Firearms

The Cowboy Assault Rifle

Partial shot of the Rossi 92 focused on the short throw, on a white background

Many folks do not realize that cowboy guns had quite a military career—and not with the U.S. Army. The Army used the hard-hitting Springfield .45-70 during most of the Plains wars and then switched to the bolt-action Krag Jorgensen. The other “lever-operated bolt guns” (as referenced in period literature) simply were not robust enough for military duty. That did not stop Japan, Turkey and many other nations from purchasing thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition from Winchester.

During a particularly critical engagement, the Turks decimated Russian troops at close range using the Winchester .44 lever-action rifle. They used the lever-action rifle much as we would use a submachine gun today. Impressed, the Russians later purchased Winchesters, this time the powerful Winchester 1895 rifle. That is all interesting and practical information. In America, many police agencies utilized the lever-action rifle, most famously the Arizona Rangers who used the Winchester 1895 rifle in .30-40 Krag. Many others used the Winchester 1894 in .30-30 WCF.

Another popular variation was the pistol-caliber carbine. The Winchester 1873 and the much-improved 1892 model were popular with Western lawmen. The short lever throw of a rifle chambered for a pistol-caliber cartridge gives excellent leverage; you could put down a lot of lead if needed.

The .44-40 WCF from a rifle barrel is not quite up to .44 Magnum ballistics from a handgun; although 200 grains at 1300 fps or so is good for what the rifle was designed to handle. Many agencies kept that rifle on hand for decades. I think the Winchester 1892 carbine is a great all-around problem solver. I have fired the Remington Model 8 and Winchester .351 self-loaders. The design of each offered cops and prison guards a reliable rifle with moderate punch. I would rather have the Winchester ’92 in .44-40 in most situations. Unfortunately, other than the expensive Japanese-produced Browning clones, the Winchester has long been out of production.

The Rossi Lever-Action Rifle

Enter the Rossi lever-action rifle. The Rossi is a clone gun (a close copy at any rate) of the Winchester 1892. The rifle is well made of good material and often accurate for the type. The Rossi is available in .357 and .44 Magnum as well as traditional lever-action pistol calibers. The Magnums make a lot of sense in modern times, regardless of whether you own a handgun in the caliber.

Let me get this on the table—while much is made of the commonality of having a handgun and a rifle chambered for the same cartridge, I could care less. It is OK as far as it goes, and I am usually carrying the .45 automatic when carrying the Rossi lever action. If you want to hunt with a pistol-caliber carbine, you need a .44 Magnum, and maybe even a Marlin, so you can mount a scope. If personal defense, pests and hog hunting at moderate range are part of the game, the Rossi rifle looks good.

My example, chambered for the .45 Colt, was never chambered in the original ’92 rifles. Ballistically, it is not as good a long-range rifle as the .44-40. The .45 Colt throws a big bullet, and that is good for personal defense. In the rifle, recoil is low. You do not quite realize the power you have in this rifle, though it is considerable. As an example, even the milder loads outstrip the .45 ACP +P from a pistol.

It is a neat-handling carbine, and with a 16-inch barrel, it is a compact package. The lever-action rifle balances at the receiver, which is why you see so many Winchester rifles with the finish worn at the receiver, right at the balance point.

Highlights

I own several good AR rifles, and you should as well, even though nothing is as light, handy and easy to store as a lever-action rifle.

  • The rifle is well made of good material, with good fit and finish.
  • There are no gaps where the wood meets the metal.
  • The bolt operates smoothly.
  • The twin, locking lugs are more than sufficient for containing the pressure of the .45 Colt cartridge.
  • The leverage is such that it is easy to manipulate. Remember, do not press down but forward.
  • The rifle is smooth and fast; repeat shots are possible.
  • The buckhorn rear sight is adjustable and easily used well to more than 50 yards.
  • The front post is clear.
  • Loading the rifle is easy; simply thumb a cartridge into the loading gate.
  • You have nine .45 Colt cartridges on tap, which should be enough to solve most problems. You may top off the magazine one at a time, if desired. My example features the big ring lever. That is way cool for looks and cowboy-action fun, but perhaps not so great for rapid manipulation. If you are wearing gloves in the winter, the big ring looks better.

