Lever gun lesson please!
I am looking for a lever gun, but know very little about the ins and outs of them. I will equally look at new and used. My choice of caliber is still undetermined. Mostly interested as a ranch rifle and for white-tail hunting. I am guessing that .30-30 or .45/70 would be contenders.
What should I be looking for in a lever gun...and what to stay away from?
Who makes the best quality lever gun? I have heard that Marlin rifles can have crummy/clumsy safeties and crummy extractors. Is this true?
I own several in BOTH of those calibers. The .45-70 I use strictly for hunting big game. The rifles I use the most are the .30-30s.
The .30-30s are a bit lighter & less punishing to shoot. (not to mention cheaper to shoot)
I do like the stainless steel Marlins!
The Winchester 94s are among my most used, but they are getting harder to find at a good price.
I've got a levergun on my list too - take a look at www.brockmansrifles.com if you want to see some fancy nice ones. I'm thinking .45-70 for myself - I'll load some light-ish 300 grainers for deer, and can always make up some big ones for larger game. Straight-walled cartridges are much easier to load for - that's a large part of why I want the .45-70.
After shooting both a Winchester and Marlin in 30-30, I'd pick the Marlin. The Marlin had a lot less felt recoil (shape of butt and stock?).
Browning has some really nice lever guns that shoot a variety of deer calibers (and bigger). Browning comes with a removable magazine.
Ruger has a lever action .44 mag which is fun for shorter ranges.
Don't forget the Savage 99, you might be able to pick one up cheap used. The came in 300 Savage, 30-30, 32 Win spec and a few other calibers. They were a good gun.
If you can get a pre 64 Winchester model in 30-30, 25-35, 32 Win spec they would be good for Whitetail. You might also look for a Model 95 Winchester in .308, 30-06, .405, or 7.62-54R they would be good up to Elk size. Model 86 in 45-70 would be good as well.
The cheapest leveractions would probably be the Marlins.
Henry H001 or H001Y (youth just a shorter stock) 22 LR
Marlin 39A 22 LR
Marlin 336 30-30
Marlin 1894 357 MAG (also shoots 38 Special)
Marlin 1894 44 MAG (also shoots 44 Special)
Marlin 1894 45 Long Colt
Marlin 1894 41 MAG
Marlin 1859 45-70
Buy Factory and/or Reload
Buy all the above or what you want / need
For everyone 22 LR and 30-30
For backwoods except for the Northen Rockies and Alaska 41 MAG, 44 MAG or 45 Long Colt
For Northern Rockies and Alaska 45-70
Note: Northern Rockies and Alaska = Grizzly and other Big Brute Bears
Cannot go wrong with a Marlin
Always take along sidearm 357 MAG, 44 MAG, 45 Long Colt or 41 MAG anytime in the backwoods or anywhere - rifle should be the same caliber except for the 45-70, 30-30, and 22 LR
Raevan's suggestion of the Model 99 Savage is a good one. The 99's up through the 50's are really nice. The design is sound and strong. The Model 99's with the rotary magazine would cost a fortune to manufacture these days.
For a small brush gun in a rifle caliber, the Winchester 94 is light. The action is funny and not smooth. The Marlins are great guns, using different actions for carbine and rifle calibers. I have a Marin 1895CB in 45/70 and love it. I also have a Marlin 30/30. It is heavier than the win 94 - so basically your call there - it is more pleasant to shoot, but bigger pain to tote.
Money not a factor, search for a Winchester/Browning 1886 - they are the ultimate cowboy buffalo gun (45/70 lever action). The 1895 is the ultimate big bore lever action - but it is more of a Teddy Roosevelt special.
If you are going pistol caliber carbine. Consider a clone 1892 (Puma/Rossi) (can look great, but expect to pay for an action job) or just get the Marlin (works better out of the box, but not as classic of looks)
I have the pre-50's Savage 99 in .300, 303, .22-250 and .22 hi-power. Prices are really going up on them. Have my (pun intended) sights set on the Winchester 95 in a 30-06 next.
I have not had any problems with any of the the 3 Marlins in my safe. Two are 35 Remington and one 32 Win Special. Two of them are 1950's models and one is an 1980's model. They all shoot the same but the finish is much nicer on the older ones. I like the action better than the Winchester and the side eject is much more desireable, especially if you ever decide to put a scope on them. They are easy to tote, well balanced and reliable. Out to 150yds or so, you don't need a scope if your eyes are ok.
Never had any experience with the Savage 99 so can't comment.
Everyone should own a Win Mod 94 30-30. It's a part of history.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have two of them for sale. Keep in mind that as of about 30 minutes ago, I own 4 and I will never turn lose of two of them.
What are you asking for them?
Originally Posted by BigEFan
I would like to see pics of the two you have for sale if you wouldnt mind...
I have hunted white tail deer with a Marlin mod 30A (30-30 cal) for about a decade. I am very happy with its performance and have had no problems with it.
Watch your ammo, though. .308 will load but not feed, as I found out one still dark morning on my way down a hill years ago. It's larger than 30-30, so it's a bugger to get out of the action, especially in the dark. I learned my lesson and double check my ammo before I leave home and again before I load it.:redface:
I have a 45-70 Marlin 1895 Guide Rifle in stainless (unported). The best "brush gun" I ever had.
At the range, I love the looks from others when I touch it off :popout2:(the 18" barrel is loud, I'm glad its not ported)