5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

.357 lever action rifles

courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAG

Why wouldn’t you want a .357 Magnum lever action rifle? The .357 Magnum round is pushed to greater ballistic performance (add about another 600 fps and another 500 ft-lbs of energy, give or take) as well as a wealth of ammunition choices.

You can even shoot .38 Special for some of the easiest long gun plinking you’ll ever do.

“But muh tactical!” you say? Poppycock; the .357 Magnum is one of the best rounds for personal defense out there. With the added velocity and muzzle energy, along with the fact that JHP rounds are easily available from any gun store, whereas frangible or JHP rounds for an AR-pattern rifle are harder to source, it makes one of the best home defense long guns possible. Additionally, .357 Magnum lever action rifles can accept optics as most are pre-tapped for scopes and can easily be fit for a tactical rail.

Yes, tactical Virginia, you can put a red dot on a lever gun. If you want to. There are even night sights available from aftermarket suppliers.

You can also get your lever action fix without breaking the bank on ammunition – .357 Remington is cheaper than .30-30 – and without breaking your shoulder, as a .45-70 will make you black rifle boys soil yourselves and cry for your mommas.

.357 lever action rifles are also proven game-getters, as they are well-suited to whitetail and hog hunting in thick timber at close(r) range, inside about 150 yards. Larger game such as elk or black bear warrant a more strenuous cartridge and hunting game on the open plains of the West requires more power and flatter trajectory.

With that said, should your fancy be tickled, here are five .357 Magnum lever action rifles to look for.

5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

courtesy mfr

If it’s an American classic you want, the Winchester Model 1892 Carbine is about as classic as it gets. The 1892 was one of Winchester’s rifles designed by John Browning. Browning created the 1892 to compete with the Marlin 1888, and according to legend, completed the work in two weeks. The 1892 is a top-ejecting model so scopes or rails are out, but the point of this gun is to be a fast-handling, medium-range rifle. At that task, it has excelled for more than a century.

The ’92 is a round-barrel model, with the metal bits in blued steel and the furniture in black walnut. The Carbine model features a 10-round tube and a 20-inch barrel. At only 6 lbs, it can easily be carried in the hand…which you have to do since it lacks sling studs. Today’s edition also features a falling block safety, so it can be carried loaded. Since MSRP is only $1,069, it’s Winchester’s entry-level lever gun…but it’s far from entry-level quality.

5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

courtesy mfr

The Henry Big Boy Classic is as close to the original lever gun as it gets without having to look for .44 rimfire. It’s replete with a brass receiver, 20-inch octagonal barrel and buckhorn rear sight, so it has the classic look and feel, but also features a brass bead front sight and 10-round magazine tube. Worried about scratching that brass? The Henry Big Boy Steel is a great option, too.

It’s an entry-level model – MSRP is $945, you’ll pay about $200 less retail – but comes tapped for a scope or rail if so desired.

5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

courtesy mfr

Marlin made a name for themselves offering an improved version of the Winchester action, starting in the 1880s. Among their improvements was a revision to the receiver for their model of 1894. Marlin changed the sliding top strap to a sliding sidewall and therefore making the rifle side-ejecting. That keeps spent brass out of the eye of the user and today, allowing for easy mounting of a scope. With today’s popular optics being rail-mounted, that makes the 1894 CSBL tactical and practical, with the addition of an XS Sights Lever Rail and sight set.

The 1894 CSBL has a 16-inch barrel, with an 8-shot tube. The finish is stainless steel with a black/gray laminate stock with checkered pistol grip and a rubber recoil pad. It carries easy, at 6-½ lbs, with swivel studs coming standard (as does a hammer block safety) and has a large loop for fast cycling. You get the best of both the classic function of a lever gun with modern improvements. Granted, it comes rather dear at $1,145 MSRP, but since the name on it is Marlin instead of Winchester, you should be able to pick it up for much less.

5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

courtesy mfr

Of course, you can also get the original Winchester carbine, the Winchester 1873. The Gun That Won The West. The 1873 was one of the most popular lever action rifles of all time. While initially offered in .44-40, .32-20 and .38-40 (and discontinued for some time) a new version emerged in 2013 chambered for .357 Magnum/.38 Spl and a hammer block safety for safe carry.

The 1873 Deluxe Sporting is that classic rifle, dressed to the nines with a color-case hardened finish and checkered pistol grip. The furniture is high grade walnut, and the Deluxe Sporting model also features a 24-inch half octagon barrel and half rounded. This is the showpiece among Winchester’s 1873 model range, and it had better be with a price tag at nearly $1,800. If you want a lever gun for your wall and occasional shooting, good luck doing better.

5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles

courtesy mfr

Another Marlin not to miss is the Model 1894 CST, which features a black pistol grip stock and stainless finish. The sights are – just like the CSBL – are XS Sights ghost ring sight set, it lacks the top-mounted rail. (You can still install it; the receiver is pre-tapped.) Just like the CSBL, it has a 16-½” barrel length and an 8-shot tube magazine, an enlarged loop and swivel studs…but this model also adds a threaded barrel for adding a suppressor. MSRP is $1,154, but since the name on it is Marlin instead of Winchester, it’ll command less of a premium in-store.


  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Marlin quality has not been great the past few years. I’d take a Henry over it and in .44 please

    1. avatar Dave M says:

      From what i have seen, Marlin quality is back, alive & well.

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Think they’d be willing to do one over? I have a 30-30 marlin I inhereted that’s about ~10 years old, from my guess, that I would really like to actually work. It just refuses to cycle or extract properly.

