Looks like I'm in the market for a .357 lever action....

This is a discussion on Looks like I'm in the market for a .357 lever action.... within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Any thoughts? A new one around here is $500 for a Marlin .357, I believe he said a 1894. A used one would be nice ...

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Thread: Looks like I'm in the market for a .357 lever action....

  1. #1
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    Looks like I'm in the market for a .357 lever action....

    Any thoughts? A new one around here is $500 for a Marlin .357, I believe he said a 1894. A used one would be nice for a project gun though (converting a .357 mag to 9mm).

    Hmmm, could this be considered 'making' a firearm and have legal implications?
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  3. #2
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    I don't think it would be making a firearm only modifing one, but a call the the friendly BATF might save you some money in the long run.
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    Hmm, another thing that came to mind is I wonder if that tapered case of the 9mm will cause setback problems under the spring pressure and recoil in the tubular magazine????
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    The Ruger Blackhawk .357/9mm combo doesn't seem to have a setback issue from recoil. But Spring plus recoil might pose a slight problem. You'd have to try it and then measure each case after firing.

    I think a quality round with a good crimp would do fine
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    ...I think a quality round with a good crimp would do fine
    That's what I'm thinking too, but I think the 9mm round head spaces on the case, so it can't be crimped. But, they do put a substantial cannelure in the case which does the same thing as a crimp.

    As I think about it, when a 9mm round hits the feed ramp in a semi-auto it can get quite a 'bump' and it seems to be pretty tolerant of that - so I think it'd be fine in a tubular magazine.

    I could measure the force required to produce setback and calculate/measure the force in the magazine spring and see what that reveals.

    Now, if I can just find a lever action .357 to work with.

    I think I'm gonna contact Marlin and see if I can buy internals. If I can, I can always restore the gun to the original parts and I'd have a lever action .357 mag which I wouldn't mind having anyway.
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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Tangle,
    I would suggest you contact some good lever-gun gunsmiths and see if this conversion is even feasible. I'm afraid you're going to find that it isn't. There are much bigger problems than just recutting the chamber. Most lever guns are very finicky about overall cartridge length. I've known several shooters who had problems just switching between 38 special / 357 in a gun that was chambered for that cartridge because of OAL differences. Besides the feeding problems, you would have to deal with the fact that the extractor/bolt face are designed for a rimmed cartridge with a rim diameter of .440, not for a rimless cartridge with a rim diameter of .394. Then there is the bullet diameter difference. You would be firing a .355 bullet down a barrel designed for a .357 diameter bullet. Probably not the most accurate combination especially when you consider that most rifle barrels would probably slug out to .358.

    You may want to contact some of the following gunsmiths. These are guys who make their living doing CAS gun work.

    Steve's Guns

    Bozeman Trail Arms

    Griner Gunworks

    Long Hunter Shooting Supply

    Pioneer Gunworks

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    Yep, those are legit concerns. I pretty much delineated the same thing in some previous posts, although perhaps not in this thread. I talked to two prominent gunsmiths, one being Ted Yost and he said they didn't do that kind of work and didn't know anyone that did. I think it's a lot of trouble and not enough of a market to justify the modification costs.

    The internals would have to be modified to deal with the much shorter 9mm case. One good thing is that it wouldn't have to accomodate two different length rounds like the .38/.357 case, it'd be setup for the 9mm exclusively.

    There could also be a travel issue in the internals that could not be resolved.

    The bolt face would have to be modified to accomodate the smaller diameter 9mm case, and that could be the make or break issue.

    Likely the extractor would have to be modified and the ejector may have to be slightly repositioned, and the bolt may have to be cut to accomodate a 9mm extractor.

    I can't speak to the very small difference in bullet diameters of .3555 vs .357. That's only 0.0015" or a difference of 0.4%. Very small, but it could be significant.

    Other than the bullet diameter issue, which might be resolved with a rifled barrel blank (which would preserve the original bbl, in case the project couldn't be completed), my main concern is the bolt face being too large for the 9mm case - that could be the show stopper.
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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    The bullet diameter is probably the least of your problems unless extreme accuracy is a requirement. The bullet will shoot and probably won't keyhole, though that is a possibility. I've seen .002 difference make so much difference in a long range rifle that you could hear the bullet "helicopter" as it was going through the air. This was on a 45/70 rifle that has a typical bore of .458 and uses either .458 or .459 lead bullets. This particular rifle slugged out to .460.

    Best of Luck.
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    I found a link that someone did what you are looking into but convert 45lc to 45acp. They named the smith who did it, but no location and post dates to 12/06.
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    lever 357

    im with you tangle.....im in the market for a 357 rifle as well. have not decided on whether it will be a marlin or puma or a taurus pump rifle......have to see what i can find and which i like best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palmgopher View Post
    im with you tangle.....im in the market for a 357 rifle as well. have not decided on whether it will be a marlin or puma or a taurus pump rifle......have to see what i can find and which i like best.
    I would strongly suggest you stay away from the pump rifle. They do NOT have a very good reputation among CAS shooters.

    If you can live with the cost, I would suggest looking at the Uberti '73 Winchester replicas. Nice rifles and they can be slicked up like nobody's business. If the cost of the '73s scares you, stick with the Marlin. Ultra reliable and solid.

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    I'd love to have a Marlin 357, and no way I'd booger it up to make it a 9mm...

    I have a good Marlin 30-30 Maurader already, and it needs a 357 to keep it company...

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    I too would LOVE a .357 lever. For me it'll be a Marlin 1894C with a skinner peep sight. I get a bonus in March.... untill then... I can dream.

    I think it would be a fun gun and good for close range deer work, coyotes and excellent as a home defense.

    I too wish there really was a 9mm lever!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Any thoughts? A new one around here is $500 for a Marlin .357, I believe he said a 1894. A used one would be nice for a project gun though (converting a .357 mag to 9mm).

    Hmmm, could this be considered 'making' a firearm and have legal implications?
    I bought my 1894 Marlin .38/.357 lever action "new" for about $600. I don't know what they cost now, but I would suspect that you could find one at a gun show, Gunbroker.com or GunsAmerica.com for that price. I wouldn't trade nor sell mine, I love the rifle.

    There is a 16/18" barrel version and a 20" version. I have the 20" version and like it a lot more.

    Gunsamerica.com has this one, brand new... for $569.00
    GunsAmerica - Marlin 1894C 357 Mag / 38 Spec NEW! - Marlin Rifles > Modern > Lever Action - Guns For Sale & Gun Auctions B"H

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    Bad idea ! The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth & the 357 headspaces on the rim. The 9mm has no rim & at best would be held against the bolt by the extraactor only. Headspace would be grossly excess + the 9mm would not feed thru the Marlin as the shell cutoff would be positioned wrong. It's a NO GO all the way. I suggest buying a Ruger Mini 14 while u still can.

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