Lever Action Rifles In Africa?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Zack Young, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    I have two lever guns worthy of taking the Africa or just about any where else.

    First is a Browning 1886 Carbine 45-70 that had been modified to take 2.8" OAL rounds. Very easy done with a minor loading port mod to get the longer shells in and long throating the chamber. I replaced the rear sight with a Marbles short folding leaf and installed a Williams receiver sight. For recoil management, I've installed a slip-on leather pad made by Cimarron specifically contoured to the carbine butt with a couple Dr Scholls gel pads inside. I load her to launch 405 Woodleighs at about 2100 fps. I used to load her hotter, but brass life was short so, I backed down to a more comfortable and accurate load.

    My other girl is an original Winchester 1895 (c. 1922) 405 WCF Express Rifle. She wears a deluxe shotgun buttstock w/ the typical hard rubber recoil pad. The rear sight is an original Winchester express sight with one standing and two folding. What I find so interesting about this rifle is the stock wear. You can see the finger indentations in the forearm from being carried on many hunts. There are also a number of notches cut on both the butt (14) and forearm (9) indicating The number of game taken. Though used for her intended purpose, she's been very well taken care of and still crisp with reasonable finish remaining and a lovely bore. Wish I knew more about her history. Anyway, it's hard to imagine going to Africa and not taking her along.
     
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  2. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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    My wife used a Browning A-bolt in 7/08 to great effect. My father-in-law has Browning lever action in this same caliber that is an absolute joy to shoot.
     

  3. Reaper

    Reaper AH Senior Member

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    Does the Browning 1886 handle higher pressures than the Marlins?
     

  4. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Hi guys.
    Nice rifles, cool pictures and beautiful trophies.
    Witold
     

  5. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

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    Not by very much I don't imagine.

    I do know that you can load the 45/70 up to within about 150-200fps of the .458wm for the Ruger No 1 with the heavy barrel but the Browning isn't any stronger than the Marlin design wise.

    The 1885 however with a heavy barrel is also a rifle capable of handling hi pressure loads as is the Shiloah Sharps.

    The Falling Block Actions are among the strongest ever designed.
     

  6. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

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    Good article on the new modern big bores. It appears there are some models based of the 1886 being produced today capable of handling some very heavy loads/calibers at higher pressures than I would have thought.
     

  7. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    I've heard that the action of a new Meruku made 1886 is at least as strong, if not stronger than the 1895. The limiting factor is the bolt face has a large ejector cutout, which allows the case head to flow back into it if loaded too hot.

    I've seen this happen firsthand while developing loads. The rifle was still functioning like normal with nothing stiff or sticky, but you could see the outline of the ejector cutout on the case head. I dropped the load back to about 40k cup and it vanished, so that is my absolute max in that rifle. Stronger brass might help, but to me that is already one powerful load as is. I think the 348 Win is designed for 44k cup, so if you must, that would probably be better than the weaker 45-70 brass for top loads.

    The main advantage of the 1886 action over the Marlin is that with minor modifications you can get it to function with a 2.8" OAL. That extra room pays off with bullets of 400 gr on up and will give you an added 150 fps with the same pressures.
     
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  8. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I grew up with lever action rifles and love them. We never had a centre-fire rifle in the house until I was 16! My Dad shoots left-handed and back in the 60s, left-handed bolt guns were scarcer than hen's teeth in rural Saskatchewan. He has hunted with the same Savage 99 in .308 since 1965 and has shot an enormous pile of animals with it...mainly whitetails and moose. My first rifle was a Winchester 94 in .30-30 which I used successfully on whitetails for 3 years, used Dad's 99 for 1 year. He then bought me a bolt the year I turned 16.

    In 1995 I bought a used Browning BLR in .308 and it quickly became my favourite rifle. I've taken coyotes, whitetails, mulies, black bear, elk and moose with it and it works as good as any bolt gun I have used, and I've owned quite a few!

    I wanted to take it to Africa with me in 2014, but was talked out of it in favour of my 7mm Rem. Mag. Looking back now and after discussing it with my PH, I regret not taking it as I have confidence that any of the plains game I would be hunting would be handled by the .308 caliber with a good Barnes bullet. I definitely wouldn't use it on dangerous game, but DG isn't in the cards for me anyway! Lol.

    Last year it put this bull down in a hurry...the largest game animal I have killed to date.
    722.JPG 716.JPG
     
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  9. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

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    Very nice bull. Guys like me in the southern tier of states dream of hanging something of that quality and size on the wall.
     
