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Old 01-29-2015, 12:56 AM
HOUSTON RICK HOUSTON RICK is online now
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Default 357 Mag/38 Special lever action rifles/carbines

As the quest for the perfect all purpose over/under shotgun continues, I have decided that I "need" a lever action 357 rifle to round out the rifle collection. I am currently partial to the Marlin 1894C (probably because it is the only one that I have shot). What are your favorite 357 magnum lever action rifles and why? Thank you, Rick
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:01 AM
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Pre-safety, pre-Taurus Rossi 92. Why? John Moses Browning. What else needs said?
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:11 AM
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I also prefer the 1892s over the 1894s.

I have them in both 357 Magnum and 45 Long Colt

I also like the pump rifles in the same caliber. The Colt Lightning or it's copies.

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Old 01-29-2015, 03:35 AM
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A few weeks ago I got to try both a Marlin 1894 and a Winchester 1892 clone from Navy Arms (Rossi?). Both were .357 Magnum. These are my impressions:

1. The action of the 1892 felt tighter and more solid than the Marlin.
2. The 1892 seemed to be easier to load.
3. The 1892 seemed to have less felt recoil than the Marlin.
4. The Marlin is side eject and much easier to mount a telescopic sight.
5. Both seemed equally accurate.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:10 AM
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I have the Marlin 1894css. It is a ton of fun to shoot and very accurate. It is also the reason I now have a progressive press!
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:08 AM
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I can't speak to the Marlin, which I imagine is a quality rifle.

The Rossi 92 16" carbine that I have, even though a newer model, has been a joy to own. It's run well with the 5 or 6 different ammo types I've put in there, including the 158 +P lswchp I always have laying around for my snubs. I think it's a great value. I did, admittedly, only buy it because it was the first .357 levergun I could find. I was prepared to pay more for a different brand. I am not disappointed, however.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:27 AM
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I have the Marlin with the "JM" marking. I added XS sights. It's a keeper and would never sell it.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:44 AM
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I have a Winchester 1892 that dates to 1904 that was restored and rebarreled by a previous owner and a new Rossi M92. Both rifles are quite accurate and after deburring the internal cuts in the receiver, replacing the ejector spring with one for a Winchester, and trimming the lever detent spring 1/2 coil the Rossi actually runs slightly smoother than that old Winchester.

Another positive for the Rossi is that you can purchase a mounting rail and equip it with a Scout Scope if you need the help of optics. BTW, it's a very short rail so positioning is critical and 2 scopes that I've had on the Rossi that work well are a 2 power Nikon Handgun scope (2x28 EER) and a 4 power Weaver Scout Scope. Due to the limited range of available positioning nothing else I've tried has worked.

As for sights on the Winchester, I went in classic direction with this rifle. It has a Marbles Rear Tang Sight mounted in a Co-Witness setup with the normal buckhorn sights these rifles came with. Using a Co-Witness setup allows me to keep the standard buckhorn sight in place and also provides the benefit a more discriminating sight picture because the circle produced by the rear peep sight is rather large with the aperture I prefer.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:55 AM
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I've had a Henry Big Boy 357/38 for about a year. I know they're a little pricey, and the rifle's on the heavy side, but it shoots and operates like a dream.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:06 AM
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Went from a 20" Rossi to a 16" Winchester Trapper...... about 15 years ago.

Light & handy...... added a Skinner rear barrel peep sight and fiber optic front awhile back.......backup to either a 3" 66-4 or a 3" 60-10
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:22 AM
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I only have experience with one, my pre crossbolt safety Marlin. It has
the smooth stock which I much prefer to the later checkered stocks on
the Marlins. The overall quality and fit of my older Marlin just seems
better than the later ones but it does have micro groove rifling which
is not so great with cast bullets. I have confidence in the quality of
older Marlins and the smooth wood and lack of safety gives it the
classic lever action look and so it is my pick of what's available.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:25 AM
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I have a 24" octagon SS rossi. After a detail strip cleaning and deburring of internals it runs great. Long sight radius helps old eyes. Being barrel heavy makes off hand shooting easier. I've never seen much less shot the other brands. I'm happy with what I have.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:29 AM
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I own the following .38/.357 rifles/carbines:

