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  1. #1
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    Default Looking to buy a .357 magnum lever-action...

    ...and I'm not sure which way I want to go, so I thought I'd post in here and see what you guys think about the models on the market today.

    Haven't bought a gun of any kind since my daughter was born 5 years ago so I think I'm due ( ), but finances are kinda tight so I'm not too keen on buying new. I'd love to get a true Winchester, model 92, but even used they're pretty pricey; I see used ones going for 600-800+ in some cases. Same story with Marlins; prices are a little lower but still seem to be in that 500-600+ ballpark. Meanwhile, Rossis look to be fetchin' 400+ new, but I've seen a WIDE variety of customer reviews on those ranging from lever-gun perfection to absolute garbage and everywhere in between. Been looking around, doing my homework, and checking out what folks on many other sites are saying about these various makes, but this is the only site I belong to so I'd rather hear what my fellow Gunboarders have to say on the subject. A lot of the gripes with Rossis seem to be about internal fit & finish, with many folks not at all happy with the feel of the trigger or the smoothness of the loading-gate; many mentions of FTFs & FTEs too. I'm not afraid of doing some home 'smithing, been doing so a long time...but I do wonder if the hassle is worth the potential savings? I'd rather only buy once so if I had to bite the bullet and fork over another 400 bucks over the price of a Rossi for a good Winchester, then so be it but I also have to wonder if the Winchester (or even the Marlin) are that much better than a properly-functioning Rossi to justify the extra money? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    Rob.
    The lunatic is in the hall.
    The lunatics are in my hall.
    The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    And every day the paper boy brings more.



  2. #2
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    At one time I owned a Winchester 94AE in .44 Mag. No matter what ammunition( factory, my reloads ) I used it would never do better than 8" groups at 50 yards. Totally unacceptable. That experiance really gave me a distaste for lever action firearms.

    I have since purchased two of the Braziltech/Rossi lever guns in .357 mag. The only issue I have had with those is if you start trying to run the action to fast the shell lifter will almost eject the cartridge being fed from the magazine.

    I have been shooting .38 Special reloads ( my NRA action pistol match ammo, more like .38 Special +p, 125gr JHP at @ 1025 FPS ) through both rifles with no issues. I consistantlly hit an 8" steel target at 117 yards at a friends range with the open sights.

    I would agree that some of the internal surfaces and parts may not be finished to as high a degree, but have not found that to cause any issues with function. I also don't really like the safety placement, but it works.

    I think sometimes you pay more for a name than it's really worth. I would reccommend the Braziltech/Rossi line of lever action rifles. As with any manufacturer there will be weapons that will have serious issues, so unless you can handle and fire the weapon before purchase you'll always be taking a chance when you buy a weapon.
    me26245

  3. #3
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    We reload .38/.357 so a lever action in those calibers seemed practical. Son wanted the Rossi but finding one seemed impossible. Out of stock and long wait to order everywhere.
    Henry sure is pretty ... too pretty to ding up and would certainly get ugly quick with the volume we shoot.
    Lucky find was an older used Marlin for a good price.

    The Marlin quickly earned respect for far better than expected accuracy, .38 out to 150 and .357 beyond out to 220m. It turns in most respectable groups, even out to distance, comparable to our various 8mm, 30-06, 7.62x54R rifles. It came with factory screw/screw holes for a scope mount and I happened to have a pic rail and 4x scope laying around.
    Not being thrilled with buckhorn iron sights, it mounted quickly and proved to be just the right choice. It puts them where you aim them and worked out perfectly so that no adjustment is necessary to shoot .38 on zero at 100 and the .357 on zero at 200. .38 will get there with some hold over once you get used to it.

    Drawbacks: The older Marlin had a defect in the carrier, something that took years to admit and correct. It was very prone to jamming one half way out of the tube and under the bolt. That required taking the whole damned thing apart to clear which was more than tedious and you are dealing with small screws easy to lose. Not fun on the range with a gun jammed with live rounds that must be cleared.
    Fortunately, there is a "new style" carrier that can be swapped out that completely cured the problem and works flawlessly.
    Lever actions get dirty quick! 100+ rounds and powder fouling and gunk load up the innards enough that it requires a complete take down and thorough cleaning when you get home. I've gotten much faster at stripping it down and putting it back together but it's still a chore I don't look forward to. Leading from the cast .38 bullets wasn't much of a problem but the fouling can build up pretty thick.
    There are tiny screws that loosen up. You can't loktite them in as they have to come out to take it apart. Checking all the screws after every 50 rounds is a must, before they fall out and get lost. Already lost a couple that had to be replaced.
    The stock is just a tad short. Long arm son finds it quite a short shoulder fit for him. I have to add a 1" Limbsaver pad or another extension.

