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Slasher

Lever action opinions

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I've wanted a 357 lever action forever and have been looking at them lately.  Not really sure if I want a 20" or carbine but that will pretty much come down to what I think looks the best. This would be just a fun/range gun and nothing else really so I wanted to keep the price between $600 to $800.
What is your opinion of the Marlin 1894C and the Henry Big Boy Steel?
Thanks

Edited by Slasher

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By 2010 Remington had closed the Marlin plants and transferred everything to Remington in NY & KY. I’m a Remington fanboy and think they make the best bolt action rifles and shotguns on earth. You can spend more money than a Remington costs; but you can’t get a more accurate rifle or shotgun. But only the reviews after the move in 2010 will apply to the Marlins. So, there’s that.

Henry has been building rifles for 23 years, which isn’t that long when you start talking gun companies. But levers is what they do; and they have an excellent reputation.

I don’t think you could go with either. But I know if you want .357 you should plan on ordering new. Used .357’s seem to carry a premium and I have no idea why; they aren’t any harder to find new.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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1 hour ago, Slasher said:

I've wanted a 357 lever action forever and have been looking at them lately.  Not really sure if I want a 20" or carbine but that will pretty much come down to what I think looks the best. This would be just a fun/range gun and nothing else really so I wanted to keep the price between $600 to $800.
What is your opinion of the Marlin 1894C and the Henry Big Boy Steel?
Thanks

This thread is worth a read:

 

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I'm the wrong person to give an opinion because I've never met a lever gun I didn't like. Lol. I have both Marlin and Henry levers in 357. Both are great guns a IMHO you can't go wrong with either. I collect the old Marlin levers so I am partial to them but I'm starting to get an extensive collection of Henry's also. So my recommendation is buy both. Hahaha 

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I love my Marlin 1894 .357, mine was made in 1981. Not sure about the new ones. Bought mine here on TGO.

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The new Marlins I saw at the NRA show this year seem to be better than the past few years. Action is smoother and the fit and finish seems better but it’s hard to beat Henry quality.

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The Henry is loaded by removing part of the mag tube instead of using a loading gate on the receiver.  This is the negative of the Henry, IMO.  Some may not care, but I hate the mag tube thing.  I believe Henry recently introduced one certain model with a loading gate.  If Henry made a 20" blue/wood .44 or .357 lever with a loading gate, I would own one or three.  Henry has a great reputation.  

People want older levers for various reasons.  The older Marlins and Winchesters didn't have cross bolt safeties.  Purists detest these.  Older guns seem to draw premium money and have some collector value, especially Winchester.  Winchester's up-and-down financial status over the years probably contributes to this, much like Colt.  Also, Marlins built in the years immediately after Remington took over have bad reputations, thus the "JM" marked guns (pre-Remington) are preferred by many.  I have a gold-trigger, non-safety 70s era Marlin 336 that I will never sell.  I might could get $500 for it today and probably more for it in the future, but I don't care.  A similar .357 would probably be worth twice as much.  IMO, it blows away new Marlins quality-wise.  The opposite may be true for recent Winchesters.  FN is making Winchesters now and I bet the quality of a new 94 is pretty good.   I have a year 2000 or so 94 that might not be as nice as the new FNs, but it did cost 1/4 as much lol.  Winchesters like mine can still be had for less than a new one (at least in .30-30).  

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Marlin and Henry both make excellent lever guns. I can't knock either one. However, I've always preferred the feel and handling of Winchesters. Especially the 16" Trapper Models. 

In .357, I'd highly recommend you look at the Rossi Model 92. Its a clone of the original Winchester Model 1892. Its a bit lighter and trimmer than the Model 94 and Marlins.  It was originally designed for pistol caliber cartridges, so its a bit smoother and more reliable than other guns modified to shoot the shorter handgun rounds.  These are currently made by Taurus and I've heard good things about them. 

I own a much older pre-safety Rossi 92 in .357 with a 16" barrel. Nothing fancy to look at as these older guns had somewhat plain finishes and wood. However, Its one of the slickest and fastest handling lever guns I've ever owned. I love it! 

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8 hours ago, Grayfox54 said:

I own a much older pre-safety Rossi 92 in .357 with a 16" barrel. Nothing fancy to look at as these older guns had somewhat plain finishes and wood. However, Its one of the slickest and fastest handling lever guns I've ever owned. I love it! 

