My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

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JimT
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My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by JimT »

The old .30 WCF known now days as the .30-30 Winchester. It is my favorite for a number of reasons, one being I find it the most aesthetically-pleasing. It just looks right. It is also very easy to reload, the brass being thick enough to handle heavy loads but light enough you can easily use cast bullets. Bullet weights from super light 90/100 gr. to over 200 gr. will work with the right loads. For most, jacketed bullet data translates to cast bullet data. But my main reason is "I like the way it works."

NOTE: These are my personal preferences and in no way reflect the idea that my preferences are superior to anyone else's.
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Left to right: 170 gr. Sierra ... 130 gr. Speer .... 170 gr. Winchester Silvertip
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I miss the old Winchester Silvertip loading. The 170 was my absolute favorite.

This is one cartridge that I have never loaded for, always using factory ammo (which has never let me down). I love that .30-30 cartridge.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by JimT »

I have a small stash of the 170 gr. Silvertip bullets I bought back when you could get them for reloading.
They are reserved for special Hunts.
:)
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Sixgun »

Jim.....I "tend" to agree...the 30-30 has the perfect balance of sectional density, power, light recoil, trajectory, nostalgia, and most of all, "coolness" of firearms in which it is chambered. Will easily kill any North American animal within reasonable ranges. I've got more than a couple of them...

But if you want to have fun, have the "disease" of wanting to shoot a lot, and are not hunting deer or elk, but will do if survival calls for it, my vote for coolest cartridge is the 32-20 with the 115 Lyman gas check bullet, with either 5 grains of Unique or 3 grains of Bullseye.

Forgot how many of those I have in all configurations.....except a dang S.A.Colt!

But as always, I respect your knowledge and in no way degrade your choice.--------6
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by JimT »

I had a Marlin in .32-20 for years. I had Totally Silent loads and Deer loads for it .. and everything in between. Neat gun and caliber. And a 1907 Colt SAA in .32-20. They were fun.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by M. M. Wright »

I built a project SAA into a 32-20. Letter said that is what it was when it left the factory so back to original it went. Made the mistake of taking it to a gun show and let a friend trade me out of it. Yeah, I got a good deal but I still don't have a SAA 32-20 to go with my 92. I really like the 30-30 too and like 6 I have more than a couple, including 3 with 26 inch bbls.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Sixgun »

OK Jim.....you just HAD to rub my nose in it.....me and you are no longer pals and I'm coming to steal that gun! I know a guy from Maine (Old Win) who has a big buffalo coat that will hold 20 Colts........that's how many I was missing the last time he was here.
It's mostly rifles I like in that caliber because as you know, you can do more with a rifle as in handloading specialty loads.

Funny thing happens to a man as he ages....we all start with the .22 and slowly work our way up to the 50-100-450 then as common sense prevails, work our way back down to the .22. Right now I'm in 32/20 status, considering the 30 WCF waaaaayyyy to powerful.

My current favorite 32-20...a special order Low Wall with a half rd/oct barrel that I picked up at a local 10 cent hillbilly auction for $500...other people were looking at it and saying "what's a 32 WCF?"....I told them it's a cartridge that you can't buy anymore and the gun only shoots one at a time. I put the scope on, an MVA.

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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Old Savage »

Favorite? 30-30 is not in the running though I have more of them than anything else ... wait maybe it is ;-)

But what do I like better ... 25-35, .243, 300 Sav., 308, 45-70.

The .243 is probably the most useful out here. Mine is in an 81 BLR. It is stamped .243 Only
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by JimT »

Sixgun wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:16 pm
OK Jim.....you just HAD to rub my nose in it.....
No sir. No rubbing intended.
I sold that Colt to an old friend before I moved to Africa.
When I moved back to the States he was kind enough to offer it back to me for what he paid me for it, but I could tell he loved shooting it and I knew it would be best to leave it with him.

You are most welcome to come and slip in your coat pocket whatever you find laying around. I ain't saying for sure but it may be on the order of a Jennings or an RG ..... just sayin' ....

