Lever gun / caliber opinions

I think i am ready to buy a side loading lever gun. Most likely a marlin. It would be a mew gum for 800 or less. Looking at a 357 since i have a s&w in 357 mag, or a 44 or a 45 70. Would be used mostly for plinking. Could be for some hunting in western Oregon. Who has them and has advise to which rifle and caliber and why? Also may get a 44 mag revolver instead but right now these are what I am looking into.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Hunting WHAT in western Oregon? As a general rule, "big game" out west is bigger than what we have around here. I don't believe I would want to try mule deer or elk or bears with a 357. Not even sure I would try our Florida whitetail with a 357, if I had a bigger gun available.

I dislike Marlin. Much prefer John Browning. I have Browning designs made by Browning, by Rossi, and by Winchester.

I think you need to decide what size gun you want.
2497


That top one is 357 or 44 size (it's actually a 32/20). The bottom one is a 45/70. As you can see there is a huge size difference.

What you said is similar to, "I want a revolver - either a 22 or a 454", or maybe, "I want a new car - either a Mini Cooper or a Hummer".

I think getting a 357 lever because you already have a 357 revolver is an excellent idea. They are quite fun to play with. but I wouldn't suggest hunting with something that small if your game is over about a hundred pounds.

Yes, I'm aware that Doug Wesson shot Kodiak bears with an eight and three-quarter inch 357 revolver. W. D. M. Bell shot African elephants with a 7 mm Mauser, but I would not suggest that as an elephant rifle.

If you're looking for a all-around hunting rifle, and you're willing to keep your shots under about a hundred and fifty yards, I would say either a 30/30 or 35 Remington would be a better choice.
 
Hunting WHAT in western Oregon? As a general rule, "big game" out west is bigger than what we have around here. I don't believe I would want to try mule deer or elk or bears with a 357. Not even sure I would try our Florida whitetail with a 357, if I had a bigger gun available.

I dislike Marlin. Much prefer John Browning. I have Browning designs made by Browning, by Rossi, and by Winchester.

I think you need to decide what size gun you want.
View attachment 2497

That top one is 357 or 44 size (it's actually a 32/20). The bottom one is a 45/70. As you can see there is a huge size difference.

What you said is similar to, "I want a revolver - either a 22 or a 454", or maybe, "I want a new car - either a Mini Cooper or a Hummer".

I think getting a 357 lever because you already have a 357 revolver is an excellent idea. They are quite fun to play with. but I wouldn't suggest hunting with something that small if your game is over about a hundred pounds.

Yes, I'm aware that Doug Wesson shot Kodiak bears with an eight and three-quarter inch 357 revolver. W. D. M. Bell shot African elephants with a 7 mm Mauser, but I would not suggest that as an elephant rifle.

If you're looking for a all-around hunting rifle, and you're willing to keep your shots under about a hundred and fifty yards, I would say either a 30/30 or 35 Remington would be a better choice.
I am mainly looking for a fun gun. I find the 357 mag a good choice because i have one. I have shot a Rossi (i think) in 44 mag and loved it. You can here the bullet pick up velocity as it goes. The 45-70 just has a nostalgic thing for me. I have yet to shoot one. Before I got my 357 revolver I originally wanted a double action 44 mag with a 44 lever gun and later learned about the 45-70. Does the 45-70 kick that bad? I shoot a 300 WM for hunting and find it tolerable but after 6 years. Not a fun all day shooter especially during non hunting season. Hunting I have ranges of 25-600 yds ranges. I don't shoot that far personally. But our Roosevelt elks are the largest bodies and find a larger caliber suiting.
 

infobros

Moderator
I like the 45-70 government. Henry has a good rifle on the market, but you can also get it in a carbine and a sidearm as well. I'm not a hunter, but I would think the 45-70 packs enough power to put any large game down, depending on the range. I've shot the 300 WM rifle and a 45-70 in both rifle and revolver. I have a 30-06 and a .303, if you can handle those then you can handle the 45-70.
 
The first 45/70 I had was Marlin 1895. It hurt. It HURT! I bought one of those PAST recoil pads - the ones you put on like a shoulder holster and wear over your clothes, just to be able to enjoy shooting the gun.

I thought I was the wimpiest guy in the world. Bunches and bunches of people shoot 45/70.

Then I bought Mike Venturino's SHOOTING LEVER GUNS OF THE OLD WEST. Mike is a big ol' boy.



