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11/18/2012 10:27 AM

If you don’t need to shoot game larger than deer, and think that 200 yards is a “long” shot,  the frontier concept of carrying a compact  rifle and revolver which use the same common ammunition still makes sense. The Marlin 1894C carbine in .357 Magnum costs about half of what an “evil black rifle” (EBR) does. Its non –threatening appearance does not “scare the natives.”  Most suburban indoor ranges permit firing rifles chambered for handgun ammunition, whereas you may find it more difficult to find a place which will let you practice with full-power ammunition in your AR. 


The .357 lever action has mild recoil and lower noise than a .30-30, so is more easily manageable by females and youngsters. It is effective on small game rifle and varmints using .38 Special ammo.  Standard- pressure, lead bullet .38 Specials which give about 750 f.p.s. from a 3” or 4” revolver produce  about  950 f.p.s. from the 18 inch Marlin, hitting as hard as +P revolver loads, but with reduced noise and muzzle flash, being very little louder a .22 rifle, for a lower profile.   

The self-defense potential of a .357 Magnum lever-action is nothing to sneeze at.  Ten rounds, one in chamber, nine in the magazine (four more shots than a .30-30) good rapidity of fire and adequate practical accuracy, about 3-4 moa with iron sights. Factory 158-grain soft-points develop 1200 f.p.s. from a 4” revolver, but approach 1800 f.p.s. from a carbine. They are fully adequate for deer within 100 yards.  A lever-action with rugged peep sight, such as the XS, has better hitting ability within 200 yards than your average AK, but doesn’t attract unwanted attention, unlike walking around with a "black rifle." You can install the XS peep sights yourself, which are rugged and affordable.  Adjust zero so that 158-grain .357 Magnums strike point of aim at 100 yards and .38 Specials will shoot on at 50 yards.

Use the money you save, by NOT buying an EBR  to buy a “basic load” of ammo. Be frugal. A used .357 lever-gun sells in stores for about 60% of what the same rifle does new.  Used Marlin .357 Microgroove rifles sell for about $100 less than “Cowboy model” with “Ballard” rifling, because people believe (in error) that "Microgrooves won't shoot lead."  Dirty little secret, the 1894C with Microgroove rifling shoots lead bullets just fine, as long as you stick to standard pressure or +P .38 Specials and load or buy only jacketed bullets for your full-power .357 magnum ammo. 


You will actually need very few magnum loads, so just buy a few boxes of 158-grain softpoints for deer.  An adequate “camp cache” is 500 rounds of  non+P .38 Special 158-grain semi-wadcutters for small game, 200 rounds of .38 Special +P lead hollow-point defense loads, such as the Winchester X38SPD or Remington R38S12 (“FBI load”), 100 rounds of .357 Magnum 158-grain soft-points and 20 Speer shot-loads, if you live  in snake country.  These feed your wheelgun too. K.I.S.S. principle.


Standard velocity .38 Special, 158-grain lead semi-wadcutters are the basic field utility load for both rifle and revolver. From a rest they will group about 2 inches at 50 yards with iron sights and 4 to 5 inches at 100 yards from the Marlin. A sturdy fixed sight 4 inch service revolver, such as a Ruger GP100 or S&W 64 will produce the same size groups at HALF the range of the rifle.   


So, if you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for that .30-30 rifle you drooled over as a kid watching TV westerns, I don’t blame you for buying a .357 lever-action instead of a .30-30.  It makes perfect sense.  Nostalgia sometimes gets in the way of good planning…


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11/18/2012 11:18 AM

All of the above except in .45 Colt.  An absolute whale of a set up.

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11/18/2012 5:02 PM

There is much to recommend in the above two posts.

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11/18/2012 9:09 PM

El Mac wrote

All of the above except in .45 Colt.  An absolute whale of a set up.

I had a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy, but while the cartridge .45 Colt is a great round, chambers in popular leverguns of this caliber seem all to be way oversized, which degrades accuracy.  Ammo for the .45 Colt is not as widely available as .38 Special, .357, 9mm or .45 ACP.  While you can handload the .45 Colt in a strong gun to impressive energy levels, I don't see the point to doing so.  If you need "magnum" performance for dangerous predators, get a .44 Magnum, or .454 Casull, etc. for which factory loads are readily available and well proven. Trying to enhance rifle performance with specialized .45 Colt handloads which cannot be used safely in your revolver sort of defeats the purpose of having interchangeable ammunition. .45 Colt ammo is much more bulky and heavy. You can carry alot more .38s or .357s for the same weight and cube.