A Browning B92 with 20" barrel
A Rossi '92 with 16" barrel
A Rossi '92 with 20" barrel
A Beretta Gold Rush (pump action) with 20" barrel
A Miroku/Winchester 1873 with 20" barrel

As you can see I own a few and not a Marlin in the bunch. I've owned Marlins in the past and just never cared for them....but I have no intention of mounting a scope or other optical sight on any pistol cartridge carbine or rifle. If I did I'd own a Marlin.

Of the bunch, the Browning B92 is the slickest and IMHO the best '92 ever made, including the old original Winchesters. It's closely followed by the Miroku/Winchester '73. The Browning's have been discontinued for years and finding a slick one will set you back $800-1,000. The '73's are available at $1,100 plus. Miroku/Winchester also makes a '92 in .38/.357.

The Beretta is discontinued but you can still find them for under $1,000, but be warned...getting one to run right can be difficult and expensive. But once you get it running right there's not a lever gun that can compete with one for fast shooting.

IMHO the Rossi guns are the best bang for the buck, unless you want to mount optics. People cuss the bolt mounted safeties on the Rossi's and the tang mounted ones on the Miroku/Winchesters, and I admit I don't like 'em period. But they're head and shoulders better than those abomination receiver buttons the late Winchesters and Marlins have. They're also easy to remove.

Of my Rossi's I have an earlier model with no safety and an newer BrazTech/Taurus model that came with one (it's gone now). I guess the first ones that came out after Taurus bought Rossi out were left overs and were kinda rough. I have two of the Taurus guns, another '92 .44 mag with a 24" barrel, and they were slicker out of the box than any of the older Rossi guns I ever owned or handled. A visit to Rossi 92 Specialist, Nate Kiowa Jones a.k.a. Steve Young - Professional Gunsmith for his DVD and enhancement kit will slick up any of the Rossi guns to run like a Singer sewing machine or you can send them to him, let him do the work and really be impressed at smooth.

All of these guns can be finicky on cartridge OAL, so you may have to play a little with that if you reload. Also some of them don't feed .38's real well. Cowboy action shooter's usually have their guns set up to feed .38's reliably because that's all they usually shoot.

Another gun that hasn't been mentioned is the Henry Big Boy. I don't have one, but have shot several and found them to be very slick actioned and accurate. My wife's wanting one to go with her Golden Boy .22 for CAS so I figure there will be one in the safe before too long, I just don't care for not having a receiver mounted loading gate.

Hope this helps.

Rob
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:08 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I have/do own both Marlin 1894's and Rossi 92's (See above for lots of opinions) I have owned other brands and models but not in 38/357.

The 1873 Winchester copy is a very good action, but is very particular about overall length. Mine is in 44 Special,and is one of my favorites.

The Colt Lightning copies (mine was in 45 Colt and by Taurus), in straight wall cartridges, they tend to blow powder in your face! (a common complaint about all originals too). A friend has 2 Berettas in 44-40 and has no problems.

1894 Winchester, best friend had one, I thought the quality was lacking. Feeding issues were common.

Of the Marlin 94 and the 92, the Marlin is much (by 2 or 3 times) easier to take apart for a detail cleaning.
On safeties: I have owned both brands with and without the external safeties. They only effect the appearance, not the performance! (Marlins have a set screw to disable the push button).
There are more accessories for Marlins than 92's, If you like extra sights and stuff.

If you own any other Marlin lever action, most springs and screws are interchangeable, which keeps spares to a minimum. 92's very from brand to brand.
This applies to Marlin 1894 in 357 ONLY. They will develop a problem with the elevator at 1000 rounds plus. The paw on the lever rides/pushes the elevator from the bottom and wears a "trench" in it, causing the gun to feed 357's but not 38 specials. Welding or epoxying a hardened shim is the fix or replacement. (Factory only parts are always harder to get from Remington!)

