Monday, August 6, 2012

Pistol Caliber lever action Rifles

This weekened I had the chance to experiment a bit more with a lever action pistol caliber carbine. A couple weeks ago I tried some “cowboy” shooting. The drill started by shooting two single action 45 LC revolvers, 5 rounds each, then 4 shotgun shots and 6 lever action carbine shots. I found the little Rossi 357 magnum to be well made and accurate in spite of the open sights not being that nice.

Rossi 357 mangum lever action carbine
This weekend I tried a Marlin, also in 357 magnum, and man it’s a nice little carbine. The sights were a pleasure to use, hitting a cardboard plate 50 meters away from standing position was easily done. This was rather fast and informal shooting and the rifle is clearly capable of more accuracy at that range. But this 4-round group exemplifies the difference between shooting the same round from a rifle or a revolver.

Marlin 357 magnum lever action carbine

4-shot group at 50 meters, standing position.
Right after shooting the lever action carbine I shot a Ruger 357 magnum with a three inch barrel and its obvious what happens when shooting without a stock and great distance between sights. Same ammo, yet a world of a difference. You could even hear the rounds slapping the dirt behind the target with more authority, thanks to the extra couple hundred feet per second made possible by the longer barrel (powder burned inside the barrel=more power, burned outside=more flash and noise).
While a semi auto would no doubt be my number one choice, when that’s not possible a little lever action works as well today as it did a hundred years ago. Handy and also pretty fast when you get the hang of it, its an ideal partner for a 357 magnum revolver.


Burke said...

If a govt outlaws semi-autos, a lever action rifle like a 30-30 is probably the next best option. And if they outlaw rifle calibers, it would be nice to have a pistol caliber.

Anonymous said...

I have one of the Henry level action rifles chambered for .44 magnum. Without being an extraordinary shot, you can put all 10 bullets into a paper plate at 150 yards (and it has very little recoil). I wouldn't classify it as a true self-defense carbine, but it sure beats screaming for help.

Stuki said...

One nice feature of handgun ammo rifles for home defense, is how quiet they are compared to a .223, not to mention .308.

Both the latter are not at all unlikely to give you hearing damage in very short order if fired in an enclosed space with hard walls and ceilings without ear protection.

In US states where the wonderful little Kel-Tec 9mm (or .40) carbine is illegal, the lever actions are a decent substitute. Someone once showed me how he had rigged his up with a Holosight, which made it even more of a fast/accurate shooter.

Stuki said...

Another nice feature of pistol caliber rifles, are how quiet they are compared to .223s, not to mention .308s.

Both the two latter can easily cause permanent hearing damage if fired unprotected in an enclosed space with hard floors, walls and ceilings. Which, while it beats being dead, still sucks; particularly if you're someone who depends on his/her hearing for ones income.

The Kel-Tec 9mm/.40 Glock magazine compatible little wonder is hard to beat if it runs well, but in states where that one is illegal, the levers are nice as well. Being entirely manually operated, the levers also allow you to use very lightly loaded, subsonic ammo; which makes them really quiet, even where silencers are illegal.

lemmiwinks said...

Pictures not showing up?

Anonymous said...

Two other advantages of lever action carbines - the tubular magazine allows you to add more rounds while you are shooting.

Also, if you ever go to trail over a shooting (very likely in the U.S. - look at George Zimmerman), carbines are associated in the public's mind with "good guy cowboys" vs. those "evil black assault rifles".

Books N Brew said...

Hello Ferfal
I have standardized my weapons battery around 9mm and have a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 9mm Glock configuration, a Glock 19, and a Ruger LC9. A close friend has the same but in 40SW. A Pistol caliber carbine makes a lot of sense for the close quarter fight out to about 50 yards. Which is my weapons planning assumption.

Anonymous said...

357 lever guns should be in everybody's gun rack. The ammunition is very common and can be reloaded for many roles, from hunting small / medium sized game to self defense loads. Factory loads are designed for hunters and self defense.

All in a 'sheeple' friendly appearing firearm that is flat, light and easy to shoot. Recoil isn't bad, as is the report. Great little guns - try the Trapper length if you can. I own a pair of these, a 16" Trapper and 20" carbine, both .357s. Indispensible.

I haven't tried the .44 Magnum yet, but I've heard a lot of good things from hunters who use it.

Anonymous said...

I’ve owned a Marlin 357 carbine for almost 20 years, and it is one of me very favorite guns (and I own 50+ total…). Mine’s got a 4X light scope on see thru mounts, which makes it very versatile.

Beyond all of the previously mentioned positives, I’ll add one more.

Special rifle loads are available (I’ve bought some from Hornaday) that extend its useful range to 100 yards for whitetail deer sized game. In fact, that is my go to combo for deer hunting in brushy or mountainous conditions. I’ve bagged 5 or 6 deer with it. I’ve also used it for squirrel, rabbits, and turkeys.

I keep it nearby at all times, as a longer range, more potent backup for my handguns.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I've been reading about serious quality issues with new Marlin lever actions since Remington bought the company. I wanted one very badly, but decided to wait after reading a lot of complaints.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:51 - I'd buy an older model RIGHT NOW for those reasons you described. Many people are doing just that (buying vintage) or deciding just to keep the one they have because of those complaints.

Remington's solution in recent past is just discontinue the production or sale of items that don't do well.

Just saying - hope this helps.