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Questions about lever actions for a new to the sport shooter


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I am no stranger to guns and grew up shooting at m grandpas farm here in AZ out in the desert. I am looking at several different lever action brands and styles. I like the Side gate henrys but have shot on some Winchester models as well. I am firm on sticking to 45 LC but wanted to hear some opinions on different brands from those who have more years under their belt in this sport (specifically opinions on Henry pros and cons).

 

Jedediah Westwood

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Don’t get a Henry. Beautiful gun but not good for cowboy action. Buy a Uberti or Winchester. Uberti’s have the most aftermarket performance improvements available. 

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28 minutes ago, Tarheel Doc said:

Don’t get a Henry. Beautiful gun but not good for cowboy action. Buy a Uberti or Winchester. Uberti’s have the most aftermarket performance improvements available. 


 I agree there dont mind the Henry .22 lever actions , but dont like the tube feed on the large bores . 
  I have Ubertis 66 's , a Winchester 94ae (that is always a nice shooter , a Rossi 92 (dont care for the small feed gate as its half the size of others ) and just picked up a Uberti 73  SRC so far my favorite , The 66 I have is nice but octagon barrel gets heavy 

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Here is the latest thread about the New Henry's Opinions very and you'll see that the ones who are or want to be competitive will tell you to stay away from them. The other group are the ones who are just looking to shoot the guns they like to shoot and don't care about the time.

 

As for sticking with 45. In the sport you need to reload. 45 is  A LOT MORE expensive and much harder to get the components for, Just keep that in mind.

 

Welcome to the most fun sport there is with the greatest bunch of scum and villainy this side of Mos Esley.

 

JEL

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1 minute ago, JohnWesleyHardin said:

IMO Miroku Winchester best cowboy gun you can buy.  Mine have all been slicked up by Cowboy Carty.

 

And extremely difficult to find.

 

JEL

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Winchester (Miroku) & Italian clones are the most expensive.  Rossi Winchester 1892 clones are less expensive but have limited slicking up opportunities.  JM Marlin 1894's are in same price range as the Miroku & Italian clones.  I have 2 main match rifles one is an 38/357 Uberti 1873 half round half octagonal short rifle.  The other is a 45 Colt Beretta Gold Rush which is a medium frame Colt lightning clone.  The Gold Rush was made for Berretta by Uberti.  After Beretta acquire Uberti they a sold as Uberti Lightnings.

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Whoa there cowboy!!! Dont Don't DON’T buy a ding dang thing till you get to match. You’ll understand why when you get there. People define “fun” for themselves… whats fun for me may not be fun for you… you may like the clunky action of that modern new henry bigboy… but its not the same as a an 1860 henry… 

 

go to a match and figure out what kinda fun you’d like to have… then follow that rabbit down the rabbit hole! 

Just be aware that most cowboy action shooters would rank a modern henry big boy at the very bottom of the rifle options while many may rank it at or near the top for hunting… by the way, few of us would hunt with our purpose built and slicked main cowboy action race rifles  

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46 minutes ago, El Catorce said:

Whoa there cowboy!!! Dont Don't DON’T buy a ding dang thing till you get to match. You’ll understand why when you get there. People define “fun” for themselves… whats fun for me may not be fun for you… you may like the clunky action of that modern new henry bigboy… but its not the same as a an 1860 henry… 

 

go to a match and figure out what kinda fun you’d like to have… then follow that rabbit down the rabbit hole! 

Just be aware that most cowboy action shooters would rank a modern henry big boy at the very bottom of the rifle options while many may rank it at or near the top for hunting… by the way, few of us would hunt with our purpose built and slicked main cowboy action race rifles  

I agree with El Catorce.  Everyone is in the game for different reasons. Some categories require specific rifles.  I think the coolest rifles are 1860 Henry's, but not for competition.  Lightnings are cool too, but only a few cowboys can run them quickly. Go to matches, see what you want out of the game, shoot some cowboy's guns, and make a decision.

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Don't ignore a nice JM Marlin. Bit more blow back possibly in the 45, but easy to work on. Try as many different rifles as you can.

 

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42 minutes ago, JohnWesleyHardin said:

I agree with El Catorce. 

 

Have those words ever been spoken before in that order???

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2 hours ago, El Catorce said:

.… by the way, few of us would hunt with our purpose built and slicked main cowboy action race rifles  

And definitely NOT with CAS match ammo!  :)

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all the best advice ever offered to me is above , and ill add that everything i was told was very true , i can say that because i now own everything mentioned above as well as an 1860 , but not the henry - that might change down the road if i get the urge to add another to the rack , 

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Thanks for all the advise guys. I went to a match here in AZ last month and now just need to save my pennies and look for a good deal on a lever action. I may have to wait 8 months till I finish college though.

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4 minutes ago, Jedediah Westwood said:

Thanks for all the advise guys. I went to a match here in AZ last month and now just need to save my pennies and look for a good deal on a lever action. I may have to wait 8 months till I finish college though.