I ordered the rifle in .45 Colt because I have quite a few .45 Colt cartridge cases, and I like the cartridge—plus, I was curious.

For cowboy action and economy, the .357 Magnum looks better. The .357 digests all .38 Special loads as well. And I do prefer the old Colt cartridge. Most of my firing has been with lead bullets, either cowboy-action loads or my own handloads. The .45 Colt Rossi feeds, chambers, fires and ejects all loads with equal reliability. A bonus is that the .45 Colt cartridge, like all handgun cartridges, gets a boost in velocity when fired in a carbine barrel.

Firing the Rossi

Here are some results:

Manufacturer Load Velocity
 Winchester  225-grain PDX  1090 fps
 Hornady FTX  185-grain Critical Defense  1180 fps
 CORBON  225-grain DPX  1310 fps

Best Uses for the Rifle

First, this is a fun rifle to shoot. Anything this well made and smooth in operation is a joy to use.

With a proper loading, it would be a good hog gun in the close range, head-long pursuit that is often deemed hog hunting. It would do for deer to 50 yards, with the sights and accuracy the limiting factors. I have fired a long-barrel Rossi 92 in .357 Magnum that would cut 2 MOA on demand at 100 yards. The .357 Magnum carbine is pretty accurate—good for 2-3 inches at 50 yards. The Rossi carbine in .45 Colt is good for about 3-4 inches off the bench rest at 50 yards.

Another reason for choosing the Rossi is personal defense. It is a neat, flat and handy truck or home-defense gun. If damaged, lost or confiscated while the police sort things out, it is inexpensive enough that its loss would not be a hardship. It handles quickly, points naturally and hits harder than any .45-caliber handgun.

I like the Rossi carbine. It is an uncommon mix of a great value, a useful defensive firearm if need be and a pleasant recreational rifle.

Postscript

If you are in one of those areas that are sometimes subject to unwanted intrusions by bears, load the CORBON Hunter .45 Colt. The big, flat-nose slug puts out a lot of horsepower. At close range from a .45 Colt rifle, you are in .454 Casull territory for power, with far less kick and greater accuracy since you are using a rifle. The Rossi carbine is still surprising me with its capabilities.

Do you have a favorite lever action? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section.

[bob]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (44)

  1. I bought a Skinner Aperture sight for my Rossi .44 mag because I don’t like the semi-buckhorn sight- [I am not quite sure what part of the rear sight to align with the front]. The problem now is that the Skinner sits up higher than the old one so even in the lowest setting it shoots way high. Does anybody know of a replacement front sight to cure this problem? The front sight is all one unit cast with the barrel band the blade can’t be swapped out. Also, I found the recoil to be a bit uncomfortable so I bought a nice leather butt pad that retains the authentic look but wraps onto the buttstock with a velcro fastener. I think I got it from Cheaper Than Dirt.

  2. I collect levers and have many including Rossis and Marlins in 357 and 454. My scoped Marlin will shoot 1 and 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards with 125 grain reloads. Never scoped the Rossis but with open sights I can only do maybe 4-5 inches at 50 but I am old. The 454 Rossi can be loaded with 45 Colt brass to more than any 44 mag can ever do and the Rossi in 44 mag or45 Colt can be loaded to the max found in at manual. I do like carrying the same caliber pistol and rifle sometimes, just for grins. The 454 will shoot 300 grain bullets as fast as my 45-70, kicks like heck, but it will do just that. Can never go wrong with a lever gun. And they do not make some people go into hysteria like ARs.

