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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My "truck gun" has always been a shotgun. It's a pretty useful defensive weapon, especially when living in a city. But things have changed for me, this is a little "journal" of sorts to describe my journey from a shotgun to a lever gun, and perhaps more importantly, if it was a good decision.

The reason for the change is simply because I am frequenting areas with way more space lately. Open remote areas. In my mind, defence in these areas could stretch well past the abilities of a shotgun. A rifle was in order. But what rifle? This is a truck gun. A gun that'll sit in the car day after day. Maybe a boat.

For me, first and foremost, the rifle needed to be relatively easy to replace (inexpensive). The shorter the overall length, the better. Light is nice if you have to run with it, or hike a ways with it. In KS, you can drive around with a loaded rifle, so a rifle with a mag wasn't as important as it might be in a state where a loaded rifle is a no-no, but magazine capacity is always a great idea. Of course, in my open spaces, wind is an issue, so a heavy bullet in a capable caliber was top of mind as well.


There's a ton of weapons that fit that bill! The question was, would it be a new school weapon, or an old school weapon.

Sky Silhouette Photography Recreation Musical instrument
- stolen from the Marlin Owners Forum​


As some of you know, I chose the lever. The Marlin 336Y (youth model) with it's 16" barrel in 30-30 to be exact. It's pretty short!! It checked off a bunch of boxes. It was cheap - $500. It was light, shot a capable round that's easy to find, has ok firepower though considerably less than a Mag fed weapon. Moreover, it's not a threatening weapon if you are slinging it on the side of the road. It's a compromise, and at this point, perhaps the Ruger Mini could be considered a better weapon... save for the swing. Levers, for me, are great when shooting upright. Moreover, they swing like champs. This weighed heavily on me, and was ultimately the deciding factor. There aren't many places to rest a gun out in the open.




Like I said, I ordered the rifle and it was shipped here a couple of days ago. I went to the gun store to pick it up, but was put on delay... 5 business days oh agonizing wait. I'll pick it up Wednesday. But I got to play with it at the store for a while. WOOT. Was it the right decision? I immediately noted some things that raised concerns.
 

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That's a nice rifle. I love lever guns. I haven't had one in years, but it's definitely on my wishlist.

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The Youth model... I'll bet that is compact. I think a lot of folks overlook youth models when searching for a short rifle. If you can handle the shorter LOP it's a great option. As you know :smile:

The old Gunsmoke reality show, whatever it was called, they built a compartment under the rear seat in a guy's pickup for his truck gun. And his truck gun was also a lever action (which of course they also supplied).
Isn't it great to have choices?

Can you get a short stroke kit for that model? That might be something to look into. I'm not sure if they make them for 30-30 because of the cartridge length.
One of these makes racking the lever easier on the fingers when shooting fast Mernickle Custom Holsters - Cowboy Action Or you can do a paracord wrap.

So what are your concerns?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
... Was it the right decision? I immediately noted some things that raised concerns. Here's my initial thoughts after handling it for a while:

First, the good; yup, it still swings! And the thing shoulders like a champ! But there is a reason the Marlin is priced in at $500. Working the mechanism, it was a stiff as a 100yr olds knees. Dang! This isn't the old well worn in 336 of the past that I came to know and love back in the day. Sure it'll work itself smooth ... but that'll take a lot of shooting. A whole heck of a lot! No question about it. In its current configuration, for me, reloading will not be fast or smooth. Work has to be done.

Of course, if you are at all handy, and I am, a little sandpaper and a lot of time, you should be able to have this thing running like a clock. But it does not come that way out of the box. I figure a full day of putzing around with her, and she'll be smooth as butter. So that's not a problem for me. But if time is an issue for you, this could be a problem.

The second thing is the stock, it's WAY too thick for a youth gun. Getting a synthetic stock for the youth gun is like finding a needle in a haystack. Sigh. I am no woodworker, but I'm going to have to sand the stock thinner. This should be entertaining lol. Wish me luck.

Finally, the trigger is pretty tight. Or rather heavy. I'm ok with that. It's crisp enough for me on a defensive weapon. But you know I have to take a deer with this thing next year, so I'll do some work on that too. It's an easy fix that consists of an aftermarket trigger at $120.

So there you have it. Price is an odd thing. $500 isn't much, but that's not the true cost for me.


Of course, that'll all take place later. First I have to make sure it's worthy of the work. Range time is the first order of business. I'll report when I finally get the gun. Right now, I'm in a holding pattern.
 

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Can't you just drop a lighter hammer spring in it? That's what I did to my 39, but I have no idea if the parts/mechanics are similar. It made a big difference in the trigger pull.

If you are interested, my buddy can make a stock from scratch. If you don't want to tackle it yourself I'm sure he can take it down to whatever you want and re-stain it. You know how to get a hold of me :wink:
 

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One of these makes racking the lever easier on the fingers when shooting fast Mernickle Custom Holsters - Cowboy Action Or you can do a paracord wrap.
When we were kids we'd wrap the lever on our bb guns with padded handlebar tape for bicycles. Worked great.

Moreover, it's not a threatening weapon if you are slinging it on the side of the road.
I think a lot of people who don't know guns would pass someone walking with that and think bb gun, just due to the size and that's the experience most people have with lever action rifles. All around I think you've hit upon a creative solution to your needs.
 