        1. avatar S. James says:

          Find a gunsmith and let him do a tune up. You won’t regret it. Everything needs a tune up every now and then. Plus its cheaper than buying a new gun. Peace

        2. avatar Kenneth says:

          Is it the same stoppage every time? For example, when the malfunction occurs, does the unextracted case stay fully in the chamber, partially extracted, or fully extracted but stays in the action like a failure to eject? And is the malfunction consistent from between one time and the next?

        3. avatar Gustavo giggle says:

          I may be mistaken on the model but check your screws. If your screws aren’t tight enough the lifter won’t function properly. Could be as simple as a part not being in the right place due to a loose screw or something that’s broken.

        4. avatar New Continental Army says:

          Thanks y’all. It is a consistent problem that’s almost every shot. Cycling alone with rounds is really tough, then firing is fine, but extraction is nearly impossible. I have to hold the gun in a way so that I can pull on the lever with my clenched fist to open the action. I’ll check the screws but I figured it’s a gunsmith trip to be sure.

        5. avatar LazrBeam says:

          Gunsmiths have gotta eat, too 😎.

        6. avatar Kenneth says:

          I’d say it’s likely a chamber problem, Nothing will make extraction difficult as consistently as toolmarks in the chamber, and Marlin was well known for barrel and chamber problems while they were owned by Cerberus/ the ‘Freedom’ group, which happens to be just the era your gun was made in.
          You can probably see the marks in the chamber if you look with a strong light, but polishing them out is a gunsmith job. Good too far and the gun will get unsafe, and depending upon how deep the marks Marlin left behind are, it might even need a new barrel.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I agree with Dave. I got a 336BL a couple years ago and I have no complaints. At least you should expect the kind of quality you’d get from a Remington bolt gun in the price range. Frankly the quality was sinking fast before Remington bought them out, but they went straight off the cliff when they fired all the Marlin workers and took their worn out tooling and put their own Remington workers (with no experience building lever guns) on them. The old tooling is long gone now. I’d stay away from used Marlins made anywhere from 2005-2015 though.

      From what I hear the Henry trigger is better though. I put a Wild West trigger on the 336, and it’s great, but that puts the Marlin price right up there with Henry.

      1. avatar Dave M says:

        ‘ I’d stay away from used Marlins made anywhere from 2005-2015 though.’ Seems to be an accurate description from what i have seen. Love that new Stainless/Laminated Marlin, but sticking with my Ruger 77/357 for it’s amazing accuracy & ability to shoot any damn ammo I put in it.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I really want to want a 77 (probably .44) but I have a couple of nitpicks that will probably keep me from buying one. My biggest complaint is that they’re built on .308 length receivers. So my Hawkeye RSI in .260 (18.5″) is the exact same length as the .44. It should be 2″ shorter. Also, a 10 round box mag option would be nice. They can do it for the 10/22 they can do it for the 77/44. Nice guns though, just nitpicks.

    3. avatar rosignol says:

      Dunno, 44 Mag costs about twice as much as 357.

      Shooting twice as much for the same price has a lot of appeal, and it’s not like 357 Mag is weak.

    4. avatar phrog says:

      I have a 30-30 revelation model 200 western auto 30-30 I had over 50 years with no problems use it to deer and bear hunt with today just as good to day as it was when I bought it 50 years ago

    5. avatar Chris says:

      Remington owns Marlin now. That’s why the older Marlins skyrocketed in secondhand price.

      I bought a 336Y a few years ago, the action seems fine (I swear though, they’re casting these things from lead. My 336Y with a plastic stock and 16″ barrel is heavier than my father’s 20″ barrel 336 with Walnut stock), but the stock was absolutely garbage. Particleboard with a veneer, thereabout.

  2. avatar Bing Crosshair says:

    Exactly and would be a nice compliment to the 686 or GP 100 or even better, a Ruger single action chambered in 357!

  3. avatar Rimfire says:

    I absolutely love the Winchester 1892, such a smooth action in a carbine that is quick handling. The Marlins, since the plant closed and moved into the Remington facilities has been known for some sketchy quality issues. The old Marlin factory’s greatest asset was the workers, who built great guns. Just not the same under Big Green, unfortunately.

    One worthy brand that didn’t make the cut here is the Rossi 1892 models. Obviously not the same quality as the Winchester offerings, it is a nice value gun.

    To me, I am all about the Winchester lever guns. While I love my trusty 1892 I really want to try and 1873. It’s sleek and very good looking!

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      My 2 year old (Miroku – Japan) Winchester 1873 is very dependent on the cartridge OAL. It loads, cycles and ejects all .357 Magnums well… .38 Specials not so much. Most .38 Specials hang up the action when transitioning from the magazine tube to the carrier (it is a pain to clear the first time it happens until you figure out how). It’s been back to Winchester…they claim it is operating within specs. When I asked them which .38 Specials they use for a mechanical action check they would not tell me. My solution is to load .357 cases to .38 Spl pressures when I want really light shooting loads.

      It is a beautifully finished and smooth shooting rifle with a glass smooth action…the only caveat, mine just doesn’t like most .38 Specials in spite of how the barrel and action are inscribed as .38 / .357.

      PS: Remington Ultimate Defense .38 SPL +P 125 Gr. BJHP (HD38SBN) cycles properly. They are hard to find and a bit pricey in my area.

  4. avatar Mikial says:

    Lever guns are excellent for a multitude of environments and uses. Fast firing, easy to handle, easy to reload, and available in a wide range of calibers. And they have a fringe benefit of being beneath the notice of the Liberal anti-gun establishment. With a rail and a Red Dot they are excellent in ‘tactical’ applications. Everyone should have one in their SHTF stash.

    1. avatar Swj says:

      Yep… under the radar is always best 🙂

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        They’ll come for the lever actions too. They did in Australia and Britain.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I actually live on a lake! Never mind the boat, I tripped on the way to the elevator, poof!, it was in the drink. Keep looking, guys, it’s down there somewhere!

