Many consider the .357 magnum ammo to be the best self-defense round that you can find in the market. It works in some of the best self-defense handguns and has the immense stopping power to neutralize any threat. However, it’s not just a handgun cartridge, as it can work with many rifles as well.
Many have started using these rounds in old western lever-action rifles. They are also a popular round among tactical lever actions, which shows that they make the perfect match. So if you want to find the perfect gun to work with .357 magnum ammo, then this list is for you.
Here we will go over the inherent differences in .357 ammo compared to other types of ammunition. We will also list the lever-action rifles we loved when firing the magnum round.
Best .357 Lever Action Rifles
- Henry Big Boy
- Marlin Model 1894
- Taylor’s & Company 1892 Alaskan Takedown
- Winchester Model 1892
- Winchester Model 1873
Henry Big Boy
If you want to get a lever-action rifle to live out your fantasies as a rowdy cowboy or a lone ranger, then the Henry Big Boy is just what you need. Despite its old Western look, this is very much a modern lever action, with all of the construction that you have come to expect. It is also one of the cheaper rifles on this list, which is impressive considering its unique aesthetic.
This beautiful rifle features walnut across the butt and below the barrel with a brass receiver polished to perfection. The buttstock also features a straight stock with a brass plate on a crescent butt. The wooden stock offers plenty of stability, and it perfectly complements the buckhorn rear and front bead sight. The buckhorn sight further adds to the overall Western feel that this gun is going for.
You can also equip the classic with scopes of your choice, as it comes tapped and drilled. While this is more of a mid-ranged rifle, expert marksman will greatly benefit from the added scope compatibility. You can find a 20-inch barreled version and a 16-inch barreled version to choose from. Other than the size, the 20-inch version has an octagonal barrel, while the 16-inch one has a rounded one.
Marlin Model 1894
One of the first competitors to the famous Winchester rifles, the Marlin Model 1894, is possible the company’s magnum opus in terms of lever-action rifles. Despite making lever actions for years before this rifle, the Marlin Model 1894 came with many features that would go on to become the staples of future rifles. It introduced the two-piece firing pin, a shortened receiver, a better trigger, and a locking bolt.
The Marlin Model 1894 uses a gray and black wood pattern along with a stainless steel polish for the finish. It instantly stands out, especially when compared to its competitor, Winchester. Of course, these aesthetic changes also provide a functional benefit, as the gun is weather resistant to most harsh conditions. The pistol grip stock, matched with the oversized lever and rubber recoil pad, makes this gun feel much more robust.
This rifle also comes with a ghost ring sight that can go well with various optics and scopes. The 16.5-inch round barrel also makes this a close to mid-range weapon when hunting. But with a weapon this real, you want to be using it in the range or for self-defense.
Taylor’s & Company 1892 Alaskan Takedown
The Alaskan by Taylor and co. is a dying breed of portable lever-action rifles. The takedown feature makes this easy to carry and its defining trait. You can also take it apart if you are looking to store it easily in your home or if you’re looking to keep it with the rest of your survival kit.
Despite being distributed by Taylor and Co, Chiappa was responsible for the manufacturing. They could implement various additions to this rifle, which made it ahead of its time. For one, the Alaskan features a rubber over-molded finish, which makes for a comfortable grip and reduces recoil considerably.
The metal parts of the can come in a matte black finish and match the furniture. On the other hand, you can also get it in a chrome finish for a nice contrasting color scheme. It features a small octagonal 16-inch barrel with optics and scopes support.
The best thing that this rifle includes is the added D-loop for the lever, which is big enough for any size. The oversized loop is especially good for people who might be wearing gloves while hunting. The only downside to this otherwise great gun is that it can only fit seven rounds.
Winchester Model 1892
And now we come to the most well-known name in rifles, Winchester. The Winchester model 1892 was originally supposed to replace the 1873 in the niche of pistol callibered lever-action rifles. And despite coming out at the end of the Western Era, it soon became their most well-known rifle.
The Model 1892 takes a lot of inspiration from the legendary Model 1886. The key difference was that the Model 1892 was lightweight, pistol caliber, and more maneuverable. But in terms of design, it was almost completely identical.
The 1892 comes in a traditional carbine and a short version for you to choose from. The carbine looks very similar to what you would see in most Western movies. Rear sight with a walnut-colored straight grip stock, traditional forearm, a buttplate, and a barrel band define this rifle.
Winchester Model 1873
The Winchester model 1873 was “The Gun of the West,” which first popularized pistol caliber bullets. These guns allowed riders to carry a single load where they went. The earlier iterations of this rifle made use of the .44-40 rounds, and only the most recent ones have started to make use of .357. Seeing how the .357 would produce almost 50 years after this rifle, it only makes sense.
This rifle managed to fit everything that works about a lever-action rifle into a single gun. It has a long octagonal 24-inch barrel, crescent buttplate, classic forearm, and satin oil finish on a walnut stock. Beneath the barrel is a steel loading gate that can fit 14 rounds. It is simple and robust while still incredibly fancy to live out your fantasies of being a cowboy.
A Detailed Look at the .357 magnum
The .357 magnum takes direct inspiration from the Smith and Wesson .38 special. The main difference between the two, though, is that the .357 magnum is much more powerful than the .38. The .38 and .357 ammo have the same diameter, which means that you can use both of these loads for a .357 chambered gun.
However, despite having the same diameter, these rounds have different lengths. So even though .38 can fit in a .357 chamber, that is not the case in reverse. Since the .357 is about 1/8th inches longer, it cannot fit into a .38 chamber.
Even though the .357 is a popular magnum round, people have used it in their lever-action rifles while hunting. With the right rifle, you can put down a deer at almost 200 yards. And when using most lever-action rifles, you will be able to hunt midsized game from a comfortable distance easily.
And, of course, the .357 makes for possibly the best self-defense ammo, especially thanks to its incredible stopping power. These bullets can reliably stop most threats in their tracks and even penetrate walls.
Lever action rifles always look good, especially when you are wielding one. And some of the best ammo you can use in a lever-action rifle is the .357 magnum, which makes for a powerful shot. Not only does it make for a good hunting round, but it is also the best self-defense round you can use with a lever action.