BUT if you enjoy the .45 for its nostalgia, and have greater confidence in a caliber which starts with a "4," then go for it!  I do have a .45 Colt revolver and a companion rifle in that caliber, but I view them as recreational, rather than "serious" guns.  My revolver is a Colt New Service DA .45 Model of 1909 with 5-1/2 inch barrel.  I also have an H&R single-shot Handi-Rifle in that caliber.  I standardized on one load for use in both, casting the Saeco #954, 230-gr. flatnosed "Cowboy" bullet from wheelweights and using a charge of 6.5 grains of Bullseye powder which gives 900 fps from the revolver and 1093 fps from the Handi Rifle.  These are standard pressure loads which can be used in any .45 Colt revolver proofed for smokeless powder.  Accuracy is adequate, but "ordinary" for their type.  The Colt New Service revolver shoots 6-shot groups approximating 1 inch extreme spread for each ten yards of range, in linear proportion to 100 yards.  The H&R Handi Rifle shoots about an inch extreme spread for each 25 yards of range, also in linear proportion to 100 yards.That was as good as .45 sixguns and typical open-sighted carbines of the frontier era could do...  and was considered good enough in its time to go to war and kill game. 

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11/18/2012 10:04 PM

I've not had that problem at all regarding loose chambers.  But mine are mostly Winchester 92s.  The one Marlin I have is out for a .45 acp conversion.

I prefer a larger and heavier round.  The Win 92s are brutally tough, but so is the Ruger Blackhawk and Redhawk.  There is no danger in overstoking a rifle load and mixing it with a Ruger.  I guess in theory it could be done, but only a fool would push it.  I've seen no accuracy issues at the ranges the .45 Colt is meant for.  If I wanted to drive tacks...I'd be shooting a .308.

As for the amount of ammo that can be carried per cube, etc.....hell, you can carry that argument out to a .22 LR.  Personally, if it gets that bad, its time for the ARs. 

But thats just me.

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11/18/2012 10:55 PM
My understanding is that the Winchesters do have betted chambers and shoot well. I John Taylor at Taylor machine set back and rework my. 45 Colt Marlin to. 45 ACP and I am well pleased with the conversion. Your Ruger / Winchester combo make a robust pair. Cannot fault your logic. One. 45 equals two. 38/.357/9mm!
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11/18/2012 10:57 PM
My understanding is that the Winchesters do have better chambers and shoot well. I had John Taylor at Taylor machine set back and rework my. 45 Colt Marlin to. 45 ACP and I am well pleased with the conversion. Your Ruger / Winchester combo make a robust pair. Cannot fault your logic. One. 45 equals two. 38/.357/9mm!
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11/18/2012 11:01 PM

ke4sky wrote
My understanding is that the Winchesters do have better chambers and shoot well. I had John Taylor at Taylor machine set back and rework my. 45 Colt Marlin to. 45 ACP and I am well pleased with the conversion.Your Ruger / Winchester combo make a robust pair. Cannot fault your logic. One. 45 equals two. 38/.357/9mm!

Awesome!  Finally, someone else that gave it a try!  So do you like the conversion?  How did Mr. Taylor remark your barrel, or did he?  Have you chronoed any rounds to see if you picked up any speed?  Did you cut the barrel back?  I've not made my mind up about the barrel length.  Mine started with a 24"...I'm thinking of cutting to about 20 or 18 even....

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11/19/2012 12:54 AM

I just had John cut off. 45 Colt chamber, set back and rechamber. 45 ACP. Finished barrel lengtb 22-1/2", holds 12 rounds in mag tube plus one in chamber. A charge of 5 grains Bullseye witb 230-grain Saeco #954 gives 1050 fps, and WCC84 hardball 944 fps. Speer 230 Gold Dot gives 1022 fps. For rifle use only, 12 grs. #2400 with RCBS 45-255KT GIVES 1225 fps with 2 inch 50- yd. groups, but no good in my S&W 625 because unburned powder jams action.