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      Nothing is truly under the radar of the anti-gunners. Washington State just decided to categorize Marlin 60s and Ruger 10/22s as assault rifles. Show the anti gunners the introduction to the old television series “The Rifleman”. They will vote to ban lever guns in a heartbeat.

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Just a matter of time.

        1. avatar LazrBeam says:

          And after the anti’s re-visit “Wanted Dead or Alive” with Steve McQueen the mare’s leg will be next on their hit list. I don’t really fancy a mare’s leg I just hate to see sh*t banned.

        2. I agree with Lazrbeam..The Liberal anti gun crowd would have a field day with the old TV series, “Wanted , Dead or Alive”. Evil Lever Action pistol, or rifle. Demonize it. Just a matter of time, like Lazrbeam said.

      2. avatar PATRON49IFT says:

        That is why they must all be defeated, in every way possible. Start at the ballot box. Take it from there. If we don’t start pushing back hard we will be over run. History is replete with examples of what happens to a disarmed population. Not good.

        Until the anti gun bullies are successfully challenged and defeated we will be fighting on defense. I say go on offence and stay on offence.

      3. avatar Roland says:

        Every Nut – Bolt – Screw that they can make illegal they will, I even worry my Mailman would be in on it and has me pegged as a gun owner from the catalogs I get, Calif. is making you register for ammo, how long will it be before they say “wait a minute you bought ammo for a gun you don’t have”

  5. avatar possum the red nose delete says:

    My oldest is looking for a good .357 lever rifle( to shoot elk???) I suggested the Marlin although I didn’t know their quality went down hill. Maybe a Rossi? He’s not got amuch money, so no $1000 guns ..

    1. avatar don says:

      I looked at a Marlin and the furniture to metal was rough and checkering was poor. I bit the bullet and bought a Henry Big Boy. Payed more for it but the quality vs. the Marlin was superior in my opinion. It was smooth shooting right out of the box.

      1. avatar Vinny Boombotts says:

        There’s no doubt the Henry’s are smooth!

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      The Rossis have a good reputation for reliability with .357, but tend to choke in .38s, from what I’ve read. Shop around. They used to go for $500, but prices have risen. But I really don’t think I’d shoot an elk with a .357. They are BIG animals with bad attitudes to begin with, and I doubt that would improve if shot without enough gun. Tell him to get a bolt gun in a hunting caliber like .270 or .30-06. The Savage Axis, although having a polymer stock that is nothing to write home about, does have an Accu-trigger can be had with a scope for under $500 ($400 on sale). A few dollars more will get him a Savage 110 that he will own forever. That’ll get him his elk.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Henry or Marlin 45-70 will work fine on elk.

      2. avatar possum the red nose delete says:

        He carry’s a 9 mm for black bear protection. My first suggestion was 30-06. No he wants a lever gun in a pistol caliber. Okay .44 mag. No , too expensive to plink with. I said the first Elk that runs off after being hit, your not going to be so happy, get an 06.

      3. avatar Jim V. says:

        Love my Rossi 357Magnum Carbine. Smooth as silk. Less weighty than my Henry. Easy to “top off”, and no issues with 38s so far.

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I wouldn’t count out Marlin until you take a good look at one up close. Remlin seems to have gotten their act together lately.

      1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Gov. I just got back from the evil gun shop and saw a new Marlin 1894 357 mag and it was flawless.

      2. avatar The Boojum says:

        I can vouch for the Remlin QC getting their act together. I just bought a Marlin 1894C in .357 a couple weeks ago. I went in to inspect it before the LGS handed it over and everyone at the counter got a chance to “ooh” and “ahh” when it came out of the box. The checkering isn’t great, but the wood is gorgeous and I put 100 rounds through it with no mechanical issues. Pretty proud of this little rifle.

    4. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      I think a lever rifle in .357 Magnum is not enough caliber for elk. I would step up to a lever gun in .44 Magnum or, even better, .45-70 Government

  6. avatar SurfGW says:

    Walmart sold Winchester 94 Trappers in .357 for less than $300 in the 90’s. Really wish I bought one.
    Now, I am looking at Ruger 77/357s, but really wish for a lever. Maybe Ruger will introduce a 96/44 but in .357 and stainless….

    1. avatar Dave M says:

      I ‘had’ a lever gun in .357 because I really wanted one. Ended up selling it because it was so damn ammo picky; replaced it with a Ruger 77/357 that simply does NOT care what I feed it. Exceptionally accurate; will consistently hit quarter size objects from 50 yards with 5 different loads with NO scope adjustment. Also will chamber the CCI shot shells, something the lever gun would also not do. Stainless with synthetic stock means not worrying about it; stock is also hollow so you can store fire starter, band aids, cordage, etc. Like the rotary mag better too, carry an extra loaded (no more cycling the action to empty & no chance of chain fire). Maybe not as sexy as the lever gun, but it works every time, period. Also have a few Ruger .357 revolvers to go with it.

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Got a Henry big boy from my wife, daughter and niece for Xmas, goes real well with my ruger Blackhawk. Must have been a very good boy.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      It sounds like you have a wonderful wife, daughter, and niece.

      1. …Sounds like YOU have a great “Free-State” YOUR living in! As I carefully write this text from behind the “Iron Curtain” here within the Socialist Eastern Bloc Authoritarian Police-States…DON’T want to get “Red Flagged” as Political dissident…..

        1. avatar Jaykob Owens says:

          I am sorry you are being punished for seeking to excersize your God given rights to intellectual self defense and modern enginuity.

          What is happening in the country I promised to defend with my life?

  8. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Love me some 357 carbine.

