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Lever action .357 opinions......

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Been reading everything I can on this site as well as others, so I have it down to 2 models from 3 different manufacturers. The purpose for this rifle is just an all around general purpose woods bumming gun. Not a serious hunter, though this rifle may be pressed into that role from time to time. Punching tin cans and such. I'm quite happy with the .357 and know its limitations. I do reload that round but I keep it reasonable. I have a 1894 but the long action adapted to the short rounds does have issues. That dinky, cheesy little cartridge stop has caused me no end of trouble. Would like a suitable fix for it but no luck so far.

So, to shorten this up, this is what I'm looking at and would like to hear your opinions on these. Looking for tough, rugged, reliable, But most of all, QUALITY. Think months on end in the wild places with no spare parts. Pretty is good as long as I get the other priorities met first, but pretty is far from the deciding factor. Not mounting a scope so that doesn't matter either. Has to be a side loader. I'm open to a higher price as long as it's what I want.

Model 1873 or Model 1892. 20 or 24 inch is good either way

Winchester/Miroku
Uberti
Cimarron

I'm open to suggestions as long as they meet my listed requirements and are high end quality.

What say you??
 

s1xty7

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If you already have an 1894 in 357, that's a tough one to beat in my opinion. Love my Marlin 1894CSBL, unashamedly pictured below.

When you say "cartridge stop", are you talking about the follower in the feed tube? I replaced mine with a stainless spring and follower to prevent future wear and haven't had any problems.

1894CSBL_Pineneedles_1_2018-10-11.jpg

1894CSBL_Ford_1_2018-10-11.jpg

Good luck with your quest.
 
I have several Japchesters (1885,
1886) and they are really well finished and are real smooth. I have a Rossi in 45LC that feels like it was milled by termites.

If it twer me, I would buy the Winchester 1892 Short Rifle. Same size as the Carbine, but without the saddle ring. Has a nice steel foreend cap. Looks sharp.

3CA8EA62-696B-40F0-A938-C29499F0C5E9.jpeg
 
If you already have an 1894 in 357, that's a tough one to beat in my opinion. Love my Marlin 1894CSBL, unashamedly pictured below.

When you say "cartridge stop", are you talking about the follower in the feed tube? I replaced mine with a stainless spring and follower to prevent future wear and haven't had any problems.

View attachment 612966

View attachment 612967

Good luck with your quest.
He might mean a Winchester 1894.
 
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There are a few parts I’d swap, but the Marlin would be my choice for a rugged gun. The quality has improved over the initial Remlin gun’s. I also like the ability to remove the bolt to clean the barrel with one screw. Plug a gun in the mud and that helps.
If it were me, I would likely get a stainless 1894 Marlin with the XS sights. I would inspect it before it left the shop for fit, finish, and feel. I would likely replace the ejector and maybe the trigger, but it would be fine without doing that as well.
 
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but pretty is far from the deciding factor.
Given the two models you have it down to, and the three mfgs. you list, then I would say NONE of them because quite frankly, all three make a very 'pretty' rifle - especially Miroku in their Mod 1873 - of which I am going to own one of - but that's a different story.

SO - if pretty is far from the deciding factor then I would say look at a Marlin.
Recently I looked at a new Marlin 'Texan' and was very impressed with the fit, finish and smoothness of the action - and it was less than the others you are considering.

Reality being what it is I will be the first to say there are advantages to a tube feed pistol caliber rifle over side gate - as I own a tube feed .357 rifle and have no issues with it but if a side gate is a priority (and considering your stated uses) I will have to say you should take a look at a Marlin.
 
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jbett98

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A Chiappa is worth looking into.
I have the 1892 version with an octagon barrel that I had Velzey (my favorite local gunsmith) cut the 20" barrel down to 17" and taper the last half into a round barrel, plus thread it for a suppressor.
I picked it up on Armslist for only $500.00 because the original owner cut 4" off the butt stock and threw away the pieces.
I'm going to order a replacement from Chiappa, but in the mean time, I added back the lost inches and wrapped some leather around the repair.
It shoots great, feeds ammo perfectly and is a absolute hoot to shoot with a can on it.

Chiappa 001.JPG

Chiappa 003.JPG

Chiappa 002.JPG
 
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Reno

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Two very fun yet very different rifles.

The Marlin is extremely enjoyable to shoot. Cycles very smooth. Very light. Suppressed is very fun too.

The Rossi is more cowboy to me. Just makes me feel like I’m in another era shooting it. It’s thinner overall and cycles harder.

Hard to beat either.

Prices however are also very different. Paid $400 originally for the Rossi. Quiet embarrassing to say what they rape you for the Marlin.

CB6F63A0-2440-43AE-AFFB-88B36C6902AA.jpeg F61B3C05-0A82-4DF4-8ADA-4BFD23DFC583.jpeg
 

ma96782

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Have you ever wondered/noticed......why? SASS shooters use the Win1873, Win1866 and Marlin1894 with such great success?

