Lever Action Question

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by atomicsmurf, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. atomicsmurf

    atomicsmurf Tracker

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    A friend of mine has a Henry .357 lever action rifle (neither of us has shot a lever gun before). We were shooting from the bench and noticed that with just a finger on the trigger (not holding the lever closed) when we fired the lever would drop to the point of almost opening the bolt. Is that normal in a lever action? Do you have to keep your hand on the lever?

    It mostly happened with +P's and .357 magnum. Lever opens about an inch, maybe inch and a half. I don't think the bolt ever opened.

    Also, how far should these guns be kicking out brass? His shells seem to roll out and drop at his feet. Some times they get hung up in the breach.

    I was thinking about getting one of these for myself, but after this... maybe I'll look at a different brand. Is the Marlin 1894c any better?
     
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  2. 08H3

    08H3 God, Family and Freedom Vendor Supporter

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    I always shoot my 357 with a full grip so I am no help there. But on the brass, it sounds like your running the lever to gently. Most of the lever guns I have shot like the lever ran hard and fast.
     
  3. Daveboone

    Daveboone Scout

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    Model 94s have a built in safety feature, a small button that needs to be depressed by the lever to fire. I wonder if the Henry has a similar built in not so obvious feature? Most lever actions, like pump actions, like to be operated briskly for proper function. Don't be gentle with them.
     
  4. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Work it like a rented mule.
     
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  5. ozarkhunter

    ozarkhunter Guide Vendor

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    I only have about 100 rounds through my Henry Big Boy steel .44 carbine. I haven't noticed an issue with the lever dropping down, but also tend to keep a firm grip on it when shooting. My brass clears about 2' when cycling the action. I'm not working it like Lucas McCain, but am intentional in cycling the action.
     
  6. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Yeah, probably just a result of recoil and that smooth Henry action.
    This is the first time I've ever read of someone NOT having a hand on the lever while shooting. And I do a lot of bench shooting myself.
    That faster you cycle the action, the further the shell will eject.
     
  7. atomicsmurf

    atomicsmurf Tracker

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    Even when racking it pretty hard the shells come out pretty whimpy. Just wondering if it's a normal Henry characteristic. I'm used to bolt action and the shells flying out.

    Do the Marlin 1894's have... whatsitcalled... lever safety spring? Do you have to press the lever hard enough to disengaged that safety spring before firing?
     
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  8. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

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    Ya got a learning curve...different kinda animal...You hold them with the lever fully closed and wrack them hard from the shoulder. Worst thing you can do is short struck the lever. Ya get “oops” that way...I shoot Marlins, Henry’s and Rossi R92’s. These are working guns. The Henry’s have very slick actions. All of my hard use carbines have leather lever wraps to save wear and tear on my fingers when I wrack the levers. Empties definitely don’t go into the next county.

    However, my original Marlin Guide Gun has a Wild West heavy duty ejector installed to kick out the 45-70’s cases like a bolt action. That one is my “dangerous game” rifle and has Garrett Hammerheads in it.
     
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  9. Pilot

    Pilot Scout

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    I have a Marlin 336 .30-30 and have never noticed that. I do keep a firm grip (not a death grip) on the lever and stock. It's a tack driver. Those old Marlin Micro Groove barrels are really good.
     
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  10. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Scout

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    The lever shouldn’t pop open. It should positively lock in the closed position until a certain amount of downward force is applied. If the lever is loose it can be tightened. As far as ejecting shells my marlin flings them out a fair distance (no experience with Henry).
     
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  11. Cwlongshot

    Cwlongshot Supporter Supporter

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    Its normal. Not being a smart ass but its gravity.

    Recoil gars the action and the lever opes as the bolt falls...

    As stated Winchester ‘94’s have a safety so they shouldnt shoot unless the shooter squeezes the lever.

    It is DESIGNED to be held closed so done be suprised when it opens..

    CW
     
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  12. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    It doesn't sound wrong, but to your point not all lever actions will do that and it would at least make me curious in your shoes as well. Not a dumb question at all.

    My North Haven 336 in .35 Rem does not pop open... but it was also made back in the 70s or early 80s. I shot an Ilion-made 1894 in .44 Mag a couple of weeks ago and don't remember it happening there either.
     
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  13. quietmike

    quietmike Hardwoodsman Supporter

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    Some of the marlins i bought well used would pop open on their own. The finger lever plunger would get rounded off, along with the pin it locks into.

    A few quick swipes with a file and the plunger is good. Drive the pin out and reinsert it turned 180 degrees.

    Henry's might be different, but would be easy to check.
     
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  14. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Some lever guns have a sloppy lever that wants to open even with an unfired round in the chamber.

    It’s gun specific.

    When buying a lever gun it’s one of the things I look for. I want my levers to snap closed and stay closed.
     
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  15. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    I only have one lever gun, and it doesn't do that. Mine is a 30-30.

    Unless the brass fails to eject on occasion, I wouldn't worry about the ejection too much. It may even be a benefit if you reload. As others have mentioned, your fingers should be in the loop when you fire.

    Having said that....if it were me, I'd have a gunsmith look at it. I wouldn't want my rifle to have tolerances that make it sloppy and loose. I'm not picky, but it would reduce my enjoyment of it.
     
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  16. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

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    Haaa ya, dangerous game rifle - I have one too, a 450 Marlin with Wild West everything and I believe that ejector is called "bear proof" and I keep guard over the war department's flower garden, never know when those elephants will come calling.:4:
     
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  17. Prairiewolf

    Prairiewolf Supporter Supporter

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    I have owned and fired several Marlin lever action rifles, and they all seem to have positive ejection as long as the lever is worked briskly. I recently acquired a Henry Big Boy .357 rifle , and would confirm that the ejection is considerably "softer" than the Marlins. I am OK with this, since I try to keep my brass for reloading. Regarding the lever dropping open, I would concur that ANY lever action should be held with the other three fingers of the shooting hand inside of the lever loop and wrapped FIRMLY around the stock.
     
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  18. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    No, Marlins have a spring and plunger that holds the lever closed. They also have a mechanism that blocks the trigger unless the lever is closed.
     
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