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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting ready to buy my first .357mag rifle primarily for Lever Action Pistol Cartridge Silhouette matches and small game hunting; and, would like to hear pros and cons on the Winchester Legacy vs. the Marlin Cowboy... preferably from those owning both.

Thanks,
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From my recent experiences with winchester 94's I would buy a marlin. Had a big bore .444 that fell apart at 450 round count. Have a new win. 94 pack rifle back at win. now. It snapped right out of the box. IN contrast I have a marlin .444p that has passed the 800 round count and is still going strong.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
THK,
I was kinda leaning in the Winchester direction because of their capability to handle longer rounds, such as perhaps an RCBS 35-200 seated in a .357 case.  The other day I was browsing the Beartooth site and noticed a post (about a year old) by Marshall Stanton that said it was possible to add another .10" to the maximum overall cartridge length a Marlin 1894 could handle by modifying the cartridge carrier.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a good feeling with respect to the feeding reliability after said modification.  I would like this rifle to feed a large variety of handloaded ammo from plinkers to 200 grainers.

BTW, are all the Winchester M94s made in Japan now?

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The, get the winnie.  Note, though that they were designed for the 38-55/.30wcf rifle cartridges and were adapted to handle short, fat pistol cartridges about 10 years ago.  
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Charlie Z,
So what can I expect regarding your statement about short, fat pistol cartridges?  The .357 is far from being a fat cartridge.  Does the Winchester M94 do a poor job of feeding pistol cartridges?

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I have owned both and shot both in SASS competition.  Even though I am a die-hard Winchester collector out of the two rifles you list it is my opinion that the Marlin is the superior one for CAS.  If you can possibly find one of the recent, limited run, Winchester M92's in .357 Mag - that is the best of the three.  But of the two you mention (M94 Win vs. M94 Marlin) I found the Marlin to be the easier to feed ammo and the slicker in functioning.  Odessa
 

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The same action is used for the .44mag and new .480 Ruger, too, which are short, fat pistol cartridges.   I've heard of loading problems, but it probably works adequately.  It will certainly handle a longer cartridge.  

I've shied away from the 94s because I can't get past the guts dropping away from the receiver in order to cycle a long cartridge (that isn't anymore).

The equivalent in the Marlin world (though not as awkward) is the original 336 in .44 mag.  The '92 is prettier, more comfortably balanced and held and purpose built.
 

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I had the winchester 94 in 357 ,very poor bullet control,many jamings,did not lever quickly , brass didn't eject readly,after braking parts and talking to tech man I traded for marlin, bullet lenght is the only problem I have had!
markcl
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know the Marlin 1894 design provides smoother feeding than the Winchester M94; however, that's not really an issue in a slow fire competition unless the Winchester actually jams while cycling a fresh round of .357.  The real issue is, I'd like to be able to cycle a .357 round loaded with RCBS 35-200 (C.O.L may exceed 1.75 inches) but not at the expense of reliable feeding.  Even though I appreciate the smoothness of the Marlin action (I own a 444P and two Pre-64 M94s) I'm not a "Cowboy Action Shooter" and don't mind the long stroke and bump of the Winchester M94 assuming the round chambers every time.  If the Winchester can't do what I'm expecting it to do (reliably feed an extra long round), I'll settle for a Marlin Cowboy with a modified cartridge carrier to feed 1.7" rounds.  

Thanks,
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Discussion Starter #10
Markcl,
I was busy composing my last message while your post came in.  Thanks for your reply... sounds like the Winchester M94 doesn't like the little .357 case a whole lot.

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Discussion Starter #11
By the way markcl...
What type of ammunition were you dealing with.  Were you trying to feed ammo loaded with wadcutters or semi-wadcutters having large shoulders (the first driving band is sometimes referred to as the shoulder)?

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The winnys problem was more just getting rid of spent shell and the bounceing of the new bullet because it moves up on the back (eject) strock .there is a difference than marlin
mark c l
 

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I'll be shooting two quick rounds for the first time in my 44mag 1894 tomorrow. Not the long 24" cowboy but the 20". I have cycled rounds through without firing. While I am doing the shoot 2 clean shoot two barrel break in cycle tomorrow I will get to see if feed problems exist. The thing is ultra smooth for now but all bullets so far are 240 gr Hornady XTP's. I'll let you know. I almost backed out on getting this gun because of all the talk about feed problems. I'm glad I didn't.
 
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