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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off let me say I know nothing about guns (other than safety and how to shoot them), but I know how to research, so I've been doing that.

So, I want to buy my first gun, and probably my ONLY gun for a long time. I am very attracted to leverguns, so that is what I will be getting. It will just be for fun, not hunting, just camping and range shooting. My brother has a winchester 30-30 that was my dads before he died, so I have access to that so I won't be getting that chamber, I'll get something bigger.
That brings me to my first question. Ammo caliber. I'd like something in a caliber that I can get for a handgun (probably will be my second gun someday), so I think the popular options are 44-40, 44 magnum, 45 colt, and 45-70 (I don't even know if all those are handgun calibers). I want something big that can make tin cans explode and trees fall (exaggeration), but not so big that I'll be afraid of the recoil and never want to shoot it, which one source might have suggested that the 45-70 might be too big in that sense. So maybe the 44 magnum would be about right? I don't know how expensive ammo can get. It's not like I'll be shooting very often, but If there's a huge jump in price from one caliber to another, and very little difference in "stopping power" (tin-can-exploding power), then please school me.
Second question, barrel length. Someone said 22" is pretty well balanced, is that dependent on the caliber? If so, then with the response to the caliber one might recommend, could you recommend a barrel length to go with it? This question is mostly unimportant, as I'll hold the gun I decide to buy and see if it "feels right" for me.
Third question. I absolutly LOVE the looks and styling of the henry's big boy deluxe 2, but the loading concept seems weird and awkward to me, something about pulling out a tube, inserting bullets, and putting the tube back in...just seems like it would take forever. Please tell me if I'm wrong because I want to like the gun, but that's a deal-breaker at this point. So then there's a side-loader style which seems like a completely natural way to load it, and I love the idea, but then instead of ejecting the shells out the side they shoot straight up out the top. My assumption (having never fired either types of rifles) is that I would have to pull the rifle away from my body so the shell doesn't hit me in the face, then re-set-up the shooting position, then re-aim, then fire the second round. That seems just as awkward as the loading system of the henry rifle (again, I want to like those rifles too, so if I'm wrong let me know).
Okay, last question. Thanks for sticking with me. There seems to be a million makers of side-loading lever rifles (which I'd probably be more apt to getting over the henry's style of loading) and I can't find any information comparing them to determine what brand to get. They all seem the same to me. I've read about Marlins (mostly), winchester, uberti, rossi... Is there brands that are less reputable that I should stay away from? is there a single unanimous "best" brand that would be the only choice for me? Are they all pretty much the same other than build quality, or do the different brands actually load differently, eject shells differently, and so on?
Okay, that's all I can think of for now. I didn't expect to make such a long post, but I'm kinda a loner and don't have any friends to ask this kind of stuff to. Thanks for any input you guys have. I look forward to your different opinions and experiences with various forms of leverguns, and in the meantime I'm going to continue my research. Thanks again!!
 

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overall, Marlin makes a great lever-gun with their model 336, but you'll have to research the calibers they offer and see which you want. Henry rifles are very good, and the tubular magazines really aren't as awkward to load as you seem to think. as for top-eject, I had a Winchester 94 in .32WinSpl that ejected shells that way, and they don't hit you in the face.

for a good caliber to use in both a rifle and handgun, .44magnum. pricey, but the Henry Big Boy and a good revolver will easily handle both. if you want something cheaper and easier to shoot if all you'll be doing is killing cans for fun, Henry also offers a lever gun in .22 magnum and .22LR, both of which are easy to find revolvers for, and they look similar to the Big Boy.

since you sound like you want a larger cal., i'd say look into the .44mag Henry. ammo can be found anywhere, and lots of good quality revolvers that will take the same round.
 

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The 45-70 is not available in a handgun. I would stick with the 44Mag or 45Colt. The 44-40 is a fine cartridge, but if you don't handload, it will be expensive to buy and hard to find. A 44 or 45 carbine woudl make a fine defensive weapon, inexpensive plinker, and a capable deer rifle at shorter ranges. I have a Rossi carbine in 45 colt, and it is a fine shooter. It is top eject, and some of the shells do hit me while ejecting, but it's no big deal.
 

