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Old January 1, 2013, 01:55 PM   #1
bfskinnerpunk
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new Marlin levers - what's wrong?

I've decided to get a Marlin 336 in 30-30 and/or an 1894 in 357mag.... both for hunting & self defense (all without looking evil!)

So I'm reading disparaging remarks about the newer Remington x Marlin breed of 336s and 1894s.

My understanding is that the finish isn't quite as nice, but are there any problem issues related to the actual operation of these rifles?

I just handled a Marlin 336 at Wal Mart and it felt great in the hands.... but I just posted a "wanted" ad in our local online gun trader, too, for an older Marlin.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Goes farther than the finish.
Wood to metal fit has been poor, I've seen large gaps filled in by what looked like bubblegum, and I've seen one that had a stock so loose it actually wobbled on a brand new gun.
Front sights have been canted, poorly cut front dovetails. Sloppy machining. Gritty actions. Reports of feeding failures.

I emphasize THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN ALL OF THEM.
There are acceptable examples out there, just make sure you check one out in person before laying down money.

Remington has put quite a bit of effort & money into upgrading the Marlin production process, and hopefully QC will become more consistent.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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I have a brand new marlin 1894C in .357mag, bought it 6 months ago, ive shot 2000+ rounds with it and never had any problems. I think there have been some problems with the quality shortly after remington took over, some guns where total crap and this almost ruined marlins reputation completely, but now they are absolutely ok. Go buy one.
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Old January 1, 2013, 03:23 PM   #4
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They shut down the Marlin factory and moved production into the Remington factory. Mostly new inexperienced workers building rifles at first made for some real horror stories. To their credit they temproarily stopped production until they could fix QC issues.

To my knowledge they are back in production and supposedly have better quality right now. The new production guns are using cheaper wood and a more matte finish on the metal compared to the older versions, but this should not effect function.

Given an option I'd still rather find an older production rifle. I still like the features on the 1970's and 1980's rifles better than any. Even the older versions.
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Old January 1, 2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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I work part time in a gun store. We have gotten new Marlins in over the past few months. We've gotten a 336w, 336c, 1894ss 44 mag, 1894 blue 44mag, 1895 guidegun, and 1895 blue 45/70. All of them were in fine condition. no large gaps in the wood to metal finish, blueing looked fine. I saw no glaring defects in any of the rifles. Maybe they have gotten their sh*t together. I still wouldn't pass up a like new used JM Marlin but I wouldn't hesitate to buy a new "Remlin" if I wanted one. One thing is that they are NOT shy on their pricing. I would want to see what I was buying and wouldn't order one sight unseen as I'm sure there are probably some stinkers still out there. Good luck
in your search
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Old January 1, 2013, 04:06 PM   #6
DPris
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Two months ago my gunsmith showed me two buttstocks he'd gotten in to replace a bad one on a customer's Marlin.
Both replacements were equally bad.
Last week my bro-in-law looked at two different stores for a new 336. Couldn't find one he thought acceptable. He's still looking.

Make no assumptions & CHECK ONE OUT BEFORE BUYING IT.

As I said- they're not ALL bad, but...
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Old January 1, 2013, 04:21 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, a few years ago I bought my first lever action; an 1894SS in .44 Magnum. No matter how clean I kept it or how hard I racked the lever, it was a hopeless jammer, and that was with factory ammo. Bitterly disappointed, I sold it off.
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Old January 1, 2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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They do occasionally develop the Marlin Jam Syndrome, but it's usually fixable. Usually only in the handgun calibers.
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Old January 2, 2013, 11:05 AM   #9
Don P
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In my opinion the main problem is that Marlin was gobbled up by Freedom Group. Seems when they were purchased just like Remington QC went by the way side from my experience with a Marlin 795
The web site, www.freedom-group.com
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Old January 2, 2013, 12:42 PM   #10
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Thanks, Denis. I did send it back to Marlin for repair, but upon getting it back from them, no good...same problem as before.
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Old January 2, 2013, 01:12 PM   #11
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Go to a Marlin forum, seems they have gotten their s^&t together though and are turning out good guns. About 15 years ago I went thru 3 New 444's before I found one that was not cracked in the inleting for the butt stock! They weren't cracked all the way but that bad boy sure would have liked to finish the cracks. Point here is all gun manufacturers have had thier good and bad times, for Marlin to fail due to alot of unfair finger pointing would hurt alot of gun enthusiests. Marlin is our last true connection (if only partially) to our old west heratige as far as lever guns are concerned.
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Old January 2, 2013, 01:23 PM   #12
DPris
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Don,
QC was going downhill the last year before Remington really took over.

