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Alaska...nuff said
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a perfect world I would have bought a Marlin 1894 CSBL back in the day when they came out.

BUT... I didn't and I am currently in the market for a .357 lever action

I would like to get one with he following features but seems like that is unlikely

16 inch barrel
Stainless steel
large loop lever
RELIABLE

Seems like what is currently available are:

Rossi

Puma

Henry (really not an option price high and to pretty and heavy for what I want to use gun for)

Winchester (when and if you can find one)

Marlin (pre Remington to spendy, post Remington to many bad reviews)
Any input on any of these brands in lever action?
 

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Demon of the Midwest
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I have a Rossi in 45lc, and love it. Its never failed, Its accurate to 200 yards, and probably further but I can't go any further with the current sights. Its also light, and the action is smooth as glass. I have been wanting to get a Rossi in 357 myself, I just don't have the funds currently.
 

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Winchester is nice for .30-30. The current ones are made in Japan, if that matters to you. (It kind of does for me.) Winchester does sell pistol-caliber Model 94s. However, the Model 94 design is intrinsically not as good for pistol calibers as the 1873, 1892 or Marlin 1894 designs. Winchester no longer makes an 1892.

Henry rifles are nice. As you noted, kind of expensive. They are a little controversial in the cowboy action community, because a) the current Henry company has no historical relationship to the old Henry company or family, b) the Big Boy rifles include an amalgam of design concepts from different rifles rather than being a replica of a particular rifle. If you're in it for the utility and not history, none of this matters. They are very smooth and well-finished.

Marlins aren't as good as they used to be. If you can find a JM Connecticut Marlin in your price range, go for it. But it sounds like you've looked and don't like the prices.

So - that leaves -

Rossi/Puma. In my opinion, they are a good foundation to work off of. I don't think they are that great out of the box. YMMV. In another thread, some people said they were very pleased with their Rossis with no modifications. I'm wondering if we're talking about the same thing or if they've tried other lever rifles, because I have yet to encounter a factory Rossi that I would call "smooth as glass."

If you are handy and have some basic metalworking tools and knowledge, I think you can take a $450ish Rossi and make it run better than an $800ish Marlin. It's about a day of work and maybe $60 in parts and supplies. My modified Rossi 1892 is one of the best-running lever rifles I've used. If you are interested in this, look up my thread about modifying a Rossi 1892 from a couple of weeks ago.
 

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Winchester-branded 1892s ARE being made by Miroku in Japan, where all current Winchester leverguns are made.
Low volume, high price & quality.

You need to differentiate between Pumas.
Originally Puma was a trademark owned by the old Interarms & used on Rossi-made Brazillian Winchester '92 "clones" imported & sold by Interarms.
Puma as a trademark is now owned by Legacy Sports & used on Italian-made clones built by Chiappa and imported & sold by Legacy.

In my experience, the Chiappa Pumas are better built than the Rossi Pumas were, and better built than current Rossi leverguns which are typically decent shooters, but rough internally & oversprung.

Nobody makes a stainless large-loop version, as far as I know.

Marlin quality has been spotty for the past two or three years, is improving.
Denis
 

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American fearmaker
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I would get a Marlin. I own one in .44 magnum right now and it is a slick and good saddle carbine. I like it a lot. I would even consider getting a decent used one if money is a problem for you.
 

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I have both a steel .357 mag large loupe, and a stainless .454 standard Pumas.
Both shoot well out of the box and no troubles .
Though one can take the large loupe and spin recycle the chamber for show , in real life it is more trouble than it is worth . Originally designed for wearing gloves and handeling and of course the larger loupe for the "Rifleman spin "
The standard loupe or slightly larger glove loupe are more practicle for cycling normally,especially in real hunting situations or emergency events.
And yes I can do the spin , but I prefir to do it with an empty magizine.
Never had an accident , but a wase man said , If you don't have to do something for show your further ahead. Showmen get hurt too.
I knew a fast draw artist that confessed to me he had shot him self in the foot .
Really think about all that gap on a large ring .
 

