Question about lever guns...

Discussion in 'Long Guns' started by MurphyLong, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    I have only owned 1 previously, and it was an 1894c pre-safety model in .357mag. I should have kept it, because it was an amazing rifle (in my opinion, anyway.) I'm looking to pick up another rifle now, and I'm undecided on what I want. I DO know I want it in .357mag/38spl, but other than that, no real requirements.

    I LIKE stainless, but not a requirement, same goes for the laminate stocks. They're cool, but I can deal with plain wood.

    I don't know if I care about barrel length, as it will just be a back yard shooter anyway, never more than 100 yards.

    I remember reading somewhere about one of the manufacturers losing some serious quality, but I don't know who it was, but on the same note, I'm not looking to buy a $1,000 rifle. (Sorry Henry)

    I'm looking for recommendations on a new (or used) lever gun in the $400-$600 range and want some opinions! What should I be looking for, what should I avoid, and why?
     
  2. majdurham

    majdurham Sensitivity/Anti-Harassment Trainer Club Subscribed

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  3. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    I've never even heard of the LSI. I'm familiar with Rossi, I've kinda been burned by their revolvers. Literally. But that's another story.
     
  4. spittinfire

    spittinfire Club Subscribed Club Subscribed

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    Rossi is just about your only option in that price range. You could find a shooter grade marlin if you look around but it will be on the upper end of that range. I have a 20" 1892 Rossi in 38/357 and it shoots like a dream. At 50 yards it will shoot a 5 shot group with all the shots touching. Maybe I got lucky but for what I spent I have a great shooting, nice handling rifle.
    The only thing I could complain about is that it's front heavy but with a 20" octagon barrel I knew that going in.
     
  5. Remshooter

    Remshooter Club Subscribed Club Subscribed

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    Marlin had the quality problems after Remington acquired them and the production was moved. Find you an older JM stamped one and you are good to go. Looks like they have improved quite a bit on their lever gun quality from the last few I looked at. Bought an 1895 that actually outshoots some of my bolt guns. I would inspect before purchase, but I do that with every gun. I do not believe they have reintroduced the .357s yet, so any gun you see in a shop should be a CT Marlin.
     
  6. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    Puma is made by Rossi, just distributed by another company. That said, you would definitely have to go with a Rossi to hit that price point for that caliber. I've got about a 50% success rate with Rossi lever guns, might be bad luck on my part, I am a Marlin man for sure! Now, if you aren't set on a 357 mag caliber lever gun, the doors open up a LOT...for some reason that is a VERY popular caliber and because of that is in demand and the prices of the rifles go up accordingly. You could find a Marlin or Winchester in the $600 price range in 44mag, a bit more kick, but you could load it with 44spls if you don't like the recoil. If you reload, that would help on the cost!
    Normally I have a few leverguns for sale.....and plenty at that price point, but not that caliber. I have a 16"bbl Marlin in 44mag I'd let go and I could put my hands on a Winchester 44mag big loop 16" in that $600 price range, but that would be all for now, but it could change...you never know!
     
  7. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    Well, I may have to adjust my price point, because I'm having a hard time believing I'll be happy with a Rossi. I know I don't want a Henry, because I don't like the way they load. I considered 44mag, but the cost of ammo is just not worth the savings in the rifle. I'm sure I'll put a few hundred rounds through it within the first week of owning whatever rifle I get. I would also be open to something in other common calibers, but I think I'll run into the same issue of pricing, like with a .223 lever gun. I like the 357/38 combo because the ammo IS so cheap, and if I ever have need to stop an animal, I can. (This is why I'm avoiding .17hmr, .22mag rifles)
     
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  8. carolina sorillo

    carolina sorillo Registered Member

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    I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I did shoot Cowboy Action for several years and witnessed several different brands of lever guns being used under various conditions and subjected to pretty rough treatment sometimes. Personally, I have a tendency to favor JM stamped Marlin's. With all that being said, I agree with most of what has already been said. When I was shooting Cowboy Henry's were few and far between, Rossi's were almost ONLY used by new shooters, Marlin's were used by about 25% of the shooters and the overwhelming majority used Uberti/Cimarron/Taylor's '66's or '73's.
    If you go with a Rossi there is a "Cowboy" gunsmith that can smooth it up and make it more "user friendly".
    If you go with a Marlin, make sure it has the "JM" stamp on the rear of the barrel.
    If you go with an Uberti you will never regret it. They are beautiful pieces and well worth the extra $$. If you look around you can find a used '66 carbine for around $800. But a '73 is gonna cost you at least $1000 used and $1200 or more new.

