Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Lever-Action Built to Handle Full-Strength .357 Mag (i.e. factory and handloads at or near max SAAMI specs)


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

 

I have a pretty decent knowledge of bolt hunting rifles but am new to SASS.  I do not currently compete, but would like to have the option to do so in the future if/when I have the time.  And by compete, I mean enjoy myself while participating in competition, doubt I'll ever have the time and energy (or skill, for that matter) to try and win/place.

 

That being said, I have been researching lever action rifles that could serve double duty as a short range hunting rifle & self defense (largely self-defense from charging boar or the occasional bear as opposed to people), but that I could still use (and enjoy using) in SASS type competitions and at the range.  I fully understand that 38 special, and even black powder charged frontier rounds are perfectly capable of putting down large animals, I just would like to have the option to use the same 357 mag in my lever action rifle that I use in my revolver and not have carry both 357 mag and 38 special.

 

It is my understanding that the best and fastest lever actions for competition are the 1866s and 1873s (with Uberti at the lead due to parts availability and cowboy gunsmiths willing to work on them).  And while it seems to be the case that an Uberti 1873 can shoot full strength .357 mag, it is pushing the edges of what is built to withstand with its toggle-link design (even with stronger alloys available today over the original firearms).  While I understand what has been said about Italian testing standards etc, I still do not love the idea of pushing a gun anywhere near its breaking point.

 

I was thinking that the best compromise would be a Winchester Miroku 1892.   I especially like the trapper model with the 16" barrel as it would be easy to tote around and I can't see why you would need a 20" or 24" barrel for pistol rounds.  Alternatively, the Rossi 92 seems like a good bet.  While these rifles do not appear to have short stroke kits available, it seems like there are a fair number of parts, videos, and competent gunsmiths to help get them pretty darn slick.  And at the same time the consensus on the internet (I always trust the internet) appears to be that both the Miroku and Rossi 92s have no problem regularly shooting full strength 357 mag, so I could still use the same ammo i use for my revolver in case my wife and I get charged by an enraged boar.

 

I guess what I'm really asking is whether a slick Win and Rossi 1892 is as smooth and jam-free and fun to shoot as a slicked up 1873.  

 

Not asking whether an 1892 is as fast - I know it's not.  And not asking whether I'm likely to win anything with an 1892 - I know I'm not likely to win anything regardless, and especially not with an 1892 when people can fire 10 shots out of an 1873 in only ten seconds.

 

I hesitate to raise it on this forum after getting a sense of everyone's opinions in other threads, but the last option on my list was the Henry BB steel carbine w/ side gate.  People seem to generally agree that the Henry's make decent hunting rifles but all accounts of their performance when cycled very fast seem to be very negative.  And there are no short stroke kits or gunsmiths who want to work on them.    But, still curious as to whether anyone has input on their overall reliability and the smoothness of the lever action compared to the 1873s and 1892s.  I understand they are no where near as fast as the 1873s, or even the 1892s with regards to the performance you guys expect out of your rifles for competition, but I know that they have no problem handling full strength 357 mag.  And since I won't really be competing in any SASS competitions in the sense that I am at all likely to win/place, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask people thoughts on the Henry BB as a crossover SASS/hunting rifle.

 

Any and all advice and feedback is greatly appreciated.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

A Win '92 can be every bit as slick as a '73 but can be more sensitive to bullet OAL.

 

Nothing wrong with the Henry Big Boy as long as you are aware of it's limitations.  It is not designed to be a fast gun.  It is, IMO, a great hunting rifle.

 

One thing you didn't mention is whether you want a scope for hunting.  If you want to put a scope on it, a Marlin 1894 is your best bet.  You can also put a scope on a Henry Big Boy, but again, not designed to be a fast rifle.

 

The Marlin 1894 can also be really slick and fast.  Not as OAL sensitive as the Win 1892 but not as forgiving as the 66/73.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GrizzleStomp said:

 

And since I won't really be competing in any SASS competitions in the sense that I am at all likely to win/place, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask people thoughts on the Henry BB as a crossover SASS/hunting rifle.

 

Also to add: yes, you will be competing, if only with yourself. 