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11/19/2012 1:02 AM

John remarked barrel.45 ACP, groups avg. 2-3" at 50 yards and 5-6" at 100. Not as accurate as. 357, but better than M1911 pistol beyond 25 yards.

-------------------CUT AND PASTE FROPM AN OLDER ARTICLE OF MINE -----------------------------------------------------------------------

I try to have along gun in each caliber of handgun ammunition I keep around. Rifles chambered for handgun calibers have potential for low noise with more energy than a .22 without needing a suppressor. The .45 ACP and .38 Special work well for this, because standard pressure factory loads give low noise when fired in a rifle-length barrel, but have sufficient energy to kill deer-sized game or to have useful self-defense potential, all with a lower profile than firing a military-caliber EBR (Evil Black Rifle) so as not to attract attention or "scare the natives."

The .38 Special and .45 ACP are normally loaded with fast-burning powders which are consumed completely in a barrel length of only 5-6 inches. While standard pressure (non+P) 158-gr. .38 Special loads gain about 150 f.p.s. comparing a 4 inch revolver to 20 inch carbine, the greater expansion ratio when firing .45 ACP from a rifle-length barrel, increases bore drag enough to mostly negate effects of adiabatic expansion. Very little (or no) velocity gain is achieved compared to firing an M1911 pistol. But lower muzzle-exit pressure reduces the resulting noise and flash signature, the report comparing to .22 LR fired from a rifle when barrels are longer than about 20 inches. Velocity with most common .45 ACP loads remains subsonic. A .45 bullet of 200 grains or more, accurate enough for  100-yd. head shots when fired from a rifle, having no more report than firing a sporting rifle in .22 LR is very low profile, but highly effective.

Following table is compiled from my test logs recorded over more than 25 years. The Mk.IV Webley was originally a .455 which was converted to fire .45 ACP using moon clips in the 1950s. The S&W 625 is a 1989 custom shop gun. The M1911A1 is a GI National Match pistol, the Marlin is a converted 1894 Cowboy originally built in .45 Colt, set back, rechambered and reworked by Taylor Machine to .45 ACP. The M40 data is from experimental firings of a converted sniper rifle rebored to .45 ACP, having a M1911 pistol framed fitted to the underside of its receiver, so that rifle would feed from M1911 pistol mags, built by NWSC Crane, IN during the Vietnam conflict.

The converted M40 did not require a "can" and was accurate enough for 100 yard head shots using ordinary service ammo. Using good lots match grade hardball ammunition 10-shot groups were in the order of 2 inches at 50 yards and proportional to the range to 200 yards. Using a 50-yard zero scope holdover with the .45 is the same at 200 yards as when firing a standard M40 in 7.62mm using M118 Special Ball with a 200 yard zero and correcting hold-off elevation to 1000 yards.

* on 26" barrel data indicate years later test firing conducted in a converted Beretta M412 folding rifle with 26-inch barrel, because the converted M40 was not available. Who knows where it is now? 

.45 ACP Ctg___MkIVWebley4"__S&W625_4"___M1911_5"___Marlin22"__M40/Beretta*26"

WCC69 Ball---------not-fired--------799----------------832---------------not-fired-----844
WCC84MatchBall----779-------------793----------------843-------------- 872----------944


New Post
11/19/2012 7:06 AM

Nice.  I'm looking forward to mine.  It'll make a nice companion piece for the 1911s.

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11/20/2012 8:56 AM

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
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11/20/2012 7:33 PM

My only complaint against the revolver chambered leverguns is that in my region they are nearly non existant and even used they are sold for an crazy premium.  I like them but around here they are quite an bit more $ than an low end AK and even more than an Ruger Mini 14.  Probably an regional isue and also the popularity of cowboy action shoting has dried up the supply here.

I no longer own any bumer

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11/20/2012 9:02 PM

Although I ended up with a .30-30 Trapper myself (nostalgia was not involved), I absolutely agree with the utility concept of a .357 lever gun -- Average Joe or not.

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11/29/2012 11:02 AM

Since this post deals with much the same subject as the original post in this thread, an in order to simplfy the discussion of lever guns I am merging the two threads. 

