .44-40 barrel pictured below the assembled gun, is 34 inches overall and 4 pounds.

My .45 ACP pictured below has a 0.9" diameter cylindrical bull barrel 20 inches long fabricated from a Green Mountain blank. With M14 front sight and XS ghost-ring peep it is 35 inches overall and weighs exactly 5 pounds. John Taylor used a .38-40 reamer to rough the chamber so that the barrel has a rim seat to accept shot cartridges assembled in 5 in 1 blank cases. His rimless ejector design drops down when the action is opened, so that the hook clears the body diameter of .45 ACP rounds, which drop right in up to the stop surface cut in the finished .45 ACP chamber. The shoulder diameter of the .38-40 reamer used as the rougher provides a .456" diameter ball seat with short freebore, than a 6-1/2 degrees Basic forcing cone from the shoulder angle of the .38-40 reamer. The gun can use .45 ACP, .455 Webley, .44-40 shot or .44 Game Getter either shot or ball.

Striking energy of .45 ACP military ball from a light rifle at 100 yards approximates that of the 1911 pistol at 25 yards. Zero to strike 3 inches high at 25 yards, then blot out the bead of your garden deer or fantasy enemy sentry with the bead at 100 yards.
 

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I probably prefer shooting my Marlin 32-20 nice action plenty accurate,my Henry .327 gets shot the most because it shoots 32 SW long,32 H&R,and .327, I also carry a .32 revolver most of the time at home the Henry is my least favorite Lever action,its not what I'd call real accurate,and the action is just clunky.

My favorites are my Browning BL 22,and old Winchester 94 30-30,the BL because it was my first firearm,the Winchester because its well over 100 years old,Dad gave it to me when I was 13 and I've shot a lot of deer with it.

I have a Marlin 45 colt also I havnt shot it much but it apears to be accurate and has a nice action.

I do have a same caliber Revolver for all but the 30-30,I tend to prefer revolvers,Levers and bolt actions,and I usually like to match caliber if not hunting for something in particular,if carrying a higher power rifle Deer hunting sidearm will generally be .22 or .32 for the occasional tree rat or close range coyote.

Dont get stuck on every firearm has to be tactical,I use a firearm at least once a month, usually once or twice a week around farm,not once have I thought gee I wish I had a AR,SKS ect. with me rather then a lever action or bolt gun.

The way things are heading lately I can see a SKS or AR replacing .22mag bolt action,or .20 guage single shot behind seat of PU,where I live it isnt there yet..
 

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I loved my (stolen) B-92 in 357!
The Rossi I bought to replace it was rough,
so I took it apart and took a white Arkansas stone to it.
I just smoothed things lengthwise and took down any obvious burrs.
It’s not about making the bolt or any other moving part perfectly
flat and glass smooth - it’s about making the points of contact smooth.
(Kind of like an FAL bolt with sand cuts in it, don’t polish the cuts.)
After that it ran very nicely.
Having matching calibers is a good feeling.
 

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Ruger recently bought the Marlin brand from the bankrupt Remington company. Palmetto State in S. Carolina bought the ammo brand. Now if Ruger makes Marlins to match their cowboy style pistols and sell them as a package that would be great. They could make not only 357/38 sp, but 44 mag, 45 colt, 327 Federal, 454 Catsul, 22lr, 22mag versions. May be a great match. Look to see, may take a year or so to retool or move tooling.

Then you do have Henry's, Rossi's, and Winchesters if you can find them.
 

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Well, if I need to call long distance I do have a Czech 8mm Mauser with a scout scope but then the closet starts to look like a golf bag. Do like the idea of .308W, that is a respectable and versatile round. Need to do a little Google on the other ones though. Did notice the price per round on 45-70, do the specs match the cost compared to the more common .308W?

Getting some good ideas and info here folks, thank you. :)
I like levers and own a few. But for your purposes, a shotgun is probably a better idea. Better yet, look closely at the gun laws of any state you might stray into. Some of the coastal states will be up your nose if you have so much as a box of birdshot in your vehicle, much less an actual firearm.
 

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I believe that if you're gonna go lever, go with something that delivers more "oomph" and/or range than .30-30. And definitely more so than with pistol calibers.

.45-70, .308, .300 Savage, .450 Marlin, 7mm-08, etc. out of lever guns from Marlin, Browning, Savage, etc.

I own a long used Savage 99 in .300 Savage. It's a pleasant to carry & shoot, meat harvesting machine. While I've previously owned lever guns in .30-30, I just never seem to hang onto them... because that .300 Savage simply delivers better performance and more effective range. In just as handy a package as a typical .30-30 Winchester or Marlin.

Plus, I just think it's a cool looking old-school rifle.
I have my dads 99 in 30-30 with a Marbles peep sight, and mine is 300 Savage with a K4 weaver mounted as low as possible. Great rifles.

My SIL has a stainless and laminate Browning BLR in 30-06. Excellent rifle. Just not as cool as the old 99’s.:thumb:
 

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A .357 mag. in 20" lever gun is comparable to a 30-30 in velocity and umph.
Since most leverguns aren't matchgrade the accuracy will be just fine out to 100 yds
 

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A .357 mag. in 20" lever gun is comparable to a 30-30 in velocity and umph.
Since most leverguns aren't matchgrade the accuracy will be just fine out to 100 yds
No its not. Shoot them side by side and its obvious the 30-30 has way more punch and striking power than the 357 at any range. And my Marlin 357 is my favorite gun of all I own. But I'm not blinded to the truth.