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  10. Petrus Geldenhuys

    Petrus Geldenhuys AH Enthusiast

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    I have Marlin .44 and it is a great gun, we use it here in South Africa to shoot Warthog and bushpig and it truely packs a punch with a 300gr point. if you are worried that the .44 is to small then the Marlin 45-70 is a really good calibre but has a bit of a kick so might not be the best for your wife. I just love lever actions, there is something about loading 10 rounds and just shooting them as fast as you can like the old western movies.....
     

  11. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    "I'll backtrack just a bit. If I remember right the old man at Grizzly told me that his plus P stuff would be safe in the Marlin (JM) stamped that is and that 405gr Punch bullet runs at 2050fps with 3750 ft/lbs of energy so I can't imagine it not doing the job on at least a buff with a decently placed shot."

    That same "old man" at Grizzly loaded 450 grain Kodiak bullet .45-90 ammo for my 1886 .45-90 and it produced 2150 fps from the 26 inch barrel. If anyone cares about the ME of that load, it is impressive and does push back on the shooter a bit, even with the 9.5 pound rifle.
    He does good work and knows the practical limits of rifles and cartridges.
    In the 1886, we run the 405 grain Punch bullets much faster and they "punch" through most anything that you will encounter in the game fields.
     

  12. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

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    The .338 Marlin and .308 Marlin I would think are quite adequate for all the plains game out to 300yds with very tolerable recoil.

    The .338 mirrors the 30-06 ballistically with a heavier bullet and the .308 is approximately the ballistic equivalent of the .308win.

    They fill a wide gap between the .44mag and 45-70.
     
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  13. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    My first proper CF rifle was an old veteran Savage 99F in 308 win. It was from my dad, who bought it in Alaska in the 60's from an adventurer who took it up the Amazon a decade earlier while looking for the headwaters. My dad said the fellow shot a jaguar with it.

    Anyway, I went on to use this rifle to bag many caribou over the years. Don't let people convince you that lever guns are not accurate, because this one and her twin chambered in 250 Savage will shoot inch groups all day.

    If I was going to recommend an all around user friendly lever gun, this would be the one. Mine is safe in my brother's care as I live and travel abroad.
     
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  14. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

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    Those sixties era 99's were inherently and amazingly accurate, probably the most consistently accurate lever action ever made.

    Of course the BLR isn't too far behind it and has managed to last much longer.
     
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  15. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Elite

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    I intend to erturn to Africa one day, and go after either a lioness (if the fates should allow), or a hippo. I understand that 375 in the minimum caliber for these critters. I've been looking around to find a rifle in that range so I can at least begin to build my confidence with it. I found a good price on a 1980's Marlin lever gun in 375 WIN. Would this be sufficient for taking one of those animals, or should I continue the search for a 375 H&H or bigger? I have never fired a lever gun, but have always wanted one. Perhaps a 30-30 just because, but I intend to get the next rifle to fill the returning dream trip.

    I'm also expecting to get a red stag in NZ one day...
     

  16. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    The .375 Win is not a very powerful round, despite its caliber. It would kill either animal if everything was perfect, but it really is woefully underpowered for either and no sane PH would allow it and likely no country would either. There are other much more powerful lever guns to be had. I took a Winchester 95 in .405 Win last time and would be perfectly comfortable hunting lion with it, hippo,, maybe not as its not a great penetrator and since most hippo are brain shot from some distance its not really appropriate. The .450 Marlin is a much better choice for a big game rifle than the .375 Win.
     
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  17. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Elite

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    Thanks for the info! I think I'll hold out on the one then.
     

  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Its still a good rifle and perfect for deer or even elk size game if you hunt much, but its not much on power.
     

  19. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Elite

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    the one thing that makes me think I maybe should go for it, is that it is a one-owner rifle built in 1980, with the original sling, and is listed as never having chambered a round, and 100% on the bluing. I'm hoping I'll be able to go to Idaho with a freind's husband (who does PH annually) and get a black bear this spring. Would this round be adequate for that target? I'm going to take a 44 Mag Desert Eagle on that trip, if I don't have any other bigger gun.
     

  20. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I would think it would be good for close quarter black bear hunting. A buddy of mine uses a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington for all of his bear hunting with great success. I was with him one afternoon when he shot a monster bear with it....the bear only ran 10 yards before he somersaulted dead as a door nail!
     
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