    I am fortunate to have a nice one I bought in the late 90s for $300.

    Shoots best with in 357 with 140-158 grain loads.

    Nice that 38,spl+p shoot to the same point of aim at 25 yards with a William’s peep.

    Great rifle -cheap to shoot if you reload.

    Levers are my go-to guns – quick and handy.

  9. avatar William B says:

    I think every gun owner who has more than a single self-defense handgun, probably would like to own a classic TV-western lever action rifle or carbine. The ultimate would be one of the four Winchester 1992’s used in The Rifleman. I know I’d like to, but I absolutely don’t need it, just like I don’t need an M1 Garand from the CMP. Two rifles at around a thousand each. Two that will likely never make it to the top of my “Let’s see what I can spend a thousand dollars for this month” list.

    Still fun to read about them.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      I grew up watching westerns. Therefore, I wanted a lever gun, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I picked up a Henry .22lr for about $250, to scratch that itch. It goes well with my Heritage Rough Ryder .22 single action revolver ($129).

      I’d love to have a .357 lever gun to go with my revolvers. I just can’t justify it right now.

  10. avatar William B says:

    Oops. Make that 1892.

  11. avatar Mark N. says:

    I have a Winchester from the US Arms era, manufactured by Miroku as they are today. The fit and finish is good, but you have to pay dearly for really nice walnut. The rifle was redesigned to make it drop safe. The redesign dropped the leaf hammer spring, replacing it with a coil spring and “pusher” that forces the hammer into the firing pin. The pusher has two legs, one of which pushes on the hammer to fire the gun, and the second of which pushes the hammer back off the face of the firing pin. They call this a “rebounding hammer.” The upside is it won’t fire if dropped on the hammer when loaded, but the downside is that the “double duty” coil spring results in a heavy duty trigger pull. Fortunately there is a partial remedy. The rebound leg of the pusher can be removed, which takes some pressure off the hammer, and Wolff makes a 15 lb replacement spring to replace the 18 lb spring that is installed by the manufacturer. (Obviously this will void the warranty if that matters to you.) I have removed the leg, but haven’t gone back to replace the coil spring–it is a fiddly job that can result in parts flying around the room. Still, the trigger will not be as light as an 1873.

    My model, with a 24″ barrel, is heavier than the 20″ carbine, but carries 13 .45 Colt rounds in the tube. It is accurate as far as I have shot it, and the recoil is mild. I picked it up barely used for $700.

  12. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    “Why wouldn’t you want a .357 Magnum lever action rifle? “

    I dunno. Maybe because I already have a couple of lever guns in .45 Colt?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      So, you’re a girly man?

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Yes. The .45 Colt is so much more dainty…

        1. avatar LazrBeam says:

          Hope you don’t break a nail!

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          You could probably refer to the .45 Colt +p stuff as .45 Cold magnum, in which case you could keep your man card in tact.

    2. avatar The Rookie says:

      My “Bucket List” rifle is a Henry Big Boy chambered in .45 Colt. Brass receiver and oversized loop.

  13. avatar Gerald says:

    I have a rossi M92 lever action and it works nice no problems at all !!

    1. avatar John Clark says:

      Ditto my Rossi stainless 92 in 45 colt has severed me very well.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Really? What part of you did it sever really well?

    2. avatar LazrBeam says:

      Me, too, Gerald. Three of ’em. One in .38 Spl/.357 Mag and two in .45 Colt one of which is a carbine in stainless steel. Got a Henry Big Boy in .327 Fed Mag, too (which also shoots .32 H&R Mag. and .32 S&W Long). I lIke Black Guns and so forth but lever guns are just plain fun to shoot. Giddyup!!!!

    3. avatar Tim says:

      Ditto my Rossi M92. Sweet little rifle – doesn’t choke on anything & more accurate than I’ll ever be.

    4. I also have a Rossi 92 in 357 Magnum. 20″ round barrel. As long as you feed it Magnum length ammo, even if you handload, as long as you keep the O.A.L. of the cartridge to 158 gr Bullet length, it should cycle and feed properly. You can always use a low powder charge of say Trail-Boss brand powder for your target and plinking rounds. Then you can still get the same recoil as 38 Special ammo, but without the feeding and cylcing issue’s. That being said, go for the new Winchester 92 made by Miroku, if you can handle the $900 price tag. It really is a much better quality rifle.

      1. avatar Camper says:

        My Rossi eats anything and everything I feed it. LRN 38, JHP 357, I haven’t found anything it doesn’t like. I haven’t tried SWC, none in the ammo locker.

  14. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I want my $300 1992 Marlin 36 in 357 back. It aint gonna happen, but its the one that got away.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      In 1982 I bought a marlin lever action 357 at a pawn shop just outside of fort Bragg n.c. I loved that rifle

  15. avatar TomC says:

    While .357 ammo is cheaper than .30-30 ammo, you can buy quite a bit of ammo for the price difference between a .30-30 lever action and the significantly more expensive .357 lever action. It might not make much sense but pistol caliber lever action rifles command a significantly higher price than traditional calibers like .30-30 or even .45-70

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If you’re primarily looking for a self defense carbine for <100 yards the .357 would probably be the better choice, primarily for the mag capacity. If you're looking for a moderate range (<250 yards) deer rifle the .30-30 is hands down the winner. If you want the deer rifle (.30-30) but want to keep it loaded for self defense I'd recommend Federal's 125gr. SJHP load. They call it a 'varmint' load, but it looks pretty devastating against 2 legged varmints and will still give you a nice boost in range and power over the .357.

