Lever action

Whaledriver

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
262
Location
Colorado
My vote is for the Marlin 336 in 30/30. It was first centerfire rifle I owned. Saved all summer to buy it. I believe I was 13 or 14. I became absolutely deadly with that thing under 150 yards open sights. Everything from coyotes to whitetail. Really was the most impressive in the timber. Still have it to this day.
 

wytx

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
745
Location
Wyoming
Depends on if you're going to hunt small game or large game with it. For plinking and small game a nice 22 mag or maybe one of the 17s would be fun, Henry makes a few good models.
44 mag. is a great caliber for a bit large game and plinking as well. Still fun to shoot.
30-30 is tried and true for larger game. You can find a decent used Winchester .

We have a few lever action rifles. Some get shot often , some haven't been out of the safe in a few years.
Starting with the most shot :

22 mag Henry and Winchester
17hmr Henry
22 short, long and lr Winchester
41 mag Henry
44 mag Winchester
454 casull (2) Rossi, Puma
270 wsm BLR
32 spl Winchester
30-30 Winchester

Only the BLR is scoped.

The right caliber, they're just fun to shoot.
Looks like we need a Marlin.
 

longspeak74

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
228
Location
Wisconsin
I learned to shoot on an old Marlin 30-30 that was my mom's whitetail gun (yes, my mother's). Still sits it my gun case and gets used every Fall.
 

rayporter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
2,098
Location
arkansas or ohio
marlin 45-70 works for step son and i.
we load them sorta medium so we can see after the shot.

i just got some trail boss to try some real slow powder puff loads.

my marlin 39 in 22 lr does most of my plinking

i had a henry 22 mag and really wanted it to be my little carry gun. it was slick and light and never missed a beat but hitting a pop can at 40 ft was nearly impossible.
 

Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
2,954
I'm fond of the handgun calibers. Can nearly buy 50 rounds for the cost of 20 rifle. Easier for plinking. I feel comfortable to 125-150 on deer with 357 and 44, especially when you get lots of practice with the gun.

Straight wall pistol pretty easy to reload too.
+1 for handgun calibers.

Only levers I have in the stable currently are 30/30 and 22LR.

30/30 has a lot of fans and I love mine but it has 2x the ballistic drop at any distance vs 308. I wouldn’t use mine on a critter beyond 200 yards and 100 would be comfortable.

Given the limitations of distance shooting, a handgun caliber makes a lot of sense. I have had levers in 45LC and 357. If I bought another it would be 357. Fat shooting. Relatively cheap to feed and fairly potent to 100 yards or more.

Only thing that might change my thinking above would be carrying it in brown bear country. I would go 44 mag or 45-70 if bear defense was a consideration.

22 LR is fun for plinking and even cheaper to feed. You can buy one for the same cost as a couple hundred rounds of rifle ammo and bang away for hours on 500 rounds.

As far as brands, mine are a Henry 22 and an old Winchester. If I were buying new I would be looking hard at Marlin. The Marlins I have handled and shot are fairly impressive for function if not the most beautiful things in the world.
 

gbflyer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
464
I’ve really enjoyed my Rossi R92’s, .45 Colt and .357 mag. The .45 is the most versatile. You can go with soft shooting cowboy loads or the heavy duty Buffalo Bore (or handload) the 335gr hardcast that will flatten just about anything on this continent at 100 yards.

The bad part is they do need some work as they are mass produced. There are many sources online or Stevesgunz has a DVD and all the parts needed. Once worked over they make a nice shooter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ZDR

menhaden_man

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
670
I inherited a 35 Rem (Marlin 336 I believe) probably 20 years ago. Probably have 25 animals on it (mostly whitetail but also a few hogs) - all with 200 gr Core-Lokt, which is practically garbage in any of my other rifles. That thing blows holes and sprays blood maybe 15’ out the other side of every animal I shoot. Absolutely love it and hope to whack an elk with it one day. Probably a 150 yard gun so I hardly use it now that I live out west... but still love it. Bet you can find a used one at a good price.
 

GilligansWorld

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
27
+1 for handgun calibers.

Only levers I have in the stable currently are 30/30 and 22LR.

30/30 has a lot of fans and I love mine but it has 2x the ballistic drop at any distance vs 308. I wouldn’t use mine on a critter beyond 200 yards and 100 would be comfortable.