Originally posted by ke4sky:

A favorite of lawmen and deer slayers alike, .30-30 lever-guns defended our Home Front in two World Wars, fed a then-mostly rural nation and still have utility for sport and home protection.
I’m a 64-year-old dinosaur with opinions, so indulge me some backstory to put this in perspective. My childhood wasn’t different from others of the Baby Boomer generation. Northern Virginia after World War II was an odd mix of The Walton’s and American Graffiti. The rural south still existed where we now call it “outside the beltway.” When Dad bought our Annandale house in 1954, State Route 236, aka “Little River Turnpike” was a 2-lane country road between Alexandria and Fairfax Courthouse, which wasn’t yet a city. Our neighborhood was surrounded by dairy farms, hardwood forests were full of game, and we shot my brother’s open-sighted .22 bolt-action out the upstairs bedroom window to kill woodchucks raiding Dad’s garden. Our neighbor was an avid hunter who let us “help” him butcher deer and feed scraps to his two German shorthaired pointers. At age 12 he let me hold his deer rifle, a Winchester Model 94 in.30-30. Like any kid who watched TV cowboys of that era, I was totally enthralled!
The opening, in 1963, of Interstate 495, the now-infamous “Beltway,” put “my world” on a fast track towards destruction. By the time I became old enough for Dad to allow me to have my own rifle, fields and woods near us were falling victim to developers’ bulldozers. By the time I graduated high school we were hip deep in suburbia, strip malls, and the Vietnam War. Any shooting activity moved indoors to Fort Belvoir, which meant that my first rifle would be a target .22, its targets paper, and life would never be the same.
Summer visits to our uncle’s West Virginia farm (near where I live now) prolonged our sanity. There was no TV. We learned that meat doesn’t grow from a seed planted under cellophane-covered meat trays in the grocery. Veggies don’t grow magically in the can. “If you eat, thank a Farmer.” Outdoor recreation is a celebration of God’s Creation which rewards you with peace, solitude, time for contemplation and rest after completing a day’s cheerful labor.
Uncle Bill told us the truth about guns. His stories were different from what we saw on TV. His .30-30 Winchester Model 94 had guarded coal trains from Nazi saboteurs, kept order during mine labor disputes, ended the suffering of sick or injured farm animals, and helped feed starving neighbors during the Great Depression. This plain rifle was carried by a humble farmer who never expected to see armed combat again after returning from the Pacific. But, when deputized to serve on a sheriff’s posse he had to fire it in anger once more...
Recalling that event invoked no pride, but imparted to us kids the simple wisdom that both good and evil forces exist in our world, which may compel honorable men to make difficult choices necessary to protect our country and those whom we love. The Second Amendment isn’t just about hunting, gun collecting or target shooting. Guns are not adult toys, but serious tools. Too many shooters fail to grasp that basic fact.
While my older brother, Rick and I both had .22s and knew fundamentals, firing our first center-fire, watching that .30-30 explode a pumpkin, accompanied by the smack of steel butt-plate against T-shirted shoulder and ringing in our adolescent ears made a lasting impression. Sadly, a .30-30 lever-gun would not find a spot in my closet until I reached age 60. A few years ago an old Winchester Model 1894 carbine appeared at an estate sale, which brought back memories as if it were yesterday. So, I had to have it.
As a young man growing up the lever-gun versus bolt action discussion was a favorite deer camp after-dinner subject among the older adults. We boys would just sit back and listen. Salient arguments I remember are summarized:
The .30-30 is ubiquitous. Guns and ammo are sold everywhere. A rural lawman, farmer or forester can find .30-30s at any crossroads grocery. (A federal special agent friend still advises his field agents never to carry any gun of a caliber they cannot buy ammo for at Wal-Mart). Lever guns remain popular in rural areas because they are cheap, plentiful, familiar, handy to carry, accurate enough and they work. In remote regions a .30-30 is often the only high-power rifle people have heard of.
Practical Hunting Accuracy. Grouping of the average lever-action .30-30 is adequate for the utilitarian. Five-shot groups of 3” to 4” at 100 yards are normal with open sights. Peep sights will knock an inch off that and offer a useful improvement, because the aperture is faster for snap shooting and obstructs less of the target. Use the hooded aperture in bright light and unscrew the disk for a “ghost ring” at twilight.
A .30-30 is for “short range” (meaning less than 200 yards in the Infantry sense). Open sights, as set at the factory, are USUALLY on the bottom elevator step to zero the rifle to strike point of aim at 50 yards with factory loads. Each step you raise the rear sight elevator increases zero range about 50 yards when using the bead drawn tightly down into the notch. When set on third, middle step, most ‘94s put factory loads 3 to 4 inches above the bead at 100 yards, which gives a 150-yard, “point-blank” range, a realistic practical limit for a typical 3 minute-of-angle carbine, a good field zero for Eastern hunting. If you to take a 6:00 hold on a deer’s brisket, you will make a good hit as long as "there is hair under the bead" and no daylight above the bead sight.

