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Posted: 2/27/2002 11:14:01 AM EDT
I have decided to add a lever gun to my collection. I have decided on Marlin's model 336 or 1894, I just need to choose a caliber. I am stuck between the .44 mag, the .357 mag, or the venerable 30/30. Here are my details:
1. I don't reload
2. I may/may not hunt with it (live in Georgia)
3. I have a bolt action .308 for hunting
4. I have a 12 ga pump shotgun
5. I have .22 calibers
6. I have a .357 self defense revolver
7. I am NOT wealthy
8. In my area, the model 336 is $280, the 1894 is $380
9. I don't do cowboy action shooting
10. Buying it primarily because I don't have a lever action yet.

Any advice or insight would be GREATLY appreciated

roy d.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 11:24:55 AM EDT
I have a Marlin in .35 Rem and I love it. Hard hitting especially compared to 30/30, gives you a good brush gun and is good out to 150-200 yds.Personally I am not a fan of pistol cal.s in hunting rifles, I am sure you will get other opinions but thats mine:) Gene
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 11:38:48 AM EDT
Sounds like you want a plinker?
go with the .357
you already have the ammo.

Link Posted: 2/27/2002 11:44:52 AM EDT
I'd be inclined to go with the .30-30. Best reason for buying the pistol caliber would be to match a handgun, and I can't get too excited by the .357 in a rifle.

A .30-30, if well handled can do anything you need a rifle to do in the contiguous .48 states.

Any reason you don't look at a Savage Model 99 in .308? Fine guns, and without the usual blunt bullet restrictions in lever actions.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 11:47:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2002 11:49:04 AM EDT by Green_Furniture]
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 11:52:35 AM EDT
Roy,

You won't regret going with the old 30-30. I am a lever rifle fan, four levers in my house one AR.

While the pistol calibers are great fun and they are very capable hunting calibers within their design limitations, the 30-30 was designed to be an improvement over the pistol caliber lever actions available at the time of its introduction (1895).

You stated you you don't reload and aren't wealthy, 30-30 ammo is about as inexpensive as it gets for factory rifle ammo. If you were primarily interested in fun shooting and you were willing to spend a little more for the rifle, one of the good Winchester 1892 reproductions may fit the bill in .357. But, I wouldn't recommend it if it was also going to be a primary hunting rifle (too limiting).

On a strictly economic basis, if you were willing to get a used rifle there are plenty of used Winchester 1894s on the market, which in my opinion look better if you get one made before they adopted the angle eject. They made an ugly cut out in the receiver to accommodate the angle eject and now have an ugly safety button too! (Just my opinion)

If you are not in hurry to purchase, check out the used guns at the local shop. There are lots of lever guns for sale. You should be able to get a good used Win. '94 for $200-$250 easily, maybe less.

Good luck, whatever your decision,
Kent
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 1:13:41 PM EDT
I think you'ld be disappointed with anything less than a 30-30, but 45-70 is the shit! And it doesn't have that bad of recoil, the kick reminds me of a 12GA pump, maybe a magnum. And I just happen to have one for sale.... just kidding.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 1:15:22 PM EDT
Between what you list for options, I'd go with either the 44 mag or .30-30. I've got the 1894 in 44 (so I guess that's my choice)and blasting away with 10 rounds in the tube is a lot of fun. On the other hand, I only paid $279 for mine years back, don't know if it's worth $100 over the .30-30.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 2:44:44 PM EDT
If you never have had a 30-30, I would go with the 336. A great rifle at a bargain price. Watch-Six
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 6:05:39 PM EDT
I have a Marlin 336 in 30/30 and like it a lot. HOWEVER, I must agree with what Green Canoe said about getting a used Winchester 1894 for the same price.

First, the Winchester in the "real McCoy" and secondly it will probably have a bit better resale value in the long run. Ironically though, lever actions don't seem to be real popular right now so buy 'em up while they're cheap!
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 6:36:57 PM EDT
A few random thoughts for the debate:

1. .44's a great manstopper as well as black bear, but I have heard some have trouble feeding .44 specials. (expensive too)

2. Shooting .38's is really cheap fun, but the .357 is a marginal hunting cartridge at best.

3. The 30/30 is sooooo popular and available everywhere, but it has a 24" barrel rather than the quick pointing 16" barrel of the pistol caliber 1894's (not to mention micro-groove rifling rather than Ballard rifling)

4. I thought I read somewhere that the Duke preferred the 38-40, not the 30/30 in his Winchesters

5. I prefer Marlin over Winchester based on the workmanship and over all quality.

6. I prefer the higher capacity of the pistol calibers over the big bore rifle cartridges.

7. Ammo price and availabilty is a BIG consideration, so I won't be getting a .444 or a .450

8. Does anyone believe that someday a levergun will be the only legal rifle civilians are allowed to have? Just a thought.

9. I missed a chance at getting a used (98%) 20 year old Marlin 336 in .35 Remington for $150 about a month ago...guy in line in front of me just had to have it more I guess.

10. Read number 9 again...I am still crying.

roy d.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 8:24:29 PM EDT
FWIW ... I have a Marlin in .44 Mag I bought used ($160 at a dealer closeout) about five years ago and LOVE it. Ten rounds of .44 mag is a whole lot of firepower -- the cartridge's energy really soars with a 20-inch barrel -- yet it's light enough to shoot one-handed (I can't do that comfortably with a 30-30).

It's great for plinking and just having around when camping/hiking; it's politically correct whenever the appearance of a black gun would create problems; and with 270-to-300-grain factory loads it's now my favorite boar-deer-bear gun.

I've sold off the rest of my hunting rifles except for this, a coupla .22s and a .300 Weatherby (and put the bucks into politically incorrect firearms). Have yet to find something I couldn't handle with this hunting combo.

And, if for any reason you DON'T like it, a .44 mag lever gun holds its value much better than a 30-30.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 8:52:48 PM EDT
Why in hell do you keep posting the same damn question?..............
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 9:13:34 PM EDT
I know you don't reload now, but if you think you're ever going to, I'd get a 45/70. You can safely load it anywhere from a mild round to put big holes in paper all the way up to a big game killer. If money is a serious issue and you're not going to reload, I'd buy the 357, and feed it cheap 38 special.z
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 10:59:26 PM EDT
Stay away from the 44 mag. Marlin uses a rate of twist in their barrels that doesnt stabilize 300 gr bullets or heavier. The stock has way too much drop and poor stock design combined with light weight equals a gun that is not very fun to shoot. The 336 in any version is a wonderful rifle, far superior to the Winchester 94 in my opinion.
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