    C.S.
     
  9. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 Well-Known Member

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    The Henry Steel series 357 I fondled was pretty nice and under $700 I think. Pretty sure Buds has them in the mid $600's. Not exactly your range but pretty close. If I didn't just acquire a 44mag a few weeks ago I would have grabbed the Henry. Nicely built with a very smooth action. Older Marlins are nice, but pretty pricey. IMO the USA made Henry with a good warranty and reputation is worth a little more than a Rossi.

    I kinda wanted a 22mag also but he ammo availability and cost sealed that deal for me. Went another route.
     
  10. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 Well-Known Member

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  11. ikarus1

    ikarus1 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't pay the premium in the difference between .357 and .44 rifles if I were in the market. Instead, I'd take the money saved and buy a reloading kit and learn how to reload my own .44 ammo. In fact, that's exactly what I did, and the reason why I did. And I can tell you, the .44 has a whole 'nuther dimension to it in a 16-20" barrel. Think .35 Remington power level out to 100yds. Recoil? Phfff. Less than a 20ga with birdshot. Never feel outgunned with 9+1 in the tube.

    And it gives you an excuse to buy a .44 sidearm as well, which is a bonus.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    I don't want a Henry, I hate the loading method.

    I don't have time to reload anymore... I habe a bunch of lead already, and maybe in a few years I'll start, but I have to get at least 1 kid out of the house first.
     
  13. Catfish

    Catfish 'Murica! eh? Club Subscribed

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    FWIW Marlins and Winchesters were sold under the names JC Higgins and Ted Williams back in the day. Those command much less of a premium when you find one.
     
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  14. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Vendor Vendor

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    +1

    If'n I were not a 41 mag fanboy, I'd be a 44 mag fan boy.
     
  15. Papermaker

    Papermaker Registered Member

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    You might want to check Kentucky Gun Co. online. Occasionally they have Rossi 92 .357s (blemished) for really nice prices. They appear to get them in batches. They say that the blemish is cosmetic only and does not interfere with the action of the firearm. Having said that, I have no experience with these guns. Just thought it might be a cheaper alternative to get a rifle close to what you are looking, and I know you said you didn't want a Rossi.

    Good luck.
     
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  16. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    Bottom line, if I had to rate leverguns on quality, accuracy, and ease of maintenance here is how I rate them. I have owned them all, this is ONLY MODERN rifles, no repros....that is an entirely different thing...and a much higher price point.
    1) Pre-Remington Marlins.
    2) Henry Rifles
    3) Winchester (be careful here) Winchester has put out some very poor products over the years, but some nice ones too
    4) Mossberg very limited selection, but they function well
    5) Rossi Rio Grand these are basically Marlin clones....but be aware of spotty Rossi QC
    6) Any 1892 lever action rifle.....they are extremely difficult to reassemble....be prepared and be wary about which video or written instructions on how to do this....you could end up with a rifle with buggered screws, scratched bluing....you have been warned!
    7) Remington Marlins....I have seen some awful rifles that should never have left the factory. Ive cut my finger just cycling one in a gun shop due to sbarp parts. The internals tend to be rough, full of metal shavings, and they have stopped heat treating the internal parts to the point that most gunsmiths will not even use a new Remlin as a base for any custom work you may want so you dont destroy a classic JM Marlin. I would avoid these rifles....

    This is all my opinion based on years of collecting lever action rifles, I've tried them all in many different models and calibers.
     
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  17. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter God Help Us Club Subscribed

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    :pOld Marlins:p
     
  18. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    So, I handled 2 Rossi's this weekend, and I have decided I'd rather wait for an old Marlin 1894C to come around, and pay the price. The Rossi felt like there was sand in the action, and was just overall unimpressive. The blued model had a nice finish, but the Stainless one looked like a cheap Jiminez/Jennings chrome plating job, and paired with the horrible action, it was easy to rule it out. I DID on the other hand, pick up a Henry .22lr for $200 and it feels GREAT! Now I know what all the fuss is about, it's an awesome little plinker. Thanks for all the input guys, I'll just keep my patience until an old JM Marlin shows up!
     