  3. I bought a Rossi ’92 about 2 years ago at a gun show here in Colorado Springs. It is the short-barreled 16 1/2 in. barrel rifle in .44 Magnum. I have rung steel with it at 100 yards with full house hand loads. I have had no problems with this rifle as far as fit, function and accuracy is concerned within its limitations. It is a great camp rifle and knock-about rifle. I have used it with .44 Special loads and .44 Magnum loads up to 300 grains and it works with them all. The 300 grain LFN bullets had to be crimped on the highest groove to make the round cycle due to bullet length, but they work fine. It is a great hog gun in the brush and a good truck rifle for serious social situations. I really like this rifle. I wouldn’t mind having it in a 20″ too.

  4. I brought the 38/357 24 inch Rossi 92. I oil the the lever and the entire rifle. I worked the lever action maybe a couple hundred time, while waiting for new sights to come in the mail. I installed the sight and loaded 38 specials into the rifle. This thing shoots like a champ and no problems at all. I just found a sweet deal on the 30-30 and it’s a 24 inch, under 370 bucks brand new.

  5. I also like the 44-40 I have 2 Ruger’s chambered in that round and also a marlin 1894 Cowboy that they no longer make in the 44-40 chambering. I like to shoot them both and reload my own brass. They are fun to shoot and work well for moderate or medium sized game. Back in the day I understand they were a good deer rifle.

  6. Own and love to shoot Model 99 Savage in the 300 savage, excellent brush gun, hunted and killed everything from 6 x 6 elk to jack rabbits. By far my favorite lever gun. Believe it was voted one of the top ten deer rifles of the 20th century

  7. I have a Rossi ’92 in 44 mag, neat little gun! Negatives: I don’t like buckhorn sights so I got an aftermarket ghost-ring replacement. Maybe I’m a sissy but I found recoil with the metal butt plate uncomfortable so I got a leather butt pad that wraps on w/velcro but still retains the old west look. The wood-to-metal fit on mine wasn’t as good as the authors; the stock slot where it attaches to the receiver was too tight-started to split the wood A little work w/a file & sandpaper and application of glue took care of the problem. Never a problem w/feeding or firing. Get one!

  8. About 5 years or so ago, I read an article in SWAT Magazine about getting a lever action rifle and tricking it out for a combat home defense weapon.

    Inasmuch as it is a very old design without a detachable magazine, it was less likely to be banned by the antis and it provides good fire power and rate of fire. It also has the advantage of being able to reload a round at a time as you shoot without having to take the time to drop the mag and insert another.

    So, I picked up a used 30-30 lever Marlin, did a little work on it, and it’s a great gun. Powerful, accurate, quick firing and versatile, these are the cowboy assault rifle personified.

    Next . . . a lever in .44 Mag to carry with my Desert eagle.

    1. @ Mikial.

      Hey Mikial, What’s Up? Have you considered the .30-30 (0.309″/7.8486×50.8mm) Ackley Improved, instead of the .30-30Win. (0.308/7.8×51.8mm). A 25% Increase in Range and a ~300-ft/sec. increase in Muzzle Velocity for your .30-30 Marlin. Sec.

  9. I am writing to warn anyone who is considering getting a Rossi model 94 in 4/10, I had one, used but new looking, it would double feed so I took it back to Cabela’s and they messed with it and it was the same so I took it back again and they returned it to the factory(so they said) and it was no different, so I returned it for something else. Never again will I buy anything thing from Cabela’s or Rossi.

    1. Bought a Rossi 44 magnum, after firing it a few times it would get a shell caught when ejecting and reloading in the chamber. I started reading about those kind of problems and took a look at you tube to get a better understanding. After having taken down rifles in the past I thought why not. I proceeded to tear down the Rossi and do a little refinishing on some of the less than smooth parts on the lever parts with 1200 grit wet/dry sand paper then polish the parts afterwards. Now after a little time of putting it back together took it out and ran a box of 44’s through it without the first problem. Refinished the stock and fore arm; Now it looks just like my Dads Winchester. Great rifle.