SS,
Sending it to Marlin probably wasn't the best idea.
A known intermittent issue for years, if it's the same Marlin Jam. I've seen a Marlin actually disassembled at a CAS match to de-jam a stuck round.

It sometimes happened early in a newish gun, sometimes later with wear.
Depending on the timeframe, Marlin ignored it for a long time & then finally addressed it to a degree.

One of my wife's two .32-20s was doing it, we got a slightly re-designed part from Marlin that helped. That was about 8 or 9 years ago.

Gunsmiths familiar with them have done their own cures, you can Google to find them, I'd imagine.
Brockman in Idaho has worked on two of mine, part of that was to address the "problem" before (or in case) it ever developed.

My .44 has no cycling issues at all. It was bought for large animal defense & it HAS to work. Had a local guy go through the .357 years ago, no issues. None yet with a .45 Colt Marlin, but I'll probably ship it off for a going through just to be sure.

I'm not suggesting anybody avoid Marlins entirely, my .44 & the .45-70 are guns I'm betting my life on. They're not range toys & I do like Marlin leverguns.
Denis

Guv,
You posted while I was typing.
IF Marlin fails, it'll be totally because of the product quality, NOT because of any "unfair finger pointing", and the public is not obligated to buy poorly built products just to keep an historical name afloat.
As I've repeatedly said- just inspect carefully before taking one home.
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Old January 2, 2013, 01:37 PM   #13
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DPris: Would you say that the new Marlins coming out are better now, with less chance of the aforementioned jamming issues cropping up? I really want a Ruger GSR, but after seeing the price difference between .30-30 and .308 ammo, I'm considering giving Marlin another look. I suppose I could invest in some dummy .30-30 rounds and cycle them through any Marlin prospects I find.
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Old January 2, 2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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I've passed on my best info.
Some are finding acceptable samples, others are not.

The guns I saw on display at SHOT last Jan were mixed, some better than others. Daylight showing between wood & receiver, etc.

The examples I mentioned above in earlier posts were more recent.

I frankly don't know if there's an across-the-board improvement or not.
I like Marlins, they're much easier to clean than a Winchester, and when you get a good one that's well-built & reliable it'll be a great levergun.

I'd heard that the intermittent Marlin Jam issue was being resolved just before Remington moved the operation, but the only Marlin I've had here after the move was a .357 a couple years back that was just too bad to even bother firing, it was returned. No comparison between it & my older .357.

I can't say from personal experience on any Marlin made after the move.
After that .357 it's been a matter of waiting to give Remington sufficient time to implement the equipment & training upgrades they were going through before I tried a new one again.

The Remington exec I talked to said it was a multi-million dollar factory upgrade in three phases scheduled to be finished by now.

My best opinion is the one I keep giving: Don't give up, just inspect carefully.
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Old January 2, 2013, 02:09 PM   #15
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My point is bad news spreads like wild fire, good news not so much. Look on a Dodge Ram forum, you'd think every new Ram with a HEMI was a time bomb fixing to blow, things tend to get exagerated...... sometimes.
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Old January 2, 2013, 04:09 PM   #16
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I just purchased a Marlin model 94 44mag.(REM)
I use a Lee factory crimp die reloading for all my 94's
Really helps.
Good fit and finish and feeds swc's without a hitch.
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Old January 2, 2013, 07:28 PM   #17
Single Six
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Okay, Denis, I confess I hadn't read all of this thread. Thanks much.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:01 PM   #18
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See how you are?
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:49 PM   #19
Single Six
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Yep.....apparently, I'm LAZY!
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Old January 3, 2013, 12:46 AM   #20
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Naw, just energy challenged.
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