Tag Archives: Marlin

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.

zoom_XL7

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.

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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.

marlin_1894_sbl

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.

marlin_1894_Outlaw
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.

Remington Down

Remington was once known as Big Green.  They were huge and they were moving.  Winchester had dropped the Model 70 and Savage wasn’t even an option…  Brownings and Sakos were for the rich and famous.   The Model 700 was dominant as the bolt action for the Every Day Man.   The only shotgun worth having was the 870 for serious field use.  Remington rifles were known for accuracy and quality.   The shotgun for rugged durability.   There was no question about this.  These were Remington’s halcyon days.

Now we’ve had yet another recall on Remington 700 and 7 triggers.  Remington only original pistol design the 51 was brought back and it’s looking like a major flop.  Remington’s acquisition of Marlin has been regarded as a death knell for Marlin as a brand as the quality control of those storied lever action rifles has fallen through the floor. The ACR rifle which was the great promise of freeing us all from the doldrums of   AR-15’ness has fallen flat on it’s face from a lack of the Barrel Conversions as promised to change lengths and calibers.  We were supposed to have had them a long time ago, and here we are in 2014 and we still don’t have what what promised.  You know, the whole major selling point of the ACR other than “it’s not an AR-15″.  I’ve even seen and heard other guys talk about the Remington 1911 in tones of disappointment and regret.  Even Remington brand ammunition is pretty much my least favorite ammo out there.  In fact, I’d rather shoot steel cased Wolf stuff through my guns.  A common theme in the remarks about any Remington product is “I’ll never buy another Remington again”.

It would seem that Remington is caught in a Huey Tuck of unfortunate failures, and doesn’t have the altitude to pull out of it.  What can Remington do to prevent the impending doom of crashing through the tree tops?

First off, Remington needs to concentrate on quality control.  Every gun that goes out there door needs to be individually inspected by a Gun Smith, not just a packaging clerk in the shipping department.   And that needs it’s own QC there too.  The actions, triggers, extraction and ejection, everything.   If it’s not perfect – don’t just ship the bloody thing!

Second.  There is no valid reason that there are not a plethora of barrel kit options for the ACR platform.  None.  Zero.  Any reason you think you have, is just as excuse.  Get them out there and get it out at a decent price.  Have barrel options for 12 to 20 inches in all applicable calibers.   Just do it.  You have a whole mess of people waiting for those and a whole lot of other people that would be buying the ACR if they were actually available.  ACR Barrel Kits are now Vaporware on the same level as the fabled Glock Carbine.

Thirdly.  Just drop the R51 pistol.  Continual production and sales of this lemon is putting Remington at risk.  A gun that can fire out of battery is a gun that is waiting to Frag its owner and cause serious bodily harm.  That’s a mountain of liability that you do not need right now.  Someone is going to get hurt and they are going to go after you tooth and nail for producing this thing.  And with all the videos on YouTube showing that this is a known and documented issue – you guys are already in trouble on this.  It’s just a matter of time before someone files.   It should be recalled and discontinued.  Or recall it and do a radical redesign.  I’m sure there are people at Remington that know how to make the R51 work.  You need to listen to them.  And fire whoever is keeping them quiet.

Fourth.  Get rid of the Corporate Yes-Men and start telling people in the upstairs offices “No”.  Because not all the ideas have been good ones.   Like the 887 Shotgun.  That’s a terrible gun.  It’s no improvement over the 870, and it feels cheap and wrong.  What’s the advantage?  No, don’t answer that, I don’t need to hear the propaganda.  That was just a bad idea.

Fifth.  Marlin.  You guys really stomped all over the Marlin name.  The quality control has been the worst I’ve ever seen.  In the production and in the Warranty department.  Absolutely the worse.  Quality Control there was an absolute joke.  We had new guns come in that we couldn’t even get the actions to cycle and we would have returns come back from warranty service missing parts in areas that were unrelated to what they were sent in for.  I don’t know how they managed to fail so hard.  Who is working in the Marlin department?  Chimps?  I know things have gotten better.  But that’s a low hurdle to mark down as an achievement.   When Rossi is making a better Lever Action – that’s just sad.

Take a look at Taylor’s and Wild West Guns and look at how they are making some guns that people are wanting… How come you do not have anything like that?  Where is your take down?  What year is this now?  Where are your winged and adjustable aperture sights?

I don’t know guys… Can Remington be redeemed?  Or have they fallen too far now?

