Armchair Quarterbacking: MARLIN

Before I go on – let me but this out there.  Marlin lever action rifles are my favorite Lever Action Rifles.  More over, they are my favorite rifles that are not auto-loading.  Of all the Manual Loading Rifles, Marlins are my first choice.  I can’t help but to love the Marlins.  But Marlin has some issues going on and they need some serious help.  Many people have lost faith in the Brand.  And it’s understandable.  So here’s my plan…

If Remington were to hire me to be the Brand Manager for Marlin, I’d have a list of changes to make.

First off, everyone that is charge of Quality Control that’s been there since 2007… Those guys are fired or demoted to push broom control.  All the current executives since 2007 would all be fired as well.  What they have done to the Marlin Brand is unforgivable.


They brought out the X7 series of rifles.  Cheap Bolt Action rifles, which on the surface is just fine.  But this isn’t keeping in with the Marlin Brand; the Marlin Image. Marlin should be a recognizable brand like Jeep is.  But the X7 is like Jeep building a cheap little Sports Car.  Sure it’s rather interesting, but it’s not keeping with the Brand.  That makes it wrong.  I know a couple guys that quite like their X7 rifles.  Bully for them.   But I’d most likely kill the line.  Marlin is owned by Remington and Remington already has cheap bolt actions, so there is no need come compete within the company family.  Of course, Marlin’s not had to have a Recall on these that I am aware of or remember, so I don’t know for sure… I’d have to look at the numbers.   What do know though, is that I hate the X7.  The stock feels cheap and flimsy and I just hate it.  I’d perhaps ask Hogue to make a strong OEM stock for it, or look at a Laminate Wood option.  This will of course raise the cost – but it would be a huge improvement.  So I’d either have other stocks or I’d kill the line.  Simple as that on the X7.  Done.

The XLR series of rifles… Marlin’s longer range lever guns.  You can get them in .308MX, .338MX, or .30-30.  There is a note on the web page that says it’s also coming (in 2007) in .35 Remington.  But I’ve yet to see that.  I’d also like to see a .45-70 and .444 Marlin versions as well. These need the 24/7 rail, like what comes on the 1895 SBL.  This rail should be on the XLR’s since everyone who buys them puts a scope on them.  The longer 24/7 scope rail would allow more and better scope options for the rifle.  It only makes sense to include it.

That brings us to the 1895 SBL.  This is one of my favorite guns.  The only problem is that it’s Stainless.  Or I should say, that it’s ONLY in Stainless.  There should be the option for one in Blue.  Don’t you think?

Since Marlin doesn’t make one, I made one. This was the 1895GBL.  But the GBL doesn’t come with that 24/7 Rail like the SBL has.  This is an oversight that.   I’m not all about railing up all the guns – but this rail for the 1895’s just makes too much sense.  You can then use what ever scope up want and mount it where you like.    These SBL and GBL rifles should also be available in .444 Marlin and .35 Remington.  Again, it only makes sense to offer these guns in more calibers.  Not everyone wants .45-70.
Marlin used to offer a 16″ version… And I shot one.

This was my GBL with the 24/7 Rail. It was fantastic.

I called it a “Guide Gun”, which is wrong… It had another name but I forget.  But it was factory direct like that.  That option needs to come back.

I would like to see an even bigger version of the Guide Gun.  In .50 Caliber.  The best .50 round that could work is the .500 S&W Magnum.   This would require some resizing of the action – Something you are not wanting to do, but it needs to be done.  Slightly larger and a lot stronger.   Every option in the 1895 line  should be available here.  Including SBL’s and GBL’s.    The guns would chamber both the .500 S&W Magnum and the .460 Magnum.    Right now people who want one bad enough are shelling out over 2400 bucks  to have one custom made – This is money Marlin could be making.  If some company no one ever heard of is doing this – Marlin could be doing it too.  Excuses are too late.  This is why I had all the prior execs fired.  Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  Do it.  Just Fricken Make It Happen, you lazy, slackwits.  People will buy it.  Because for 9 years people were constantly asking for it.   So what if it would costs 1400 bucks per rifle – People would buy it.