  10. I’ve got a Henry Big Boy also in the .44magnum and I agree it will take down anything in North America. You can also get a 320gr bullet for bear.

  11. I bought a Rossi 92 .44magnum carbine a couple of years ago.The accuracy was bad until I installed a Skinner ghost ring peep sight and now it’s good in combat 25 to 100 ft ranges. I hand load .44 specials and Magnums and the variable loadings are impressive. In a real life situation this rifle can handle any two legged or four legged threat you may encounter. The .44magnum is powerful!

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  13. Rocky, you are correct, to point. the initial M-16 had a slow rifling twist which made the bullet unstable, hence, effective. at longer ranges. However, with the powder problems causing jamming, etc. somehow or another the powers that were decided to shorten the twist a couple inches or so which stabilized the bullet and made it less effective. Pretty much, that’s where we are today.

  14. I have a 30-30 Mossburg 464 that was designed to use a scope that Cabela sells a scope specifically for the Hornady 160 grain LeverLoution ammo. The rifle is an angled side ejector & once the scope is zeroed to 100 yards, it has 200 & 300 yard ranges marked into the scope, I have taken a 8 point Buck on a power-line trail at 220 yards using this scope. I also have the scope on open-rings so I can shoot any ammo for ranges from 25 to 100 yards to take deer (or bear using the heavy-hitting Buffalo Bore bone breaking hard cast ammo)!

  15. I’m glad someone got a smooth firing Rossi lever action rifle. I owned two .357 models, and both had horrible actions. The first was an early model back in 1975.The woodworking craftsmanship was beautiful, but the rifle jammed frequently, finally scoring up the barrel end. I made the mistake of sending it to the factory to be repaired. Weeks later I received a new rifle in Its place. When I insisted on my rifle being returned I was told it was destroyed.Needless to say, someone now owns an early edition Rifle.The replacement rifle I now own lacks the same fine exterior craftsmanship, and like the first, is rough chambering.
    I also own a Henry .22 Magnum Yellowboy. The action is like butter, and dead on target at 100 yards+. It’s my favorite rifle. GO USA!

  16. I wasn’t aware that certain states and or county’s allow pistol cartridge rifles to be used in shotgun areas. That’s cool! I am aware that the 44 Magnum, 357, and 45 Long Colt are a little more powerful than the 44 40. But the 44 40 fits the lever rifles naturally. When I hear 30 30, the first thing I think of is a Winchester or Marlin lever rifles. They were made to do the job! They did do the job, the lever rifles were the most popular in the later part of the 19th Century. Thanks to John Browning. Winchester had the money, Browning had the know how.

    1. Anthony,

      Unfortunately the 44-40 Winchester isn’t a straight walled cartridge and therefore wouldn’t meet the requirements in the new regulations, otherwise it would be perfect.

      I think the reasoning behind the restrictions was to keep ballistics within the ranges of pistol cartridges for safety reasons, and that required the no bottle-neck cartridge restriction.

      The minimum/maximum case length requirement will exclude some other popular lever gun calibers, like the 444 Marlin and the 45-70 Government.

      Mick

  17. You guys are taking ‘the long way around the barn’ getting back to the topic, namely lever guns in pistol cartridges.

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned one of the main reasons someone might want one, deer hunting in states that allow rifles chambered for pistol calibers in the ‘shotgun only’ zone.

    A 44 mag, 45 LC, or 357 mag rifle has plenty of knock-down power at 100 yds, and the recoil of the pistol caliber VS that of a 12 ga slug, lends itself to quick follow-up shots if needed.

    Range time with 12 ga slug guns can best be described as a ‘less than wonderful’ experience, while practice and sighting in with a rifle chambered for pistol calibers is fun for the whole family.

    Several Midwest states now allow the pistol calibers in rifles for deer, and more are on the way.

