Lever gun Renaissance

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,923
270
I’ve quadrupled my lever gun battery this year. I started with a Winchester 94 30/30. A little bit of old pitting but great clean bore and a good shooter
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Then I stumbled across a Winchester 1895 in 35 whelen. It was poorly finished but it shows real potential. Once it’s done I think it will be pretty sweet. As often happens one turned to 2.

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My plan was to turn the newer one into a tru medium bore 411 hawk, 400 whelen, or the .410x92 wildcat. It’s in the queue but not next.

While pursuing the local classified tonight I saw an ad for a pre81 BLR in 358 Winchester. I contacted the seller and worked out a deal for the rifle and reloading components. I’ve always liked these older BLR rifles and the 358 is a great all around cartridge. Hopefully picking it up this weekend. Not sure about the glass, I think an older leupold 1.5-5 or gloss 2-7 would be more fitting.

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I’m thinking a marlin 39 might be in the future to follow this lever gun kick.


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ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,744
1,134
Looking good Bear. I like the 94 with the peep sight. Is that a 70's model?


Always interested in expanding my knowledge on things to keep an eye out for. What's the significance of a pre-81 in the BLR's? I'm assuming something about them was better made on those models?
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,618
1,288
ShadeTree":b7zknsd1 said:
Looking good Bear. I like the 94 with the peep sight. Is that a 70's model?


Always interested in expanding my knowledge on things to keep an eye out for. What's the significance of a pre-81 in the BLR's? I'm assuming something about them was better made on those models?

Not necessarily better made, but different. My oldest son uses an older Browning BLR in 308 Win, given to him by his grandfather. That old rifle was made in Belgium, not Japan, and has a steel receiver. Newer rifles have an aluminum receiver.

The magazines from those older rifles don't interchange with the newer ones.

That's a key factor - the older magazines are worth a small fortune because of that. I've seen them go for $250! Just a stamped steel, four-shot magazine. But... They haven't been made in a couple of decades and are scarce. I think my son is tired of me reminding him of that. :grin:

It's a good rifle. Is it better than the new ones? I don't know. But it's a good rifle. "Grandpa" - my dad - used to hunt wild hogs with it in California. Didn't use it much, but always liked it. I've probably shot it more than my oldest son has, but he likes it too.

Regards, Guy
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,172
1,714
A grand collection of lever guns. I do like the lever actions, and somehow manage to keep a few around.
 

gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
10
Like how they have been multiplying for you. That little 358 will likely become a favourite for you, they are so light and compact and fun to carry. Be neat to see what loads you come up with.
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,221
492
Looking good. Whatever you do do NOT lose that BLR magazine! If you find a replacement it will cost you as much as the rifle!
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,792
312
I have a BLR like the OP's. Mine is also in .358 Win. There were two "versions of that model, the earliest made in Belgium IIRC, and later made in japan. Mine is one of the latter. I hear you on the cost of magazines. I've had mine for about 10 years give or take and I haven't found a spare magazine to that gun yet. I had to do a bit of tinkering with the forearm to get decent accuracy but now it runs about 1.5" with factory, 1.0 to 1.25" with my handloads. The later versions seem to be more popular by having the magazine flush with the bottom of the receiver.
Paul B.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,847
1,229
Nice collection Bear. I like the BLR's. Had a friend's BLR in 308 for a bit to work up a load but never got better than 1.5" groups. Sure was a sweet handling rifle.

JD338
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,923
392
I picked up my pre-81 BLR in 358 Win over 17 years ago, and immediately found a spare magazine for it, for a reasonable price back then.
It is a great rifle and you will get a lot of joy out of using it!
Mine likes the 220 gr Speer Hot Cor and will produce 1" groups at 100 yards.
Terrible trigger, but I know exactly where in its creep it will break and that has helped.
Mine has a Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5x20 in QR rings and bases. Zero is repeatable when I do take the scope off and remount it. Luckily I have never had to use it in the field due to a scope failure.
 

bmoore

Beginner
Aug 24, 2020
91
1
I got a Marlin 1894 in 357 mag last winter. It is an incredibly fun and practical gun. The velocity increase is amazing. It will kick out 125's at 2100fps with room for 2 more grains of W296.
 

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Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,923
270
My dad has had a 1894 in 357 since before I was born. 158gr Speer JSP at 1800fps has killed many whitetails. It’s especially useful for hunting standing corn. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one in 44mag for years.


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bmoore

Beginner
Aug 24, 2020
91
1
Thebear_78":3f6qr3h8 said:
My dad has had a 1894 in 357 since before I was born. 158gr Speer JSP at 1800fps has killed many whitetails. It’s especially useful for hunting standing corn. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one in 44mag for years.


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Nice. Mine does 1750 with 158's and W296.
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,923
270
Welcomed another levergun to the fold today. A Winchester 1895 scout in 411 OM. Basicallly a 9.3x62 necked up to .411. Pretty close equivalent to the 411 hawk. The builder added a check riser for the scout scope.

It runs 350gr swift @ 2250-2300 FPS and flat out levels big game. I’m looking forward to playing around with this big thumper. I’m going to have to refinish the stock and have a set of custom does made.

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DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,172
1,714
You are gaining quite a collection. Most interesting cartridge, for sure.
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,923
270
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358, 9.3x62, 411 OM
Swift 250, 300, and 350gr a frames

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Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,618
1,288
Cool rifle. I like that scout-scope mount.

Not much shoulder to headspace! Wow.

I like those ballistics for a modest range big game cartridge.

Guy
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,618
1,288
I do love a good lever action rifle. Only have three, all Marlins:

22 Marlin 39A
30-30 Glenfield
45/70 Marlin 1895

Those seem to do what I want a levergun to accomplish.

Guy
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,923
270
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Here you go. I had this one rebored from 308 to 358 a few years ago. I gave this to a good friend who is a lefty. I’ll probably get another one one of these days


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