 

If you find yourself getting faster with the BB you will outrun it and you have two choices:

1 - Slow down

2 - New rifle

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Rossi 92 is a great gun for your purpose. It is strong, reliable. relatively inexpensive, accurate  and used by many in Cowboy action shooting.

Johnny Meadows

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in a situation like you, I plan on using my gun 80% for hunting and 20% for gaming.  Since I plan to hunt longer range with a scoped rifle and I didn't want a scope on my brush gun, I chose the 92.  I used to have a winchester 94 in 357.  That'll game about like a Henry, or maybe a little worse, but for hunting,  it can be set up to run 360 dan wesson length cases.  That'll get you a 200 grain lead bullet into about 1700 fps from the right barrel length with .357 magnum brass.  If you want a scope, use the marlin or Henry. For hunting, I'd prefer the Henry with it's transfer bar safety and easy to empty magazine. I don't have any experience with 357 marlins however. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you may have read too many old articles about the weakness of an original Winchester 73 action. 

 

And, there are no maximum SAAMI pressure limits.  There are SAAMI pressure limits.  And proof testing runs a little above that.  You either buy factory ammo and reload to factory ammo specifications (from ANY good loading manual), or you hot-rod past those limits.  

 

Me, I'd stick to a Miroku built 73 in .357 magnum, currently made under the Winchester brand name.  It would be tested to SAAMI factory .357 magnum ammo levels.  Would be fairly slick right out of the box.  And I'd bet you would hunt with factory .357 ammo for longer than your life expectancy.   And you would have fast, slick, and reliable enough to do the job.

 

Simple, effective, no futzing with gunsmithing.

 

Otherwise, yep, I would second the older Marlin 1894.  Before Remington moved the plant and tried making guns with worn out machines and inexperienced labor.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just add that for hunting, the '92 with a round barrel or Marlin are much lighter to carry all day than the '73. Also stay away from that 16" barrel if you have any thoughts of using it in a cowboy match. It won't hold 10 rounds loaded to the proper length.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

You will find that cowboy target loads and hot 357s will shoot to different points of aim.  Marlin sent me two different front sights years ago for free

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Johnny Meadows about the Rossi 92.  The Marlin 94 is another option, in my opinion.  I have no experience with the Henry Big boy, so can't comment (but am not a fan of tubular fed centerfire rifles, or Henry's advertising strategy in the past.)   As for the Miroku 92, if you are talking about the newly made ones, I would avoid them.  They are a total BEAR to lever with their rebounding hammer lawyer parts (they don't work like an original Winchester 92, Rossi 92 or the Browning/Miroku 92s from the 1980s, which all work like the original 92 and lever much easier). 

Edited by Sacramento Johnson #6873
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the advice.  I think the obvious solution here is that I should just buy two guns and hope the wife doesn't notice.

 

I really like the 16" barrel HBB or 1894 Marlin in 357 mag as a short range hunting/self defense gun.  The new steel Henry's that came out this year seem to address many of the criticisms raised about them (i.e. they have a side loading gate instead of making you load through the tube and are a more reasonable weight than the prior models).  I like that they are built in the USA but don't like how the company seems to have handled itself with its advertising and CAS shooters when it came on the scene.  I'll take your advice to heart about the older Marlins with the JM stamp instead of the newer ones if I go that route.  

 

I don't plan on using a scope for hunting (this rifle is really only intended for short-range hunting/dense terrain) so I guess I don't need a HBB or Marlin 94, but if I'm getting a 16" barrel that would limit the use in any sort of competition I figure I might as well go with one of those two options.  And it looks like I can get either at a reasonable enough prince online if I'm patient enough.

