Shooters Forum banner

1 - 20 of 69 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What is your opinion about using lever guns for home protection, particularly those that shoot pistol caliber ammo (.45 L.C. , .44 Mag, 44-40, .357, 38-40, etc.) from a "Trapper length" barrel. I have in mind rural areas in particular where bullet penetration is not necessarily a main consideration. What caliber would you prefer, and what specification would you like in the rifle?

Thanks for your replies,
Timberwolf :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
A shotgun is loud enough indoors. I'd hate to pull the trigger on a rifle. From an area denial standpoint, it's tough to beat a shotgun. A family crouched behind the bed with a 12 bore pump laid across it is a pretty safe family. House clearing is better done with a handgun. The short weapon negotiates corners better and is more difficult to take away. The only way I see a rifle entering the mix is if you were expecting trouble at a distance. Not a likely scenario.

If'n I had to use a lever rifle as my home defense piece, That .45 Colt sounds nice. Big chunk of lead making decent speed at relatively low pressures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Rifle for home defense-not the first choice but if thats what I had at hand sure! It would probably be better for those drive bye shootings where you'd want to reach out and touch them alittle as you see them coming down the street shooting! Put one through the engine block then exterminate as the cockroaches run!:D
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,236 Posts
My 1894 Marlin .45 Colt will hold 13 (thirteen!) cartridges in the mag tube - plus one in the chamber!

Tell me that won't work.... all it needs is a bayonet lug....
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,375 Posts
I'll agree that for a house gun I much prefer a shotgun... but, a family defended with a levergun is also armed with something that will potientially be fired by much of the family just plinking an in the name of fun. Familiarity by all members of the family with the firearm makes it more versatile, and more likely to actually be effective in the hands of whoever might be home when the need for such action takes place.

In looking at lever actions for your stated purposes, I'd strongly suggest looking hard at the .357 magnum chamberings. It can be fired with .38 specials for fun, inexpensive and unintimidating plinking and target practice, and even with hot loaded .357's most any responsible member of the family can not only handle the recoil, but quickly recover and cycle the lever for follow up shots should that eventuality exist. And, with the right loads the little .357 carbines are up to any of the tasks mentioned in this thread.

Get something user friendly for the whole family! Then pray that you only will call on it for fun!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
I agree with imashooter2 - shotgun is the way to go. I also agree with Marshal in that familiarity with the weapon is the best medicine for total family useage. What good is a room clearing 12 ga, if I am incapacited, and my girls are afraid of the weapon?

If one has the opportunity to think this through, and implement - one of the new 410 bore levers would be great - all the family can shoot it in "plink mode" with ease, and it fills the niche of being an entrance denying defensive weapon.

In a pinch - whatever weapon comes to hand and can be competently implemented is the best!!!!

.38 S&W and up is my choice. Or a good hardwood stick!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
739 Posts
I have a Win 94 Trapper, and a Rossi Puma. Both in .45 Colt. Just walking though the house with these and not banging them into something is a chore. I would use a rifle as a house gun if it was all I had. But I would prefer a handgun if I had to clear the house, and a shotgun in a dedicated safe room.

For caliber I would prefer the .45 Colt with Win Silvertips. They don't have the sharp muzzel blast of a magnum, and don't have excessive penetration characteristics. They also cycle well through both my rifles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
I would not use a rifle. In the heat of the moment you will need to do some kind of aiming and that will not happen with a rifle. This is why the shot gun is best. point and fire.

I use a pistol and not a 357 mag, only for one reason. The mag will go through the walls and may find one of my kids in there! I switched to my Vaquero in 44/40. I will eventually get me a 1911 in 45 acp. That way the rounds won't go through the walls.

All my kids shoot all my guns anyway, so they are all more than familiar with how to do it. I think the best thing to do, if you really think you will have a confrontation is to take one of those weekend tachtical courses. I would like to do it just to see how it is done and feel more comfortable in the heat of the moment. But they are a little spendy and I really do not fear a confrontation where I live, so not a priority.
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,236 Posts
At across-the-room ranges, a shotgun has no appreciable pattern. It still has to be aimed.

Granted many of us (myself included) are used to shooting where we look with a shotgun, rather than deliberately aiming it. So.... there might be a mental aspect which would allow us to use the shotgun more accurately in a crisis, without being distracted by thinking about deliberate aim. When a quail or rabbit jumps up at my feet, I don't aim, I look and shoot. Whether or not this skill would transfer to a defense situation, I don't know.

Take your .44-40 and rig up some pieces of drywall to shoot through - line up 8 or 10 and see how many it takes to stop the bullet. Nearly any handgun round will go through a LOT more sheetrock that you'd suspect. Put each layer a few inches apart. Don't depend on the B.S. that is printed in each month's issue of Blast and Stab magazine - find out for yourself.

Bottom line - what you AND your family are most comfortable using will probably be what you are most effective with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
827 Posts
I think Mr. Stanton hit the nail on the head. If you use a short barreled 12 or 20 guage shotgun for home defense, thats about all it is good for. Lever Rifles are fun, and stuffed with 38s a lever can be shot by anyone over the age of 10. While you are doing penetration tests, try it with a shotgun loaded with buckshot at house range.
Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Guess I should have clearified, I live in a 1927 home and all the walls are lath and plaster:D

I still think the point stands though, that a 44/40 lead cast 20:1 bullet, running at about 1000 fps is much less likely to penitrate through anything that gets in its way and through the wall and into the next room than a magnum round.

A 357 or 44 mag will. Most folks shooting magnums are not using soft Cast bullets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I was wondering: what would be bad about using simple "cowboys" loads for the .45 L.C. and the .44-40 wcf? The velocity is about 800-850 fps. Would these loads be adequate? Would the fact that they are solid lead aid in not overpenetrating?

