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Posted: 5/25/2002 8:21:48 PM EST
Ok. I need opinions on a lever 30-30. I'm leaning towards the Winchester 94 Trapper due to the fact that it has a short 16" barrel that will fit in my pack. Marlin has a short barrel version, but not in 30-30. I been told the Marlin has a much stronger action, but the Winchester has a smoother firing cycle. Any comments on accuracy? I'm obviously not looking for a tack driver, but a portable rifle that I can use for deer, or in defense against a cranky black bear.
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 8:29:31 PM EST
My personal preference between the two is the Winchester.  I've played with both the Marlin 336 and several 94's, and while the Marlin has some advantages, such as easy scope mounting (vs. the older top eject 94's), the Winchester is significantly lighter and handier, which is what lever action carbines are all about.  I'd ditch the barrel mounted rear sight (Marble's filler blanks are available from Brownell's, etc. to fill the dovetail) and add a receiver sight such as Lyman 66 or Williams Foolproof, which will greatly improve your accuracy.  I had one older .30-30 Trapper (c. 1970's) that shot 1.5 to 2" three-shot groups with this sight setup at 100 yards, consistently, using factory ammo.  Hope helpful,
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 8:29:35 PM EST
I can't comment on the 30-30 models, but comparing my Winchester 94AE and my Marlin 1894CP (both .357 mag), the Marlin has a more positive feel while cycling and a sightly better trigger feel.  Both are well-made and very accurate for a handgun cartridge.

I'll give the edge to the Marlin.
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 8:37:15 PM EST
Look at this thread from earlier in the week.

Link Posted: 5/25/2002 8:51:23 PM EST
Marlin in Stainless
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 9:18:18 PM EST

Look at this thread from earlier in the week.


Missed that one, thanks Seems people like the Marlin better. In all honesty, I would get the Marlin if they offered a short barreled 30-30. A light, handy lever is my main criteria. I need something a bit more powerful than .44 mag, but less than 45/70. Plus, don't all Americans need at least one 30-30!
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 9:38:24 PM EST

Plus, don't all Americans need at least one 30-30!

Isn't the 30-30 ballistically similar to the 7.62x39?  

Link Posted: 5/25/2002 9:52:43 PM EST
Hey, I'm a big 7.62x39 fan myself. I have a SKS that has dropped two deer. Very effective round. Just need something smaller and lighter.

Is that a Romanian? Nice. One day I'll have an AK.
Link Posted: 5/26/2002 2:50:44 AM EST
One other consideration is that Marlins made during the last six or eight years of so all have 6-groove Ballard rifling with allows one to shoot cast bullets more readily.  Formerly Marlins had the Microgroove rifling wich works fine with jacketed bullets, but the small lands and grooves sometimes leaded rapidly if cast bullets were too soft.

I have a "family" prewar 94 Winchester that will shoot 1.5 MOA.  I have a 94 Big Bore in 375 Win that "patterned" instead of grouped because the screw at the end of the magazine was bearing on the barrel way too much and affecting accuracy.  I altually removed the mag tube and fired it single shot and got less than 2 MOA.  So I filed off the screw tip and kept the front band screw loose as well and it still will do 2.5 MOA or less.

For Marlins, I have three M39 .22 levers, an 1894 in .357, and 1894 in .32-20, a 20" 336 in .30-30, a .375 that shoots 1.5 MOA, and two 1895s, one a first-year 24" from the 70s with Ballard rifling, and the second is a 2000 year 24" 1895 with the new Ballard rifling and a trigger break to die for.  All the Marlins wear either Lyman, Redfield, or Williams Foolproof receiver sights with blanks replacing the factory rear sight base in the barrel dovetail.

I would not hesitate to get an older Winchester, say before the 80s when they started getting low-cost and the ownership kept changing.  But it might be tough to find your 16" tube.  There's something alluring about Winchester 1894 and 1892 actions and all the little "snicks and clicks" as the lever is worked.  

All that said, my preference is obviously Marlin. Even though I have the Winchesters, I handle them only to dust and re-oil.  The Marlins get fired.  IMO and experience they have the more consistently better triggers.

You said the 'b' word, so if I were you, I'd consider a Guide Gun in .45-70.  It does deer with 300 gr JSPs just fine, and has enough a$$ to do for bear.  You can always find a taller pack; to quote Robert Ruark, "use enough gun".

Another option would be to buy used at a show and have a good 'smith shorten the barrel and mag tube.  That mod would not be more than $150 or so, definitely less than $200 including bead blasting and reblueing for a really sharp matte finish that would hold the oil.

Link Posted: 5/26/2002 3:03:51 PM EST
Gun Test Magazine evaluated both the Marlin and Winchester sometime back. I use to subscribe to it many years ago. They do not praise and boast a product because of advertisements and/or manufactures sending them products to evaluate.