Currently the 357 Marlin is the most sought after lever gun on the market. That drove prices up and availability down.

I hope my experience will help you get the most enjoyment out of your purchase. Ivan
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:18 AM
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My wife shoots 38 spl for CAS. We checked all of them out that we could find and she settled on the Marlin Cowboy. She loves it.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:08 AM
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I AM A LONG TIME MARLIN SHOOTER AND COLLECTOR. FOR ME, ITS A NO BRAINER. GO WITH THE MARLIN. SIDE EJECTION LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN FOR EASY OPTICS MOUNTING, IF NEED BE. I WOULD SEARCH FOR A CLEAN OLDER ONE ON THE AUCTION SITES. I HAVE NO IDEA AS TO THE QUALITY OF THE NEWER ONES. THE LAST NEW ONE WAS A GUIDE GUN IN 45-70, THAT I PURCHASED WHEN THEY FIRST BECAME AVAILABLE. THAT WAS LONG BEFORE THE SALE OF THE COMPANY….
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:48 AM
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I had the pre-safety Marlin in .357. A real fun gun. My only complaint was that the spring on the magazine cover was so strong you almost needed a crow bar to load the gun.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:59 AM
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Winchester (Miroku) 1873 has a very sweet action. Fit and finish on mine is impeccable although that may be due to the grade of the rifle. I am a huge fan of Miroku guns, they do a fine job.

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Old 01-29-2015, 05:06 PM
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i have a Rossi 92 in .38/.357 and the marlin in .44. I think they shoot the same. The big factor for me is/was Rossi I paid $175.00 3 years ago Marlin $700.00 1 year ago, it is a J.M. gun. Last week tried to buy a JM marlin in .38/.357 but the guy would not move off $900.00 I don't think you can wrong with either.

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Old 01-29-2015, 05:46 PM
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I have an Uberti 1873 w/18" bbl, .38/.357 that I love. I load .38 spl with Accurate No. 5 and a 158 gr truncated cone lead bullet from Penn Bullets. I'm at about 11-12 cents per round with my own used brass, and never had a feed problem.

I've never shot .357 in it. From what I've read, the bullet shape and overall length need to be right to make the gun run.

It's a smoooooooth tack driver at ~1,000 fps, very pleasant and fun to shoot. When 22's got scarce about 2-3 years ago, it became my plinking gun. A friend shot it, and with a big smile declared it a .22 on steroids.

I have my first gun I bought in 1960, a Marlin 39 .22, and this Uberti is so slick it makes the 39 feel like a gravel crusher. I have no experience with the other lever guns, but I love my Uberti '73.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:33 PM
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I have found that a Marlin likes "hot" loads. Mine didn't group well with .38s or light .357s. Cranked up some full power 357s and the groups got a lot smaller.

Have the same problem as Federali with the loading gate spring, I found a small piece of wooden dowel to push the cartridge in is a big help in making your finger less sore.

Happy shooting!
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:51 AM
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For y'all that have trouble with the loading gate, if you're at all handy, you might give this thing a try.

Lever Action Speed-loader

It's easy on your fingers.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by federali View Post
I had the pre-safety Marlin in .357. A real fun gun. My only complaint was that the spring on the magazine cover was so strong you almost needed a crow bar to load the gun.
Mine is the same way plus the inside edges of the loading
port are as sharp as a knife. I plan to take the gun apart
some day and deburr the port and replace or weaken the
spring.
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:09 AM
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I have a 92 copy in 357. It's older, not marked Rossi, only Interarms. Like new condition and with good reason. It will only reliably feed jacketed bullets with no exposed soft lead at the tip like XTPs. Lead tipped bullets will almost always jam as the bolt tries to push the round into the chamber.
Just wondering if anyone here has this same problem or found a fix.
Thanks
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:30 AM
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I have a '92 Rossi lever action in 38/357. Very well built and quite reliable with one caveat. If you load with .38 special it will feed perfectly. If you load .357 only it will do the same. But if you mix the load it will jam trying to chamber a .357 after a .38. As I'm not handy with mechanical stuff I think I will just send mine to Nate Kiowa Jones for the fix. Or I could just do what I've been doing, load one or the other. But I'm inclined to send it to NKJ for slicking up. That way I won't be inclined to want to buy anything else (retired on fixed income).
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:28 AM
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You could stick to using Horandy XTP 357s. That bullet shape and construction will feed flawlessly. Then, there's the other issue of the extractor tossing the empty cases into the next county. Still, it's a classy little rifle. I'd love to know if there's a fix for the jamming issue.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:35 AM
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A couple years ago I picked up a Rossi 92, 16" carbine in .38/ .357. It worked OK out of the box. But hardly ever being able to leaving well enough alone, I smoothed and cleaned up the action, and refinished the stock..

