Lever action 357's, Henry or Marlin?

rjm158

Handloader
Oct 15, 2009
546
39
I've been contemplating buying a lever action 357 for no other reason than I just want one. I had a Marlin years ago but a guy at work wanted it more than I did so I sold it. A few years ago I bought a used .44 mag Marlin (crossbolt safety version) but after it wouldn't shoot better than saucer sized groups at 50 yds (scoped) and after no solution could be found, it left too.

I am leaning towards a Henry and so far haven't found any horror stories about them. I have been told the Marlins have improved and the problem children guns were made in the first few years after the Remington conglomerate took over. However, after the experience with the .44 I'm leery of them nonetheless.

I know bdbrown66 has a Henry in .45 Colt and I was wondering if anyone else has experience with the Henrys or Marlins, good or bad, they would be willing to share.

I also read (can't recall where) that a 16/16.5 inch barrel is optimum for pistol caliber rifles/carbines because anything over that actually decreases velocity because the powder charge isn't large enough to maintain it. I was actually leaning towards a 20 inch model for extra sight radius. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

Ron
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,932
282
My dad has had a marlin for 40+ years. Great little rifle! Many a whitetail has fallen to that little lever gun. I would have to stick with the marlin.


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rjm158

Handloader
Oct 15, 2009
546
39
If I had a 40+ year old one available, I would agree wholeheartedly. However, since I will likely have to buy brand new, the newer versions are what causes me some concern.

Ron
 

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
As mentioned, I love my Henry's. Very well made, action is smooth as butter right out of the box.

If your LGS carries both brands, check them out and see what feels best to you. On the Henry side, you have options as to what finish on the receiver: brass, blued steel, CCH, etc., round barrel or octagon.
 

coop22250

Handloader
Nov 23, 2018
282
3
I have had both and like both. One thing I can say for Henry is they are a heck of a company. We had a large earthquake here last Nov and the local gun shop had the row of Henry’s end up in a pile on the floor.

They emailed Henry to see about new wood to replaced the damaged stocks. Henry asked what they needed, mailed to them. Zero cost, zero shipping. They offered to pay anyway, Henry said no, thank you for your business.


I have yet to begin to procrastinate
 

Ridgerunner665

Handloader
Oct 28, 2008
2,441
45
Having owned both old and new Marlins and now having a new Henry Big Boy steel carbine in 41 mag.... the Henry is better built than any of the Marlins, old or new.

It shoots great and there isn't a cosmetic blemish on it anywhere, the wood is very nice, and the action is smooth as silk.

I'm not saying the old Marlins are junk... or even the new ones... I'm just saying the Henry rifles are a MUCH better example of modern machining done right.

I'm looking to get myself a couple more in the future....a 357 steel carbine, and a Long Ranger if they offer it in 7mm-08.
 

gbflyer

Handloader
Mar 28, 2017
891
54
I’ve fired the all weather. Sweet shooter. Also don’t overlook the Rossi R92. They take a little work but slick up real nice with the Stevesgunz DVD tutorial and a couple of aftermarket parts. Plus it’s kinda fun to work on if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ve got 2 and prefer them to all others.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Henrys are well built rifles and the newer Marlins are decent too.

It really boils down to features, the Henry will be a tube fed without a side loading gate...and for some lever gun fans, that's a deal-breaker. My LGS had an 1894 SBL (a baby Guide Gun) and it made a really compelling package.
 

Ridgerunner665

Handloader
Oct 28, 2008
2,441
45
Barrel length...

You will still get a little more speed from a 20 inch barrel, but not much... and only using very slow powders (H110, Accurate 4100, Enforcer, W296, 300MP).

I like the carbine lengths but with the short barrel I had to put a scope on it because I couldn't focus on the front sight with it that close... I'm not sure a 20 inch barrel would have been long enough either to be honest.

Aging eyes...I do fine with revolvers, due to my long arms being extended when aiming... but the short rifles with open sights no longer work for me...I put a Leupold VX3i 1.5-5x20 on my Henry carbine.

That is something you should find out before you decide... can you focus on open sights at that distance?

16 inches or so is plenty of barrel, and really handy in a ground blind or heavy brush.

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