Their evaluation put the Winchester Lever Action on top. It was more accurate and lighter. It was also less expensive.

Do not get me wrong. I think the Marlin is a fine weapon. It is strong. You can probably shoot hot loads in it that would damage a Winchester.

If you are looking to purchase a Winchester 94 Trapper look around your area first. Also check out some of the pawn shops in your area. You can be surprised at the deals you can find. Then after you checked out the prices in your area you can check out the Internet. You can check out Auction Arms www.auctionarms.com/ , Gunbroker gunbroker.leaseanauction.com/ and GunsAmerica  www.gunsamerica.com/

What is nice about purchasing over the Net is that if you buy out of state NO TAXES just shipping. Of course the FFL dealer you go through will probably charge a transfer fee. But check all the dealers including the pawn shops. The pawn dealer I go through just charges me $10.00.

I prefer the Winchesters, especially the Wrangler look. I install the John Wayne lever on all my Trappers. You can purchase a John Wayne (Big Loop) for $40.00 from Winchester www.usracmfg.com/ . I also replace the factory sights with Marble Semi-buckhorn sights. www.marblearms.com/

I shoot factory loads so I do not need a rhino tough receiver. That is why I will be purchasing a U.S. Firearms Rodeo instead of a Ruger Vaquero.

We all have our likes and dislikes. My dad prefered Sears (Marlin).

Hasta luego compadres,

Link Posted: 5/26/2002 4:36:34 PM EST
Get the marlin. I've owned both, and though the marlin was heavier, it just felt like a better weapon. Also, the feed ramp on the marlin comes up on the return stroke of the lever, as opposed to winchesters system where the ramp comes up at the end of the levers downward stroke. If you don't haul down on the lever you might not raise the ramp on the Winchester.
Link Posted: 5/26/2002 5:35:16 PM EST
I have thought about this and have some more information for you. You have probably heard the bad things about Winchesters built after 1964. How better the pre 1964's are.

Well, with Colt 1873 SAA's its the 1st Generation, 2nd Generation and 3rd Generation. Which is better?

With Ruger it's the Blackhawks. The 3 screws are better than the 3 pinned?

With the AR15's. Which is better a preban or a post ban? I am starting to go with post ban. Who needs that flash suppressor and collapsible stock anyway? The only thing about a preban is that you can have both.

One thing that I hated that Winchester(United States Repeating Arms)did was cost saving. In the old days (post 64) they used different outside diameter barrel blanks for different calibers. One size barrel blank was used for 30-30 while another was used for the 45 Colt and 44 Mag. Well to cut costs they used the same barrel blank for the 30-30, 45 Colt, 44 Mag and 357 Mag. The same barrel outside diameter but different caliber diameters. I hated it on my Wrangler with rebounding hammer and cross bolt safety.

Well, I miss the click click from the hammer being pulled back. The cross bolt safety is practical. But the barrel is great. It is a heavy barrel. So it takes a little longer for the barrel to heat up. Less barrel distortion.

So if you decide to purchase a Winchester 94 Trapper. I would encourage you to pick up a new model instead of a pre 64. Pass up the late 60's, 70's, 80's models.

The extra weight of the barrel keeps it right on target.

Of course it took me a while to come to that conclusion.

If you decide to purchase a Winchester 94 you might want to pick up an AGI video on the Winchester 94.

It would be nice if the Winchester 94 Trapper  came in stainless. I did come across a chromed one at the local gunshop though.


Link Posted: 5/26/2002 7:58:47 PM EST
First of all, I would like to second the motion of recommending a Marlin in 45/70.  This cartridge will easily dispatch any nasty critter you might encounter.

Secondly, you've got a couple of options here.  You can get the 1895 or the 1895G.  The difference between the two is barrel length and stock configuration.  The 1895 has a pistol grip stock and a 22" barrel while the 1895G has a straight grip stock and an 18.5" barrel.  Since both of these rifle's barrels can be cut to 16" without modification to the mag tube, the style of stock you prefer is the only issue.  My 1895 has had the barrel cut to 18.5", has been refinished in matte hard chrome, and wears Ashley ghost ring sights.

I chose Marlin because of the solid actions and awesome triggers.  Here's my baby...

Link Posted: 5/26/2002 8:01:04 PM EST
I misread your second post. Ok, you are looking for a lever action rifle in 30-30 with a 16" barrel. You are looking at a Winchester 94 Trapper because Marlin does not make a lever action in 30-30 with a 16" barrel. But if Marlin did have a 30-30 with a 16" barrel you would prefer it.

Marlin did make a lever action with a 16" barrel. It was called a "Marauder". It was chambered in 35 Remignton. A friend from work has one but it is chambered in 30-30. So you might be able to find one. I have seen it posted at Auction Arms, Gunbroker and GunsAmerica from time to time.

You can also check out these two sites for some help.



Good luck.


