Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pistol Caliber Carbine/handgun combos for Survival and Preparedness

Hi Fernando. I read your blog weekly, have read probably most of your articles, but I cannot seem to find any blog entry that spoke of cowboy rifles.
There are three fine manufacturers that I know of that make these pistol caliber carbines: Uberti, Henry, and Marlin. They also come in various calibers such as .38 Sp/357 Mag,
45 colt, and 44 magnum. I own this one, the Marlin 1894C chambered in 357 mag but also compatible with 38 special. It It’s also quite lightweight ( 6 lbs, or 2.7 kg) where it’s competitors weigh in at 8 and 8.5 lbs (3.6, 3.9 kg). I paid $554.00 new for one at with free shipping.

For your information, here are the equivalent guns from Uberti and Henry:
The Uberti Model 1873

which, chambered in 38/357 mag holds 10 rounds with a 20′ barrel, but is generally about a 1000 dollars or so. You pay for the fancy cosmetics, that’s for sure.
Then you have the Henry Big Boy, 357 mag holding 10 rounds, 20″ barrel, at about $900.

The Marlin is the cheapest, and lightest of the three, and for those looking for a no-frills, solid shooting piece of hardware, then it’s the one that I’d recommend. But that’s me. The other two rifles are also fine rifles (as I have read – I have no personal experience with them).
These pistol caliber rifles are great guns, particularly the Marlin for both it’s price and weight. But here are the advantages:
– The are carbines, making them smaller and generally easier to transport (carry).
– They are large capacity for rifles.
– With a little practice, these lever actions can be very fast shooters.
– The have very little recoil yet still hit fairly hard.
– They are generally LEGAL in places where tactical (so-called assault rifles) rifles are not.
– The ammo is CHEAP so practice is easier to on the wallet to do.
– They come in common calibers.
– Pistol ammo is small relative to rifle cartridges so you can carry a lot of it.
– Reduced risk of over penetration vs an AR, an FN-FAL, or an AK.
– Can be used on moderately sized, thin skin game up to 100 yards.
– They are generally effective inside of 125 yards. (IMO not an issue as most “sniper shots “would not be terribly convincing to a grand jury of evidence of self defense.)
– The are often very difficult to come by due to demand.
– Because of demand the markup on them can be as much as 100-250 dollars above baseline (approx $550, which is the cheapest I have seen).
– Slower to reload than a magazine-based system.
I have a tactical 870 12 Ga, a AR-15, and an AK-47, but I still bought the Marlin 1894C precisely because of the list of advantages that I just mentioned. My wife shoots it in 357 mag with ease and she is extremely recoil averse. Should the authorities ever decide to ban the “mean looking black guns with big magazines” then these may very well make it past the radar of the gun grabbers.
I could not more highly recommend that you blog an article on these after doing a little research yourself. The only downfall to them is that you have to be actively looking for them because they are in extremely high demand and most online gun brokers sell out of them within days (sometimes within hours) of posting an inventory of them.
Anyways, check em out. I just LOVE my little 1894C. It’ll still knock a bad guy on his ass at 150 meters. A 4″ barrel 357 magnum pistol will cough out full load Federal 125 gr JHP with a muzzle velocity of  1467 fps per my chronograph. The Marlin will spit the same round out of the barrel at 2077 fps, more then enough to address any issues of short to intermediate range personal defense.
I think you’ll find these pistol caliber carbines quite interesting once you investigate them.
Take Care,
South Florida.

Hi Pete! You know I did write about that in page 169 of my book “The Modern Survival Manual”.
I explained the advantage of the carbine/revolver combo, and its modern day equivalent the semi auto pistol caliber carbine or subgun and pistol combination.
If you have a 9mm carbine, in some cases you can get ones that use the same magazines as your sidearm. The use of the same ammo and magazines simplifies things greatly.
A couple points you didn’t mention about the pistol caliber carbine:
1) It has greater accuracy thanks to the greater sight distance.
2)The longer barrel takes advantage of burned powder better because it burns inside rather than out, gaining at least 100 extra feet per second or more.
You’ve mentioned some of the better known ones. There’s also the Rossi carbines which are said to be pretty good.

Keltec /Glock Combo

Storm/Beretta 92 Combo

As of modern day equivalents, look into what options you have in terms of carbines that use the same ammo and mag. You use in your handgun. Keltec does one that accepts Glock magazines, Beretta has an offering that takes Beretta 92 pistol magazines.
Take care!
Join the forum discussion on this post!



Anonymous said...

Another advantage is that to those of us in the West these guns don't even raise an eyebrow. You could carry one almost anywhere and no one would care. An AK 47 will get you some serious attention from both citizens and LEO. Be the grey man.

Anonymous said...

Rossis are EXCELLENT rifles, the 1892 clones are very nice indeed. A .357 lever should be in everyone's kit, extremely versatile, inexpensive to feed and short light carbine - not a whole lot to dislike.

Anonymous said...

I own the Henry level-action chambered in .44

It is a very fun rifle to shoot and is accurate up to 150 yards on non-moving targets (or maybe moving if you're just that dang good). With the iron sights I can reliably shoot a 4 inch group at 150 yards from a prone position.

Being an older-style gun, it does have some quirks. When the tube is full, there is often enough force to open the level just a little bit. This is enough to cause a jam due to case expansion when the bullet is backed out of the chamber a millimeter or so.

I think of mine as a "brush gun" because of the heavy bullet and relatively short range. The Henry .44 is wonderful in that capacity.

Pitt said...

I love the PCC/handgun combo. My wife is still perturbed at me for selling my Beretta CX4 in 9mm. Mine was "tactically tricked out" and was my wife's first choice to grab for those things that go bump in the night moments.

I've recently looked at both the Kel-Tec sub-2000 and the Rossi 1894. The Rossi is almost $500, which is hard to swallow as I could get another AK for that much. The KT is nice and will take my high cap Glock 18 mags. I love the idea of a carbine that will fit in my backpack. I think that will make a great GHB rifle in case the SHTF.

KeithC said...

Of all the guns I've sold over the years, the one I really regret parting with was my Winchester '94 Trapper in .45 Colt. Having said that, though, I have a hard time justifying carrying something rifle-sized that isn't in a rifle caliber.

I get the idea of "common caliber" with your carry pistol but, if you're storing a long gun anyway, a mag tube or two worth of ammo wouldn't take up that much more room and .30-30 would pack much more punch than 9mm, even through a longer barrel.

p said...

KeithC: I agree with you and I have looked at the Marlin 336 in .30/.30 Winchester as a GHB long gun, but what I like about the KT Sub2000 is the fact that I can fold it in half to fit in a backpack so that I can look like I am not heavily when in fact I AM HEAVILY ARMED. I like 33rds of 9mm on tap in a very light, 4lb carbine. And if I am on foot and having to walk a great distance to get back to my home, the lighter weight will be appreciated (also, no one will pick up a hitchhiker walking down the road with a visible long gun).

Anonymous said...

Good points KeithC, but the pistol caliber does give you some options that a larger '30-30ish' chambered model doesn't have. Like double the ammo capacity. Like factory loaded ammunition for small game / varmints / big game. Yes, handloading is an option, but still - options and versatility.

Anonymous said...

Gun Slingers from the old West like Billy the Kid and Jesse James used to have their lever action rifle the same caliber as their revolvers so they only needed 1 caliber of ammo. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Don't want to confuse ammo when in a gun fight. Makes perfect sense!