The 1/16 inch bead subtends about 5 minutes of angle when out on the end of a 20-inch carbine. If your deer is far enough away that the bead covers a whitetail from shoulder to brisket, hold right there and shoot carefully, from a rest if you have one. When zeroed to strike 3-4 inches high at 100 yards, covering the forequarters with the bead, you should get a solid hit on your deer if you do your part, out to about 150 yards, That is the maximum effective range you should ayttemnpt game with a .30-30. If the animal is far enough out that you cannot see around the bead to identify both head and hindquarters, it is over 200 yards and too far to be sure of a humane kill.

The .30-30 is a 150-yard deer rifle, because open-sighted lever-guns just don't shoot much better than 6 inches at 150 yards. That is simply reality. A 1/16 front sight bead is a useful range estimator. Sight your rifle in to strike 3-4 inches high at 100, adjust windage carefully until absolutely perfect, then leave the sights alone. Old timers using only iron sights before WWII brought lots of venison home.
Combat Accurate, If You’re a Cowboy. My boyhood mentor LTC Ellis Lea (USA, Ret.) was a West Virginia State Trooper before serving in the U.S. Army in the ETO during WWII. Years later as a firearms instructor for the Office of Public Safety of the U.S. Agency for International Development, he called the Winchester 94 the “Appalachian Assault Rifle” and compared its combat utility to the SKS or US Carbine cal. .30 M1. He trained alot of law enforcement from South and Central America with the simple 94 Winchester. Some basics:
When using the open semi-buckhorn sights for quick combat range estimation, the shoulders of an FBI silhouette or Army "E" just fill the width of the small notch at about 100 yards or meters. If you can see daylight around the shoulders, alter your sight picture so that the bead "floats" slightly above the fine notch. When the bead is level with the first shoulder above the inner notch, point of impact coincides with the center of the bead at about 200 yards or meters. Proper sight picture is to hold for center of mass of the silhouette.

At long range, for defensive, suppressive fires only, raising the front sight so that the bead "floats" between the top ears of the semi-buckhorn sight, the bead subtends the height of an “E” silhouette and provides correct elevation to approximately 300 yards or meters. Once trained in correct sight picture, assuming good initial zero, firing factory loads, a trained rural law enforcement officer can average 80% hits or better on the Army "E" silhouette at 200 yards and 60% hits or better at 300 yards. Fired in this manner a 30-30 lever action has similar hit probability to the SKS and is more accurate than typical AKs beyond 100 yards.