      1. Gov Willam J, keep the faith on Ruger changing the rotary magizine on your model 77/44 and 77/357 carbines. Ruger recently, by public demand, switched the Ruger Ranch rifle and Predator models, in 223 Rem and 300 BLK from a five round propietary mag to standard MagPul and AR15 type mags. Up to 40 round now. So ask Ruger in a nice E-mail and you just might get what you are asking for! I too, would like to see a 10 or 20 round mag for the 77/357 and 77/44 Mag Rugers. I would pony up the money, if Ruger made that change, and buy one.

  16. avatar anonymoose says:

    It’s .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum. The .44 and .41 were Remington Magnums. S&W partnered with Winchester in 1934 to come up with the ammo for the Registered Magnum.

    Also, you forgot to mention that you can slice through the doors and engine blocks on classic cars with a .357 carbine. 158 grains at 1800 fps, baby!

    1. That is only with hot loads like the new Hornady 125 grain JHP “American Gunner” ammo, and 158 JHP ammo made by Buffalo Bore.. basically loaded to 357 Magnum + P pressure’s. Both those rounds run through my Chronograph at between 1,800-1,850 fps , five feet from the muzzle. With a 20″ bbl. Those two loads are about the only loads of 357 Magnum that I would hunt Deer with, up to about 125 yards, max. You might get lucky and kill a big Buck with other 357 Magnum rounds, at up to 50 yards or so, if you hit them in the neck or head. I would stay with those two Hot loads to be on the safe side..

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        I would not hesitate to hunt deer with most non-cowboy 357 loads of 140 grains or better.

        Before I got my first Marlin 357 carbine, I killed several deer with a 357 handgun.

        Two were killed with 125 grain loads. In a revolver, they were plenty accurate out to 75 yards ( my max with a handgun). In themcarbine the got squirrely as you went beyond 50 yards.

        The 140s and 158s hold 1.5 inches at 100 yards.

        Dandy deer cartridge for my ranges.

  17. avatar W says:

    Are there no 10MM Auto lever actions? 10 is pretty potent and the added barrel length would add a bit more. Plus, one may pick up a round or two in magazine capacity.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I don’t think the 10mm would benefit as much from the longer barrel as the .357, which in full power loads edges out the 10 in handguns. You could fit in an extra round or two though.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        You also wouldn’t have the option of shooting .40S&W like you can shoot .38 specials in a .357.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          For a lever, seems like we should have a rim, if .357 doesn’t do it for you, I’d guess you want .41 Mag, but the rarity causes factory ammo to be pretty expensive. A nice lever in .41 with reloading gear seems pretty neat, I’ll stick with .357.

    2. I hear there are a couple places in Texas, Ranger Point Precision, and another one, name escapes me, that will convert a Winchester 1892 or Marlin 1894 lever action rifle to 10mm, and/or .40 S&W. It is a real hassle to go from a rimless cartridge, ( 10mm) , to a rimmed cartridge like 357 Magnum, or vice versa in a lever action rifle. That is why not many people modify them to 10mm Auto cartridge. I too, would like to have 10mm lever gun, as I already own two 10mm Auto pistols. One has a six inch long slide barrel. I have killed a Deer with that. 135 grain Nosler JHP bullets and loaded Hot. About 1,350 fps out of the six inch barrel.

    3. W, see Oregon Trail man’s post below on 10mm Auto Conversions.. there are people in Texas that do just that..be prepared with a fat wallet, but it can be done.. good luck.


  18. avatar Chuck says:

    Check with your State DOW. Most Western States consider .357 Magnum too underpowered for Elk, and restrict it’s use. With an average shot range between 150 to 200 yards, it’s really outside the effective range of the cartridge. For Elk in Colorado, most hunters will go no lower than a .270 Winchester. Personally, I preferred the .300 Winchester Magnum. Flatter shooting and harder hitting than the 30-06 or the .308. If he’s on a budget, a decent bolt action costs less than a lever action most days of the week.

  19. avatar VF1777 says:

    On the advice of someone in the know, I got a Marlin 1894 in 44. He was right, the new ones are awesome now. They got their act together. Liked it so much I got an 1894c in 357. Had a QC issue with the front sight, but no worries – just replaced it with a set of Skinner winged sights and it’s awesome now. I actually (yes, prepared for the screams) like the new ones better than the old ones. The ballard cut rifling is better than the old microgroove and the wood is checkered (wasnt on the old ones). Not sure the interwebs had caught up on all of this yet (I hadnt unless a gun store friend clued me in) so sure some heads are exploding right now. But read up and you’ll see. Note: just like AK’s, I always recommend visually inspecting Levers before you buy!

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      The 336s are still micro-groove, even the .35 Rem. From what I’ve heard you get more velocity from the micro-groove barrels. Less bullet deformation I suppose.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        My first gun was micro groove! I wish I remembered the year. “Gold Crown” single shot bolt action .22, circa 1958. Wow. Was a super little gun!

    2. avatar Squiggy81 says:

      How’s the trigger? I purchased a new 1895 last year. Fit and finish is decent for the price range, but the trigger seems like it’s about 10lbs. I don’t have a gauge, but it’s heavy. Crisp… but heavy.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I put one of these on my 336; https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1800188646/wild-west-guns-rifle-trigger-marlin-336-444-1894-1895-steel

        For such a simple and tiny piece of metal it seems pricey but once it’s installed it’s worth every penny. But as I noted above it puts the Marlin price in line with the Henry price. If you’re much of a tinkerer it’s not a difficult DIY install.

      2. avatar VF1777 says:

        +1 on the WWG Trigger upgrade. Not cheap and takes a little tinkering, but got one on the .44. Will do the same on the 357 some day. Next up though is a Ranger Point Precision Loop.