Kindest regards,
Timberwolf ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
TIMBERWOLF said:
I was wondering: what would be bad about using simple "cowboys" loads for the .45 L.C. and the .44-40 wcf? The velocity is about 800-850 fps. Would these loads be adequate? Would the fact that they are solid lead aid in not overpenetrating?

Kindest regards,
Timberwolf ;)
Factory hollow points would be the way to go for home protection. Even if they over expand at rifle speeds they have enough weight to give adequate penetration on soft targets. By design, lead solids would penetrate more than hollow points at the same speeds, but the low velocity of the CB loading would help control that. I'd still take the hollow points though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Hello Fellas,

I don't think I could use anything but a shotgun, unless I had nothing else available. The reason is I have two small ones, and it would be of grave concern where a shot might go if a rifle was used(that just goes for me and my cheap house). I use light Win. Rabbit/Squirrel loads in either my Win. 37A or my Hand R Topper 12 Gauge. I have read, but thankfully have never had to prove out, that light loads using small shot(4-6) are devastating at close range....ie room ranges. All the stuff I shot up close as a kid seems to confirm this(no road signs....just alot of Eucalyptus trees, abandoned washing machines and coffee cans at 10-20 ft. or so).

I think another factor may be important here. In the middle of the night, you should probably grab at something you are very familiar with. The two types of guns imprinted in my muscle memory permanently are my single shot 12 gauges, and the M16A1 I carried in the Army. I can work the controls of all half asleep from having spent SO much time with them. I can operate them without thinking too much, and I think that would be important. Of course, the single shots become clubs after the first shot. That is a serious drawback, but I still use the latter for home defense.

Levers have defended people for nearly a hundred and thirty odd years and I think they are wonderful guns. If I didn't have kids I might well opt for my Big. Bore 94. But that new button safety would probably be the death of me. You do something a certain way long enough, and you keep doing it(had an older 1970's Mod. 94 growing up...no dumb safety). I say if your VERY familiar with a particluar lever, and no young ones sleeping in the next bedroom, GO FOR IT!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,125 Posts
HK MP5 with the Navy trigger group, that's about the only "rifle" I can think of wanting to use in the house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
3 Thoughts

Three thoughts:

1. A police buddy worked in the bad part of our town for years and has never had to fire a shot in a bar brawl (in which it was discovered people were carrying weapons). He tells me he would walk in and rack his 12 guage and everyone would get real quiet or leave the building. So, racking a 12 guage pump gun in a quiet house is his first line of defense. He never had to go further, but he says if anyone ever continues aggressively after hearing that sound you have good reason to think they are a mortal threat (or are just plain nuts.)

Second thought: The shorter the barrel, the less likely anyone else will control it. Another true story: An enraged man broke into the house across the street from us in the middle of the night 5 years ago. Great grandma (that's right, grandma's mother who is about 5'2" and thin) latched onto the enraged man's long shotgun barrel and prevented him from doing any more harm than bruising her arm and shooting a hole through the roof. Meanwhile, while the two of them were wrestling with that long barrel, the granddaughter shot the bad guy with a Ruger 44 handgun. End of story, except for the court case and terrible feelings. Being right isn't always easy.

3. Until further notice: "Dance with the girl what brung you." OR, shoot what you've got.
Dave
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
61 Posts
Marshall has it right

My 'go-to' gun behind the bedroom door is an early Marlin 1894c in .357. I live in the country. A bump in the night may require more horsepower than any of my handguns can provide with similar ease of use. I bought the .357 long before the same frame was available in .44, .45 or .41, but wasn't tempted to trade it in when those showed up. The Marlin in .357 is compact, EXTREMELY accurate (mine has Microgroove rifling and I usually load it with jacketed rounds, although it also handles .358 hard cast lead pretty well) and disposes of more oomph than a .44 Magnum handgun. I don't worry about overpenetration. Walls can be patched, and it's surprising how few times you hear of people being tagged accidentally by bullets that have ranged through a bad guy, although it seems to be widely feared. I don't worry about putting slugs through the walls of some apartment building. I DO worry about being able to tag some varmint swarming the porch roof or deck rail, and letting air in and out of him in proper and final fashion.
Clearing a house is something I'll leave to the Sheriff's department, while I await their arrival, forted up with the wife in our nice safe room. I don't need a short gun for that.
Shotguns are ok, if you can get over the mistaken belief that they are no-aim magic wands. They also are LOUD, and the recoil isn't something that anyone but an experience shooter can easily handle. So that rules out use by the wife and kids (ordinarily.) That business about racking a shotgun to scare away the boogie man is pure twaddle. Most burglars would probably think the noise was someone opening a door, or dropping the cash box that they hope to steal. I want the last thing they hear to be the firing pin hitting the primer.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
722 Posts
I know a guy who lives in an old "lath and plaster" style house, who had an AD with his 357. It left a 6 inch wide crater, about 2 inches deep, but never made it into the next room. Shoot that same wall with a 45acp, and you're likely looking at complete penetration with all but the specialty loads.
Personally, in a home situation, I think a 357 levergun would be ideal. Bear in mind where everyone is (Hopefully barricaded with you!) and remember the sound of a levergun is similar to that of a pump shotgun- very intimidating! And were I to use a shotgun in a house, I'd load it with the smallest shot I could get, #12's if possible. I know of a PH in Africa that used it in a 12 Ga to follow up wounded leopards! Devastating at close range, but not much for penetration......perfect!
PJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Look at it this way,If there all lined up heading down the hall and you use your 45-70 lever gun you only need one shot as it would penetrate several of them :)
It wouldn't be my first choice,but it certainly would work.Hope none of us has to find out.

Best of luck.Jayco.
 
1 - 20 of 69 Posts
Top