Ruger Hawkeye, Marlin Levermatic

Ruger made the .256 work in their single-shot Hawkeye “revolver.” Instead of a cylinder, Ruger went with a single-shot breechblock fitted to a Blackhawk frame. The cartridge is a good one, however, the Marlin Model 57 Levermatic did not go over well perhaps because it was too modern-looking a departure from the traditional Marlin levergun. The Levermatic was hammerless and designed with a short action and very short lever throw which takes some getting used to for those of us raised on standard (and far smoother) Marlins and Winchesters.

Although the operation of the action is nothing to get excited about, the Levermatic shoots quite well with the .256 — a modernized version of the old .25-20. It was made to be scoped and gives me excellent results for three shots at 50 yards using the Speer 75-gr. JFN over 14 grains of IMR 4227 for just under 2,300 fps and a group of 5/8". The Hornady 60-gr. JSP over one more grain of the same powder gives the same muzzle velocity and the same accuracy.