This brings us to the 336 family.   Again, the 24/7 Rail and Big Loop combo should be offered.   There should also be a 16″ Barreled version.  Before, there was a 16, in the 336Y model, which I can’t find anymore.    The 20″ barrel is fine, but some people like them to be shorter.  Basically I want the same options in the 1895 line as in the 336 line.   .30-30, .308MX, .338MX, and .35 Remington should all have homes in all versions of the 336.

The Cowboy series has 2 guns.  One in .30-30, and one in .45-70.  Where are the other calibers?  And why  is the .30-30 so short?  Where’s the long barreled option?  It needs to 26″.  The .45-70 option is a bit disappointing.  Where is the classic tang mounted aperture sight?  The Cowboy Gun needs a stepped up version for the Cowboy Action competitions.  Those guys take their shooting seriously and to attract them in greater numbers, let’s do a 30″ barreled version, with Brass buttplate and end caps.  A “Quigley” variant, if you will.

The 39A is a Classic.  But it’s long and heavy and from spending 9 years behind a gun counter, selling these to young fathers for their young boys and girls… It’s a bit too heavy.  Shortening the barrel down to 16 inches and offering it with a lighter weight synthetic stock as an option would really help that.  So a light and short youth version is required.  The 39Y.  And since some guys like me like Carbines, a 39C, with a 16″ barrel.   Now, let’s also offer a Stainless Steel version of the A and C guns, and call them simply the AS and CS.

The 39 series also needs to have a Magnum version.  Call it the 49 series, with all the options as in the 39.   .22 Magnum and .17HMR.  Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  Henry, Winchester, and Browning made them.  Henry still does.  And let’s do a special edition 49 Cowboy.  Because that would just be amazing.


The 1894 line.  First off…  There needs to be the SBL version that was in the 2011 Catalog but never really made.  It’s time to make it.  Also, like as I said with the 336 line, the 1894 Line needs to have all calibers available in all versions.  Where is the .45 Colt option?  Over there in the Cowboy version.  That’s it?  What jackoff said that it can only be in the Cowboy?  He better have his desk cleared off.  .38/.357, .44 Mag/Special, .45 Colt/Casull.

I want this, in blued steel and walnut.

(Forgive my sloppy PhotoChop)  Legacy, Rossi and Henry are doing Mare’s Legs.  Where is Marlin’s?  12 to 13 inches.  Also, as a factory option, offer the Mare’s Leg with a full sized rifle stock for the guys that want to turn them into a Short Barreled Rifle.  Hell, we’d just throw the stock in the box with it.  We’d have to come up with a different name… Bounty Hunter and Mare’s Leg are both taken.  Maybe call it the “Outlaw”, or “Rustler”.  And of course, make it available in all caliber options.  Top it with that 24/7 Rail and a Red Dot, I’d call mine the Borderland Pistol, or the Jacob Pistol.  Stainless and Grey or Blued and Laminate Brown Wood.

The internals on all the Levers I’ve seen have been HIDEOUS.  I’ve had to disassemble every Marlin I’ve ever owned and hand finished and polished the internals as best as I could.  Every time.   Why?  This should be done on every gun before it leaves the factory.  Reason?  Because the Marlin name is on every rifle that leaves the factory.   I’ve had gouges and burrs on Internal Operating parts.  On the levers.  Ive had bolt’s so rough I thought they were threaded.   The inside areas of these 1895’s, 336’s, and 39’s have all been drastically unfinished.  It’s as if you were digging the metal out like you were carving a canoe out of a log.  It’s tragic.  It’s a failure.  It needs to be addressed.    For the love of all that is holy – Can’t you jackwagon’s just deburr the inside of the loading ports?  I’ve cut myself on them more than once.

And where is a Centerfire Takedown Lever Action?  Taylors and Wild West Guns can make them – Where’s Marlin’s Take Down?  The 39A takes down… Come on now, let’s get with the program.

What do you say Remington?  Pay me 200 grand a year and give me a bull horn and a Chainsaw… I’ll have people lining up to buy Marlins.

32 thoughts on “Armchair Quarterbacking: MARLIN”

  1. That video is of Jim’s STP!!!
    If I had a say, you would be hired in a NY minute. You expressed exactly ( with more detail) what i said yesterday. As a little girl I feel in love with grandpa’s passed down 30-30. Outside a .22 it was the first rifle I ever shot with my dad. Marlin is much more than a gun company to me…it is father daughter time, family tradition.. An heirloom to be passed between generations. This remlin stuff coming out is utter crap. And it is sad…what are we supposed to present to our kids…to give our grand kids.
    I pray you can get that job.. I want that feeling back, rather than this disgust i feel.