:roll:
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

You can bet that when I am on the ranch one or more of these will be handy.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by ollogger »

I like Jack said am going backwards but have the 30-30 as my favorite lever gun, man the savage 99
in the guns i have are a close 2nd but what cartridge? so the 30-30 wins on all its merits
the 32-20 brass is always a pain to find in brown grass


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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by jeepnik »

While I have more in 30-30, my favorite is 45-70. Big, slow and loud. :lol:
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by piller »

I cannot understand how anyone would not like the 30-30. It is a great balance of power, low recoil, accuracy, and easy reloadability. So what if it is not the latest, most powerful, or the most currently covered in magazines. It just works. I have other guns and other calibers. I like them. I will probably always have a .30-30 in the mix.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by AJMD429 »

Short-action:

. Coolest - 32-20
. Most practical (in U.S.) - 357 Mag
. Personally used most - 44 Mag

Long-action

. Coolest - 375 Win
. Most practical - 35 Rem
. Personally used most - 444 Marlin

....have to admit....I’m kind of fickle... :D
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by octagon »

.30 WCF by a long shot. My Dad started me on it at age 12, after killing a number of deer
With scoped .243 and .270, he thought the iron sights would give me more challenge and excitement for the hunt. He scored a brand new Canadian Cent. Model 26" barrel for 100 bucks. When he gave me this NIB gun, he smiled and said, "Some folks collect these...you might not want to ever shoot it..." and laughed hard watching my face. He didn't know it then, but he set me on a lever path right then, and a lifetime of hunting thrills and fine times with this gun.
While I've killed a pile of deer with 150 Core Lokt, I found very early on that the Sierra 125 gr. FNHP killed deer very nicely with little recoil. We loaded up a pile of these and used em for years. We later loaded 2 more boxes, and I killed a deer with all but 4 shells left, which I have saved. I just looked at an old box (full) of these 125's and saw written on the bottom, for the first time, in Dad's hand: 39.5 max. 4831 and 37.5 max 4350. Have handled this box many times over the years and never saw this! I rarely see folks discuss the 125's outside of Jim and Pacos writings in levergun articles, they are devastatingly good on deer, pigs, turkeys etc.
The old Winchester Dad gave me is still going fine, showing the scars of 45 years of hunting, there is a lock of Dad's hair under the buttplate...thanks for the cool thread Jim.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Sixgun »

Ha! Canadian Centennial was my first 30-30 too. Killed my first deer with it in '68 when I was 14 then my son went on to kill his first deer with it at somewhere around the same age.

Here we go again.......IF you can handload with unlimited reloading components ......and are reduced to one centerfire rifle I can't see how a Winchester 94 carbine in 30-30 could be beat....if not I'd take a .22 10-22 or a Winchester model 61.---6

Yea...I probably said something different in another post. :D

Jim.....we have reached that point in our lives........who cares? RG or a Sterling 25 auto? OK :D ----6
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by OldWin »

The 30wcf is the most practical levergun cartridge, period. The proof is in the overwhelming number of them.
The most apt word to describe it has been mentioned above. Balanced
I think I have 12 or so rifles chambered for it.

My favorite.......?
For fun shooting, I like the 38wcf and 44wcf. Low noise, zero recoil, and still effective field cartridges. Let alone all the history and adventure. What ain't to love?

In the medium actions, while the 30-30 is super, it's kinda mundane. I like the the 38-55. Some of this is because it dates to when things were a little more wild. And, it has the added bonus of it being a local favorite from back in the day. Lots of cool factor.

The large actions, I shoot very little. Most of the time, they just aren't fun other than on the range with lighter loads. For me, light loads make no sense in the field. Just carrying a lot of weight for nothing.
I did get to shoot a bull moose with my 71 back in 2009. It was fun as all get out. But.... that was the last time I fired it.
Maybe an 1886 extra lightweight in 33wcf would be ok.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by crs »

There are sooo many situations where my favorite Levergun will depend on the job to be done.

