Lever Gun for Cowboy Action Shooting

Discussion in 'Lever Guns and other cowboy rifles' started by Papermaker, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Papermaker

    Papermaker Happy to be here

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    A few weeks ago I purchased a couple of 357/38sp single action revolvers on an opportunity. At that time I had only heard of cowboy action shooting. So I recently went to see a couple of cowboy action shooting matches, met some of the folks and liked what I saw. Now I am trying to decide if I really want to pursue this sport, which means I need to purchase a lever action rifle in 357/38sp and some type of "period correct shotgun". I am focusing on the lever action rifle first. Any recommendations or suggestions on which rifle to pursue? Think I will stay with the 357 magnum/38 special caliber as I plan to use 38 special ammo. Thanks.
     
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  2. Crazy Carl

    Crazy Carl seriously?

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    I think the Winchester 1873 reproductions are the favored platform. The action's supposed to super smooth, but not terribly strong, aka perfect for CAS.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  3. Papermaker

    Papermaker Happy to be here

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  4. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Happy to be here

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    Hello, Papermaker. I've been shooting cowboy action since 2010. No question that the 1873 is the top rifle because its mechanical simplicity makes for a rifle that can be slicked up to operate with very little effort. When I got started the Uberti was the only replica but since then Winchester has re-introduced the 1873 which is made by Miroku in Japan. The downside is that these rifles are expensive, about $1000 and up new, then add in a couple hundred at least if you want it "race ready". The 1866 is similar with a brass receiver and fewer choices in model variants.

    The Marlin 1894 was at one time a good mid priced rifle in the $700 range and they can be slicked up for less money. The quality fell off after Remington moved the factory to New York and the "Remlin" got a bad name. Very few .357s were made in New York but recently Marlin announced that the .357 is back in production. I have seen some of the new production "Cowboy" models but they were .44 and .45. I'm hoping that the Marlin comes back strong. Used rifles are around but those "JM" Marlins have been pricey.

    The 1892 replicas (most from Brazil) are the budget rifle but (especially shooting .357) I would recommend saving nickels for something else. They seem to run better in .44 and .45 caliber.

    The Henry Big Boys are well known because HRA buys so much advertising. Cowboy shooters tend to dismiss the HBB. I know a couple of people who shoot them and they are OK but they don't like to be run fast. The "steel" version seems better balanced than the one with the brass receiver and octagon barrel.

    I'd recommend attending a couple more matches and trying some different rifles. See what works for you. At my first match I probably tried five different rifles. The '73 was by far my favorite, so I saved up until I could buy one.
     
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  5. Papermaker

    Papermaker Happy to be here

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    Crunchy, thank you for the excellent summary. I have been to a couple of cowboy action matches so far as a spectator. The people there are extremely friendly and most helpful. Still trying to decide if I want to jump in. I purchased a Henry Big Boy Steel in .357 about 2-3 years ago when the "steel" first came out. I like the rifle in general, it is heavy. 2 or 3 of the local local shooters use them. So I guess I will start there since I have one. I am sure it is faster than I am. Some of the locals have suggested that I borrow their rifles (and shotguns) during the next match so I can get a hands on comparison before making a final decision.

    I still think I want to purchase one of the new Winchester 1873 Miroku models, whether I decide to compete in CAS or not. But not now in a hurry to get one. A gun shop in Vass, NC has started receiving the new Marlin 94 in .357 and it is selling for just north of $600.

    Thanks again for the information.
     
  6. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Happy to be here

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    By all means shoot the Henry if you have one already. Sometimes it is necessary to try some different bullet shapes to see what your rifle will feed, especially if you are shooting Specials in a Magnum rifle. If you handload, I’d recommend a truncated cone flat point bullet but round nose flat points work pretty well, too.
     
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  7. Papermaker

    Papermaker Happy to be here

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    Thanks. Been out of town for a couple of days, away from internet.
     
  8. 5532JWK

    5532JWK New Member

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    My 16 year old daughter shoots cowboy action and uses a JM stamped Marlin 38/357 lever gun. She also uses Ruger single actions in the same caliber and a Savage Stevens 12ga double barrel shotgun. She has become very proficient with these firearms.
     
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