.38 Spl. recoil, is like shooting a .22. With .357's I'm getting 1600 fps with my 158 gr reloads. The rifle will feed SWC , but doesn't like them much. Everything else feeds pretty good.

A Fun little gun,
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigChief52 View Post
You could stick to using Horandy XTP 357s. That bullet shape and construction will feed flawlessly. Then, there's the other issue of the extractor tossing the empty cases into the next county. Still, it's a classy little rifle. I'd love to know if there's a fix for the jamming issue.
Steve's Gunz Rossi 92 Video was a big help when I worked on my 92.. If you are handy I would recommend it. If not handy and/or not wanting to mess with it.. Check out sending it to Steve's Gunz.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:48 AM
Richard Simmons Richard Simmons is offline
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While it's not exactly what you asked about I've got one of the Rossi Ranch Hands in .357/38 special and though not at all practical as far as a rifle goes it is a lot of fun to shoot and is a lever action.

Not terribly expensive and so far mine has been 100% reliable except for feeding 158gr .357mag soft points which is does not like to do. If Rossi offered on in .41mag. I'd be adding a second one to the collection.
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:01 AM
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Default 92 Rossi .357 16 inch stainless

The 92 Rossi 16 inch .357 stainless is the greatest of them all ! Period I have the pre safety Marlin Carbine and a 1 st model 16 inch Win trapper and love them also but the stainless is a no brainer in a fun gun like these the safety on the bolt looks crappy but I don't use it at all , why would u ? also over 16 inch BBL length with a pistol cartridge is totally useless ! bullet doesn't get any faster after 16 inches in a pistol caliber ! doesn't have enough Arse behind it ! the 16 inch handles so well , u don't need a big heavy 20 or 24 inch esp octagon bbl in a pistol caliber for Gods sake ! gobbles up my 158 gr lead reloads like a machinegun swc and rn both , rn a little easier to get into loading gate , I only use .357 rounds / cases and have never had a fail to feed out of hundreds of rounds , only drawback is all the little rossi 's I have tend to shoot high ( even on lowest sight setting ) must take a fine bead at 25 to 50 yds and beyond , but they are a hoot ! and the stainless steel seals the deal I have all 3 the 44 /45lc /and the .357 and they are tops in my opinion ! Now if I could only get enough of u with me to beg them into making a .41 Magnum caliber one it would be the greatest ! the 45 LC is my personal favorite but the .357 with bulk cast bullets I can shoot cheap ! 41 steve
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:36 AM
exdetsgt exdetsgt is offline
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"SWC" ? I'm new to rifles. The WC probably stands for wad cutter, but I'm clueless about the S.
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Simmons View Post
While it's not exactly what you asked about I've got one of the Rossi Ranch Hands in .357/38 special and though not at all practical as far as a rifle goes it is a lot of fun to shoot and is a lever action.

Not terribly expensive and so far mine has been 100% reliable except for feeding 158gr .357mag soft points which is does not like to do. If Rossi offered on in .41mag. I'd be adding a second one to the collection.
Out at SHOT I had a nice chat with the good folks at Rossi/Taurus about the Ranch Hand and the possible return of the Thunderbolt.