        As for the stock trigger… you’re correct. It’s crisp, but a bit heavy. I actually don’t mind it, as it’s crisp and consistent and really not bad for a lever gun. I don’t put scopes on my levers, so not trying to shoot for groups really… but the WWG trigger is better and removes the flop (which oddly doesn’t drive my OCD crazy, but is a little wonky)

        As far as the microgroove, I didn’t mean to imply there’s anything wrong with it. It’s likely just as accurate – WITH THE RIGHT BULLET. The ballard cut handles modern factory ammo better, including the lever evolution round (I don’t reload… yet).

        1. I also have the Ranger Point Precision “Medium” lever loop on my two Marlin 1894 lever action rifles. Perfect size. I hate those John Wayne Large lever loops. They are total overkill, in my opinion. But the Ranger Point replacement levers are just the right size. When wearing winter gloves, they are great. No pinched fingers. $130 , and worth every penny. They come in blued or Stainless Steel..

    3. I agree that some of the new “Remlins” made after 2013, on CNC machine’s are pretty nice. And they have a new 16″ bbl Stainless Steel model with a larger lever loop, and threaded barrel, ( for a Suppessor). But you still have the issue of the redundant hammer block safety, and the $900 price tag..and some people are not hot on Stainless Steel on a lever gun. I agree with all the people here on this forum that all Marlins made between 2006 to 2012, when Marlin-Remington re-tooled to CNC machines, should be avoided at at costs, unless a Gunsmith has thoughly inspected it, and found it to function and shoot accurately. It’s a big gamble with those year Manufacture rifles made by the Freedom Group. Buyer beware.

      1. avatar The Boojum says:

        If you want to get rid of that safety, there’s a company called Beartooth Mercantile out of Wyoming that has a delete kit for less than $20. Even makes it look like a screw. I’ve got one on mine because I know how hammer positions work.

    4. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Marlin switched to Ballard rifling in the 1894s in the 90s. I owned two 1980s microgroove 357s but sold them since they wouldn’t shoot well with cast bullets. Couldn’t keep them on paper at 100 yards after the 3rd shot.

      The traditional rifling gives the option of using cast bullets and is just as accurate ( maybe more) as the microgroove with jacketed bullets.

      I did see a new Marlin 1894c the other day and it looked and felt much better better than the first Remington made ones did.

    5. I totally agree with VF1777 that using Skinner sights out of Montana, is the way to go on any lever action rifle, that you aren’t putting a scope on. Very accurate, and look awesome with the “Black Gold” option. I have Skinner Sights on 85% of my lever action rifles. And old steel Lyman, Marbles, and Williams sights on the other 15%.

  20. avatar RGP says:

    The 1892’s made by Chiappa in Italy are as good as it gets for a pistol caliber levergun. I’d take one of them over anything Marlin or Henry ever made, and definitely over any current Japchester with the useless tang safety.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      You lost me at Chiappa…

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Well then get a Uberti! Beautiful rifles.

    2. I disagree. I have both a Mikoru Japan 92 Winchester, and a Italian made Chiappa 92 lever guns. The Miroru Winchester has a smoother factory action, and cycles better. But as they say, ” your results may vary”. The price between those two rifles is pretty close, but you can useally get the Chiappa cheaper, street price. Depending on your FFL dealer markup. But they are close. The stock trigger is better on the Winchester. About 4 pound pull.

  21. avatar former water walker says:

    Love to have a 357 levergun. And a semiautomatic shotgun. And tricking out my AR. Sigh…

  22. avatar Tom Worthington says:

    I very recently purchased a Rossi 92 in .357. Found it on the Kentucky Gun Company website. My LGS was amazed I was able to locate it. He said he’s been unable to get anything Rossi in quite some time. Love the gun, but I need to work on smoothing out the action. A bunch more firing cycles, cleanings, and lubes may help out a lot. I learned real quick not to put it back together completely dry after a cleaning.

    1. I have a tip for you on your Rossi action situation..Call or go to StevesGunz.com or call him. He is in Texas, and he will sell you a DVD and a few key parts, to fix and slick up your Rossi 92 action..same holds true with the Rossi Ranch Hand Mares Leg pistol..it needs an action and trigger job also. Stevesguns.com will also do the action work over about 3-6 weeks, depending on how busy he is.. the rifle will be night and day better than before

  23. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    I’m a certified Henry-hater. That’s just based on one rifle, a .357 Bug Boy, so admittedly it’s an insignificant sample size. Still, for that kind of money, it’s difficult to believe I’m the one-in-a-million customer with a lemon.

    Don’t get me wrong, the rifle fires .357 magnum, in 158 grain, adequately. You aren’t going to rapid fire manhandle it like on “The Rifleman” without it jamming, but basic firing and cycling the action is ok. If you get rough and run it “with authority” as Henry fanboys chastise you to do, the gun’s Fisher Price feel instantly surfaces and you think that it’s about to fall about and break into pieces.

    They claim you can fire .38 SPL, too, like in .357 magnum revolvers. However, while that works in revolvers because the case just needs initially to fit, and not subsequently move, it does not work well in a lever action rifle where the case must be ejected. In this case, the differences in dimensions between .357 and .38 SPL start to matter and the gun jams.

    It does look very pretty, though, which qualifies it for promotion from safe queen to fireplace mantel queen.

  24. avatar =BCE56= says:

    Love my mid-90’s Trapper (except for the ugly crossbolt safety.) Light, handy, reliable and accurate, and nice wood too. Digests everything I have fed it. I replaced the front sight with a Lyman bead- it’s good to go

  25. avatar Dr Strangelove says:

    Be cautious about the Winchester 1894 in 357. The frame was designed around the 30/30 and it has a serious shortcoming when rechambered for the 357… the cartridges can easily slip under the lifter, locking the gun up tightly and requiring disassembly to clear the mess since one round after another will head straight from the mag tube to under the lifter. Two trips to the smith for new parts never fixed the problem. Cabelas was gracious in allowing a complete cash refund.