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  19. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    Make sure you hit the gun shows!! There is one every week for the next few weeks! You may not find something when you go, however I can tell you for a fact, that you can find some GREAT deals there if you know what you are doing! I have a table at the Charlotte gun show this weekend. Need to sell a few of my leverguns and a bunch of other stuff I've gotten in trade that I don't use.
     
  20. MurphyLong

    MurphyLong Platinum Member Club Subscribed

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    The gun shows in my neck of the woods honestly suck. The huge Military population here causes a lot of process to skyrocket, because a large portion of these LGS's around here just love to take money from guys who don't know any better. I'm tired of paying $7 just to listen to a taser go off every 3 seconds, and being asked to donate to some cause every 10 feet... I'll just keep my eyes peeled here and Armslist for a JM Marlin 1894, and when the price is right, I'll buy one.
     
  21. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Registered Member

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    A lever action rifle in .38/.357 is a great choice. Unfortunately the prices on JM marked Marlins have been pretty high. I have seen exactly one "REM" marked .357 Marlin; the fit and finish were good.
     
  22. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    If the gun shows near you are that bad, travel a bit further! Hickory Gun show is very unpredictable, you can find a LOT there sometimes! Greensboro is one of the best around..the Charlotte Show is very hit or miss, but I've done well there. Columbia, Greensville, you need to shop around! Literally!
     
  23. JimB

    JimB Club Subscribed Club Subscribed

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    I suggest posting a wtb, there are plenty of them floating around here. Heck I've got one that I can't bring myself to suppress, so going to end up with a Rossi for that.

    Be thinking about what you mean when you say "the price is right" though because they never last long.
     
  24. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter God Help Us Club Subscribed

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    Price, all depends on condition.
    Although I've seen some people price them ridiculously high just because they think they have something that they don't.

    The good gun at a good price is hard to find.
    A perfect gun at a perfect price is almost impossible to find.

    Time is the biggest factor in the equation. Eventually you will stumble across the right combination.

    Unless that mazer guy beats you to it.
     
  25. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    I've been trying to resist! Bought THREE hard to find Marlins at the Greensboro show a few months ago.....you just never know!
     
  26. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Vendor Vendor

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    Hey, Mazer... next week I when I have time, I'll post some pics of a Marlin I found. I remember bein' jealous of your luck at the show, which I attended too! I got lucky and found a Cowboy 30-30 safe queen. :cool:
     
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  27. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    Wow, that is an outstanding find! I love mine! Are you going to shoot it??? I have a table at the show this weekend in Charlotte, stop by if you have time!
     
  28. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter God Help Us Club Subscribed

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    Resist, it's the right thing to do. :cool:
     
  29. RedneckFur

    RedneckFur Well-Known Member

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    A pistol caliber Marlin is going to be very expensive. I've never understood why they're twice as much as a 30-30, despite using nearly the same identical design, but they are. I managed to find a deal on a used 44 several years ago. Had guys begging to buy it from me at the gun show the rest of the day. :D

    I've owned several Rossi's in 357. Still own one right now. They're an absolute pleasure to shoot. In my experience, many Rossi's like their bullets loaded a bit on the long side, and may have feeding issues with unusually short loads. Factory ammo should feed just fine.
     
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  30. mazer

    mazer Registered Member

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    One of the biggest issues with Rossi for me, is the lack of spare parts that they produce. There are company's like Steve Gunz that specialize in them, but they run out of parts on a regular basis...in fact, they just sent me a check for my order of a few Rossi parts because they are out and don't know when they will be back in stock. I have yet to own a Rossi that didn't require a LOT of work to make it even function properly. I have one now that is with a local gunsmith because I couldn't make it work.
    It's true for any mass manufactured rifle that some shoot great, some don't, some need to be "tweaked" to shoot accurately....but I shouldn't have to begin working on a rifle brand new out of the box, including purchasing replacement parts and that tends to be true for Rossi's and Remington Marlins. I still take a chance on one from time to time....guess I'm just a glutton for punishment!!
     

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