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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Urban Survival Tools – Question on Lever Action Rifles

We recently received this multifaceted question: “Hey Guys, Does someone make a lever action rifle in .357 Magnum? What do you think of this gun as a survival rifle? I was thinking I would like to have a rifle in the same caliber as my handgun. I also own a .357 Magnum handgun, a .22 caliber rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and a 7mm magnum bolt action rifle. Also, can we be the best three friends that there ever was?”
First off, NO, we cannot be the best three friends that there ever was. Second, YES, there are several manufacturers of .357 magnum lever action carbine. We call them carbines because they fire less than a full sized rifle round and are usually built with a 16 inch to 18.5 inch barrel, or thereabouts.

A quick look at manufacturer, model and price gave us this information on .357 Magnum lever action carbines available:

Rossi Model 92, price $460

Uberti Model 73, price $850

Henry Model 1860, price $660

Marlin Model 1894C, price $525

Winchester Model 1894, price $879

Winchester Model 1892, price $650

We are familiar with several of the models. The Uberti M73 is a reproduction of the Winchester 1873 and is a great little, slick handling gun. The Winchesters, …….well are Winchesters. Great little guns, but expensive and increasingly so. The Marlin 1894C would be our choice, combining quality and price, if we were going to buy a .357 Magnum caliber lever action. Then either the Winchester M92 or Rossi Model 92 – same reasons. If we could afford the Uberti, it would be ours.

Our question to you is “Why do you want to buy a rifle/carbine in a pistol caliber.” If you are going to be on horseback that may be one thing, but if this is going to be your prime survival long arm, then we would suggest first buying something in a more suitable caliber and in semi-automatic platform such as .223 Remington like an M-4/M-16 Carbine or Mini-14 or M-1 Garand in .30-06. Of curse these will set you back $800 to $1,200. Even an M-1 Carbine in .30 caliber carbine, which is a true carbine round may be a better choice due to it’s much larger capacity to carry more ammunition in it’s 10, 15 and 30 round magazines. Lever guns are much slower to re-load when you have a platoon of Zombies inside the wire.

On the side of buying a .357 Magnum lever action is the fact that .357 Magnum and .38Special ammunition, which you could fire in a .357 Magnum carbine, is common and is still fairly easy to obtain in quantity.

If this is a point of you either buying a .357 Magnum carbine or not buying a new gun at all, then we would tell you by all means pickup the carbine as you need something other than the 7mm bolt gun you have. While you’re at it, also pickup some more ammunition for all yours guns and you may want to try the excellent .357 Magnum Leverevolution ammunition from Hornady as it gives increased performance out of lever guns.