    My only problem with Marlin was a groove worn into the lifter where the lever actuated it causing the “Marlin jam”. Easily fixed permanently with a hardened steel insert inlayed with jb weld into the lifter. This happened on a well loved 1894 carbine. The Cowboy model, even more loved, has never had a problem. New Remlins can be pretty action-rough but polish the action, raceways with lapping paste, cycle the action 500 times, rinse and oil, and no more problems with rough actions.

    My buddy got a new Henry 357 that would not chamber factory ammo without 2-3 jerks of the lever. Trigger pull near 9lbs. Back to Henry. Still waiting. YMMV

    I’ve never had a problem with Winchester 1892’s or Rossi 92’s though the wood quality on the Rossi leaves a lot to be desired. Finding a Rossi 92 in 357 new, particularly in stainless is very difficult. The new Winchester 1892 Deluxe Trapper Carbine with 16″ octagon barrel, pistol grip stock, and case colored frame is truly a work of art.

    1. I totally agree with Dr Strangelove, on all his points, and that the new 16 inch Trapper is a work of Art! Also I agree with other bloggers about the Henry Big Boy series rifles, that the cycling of 38 Special ammo is an issue. And secondly on the Henry rifles, they load from the Magizine tube, like a 22 Rimfire rifle, not through a loading gate, like Winchester and Marlin..Also I bought a 2017 Mfg Marlin 1894 44 Magnum rifle, and had to have $175 worth of action, and trigger work done to make it pretty decent now. 4 lb trigger now. But the Gunsmith was well versed in Marlin action jobs. He replaced the stock firing pin..a sub standard design. If you buy any 1894 Marlin lever action rifle, make darn sure it was made prior to 2005, and better yet, before they installed the hammer block redundant safety. The old half cock system was just fine, and the newer model safety is just plain stupid and ugly looking. At least the newer Winchester 92 Rifles have a Tang safety, that does not look as bad. Still stupid.

  26. avatar Hannibal says:

    A lever action rifle is not a great home defense option. First of all, it’s lever action. Second of all, they’re typically longer than what you can get with more dedicated defense weapons. Finally, the penetration of an AR through home building materials isn’t much greater- if at all- than that of a .357 round through a long barrel.

    You’re losing semi-automatic and gaining what?

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘You’re losing semi-automatic and gaining what?’

      Style. Basically you’re losing something that’s ALMOST never necessary for self defense in exchange for something that’s NEVER necessary for self defense. But, if plastic and aluminum is just not your thing, a self defense / range toy may be better than a rifle you’ll never practice with when the SHTF.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      LMAO….I must have missed the edict that semi auto was necessary.

      No one wants an eye at using a pump shotgun with 7 or 8 rounds.

      I would much rather have a carbine levergun with more precision anytime.

  27. avatar Bruce A. Frank says:

    Too bad there is no production in 358 Maximum/SuperMag!

    1. avatar Bruce Frank says:

      Uh, just washed my keyboard and cannot do a thing with it…that was supposed to be 357 Max/SM!

      1. Bruce Frank, I agree. I have a single shot 357 Maximum caliber rifle, and an old Dan Wesson revolver in 357 Maximum caliber, with a 8 inch barrel..357 SuperMag. I wish the made a “long action” 357 Maximum lever action rifle..The 357 Magnum model 94 Winchester will extract a 357 Maximum ok, if the chamber is reamed out longer by a competent Gunsmith, by subsequent rounds won’t cycle well. Just too long of case and bullet. If someone could make one work, other than just the first shot, it would be one hell of a great Deer Rifle..with 20 inch barrel, you are looking about 2,000 fps using a 158 grain Hornady XTP bullet. And about 1,100 ft lbs of Energy, at the muzzle or more.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          I have seen a Winchester 94 Trapper in 357 rechambered for the 357 maximum.

          You also have to change or modify the cartridge lifter to handle the length.

          It was a lot closer to 30-30 than the 357

  28. avatar Phil LA says:

    I’ve got a levah-action fevah. And the only presciption is fa more 45 colt.

  29. avatar Oscar Cannington says:

    I got lucky and found a 16″ Interarms Rossi in .357 which works great and is very accurate. We have tested it with hollow point ammo in .38 Special and .357 magnum. It feeds and ejects both calibers and shoots to the same point at 25 yards.

    1. avatar J says:

      I love my 16in 357 Rossi. Light, handy and accurate. While the fit on the furniture could use some work, it’s a shooter not a wall hanger. And it is about half the price of the cheapest lever gun on this list.

  30. avatar Jerald says:

    I am on the all weather 357 Henry rifle enjoyed it very much and got it for quite a bit less than a marlin much less a Winchester … The rifle is a total blast on top of that it’s great to have around to take out coyotes … like other comments have been made I’m not sure of the reliability or I should say the quality control of Marlon in the past few years since they’ve moved from Connecticut .. even though HENRY is our tube fed they seem to be more reliable and much easier to maintain … if I felt the need I would definitely buy a 44 or the 4570 big boy and I HENRY without thinking twice thank you interesting article

  31. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    this has me wondering, since the 94ae uses a long throw for a short .44mag, can that be rechambered for .444mar? hmmm…

  32. avatar C Doc says:

    For the price of a .357 Lever, I will keep my old Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. I reload and have the option of using the 158 grain JFP and JHP bullets at higher than .357 Mag Velocities or downloaded at similar velocities. It’s also a decent Deer and Black Bear rifle and will handle Wild Boars as well. I have a Marlin in .460 Marlin for Bigger stuff. It’s a modernized 45-70 class round and does a good job on Elk sized animals at reasonable range. Handloaded or Factory rounds with appropriate bullets will take care of almost all North American Game. I would hesitate to take on a really BIG Bear, but It would likely do so, if there were an urgent need. I’m a fan of Big Heavy Slugs and seem to gravitate toward the 400 – 405 grain JFP. Same for the 45-70.