 

If and when I ever start to outpace that rifle and/or get into CAS shooting, I really like the Miroku 73 or the Uberti 73s that some of the cowboy gunsmiths build for ya custom.  While I have heard mixed things about the new Mirokus, at least the gunsmiths are willing to work on them and it seems like a relatively reasonable action job would solve any problems.  It is good to know that I could shoot 357 mag out of those rifles if I wanted to take them hunting, but it seems like I would be better off practicing and sighting in using 38s with the 73 and my Ruger Vaquero as that is cheaper, quieter, gentler on the guns, and easier recoil.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, once you shoot a cowboy match, you will realize you don't need OR WANT to shoot .357 magnum factory loads at one.

good luck, GJ

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been shooting in SASS matches for a while now, as you can tell by my SASS #.  Although I shot a Navy Arms (Uberti) M1860 Henry Repeating Rifle in .44-40 for a while, because of back problems, its balance (24" barrel plus the magazine) was too muzzle-heavy, so I switched to the older Rossi's.  One is a Rossi Model 65 (a Winchester M1892, probably built on the original tooling), in .44 Magnum, and the other an old Puma in .44-40.  Both have 20" barrels, and are light and handy.  I load both cartridges to the same muzzle velocities with a 213 gr. bullet.  Yes, the '92 is somewhat overall cartridge length sensitive, but not really all that much of a problem.  The .44 Mangle-em can be downloaded for SASS requirements (1400 ft/sec max), but will easily handle hunting loads.  Same thing is true with .357 Magnum.  Frankly, although you asked about the .357, for hunting purposes, I'd recommend the .44 Magnum version.  Of course, that is your choice, depending on what you are hunting.  (To be honest, for anything bigger than a whitetail deer, I prefer a pre-64 M70 Winchester with a 4x scope, in .30-06.  But that's just me.)

Stay well and safe, Pard!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow.  I didn't know Uberti used to make the 1873 in 44 mag.  That seems like an awful lot of oomph for that platform.  But I know that at least one over-charged round is cycled through each one at testing so at least it seems pretty safe to shoot and the biggest risk (if any) is picking up stress fractures over long-term use as opposed to blowing up in your face.

 

To clarify, I use a bolt action rifle some nice folks in Missouri built for me chambered in 6.5 Short Action Ultra Magnum with an over-the-top fancy scope for long range big game hunting (i.e. shooting mule deer and elk from 200-500 yards).  But that is way more gun than I need for hunting medium size game in dense terrain and more gun that I want to carry if/when hunting/hiking/camping/traveling outdoors as a self-defense/predator/trail gun.  The idea of taking down animals within 100 yards with a lever action just has a certain fun-factor/challenge appeal over taking a 300 yard shot with a rifle that simply doesn't miss once you dial it in and put the crosshairs where you want them.

 

I was leaning towards 357 mag mostly so I could use the same gun for both competition (shooting 38s) and hunting/self defense.  But I'll look into 44 mag instead for the Henry BB or Marlin 94 for a pure hunting rig.

 

At the end of the day, I'll use any excuse I can to buy more rifles (and revolvers) than I really need and all the advice has provided plenty of new excuses to run with, so thanks!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I didn't know Uberti used to make the 1873 in 44 mag. 

 

But they made so few that few of us have ever seen one.  I would bet at least they used high-alloy steel in the frame and bolt and links.  They use lower-strength (high-carbon only) steels for those same parts in the regular 73s. 

 

Do NOT expect to run 40,000 PSI like a .44 Mag can in a .357 mag rifle, unless it's a Win 92 or 94 design.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Yeah, once you shoot a cowboy match, you will realize you don't need OR WANT to shoot .357 magnum factory loads at one.

good luck, GJ

 

You could easily exceed SASS rifle velocity maximums too.  Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook indicates you could get ~1860 fps using a 158 grain bullet and H110 (an excellent choice for a hunting load).

Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO a older Marlin 1894 (JM) is the best way to go , a 92 is also very strong , toggle link rifles are made to shoot fractory ammo 

 

 the toggle link was replaced to add strength to the action , if you chose to run hot ammo the 94 or the 92  is the only way to go 

 

 Chickasaw 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well lets take a look at the specs. I feel modern rifles would be built better than older brother's but who knows nowadays with the way quality is.

Photo below is from about 1926, Small Arms Technical Publish Company, refers to the 44-40 barrels
Steel Barrels - 22,000 cup

Nickel Barrels - 30,000 cup
Revolver - 15,000 cup

 

Don't forget the 357 mag barrels are thicker than the 44-40 information.


