Bleg: I want to buy a lever action rifle…

Preferably in a pistol caliber and as of right now I am leaning towards .357/.38 special…

So talk to me about lever guns.

I really dont want to spend $1k on one or even the $600 or $700 it can run for some of the nicer models. I really dont mind if its a beater, but I want one that runs reliably.

Rossi makes one in the +/- $500  range which is a perfect price point for me, but I am reading that quality and reliability is hit or miss. Also, what do these guns look like when they are found in pawn shops? Whats the price points look like for used models?

Give me some insight, point me in the right direction and help me make a buying decision.


  1. If I may simply say, in my opinion this may well be a case of buy once, cry once. Quality in pawn stores varies widely. You may find something in near perfect condition that’s a great deal, or you may find everything you’re looking for rusted and pitted to hell. Going around to all the pawn stores and the consignment racks at local gun stores is a chore, but there’s always the chance of finding the perfect deal, so it’s worth the time.

    Beyond which, I’ve never personally owned a rossi. However, I’ve seen the same quality control claims and concerns, and spending a bit more to know you’ll have something reliable, even if it takes a few weeks to save up that bit extra, is probably well worth it. Especially given how long firearms last, if it’s something you really want as an overarching type of firearm, I would have to suggest saving up for something guaranteed to be good. $650 spent that lasts is cheaper than something $500 that doesn’t, selling it for half what you spent on it, then having to save up again for the $650 rifle you could have gotten in the first place, if you don’t alltogether just swear off getting that type of rifle, right?

  2. Eric, check Armslist for your area. See what is for sale.
    Register a free account and post a “wanted” ad.
    Maybe you should look at Henry Repeating Rifles.

  3. I checked the Henry site.
    Your .38 or .357 Magnum will run about $850 MSRP NEW.
    Street price a bit lower, used maybe in the $600+ range.

  4. I’ve put thousands of rounds through a Marlin .357 Cowboy and it’s still is ticking along. Also, they’re easy to tune if you ever get into CAS competition. If you can find an older Marlin carbine you’ll love it.

    1. Make certain its an old enough Marlin to have been made prior to the takeover by the so called freedom group! Marlin since then is junk .

  5. The Marlins made before the company was bought by Remington are great guns. After that, not so much. With some googling, you’ll learn how to tell the difference by the serial number.

    I think if you’re buying a new gun today, Henry is the way to go. I bought my wife a nice Henry Big Boy in .357 for around $700 if memory serves. They will hold their value. You won’t find people complaining about Henry.

    And… there’s just something about a lever gun. Fun to shoot! Everyone should own at least one.

  6. I’ve owned the Winchester, Marlin and Rossi. The Rossi needs to be tuned. Plenty of great YouTube vids on it or have a competent gunsmith do it. The win was nice and I was offered a nice profit to sell it, so I did. No regrets.

    After several year of owning them I sold all but the Marlin. Really a superior gun in all respects.

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