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Thread: Which lever action ?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    I have a couple of Marlins in each, but for cast boolits against the critters you mention, I think the .32 Special out of a Marlin 336 SC would be my choice. I am shooting 200 grain bullets out of my 24" Marlin SC and get 2" groups regularly at 200 yards. Boolits from 170 to 200 grains will take care of most deer, pigs, etc. I think accuracy is easier out of the .32 Special. My waffle-top Marlin was drilled/tapped long before I got it, but I do like scopes for any hunting. There are 'cowboy' bullets available for light loads, Matt's bullets has a flatpoint GC, and Speer and Hornady make reliable softpoints. I size or use .323 cast bullets with very fine accuracy in 2 Marlin .32 Specials I shoot regularly. I have thought about a Winchester 64 in .32 Special but just haven't found the right one at the right time. Either recoil or rainbow trajectories keep me from thinking of the 45-70 for fun, I do hunt elk with it. For 'soft' or light loads, a rimmed cartridge keeps its headspace better than the .35 Rem. The .32 Special is and has always been about 10% more powerful than the .30-30 out of similar length barrels at the same pressures. We can quibble a lot about the 30-30, 35 Rem, and 32 Special. I like the .32 better than the 30-30 because it is 'SPECIAL'.

  2. #22
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    I cannot come up with "one firearm does all" to provide an answer to your query. At clubs I've belonged to, fellows will buy a .44 Rem Mag, and load it with .38 S&W Special mid-range comparable loads. "Huh? Why not just buy a .38?", generally comes to my mind. Lever actions are great actions -- a have a few of these, in several calibers. For plinking, there are many .22 levers -- in quite a range of prices, too. For game -- e.g., hogs, deer, and similar -- my classic "two" would be a choice of Winchester (94) or Marlin (336) -- model numbers in parentheses as suggestions. Whether .30 WCF, .32 Special, .375 Win, .38-40, .38-55, .44-40, .444... well, there are lots of choices, any and all should fair well for you. My simple way of looking at brands puts the Marlin with an edge over most other lever actions, as its lever is most easily removed for from-breech barrel cleaning, PLUS, ejection permits a scope mount directly above barrel, if you choose. I stumbled across an old, beaten Marlin 336 (in .30WCF) complete with an old Tasco (made in Japan) scope atop it just for hunting on days with such bad (snow/sleet/rain) conditions I didn't wish to take out a "good" rifle -- and, guess what? In past several years, it's been my #1 choice.
    Good luck... no disrespect, but hey -- give a .22 AND a central-fire thought to complement each other ?
    geo

  3. #23
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgerkahn View Post
    I cannot come up with "one firearm does all" to provide an answer to your query. At clubs I've belonged to, fellows will buy a .44 Rem Mag, and load it with .38 S&W Special mid-range comparable loads. "Huh? Why not just buy a .38?", generally comes to my mind. Lever actions are great actions -- a have a few of these, in several calibers. For plinking, there are many .22 levers -- in quite a range of prices, too. For game -- e.g., hogs, deer, and similar -- my classic "two" would be a choice of Winchester (94) or Marlin (336) -- model numbers in parentheses as suggestions. Whether .30 WCF, .32 Special, .375 Win, .38-40, .38-55, .44-40, .444... well, there are lots of choices, any and all should fair well for you. My simple way of looking at brands puts the Marlin with an edge over most other lever actions, as its lever is most easily removed for from-breech barrel cleaning, PLUS, ejection permits a scope mount directly above barrel, if you choose. I stumbled across an old, beaten Marlin 336 (in .30WCF) complete with an old Tasco (made in Japan) scope atop it just for hunting on days with such bad (snow/sleet/rain) conditions I didn't wish to take out a "good" rifle -- and, guess what? In past several years, it's been my #1 choice.
    Good luck... no disrespect, but hey -- give a .22 AND a central-fire thought to complement each other ?
    geo
    Take down of the Marlin is almost identical to the Henry FYI. Just sayin

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeynick39 View Post
    This one in .38-55:

    http://www.winchesterguns.com/produc...4-sporter.html

    BTW, the .38-55 is the case that spawned the .30-30 and .32 Special.
    +1

    Since you're going to be casting, go with one that's lots of fun. Easy way to do it is find an old Marlin that bubba has had his way with the bore, send it to JES for a re-bore to 38-55. Order Starline 2.082 length cases, an Accurate 38-250B mold (mine is plain based but you can get them gas checked) and let the grins begin. You talked about light plinking loads and hunting loads so here's mine. All with the plain based 38-250B boolet
    Plinking-10 gr Universal gives about 1220 or so fps in the 20" barrel
    hunting-21gr 4198 with a tuft of dacron gives 1400 fps. Doesn't sound like much but it's a bit faster than the original and you won't stop one in a deer.
    Heavy hunting-32 gr 3031 with a powder coated boolet for id. Getting 1600 fps in the 20" barrel and it really puts a whompin on a deer.
    There are some who load up to 1800+fps but I'm not that adventurous
    One of my two favorite cast shooting rifles.

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy

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    I like Marlins in the 45/70 chambering (mine is the 1895). That round is certainly versatile but given your stated use: plinking, whitetails & hogs, I might also consider 45LC. I notice it hasn't been mentioned yet so maybe somebody can set me straight on whether that's a reasonable choice..