PSI Piezoelectric standards  weren't born yet so in this case, psi is from the CUP method of testing.

Today SAAMI publishes both cup (Copper Crusher) and psi (Piezoelectric)for some cartridges.

357 Magnum - 45,000 cup/35,000 psi. Don't forget the barrels are thicker than the 44-40 information.
44 Magnum - 40,000 cup/36,000 psi. Well, who wants to shoot full 44 Mag loads anyway...yuck!

We all know that the Uberti 73' is available in both 357 and 44 Mag. Absolutely, no need to use full max loads, and we all know even factory hunting loads are not full max loads.

Worn Toggle Pins? I have no idea if these pins are worn or not but the first thing blown was the barrel. I assume continued use could wear the toggle pins, however, frequent inspections can indicate excessive play if the pins are getting ready to give way.

Either way, then and now seems to be a huge difference in quality.

Got get a 73' and enjoy Winchester's Hunting loads in it!!! 

 

 

127178844_2825235487798380_793490460584277099_o.jpg

1873 blown barrel 2.jpg

Edited by Savvy Jack
Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a 16"  Marlin 94 (pre-Remington) in 357mag, Max load using Hornady 158gr xtp for dispatching feral hogs on my farm.  No problem.  It will shoot differently with Cowboy light loads so some adjustment on sights might be needed.  This was my wife's gun prior to her getting a 73.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the OP was asking about a rifle primarily for hunting and defense, I think it's worth noting that both .357 and .44 magnums achieve their best accuracy (at least in my long range silhouette days) at about 90% of maximum or higher.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a look at the old browning 92 in .357.  The were built by Miroku,, are very strong, and don’t have the tang safety that is on the current production winchesters.  They also have a very nice finish.  
 

I would never buy a gun for real world use that was not deadly reliable.  If you have a finicky gun for sass you loose a match.  A finicky gun in a defense situation could loose you your life.  For that reason I would never buy a Henry big boy for a defense gun (or anything else really).  But everyone gets to make their own choices.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2021 at 6:48 AM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

I think you may have read too many old articles about the weakness of an original Winchester 73 action. 

 

And, there are no maximum SAAMI pressure limits.  There are SAAMI pressure limits.  And proof testing runs a little above that.  You either buy factory ammo and reload to factory ammo specifications (from ANY good loading manual), or you hot-rod past those limits.  

 

Me, I'd stick to a Miroku built 73 in .357 magnum, currently made under the Winchester brand name.  It would be tested to SAAMI factory .357 magnum ammo levels.  Would be fairly slick right out of the box.  And I'd bet you would hunt with factory .357 ammo for longer than your life expectancy.   And you would have fast, slick, and reliable enough to do the job.

 

Simple, effective, no futzing with gunsmithing.

 

Otherwise, yep, I would second the older Marlin 1894.  Before Remington moved the plant and tried making guns with worn out machines and inexperienced labor.

 

good luck, GJ

What Joe said....

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Grizzlestomp, I have no idea why you have a fixation wanting a rifle with Maximum Velocity for Cowboy Matches. Rare the longest target distance is 50 feet and only a Texas Wheel has plates needed to be knocked off ... and these targets are normally less than 50 feet

But if you want heavy felt recoil ... your decision and a Rossi 92 will handle “heavy loads” plus being an accurate rifle 

Edited by John Boy
Link to post
Share on other sites

I only wanted the extra power in the 357 mag (as compared to the 38 special) for hunting / self defense.  I fully understand there is no need and that it would be counterproductive to use in Cowboy Matches.

 

What I was hoping was a rifle that I would have the option of doing both well.  And it seems like a Marlin 94 or Win/Browning 92 would be build a little better to handle 357 mag but slower in competition (where I'd be shooting 38), and the Win/Rossi 73 would be a lot faster in competitions, but that these rifles weren't really designed to handle the higher pressure of a 357 mag (even if they can and are tested by the factory).


I think I'll start with a used Miroku, Rossi, or Browning 92.  Then if I ever get into competing on a regular basis and good enough where I need something faster, I can look into having Jimmy Spurs or one of the other gunsmiths who come highly recommended on these forums build me a slicked up 73.