    If the price of a 357 carbine were priced more reasonably, I would likely consider another purchase. Forget the Micro Groove rifling if Cast Bullets are on the menu. I have an old 94 Winchester in 44 Mag from back in the 60’s and an 1894 Marlin with Micro Groove rifling from the same era. These days, there isn’t THAT much difference between inexpensive 44 Mag and 357 Mag ammo from overseas. Handloads even up the difference. The 44 uses more lead and powder and the brass is a bit more, but the difference isn’t astronomical. Reasonable handloads are easy on brass. Use NEW Brass for ANYTHING approaching Maximums and be REAL Careful in standard lever guns. They don’t seem to live long with overloaded handloads.

    On the 10MM thing, I have all sorts of 10MM handguns and a Budget 10MM Semi Auto Carbine. The Carbine costs less than half of the Real World Tariff for a 357 Lever gun (More like a third). It’s real rough and ugly, but it has run through anything I have fed it without a snag. The gain from the extra barrel length isn’t that great, unless you roll your own and use data that would benefit from the longer barrel. My 6″ Long Slide comes within a Hundred FPS or so of the Carbine with some Factory Loads. I’m looking to convert one to 357 Sig. I have a DIY Custom Semi-Auto Carbine in 357 Sig that really was worth the trouble. Still cost me less than a Marlin or Winchester 357 Mag Lever Carbine, although the 357 Remington Mag has a slight advantage in Velocity and Bullet weight. That advantage disappears with the 44Mag, 460 Marlin, 35 Remington, and 45-70. The ultimate lever guns could start with a 308 Winchester Model 88 or 100 from years ago. Even the 243 and 358 Winchester chamberings were great options. Look for a 405 Winchester in good shape and it’s a good big game option. Don’t Forget the Savage 99 lever guns too. Those guns can be found used for a decent price and can far surpass the 357 Mag round in the right chamberings. Look at the Browning BLR and it gets more interesting.

    So there are some serious alternatives to the $1000.00 plus 357 Mag Lever gun that are competitive in that price range. I’m not knocking the 357 Mag, but my money would be better spent for a heavier caliber. I would likely buy a 22 Mag Lever Gun for the same purposes I would use a 357 Mag lever gun for, and save enough to put towards a used Lever Gun in a more substantial chambering for the Heavy Lifting. As a “Companion” Rifle for a 357 Mag Handgun, it appears to serve a purpose, but it’s questionable if Big Game like Elk is on the Menu.

  33. avatar Michael Jakel says:

    My marlin 45/70 guide gun is rock solid. I use it exclusively for bore hunting. Incredible stopping powder. I’ve been looking for a new/used lever gun 357mag/ 38sp. Most likely will go marlin. Would like a big loop though.
    Happy hunting.

  34. avatar shootit says:

    Functional ability costs just like any improvement, or capability. A 357 mag is nice but barely makes it out of the park after a plinking home protection rifle. As a deer rifle, you are limited. I could see buying a 44 magnum lever that does everything a 357 mag does and more, and better. Yes it is a bit more costly, but as I stated, that can cost you a little. Thats your call. I wouldn’t be grabbing my 357 mag as a shtf go to gun either. I would grab my AR 15 before a 357 mag lever gun. The hottest 357 round you can buy or load can not match a good 223/5.56 round. Before I would invest in a 357 mag lever, I could buy/build a great 6.5 grendel or 300 BO upper for my AR 15 and have a better deer caliber, with more rounds in the mag. As a handgun round, one shot fired from a 357 mag revolver, can almost deafen you or damage permanently, your hearing.

  35. avatar Bud says:

    Brand new Marlin .357 Magnum. Took it out of the box, and subsequently returned it due to rust and deep pitting from the chamber up about 4 inches of the rifling.

    1. avatar OregonMan56 says:

      Quality control of some older Marlin rifles is pretty bad. From about 2006 to 2012.

  36. avatar Jac herscovici says:

    I am interested in a levr gun , hard to decide ; Uberti 20” 357 octagon Barrel
    Henry big boy 16″ octagon Barrel 357 mag (new model)
    Marlin 1894 CSBL stainless steel 357 mag.(new model)

    Can you help me to decide what should I get I like all of them . I do not know on the one should i get .
    Hunting and most home defence .
    I will appreciate a reply !

  37. avatar Jack herscovici says:

    I am interested in a levr gun , hard to decide ; Uberti 20” 357 octagon Barrel
    Henry big boy 16″ octagon Barrel 357 mag (new model)
    Marlin 1894 CSBL stainless steel 357 mag.(new model)

    Can you help me to decide what should I get I like all of them . I do not know on the one should i get .
    Hunting and most home defence .
    I will appreciate a reply !

  38. avatar Oregon Trail Man says:

    Specialist38, can you tell me the name of the Gentleman or Gunsmith that did the action work on the 357 Maximum Win 94 that you said was made to cycle correctly using the longer overall length 357 Maximum , 357 SuperMag cartridges, after they re-chambered it? I am all ears. Because I haven’t found anyone in the NW area of the USA to be able to do that work, at any cost! Prefer to have a Gunsmith in Oregon or Idaho do the work. Washington state has become unfriendly towards guns! I see that there seems to be quite a few people in Texas that do Lever rifle action work. Ranger Point Precision, and Steve’s.Gunz are two shops that I know of, but they don’t do that exact type of work, unfortunately.. Or anyone else that has any suggestions, please let me know.

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