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Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by PattonWasRight, Oct 22, 2020.
I have a Winchester M-94 Trapper in .45 Colt. Love it. I am with you in wanting a .357 magnum lever gun and was thinking of a Marlin until hearing about issues with them. I have no personal experience with newer Marlins having QC issues but maybe now that Ruger has purchased Marlin that will change for the better if that was a problem.
Urban Myth that keeps getting repeated on the Internet.
The "Remlins" had QC issues when they moved the plant and got back into production a few years ago.
The die was cast and the QC legend was born.
I have a 2020 Marlin 1895 and it's perfect.
If the OP wants a .357 levergun and doesn't like tube load, then it's a new Marlin 1894 in the stable.
Favorite is Marlin 45-70 CB 26" barrel nine shot. Most often the standard 405gr 1400 fps, will terminate anything. Loaded and ready for action.
When the Marlin plant was moved to Ilion, NY from North Haven, CT in about 2010, the employees were left behind and so was the quality. The QC problems were disastrous and became the downfall of a legendary brand. It is no myth.
If you have a good 2020 Remington/Marlin, good for you DirectDrive. But don’t try to rewrite history. Too many of us witnessed the fall.
My first lever gun was a Rossi in .357. I was not satisfied with many things about the rifle and made several changes: Steve's Gunz button style safety replacement plug added after removing the safety, shortened the magazine tube spring, and replaced the sights. It has been several years and I am forgetting a few other changes. I took it apart and reassembly was a challenge. The Rossi is a clone of the Winchester 92, but it is oversprung. Like the newer Marlins, some people have good experiences and others not. I could have lived with the Rossi as I bought it, except for the sights. I could not get on target adjusting the original buckhorn sights.
The JM Marlin 44 magnum I bought used has been fine. I did replace the rear sight with a Skinner aperture sight. I hope to take a deer with it this season. I understand that JM Marlins chambered in .357 sell at a premium.
The increase in power from a longer barrel is significant. Attempting to match a Buffalo Bore load, I loaded some .357 180 grain lead gas checked bullets with 16.5 grains of Alliant's Power Pro MP-300. Rounding off, I got 1400 fps out of a 6" revolver and 1800 fps from the 20" Rossi. That is 783 ft/lbs for the pistol and 1294 for the rifle. Not quite what we might expect, but the relationship between velocity and energy is not linear.
From now on yes. But when I got the rifle it was pretty nasty, inside and out, with dried up gunk and solidified grease. I think someone bought it in 1974 and put a bunch of grease in the action, and it basically sat for 45 years.
Anyway, I also wanted to learn the rifle and inspect the parts, a couple missing screws needed replacing anyway. It wasn't too hard to break down...but quite a learning experience getting it back together.
My favorites are JM stamped Marlins from 2009 and back. Marlins became trainwrecks in the immediate years after the buyout. It got so bad the Marlin forum had to create a new subforum to address the absolute lack of QC after the buyout and move. Marlin barrel droop was a new thing back then. I hear the new ones have improved, but I won't roll the dice. I am super excited they've been purchased by Ruger.
I also very much like Henry rifles. They're great guns, although Marlins seem to shoulder more naturally for me but that's strictly an individual thing.
I'm indifferent toward Winchester, but that's just me. They're good rifles. I've had a few Rossi rifles at my range, and they are okay but not anything I'd care to personally own.
The best looking one I own is this JM stamped Marlin STP .45-70 Govt I learned about from some Hickok45 videos he made of his. It was extremely difficult to track down, but I finally got one in 2012.
I've got a Rossi 92 carbine in .357 that I'm having issues with right now.....
The hammer is locked back and for the life of me I cant get it to release ....any ideas?
I had a Rossi .357 and after I slicked her up a bit, it was a decent rifle. The Henry released the Big Boy steel so made the switch. The build is a few tiers above the Rossi and I like it is made up the road from me. Makes a perfect companion rifle with my 686+. I know it is not traditional in the sense of a loading gate, but I don't mind it as my days hiding behind a rock and shooting 25 Banditos are over. I also will NEVER miss that barrel band!!!!!
Here you go...
I bought one last year and couldn’t be happier. You gotta watch the prices though. I got mine for $1500
Some of these go north of $1750 and up. Mine is a 24” and I’m now looking at a 20” model.
What a beauty!
Does the Rossi have the lever safety? As in, you have to squeeze the lever tight to the frame before you can pull the trigger. If so, maybe the lever safety is not disengaging.
No lever safety that I know of
Older, like '50's and earlier Savage 99's are classic.
The Henry Big Boy steels aren't too fancy, but sturdy and purdy. I wanted the 16" version for the coolness factor.
I’ve never owned one, but the old gentleman who ran our West Virginia deer camp back in the 60s swore his Savage 99 was the best deer rifle in the world. Vernon was legendary on his mountain, and I believed him.