    The lever guns chambered in pistol calibers are finding a new following for a gun that perfectly fits it’s intended use, getting the job done at moderate ranges.

    When your only option is 12 ga slugs, or a rifle in 44 mag, 45 LC, 357 mag, the choice for many will be the latter.

    1. Bob,

      Yes, Indiana has allowed rifles chambered for straight walled pistol cartridges since 2007, and bills to allow the same have been introduced in most of the surrounding states.

      A bill to allow them in the southern shotgun zone in Michigan was approved by the MI DNR in April. Final approval by the MI NRC is expected at the June 12, 2014 meeting. In most cases that is just a formality.

      This link will offer some information on the caliber, case length etc regulations…

      ” The Department recommends allowing the limited use of certain rifles capable of using
      .35 caliber or larger ammunition, with a straight-walled cartridge that has a minimum case length
      of 1.16 and a maximum case length of 1.80 inches to take deer in the Shotgun Zone. It is
      recommended that this provision be allowed for three years for evaluation with a 2017 sunset
      clause.”

      http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/06WCO2014_Deer_OpenClosed_Info_454241_7.pdf

      As a former Michigan Hunter Safety Instructor for 25 years I see no problem with their use in areas formerly restricted to shotgun only, and I expect similar bills/regulations to sweep across the Midwest.

      Much like the switch allowing crossbows in archery season, once a few states change the others will follow suit.

      The 600,000 or so Michigan deer hunters will certainly add some interest!

      You may wish to do some research on the issue a write a follow up article? I had thought about it, but my writing skills are much like range time with shotgun slugs, ‘a little less than wonderful’.

      Mick

  18. Got a Winchester 94 before they went to Japan, matched with a pair of .357 Ruger Vaqueros for Cowboy Action Shooting. Thousands of rounds thru it, accurate for fast shooting, never a problem that wasn’t my own fault. Switch to ‘real’ loads for a fine self defense weapon, 158 grain slugs at around 1500 fps should do the trick.

  19. When I was 14 years old, my older brother had a 1894 Winchester Saddle rifle in the 44 40 caliber. Back then it was so old, the rear sight stood straight up for distance shots. It had a 6 digit serial #. It also had a saddle ring and was well used. This thing was very accurate. At 85 yards I put 13 rounds in a 6″ paper dish! This thing would drop a White Tail Deer with no problem at all within 75 yards. He gave it up for a 44 Magnum Marlin 336 C. I would much rather have a Winchester. A lever rifle was never made to use a scope, it was made for fast reactions. To place the projectile in a general area. I had a 30 30 1894 replica, and shot every White Tail Deer on the run in the mountains. I since then gave the rifle to my son, and he loves it! The Winchester rifle calibers were never made to shoot 1/2″ groups at 100 yards. They were made to get the job done, and they did. A Winchester lever rifle is like a 30 06. At one time of day the Winchester lever rifle was used to take anything down in the North American Continent That’s my personal opinion, how true it is? I can’t say.

