HELP: Levergun 30/30 vs 44mag

This is a discussion on HELP: Levergun 30/30 vs 44mag within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I desperately want to pick up a lever action for just general fun and primary home defense rifle. First, I need to decide caliber and ...

View Poll Results: Which Levergun Caliber for Home Defense

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  • 30/30

    10 19.61%
  • 44mag

    14 27.45%
  • 357mag

    27 52.94%
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Thread: HELP: Levergun 30/30 vs 44mag

  1. #1
    Member Array jwalker497's Avatar
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    HELP: Levergun 30/30 vs 44mag

    I desperately want to pick up a lever action for just general fun and primary home defense rifle.

    First, I need to decide caliber and cannot choose between these 2. Also was considering the 357mag. I did lots of research and the 30/30 and 44mag seem to both offer great power with an edge to range for the 30/30 and an edge to power for the 44. I still cant decide

    I dont own a revolver and dont plan on getting one to match so again this would be primarily Home defense and just range fun. I am interested in either 16 or 18in barrel. Any ideas ow to settle this debate in my head? And im only getting ONE so dont say both!

    • Other concerns I have are capacity differences in equal barrel lengths, I assume 44mag holds more but not sure how many more or even if thats true.
    • Ammo cost, not sure which costs more (I dont reload)
    • Lastly, weight, Again assuming we have 2 identical length barrel rifles one is 44mag and one in 30/30 which weighs more, holds, more, etc.
    • Reliability, do they function the same or is one inherently more reliabel than the other?
    • Laslty, any good reccomendations for brands or models. I dont need top of the line, just looking for a solid reliable performer


    Thansk in advance and please vote to help me choose

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  3. #2
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    Array pgrass101's Avatar
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    Look at Marlins website Marlin Firearms you are asking about the 1894 vs the 336.

    Reliability and function are the same. Also check out ammo prices, .357mag is about $5 cheaper per box of 50 than .44mag. .30-30 is about the same price per 50 as .44mag
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Array txron's Avatar
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    I have a Marlin 30/30 and love it. Lose capacity with the 30/30, but you can do more at greater range. I can get 30/30 ammo for $15 per 20. Don't know the price for the 357 or 44. I take hogs and deer no problem. Mild recoil, just an all around great rifle and caliber. I don't use a scope so I am limited to 100-125yrds shots due to my eyes, but I know people that have taken hogs and deer aout to 200+ yrds with a 30/30 (regular ammo).
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    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    In the Marlin lineup (the only new production brand I would really consider....Winchester is making them again I believe, but they're too pricey for me), the .44 Magnum holds 10, and the .30-30 holds 6 in the tube. Personally I want the .44, but I have a revolver in that caliber already so that would decide it for me. For HD, you can load the .44 version with .44 Special Speer Gold Dots, which will drastically reduce over-penetration concerns relative to the .30-30 cartridge. Between that and the 4 extra rounds, I would recommend the .44 to you. Ammo costs between .44 Magnum and .30-30 are close to the same as far as I've seen.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Rule of thumb;

    Anything past 150 yards go with a 30/30.

    Out to 150 yards use 44.

    A 357 is a different animal out of a lever gun, but I would choose it for home defense over the others. Loaded with light weight bullets of 125 weight it should be devastating. Even with 38 spl fodder it would be a ******* choice.
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  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array tcox4freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Rule of thumb;

    Anything past 150 yards go with a 30/30.

    Out to 150 yards use 44.

    A 357 is a different animal out of a lever gun, but I would choose it for home defense over the others. Loaded with light weight bullets of 125 weight it should be devastating. Even with 38 spl fodder it would be a ******* choice.
    Not to mention shooting '38" through a lever gun is just plain FUN!

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I've had all three: a Marlin 1894 .44mag, a Marlin 336 .30-30, and a Marlin 1894 .357mag.

    My goal was to have a basic defensive/plinking type lever-action rifle, same as you. Longer barrel and somewhat greater range was the 336/30-30. Didn't appreciate the stiffer recoil of the 336/30-30, given the goal. The 1894/44 seems perfect, power-wise and size-wise, having a 16in barrel. The 1894/357 is a hoot to shoot, though obviously it has less punch on target. Least recoil and quickest shot-to-shot accuracy is with the 1894/357, amongst these three (at least for me). The .357mag ammo seems least expensive.

    In the same situation, my choice would be: a lever-action .357mag, whether Marlin, Winchester, EMF/Rossi, Puma or Henry. Preference would be for a 16in Marlin or Winchester "trapper" length carbine.
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  9. #8
    Member Array msc8127's Avatar
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    My preference would be toward the 44 mag as I have a good supply of ammo and components for 44 mag. Likewise for home defense the right round out of a 16" barrel would be extremely effective. I'm typically a fan of heavyweight rounds for hunting with 44 mag, but for home defense the 200 grain gold dots would probably be incredibly effective

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  10. #9
    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwalker497 View Post

    I dont own a revolver and dont plan on getting one to match so again this would be primarily Home defense and just range fun. I am interested in either 16 or 18in barrel. Any ideas ow to settle this debate in my head? And im only getting ONE so dont say both!
    I don't know how many times I've said the phrase, "I don't plan on getting one". I would go .357. If you want a gun that will be both a good HD gun and a fun plinker, .357/.38 is the way to go. You won't be plinking much with the price of 30/30 and 44 ammo unless you reload.
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  11. #10
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    I was all set to recommend .30-30 but then GMan pointed out the .357 Magnum's rifle capabilities and the fun factor.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    If you don't already have revolvers in .44 or .38/.357, then my vote is for the .30-30 since it is a true rifle caliber.

    As far as capacity goes, I keep a butt cuff on mine, for a total capacity of 6+1+10.
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    .357 definitely. If you live in a subdivision, I would not opt for any of these calibers in a rifle platform. Too risky to your neighbors.
    Goldy49 likes this.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Now, if you really want an interesting and versatile gun, buy a 35 Remington. If you are a handloader, you can load it with 357 pistol bullets for home defense, or load it with 200 weight rifle bullets for your favorite bear or lion hunt.
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  15. #14
    New Member Array coloradoben's Avatar
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    I have a Winchester Model 94 Trapper model in .44, fun gun to shoot but kicks like a mad mule.

  16. #15
    Member Array Goldy49's Avatar
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    Please don't rule out a .357. I have a Winchester '94 in .357 and it is extremely versatile - fun, plinking, hunting, and certainly home defense. .357 is a great choice(and someday, you might want to match it with a .357 revolver).

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