View Full Version : Where? : 'Vintage' sights for a Marlin 1895CB

The Flash
July 3, 2012, 02:25 PM
Hello. Here I'm trying to pool into the forum members' good deal of knowledge.

I own a Marlin 1895CB, 26" octagonal, chambered for 45-70 Govt.

Got delivery of it last year; then had to sit on it as the ammo available in town was not really up to the capabilities of the rifle (I do not want to initiate a debate or offend anyone's individual predilections, so I would not mention the ammo brand or its specs).

Since this is a very rare, actually a unique caliber in my neck of the global woods, ammo of this caliber comes in only by order or else once a year.

This weekend my order finally arrived. Now I have a supply of, IMHO, adequate rounds :
WINCHESTER Super X - CXP2 , 300gr. JHP; and
WINCHESTER Supreme , 300gr. Ballistic SilverTip,

I already own and treasure a Marlin 1894 Carbine, which loads .44 Remington Magnum rounds.
As years go by, it never ceases to amaze me how accurate this firearm is.

I have tested it up to 125 mts. with a bench support: all the shots were right on the money!!
Amazing for a revolver ammunition fired from a lever action carbine!!

If this new piece is half as accurate as its little sibling has been then this is some serious mass thrower.

Which brings me to the issue: I shoot my 1894 with its original iron sights. Given the intended use and actual capabilities of both bullet and firearm, it is adequate.

The 1895CB however, is a true long range fire weapon. The original design and history of the gun is associated to Buffalo hunting then later with a requirement from the US Army Cavalry for a long range platform.

The 45-70 GOVT ammo ballistic performance is also well documented. Expected drop on the WINCHESTER Silvertip at 300 yds is about 51. However at that distance the bullet is still transonic !!

As much as I will like to test the capabilities of this rifle (in as much as my own skill allows) and even being fully aware of the ballistic table predictions I cannot bear to even think of fitting a modern optical sight to this classic.

So I would ask of anyone who can provide information on long range sights that are compatible with this riffle.
In fact, if there is anyone out there manufacturing a correct era replica of the sights used back then when this gun was in its heyday that will be much appreciated

I cannot avoid thinking of the sights used by Tom Selleck in the movie "Quigley Down Under". Something of that sort will be very cool.

Thanks for any piece of info you can bring on the subject.

Safe shooting,

The Flash

July 3, 2012, 04:14 PM
Look up "tang sights". MidwayUSA and Brownells should have them.

Here's Midway's tang sight page: http://www.midwayusa.com/find?&sortby=1&itemsperpage=20&newcategorydimensionid=1060

July 3, 2012, 04:41 PM
A few points:
* For long range shooting, a loading that uses a heavier bullet will give you a better trajectory beyond 500 m, but there will be more recoil. Typical bullet weights for longer range shooting range between 400 and 550 grains (roughly 13 grams to 18 grams).

* Tang sights or vernier sights are available for a variety of firearms in a wide variety of styles, from very simple to somewhat complex. I usually recommend a middle of the road sight, adjustable for elevation but not windage and definitely no spirit level in either front or rear sights. Pedersoli, Chiappa, and Uberti make adequate vernier tang sights.

* The Marlin 1895CB was not even a glimmer in the eye of the Marlin Firearms Company nor the US military at the time the 45-70 was developed, nor at the time of the great buffalo hunts of the 1870s-1880s, nor even by the end of the 19th Century, and not even by the middle of the 20th Century. It is a modern rendition of a gun that never really existed, using an action that was developed in the 1950s. It is supposed to vaguely resemble the Marlin 1881 and marlin 1895, but it is in fact a totally new action.

July 4, 2012, 08:56 AM
The Marlin will not chamber the standard long range loads (500gr +) due excessive COAL. My 1895CB is a great shooter with 405gr cast bullets & a Skinner peep sight. My other Marlins have Marble peep sights on them which work very well. I usually only put five rounds in the tube when shooting my 1895CB, as it gets fairly muzzle heavy with a full magazine.

July 4, 2012, 09:16 AM
You would be well advised, if you set up a dual-range sighting rig by simply installing a tang peep sight (Marbles or Lyman) and switching the issue rear barrel iron sight out for a folding sight.

The barrel/open sights can be then zeroed at a relatively short range (say, 100yds), and the tang sight for a somewhat longer range (say, 300+yds).

In field use, the rifle is hunted with the barrel sights, tang sight folded down, in anticipation of a close/sudden chance shot.
If/when a opportunity for a longer range shot appears, there's usually ample time to fold the barrel sight & raise the tang sight for the shot.

While the use of the 300gr slugs will somewhat change it, the .45-70 still has a "rainbow" trajectory (especially beyond 100yds), which can make hitting game at undetermined range a real challenge.


