Once Again, I am delving into the Dankness that is the Office of the CEO… This time, in the new office of MARLIN FIREARMS as now owned by RUGER. The big question is what is to be done with Marlin now?
The short answer, and the first answer… Is to keep doing what is being done. And that includes Existing manufacturing processes. Quality Control Must Not and Can Not Slip. Period. The last time Marlin was acquired – it was a disaster. That can not happen again. Better to ship Late than to Ship Shoddy.
Now, Ruger acquiring Marlin offers Marlin some good opportunities. Such as rapid prototyping of new products and manufacturing of new lines for future products. While keeping the traditions of Marlin’s history and style in current product lines. This gives Ruger the opportunity to keep all of the Modern Cowboy Action under one roof. Because Ruger has made lever actions in the past – and few if any remember them fondly. This is going to take some of the Cowboy Steam away from Cimmaron and back to US Made.
Doubling Down on the Cowboy Action genre is going to be important not just because of historic political reaction trends… But because the Western Genre is always cool and popularity surges happen.
So let’s talk about the Western Expansion plan. The CB line needs to be expanded first and foremost.
The CB line offers the handsome straight stock configuration and a long octagonal barrel to give the rifle that distinctly old west and mesquite smoke flavor to the .45-70. But this is something that needs to be spread out across the line. I’d like to see a 39CB… A CB version of the 39A – which is pretty much the finest .22LR lever action rifle in the history of mankind.
The next CB’s that needs to happen is a longer barrel version of the 1894CB series. Currently limited to 20″. Which is a length that makes ballistic sense… But it just doesn’t have the look or feel. It’s also only available in .357 Magnum. Which is great. But I want to see it in .44 Magnum as well. And while we’re at it… Where is the option for .45 Colt? A gun that can handle .45 Colt loads, as well as .454 Casull. Because right now, anyone wanting a .454 Leve Action is going to have to go either Brazilian or Italian. And that just isn’t right.
While we’re at it… Let’s talk about the hottest thing happening in Lever Actions right now… Midwest Industries forends. Like them or not – they are popular like Sports Cars with Automatic Transmissions. Why, Marlin, are making customers go to the Aftermarket to supply what they want? That needs to be fixed. Why can we not buy this out of the box, directly from the manufacturer? Through an FFL of course. The Tactical Lever Action is here. And for that – You Are Welcome, Sirs. I was one of the few pushing this before anyone else was thinking about it. Two guys pushed it actually… Myself, and Gabe Suarez. And now the concept has taken root. Proving the Inception Principle… the most dangerous thing is an idea.
Let’s get into maybe what Magpul could contribute… A version of their shotgun stock not only looks good – but allows for some adjustability in length of pull to make sure the rifle fits the owner. And thanks to a suggestion, what a different forend might look like. Combined with a Big Loop… This is going in a good direction. Hmm… I don’t like the position of the Red Dot. Let’s move it forward.
There we go. That’s better.
There are two Lever Action Users out there. The Traditionalists, and the Modernists. The Traditionalists are the Cowboy guys and the Collector guys. They need to be satisfied. And a Cowboy Action Shooter guy is going to want his lever action in .45 Colt. Why not offer something for them? And that brings me to another product line… A Marlin 1892. That Winchester 92 pattern rifle is the most elegant designed lever action ever produced. Overseas reproductions corner the market. Here’s where Ruger’s manufacturing can come into play. With some design changes to incorporate greater safety, and enhanced accuracy.
The Marlin Product Line as a whole needs to be streamlined. Because it’s rather confusing to the Casual Observer. I’d kill off the .444 as it’s own line and just include that caliber into the 1895 Line. I would also add the .460 and .500 Magnum chamberings into the line somewhere. These would be great in a Trapper type carbine or a Co-Pilot.
I’d ax the Bolt actions the 795’s and the XT series completely. A big question surrounds the Model 60. Should it stay, or should it go? Personally, I’d hate to see it go. They always sold well, and many of us have fond memories of them and we probably still have one or two in the collections at home. So the options are, leave the line as it is… Expand the line to match the planned spread like the rest of the brand… Or we kill the line completely. Killing the Model 60 would be wrong. So we’re going to have to expand it.
So what are your thought and what would you do? And don’t say bring back the Levermatic. For the Love Of All That Is Holy…
19 thoughts on “Armchair QB MARLIN”
I’m pretty sure I missed it but are these guns going to be stamped “Ruger” or are they remaining Marlin, just under Ruger’s direction?