Oh ho.  I have one of these also, and it's totally magnificent.  New models have that awful safety and a 20" barrel.  The pre-safety version with 16-inch barrel is rarer than an honest politician.  Hold onto yours.  Mine will never be for sale.  My kids and I fired thousands of .38 Special SWCs through mine in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it is still going strong.   And a .357 JHP out of a 16-inch barrel would be an impressive home defense round.

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3 minutes ago, Whisper said:

 And a .357 JHP out of a 16-inch barrel would be an impressive home defense round.

A .357 JHP out of a 2.5” barrel is an impressive home defense round. :)

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I am a traditionalist, so the Henry rifles do not blow my skirt up. If you like them, however, they seem to be a well made gun. I would look for an older Marlin 94 or a 92 Winchester or copy thereof. I have a Rossi Puma in 357 (it is a 92 Win copy), and it sure is a blast to shoot.

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9 hours ago, Grayfox54 said:

Marlin and Henry both make excellent lever guns. I can't knock either one. However, I've always preferred the feel and handling of Winchesters. Especially the 16" Trapper Models. 

I'm still kicking myself for not buying the ~$300 .44 Trapper I had in my hands at the store back in the early 90s.  What is it they say about hindsight?

Edited by deerslayer

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10 minutes ago, deerslayer said:

I'm still kicking myself for not buying the ~$300 .44 Trapper I had in my hands at the store back in the early 90s.  What is it they say about hindsight?

Holy cow! And you tell people about that?! Do they kick you, too? 😂

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26 minutes ago, deerslayer said:

I also passed up a new $379 Colt King Cobra at the same place about the same time.  

YOU'RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!!

 

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I had a JM stamped .357 1894 with a 1974 serial number. Bought it off of GB right when the lever gun craze was taking off for a song. Ended up selling it a few years ago to buy my daughter a new competition gun. Of course she stopped shooting the next year and I sold that gun a few months ago. Should have kept the 1894 😬

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I cant speak on the Henrys but I can on the other 2 contenders in 357. I have a 70's Marlin 1894 in 44mag and after a few smoothing up tweeks its a 100 % keeper. I wouldn't own a cross bolt safety gun..... ever. The in your face safety button is a stark reminder of why 64 million people and numerous dead had voted for Hillary.  A blatant reminder of a degenerating society.

 That said, The Marlin is by far the easiest to take apart and really give it a good cleaning.  The bolt comes out of the gun for a straight threw ram rod cleaning with just removing the lever pivot screw. On the other hand, the Rossi 92 has by far the slickest lever motion ever designed by the genius of John Browning. The Marlin doesn't come close the Winchester 92 design in "feeling" the action rip threw its cycles. But be for warned, pulling the bolt out of a 92 is pain in the jack ass. There is only one sequence of parts removal and a number of parts MUST be position just right to allow the said parts to be removed. Good thing the design can handle quite a lot of fouling because of its poor take down design when compared to the Marlin.

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2 hours ago, TomInMN said:

Holy cow! And you tell people about that?! Do they kick you, too? 😂

$300 was much more difficult to come by, at least for me, in the 90's than it is today.

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3 hours ago, DaveTN said:

A .357 JHP out of a 2.5” barrel is an impressive home defense round. :)

Yeah a 2.5" .357 magnum is a good defense round, and loud too. I've got a Taurus stainless 605 2". Its not much fun with magnums.

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4 hours ago, gregintenn said:

$300 was much more difficult to come by, at least for me, in the 90's than it is today.

I was giving @deerslayera hard time, nothing serious.

I do genuinely hope that someone who finds themselves in a position to have to pass up a bargain in order to meet their obligations can do so without reservations or regrets.

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I have a Henry I purchased 3 years ago. It is a keeper, and I don't have a problem with the tube magazine. Mine shoots 38's or 357 reliable. 

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I like the looks of the Marlin, always have. I don't really have anything against the Henry. Just was never big on the tube loading. I know the original 1860 Henry loaded like that but, that was then, this is now. I've wanted a .357 rifle for a long time. Need to break down and make it happen.

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I had a 16" stainless Rossi in .357 & I regularly kick myself for letting go of her.

I did the full action slick-up & trigger job too.

What an idiot.....

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