    The addition of an aftermarket "cowboy trigger", several custom jobs out there, made the trigger pull really sweet.
    Between trigger, carrier and scope, we pumped some more bucks into the gun but it earned a sweet spot in our collection. We both have really taken to it. More than accurate enough at 200 to make a handy deer gun and the "warmer" .357 still pack enough punch to do the job. Recoil is light enough for a kid to use without punishment.
    It can churn through our cheap to make reloads, which we have in large quantity so shooting it is very inexpensive. Just a handy, accurate, and useful gun that earned a place of respect in the collection! I love it!

    That is in comparison to a .45/70 we loaded up a bunch of rounds for the neighbor. That lever gun was just teeth jarring brutal even with light to medium loads and we quickly concluded we wanted nothing further to do with it after a day at the range! He's now borrowing the Marlin for his 12yr old daughter to shoot. She likes it!

  4. #4
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    Clyde is offline Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauserBob View Post
    ...and I'm not sure which way I want to go, so I thought I'd post in here and see what you guys think about the models on the market today.

    Haven't bought a gun of any kind since my daughter was born 5 years ago so I think I'm due ( ), but finances are kinda tight so I'm not too keen on buying new. I'd love to get a true Winchester, model 92, but even used they're pretty pricey; I see used ones going for 600-800+ in some cases. Same story with Marlins; prices are a little lower but still seem to be in that 500-600+ ballpark. Meanwhile, Rossis look to be fetchin' 400+ new, but I've seen a WIDE variety of customer reviews on those ranging from lever-gun perfection to absolute garbage and everywhere in between. Been looking around, doing my homework, and checking out what folks on many other sites are saying about these various makes, but this is the only site I belong to so I'd rather hear what my fellow Gunboarders have to say on the subject. A lot of the gripes with Rossis seem to be about internal fit & finish, with many folks not at all happy with the feel of the trigger or the smoothness of the loading-gate; many mentions of FTFs & FTEs too. I'm not afraid of doing some home 'smithing, been doing so a long time...but I do wonder if the hassle is worth the potential savings? I'd rather only buy once so if I had to bite the bullet and fork over another 400 bucks over the price of a Rossi for a good Winchester, then so be it but I also have to wonder if the Winchester (or even the Marlin) are that much better than a properly-functioning Rossi to justify the extra money? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    Rob.
    Most of the used (but not abused) M-92s i see are usually north of $1K. I'd happily pay $600-800 for a decent specimen. NOTE - that applies to real Winchester Model 1892/Model 92, not the various copies of recent date.
    Last edited by Clyde; 11-12-2012 at 05:01 PM.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Most of the used (but not abused) M-92s i see are usually north of $1K. I'd happily pay $600-800 for a decent specimen.

    Been watching one online @ 875 BIN (supposedly NIB) for a couple days now. They're out there....but I also see a Rossi @ 500+ BIN and a Marlin @ 530...but bids only on that one so I don't expect it to stay that low. Anyway...no, I don't want to shell out $$$ just for a nameplate.


    Rob.
    The lunatic is in the hall.
    The lunatics are in my hall.
    The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    And every day the paper boy brings more.



  6. #6
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    I have a Rossi M92 and a Marlin M1894C. Both are nice for different reasons. The Rossi is super quick and a fun plinker while the Marlin lends itself well to a scope with the side ejection.


    Both are somewhat hard to find and get expensive at auction.

    Making the World a Better Place, One Rifle at a Time, www.RCArms.com





  7. #7
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    Got an old Rossi "Puma" 92 in .38 Special only. Gun was literally in pieces and used in a farm as a door lock, so after some minor repairs, a replacement rear sight donated from a derelict Winchester 92 SRC, a new mainspring and a refinishing job it now runs like a champ with almost any round, including some old, crappy "American Ammunition" LRNs, reloads, +Ps and both light & heavy FMJ, RN & SWC bullets. I'll definitely get another one (Like the 24" octagonal barrel model) as soon as possible.

  8. #8
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    New 92s and some rossis have now added a safety, the old ones are like the original winchester.

    Guntests, for what it's worth, compared the henry rifle, and the Italian 92 and 73 copies.

    They liked the Henry best, then the 73, then the 92.

    I had a Rossi .357 92 for a while, didn't like it; dang hard to load and didn't feed reliably. It may have just been a lemon as some seem to work fine.
    03man - Don Voigt
    Author of "The Japanese T99 Arisaka Rifle" 2010 edition
    Co-author of "The Knee Mortars of Japan 1921-1945" 2011 edition
    Near Charlotte, NC

  9. #9
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    I reccomend entirely the puma/rossi rifles. If you get any type of 92, go to stevesgunz.com and check out all of the great accessories and dvds he has on them. My stainless 357 puma now has been slicked up, and has the safety plug in it to take away the ugly safety. I have the stainles 20 inch bbl, and it is like shooting an awesome bb gun. It is a little picky on OAL in rounds. it will not shoot the really shoe semi wadcutters that only stick out of the case 1/8th inch or so, it will try to double feed them and gum up the entire works. If you are reloading, any round with a close OAL will feed fine.
    "A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that." -- Shane




    Who is John Galt?

