Lever-action rifle decision--need help!
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:15 AM   #1
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Default Lever-action rifle decision--need help!

Hey, guys! So I've been shooting a borrowed Winchester '92 Trapper reissue in .357 Mag on and off for a couple months now, and recently decided it's time for me to get my own lever gun. I've done my homework, and from what I can tell, Cimarron Firearms is a pretty reputable manufacturer, especially for high-end models (I've done pretty well for myself, so fortunately money isn't really too much of an object.)

My concern now is picking the right model--the aforementioned '92 Trapper never really sat all too well with me. The action always felt a little sticky, and to be frank, it's downright ugly compared to the '73. I also understand that the '73 is a lot easier to maintain and field strip, and generally very reliable. I'd be pretty much dead-set on it, in fact, if it weren't for the issue of caliber.

I understand that the .357 is a decent manstopper, which knocks out the obvious "can-it-be-used-for-self-defense" question (unless anyone's heard different?) but I also plan to do some medium-large game hunting with this rifle. Again, from what I've heard, the .44 is definitely more suited to this, and generally frowned upon for use in the '73 owing to the immense pressure it puts on the toggle link system when fired.

I'm pretty set on one of these two calibers, given that they're so common. So with that in mind, what would people recommend? Thanks.

-J

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Old 10-11-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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If you are limiting yourself to just those 2 calibers, I would go for the .44 Mag. For hunting deer/ bear/ pig/ zombie it will simply have more authority.

Having said that, I would pick a Marlin 1894. Not really cheap, but VERY well made. Over on auctionarms.com. they have been going for $450-$600.

OTOH, find yourself a used Marlin 336 in 30-30, pay half that, never look back. Ya pays ya money, ya takes ya pick.

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Old 10-11-2010, 01:25 PM   #3
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Is this for Cowboy Shooting or just want a lever action? If for regular take a look @ the Marlin 336. The Henry in 30/30 is a good choice.

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Old 10-11-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
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I have lever guns in 30-30, 44 mag, and .22LR. I now deer hunt with the Marlin 44 mag. It's an excellent venison getter. Having said that, I've never shot a deer with a .357 rifle, or handgun. I've shot many more deer with my 30-30's, and they're hard to beat. I got the 44mag because I can't hunt with the 30-30's in Indiana.

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Old 10-11-2010, 02:06 PM   #5
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If it were me I'd go the 73 chambered for the .45 long Colt. Friend of mine has one...sweet shooting little rifle.

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Old 10-11-2010, 04:20 PM   #6
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I would definitely go with a Marlin in .44 mag. Or buy a Marlin 30-30 to hunt with and get whatever quaint model suits your fancy to play around with. I've never heard anyone complain of a sticky Model 92, thought they were supposed to be the slickest thing out there.

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Old 10-12-2010, 11:44 PM   #7
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Define "medium - large game hunting."

It's been said that more deer have been taken with a .30-30 than any other cartridge in US history. I know that if could only take one rifle on a bug-out, it would be my Marlin 336 lever gun. With modern, Hornady LeverRevolution ammo, the .30-30 can be an honest 250 yard+ hunting rifle.

By large game, if you mean bear (except maybe small Blacks) or moose, I'd go with something with more oomph.
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:33 AM   #8
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I bought a .44-40 1873, and after a friend shot mine a few times, he bought a .45LC to match his revolver. The .44-40 has enough punch w/ the 24" barrel out to 100 yards w/ 205grJSP. The .45LC has a bit more punch w/ 250gr cast lead. I have an EMF Hartford, his is a Rossi. Mine cycles faster and smoother. Both are like shooting a BB gun. Very accurate. Whitetail, muleys at 50..75 yards is as far as I would go. It is no big game cartridge. I load 160gr cast lead for vermin.
It is still a pistol caliber. I use the same bullets in my 1858 revolver.

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Old 10-13-2010, 02:17 AM   #9
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For deer and the like it's just real hard to beat a 30 30. I've had a few over the years and have a Winchester now. I do have a Marlin chambered in 44 that would do the job as well. If I was looking right now for a lever rifle do take deer then I'd have to look at the 336 Marlin. I like the Winchester Mod. 94 a great deal but they are not as optic friendly as the Marlin. I don't use a scope for that kind of shooting so it's no big deal to me but a whole lot of people do. So it's good to have that as an available and easier option than it would be with the Winchester. If you are staying inside 150 yards then a 44 mag is also fantastic

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