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I wont touch most modern lever guns save Henrys ..Most of them are run by Freedom group or were and are crap now ..I have seen BNIB ones with stocks that break and fall apart etc

A pre 64 94 yep like it ..Most of todays no way

I do like the idea of a lever gun for truck ..But frankly I would take a SKS or a SMLE over a lever ..Unless you are good an train on fast reload on the tube and get the action slicked up I would rather have a gun that offer rapid fast easy to reload and yet still looks hunting firepower or a older war gun like a early semi or SMLE ...SMLE would be frankly my bet nothing said no like 10 rounds of 303 or 11 rounds of 308 flying at you in under a min
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Youth model... I'll bet that is compact. I think a lot of folks overlook youth models when searching for a short rifle. If you can handle the shorter LOP it's a great option. As you know :smile:

The old Gunsmoke reality show, whatever it was called, they built a compartment under the rear seat in a guy's pickup for his truck gun. And his truck gun was also a lever action (which of course they also supplied).
Isn't it great to have choices?

Can you get a short stroke kit for that model? That might be something to look into. I'm not sure if they make them for 30-30 because of the cartridge length.
One of these makes racking the lever easier on the fingers when shooting fast Mernickle Custom Holsters - Cowboy Action Or you can do a paracord wrap.

So what are your concerns?
33" overall length PA!! - this thing might be shorter than my red ryder BB gun lol. The LOP is crazy, but when I put it up to the shoulder, the front pin met with the rear sight. Amazing really. But putting it up against the shoulder firmly might be forgotten now and again - it's short, that could hurt lol. I will be adding a larger recoil pad to it. I always knew I would. It'll increase the LOP to where I doubt I'll ever get "hurt", but I wouldn't "have" to. It's the perfect size for a heavy winter coat.

I've never heard of a short stroke kit for a 30-30. Now, I'm no 30-30 guy, so I'll ask over at the Marlin Owners Forum. That would be incredible if it didn't mess with reliability. man - I really hope there is one lol.

As for custom lever makers - there are a few. Some are crazy cool! Crazy cool. I would buy one no problem, but for a truck gun, I really want to do all the work myself. I kind of want to get to know this gun like I know my Glocks. You know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Can't you just drop a lighter hammer spring in it? That's what I did to my 39, but I have no idea if the parts/mechanics are similar. It made a big difference in the trigger pull.

If you are interested, my buddy can make a stock from scratch. If you don't want to tackle it yourself I'm sure he can take it down to whatever you want and re-stain it. You know how to get a hold of me :wink:
Nice - thanks PA. I might just do that.
 

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By custom lever do you mean big loop? Not good for fast cycling, but do look cool. Especially if you can rack it one handed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wont touch most modern lever guns save Henrys ..Most of them are run by Freedom group or were and are crap now ..I have seen BNIB ones with stocks that break and fall apart etc

A pre 64 94 yep like it ..Most of todays no way

I do like the idea of a lever gun for truck ..But frankly I would take a SKS or a SMLE over a lever ..Unless you are good an train on fast reload on the tube and get the action slicked up I would rather have a gun that offer rapid fast easy to reload and yet still looks hunting firepower or a older war gun like a early semi or SMLE ...SMLE would be frankly my bet nothing said no like 10 rounds of 303 or 11 rounds of 308 flying at you in under a min
Dude - I feel you. I struggled with that too. I will practice with it though. I'll get as fast with it as I can... after I smooth the thing out. BUT, recall that with your concern, that it is not as much a defensive concern, as it is an almost offensive one. I used the term suppressive fire to describe that concern. A great way to keep aggressors heads down. But I don't know, that's kind of a real all heck has broken loose kind of thing. This is a defensive truck gun. I hope I never have that problem lol. Cuz if I do, I be done fer :).

I honestly think that a Ruger Mini or some kind of "assault" weapon would be better suited for some. But I "poke" with those guns - I really need to get one and get over that.
 

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No - guys who make custom lever guns. Yeah, the big loop is uber cool lol, I might consider it one day.
Gotcha. I thought lever meant, well, lever, lol.

I came close to sending the lever on my Winchester carbine to a guy to have it turned into a big loop. The more I read... and the more I shot the gun... the less I wanted to modify it.
 

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Have a look at how the SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) 3-Gun competitors mod they're carbines. They've got guys who've generally fleshed-out; short-throw levers, lever padding, trigger-jobs, feed/eject issues, even (tube) mag speed-loaders! Successful top-tier champions have to shoot carbines that run both well & FAST. There's a guy who specializes in Winchester Model 92 clones (Taurus/Puma?) who really makes 'em...fly. :image035:
 

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I think there is a lot to said for a handy lever action carbine in .357! They are very versatile and the .357 in a carbine barrel has quite a bit more umph than out of a handgun! The added capacity is another bonus! They are definitely on my radar!
 

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My 16" Winchester '94 in .44 magnum goes with my .44 magnum revolvers. My 20" Winchester '94 in .45 Colt goes with my Colt SAA revolvers. The 26" Winchester '94 in .30-30 is a great deer gun
 
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