  20. Cowboy guns?
    The last military conflict by US that had them using lever weapons was Spanish American War where Companys raised by private or public supported militia volunteers bought their own weapons.
    US federal state county or town jail and prisons bought vast amounts of lever guns including some shot gun, with majority of those rifles in pistol rounds.
    Thousands of our leverguns made it into european African and Latin American military .
    armorys in WWI.
    A friend who hunts mainly birds but occasionally game in Mexico and other SOB nations has often found very old Winchesters on Ranches and in Collections of private individuals..
    Castros arm suppliers were buying Lever Winchesters in Florida, one of my greatest gun treat was firing a converted Winchester lever into a 45 cal full auto. Done by a Cuban rebel, lots of american supplied 45 to the BATISTA Criminal Enterprises.
    Lever Saddle guns were never inexpensive and a cowboys wages for 2 months bought one and couple box of shells.
    MOST cpwboyds had old sharps single shot 12 ,16, or 10 guags..
    In hills and back water places in East from Michigan, N.Y., Maine or vermont and up and down the Appalavhian Mountains you still find those old levers in use or stuck upon a wall as Grampas and Great Gramps old rifle., and in deep south as well.
    Good fantacy , but never was a wild west and the wildest years were very short from 1860’s to 1880’s when cowboys were a dying way of life .
    Still the lever riles have hunting traditions far greater for most elderly males today, who never got to kill a white man or a redman from back of a horse.
    Oh yes they of Chehalis/Centrailia who shot the last member of the Hole in Wall Gang in the 1920,’ wheat fields did have mostly leverguns.
    The same guns they held as they shot and later hung Wobblies Union men.
    An aquaintence has his gramps and anothet has his gramps that was used to kill The Wild Man of Wynoochee., both firing ythose low caliber pistol /rifle rounds.
    Myths die hard but maybe we need to remember why they are popular, and sad to say cowboy shooter events now suck because competition means bucks and are turning into carnival and gypsy shooters making the rounds in order to make a living.
    Historyand Tradition are Marketing gimmicks; It is technical issue as to weapons and clothing choices.

  21. I own a Henry Big Boy in the .44 Magnum caliber. It’s American made and shoots smooth. It packs a punch and will take down just about anything in north America especially with an available 320gr bullet. So many other cowboy rifles have been bought out by manufactures in other countries and a lot of folks don’t realize they purchased a non American made rifle such as Winchester. I also like the fact that you can carry the same rounds for your .44 magnum pistol just like the original cowboys.

  22. I currently own a Marlin Mdl 94 in .357 Magnum. The carbine length makes it easy to use in heavy brush and probably inside a home as well. It operates smooth, shoots accurately out to 100 yds, and is easy to carry.
    I often carry a revolver in 357 when hunting, so the common caliber is convenient for me.
    I’ve thought about stepping up to the 44 mag or 45LC for the power, but the accuracy at 100 yds leaves much to be desired in the rifles I’ve shot.

  23. Most of you are seriously out of touch with reality. All the talk about shtf etc and taking a moose at 500yds…la la la..you intend to do all of this when? right..Not at all. The Rossi or marlin etc or other clone will get the job done in any realistic situation you are ever likely to encounter, They are small, light, powerful enough, period. The best firearm to have in any situation is the one you have, closely aligned with your “thinking” brain in gear!! If I have one firearm, I can get any other one I need in a shtf situation, period. Since that is so far removed from reality, you need to really think what the firearm may be used for in the context of reality….camping, emergency, possible civil unrest after a storm etc…in that case..the lever gun does all you need, but a good ole Shotgun is better yet. We all need to stop dreaming and face reality..the Mad Max syndrome is designed to sell firearms etc and if you buy into the hype..you are just part of the problem.in MHO…thanks

  24. I have the Taurus version of the Rossi, in .357 caliber. Close inspection of the rear sight indicates a drilled and tapped receiver suitable for scope mounting. The only problem is losing the sight and its elevation slide.
    I’m happy with how mine shoots- two MOA at a hundred, better than my Marlin ’94. The action is smooth, and the trigger is fine, though again I give the edge to Marlin for butter smooth action- of course, several thousand rounds more down range may help the Taurus to be more smooth.
    As to owning an AR… well, not my cup of tea.

  25. I understand perfectly what you mean. A good handgun caliber lever rifle will serve most any home defense need. Easy to master the function if not it’s potential. I too own my go – to M1A NM as well as my backup M1 Garrand in 30-06.

  26. Opinions are straying my from my base statement:I too own a Springfield M1-A NM,use it as a primary “go-to”rifle and believe in the .308, for all the given reasons.
    But the slant of the article seemed to be ok with someone buying a lever gun in a basically pistol caliber, as a primary defense gun.
    So many buyers now days,and Im not talking about purists,want one “go-to”gun,have little or no military or LE experience and,good advice to the contrary,prob wont ever shoot more than 1-300 rds in their new weapon.
    I still say they, as I said earlier,are better served with a “light handy carbine”(which the M1-A NM certainly isnt,nor is my .375 H&H)like the Mini rather than a lever gun clunker.
    ’nuff said.