Marlin 336W Harsh Conditions

We got in a brand new 336W from Marlin. The barrel is stamped Illion, NY, so there is no question this isn’t an older gun.
I was very impressed with the fit and finish of the gun.  Its using a nicer laminated stock instead of birch, or whatever wood they used before.  It looks nice.  The stocks actually fit the gun, which is a first for many years now.  It feels like a solid and well built gun,  which was my hope when Remington bought Marlin.
The W gun though, is Remington/Marlin’s bargain gun.  Its the lever action equivalent to the 870 Express.  As solid as the others, but without the refinement.  The finish, like the 870 Express, is a bead-blasted blued.  Which means its not a finish but a fast and dirty process that is just “good enough” to get by.  It looks matte, and can hold oil, if you bother to take care of it.  If you don’t, it can rust if you look at it sideways.
Because of this, the finish isn’t well suited for harsh conditions.  The surface however is very well suited for something else… Cerakote.
So here is the program:

Get a new Illion stamped 336W.  They retail for only 399 bucks.  Bargain rifle of the Century.  Send it to Crusader Weaponry.
The stocks will be removed.  The action disassembled.  Sights removed.
The barreled action will be Cerakoted to any color you like, but Crusader’s Grey is a solid option for this.  Magpul Flat Dark Earth is another good choice.
New sights will be installed.  The XS Lever Rail.  They are 150 bucks.
The Bolt will be Slipstreamed.
Option 1.  The Lever will be debured/polished, and Slipstreamed on the inside portion, and Cerakoted on the outside portion.
Option 2. Wild West Guns big loop lever, polished, Slipstreamed, and Cerakoted.    150 bucks.
Bear-Proof Ejector is an option, as is the Trigger Happy Trigger… priced accordingly, of course.

The Sling Swivel studs on the W have a loop on them, but feel, because they are, cheap and unsatisfactory.  We would recommend replacing them with standard studs for standard quick disconnect sling attachments.  A third sling swivel stud can be added forward on the stock on and the side for another loop for a Single Point Sling.
The stock could also be Cerakoted same or contrasting color to help weatherproof the stock.

Reassembled and function tested.

Total Cost of this Harsh Conditions conversion would of course depend on options and time, but I’d imagine you would have a seriously kick ass Lever Action for a very reasonable price.

Unpossible!

There is a certain outdoors oriented magazine that recently did a test on cheap rifles.  They took the most popular rifles that retail for less than 500 bucks, and did a quick and dirty accuracy test.

Weatherby Vanguard
TC Venture
Marlington X7
Savage Axis
Ruger All American

The results were than the Marlin X7 rifle handed it to all the others.  Drastically.  According to this test, the Marlin was much more accurate than all the others, showing a one hole group compared to the other’s patterns.

Okay.  I’ll buy that.  This Marlin X7 was more accurate with the Test Ammo than the others.  But they didn’t test other loads through the other guns.   Generally what happens is that one gun can favor one particular load more than others.  As is this case.  In spite of what this test shows, I’d much rather have a TC Venture or a Vanguard than the Marlin X7.
The Savage is at a disadvantage here.  At 299, it’s the cheapest.  But for a hundred bucks you could drop in a Timney trigger.  But it up to the 400 dollar range, still well within the test price range, and then you would have a very competitive rifle.

I’d like to see this test conducted again, with the Savage trigger swapped, and with a number of different loads tested for a more “Accurate” test result.  Because I’ve personally seen groups from the Vanguard S2 rifles and the TC Ventures that were just amazing.  I’ve also heard reports from more than a few Marlin X7 owners that these rifles are indeed shooters.  I can’t deny that.  One is from a source that I will not question.  I have nothing against the Marlin rifle here… But fact remains that this test was rather shallow and only skimmed the surface.

Marlin. Credit where credit is due.

Marlin rifles have always been a favorite of mine.  It was depressing when their quality took such a drastic nose dive.
I’m happy to say that the quality is back.  Not only that, but their service department seems to going the extra mile.
We had a customer who’s rifle was damaged in an auto accident.  To include ejection from vehicle into river.  Lots of damage and broken forend.  Marlin fixed everything, good as new, and didn’t charge a dime.  That was above and beyond and impressed the hell out of me.
So Marlin gets full marks in their Centerfire Lever Actions again.

The Rimfires… Not so much.  In the last two days, we’ve replaced two firing pins in 39As. Both guns suffering misfires.  One came back from repair for that reason, and Marlin didn’t fix it… so we did.  Problem solved. 