I don't know about the rest of the country, but in my area of NYS finding a used JM Marlin, Savage 99 or Winchester lever action is damn near impossible. I frequent 6 different gunshops, and none of them have the aforementioned. I have even had the gunshop where I bought my Winchester 30-30 and Marlin Guide Gun offer me $100 more than what I paid for them when I bought them there a year or 2 ago. A few weeks ago he had an old .35 Marlin, nothing special and was in fair cosmetic shape. It sold for $1000. Last year he would have gotten $400-$500, tops.
Ammunition? That's another issue. Pistol cartridges are just not available, and what few available rifle rounds are priced to absurdity. .35 Remington's are going for $75 a box, 45-70's are going for $60, and 30-30's are going for $40.
I JUST bought some Hornady leverevolution (best there is for levers) 30/30 for $29 from midwayusa.
I own 9 lever actions now. I collect Marlin Cowboy models. I have 2 336CB models (38-55 and 30-30) and 5 1894 models (2x 357 mag, 1x 44 magnum, 2x 45 Colt). I have done a lot of research about Marlins. These are all "JM" models. I also have a pair of twin Winchester 1892s made in Japan from about 2014.
Marlins are a lot of fun. I think the Cowboy models with the octagonal barrels are greatest of all which is why I have so many. Some people get them where they work flawlessly, which is the deal with the majority of mine. And some people get them where they have some problems. This is true even of the "prime" JM models.
One issue with Marlins is they can get what is called the "Marlin jam". This occurs when a guy's carrier gets worn from the lever's sharp edge, and the timing of the gun is impacted. Basically when this happens, the gun tries to chamber a cartridge and also the 2nd cartridge tries to leave the magazine. This locks the gun up in the open position. Some people say you need to disassemble to clear this jam. I have found this to be unnecessary. One of mine had this problem badly. If you get a tiny screwdriver and stick it through the ejection port and push on the 2nd cartridge trying to leave the magazine, it'll free up the jam.
The fix for this is either a whole new carrier OR welding the existing carrier to permanently fix this and breaking the hard edge of the lever. Some people do this themselves, I have found it to be a good gunsmith job.
Do all guns get this? No. I have found it to be very inconsistent. Some people have NEVER seen it happen. Some have had it happen with newer guns. I myself have had two rifles jam this way before they were fixed. Others never do it. But it's in the back of my mind that it COULD happen so I take a screwdriver with me when I shoot them. You don't want a gun locked open and loaded in the middle of the woods with no way to clear it.
Another thing about the Marlins, is you have to invest in a good set of screwdrivers to ensure all the screws are snug. This gun can be disassembled, unlike the Winchesters. Sometimes the screws work loose. This has the tendency to jam the gun, especially the loading gate screw. Sometimes peoples guns are jamming and just a few turns of a screwdriver fixes it. One time I was shooting my 357 out in the woods and I noticed one of the screws fell out! By the grace of God I spotted it in the dirt.
Of course, I love these guns otherwise I wouldn't have 7 Marlins. They're gorgeous. But you need to maintain them more diligently than others. Most are stone cold reliable and never have issues. Because of the solid top design, you can mount any scope or sight you want.
Then there's the Winchesters. I got mine after giving up on finding a Marlin at first.
The modern Winchester is made in Japan. Is it a 100% faithful replica? Well, no. It does have a rebounding hammer instead of a half-cock, and it has a tang safety. Many purists turn their nose up on this. Do I care? Not hardly. When you shoot them they run smooth and hard. Because of the stiffer springs though, they take some effort to cock initially but it is smooth.
If you want something more faithful, get a Rossi or a Chiappa. But they won't have the Winchester quality.
The Winchester 1892 is actually much stronger than the Marlin 1894. It uses 2 locking lugs instead of Winchester's 1. But any .357 you would not be willing to shoot in your 1894 Marlin would be stupid hot so it's almost a moot point anyways but something to point out.
You can't take the Winchester apart nearly as easily as a Marlin. It's a "clean from the muzzle" gun and swab out the action. They recommend taking it to a gunsmith to detail strip it every so often.
The Winchester 1892 is thinner in profile and lighter to carry. The Miroku factory churns out some great guns! But they are .357 mag ONLY as far as loading for it. Some people can get away with .38s in it but don't count on it. Marlins are more likely to eat 38's but many choke on them too to be fair.
The Winchester opens up on the top. Policing your brass is much harder. Finding sights for it is much harder. Cleaning it is not as simple as the Marlin and you have to take great care when going through the muzzle end not to damage anything. With the Marlin, you can easily remove the lever screw and take the lever, bolt, and ejector out and put them back in very easily for general maintenance. Anything else and my lack of technical prowess disassembling guns to their molecular level self will be taking it to somebody who knows what they're doing.
Please see below photos of my Winchester/Miroku 1892 and my Marlin 1894CB (this one in .45 colt)