Being a revolver loving son of a gun it's only natural that I have an interest in revolver caliber carbines. Specifically I really want a lever action rifle chambered in either .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum. I've read some things recently that suggest to me that you do in fact get some truly impressive performance out of these catridges when they are launched from a rifle as compared to a handgun. I even saw where one tester found that the velocity of a 125 grain .357 Magnum load actually exceeds that of .30-30 out of a rifle barrel. That's not to say it has as much energy of course, but I remember the comparison was surprisingly good. I didn't think the pistol caliber would perform that well because, well, it's a pistol caliber.
I've planned to try to make one of these my next acquisition. The reasons why are plentiful. For one I already have handguns in these calibers and everything I need to maintain and clean one; all I would have to buy is the rifle and possibly a case for the rifle. For another these type rifles are usually around 36 inches long, which is a great size because it would be compact enough to store behind my truck seat. For another I like lever action rifles and I want one.
Also, around here, we don't really have too much in the way of large wildlife and people hunt with .30-30 and iron sights all the time. Where I come from you have to basically snipe the deer at 400 yards and you'd better be using a powerful caliber with a pretty good scope.
I've read up that people actually hunt certain species of bear with .44 Magnum. That surprised me slightly.
The first decision I'm having trouble with is should I get the .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum chambered rifle first?
I am leaning somewhat towards the .44 Magnum. I browsed somewhere that the rifling on most barrels of lever action carbines in this caliber is a 1 in 9 right hand twist I believe. Supposedly this makes it difficult to shoot any load heavier than 240 grains accurately for some reason. That in itself I guess doesn't bother me because my only .44 WMR wheelgun is not really rated for anything hotter than a 240 grain load and I would want interchangeable ammunition. I also reason that the .44 Magnum can do anything that the .357 can do but not vice versa.
However I can't deny that the .357 chambering might actually be more practical. Honestly I can't think of any wild animal around here that would be able to withstand a well placed shot from a handgun in this caliber so a rifle should make it a moot point. I also carry .38 caliber revolvers pretty often. The thought of being able to stuff a box of .38 Specials in there and have spare SHTF ammunition for both the rifle and the handgun is might appealing.
Of course I actually would like to have both but I must get one first.
The other thing I am wondering is what manufacturer and model to go with. I'm partial to Marlin but I am not adverse to a Winchester/USRA or whatever you want to call them. I also like Ruger rifles. I have to admit the stainless steel Marlin is an appealing thought as I like stainless steel finishes both for their appearance and their durability.
I'm not going to get terribly worked up about this. I'm going to strut around and look for a real deal because I don't just need it all that badly. I haven't even finished the Popper yet. I think I'll wind up buying new because I don't see these types of guns used very often.
But I think I would benefit from having it and I think it could be another good tool in personal security. For one thing a gun like this is so much more low profile than other choices, for another if you choose your ammunition carefully it's very reliable, and with practice you can actually let loose a pretty consistent barrage of fire if you wanted to.
I know we had a thread on the Marlin 336 before, but does anyone have a rifle like this in a handgun caliber as I have described? Would you hesitate to use it for an all purpose gun as well as a defensive one? Any experiences with any products?