Lever Gun project

Kris Walters

Quantified Performance
This post is to document a lever gun project that I am working on. The rifle is a Henry X model in .357 for use as a rifle to hunt pigs, with a secondary purpose as a New York legal defensive carbine.
Reasoning – I chose this particular rifle and caliber for a few reasons. First is perceived quality over newer Marlin offerings, the addition of a loading gate of other Henry models, factory thread barrel and synthetic stock. The .357 caliber was my choice primarily due to increased capacity over 30-30 and 45-70. That coupled with the performance jump the .357 has when used out of a rifle seemed to fit the needs and ranges this rifle is intended to be used at.
Set up- I mounted a 1.25-4 Trijicon accupoint with a German post reticle using a Ranger Point Precision 1913 rail and Leopold low rings. The optic was still a little high for me so I added a Triad Tactical stock pack. The sling is a Blue Force hunting sling, I also added a Ranger Point Precision offset hammer spur to aid in cocking with an optic mounted and, a Para chord wrap on the lever.
Range time- I have had the rifle to the range twice for function check and zero.
Ammo tested: Sig Vcrow 125, Horniday lever evolution 140, UMC 125 JSP, Blazer brass 158 JHP.

I started with a rough zero at 25 yards with federal 38SPL. Then moved to 100 yards and confirmed zero with the blazer. I then shot 2 5 round groups with each .357 load on hand.

1. My rifle doesn't like the sig ammo. It would only print 2 or 3 rounds out of 5 on paper. It also had the most difficulty cycling.

2. The rifle seems to prefer heavy bullets. The 140 and 158 loads sat around 3MOA.

3. POI from on the 25 and 100 yard targets had less that 3" of deviation. This was surprising to me but good news for the guns intended purpose of hunting at short ranges.

4. The 5/8X24 muzzle pitch is annoying on a 9MM/.38 bore. I would like it to be in a industry standard like 1/2x28 to facilitate attaching a muzzle device.

5. There is little recoil allowing the sights to stay on target while shooting.

Field Time- I took the rifle out hunting this past weekend and harvested a large Sow. While walking with the gun the weight was noticeable and more than I would like for a .357 carbine, I would like to see the naked rifle weight cut from 7.3LBS to 5.5-6LBS. The polymer stock became slick with sweaty and bloody hands (my hands were bloody because I attempted to shoot another pig as I was gutting the first), I plan on getting the grip stippled and replacing the forearm with a Midwest lever Mloc and adding rail scales. The hammer offset, Optic, and sling all were sustains.

Terminal- I harvested a +130LBS sow using Blazer brass 158 JHP at 43 meters with a quartering away shot placed behind the shoulder. The bullet entered the ribcage and traveled forward striking the shoulder socket and continuing in to the front of the opposite leg. The pig dropped where it stood, with enough time it would have expired with a single shot but I put it down with a head shot that entered the top right of the head and exited the rear of the bottom left jaw. The penetration of the first round was more than I expected but I do not believe the bullet expanded well, I am unable to confirm since I did not recover the bullet. It did a well enough job that I will continue to harvest game with it but probably with better bullets.

Plans- I plan on eventually sending this rifle to Mad Pig Customs to have the barrel cut and have a Dead Air Key micro break permanently attached for a small can, along with the Midwest forearm, cerikote, and a small Modlight.


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Kris Walters

Quantified Performance
Accuracy and function-

I Was able to Chrono two .357 loads the American eagle 158 JSP and 158 Gold dot both of witch sat around 1700 FPS. The AE grouped at 3.71MOA and Gold dot at 2.82MOA.

Horniday American gunner 38 SPL 125XTP ran a 5 shot average of 942 FPS. I have also not had feeding issues with this 38 load in the rifle with around 60 rounds of it through the gun.

I shot a second pig with it as it was charging me from about 15 yards. My first shot (red in the photo) hit the pig in the upper right shoulder and traveled the majority of the body coming to a rest underneath the pelvis. Bullet expansion was acceptable but not ideal. I was surprised the increase in velocity over revolvers did not result in more effect on the bullets terminal performance. I fired a second shot (yellow) broadside just behind the shoulder that traveled at a slight angle into the bone of the opposite leg. I did not see an exit wound nor did I recover the bullet.

The post reticle of the scope worked well on the surprise shot I had to take on the pig as it was moving towards me.
I intend on using the Gold dot during my future hunting trips to see how it works compared to budget loads.


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Was the second pig also harvested with the blazer brass, or did you use one of the other loads? Keep up the good info! Will definitely use this when it's time to build my own modern cowboy gun.

Kris Walters

Quantified Performance
Was the second pig also harvested with the blazer brass, or did you use one of the other loads? Keep up the good info! Will definitely use this when it's time to build my own modern cowboy gun.

It was the Blazer load. Thanks I intend on keeping this thread updated with any data points I aquire.

Kris Walters

Quantified Performance
Quick range trip yesterday.
1. 40 rounds of 38 with no function issues. However accuracy is trash.
2. Magtec 158 was shooting around 3.5MOA so it is right in line with other loads.
3. I was shooting at some bowling pins at 300 yards. I had limited scusess but the post reticle wasn't helpful.


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Kris Walters

Quantified Performance
After looking at what I needed and the capabilities of this rifle I sold it. I feel that a shotgun like the 1301 will be a better option.
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Good write up- was in the same boat as you recently. Looking for a 50 state legal rifle to travel with me that would pass any ludicrous laws I might find myself subject to. Built up a Benelli NOVA instead for the following reasons:

1. I can walk into any Walmart and buy Buck shot off the shelf- not behind any counter Ive seen thus far. And all the training loads I can put in a cart.
2. The variety of loads available from bird to slug.
3. With slugs and the mounted RMR am able to make solid hits to 150 on 2/3 IPSCs.
4. The ammo scarcity has hit the pistol calibers hard- but the guage seems immune for now.

I really did want to build up a lever gun- but will have to wait until things stabilize- whenever that is...


Regular Member
I keep a pair of 870s (one folding, one fixed) for more or less the same reason. I wouldnt turn down a .30-30 but its not in the budget anytime soon.