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The 45-70 is available in a pistol.
I own the Magnum Research 45-70 revolver.
I do know you can get a Thompson Contender barrel too.
I agree with 220combat's thinking of sticking with one of the more powerfull pistol rounds.
I own the Marlin in both 45-70 and 357 Magnum.
The 357 will easily bring down a deer.
And as said above, unless you reload, the large calibers get very expensive.
With the pistol ammo, at least you get to buy them in boxes of 50.
 

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The 45-70 is available in a pistol.
I own the Magnum Research 45-70 revolver.
I do know you can get a Thompson Contender barrel too.
You're right, but those 2 guns are quite specialty guns, and not ones that come to mind when you think of handgun cartridges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You guys are awesome. Thank you for the feedback. I will have to wait for the next gun show to to maybe check them out and compare them in person (if they're even there) instead of pictures and youtube videos. Is there no such thing as a side loading AND side ejecting lever rifle? I'd assume there's no room for all the parts in the receiver, but that would be perfect.
 

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You guys are awesome. Thank you for the feedback. I will have to wait for the next gun show to to maybe check them out and compare them in person (if they're even there) instead of pictures and youtube videos. Is there no such thing as a side loading AND side ejecting lever rifle? I'd assume there's no room for all the parts in the receiver, but that would be perfect.
not sure what's offered in the calibers you're looking for, but my Marlin 336XLR in .35Rem loads and ejects from the side. however, its an expensive gun and that cal. is not in handguns. Marlin's other 336 do the same, but not sure what other cal.'s are offered other than 30-30, .338Marlin, and 45-70.
I could be wrong, but I think Mossberg actually has a 30-30 lever gun with side eject, maybe they offer other chamberings? check around online and see what you find. keep us posted on what you come across!
 

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THe 336 model (and variants) are only offered in the rifle calibers You have to go to the Marlin 1894 model (and variants) to get the handgun calibers, but they are top eject. The Mossberg gun only comes in 30-30 at the moment, but it is side eject like the 336.

The Marlin costs a couple hundred more than the Rossi, but the fit and finish are better. The Rossi also has an odd safety, mounted on the top of the bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The marlin 336 seems exactly what I want, I don't know how I never saw it, and even after the first response to my post suggested it! My bad. And it's wikipedia page implies that it was chambered in 44 magnum but is "no longer offered." I've seen videos and statistics on them though, so I'm sure they exist. I think I'll end up picking up one of those when I get the money. I don't like the looks as much, but maybe I'll get the beautiful goldenboy someday in the .22 to teach my girlfriend and someday son/daughter to shoot and respect weaponry. .22 is just a bit too wussy for myself though, haha. You guys made my day now that I know a gun that matches my preference exists. Thank you for your help.
 

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THe 336 model (and variants) are only offered in the rifle calibers You have to go to the Marlin 1894 model (and variants) to get the handgun calibers, but they are top eject. The Mossberg gun only comes in 30-30 at the moment, but it is side eject like the 336.

The Marlin costs a couple hundred more than the Rossi, but the fit and finish are better. The Rossi also has an odd safety, mounted on the top of the bolt.
I have to disagree with the top ejection aspect of the Marlin Model 1894. This rifle is still listed on their website in .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum and is a side loading, side ejecting rifle. Unfortunately (to my way of thinking) all of the newly made Marlin lever action rifles include a cross bolt safety on the frame. I realize that this is probably a "good" feature, especially in today's law suit society, but to a traditionalist like me it's like putting diapers on John Wayne....they just don't belong there.

At present I have Marlin lever rifles in .22 LR, .30-30 Winchester, .375 Winchester Big Bore, .44 Remington Magnum, .444 Marlin, and .45-70 Government. All are old models, without the cross bolt safety, and I'm pleased with each of them. I will mention, however, that the Model 1894 in .44 Remington Magnum isn't the most accurate rifle I own. This is due to a rate of twist that isn't ideal for this calibre. I'm not sure if current production rifles still have the old rate of twist or if it has been changed. Also, this is a light weight rifle and with full load .44s it does bump a little. As for the Model 1895 in .45-70, with full load ammunition it bumps more than just a little. The Model 444 in .444 Marlin falls in between these two with regards to recoil.

I believe Marlin lever rifles to be fine guns and if it's a side loading and side ejecting lever gun you're looking for I don't believe you'll do any better.
 
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