1. Plinking and small game Winchester 9422
2. Self defense and medium game- Winchester Model 1892 .357 Magnum with 20 inch barrel. Also best handling.
3. Big game to medium DG - Miroku/Winchester 1895 .405 WCF
4. Largest of game and DG - Miroku/Winchester 1886 .45-90

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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Griff »

.30-30... by far! While I have 7 45 Colt rifles, (all levers if you include the 1885 and Lightning) and will be soon, but not soon enough, EIGHT. 4 handguns in 45 Colt also, but... that pales in comparison to the number of mdl 94s in .30-30! My love affair starts and ends with leverguns in .30-30, specifically nearly any version of the Winchester 94. The first was a 64A I won for a $5 raffle ticket in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club, during his war games in SEA! 1st time I shot it was at discarded aircraft fuel tanks in the South China Sea! Not many folks can say that! So much fun standing on the fantail of our destroyer poppin' off the ONLY box of .30-30 rounds I had for over 6 MONTHS! Sadly it as stolen within 4 months of my return stateside! But a great forum member took pity on me and sold me another NIB from his collection some 30+ years later! So a 64A in .30-30 again sits in my safe!

I'm also a fan of the Sierra 125 HPs! I love 'em on coyotes! In fact last year (IIRC) I stopped in at Sierra Bullets and bought a box of 500! I love the .30-30 with a gas-checked 150 grain out of a Saeco mold. Duplicates Federal factory ammo.

{Edited to update # of 45 Colt rifles... forgot about the AWA Lightning I got earlier this year}.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Old Savage »

Do have a very accurate 444 Big Bore 94 with the coveted cross bolt safety ... could easily be a favorite.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by earlmck »

My favorite is my Marlin 336A and a big reason (ollogger nailed it) is how much easier it is to find 30/30 brass in the grass vs. those little 32/20's. So I frequently shoot a 32/20 load out of my 30/30 and have the best of all worlds. 6-cavity mould makes a big pile of those 117 grain Ranch Dog bullets in one casting session and keeps a fellow and his grand kids shooting a long time.

Now the grandkids, who don't seem all that worried about finding their brass no matter how much their gpa works on them -- well their favorite is my little m92 25/20 built into a m63 configuration. I'm sure glad Starline makes 32/20 brass for forming 25/20's 'cause I never get all my brass back from a shootin' session that includes grandkids.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Ray Newman »

At one time had two Ruger "Buckeye Specials" convertibles .38-40/10mm. Never fired the 10mm, but the .38-40 impressed me. Load it up and it was a powerful round, yet controllable. With berry's plated bullet and Trail Boss powder, it was a enjoyable "plinking" round.

Always thought that .38-40 in either a carbine/rifle configuration along with a revolver was a greatly underappreciated cartridge and firearms combination. Same applies to the .41 Remington Magnum. My Ruger-Accusport Bisley and Marlin 1894 FG are powerful and enjoyable combination. Now if I could only a S&W M57 6"....
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Rusty »

I've always likes the .30-30. We can only hope what Ruger/Marlin will bring forth. Maybe a long barrel .30-30?
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by KWK »

JimT wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:46 am
... one being I find it the most aesthetically-pleasing. It just looks right.
It's hard to argue against the all-around merits of the .30 WCF, but I think the .33 WCF has it beat in the looks department. I'm also quite fond of the .30-40, in which my rolling block is chambered. However, I think if had to limit myself to one rifle cartridge, it would be either the .38 WCF or .40 WCF. Hmmm, lots of WCF in this post: The glory years of Winchester, a company which now exists pretty much in name only.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Lastmohecken »

I think the 30/30 has to have the title of most popular caliber, and the Winchester 94 as the most popular leveraction rifle.

My favorite round for the 30/30 is the old 170gr Silvertip. The Silvertips seem to be the best at hitting hard and opening up fast. Way back, about 30 years or so, I bought a whole bunch of it, quite a few boxes. I bought them brand new for like $5.00 a box and I am still using them, but I have added to the mix with some other brands, when I seen a good deal or two.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Ray Newman »

The now unobtainium Winchester Silver Tip has been mentioned by several From what I read and observed, the Winchester Silver Tip and the Remington Core Lokt were proven game geters. Too bad they are no longer available to relaoders.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Fisher-Price »

Any .32 Winchester Special fans here? I do not have a .30-30 but do have an early 50's model 94 in .32 WS. That thing has a bit of a thump to it. I have lately being trying to decide if I should pick up a .30-30 and add a caliber which I have sworn not to do :roll: or keep an eye out for a model 64 in 32 to compliment the carbine.

