Self-Defense Rifle?

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Thread: Self-Defense Rifle?

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    Senior Member Array sjones's Avatar
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    Self-Defense Rifle?

    If you were going to buy a lever action strictly for self defense would a 16 to 18 inch barrel be better than a full length barrel?also which caliber? 30-30,44 mag or .357? Thanks.

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    I have a few lever actions, among them a Marlin 336 in .30-30, and a Marlin 1894c in .357.

    For defensive purposes I would take the .357 hands down over the .30-30. It has a higher capacity, and just seems to feel better and be better balanced in the hands. If .357 out of revolver barrels is considered adequate for SD, then it certainly is out of a carbine length barrel. You can also load it with .38, which makes for cheaper plinking. I can tell a difference in recoil from the .357 or .38 loads, but neither one kicks much at all. For out to 100 yards or so, I think it is a great defensive rifle option, which is often overlooked.

    Nothing against the .30-30, its great for deer and such, and fun to shoot. But I think for defense the .357 wins.
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I've never been into mouse guns but from what I have read they would make a great home defense weapon. The high velocity rounds when using prober bullets are said to pretty much disintegrate when they hit sheet rock. This makes them safer from a neighbors point of view. They are also great for longer ranges if you are outside.
    I know for a fact that the slower heavier bullets in larger hunting rounds .30 and up are wonderful for penetration of walls. Not a good thing if you are worried about collateral damage.

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    Assuming the home you're defending isn't a spread the size of the South Fork Ranch, I'd go with the .357 as well. And yes, keep the barrel short. The handgun rounds benefit ballistically by the the big step up to 16 inches or so, but there's no significant gain with an additional 4 inches.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    What defensive role is the rifle for?

    For me...moving inside the home = handgun. Static defensive position inside the home = shotgun. Area defense outside the home = rifle.

    Thus, I prefer a real rifle caliber for my rifle. My Marlin 336 is in .30-30...it is my go-to rifle.

    I can see getting a lever gun in .357 or .44 if you have revolvers in those calibers. Otherwise, I'd suggest an actual rifle caliber.

    As far as barrel length goes, since I would only use it outdoors, I see no reason to handicap myself with a short barrel.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Of the given choices? .30-30, 16".

    My real-life lever rifles, already owned by me? .308 Winchester, 20", in the form of the Browning BLR, one Lightning and one Take-Down. Not that I bought them specifically as defensive rifles, but the box magazine factor means faster reloading and ballistically superior pointed bullets.

    Unless I know I am going to need .308-level power or range, I will actually use a .223/5.56 autoloader, if not a shotgun. I work for a PD, which dictates what firearms I may use on or off the clock. I will have much less explaining to do if I use a shotgun, and somewhat less explaining to do if I use a Mini or AR.

    I did own two .357 Marlins. Between having the BLRs, the Minis and an AR, I elected to sell the Marlins. My wife still has her .357 stainless Marlin.

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    .357 of the calibers you mentioned, for reasons cited in other posts. It is hard to go wrong with a lever gun for a defensive rifle. I like 10thmtn's strategy - he has the tactical bases well covered.

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    Member Array Goldstar225's Avatar
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    While I prefer a shotgun as an in home defensive longarm, a 16"-18" .357 would be an excellent choice in a levergun.

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    RKM
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    While I'm sure the .357 magnum will be more than enough, I'd still prefer a rifle caliber over a pistol caliber in most situations.

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    My rifle of choice is the Marlin 336SS in 30-30. I've bought and sold several down through the years...my last one is still with me.
    For real HD, I'd probably grab a shottie.OMOYMV
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKM View Post
    While I'm sure the .357 magnum will be more than enough, I'd still prefer a rifle caliber over a pistol caliber in most situations.
    I agree. If I felt the need to employ a rifle sized weapon I would want a rifle sized cartridge. I love the .357 but the 30-30 is in another league.
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    I have had my Winchester 94 in .44 mag as a brush gun for deer hunting for a number of years. It's one of my favorite rifles and one that I will [U]never[U] sell. That being said, for my situation, living alone in a brick home, it's not a bad choice for a HD rifle. But, my 12 ga. loaded with 00 buck is still better.
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    sgb
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    16" 30-30. In the real world rifle calibers trump pistol calibers every time.
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    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition

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    For inside the home I'd go with the .357 and shortest barrel you can get. I have a .44 and .357 magnum revolver, but the .357 gets the nod for HD rifle in my book because of the greater availability of SD loads in that caliber, and lower overall expense to keep it fed. For outside the home though, it would be a .30-30 for me, among your choices anyway.

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    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    For what its worth A head instructor from Gunsite was on a defence tv show an said that in there best shooter in the carbine course is not a AR shooter. There was a very good mix of military guys and leos and one old dept sheriff with and old well warn lever gun that cleaned up on all the others.
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