The Flash
July 4, 2012, 09:59 PM
Gentlemen: Thanks for your insightful comments.

I wish you all a great Independence Day.

@Regolith: thank you so much for directing me where to look.

I went to MIDWAY's website as you suggested , but knowing now what to look for by name (thanks to you and the members which responded) I also went to CABELA's site and found what looks like a great tang sight made by Lyman specifically for the Marlin lever action rifle:


I did some WWW research on Lyman and their products are regarded as top quality. The price is less than US$90.00, most unusual against other sights of this kind.

Incidentally, your forum nickname is attention grabbing : are you involved in the field of geology perhaps???

@Scorch: Agree with your advice. Intend to start with a basic sight, elevation only no windage. I too believe in the KISS rule!!

I also took note of your recommendation concerning a higher mass projectile.

Unfortunately, it will be sometime before my local armory can get all the clearance for a new ammo order; it's the nature of the local regulations. Therefore I'll have to do with what I've got (the two types of WINCHESTER I mentioned) for a while.

Also found your summary on the "factoids" vs. real story on the 1895CB a true eye opener. I'm a bit disappointed to learn it is a "modern rendition of a gun that never really existed" (incidentally, great phrase you had to convey the concept).

Thanks anyway for bringing up the truth on this matter.


I read you and thank you on the experience bits about max loads and the increase in weight from loading the full tube.

For long range shooting I intend to use a bench rest or a tripod... and a very, very large private open flat field, so the extra weight might be actually welcome to settle the Marlin in its support and compensate involuntary motion.


Great tip on your experience with the field use of combined standard sights with a tang sight and switching back and forth between them depending on the occasion.

Although I honestly did not had the forethought to anticipate such strategy, I ended up following it as I'm very much settled on using the Lyman sight I refer to above which is perfect for your approach.

As for hitting game at very long ranges, it is very unlikely I will risk such shoots well until and if I ever master long shooting placement with the 1895CB.

Most likely I will explore the long range reach of this rifle and ammo combination with fixed practice targets.

Again thank you all very much for your kind and generous expertise sharing.

Have a great 4th of July and safe shooting!!

The Flash

July 4, 2012, 10:13 PM
Incidentally, your forum nickname is attention grabbing : are you involved in the field of geology perhaps???

I do amateur astronomy, actually. Regolith is used in astronomy to describe basically the same thing as it does in geology.

I did take Geology 201 in college, though. Fun class. Might have gone that route if I hadn't majored in computer science.

July 5, 2012, 12:06 AM
I have an 1895CB, love it , I use a Smith ladder sight. I also have Marbles tang sights on lesser Marlins and love the tang sight. I just don't want the rear that close to my eye with the light Marlin in .45-70. Might be OK with your factory loads but I usually shoot heavier (400+gr) at around 1800 and it does kick a bit. Also remember that Quiglys rifle was probably at least 5 pounds heavier than your Marlin so less recoil.
You also might look at a Malcom scope , they are reproductions of late 1800 type scopes, made in China but they are all steel with good glass. They're pretty nice but I decided I wanted a trimmer package.

Jim Watson
July 5, 2012, 12:50 AM
The sporting tang as shown in post 2 is a good hunting sight with long sight radius and the aperture effect. But it is not very precisely adjustable, best set to a single range you will be shooting at or a compromise range for hunting and left.

I don't know of anybody making the simple graduated sight but MVA has a slide adjustable vernier that is close in appearance.

Or you could go up a notch and get a midrange windgauge sight with lead screw elevation adjustment

A plain blade or bead is good for hunting but you might want a target front sight to work well with a rear peep. This is the simplest and lowest profile

Or you could compromise with the old style combination sight, although I don't see a great advantage in the type.

Of course there are other brands than MVA but they are an industry standard and make a wide variety of types and heights.

Or you could get a more modern receiver sight and simplify matters a good deal.
and its matching target globe

July 5, 2012, 09:05 AM
FWIW, I like the Lyman Tang sight better than the Marble's because it's less flimsy-looking (has a thicker stem), and is also less expensive (40% less) to purchase, since it lacks the click windage adjustment of the Marble's (which isn't really needed after zeroing).

BTW - The Lyman IS adjustable for windage, but as a "set 'n forget" process: the base can be shimmed (invisibly) under one side or the other to slightly tilt the peep R/L as needed for zeroing. (SOP)


Jim Watson
July 5, 2012, 09:58 AM
I wouldn't call shimming "adjustable" but it does work.
I had two thicknesses of ginger ale can under one side of a Marble's Flexible on my Highwall to correct the windage. I think the fault was in the sight base itself, when I went to true Soule target sights, I did not have to make a lot of windage adjustment for a calm air zero.