View Full Version : The Combat Lever Action Rifle, part 2(?)

The King
04-10-2011, 9:08 AM
Ed Harris says:
In urban areas it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a place to practice with a high power rifle. Back East you cannot just go out in the woods and pop a few rounds. Most indoor ranges will let you fire center-fire rifle which is chambered for handgun ammo, but not so your AR unless you have a .22 rimfire upper.

Therefore, my most-used center-fire rifle for home defense training classes is a Marlin 1894C in .357 Magnum. It is manageable by females and youngsters, has low recoil and is fairly quiet when used with standard velocity lead .38 Special ammo. It is a fun plinker and camp gun having excellent good small game utility, while its potential for home defense, especially with .357 ammunition, is nothing to sneeze at.

Leverguns are familiar and nonthreatening in appearance, so they "don't scare the natives."
New and used leverguns cost substantially less than the "black rifles." Used leverguns sell for about 60% in stores of what a similar model costs new. Around here Micrgroove .357 leverguns sell for about $100 less than a similar used model with Ballard rifling, because people think that Microgroove barrels can't shoot lead. That is nonsense. Microgroove Marlins handle .38 Special standard velocity or +P lead loads just fine. They are also accurate with magnum jacketed loads. Just don't handload full power .357 Magnum cast loads to shoot in a Microgroove. All of my cast bullet loads in .38 Special brass are standard velocity non+P ammo which can be safely used in any revolver. Any cast lead loads in .357 brass approximate the power level of .38 Special +P ammo for dual rifle and revolver use. That way my hot revolver loads only fit in the Rugers and not into the older Colts. Anything loaded with a jacketed bullet in .357 brass is a full magnum load. That way there is no confusion.

Standard velocity .38 Specials which give about 800 f.p.s. from a 6-inch revolver with a 158-gr. bullet do about 1000 f.p.s. from an 18 inch carbine. A .38 Special X38SPD lead hollowpoint +P "FBI" load which approaches 900 f.p.s. in a 4 inch revolver, approaches 1200 f.p.s. in the levergun, groups about 2 inches at 50 yards and is an effective yard deer load within that range.

The frontier concept of rifle and revolver using common ammunition still makes sense. The combination of a robust .38 or .357 snub such as the SP101 for close-in defense and a Marlin lever gun with quick detachable combat optic, such as the Trijicon RX09 with A.R.M.S. #15 Throw Lever Mount on an XS lever-scout mount, with backup XS ghost ring peep sight is hard to beat.

With modern combat optics a lever-action offers superior combat accuracy to an AK or SKS, adequate magazine capacity and rapidity of fire. Using subsonic .38 Special ammunition is also a low noise small game rifle which is much more effective than any rimfire.

If I had to bugout and evac quickly beyond the moderate damage radius, making the most use of time, distance and shielding before the fallout starts raining down, having only my survival ruck and what I could stuff in BDU pockets, it would be the above described 1894C and SP101. Perhaps not the ideal survivalist combo for all circumstances, but a useful compromise."

Taken from Ed Harris’ comments on a Grant Cunningham article

Snapping Twig
04-10-2011, 1:19 PM
Interesting read, thanks.

FWIW, maximum velocities and cast lead in a MC barrel go together like peanut butter and jelly. The key is to size the bullet to the bore and a gas check for 1500fps +.

I have personally experienced this and there is plenty more information about it at the Marlin Owner's site.

I bought an 1894 .44 mag that couldn't hit the side of a barn from the inside - or so the previous owner thought and everybody said...

I routinely get 2" groups at 100 yards with .431 sized 265g gas checked cast running @ 1700fps with that rifle.