I own levers in 22, 30-30, 357 and 44 mag and in the past have also owned 32 mag, 35 Remington and 45/70 lever actions. If I only owned one lever gun it would be one of my Marlin 30-30s. Its a great hunting round and the guns are easy to scope. If you reload it can be loaded with a .310 round ball for a 22 like round. A 100gr lead bullet for a good small game round. Will handle lead bullets and of course jacketed rounds in weight from 110grs up to 170 grs.

Its an all around good gun and can be found for at least half the price of a 357 lever action on the used market. But if you find a deal on one do pick up the 357 lever gun. The 44 mag is a close range deer thumper. Those are good to have too.
 

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I think the .44 magnum lever gun is probably second only to the 30-30 in usefulness overall, but for me it's even more so. Add to that it's ability to have more in the magazine, and if you don't have to shoot over 100 yards or so, it's the perfect solution. I won't be making any long shots where I live, so I sold my six shot 30-30, and kept my 10 shot .44 mag. Now none of that really matters in a hunting rifle, but these days, if I can have a rifle that can multi-task... that's the one I want. Given the large amount of relitively slow burning powder in the typical .44 magnum cartridge, the fact that the lever gun had no forcing cone like the revolver, and a longer barrel, (mine is 17", shortest I could cut it, and still get 10 in the tube) It will still push the round much faster than in a handgun, and with rifle accuracy. Also, I added a red dot, and a light to mine to step up my speed of target acquisition, and ability to use it in darkness. It could serve well as a home defense, or camp defense gun should the need arise.

Also, being a "handgun" caliber weapon, it has other capabilities. I can hunt on public land where it's restricted to straight walled cartridges in my state. This will, of course vary by state... Also, though I've only tried it a few times just to test the theory, and only as single fed rounds... I can shoot those plastic handgun .44mag shot shells with it at very small problems like snakes, rats, and small birds... Dang things actually work.

 

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I'm not sure the area you are in, but if you have brown bear population I think I'd vote for the 44Mag. They seem pretty universally accepted as much better than .357 on those big aggressive beasts. Other than brown bears I'm not sure there is any other game in North America a reasonably placed .357 of proper construction couldn't put down. The 45-70 though seems like it would be fairly comparable to 44mag in practical effectiveness.

Actually .45-70 far , far outstrips .44 mag as effective defense against the big bears. When handloaded you'll exceed the 3000 ft lbs mark by a goodly margin and can carry a slug as heavy as the 550 grain Jae-Bak Young Crater , though I generally run a 455 grain keith style hard-cast and tempered that I cast myself that has proven itself both on Kodiak and in the Interior.

The problem with *some* of the over the counter .45-70 ammunition is that it's loaded at levels that won't blow up the notoriously weak Trap Door Springfields. For over the counter defensive ammunition for Bear go directly to Garrett and a couple of other companies.

.38-55 with stout loadings ,.35 Remington will also perform better for bear defense than .44 mag will , .30-30 can be on par or a bit better ...load dependent.

For .44 mag if you're loading with the available 300 grain and up slugs for this purpose pay close attention to your OALs , in addition there has been some problems with feeding when using slugs with a very broad meplat.

Insofar as it goes , .45-70 can be quite an efficient 200 yard and in Moose round..............lotsa Marlin Guide Guns in Alaska and certain other locales nowadays for good reasons.
 

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No its not. Shoot them side by side and its obvious the 30-30 has way more punch and striking power than the 357 at any range. And my Marlin 357 is my favorite gun of all I own. But I'm not blinded to the truth.

I own levers in 22, 30-30, 357 and 44 mag and in the past have also owned 32 mag, 35 Remington and 45/70 lever actions. If I only owned one lever gun it would be one of my Marlin 30-30s. Its a great hunting round and the guns are easy to scope. If you reload it can be loaded with a .310 round ball for a 22 like round. A 100gr lead bullet for a good small game round. Will handle lead bullets and of course jacketed rounds in weight from 110grs up to 170 grs.

Its an all around good gun and can be found for at least half the price of a 357 lever action on the used market. But if you find a deal on one do pick up the 357 lever gun. The 44 mag is a close range deer thumper. Those are good to have too.

Wholeheartedly concur , and this comes from an individual who owns Marlin , Henry and Winchester lever rifles in .22 Lr , .357 mag , .44 mag , .30-30 ,.35 Rem , .38-55 , .45-70 and .450 Marlin. Yes I own a lot of other rifles in both bolt and semi-auto platforms.........that said I have a long abiding affection for lever rifles.

They run cast slugs quite well too. As an aside the two larger chamberings are my go to rifles for bear defense , higher rate of fire than my .375 RUM , .375 H and H or either of the .416s ( Rigby and Ruger) , though not as efficient at distance.......especially in the case of the .375 RUM , flip side is that the lever rifles are a lot more carryable.

Working cattle , there is quite frequently a .30-30 , .35 rem or .38-55 with me , sometimes one of the pistol calibers.

Another facet is that.30-30 , .35 rem , .38-55 and .45-70 can be loaded with black powder if it becomes a necessity , the latter two originally started as black powder cartridges.
 
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