 

You're going to be waiting longer than 8 months if that's your criteria. :(

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7 minutes ago, Jedediah Westwood said:

Thanks for all the advise guys. I went to a match here in AZ last month and now just need to save my pennies and look for a good deal on a lever action. I may have to wait 8 months till I finish college though.

Thats great news! Congrats on almost being done with college (until you get the next degree!)…In the mean time keep attending matches! Offer to help with posse chores, collect brass, work the unloading table, help keep score. Sounds like a lot of work but you’ll build relationships and make friends. Get the word out through your club about locating gear when you’re ready. Thats where the best deals will be found! Sometimes retiring cowboys want to sell their unused gear to cowboy shooters they know will keep their guns in the game. 

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42 minutes ago, El Catorce said:

Sometimes retiring cowboys want to sell their unused gear to cowboy shooters they know will keep their guns in the game. 

 

That's where I got my start on guns, unfortunately(??) that was only the start.

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I have 4 rifles in .45 Colt.  They are as follows...


Armi San Marco 92.   Very pretty gun, and all but unusable out of the box.   First gun I ever HAD to have an action job done to.  Now it runs great, but I'd not recommend it.    If you really want a 92 in .45, get a pre-safety Rossi.   I have one of those in .44 Magnum.  I never had any problems with it and thought it was just fine until I got the ASM tuned.   Then I realized that while reliable, it was "slightly clunky."   I eventually had it smoothed out.

 

Uberti 66.  A nice rifle that's pretty good as it comes from the factory.   I find it a little stiff, but that may improve with usage.

 

Uberti Burgess.  Very smooth action, but as it came out of the box, the hammer fell far too slowly to set off the primers in my cartridges.  Had the spring replaced and now it works just fine.


AWA Lightning.   My favorite main match rifle.  Out of the box stock.  The Lightning is not for everyone, but does have its devoted fans.

 

Good luck, and happy shooting.

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17 hours ago, JohnWesleyHardin said:

I think the coolest rifles are 1860 Henry's, but not for competition.  Lightnings are cool too, but only a few cowboys can run them quickly. 

I think the lightning rifles are the coolest but agree that they’re not the usual race guns. The ability to slam fire sounds like fun but few can run it as fast as a slicked ‘73. 

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27 minutes ago, El Catorce said:

I think the lightning rifles are the coolest but agree that they’re not the usual race guns. The ability to slam fire sounds like fun but few can run it as fast as a slicked ‘73. 

But those who can can really make them fly. 

 

JEL

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The Cowboy World Record for running a lever rifle is held by Smokestack and Deuce, using a 73 and Marlin 1894 respectively.

 

Deuce also has a video showing us how fast a model 92 can also be run.

And there are also videos of Lassiter running his Lightning with great speeds.

 

Most of the finely tuned rifles can be set up to run faster than we are capable of running them.

 

As to which is best......... its whatever the shooter thinks he/she can run the best.

 

..........Widder

 

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18 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

As to which is best......... its whatever the shooter thinks he/she can run the best

Great points… And also, however the shooter defines fun for themselves! 

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9 hours ago, Jedediah Westwood said:

Thanks for all the advise guys. I went to a match here in AZ last month and now just need to save my pennies and look for a good deal on a lever action. I may have to wait 8 months till I finish college though.

You have a great gunsmith in AZ goes by @Johnny Meadows,SASS#28485L You might contact him when you’re ready. He might be able to help with a variety of CAS guns.

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Hey Jedediah,

It was great having you out at our match last month.

 

Feel free to borrow my 66 again until you get your own rifle.

When your school days free you up some, let me know and we can get out to the range again with several different brands for you to try.

 

Meantime, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.

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I recommend the Winchester 1873.   357 is much cheaper to shoot.   There are at least 4+ on gun broker in 45 or 357 and 9+ of the 44-40.  Ever a few one of one thousand rifles .

 

 Send rifle to cowboy Carty for one of the best rifles in cowboy...
 

good luck,

 

3GC

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22 hours ago, Jedediah Westwood said:

Is Johnny Meadows the guy who works out of Legendary guns off Camelback and the 17?

 

If he is still there, that should be Bob James.

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If cost is a factor, the find some .38 specials and u can find Marlins, 92s, 66s, 73s will all shoot then. If competition is what you are looking for stay with .38s and get short stroked 66s or 73s. Otherwise if you are into the game for fun, then go with what you like. Always recommended to go to a local shoot meet people and check out their guns. Many will allow you a few shots so you get a feel for them. If a Henry is what you like, then get it and learn to shoot it, but as the others have suggested it is not competitive, but neither was the Winchester 94 I started with. That’s the other fun part, your gun collection will grow. 

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And you AIN’T a new shooter are you?

 

what percentage of the total members are competitive shooters?  How many titles do you have?  How often do you practice/shoot events a month?  How many state, regional and National shoots each year?  How much ammunition to you go thru a month?  Do you reload?

 

I was talking about members or new shooters that only shoot once a month at their local clubs monthly shoots, obviously that isn’t you Phantom. And what rifle did you start the game with, how many do you have now, and do you still have the first one?

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