Since you already have the Marlin 1894.......I'd stick with that and HInt: Perhaps work on your ammo.

Meaning that some ammo just feeds better. I use a Marlin 1894 and reload my ammo for SASS. So, I've settled on using .38 Special brass and a 147 gr. TC lead bullet over 2.8 gains of Bulls Eye. BUT....the most important thing for me is to load them at 1.50". You might have to experiment with your own COAL, to get your rifle up to speed.

If you have the dreaded "Marlin Jam" problems......well, there is a fix for that too.

Also, I've found that SWC lead rounds don't exactly work too well for me. Round nose lead? OK, Ok, ok.......if I could load them out (length) I might give it another try. But, why mess with success?

Aloha, Mark
 
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Given the two models you have it down to, and the three mfgs. you list, then I would say NONE of them because quite frankly, all three make a very 'pretty' rifle - especially Miroku in their Mod 1873 - of which I am going to own one of - but that's a different story.

SO - if pretty is far from the deciding factor then I would say look at a Marlin.
Recently I looked at a new Marlin 'Texan' and was very impressed with the fit, finish and smoothness of the action - and it was less than the others you are considering.

Reality being what it is I will be the first to say there are advantages to a tube feed pistol caliber rifle over side gate - as I own a tube feed .357 rifle and have no issues with it but if a side gate is a priority (and considering your stated uses) I will have to say you should take a look at a Marlin.
Besides being pretty, the Winchester 1892 and its bigger brother the 1886 are two of the strongest lever actions you’ll find. Both have huge dual locking lugs and can take very stiff loads.
 
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I have a sickness for lever action 357s. My thoughts...

Marlin 1894 Cowboy JM. Slickest action ever, glass smooth, reliable without fault, long Octagon barrel is very very accurate.

Marlin 1894 carbine JM. Threaded by Velzey, suppressed. Had problem with lifter getting a wear groove causing a hitch in the action. Velzey inlayed a hardened steel bar into the lifter undersurface where the lever actuates it, fixing the problem forever.

Winchester 1894 in 357... this one was a POS. Cabelas took it back. Would drop cartridges under the lifter jamming up the works. Two trips to their gunsmith could not fix. Do NOT recommend making a 357 out of a 30-30 action.

Winchester 1892, Short Rifle and Takedown Trapper Deluxe. Both faultless, while not quite as smooth as a well broken-in Marlin, very reliable and very very accurate.

Rossi 92 Ranch Hand (and rifles, just commenting on action)... reliable but lack positive engagement. Soft action. Steel parts are not refined, nor IMO properly hardened. Reliable enough. Wood low quality. Safety location just sucks. Ranch hand sights do NOT line up on target... they shoot a foot high no matter what. Had to remove rear sight and use the safety blade painted orange to stack under the front sight pin in a modified “dotted i” arrangement. Get what you pay for.

Henry Big Boy... not mine... problem with crunchy action and horrific trigger pull. Avoid at all costs. 22’s are cast Zamak. Ugh.

Winchester 1873.:. can’t buy one. Stock drop is too low... cheek weld has me looking through the bolt, and the toggle is the weak point of the action. Yes they are fast to cycle but, you need to bend your neck forward more than my vertebrae go to get a good sight picture. 1866 in 38spl and brass frame is beautiful but very very heavy and is also ergonomically challenging to me.

There are Chiappa 92’s, Cimarron’s, and Uberti’s to consider but feel like repros of original guns. Only got the Rossi RH because my daughter wanted one. If Winchester made one I would buy it. If Henry made one in 357 I would vomit a little in my mouth.

Sorry if I ruffle any Henry feathers but mass production has done them no favors. I have an early Remlin 30-30 in stainless with fewer problems than H.

Also have excellent regard for Marlin 1894 44mag and 1895 45-70 Cowboy, both JM of course.

To the OP, get the Winchester Short Rifle or if it needs to be packed, the Trapper DX. That’s your best quality rifle choice. And if you need it for bears, don’t get a 357, get the 44mag, or even better, a 45-70.
 
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Winchester 1894 in 357... this one was a POS. Cabelas took it back. Would drop cartridges under the lifter jamming up the works. Two trips to their gunsmith could not fix. Do NOT recommend making a 357 out of a 30-30 action
Ditto this ! Same problem, similar outcome and I finally sold it in 2014.
Henry Big Boy... not mine... problem with crunchy action and horrific trigger pull.
I'll admit Henry is kind of hit and miss But I must have got lucky as my BBB .357 has an excellent action, incredible trigger with a fit and finish rivaling that of a custom rifle.
Also incredibly accurate.
It may have something to do with the fact mine is an earlier model before they went crazy and started mass producing in numbers and varieties nearly unprecedented by any other manufacturer.
I can't say avoid Henry just be very Cautious and look it over very well before buying.
I find it interesting how many complain about problems with them they seem to find AFTER they buy yet the problems are things they should have noticed while still in the LGS.
I looked my Henry over literally 45 minutes before buying and this included a minor cleaning while doing so.
 

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