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Several years ago I bought a stainless Marlin lever action in 38/357. I didn't shoot it for a long time but when I got around to it I was disappointed. It will not feed either reliably. When I upstroke to feed the round into the chamber it hangs every time. I can jiggle the lever and get the round to feed but this isn't right. I should have tried it sooner and returned it to the store where I bought it but I waited too long. I am disappointed and thought this would be a good survival rifle to go with my 7 shot Smith & Wesson revolver.
 

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Regarding Rossis ... I haven't tried every Rossi in the world ... maybe 99.9% of them are as nice as Henrys out of the box and me and the people I know have ended up with the other 0.1% ... BUT

The people I know (which includes a bunch of cowboy action shooters who own half a dozen lever rifles) consider it common knowledge that Rossis are stiff and rough out of the box, and often crush or scratch shells. However, they think they're a good base to work with, and their improved Rossis are very nice.

Armed with this knowledge, I bought a Rossi 1892 with the idea that I'd modify it. I tried a few out in the store. They all seemed serviceable but a little rough. I bought one and brought it home. It also seemed serviceable but a little rough. I took it to the shooting range pre-modification. It seemed serviceable but a little rough, AND it scratched the hell out of my brass cases, which it flung 15 feet away (and I lost about a quarter of them as a result). And I cherish my .45 Colt cases.

I keep wondering whether the people who say it's great out of the box have a better distributor in their area? Or don't own nicer lever rifles and don't know what they're missing? Or have low expectations because of the Rossi's price and count "serviceable" as "wonderful" because of that? I don't know, maybe they're right and I'm wrong?

But I will repeat, if you buy the Rossi and do the work to it, you'll end up with a rifle that's every bit the equal of a JM Marlin. (Other than the blah wood, but that's a story for another day.)
 

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I have two Rossi 92s, both of which were slicked up by Steve Young.
Both are quite nice, AFTER the work was done. :)
Have one Chiappa, very nice. Worked with another one, better done than the Rossis.

Have older Marlins, returned the most recent one from a couple years back unfired, poorly built.

The current Winchesters are the best in terms of quality, but they're modified from the original design to add safety features.
Denis
 

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My Rossi 16" big loop .357was a little stiff out of the box but I oiled it up and worked the action a bit and it's great now. Have shot Winchester 125 gr. and Tula 158 steel case. Love it!
 

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Alaska...nuff said
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have both a steel .357 mag large loupe, and a stainless .454 standard Pumas.
Both shoot well out of the box and no troubles .
Though one can take the large loupe and spin recycle the chamber for show , in real life it is more trouble than it is worth . Originally designed for wearing gloves and handeling and of course the larger loupe for the "Rifleman spin "
The standard loupe or slightly larger glove loupe are more practicle for cycling normally,especially in real hunting situations or emergency events.
And yes I can do the spin , but I prefir to do it with an empty magizine.
Never had an accident , but a wase man said , If you don't have to do something for show your further ahead. Showmen get hurt too.
I knew a fast draw artist that confessed to me he had shot him self in the foot .
Really think about all that gap on a large ring .
I want one with a larger ring because I live in Alaska and do wear gloves a good part of the year plus I have big hands to start with. I don't want one with the huge Rifleman ring on it just an over sized one,
 

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I bought a used Rossi 357 lever action about a year ago. I think I won it off of gunbroker for around $350 to $380. I held out for a pre-Taurus ownership gun. However, from what I've seen/read Taurus hasn't screwed up Rossi lever guns yet. If I was to buy another I would have no problem with a Taurus branded Rossi.

The Rossi is one of my favorite fun guns and gets taken out and shot most often. About a year or two ago, Cheaper Than Dirt had remanufactured 158gr BVAC semi-jacketed 357 mag HP's for $17.50 a box of 50. Even with shipping that was one of the better deals around on 357mag ammo.

I really haven't shot 38spl in it as local prices on 38spl were never that great in pre-rush times. When I get home for good and have some free time, I have a couple 3k of 38spl brass and lead bullets. Just need primers and dies to reload them. Also need to refinish the stock.

Rossi with my Win 94 30-30.
 
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