The one thing that shocked me was that the Ranch Hand has been discontinued in 22LR. I would have bet those would be under the Christmas trees of CAS children everywhere. However I am told sales were poor.

There are no new caliber introductions planned at this time. I would also jump on a 41 Magnum Ranch Hand to keep my two Marlins company.

The Thunderbolt came out with zero advertising budget and then was gone. I have one in 45LC myself and would buy another one in 357 if they were available. Perhaps even other calibers. One of my goals in stopping by the booth was to see if I could get them to let loose a part. Rossi/Taurus did agree to ship me a spare barrel for my Thunderbolt. I am going to thread it for a suppressor.

14 suppressed rounds of 300 grain 45LC JHPs moving at 1000 FPS
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:59 PM
old&slow old&slow is offline
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Originally Posted by exdetsgt View Post
"SWC" ? I'm new to rifles. The WC probably stands for wad cutter, but I'm clueless about the S.
Sorry,
SWC = Semi wad cutter. or you might see LSWC ( lead SWC )
A lot revolver ammo can / might be SWC or LSWC.

Round Nose, Truncated Cone , or Jacketed seem to feed better in my Rossi 92.
The LSWC will feed but every once in a while, the edge of the bullet will catch a little bit and
maybe shave a bit of lead.

Last edited by old&slow; 02-01-2015 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:54 PM
Frizzman Frizzman is offline
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I don't have a .357 rifle/carbine but I have a Henry Big Boy in .45 Colt and I like it. It needs no tweaking to function smoothly and it's beautifully made. One either like's the load from the muzzle end magazine or not. I devised and made a quick loader tube using half inch copper tube and can dump ten rounds into it in a few seconds...I also like that it's made in the USA with all American materials by a family owned company...It's not cheap but it's not cheaply made. There is no crossbolt safety. It's not designed for scope mounting but I find a scope on pistol caliber leverguns to be an abomination...A good friend has a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Competition Carbine. It has a very smooth action and the trigger isn't bad. It's not as perfectly inletted or as accurate as my Henry but it is lighter. I understand why it's there but I don't like the safety...I had a Winchester 94 Trapper in 1990. The action with a pistol cartridge was a bit sloppy and the elevator broke soon after getting the rifle...Never had a Winchester 92.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:05 AM
Stevie Stevie is offline
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I've been playing with .44 caliber lever-guns. Started with a stainless Rossi/Braztec .44mag 20" carbine. This a superb working and shooting gun that has served me well as a truck/ATV hunting gun. I've been a fan of the .44 magnum in longarms for years and this one has been just perfect!

My next two .44 lever-guns I picked-up last spring. Two .44-40 'project guns'...one an older Interarms Rossi M92 carbine with a cracked buttstock and a minor dent in the mag-tube plus a vintage M1892 Winchester sporting rifle with a badly dented mag-tube and a cracked forearm. Both fairly easy guns to repair although I did have to do some work on the Rossi .44-40's action to get it feeding smoother. Took longer to figure out what to 'smooth-up' and take it apart than it did to actually 'fix' it. These .44-40 lever-guns really sweet shooters too.

My latest .44-40 is another old original Winchester M1892 project-gun. This one a saddle-ring carbine that has been terribly used and abused. I just this weekend got it worked-over and repaired to shootability. Pleased to find that despite it's rough bore it will still shoot fair with jacketed bullets. I could fill paragraph after paragraph outlining this old gun's problems and repairs...however it's coming around.

I bought or traded for all three of my .44-40 project guns from the same guy who happens to be a Winchester accumulator. This guy has the coolest .357 mag 'truck-gun' I've seen to date! His .357 mag lever-gun is an old original Winchester he had converted to .357 magnum. I'm guessing it probably started life as a .32-20 saddle-ring carbine...
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:36 AM
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Turning 44/40s into 44 magnums and 32/20s into 357s was a common thing, back in the good old days. I read on SOME forum (maybe this one, but I'm not sure) of a guy with a Winchester 92 in 256 Winchester, which is a 357 necked down to 25. So his probably started out as a 25/20 - could use the same barrel that way.
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