  27. i have the Rossi 92 in 357 with a 20 in barrel and a marbles peep sight on the tang.Iron sights for 50 yrds and the marbles set for 100. it is a great little gun.

    If you want midrange fire power in a non black gun package this carbine is hard to beat..yes you only have ten rounds but you can keep the weapon on target durring a reload.(try loading a mag when all your sticks go dry) with practice you can lay down serious suppresive fire till you run out of ammo.

    158grains at 1800 fps is enough to drop most things at 100 yrds

  28. I too like the 45 LC, and although I have the AR’s too, there is smething to be said for that big slug you get eith the 45. I have the Taurus Thunderbo,t a 45 Colt slide-action copy of the old Colt Lightning. The action, as Colt touted at the time,, is faster than the Winchester. The trigger can be held down and the gun will fire as fast as the acton can be worked, and the repositioning of the rifle forced by a lever action is much reduced. As the author says, the recoil of the 45 Colt in a carbine is surprisingly light

  29. Actually, the US military has used lever guns. All the way back in the Civil War, no less. And there have been a few cases of limited issue, but not widespread use.

  30. I have the Rossi 92 with the standard lever in 45 Colt. I also have some 325 grain Bear load 45 Colt ammo from HSM. I shoot is only occasionally in my 45 Colt Ruger Blackhawk. Stout! Can I shoot this ammo in the Rossi? I attempted to get an answer from Tauras Rossi and I only got a vague reference to the SAMMU specs.

  31. While I agree that as a “handy little carbine” this Rossi is a well made item, for someone who needs an all around carbine,I feel they would be better served with kicking in the extra 75-100 bucks and getting a Mini-14.
    20 rds beats 9 any day and the 223 is way better for most all projects,especially if you are returning fire from beyond a 150 yds.
    Most people getting into firearms these days are going with a single rifle they expect to cover any situation.
    While the lever action carbine serves well as a “niche weapon”,and the Rossi’s are as good as most,if Im “one rifling”it, the Mini is a better choice.

    1. Come on Ricky… Let’s keep this in perspective. You know as well as I (maybe) the lever carbine is a relatively short range rifle to begin with. I have a 45LC lever rifle specifically for short range and “Non Dangerous” game. But let’s face it, a 223 is far from my first choice at ranges over 100yds. If I want that bull moose or grizzly or buffalo for my dinner table I would certainly rather be 500yds away than 150yds and in when the hammer falls. Not to forget the ballistic energy at impact of a 30-30, 45LC, 45-70 is far and away greater than a 22 (223).

    2. Of course there are better rounds/calibers out there for various purposes…Id much rather engage a dangerous enemy with my .375 H&H than my wifes Mini.However,I stand by my statement in relation to, as I said, the modern gun buyer who wants a “1 gun”do-it-all rifle,is better served by a semi-auto carbine with 20-30 rounds of .223 than 9 manually operated .45’s…..I carry a .45 on duty,and would refuse to carry a .22….apples and oranges..I stand by my comments..dont take them out of context and make it a discussion about calibers

    3. It seems a 22, however powerful with a 20-30 round magazine is your choice, but consider, M1A, AR10, FNFAL…etc all have the same mag capacities (20-30) and use a far superior cartridge (308/7.62×51) in range and takedown power. Again, I would rather have the “Enemy” as far away as possible not up close and personal but still have the ability to deal with up close and personal with devastating results.
      With All Due Respect.