  10. #10
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    I have 2 Rossi `92's, 1 in .357 with a 24" octagonal barrel and a stainless .45 Colt version with a 20" octagonal barrel.
    Both function very well and are accurate with my cast reloads; they are both over 10 years old and the only problem I have had was with a broken ejector in the .357, which I replaced and took about 2 hours to get to fit.
    If I had to voice a preference, it would be the 45 Colt version, as I think the 20" barrel gives better balance than the 24"
    ukrifleman.

  11. #11
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    Wow.

    You all have given me a lot to think about. I really appreciate the feedback. Thank you so much.


    Rob.
    The lunatic is in the hall.
    The lunatics are in my hall.
    The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    And every day the paper boy brings more.



  12. #12
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    I have a LNIB Marlin 1894C that needs some glue in a cracked buttstock available. PM me if interested.

    I also have one NIB as well.

    Don

    Making the World a Better Place, One Rifle at a Time, www.RCArms.com





  13. #13
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    Was shopping for a .357 Mag lever gun about 18 months ago myself. Settled on the Marlin 1894c (one of the last from the 'old' Marlin). Reasons being it could be easily scoped, had the sling studs factory installed - which were important traits to me, plus it has good looks and is fast handling. Have always preferred carbines to long rifles.
    Was surprised on how much difference there was between firing .38 Special POI and .357 Mag when I first got it. Had hoped both would shoot to nearly the same POI. (Maybe that was due to being a new bore. ?) I've been hand loading 158 gr XTP's in .357 Mag (on the warm side) to get the best accuracy. The Federal 158 gr JSP's group pretty well too. Trigger is heavy and floppy when cocked, guess there's an after market solution to that which I have not applied.
    Put a small relatively low power scope on it just to develop hand loads but it's so handy and natural for sighting I left it on.
    Overall it was a good purchase.
    Just my experience, YMMV.
    Assault weapon is a term invented and used for propaganda.

  14. #14
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    Rob,

    My Rossi 92 38/357 functions great and is like shooting 22s. Very accurate. I have no plan to put a scope on it. The only minor issue is the load gate - Hard to load. Therfore I load singly from the top. The 92 action is short and sweet.

    My other lever is a Winchester 94 in 45lc. Like then both but prefer the shorter 92 action for pistol cartridges.

    Have Fun!
    Fred

  15. #15
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    I have a like-new Browning-92 in .357 Magnum. PM me if interested.

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Last year my friend bought a Henry in 357 and boy what a beautiful gun but only likes the round nose hornady rounds. Would not feed anything else without great difficulty. My Marlin 1894 44 mag. seems to cycle quite well with flat points.

  18. #18
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    I have a Rossi that was all but impossible to load till I took it apart, remove the mag tube and gently dremmiled the inside opposite the loading gate, it seems there was a sharp corner in there that refused to load anything other then FMJ round nose loads. After the work it loads everything fine.
    When your smiling the whole world smiles with you

  19. #19
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    I have a Browning copy of a Win 92. Very slick, but works best with round nose bullets, flat hollowpoints sometimes hang up on the edge of the chamber.

  20. #20
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    Been shooting various lever guns for 40 years. I have a Rossi M92 .357. I think it is the best bargain out there. Shoots anything in .357 or .38 Spl, even mixed together, except for the aluminum cased loads...they do seem to bend a little and do not feed well. The Rossis are very reliable, accurate and dependable. I bought mine online from Buds and got a very good deal on it...(I have nothing to do with them-just got a good rifle from them for a good price.)

    Mine is the 20" round barrel version.

    .357 magnum from a rifle is a very different animal and very useful, even for deer at 75 yards or so. Cheep to shoot and fun.

    Mark

  21. #21

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    I have used a 92 puma with the stainless 24" octagon barrel and brass reciever in .357. With that barrel shooting .38s feels and sounds like .22s. I really liked it out of the box, but since it was for cowboy action i added wolf springs and did an action job on the internals. This made a good action seem like silk. The biggest issue with the rossi/puma isn't the action or barrel its just a poor finish job on the wood hardware. Since this is a working gun tho a little True-oil gun finish and it looks great too.

    I like Winchesters, I really want to love Winchesters but i honestly can't. The actions just seems so jerky on the new 30/30 i have. Maybe its unfair but i just expected more out of such a legendary name.

    As far as Marlins go, I really feel they don't get the respect they deserve. I know on some the exposed bolt design isn't attractive, but they were there in wild west too. Some are really attractive and the fit and finish is on par with the Winchester. And i will admit i have yet to meet one where the action wasn't smooth and reliable. These guns are usually less than a winchester and a great bargain. If its reliable you want instead of name brand bragging rights these are great.

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