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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Bill in Oregon »

F-P, no flies whatsoever on the .32 Special. I have owned them in Marlin waffle-top and Winchester Model 64 form, but never had a chance to put them to use on anything but paper.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by TomF »

Rusty wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:00 pm
I've always likes the .30-30. We can only hope what Ruger/Marlin will bring forth. Maybe a long barrel .30-30?
My hope as well.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by OldWin »

Fisher-Price wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:54 am
Any .32 Winchester Special fans here? I do not have a .30-30 but do have an early 50's model 94 in .32 WS. That thing has a bit of a thump to it. I have lately being trying to decide if I should pick up a .30-30 and add a caliber which I have sworn not to do :roll: or keep an eye out for a model 64 in 32 to compliment the carbine.

FP
Have a bunch of 32WS's.
A 16" trapper 94, a model 64, 94 carbines in both saddle ring and eastern flavors, a factory built 64/94 hybrid, and a model 1936 Marlin.
It's a great cartridge. Shot deer with the 64/94 (probably my most accurate lever action)and the 16" Trapper.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by piller »

I have one model 94 in .32 WS, and so far nothing but paper. Need to remedy that. I bought it used about two years ago from Kittery's. They shipped to my local gun store. It is a nice gun. LeverEvolution powder is pretty accurate with Speer bullets for me. Even my son likes the feel of that gun.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Ray Newman »

I have two .32 Specials: 1941 Winchester 94 and a 1952 unmolested waffle top Marlin 336A. Interesting cartridge that will do the job. Another "odd ball" favorite cartridge is my circa 1936 Savage 99-H in 303 Savage. If I had better eye sight, I would shoot all three more than I do.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

have had several 32 specials, really like that caliber. the only one I still have is a marlin model 36 … made the same year I was: 1947

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need to hunt with it, maybe next year
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Rockrat »

Would have to say the 22lr. I enjoy my 39a. Now if you go centerfire, then, although I do like the 30-30, I would have to say the 356 Win. Just like the larger bore.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

Rockrat wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:49 pm
Would have to say the 22lr. I enjoy my 39a. Now if you go centerfire, then, although I do like the 30-30, I would have to say the 356 Win. Just like the larger bore.
I generally reach for the 356 for hunting. I have several and it does whomp 'em.

I stocked up on ammo, and brass, etc years ago. someone can keep these guns going, long after I am no longer going. :D
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by piller »

It just fits that there are so many different levergun calibers mentioned in this thread.
We need another get together.
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

true ! i personally have leverguns in at least 33 different calibers. [ used to be more ]
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by jeepnik »

hfcable wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:57 pm
have had several 32 specials, really like that caliber. the only one I still have is a marlin model 36 … made the same year I was: 1947

Image

need to hunt with it, maybe next year
Betcha the rifle is a lot better looking than you are these days. :D
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

jeepnik wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:21 pm
hfcable wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:57 pm
have had several 32 specials, really like that caliber. the only one I still have is a marlin model 36 … made the same year I was: 1947

Image

need to hunt with it, maybe next year
Betcha the rifle is a lot better looking than you are these days. :D
you sure got that right ! it looks better and is hardly any worse for wear, considering its age. me? wrecked shoulders, five back surgeries....etc

i will be ready to be put down soon !
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by AJMD429 »

I remember when I found my long-deceased grandfather's levergun in the attic, and the family felt it was ok for me to have it as the token 'gun-nut' (at age ten or so). I remember it said "32" on it, so I looked up what it could be in the old Remington Ammunition Catalog I had. I really hoped it was a BIG one - the '32 Remington' or '32 Winchester Special' or '32-40'...then being SO disappointed that it was 'only' a lowly 32-20....

Now it is a favorite cartridge. I am trying to like the more 'modern' version in a 327 Henry, but the gun so far has proven so inaccurate I'm not fond of it.