Come on Marlin!

Marlin Update

Just a quick update on my Marlin 1895GBL, .45-70.  To recap, I bought one, and it was faulty.  The stock was loose and the action was locking up.  I only got a half a box of rounds through it before I had to send it in to Marlin for repair.
It came back from Marlin the other day, repaired and ready for action.  Some nice Freight Damage on the stock now.  Thanks a lot for that, Marlin.  I send you a new gun in and it comes back looking like an old used one.  That’s just SPIFFY, Marlin. Thanks for that, seriously.  THANK YOU.
The good news about it is that the gun function and the stock fits.  It’s now a functional firearm now.  Looks 10 years old, sure, but hey, at least it’s a gun now.  So to celebrate the return of the Guide Gun, I picked up a box of Remington 405 grain Jacketed Soft Points.  A nice heavy slug on a moderate load.  Recoil is mild.  It’s isn’t a kick, but a shove.  The muzzle blast is impressive, especially after dark.  To say it’s fun to shoot is like saying Bacon is Tasty.  No kidding!  One can easily fire multiple rounds in rapid succession, with accuracy.
But man, I love shooting this thing!  It’s a blast!  And the fact that it packs enough punch to knock down Bigfoot, it’s a bonus.
So, I have to give a thank you to the Evil One on WTA, my friend Jim Jones… He’s the one that talked me into getting this gun, and I am very happy he did.

Remington: Pulling a Boner.

Remington has cancelled production on dang near everything with a Marlin name tag. Specifically the lever action rifles. The Savage knock-off X7 rifles, I believe are still rolling out the door. We’ve had no problem getting those. Just Lever Actions, and the Rep told us that most of the orders we had were cancelled because they not in production. This doesn’t make me very happy. The problem Remington is having is that all the guys that used to know how to build a Marlin Lever Action are all now retired or laid off or working someplace else. This is just the tip of the iceberg that I’m seeing here. They buy Marlin pretty much to get into the lever action business… and then ruin it. Yet Remington is still cranking out the Savage Clones. To me, that makes no sense. If I was Remington, I’d kill the X7 line completely and concentrate on moving Remington’s own Bolt Action rifles. But Remington can do what it wants… that’s fine. But I also don’t get why Remington has moved the Sendero rifle to the Custom Shop, which has a completely different Dealer Program. What was one of the best production guns they made, and one of the most popular out here in my area of operation… they go and hamstring it.
I can’t get the Marlin Lever Actions to sell and now the Senderos are going to be difficult… Great. No, really… You guys concentrate on getting that ACR Contract and ignore the Hunters that have made Remington what it is. That’s a good plan. Worked great for Colt.
Here’s the deal… if you guys can’t sort out production of a gun made since the 1800’s… sell Marlin to someone who can actually build the things. Springfield would be great. Lifetime warranty, aggressive marketing, customer service like Marlin has never had before, and custom shop work that’s top notch. That would give Springfield some serious Hunting chops in the industry. I’d love to see Springfield own Marlin.
I can get worked up about Lever Actions… I love them. I have always loved them. And Marlin has always been a favorite brand. Most of the deer I’ve taken was with a .44 Mag Marlin 336… So it has a solid place in my heart. And we can’t even get any of the Marlin pistol calibers. I could have sold a hundred this summer… instead, I sold none. Can’t sell it if I can’t get it. Come on Remington!

Marlington

I think Marlin, and by that I mean Remington, needs to stop making the X7 centerfire bolt action rifles.  Marlin is a Lever Action Company… they need to stick to that.  They do fine Rimfires… which is fine.  Remington has nothing in that market.  But Remington making a Marlin branded Savage Knockoff?  Feh… Why? To get that 300 dollar rifle Market?  I thought they already had that with their 770.  Which is total crap, but hey.  It’s at least a Remington.

Now, there is really nothing wrong with the X7 rifles.  It is quite good for a cheap knock-around gun for those that have a hate for Savage and refuse to buy one… so now they can buy the Marlin option, which is a Savage knockoff crossed with a Vanguard if it got drunk with ambition and delusions.  Reportedly the X7’s shoot pretty good.  Especially their heavy barreled .308.  But why would Remington want make that, when they would rather be selling their own 700 SPS Tactical?  I don’t get why they feel the need to make a product that competes with their own product.   Remington needs to squelch that.

I still assert that Mossberg needs to GTFO of the Lever Action market too.