And he shoots big guns. and in that book he says that the Marlin 1895 is extremely painful to shoot.

Hey, great. It's not me, it's the gun. :D So I sold it.

I currently have six 45/70s. Two of them - a Sharps cavalry carbine and a trapdoor Springfield carbine - need downloaded to be enjoyable. They are lightweight, and they thump. The other four - a Sharps Business Rifle, a Remington Rolling Block, a Ruger number 1, and that Browning 1886 up in the picture - you know you've shot a gun when you shoot them, but they don't hurt you.
 
It seems that you are looking for a rifle that you can shoot for entertainment rather than a hunting gun. The 357 seems to be the correct tool for this and you have the option to load both 357 and 38 special. I current have the Henry 44 magnum and the Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70. When I use to hunt I used the Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger for Elk and Black Bear. When my wife and I go for short hikes, I always carry a 44 magnum. I have been thinking about getting the Henry in 357 for my wife. She has no problem with her every day carry of a S & W 686 plus but she cannot shoot the 44 magnum revolver. She can shoot the 44 magnum Henry, but using a friends 357 Henry, she definitely prefers that.

For hunting, you would benefit from listening to some of the folks on this board that can offer you a variety of directions depending upon the game target you are pursuing and from what distance. I am a former Recon Marine. For me the kick was to get up as close as I could to take a realistic shot that would not wound but drop the animal. If I did not bring anything home, that was ok, it was the stalk that made this cool for me. Most of my hunting was in the mountains around Chama, NM with an Apache guide and the memories and the pictures are fantastik.

Now, I cannot get out of my own way.
 

sgtsandman

Moderator
Staff member
If you decide to go Marlin over Winchester, Henry, or another brand, make sure it was made in 2003 or earlier. I have yet to see enough convincing reviews of anything after being up to the quality of rifles made before that date. When Remington (then Freedom Group) bought the brand, they moved the machinery and not enough of the workers to another location. Quality took a huge nose dive. They have gotten better but have yet to get to where they were before. Look for the JM stamp on the barrel by the receiver. If it isn’t there, it’s a Freedom Group/Remington product. The stamp is very small, so bring your reading glasses or a magnifying glass.
 
If you decide to go Marlin over Winchester, Henry, or another brand, make sure it was made in 2003 or earlier. I have yet to see enough convincing reviews of anything after being up to the quality of rifles made before that date. When Remington (then Freedom Group) bought the brand, they moved the machinery and not enough of the workers to another location. Quality took a huge nose dive. They have gotten better but have yet to get to where they were before. Look for the JM stamp on the barrel by the receiver. If it isn’t there, it’s a Freedom Group/Remington product. The stamp is very small, so bring your reading glasses or a magnifying glass.
Copy that. I was looking at the Marlin just for the side loading and guide gun look that they make the 45-70 in.i might look into Henry and Winchester again though. I've herd mixed reviews myself on the newer guide guns .
 
Last edited by a moderator:

walterbunning

Administrator
If you are looking for a fun plinker caliber for lever, then my suggestion would be the 357 since you already have a sidearm in that. 45-70 is a very robust round, heavy, more expensive to load for, and the rifle won’t hold as many rounds. At least the 357 would be a good starting point. As far as make, my preference is for “made in the USA” these days. There aren’t many choices in that category that fit your specs, though. In the price range you state for a new rifle, it looks like it comes down to a Marlin or Rossi for pistol caliber levers.
 

walterbunning

Administrator
Copt thay. I was lookong at the marlin just for the side loading and guide gun look that they make the 45-70 in.i might look into henery and winchester again though. Iv herd mixed reviews myself on the newer guide guns .
I have several Henry levers, and their fit and finish are all fine. The only side gate they make in the calibers you list is the 45-70, and its pricey.
 
As I understand it, the Henry side gate can still be loaded from the front. Instead of only being able to load from the front, like Henrys originally were, or only being able to load from the side, like Winchester/Marlin/et al, the Henry side gate gives you the option of doing either.
 

walterbunning

Administrator
As I understand it, the Henry side gate can still be loaded from the front. Instead of only being able to load from the front, like Henrys originally were, or only being able to load from the side, like Winchester/Marlin/et al, the Henry side gate gives you the option of doing either.
That is correct. I have one Henry side gate..the 38-55. The biggest benefit I see with having both is the ease of unloading via the tube as opposed to having to run the lever, should the need arise.
 
Top Bottom