Link to post
Share on other sites

GrizzleStomp:

 

1. You're a new guy

 

2. You asked a well-stated, intelligent question

 

3. You listened to the answers, although not all agreed with each other

 

4. You made a well thought out, smart decision

 

Please hang around and play our little shooting game with us, we need (lots) more like you

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GrizzleStomp said:

I only wanted the extra power in the 357 mag (as compared to the 38 special) for hunting / self defense.  I fully understand there is no need and that it would be counterproductive to use in Cowboy Matches.

 

What I was hoping was a rifle that I would have the option of doing both well.  And it seems like a Marlin 94 or Win/Browning 92 would be build a little better to handle 357 mag but slower in competition (where I'd be shooting 38), and the Win/Rossi 73 would be a lot faster in competitions, but that these rifles weren't really designed to handle the higher pressure of a 357 mag (even if they can and are tested by the factory).


I think I'll start with a used Miroku, Rossi, or Browning 92.  Then if I ever get into competing on a regular basis and good enough where I need something faster, I can look into having Jimmy Spurs or one of the other gunsmiths who come highly recommended on these forums build me a slicked up 73.

I'm really surprised no one has stated this, yet: try before you buy.

 

You've received a lot of good information but in the end it'll be up to you.

 

If you've not been to a match yet I highly recommend you go and handle some of the other shooter's rifles.  Take a pen and paper and take notes.  Make sure you ask not only the make/model, but more importantly, what work has been done to them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

IMNSHO, neither the .357 nor the .44 Magnum is necessary in most hunting situations.  If, as a friend has proven, 45ACP from a 1911 is sufficient for hogs, and I know my .45 Colt Rifle is sufficient for hogs or deer, H-E-double-hockey-sticks, my cowboy loads in 45Colt are a wonder on deer out to 100 yards... why would I need more?  And a heck of lot easier to aim with it's 20" barrel, with like a 16" sight radius, vs the, maybe 6-½" on a 1911?  My 1892 Rossi in 45Colt is sufficient to handle loads in the range of 44Mag, a steady diet of .45Colt+P is swallowed with ease.  With the right bullet, powder and staying inside safe pressures...  my 45 Colt Rossi '92 is like a "45-70 Minor!" 

 

Hunting with handgun cartridges is about 2 firearm related things... bullet selection appropriate to game and accuracy.  On the hunter side of the equation it's about shot selection and placement.  Many hunting articles have been written about the second two, and...  and either as many, or MORE, about the 1st two!

 

Seriously, it's pretty simple to develop accurate loads in 45 Colt with the right rifle and a variety of bullets, from cast to jacketed in a number of weights.  Until the .30-30 the .44-40 was the greatest slayer of deer in this country... and neither is a real powerhouse of a cartridge.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/27/2021 at 11:01 AM, Rattlesnake Slim said:

Since the OP was asking about a rifle primarily for hunting and defense, I think it's worth noting that both .357 and .44 magnums achieve their best accuracy (at least in my long range silhouette days) at about 90% of maximum or higher.

That's kind of what I was thinking. Figured factory hunting loads should work

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing I was thinking of is that if you don't want to use a 73' because you feel it won't handle full loads.........curious how much "hunting" type shooting you plan to do with full loads. I doubt seriously ten shots a year would be worth not getting what you want.

The 357 MAP loads are listed for revolver use which are weaker than any rifle part. "I used MAP this time since we are not allowed to use MAX in here any more by certain users).

Personally I have the Marlin 1894 in 357, but it is not a slicked up fast shooter.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2021 at 10:38 AM, Trailrider #896 said:

Frankly, although you asked about the .357, for hunting purposes, I'd recommend the .44 Magnum version.  Of course, that is your choice, ....

 

This, in the Marlin 1894, is what I think, too, though it's not exactly what was asked...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure I have seen Duce Stevens fire 10 rounds in around 2 seconds ... out of a 92 ,,,,, 

So ,,, Slow is a relative term .....

The 92 is super strong and has been chambered in .500 S&W and .454 Cas.

 

Jabez Cowboy

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.