  2. I’d love some high quality Marlins. My last 336 was so bad that I’ve lost all confidence in the brand.

    You’ve got my vote to run Marlin.

  3. Four further comments on the entire Marlin Lever line:
    – No rebounding hammer actions.
    -No stock checkering.
    -Update the iron sights to a patridge rear and a vertical gold line serrated post front sight. These sights would work for teens to old guys!
    – Quality control that equals 100% functional reliability – out of the box.

  4. Marlin’s dead to me. Two bad rifles in a row. Biggest disappointment a long waited for 1894CSS that was in essence as useful as a Ruger one. It wouldn’t feed. Three trips back to the factory only to have more parts bent and broken. For the misery alone my next lever will be a Winchester. New, expensive, reliable.

    Scott P

  5. I gave my dad my old 1930’s vintage model 39 because he used to tell me that when he was a young’un he would shoot his uncle’s model 39 but never had the money to buy one. He really appreciated that gun that I gave him and he tells me every time that he gets to shoot it.

    Now as far as a 16″ barreled version, Marlin had the Mountie which was a 16″ carbine with a straight stock and a few years ago I picked one up locally for stupid cheap. Now Marlin should re-release the Mountie to fill that void in their rimfire line.

    On a last note I just made a trade for a sweet 1894 in 44 Magnum. I’ve always wanted one but came up short damn near every time. I love the look of that classic Marlin “safe” action.

  6. I find it inserting that there is no production lever action chambered in 500 S&W Magnum. Also would the Ogre remove the safety that Marlin has been putting on their guns?

  7. From everything I’ve seen and heard of Remington lately, they need to get their own QC house in order, never mind Marlin’s. The action of the last off-the-rack 870 I handled…felt if it had sand in it.

    As for Marlin, I think they’d do better to sell it to an investor that actually has respect for the company, and have the new people revamp their product line from the ground up. Starting with QC. The way things stand, if I had the money for another levergun I’d gladly spend the extra for a Henry Big Boy.

  8. >These SBL and GBL rifles should also be available in .444
    >Marlin and .35 Remington.

    There’s really no reason for .444 Marlin to even exist. It offers no advantages over .45-70 or .450 Marlin, and has several disadvantages (less powder space, lower grain weights, poor bullet selection, etc).

    It would be a fine cartridge if we lived in a world without the .45 caliber big bores, but there is really no reason to choose it over those.

    1. But it does have a following and I’ve friends who are huge fans of the .444 Marlin. Sure, they are Ballistic Hipsters, but they are great guys nonetheless.

    1. I love my .450 Marlin. It made more sense when I bought it, because full power .45-70 wasn’t as common then… It is still more expensive than Hornady factory .450 though. And funny enough, through the shortages of the last year and a half, I have had no trouble finding .450 ammo, while full power .45-70 has been much more spotty.

      1. That’s why I’m not all that big on .450 Marlin. A belted .45-70 equivalent that if you are a handloader, you can out perform with .45-70… So the only advantage the .450 Marlin owner has is if you only buy Factory New ammo.
        And if you are shooting these kinds of guns – You need to be Handloading.

        1. My .450’s only purpose in life is to keep the bears off my ass. Since I prefer to use factory ammo for my defense guns, easy availability of appropriate ammo is important to me. I know people around here like the hard cast Buffalo Bore, but the Hornady Interlock for the .450 is a good load, and I am confident with it. I reload plenty of practice ammo for the .450 and have been for a while.

  9. All the current executives since 2007 would all be fired as well. What they have done to the Marlin Brand is unforgivable.

    Only if they receive millions-of-dollars in golden-parachute severance packages would that be fair.

    1. The Marlin Jam… That’s something that could be fixed with a slight geometry change, hardening, and Polishing. That could be done and eliminate that problem forever.

  10. While you’re on a hot streak, how about getting a real .35 cal cartridge going? Neck down the .45/70, legitimize the .35 Greevy Express ( ). Make it throw a 220gr bullet around 2400 fps. Don’t use a special case like that goofy .308. Actually, can that round and re-do it on the .444 case…

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