    4. The 5.56x45mm aka .223 cal. was engineered as a caliber to wound, as opposed to kill, for our military. (although it does take some strange wound tracks and an entry in the shoulder could result in an exit from the ankle) It takes three enemy soldiers off the battlefield, to care for one wounded one (including the wounded soldier), and enormous amounts of precious materials, to try to save/fix them up again. In caliber, it is little more than a .22 sized, albeit higher powered projectile. Our soldiers can also carry far more of them, than the previous 7.62x54mm aka .308 cal., due to being lighter in weight.
      As far as utilizing it for a hunting weapon, it is more in the varmint round category. While, with proper shot placement, it can be used for deer sized game, it’s neither recommended, nor even legal, for such, in some States. Better suited for prairie dogs, all of the way up to coyotes.
      I own and love, a Ruger Mini-14, but I own a rifle in .308, as well, for larger critters, such as the black bear that came up in my front porch, recently and scared the Be-Jesus out of my wife @ 1:am. (he would have faced my Taurus Judge loaded with 00 Buck, at that moment, but I didn’t shoot him, as he ran away, far and fast. He was only after the wife’s bird feeder, which has since been removed)
      btw; the Ruger Mini-30 would make a far better choice, in 7.62×39 Russian. It is a larger caliber round, with far lower recoil, than the .308 would be, in say, an M1-A, as well as being shorter and easier to bring into play.
      While there is no single weapon, chambered in some magical round, that is good for everything, if I could only have one rifle, it wouldn’t be chambered in .223 cal. The only reason that I even have a Mini-14 in .5.56×54 and a rifle chambered in .308, is because that’s what our military and most police depts. use. Thus, if the SHTF, there would likely be ammo available in those few calibers, even if you had to ‘borrow’ it from the above mentioned sources.
      I have yet to decide which caliber of rifle, that I would own, should I only be able to have one, as I have multiple rifles and haven’t had to consider such a purchase. I likely never will. Far better to have multiple firearms, for multiple purposes, in my humble opinion, if one can afford to do so.

    5. I don’t know, but I think some of you are kind of missing the point. The idea here as I read the article, is a camp and knock about rifle that will not set the user back a lot but can be used against large critters with teeth and in a pinch as a self-defense weapon. It needs to be handy, fast and have a good wallop at close range. It needs to have sufficient penetration for big bears who may come into camp at night and still be able to take game at ranges inside 150 yards. Now I own a mini14 in .223. I also own three M1 Garands, one HK91, two bolt guns also in .308/7.62 NATO, two bolt guns in 30-06, two 300 WinMags,a 25-06, a 6mm Rem. and a .35 Whelen. I’ve carried the M16 in various configurations in various parts of the world. But this isn’t about fighting a war or defense during the apocolypse. Its about having a light, handy rifle for defense in the wild. I’m not going to shoot a bear with a 5.56 if any other rifle is available. I wouldn’t use it on a mountain lion or a deer, either. Both the toothy ones would probably kill me before they died, and the deer would run to the next county before expiring. And then the Game Warden would arrest me. But I own a Rossi .44 magnum that will work great for all those animals inside 100 yards. And in a pinch it will handle two or three two legged attackers, too. I use 300 grain hard lead bullets in it at about 1500fps. It has about 22 inches of penetration. My next rifle for this work is either the HK or the M1 in Tanker configuration. Both will handle up to 180 grain 308 bullets. But both rifles are less handy for close work, which is what would be needed in a camp at night. Muzzle flash would also be a problem with the .308 or 30-06 in short barrels. The .44 doesn’t have that problem. Even better for this use is the .480 Ruger or the 454 Cassul. Both deliver 45-70 levels of penetration and energy. By the way, the .223 is not a very good people round either. At 250 yards and beyond, you’re shooting a man with a .22 magnum or less. I much prefer any of the heavier calibers. The 5.56 is not as effective at 300 meters as the 7.62 NATO is at 500 meters. The main thing is that the .44, the .308 and the 30-06 will stop a bear and anything else in North America at close range. The .223 won’t. Apples and Oranges. That .44 with the short barrel fits real good under my pickup seat, too.

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