I'll try load development 'someday', and if I can't tune it up, I'll send it to Henry to see what they can do. In the meantime, I have the old 1889, but also a 1894 CL that is pretty accurate. Need to shoot it more though.
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6pt-sika
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by 6pt-sika »

I had a very nice circa 1906 Marlin 1893 half octagon full Mag 32-40 that I liked a lot , it’s now in the UK somewhere . I also had a circa 1897 Marlin 1895 in 38-56 I got from Leroy Merz I liked a good bit and it’s on to parts unknown as well . At present I’ve got a pair of Marlin 444 Ballard Guns and that’s it other than a pre 1910 WIN 1894 TD in 30 WCF that I have on the block . I suppose you could say my present fav lever is a Ruger #3 in 444 .
Parkers , Mannlicher Schoenauer’s , 6.5mm's and my family in the Philippines !

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OldWin
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by OldWin »

AJMD429 wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:23 pm
I remember when I found my long-deceased grandfather's levergun in the attic, and the family felt it was ok for me to have it as the token 'gun-nut' (at age ten or so). I remember it said "32" on it, so I looked up what it could be in the old Remington Ammunition Catalog I had. I really hoped it was a BIG one - the '32 Remington' or '32 Winchester Special' or '32-40'...then being SO disappointed that it was 'only' a lowly 32-20....

Now it is a favorite cartridge. I am trying to like the more 'modern' version in a 327 Henry, but the gun so far has proven so inaccurate I'm not fond of it.

I'll try load development 'someday', and if I can't tune it up, I'll send it to Henry to see what they can do. In the meantime, I have the old 1889, but also a 1894 CL that is pretty accurate. Need to shoot it more though.
Great story Doc! I didn't know you had an 1889. I have one in 38-40. It's my favorite Marlin.
I wish I had my Grandfathers 64 Winchester.
Bill in Oregon
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Harold, that is just a beautiful Marlin Model 36 you have there. I also get a kick out of finding guns made in 1953 my birth year. Y'all stay safe and healthy up there. 8)
Earl, I believe I have had the chance to ogle that 336A you speak of "in the flesh." A fine choice for making up "grandkid loads." :lol:
Mossyoak1957
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by Mossyoak1957 »

My favorite is the .32 Spl. all I hunt with,that's my old 1960 Marlin 366 SC .32Spl.
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marlinman93
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by marlinman93 »

hfcable wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:57 pm
have had several 32 specials, really like that caliber. the only one I still have is a marlin model 36 … made the same year I was: 1947

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need to hunt with it, maybe next year
Now that's a beauty! And not just a model 36, but an ADL in deluxe trim! A rare gun to find these days!
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marlinman93
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by marlinman93 »

My favorite levergun cartridge is the .32-20 WCF. And I just like the .32-20 all around, even though it's not much of a cartridge for medium to large game. Just a hoot to plink with, and take small game with.
These are two of my favorites in .32-20 caliber.
1894 Marlin deluxe rifle from around 1903.

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Someone had blued the receiver on the 1894, and after stripping with naval jelly it still had some case colors, so I left it alone.

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And a Marlin Ballard #2 in .32-20 that Russ Gent restored.

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hfcable
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

wow! those are just superb !!
cable
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CowboyTutt
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by CowboyTutt »

Well, I guess I'm the odd man out again, but I find the 358 Winchester to be one of the best cartridges out there for its versatility if you can handload. I read about what you could do with it through one of Jeff Quinn's articles on Gunblast.com. In a BLR its very light to carry, very accurate using match grade 308 components, moderate recoil or can be set up to be very mild with cast 357 bullets. -Tutt
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hfcable
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by hfcable »

I have been tempted by a BLR in 358 ! excellent combination.

but I have 3 Winchesters in 356 [ actually 4: I have a brand new BigBore 94 in 356 and also in 307....still in their boxes with hanging tags and all papers etc one of the kids can sell that pair one day and do well..... or keep them and do well if they prefer ]

358 is a great cartidge , in a super rifle
cable
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Re: My Favorite Levergun Cartridge

Post by CowboyTutt »

Oooh, those Big Bore '94's have always been of interest to me. It really is amazing Cable, we really do have similar tastes in firearms!!!! My collection of guns is small and esoteric or custom. Your collection dwarfs mine for sure. But yes, it is amazing we have such similar tastes too. -Tutt
"It ain't dead! As long as there's ONE COWBOY taking care of ONE COW, it ain't dead!!!" (the Cowboy Way)
-Monte Walsh (Selleck version)
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