Link Posted: 5/26/2002 8:10:59 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/28/2002 6:26:10 PM EST

Have you figured out what you want?

Let's look at the pricing.

The dealer price for a Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun in 45/70 is $379.95. Weight 7 lbs.

For a Marlin Model 1895GS (Stainless) in 45/70 the dealer price is $444.50. Weight 7lbs.

For the rest of the Marlin line of 30-30's (336A, 336W, 336WW, 336CC, 336C, 336CC, 336SS) the dealer prices are between $264.50 - $375.50. They all have 20" barrels that would need to be cut down by a gunsmith.

The dealer price for a Winchester 94 Ranger Compact in 30-30 with 16" barrel is $259.95. It weighs 5 7/8 lbs. The stock is hard wood.

The dealer price for a Winchester 94 Trapper in 30-30 with a 16" barrel is $298.50. It weighs 6 lbs. The stock is walnut.

The only difference between the Compact and the Trapper is the wood. And the price.

These are the general price a gun dealer will buy it for. Then a percentage is added. Generally a dealer will tack on 10%. But I have seen higher percentages.

Now Ramline makes a set of synthetic stocks for the Winchester 94 Trapper for about $50.00. You could have the Ramline stock and Winchester Compact for the price of the Winchester Trapper.

The list price(not dealer) for the Winchester Compact is $363.00. The list price for the Trapper is $416.00. Those prices will very from dealer to dealer and the Internet.

But if price is no object then buy one of the Marlins and ship it off to Wild West Guns  www.wildwestguns.com/ They can make it any way you want.

Link Posted: 5/28/2002 8:51:30 PM EST

I'm obviously not looking for a tack driver, but a portable rifle that I can use for deer, or in defense against a cranky black bear.

The one time I encountered a black bear in the wild, I found that just throwing sticks at it was sufficient to drive it off.
Link Posted: 5/28/2002 10:18:31 PM EST
Has anyone been inspired by the March issue of "The Accurate Rifle", and headed out to buy some of the Garrett 45-70 Super-Hard-Cast ammo?www.garrettcartridges.com/products.asp
Sounds interesting, but the article seemed to be inconclusive.

Lemme know what you think.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:42:02 PM EST
You mentioned that you wanted something more powerful than a 44 Mag. Well, how about a 454 Casull. Legacy Sports www.legacysports.com has a Rossi 92 in 454 Casull. It has a 20" barrel though. I know you said you wanted a 16" barrel.

Why not pick up a Rossi 92 with a 16" barrel in 44 Mag or 45 Colt. If the Rossi 92 will hold up to the 454 Casull then why couldn't you reload either the 44 Mag or the 45 Colt to 454 Casull ballistics. The Rossi 92 with a 16" barrel is lighter than either the Winchester or Marlin. The weight of a Rossi 92 with a 16" barrel is only 5.5lbs.

For information on the Rossi 92 in 454 Casull check out the Legacy Sports website www.legacysports.com/product/specs/puma.htm

I have a Rossi 92 in 45 Colt with a 16" barrel with a large loop lever and in stainless. I carry it more than my Colt Carbine when I go out backpacking and hiking. I am waiting to see the Rossi 92 in 454 Casull to be listed at one of the Net auctions. I will be picking one up. The barrel will be shortened to 16" after I get a hold of it. Of course a large loop lever will also be added. I do not like the looks of the rubber recoil pad though. I will wait to see how it shoots.

Oh, the price for 454 Casull ammunition is about $40.00 for 20 rounds. Ouch! Reloading is the way to go. I remember a few years ago 44-40 Winchester was more expensive than 44 Magnum.

But as pundit said: "The 44-40 has killed more game (large and small), and more men (good or bad) than any other cartridge in history."

Link Posted: 5/29/2002 7:13:07 PM EST
Marlin.  1895.  .45/70

Link Posted: 5/29/2002 7:23:51 PM EST
For the Marlin you can buy a Trapper Gun spring kit to smooth things out. For the Winchester, you have to have a gunsmith work on it.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 11:16:48 AM EST
By the feed back received I guess the Marlin 1895 in 45/70 is the favorite.

Now how many of you actually carry a 7lb rifle(any make) with you when you go backpacking. Not driving your truck or ATV or riding on a horse. Not camping in your camper or motor home. Not having a base camp to go to at the end of the day during hunting season. Not carrying your rifle to the shooting range from your vehicle. I mean putting all you can carry in a backpack for more than a just a weekend outing. When was the last time anyone has thrown on an ALICE pack?

Not many I think.

Most believe they can. Or wish they could.

During Memorial Weekend they had their annual short hike at the Grand Canyon. From Rim to Rim. Kicked my butt. No backpack or rifle though.
If any of you are interesting in getting up and hiking. Check out your hiking clubs. Or you can just sit there and fantasize you can carry that 7lb rifle.

Adventure in Hiking www.swlink.net/~ttidyman/hiking/
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