I’m thinking that for now, they will keep the line “as is” but introduce .480 Ruger and .450 BM as chambering options. Though the latter would need tweaking since it was designed for auto’s so not sure if they would bother.
I wouldn’t care for either. But I do have four Marlins on “The List”. A .45-70, .444, .44 mag and .357 mag
But I’m opening a gun store in two years so I can’t buy anything that I already didn’t pay up front for (my BFR in .500 JRH is ready in January). But after my store opens, yeah, I’ll start back up on personal purchases. Which will include Marlin lever guns and Ruger bolt actions.
They will remain MARLIN, per statements Ruger has already made.
What wouldn’t surprise me? The eventually stretched out .480 Ruger. Though they might have a hard time naming it…
Regardless, I’d add it to the list. Even though I’ve no desire for anything in the current .480 Ruger.
Changes I’d recommend for the Model 60: get rid of the Monte Carlo-style stock (which never looked all that good, aesthetically) and substitute a traditional American-style straight stock, in genuine walnut, not the beechwood that Marlin has always used in its budget models. Offer both blued and stainless versions, and an All-Weather version in stainless with a nylon stock.
I agree with the straight vs Monte-Carlo – which has the downward curve at the butt. Which I think looks nice on other rifles… Like the CZ’s… But on the 60, you’re right.
Going to Walnut – would make it more expensive, but I’d be willing to pay the difference.
Okay, so maybe it will be heard of here first. Either a stretched out .480 Ruger to fit the S&W X-frame or stretch it out longer for an overall length of the .45/70, .444 Marlin, .450 Marlin family.
I’d be excited for either. And even if they went for the former, they could still chamber it in a lever action.
And I doubt this will happen. But a stretch frame SRH called “The Warhawk” with the long .480 Ruger as the initial chambering. .480 Ruger would be the “Special”. If they make it a 5 shot then you could also shoot .475 Linebaugh in it.
But don’t mind me. I’m just a dreamer.
As to the tactical use of a levergun, before you and Gabe brought it up Col. Cooper dubbed it the “Brooklyn Special” for those less free states “behind the lines”.
NYC is so bad that even if you had an Enfield bolt gun from WW II it would be illegal due to the mag.
5 rounds mag cap for a rifle or shotgun. So I say go .45-70 for a lever gun in NYC. Which is funny to me. Because a .44 or .357 mag could shoot specials which are a lot less likely to over penetrate and not nearly as powerful but…they hold more than 5 in a tube, so… 🤣
I didn’t say I invented it… But we Promoted it and brought the concept back to the forefront. Now, it’s the hottest thing going.
Always wanted to buy a lever gun. Really like updated tactical look of such guns.
Good article. And good ideas, IMO.
Keep the model 60. The .22LR is a perennial best seller and the model 60 can now join the 10/22 under the same roof which puts the two all time best selling .22 auto loaders not in competition with each other but complementary to each other. Just like the CB line and the tactical line of lever guns.
I think a youth lever gun in something other than the .30-30 Winchester is a natural second gun after the 10/22 or model 60 for many kids. I’m thinking a relaunch of the old 7×30 Waters but get Hornady to produce a LeveRevolution bullet that betters the performance of the original 120 grain Federal load. Either a 336 or a CB series gun with reduced stock dimensions could be really popular with smaller stature shooters.
I’d like to see a lever gun sized and chambered for the .460. I think that cartridge pairs well with a long gun.
Theroeticly, you could run .45 colt and .454 through it. I only say theroeticly because if the issues tye .357s have had running .38s. It is probably a feed geometry problem that can be overcome.
Big Horn Armory.
Make a spiral tube magazine 336 that will chamber .223 and x39.
One of the old Remingtons (?) had such a tube, to allow spitzer bullets to safely touch the rim of the cartridge ahead of it in the tube, rather than touch the primer.
Then the tube would be as fat as a 10 Guage shotgun feed tube… and ruin all the good qualities of the Lever Action.
I wan a traditional rifle in 38-40 WCF to go with my Peacemaker and Blackhawk.
That would be very nice!
It seems that Henry came up with a partial solution with the “X” models, with a partial “m-lok” forend design. Ruger/Marlin should steal a page from that book…
They’ve improved a lot.