If using a receiver peep sight the .30-30 Model 94 should be zeroed so that the center of the group is 3-4" above the top of the front sight at 100 yards. This gives a point-of-aim = point-of-impact hold to 150-175 yards with factory loads. If the front sight is held high chest, blotting out the shoulders of the Army "F" or "D" silhouettes, so that only the head is exposed above the front sight, hits will strike center chest at about 150-175 yards, and in the lower half of the silhouete at 200 yards or meters.
Lever guns have the advantage of non-threatening, familiar appearance which “doesn’t scare the natives. In 19th Century close quarter battle, lever actions had tactical advantages, offering a large magazine capacity and rapidity of fire compared to single-shot breechloaders and early bolt-guns. The Ottoman cavalry and Pancho Villa agreed. Most bolt-rifles other than the Krag, cannot be topped off without taking them momentarily out of the fight, whereas you can shove more rounds through a lever-action loading gate whenever you need to. Against bandits in dusty border towns a lever gun was as simple as it ever got. It still works.
In MY opinion, scoping a lever-action defeats the purpose of having a trim, fast-handling carbine. If you REALLY must scope your .30-30 lever-gun the Marlin enables optics to be mounted low over the bore, where they belong for snap-shooting. A scope DOES aid to positive target identification and for old guys with poor eyesight reduces sighting errors. In snow-shoe country if a rifle is not be protected in a saddle scabbard, many hunters like the Marlin’s solid top receiver and side ejection port because they help keep rain, snow and tree debris out of the action. The Marlin breech-bolt, lever and ejector are removed easily to enable cleaning from the breech, avoiding wearing out the muzzle crown. While the Winchester action is more exposed to the elements, its advocates say its open-top makes it easier to inspect the chamber, pry out a stuck case, clear a jam or debris. Marlin lovers say they can field can field strip as needed and can do so readily in the field with a Scout knife.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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11/29/2012 11:46 AM

I have long been a fan of the lever gun. There is nothing quite like it in capability, size of package, response of folks who see one. At one point I was up to 6 and now I am down to 2.  Recently, I have been musing that I may have been a bit hasty in selling off my last 30/30.  When I set out for Lake Powell, I decided that I wasn't going to take a rifle. Having never been there or really done a trip like that I didn't want to be left in the position of leaving a rifle unattended in my boat or truck.  Plus in case something went over the side I didn't want to lose one of my nice rifles.  As it turns out it would have been very easy to have a compact rifle along for the lake portion of the trip.  What ended up happening was that I left the lake about half way through my trip, and for the rest of my trip I was knocking around remote country, and would have loved to have had a rifle along.  Thus my thinking on what rifle.  For the overlanding portion the RGS would be a no brainer, but for the in the boat portion, it is harder choice.  I keep thinking that a lever gun with the stock removed would damn near fit in the highlander I had along without anything hanging out.  There is also nothing like a lever gun for the side of the pack. 

So the question is why did I sell off my lever guns, except for the .22 (which I tried to trade at one point) and the 45/70. The easy answer is range.  Perhaps it is a product of where I was raised and have lived my life, but out here in the west where I live and travel 150-200 yds is just not that far.  Add to that several instances I can easily think of where in the back country longer shots than that would be required and defensible in court for self defense the old lever action starts to loose a bit of the luster. (Ironically, I have a lot further envelope for SD than I do for hunting, which I pretty much limit to around 200yds)  That is also the reason that I always grabbed the 30/30 over the .44mag when I had both. Despite a RDS on the .44, my feeling was that with the 30/30 I had a longer point of aim/point of imact window.  Meaning it was easier to just hold on a target and hit it.  This was based on my understanding of the ballistics of the pistol cartridges vs the rifle.  However, there is no disputing the argument of higher capacity.  I guess the question is does the 30/30 really give you a longer poa/poi range than say a 38/357 or not?  What it really boils down to is the uses you envision for the gun, and what you need.  For grins I checked out the lever guns at two local GS yesterday. At one they had four (3 in 45/70 and one 44 yellow boy of some kind).  Another had two older 30/30s on consignment.  Not a single pistol caliber available, and of the six four were new and two where used, and at least from the counter looked pretty rough and they still wanted decent cash for them.  Couple that with my marked preference for a 16" finding a used lever gun in any caliber let alone pistol (in any barrel length) is not an easy proposition.  For grins I hit gunbroker and looked for 38/357. It was by no means exhaustive, but it appears to me that if you want one you are either getting a rossi or paying about the same as you would for an RGS, quality AK, or more than an SKS for one.  I think OPC is right in that cowboy action shooting is the cause.  A couple of weeks ago I was hitting rocks at a lasered 408yds with my RDS sighted AK. I freely admit that my holdover was a guestimate, but the result was a first round hit and subsequent follow-up shots consistently hitting a chest sized rock from the knealing.  I figure that due to the ballistics similarty of the 7.62x39 and the 30/30 that I could just as easily have been using that. Could you do that with a 38/357 or would the drop be so great that holding over would get a bit silly?