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy Jedman's Avatar
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    Just to suggest something different, I would look for a old Savage 99 or 1899 in 303 Savage.
    They can still be found in the same price range as a Marlin 336 or Winchester 94 and dies and brass are easy to find and not high priced so you mentioned you will handload for whatever you chose.
    Reloading it is just like a 30-30 and can share the same load data but to me a 303 is just a little more fun than a 30-30.
    Most people either like their looks or think they are ugly, I say take a look at them and see what you think.

    Jedman

  7. #27
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    C-dubb's Avatar
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    thanks all, you've given me a lot to think about. the 38-55 sounds intriguing.
    I have owned a lot of 30/30 rifles but now it seems like I want to go with something a little different even though I know the 30/30 would do everything I asked of it.
    Something I failed to mention is that I intend to put a peep sight on it and prefer a straight grip.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlbarr View Post
    I like Marlins in the 45/70 chambering (mine is the 1895). That round is certainly versatile but given your stated use: plinking, whitetails & hogs, I might also consider 45LC. I notice it hasn't been mentioned yet so maybe somebody can set me straight on whether that's a reasonable choice..
    I did in post #14 and yes it is an excellent choice for hogs but more than is needed. Hogs are not that hard to kill.

  9. #29
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    One of the until recently produced Winchester/Miroku Model 1895 rifles, chambered for .30-'06 Springfield. If I didn't already own one, that's what I'd set my sights on. Second choice would be the same, but chambered for .30-40 Krag.

    Just my 2-cents


  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    So many are so good, it's up to your style. I think the marlin is the better gun (old), but I have two Win 94's. One .30-30 & one just converted by JES to .38-55. I'm lovin' the .38-55. Best thing I've done lately. Wonderful cast shooter and deadly with the Barnes 255 gr bullet. Henry always seems to be an after thought by many. It's a sweet gun, American made, and backed by a very responsive company. I have two and there is no better lever action, to work, than the Henry. If I were shopping and couldn't find a nice used one in the rack, I'd be serious about a Henry.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Not on your list, Savage 99 in 303 Savage, Lee makes dies, Prvi cases from Powder Valley or Graf's. Easy to load, handles the NOE RCBS 180 clone at 195 grains and all the other 30 cal stuff. Lots of decent Savage 99's at reasonable prices. Uses 30-30 data for most loading, like the 32 Special, just a little different to be really interestin.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    Browning BLR 3006 or 308.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-dubb View Post
    thanks all, you've given me a lot to think about. the 38-55 sounds intriguing.
    I have owned a lot of 30/30 rifles but now it seems like I want to go with something a little different even though I know the 30/30 would do everything I asked of it.
    Something I failed to mention is that I intend to put a peep sight on it and prefer a straight grip.
    Mine is a pistol grip. I put a Skinner Express peep on mine with a green fiber optic front. Not the best front for targets, but great for plinking and hunting. Really stands out when hunting and on the backyard gongs it gets used on year around. The Skinner is really compact and sturdy, but a little coarse in adjustments. Each half turn of the sight is close to 2" at 100 yards. Works well with the two slower loads I listed above, currently sighted so that at 50 yards the plinking load is centered on the bead. At this adjustment, the 1400 fps load is a 6 o'clock hold at 50 and close to center of the bead at 100.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by C-dubb View Post
    I like the old rounds .............
    then ya gotta go hyphenated
    maybe something in a '73 or '76 clone,
    ..

  15. #35
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    Win M95 in 405 would be nice. You could taylor the loads to the situation.

  16. #36
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-dubb View Post
    thanks all, you've given me a lot to think about. the 38-55 sounds intriguing.
    I have owned a lot of 30/30 rifles but now it seems like I want to go with something a little different even though I know the 30/30 would do everything I asked of it.
    Something I failed to mention is that I intend to put a peep sight on it and prefer a straight grip.
    Okay. Buy a Post 64 Winchester 94- I've seen them D&T from the factory for receiver sights. Send it to Jes Reboring to get it changed to 38-55. Done! Now enjoy. I wish I'd had my 94 done sooner.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master MOA's Avatar
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    Was looking at simpsonllc.com yesterday under winchester levers and they had one of the cleanest Winchester lever big bore in 375 Winchester that I've seem recently. I have it in a marlin model 375 lever. Good deer and elk caliber for working 250 and under in yardage.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master MOA's Avatar
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    Yup, still there.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #39
    Boolit Master


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    It is hard to make a poor choice. Think about getting two guns...if not now then in the near future. It may make for a better fit depending on how much plinking you plan to do.

    Plinking with rifle rounds is quite doable but not the best option IMHO. A .38/.357 lever action is ideal for that endeavor. I fire 200 rounds of plinking ammunition for every round of hunting power loads I shoot. It is easier to load straight wall cases, cases last a long time, and they are cheap to load.

    I do not hunt with cast bullets, but if I did, I would pick one the bigger calibers. It is easier to get an accurate load with .35 cal and up and they will be effective at lower velocities. Getting accurate loads over 2000 fps is not easy with cast bullets (at least for me YMMV). Even a .357 carbine will take a 170 gr bullet to about 1500 fps if you had to hunt with it. The .35 Rem will give you another 500-600 fps. Like another poster suggested, the .38/55 would make a good choice for a hunting platform but finding an affordable gun will not be easy. Mostlylevers made a good case for the .32Spl. They sometimes sit around a bit as they are not popular and could be aa affordable used gun buy.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  20. #40
    Boolit Bub
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    Marlin 336CB 24" Oct Barrel in 38-55. One Fun gun....son.

    http://leverguns.com/articles/38_55.htm

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check