Given the limitations of distance shooting, a handgun caliber makes a lot of sense. I have had levers in 45LC and 357. If I bought another it would be 357. Fat shooting. Relatively cheap to feed and fairly potent to 100 yards or more.

Only thing that might change my thinking above would be carrying it in brown bear country. I would go 44 mag or 45-70 if bear defense was a consideration.

22 LR is fun for plinking and even cheaper to feed. You can buy one for the same cost as a couple hundred rounds of rifle ammo and bang away for hours on 500 rounds.

As far as brands, mine are a Henry 22 and an old Winchester. If I were buying new I would be looking hard at Marlin. The Marlins I have handled and shot are fairly impressive for function if not the most beautiful things in the world.
Phenomenal break down. Caliber for thought. Check out comments on 30-30 - specifically drop and cost. I want a 22lr/mag now

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

OXN939

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
711
Location
VA
I'm fond of the handgun calibers. Can nearly buy 50 rounds for the cost of 20 rifle. Easier for plinking. I feel comfortable to 125-150 on deer with 357 and 44, especially when you get lots of practice with the gun.

Straight wall pistol pretty easy to reload too.
Second this. .357 mag out of a lever gun improves ballistically to be within the ballpark of .30-30. If you can find a Winchester '94 Trapper, they are sweet little rifles... compact, handy, cheap to shoot, have virtually no recoil and are quiet enough they sound almost like they're suppressed. I have actually never killed a Whitetail buck in my home state of VA that I couldn't have used my Trapper for.

20181231_162512.jpg
 

Wapiti1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
1,086
Location
Indiana
Savage 99 in .308, .243, .284, or .358. Good luck finding the latter two. Took me several years to find them in good shape at a fair price. That said, the .308 99 I have is a great all around rifle.

Winchester 88 in .308 is also a good one, but they aren't tack drivers. If you want cool, they also made it in .284 Winchester (the original rifle for that cartridge). The Savages usually shoot MOA, though.

My personal favorite is my Browning 1895 .35 Whelen. Would like to build one in 9.3X62 at some point.

The one I want is a takedown BLR in .375 Ruger. That is on my list of gunsmithing projects.

Jeremy
 

NJDiverDan

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
363
Location
Rigby, Idaho
I too have a soft spot for levers for plinking, brush hunting etc. I have the following:
.22 Henry
.357 & .44 Rossi
.500 S&W Big Horn Armory

All are a ton of fun to shoot!
 

deerslayer9000

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
11
I inherited a 35 Rem (Marlin 336 I believe) probably 20 years ago. Probably have 25 animals on it (mostly whitetail but also a few hogs) - all with 200 gr Core-Lokt, which is practically garbage in any of my other rifles. That thing blows holes and sprays blood maybe 15’ out the other side of every animal I shoot. Absolutely love it and hope to whack an elk with it one day. Probably a 150 yard gun so I hardly use it now that I live out west... but still love it. Bet you can find a used one at a good price.
+1 to this!
I have a 35 Rem Marlin 336 from 1984 that my grandfather passed down to me. I've refinished the wood and hope to touch up the blueing soon. This thing is my weapon of choice whitetail hunting in the woods. A handy short barrel and deadly under 150 yards. Added a rail and a red dot two years ago for a fun weekend with some friends and never took it off since then.
 

CApighunter

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
643
While a pre 64 1894 is on my list, I have a JM stamped Marlin 336 in 30-30 that I absolutely love. Shoots 1 inch groups at 100 yards with cheap ammo. Bought it to cut down to 16 inches but I can’t bring myself to do it.
 

Wapiti1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
1,086
Location
Indiana
An interesting choice would be to find an Big Bore model 94 AE in .307 Winchester. That was an underrated setup.

Another neat lever gun is the Sako Finnwolf that was in .308 and .243 (others as well) Those were well made and accurate.

Or you could go Marlin XLR in .338 Marlin Express. Also underrated.

One thing you will find is the trigger on most is horrible. Winchesters (except the 88) are the best out of the box, BLR's are the worst. Everyone else is in between.

I don't have much experience with Henry, though. Their Long Ranger is worth a look.

Jeremy
 
Top