I equate the pistol caliber lever gun with a submachine gun, since we are talking black guns as an alternative, and I personally would not choose one over a rifle for general purpose. Having been back east, and some places I can think of in the northwest and cities I certainly see the utility of the pistol caliber and love the 50 state legal aspect for travel, but I live in rifle country, and as a result my preference for 30/30.  However, I wonder if that might be misguided. 

Never mind my whole quandry between winchester (lighter, typically a looser action, looks better, smoother for hand carry) and marlin (stronger, smoother action, enclosed actiong, weights more).

After a visit to WildWest and handling their rifles I have to say the idea of a SBR lever gun for backpacking really really intrigues me.

I also have to admit that the idea of a .45acp lever gun also intrigues me, but when I had a .45acp enfield (think a non-suppressed delisle) other than range fun it never got used simply because bullet drop seemed be pretty steep as ranges lengthened and I had other options that gave me longer range at less weight (it was a pig).

One other thing to think about is the weight of ammunition.  Based on everything we have weighted the case and powder seems to be negligble, and the bullet weight is the key factor (duh).  So I can carry more 308 than 45acp for the same weight. Same with 45/70 and 44 vs 38/357 and 30/30. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
11/29/2012 6:49 PM

 Really nice summary.

I agree with the comparison of the revolver caliber carbine to an SMG.

In the 1990s I worked on a project for a government customer comparing what would later be type classified as the M4, firing in day movement, urban assault and VIP protection scenarios in comparison with existing issue weapons, and opposing threat weaponss.  Ten examples of each weapon were fired in rotation by military personnel pulled from school instructor cadre or returning from deployed units. 

Hit probabilities with 9mm SMGs and .45 cal. M3A1 all compared favorably with a folding stock AK to 150 meters, but steel-core 7.62x39 PS Ball gave superior penetration on auto bodies and unarmored light trucks to either 9mm M882 and 5.56mm M193 and M855 . 

At 200 meters the only SMG which equalled the hit probability of the M4 was the fixed stock HK MP5 when equipped with a 3X optical sight.

Fixed stock AK equipped with an optic compared favorably to the MP5 at 200 yards or meters.

Beyond 200 meters out to 500 meters the M4 out performed all the SMGs and AK variants and scored 90% as well as a full-sized M16A2.

New Post
11/29/2012 8:44 PM

Its interesting to sit around the "camp fire" and contemplate all the differences, ballistics, ammo portability, etc, etc, etc....

But in any event, it primarily always boils down to the rifleman. 

I'd take a skilled rifleman armed with a simple open sighted 30/30 over an idiot with a "plasma rifle in the 40 watt range" any day of the week.

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11/29/2012 9:15 PM

El Mac, you think alot like Ellis Lea. If you ever get to WV I'd love to take you out to Peacemaker Training Center www.peacemakernational.com to pop caps and maybe burn a steak on the grill to enjoy with an adult beverage.

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11/29/2012 11:36 PM

There is a (actually at least two I think) fairly epic thread somewhere on the Kifaru boards about the .357 in a lever gun and the associated ballistics. I am up way too late finishing grading to look everything up as I did then, but long story short, the real life ballistics of a .357 in a carbine compared to .30-30 ballistics in a similar short barrel can be closer than you might think. Not the same, but considering package delivering the bullet (short barrelled, lever action, iron sights/RDS) the operational range for SD may not be all that extended for the .30-30. The .357. 41 and .44 mags benefit greatly from the increased barrel length, but other handgun cartridges not so much and the .45 ACP in particular. There was an article in Gun Digest many years ago about a really nifty custom Marlin 1894 in .45 ACP. It took no small amount of work due to the rimless cartridge, but it did work. I think it held eleven rounds. Can't imagine the price today as there was much work to be done. However, the ballistics as I recall were far from impressive. The relatively low pressure .45 ACP just doesn't benefit as much proportionally from a longer barrel as does something like the .357. Similarly, the .44-40 and .45 Colt don't turn into magnums out of carbines unless you are talking about already hot loaded .45 Colt rounds.

Scot, you are in the wrong territory for to find pistol caliber carbines unless you find some S.A.S.S. hand me downs.

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