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Henry, Big Horn, Marlin, Winchester, I can go on and on. As most of us can.. But I have little experience with them. I'm looking for a good quality piece. I'm thinking 45/410 cal. I dont hunt. I just shoot for fun. What does the FTF say and why.. Share your experience with a lever gun..
 

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If, as you say, it is just for fun, then I would look at any number of pistol cartridge lever guns. I have owned Winchesters in .357 and .45 Colt, and I still do own an older Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag. I have enjoyed all three, but the Marlin stuck with me...😊
If you go for a Marlin, look into older guns in good shape. Henry’s are nice guns, so are Winchesters. Some folks like Rossi’s, but I do not care for them much. My caliber recommendation would be .44 Mag or, if you reload, .45 Colt. A .44 Mag lever is a very useful gun that is also a lot of fun; capable hunting rifle or self defense. No matter what you choose, I would get something with a side load gate. I would avoid the Henry guns that are still tube fed only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If, as you say, it is just for fun, then I would look at any number of pistol cartridge lever guns. I have owned Winchesters in .357 and .45 Colt, and I still do own an older Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag. I have enjoyed all three, but the Marlin stuck with me...
If you go for a Marlin, look into older guns in good shape. Henry’s are nice guns, so are Winchesters. Some folks like Rossi’s, but I do not care for them much. My caliber recommendation would be .44 Mag or, if you reload, .45 Colt. A .44 Mag lever is a very useful gun that is also a lot of fun; capable hunting rifle or self defense. No matter what you choose, I would get something with a side load gate. I would avoid the Henry guns that are still tube fed only.
Good points I did not know.. 357 would do quite nice.
 

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I have a Henry Lever action .44 Mag that is tube fed. I have a Marlin .35 Remington that has the side gate. My step son had a Marlin .30-30 with the side gate. Unless you really, really need to reload in a hurry, the tube fed is no big deal. You would have to be in a situation where 10 rounds of .44 Mag out of a highly accurate rifle didn't get the job done and you needed to reload quickly or you are dead. A charging bear or some other animal won't give you time to shoot the 10 rounds in your rifle let alone reload it. Almost any confrontation in a self defense scenario will be over and settled within 10 rounds of .44 Mag. Yes, I guess you could argue some scenario with multiple determined assailants where you could shoot 10 rounds and still have the need to reload in a self defense scenario but the chances of that happening are astronomical. I guess with the tube fed rifle, you would just have to pull your sidearm in that situation. Also, as stated above, I like that you can unload the rifle by dumping the rounds out of the tube vs racking them all out through the action of the rifle. One could argue that it is safer and, also as stated above, the bullets don't get dinged up that way. I wouldn't rule out a tube fed Henry especially if you got a good deal on one.
 

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Over the past 20 years, I've had a handful of different lever-action rifles. Including a Marlin 1894P .44mag short-bbl ported, and a Marlin 1894CP .357mag short-bbl ported. Had a Rossi 1892 for awhile, .44mag IIRC. All of these were fun and of decent quality, though I never did put sufficient rounds through them until they were "smooth as buttah." (No longer have any of these three.)

Handling-wise, I've yet to find another lever-action that's as light and easy to handle as either the Marlin 1894P or 1894CP. Very short, fairly light, easy to operate. In my own two examples, I occasionally experienced the common Marlin issue of "bringing in two" during cycling, but not all that often. Thought about having a top-notch gunsmith familiar with the platform correct the issue on both of these guns, in which case I would never have sold them. Unique examples. Getting hard to find, these days, and much pricier than when I sold them.

If I were looking for a decent "big name" lever-action rifle, these days, in the .45 caliber I'd probably look for a Winchester 1894 .45LC, Henry Big Boy .45LC, or possibly a Taylor's or Uberti vintage-type rifle in .45LC (ie, 1873 Carbine). Rossi's Model 92 has also been made in .45LC. The Taylor's guns are pretty sweet, and they can be very smooth and handy (particularly in the classic carbines). If doing "cowboy action" shooting, I'd most certainly be focusing on the Taylor's, Uberti or Cimmaron offerings, just from a vintage/reproduction style standpoint.

My own preference is for .44mag, and in that caliber my all-time favorite is the mid-'60s vintage Marlin 336 in .44mag, either the 336/44 or the 336T. Much preferred over the more-contemporary builds that Marlin has put out. But those can go for a pretty penny these days. Second choice, for me, is the .357mag in the lever-actions. Either of these pistol calibers can work well for using the same cartridge as a sidearm, as can the .45LC of course.
 

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I am not familiar with the 'big Horn', but I have owned and used the other three, and my hands down preference is the Marlin especially in 45-70. You forgot the new Mossberg, which appears to be a Marlin copy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am not familiar with the 'big Horn', but I have owned and used the other three, and my hands down preference is the Marlin especially in 45-70. You forgot the new Mossberg, which appears to be a Marlin copy.
 

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I vote for the Henry in .357.
Henry actions are silky smooth and you can't go wrong with a pistol caliber rifle.
Personally with the current price of ammo....I'd get a .22LR first. You did say for fun, right?
You don't plan on stopping with one rifle......do you?
 

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Yea I remember shooting a friends Ruger lever gun some years back and it was a blast. I think it was 44 but not sure. Would like to see them reproduce that one.
 

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I may be different than most but I like tube feed. I shoot lead bullets that get dinged up when pushed into the Marlin loading gate. Also much easier to clean out magazine tube.
Yeah, I don’t necessarily dislike tube feed completely, it has some advantages, but in reality the gun is sorta disabled to reload with the tube feed, which typically might not be a big deal, but if you have a load gate also (I like how Henry is starting to do both!), you can feed the rifle on the move without having to stop to pull the tube ram and load. A lever with a load gate, in my opinion, is a bit more adaptable to possible situations and needs.
 

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@PeeJay1313

I really like the looks of the Henry Levers at our local Walmart's. They seem to always have some Henry rifles in pistol caliber and rifle caliber both. And, a lot less expensive than the prices seem to be on the net.

Edit: I have had Marlin 30-30 336c rifles for years. From when Marlin made the good ones back in the 80's. The new Henry's I have had in hand have such a lot better action on them. And, all American made. Great warrantee. Life time I seem to recall.
 

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Lever guns are great. My old school heap has a .308 Savage 99F with 2X7 glass, and a .30-30 Marlin 30 AS. The newer pile has .41 mag Henry rifle to go with my Blackhawk. I put a big loop and 1X4X28 Vortex on it. Then I've got a .357 Rossi 92 to go with my 4" Rossi .357 or Astra 6" wheel guns. I'm looking for a Ruger 96. Get whatever crosses your path at a price you like, except a Remlin. PAX
 
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