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Old June 13, 2018, 04:46 PM   #1
DPris
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Marlin Levers

Got word today, for those interested, that the Marlin Recovery Program continues.

A very sizable chunk of money approved internally to buy machinery & address processes to de-sharp the Marlin levers.

This will take several months, don't expect major changes immediately, but it's a very strong indication that Marlin IS making serious efforts to restore quality.

There's a new emphasis on "better" instead of "cheaper" in Remington and Marlin.
Getting out from under Cerberus is making a difference.
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Old June 13, 2018, 06:32 PM   #2
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Where’s that “drooling” emoji when you need it?
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Old June 13, 2018, 06:51 PM   #3
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@Denis. It's always appreciated when you can share your insider information about the shooting sports and products.

Since we're talking about Marlin's revival here: When you spoke with Marlin, did they give any indications about the re-introduction of the .444 or the model 39?
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Old June 13, 2018, 08:24 PM   #4
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The .444 was mentioned a while back, but nothing recently.
The .357s were taking up most of the re-intro time & efforts at Marlin.

The 39 has been discussed, but IF it's greenlit, it'd be a 2-year program.
Nothing currently in the works.
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Old June 13, 2018, 08:40 PM   #5
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I would think the 444 demand would be meet in the used market, while the 39A is rising in price beyond any reasonable value of that gun. Having noted that, I would rather see a return to quality on the 94 and 95 before adding more product. A return of the 39 would be nice. A return of single shot priced for middle class budget, would also be nice. I do not remotely expect that, just my 4c.

I am no marketing genius, I think the product line could be simplified to blue & walnut and stainless & synthetic. I dont see the point in heavy laminated stocks. I hope the porting is a thing of the past. No serous huner with 1/2 a brain is going to want a gun like that. More than one gun purchased and immediately sold after one shooting. It is brutal and cannot be removed like a screw on brake. Heck just thread the stainless gun, there is no classic appeal in those.

I am surprised the 357 would take any time at all. It is not very encouraging to hear that is some kind of "project". Those would sell. Sharp edges and all, what ever that means.
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Old June 13, 2018, 08:57 PM   #6
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I, for one, appreciate that they are trying to make sure th .357s are 1st quality when they release them rather that slapping them together and shipping them out. That would be a sure fire way to kill interest and the entire lever action program.

My $.02. YMMV
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Old June 13, 2018, 09:23 PM   #7
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Bringing back the .357s in four different versions was not as quick or easy as you might think.
It required engineering, and that required engineers, among other things.
Resources were allocated here & there, and the .357 was not the only thing going on.

Different picture, without Cerberus.
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Old June 13, 2018, 09:37 PM   #8
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I'm glad to hear the good news.


Thanks for sharing it with us. Really hope things work out well for Marlin.
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Old June 13, 2018, 09:54 PM   #9
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The Model 444** is a carrot on a stick.
It's just there to keep people coming in to gun stores, looking to see if there's a new 444 in the rack, and then getting distracted by the latest version of the 336, 1895, or 1894...


There is no hope.


**
The Model 444, last Marlington said anything about it, was actually referred to as an "1895 Model 444", with an accompanying photo that showed .45-70-sized (1895) loading and ejection ports.
For me, that begs a question that will follow a very brief history lesson:

The 336 is the base for the 444 receiver.
The 444 receiver is the base for the 1895 receiver.
The 444 receiver is the base for the .450 Marlin and .338 MX models. (NOT the 1895 [because the 1895 is weaker], even though the .450 was called an '1895'.)

Now, the 1895 is the base for the Model 444.

So, is it its own daddy?...
There's some serious inbreeding going on...
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Last edited by FrankenMauser; June 13, 2018 at 09:59 PM.
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Old June 13, 2018, 10:35 PM   #10
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Buying new machinery may help, but it won't replace the people they lost who knew how to make those levers.
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Old June 14, 2018, 05:08 PM   #11
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Don't have much use for 357 lever for myself. I suppose asking for this is a bit much:
A 444 Sporting Carbine Take / Down model having a non-ported round barrel. Something of that sort sure would be up my alley. What a dandy Black Powder burning 100 yrd brush buster that would be.
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Old June 14, 2018, 07:55 PM   #12
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With all of the uncertainty going on under the bankruptcy proceedings & projected company sales, nobody knows where Remington & Marlin will be positioned, or how many of the umbrella companies might be spun off.

IF Marlin continues on where they are now, there are genuine attempts being made inside the company to restore previous quality levels.

The upper management AND the owners who were responsible for the Marlin Move Debacle are gone.
Different people running the show.

You're not going to see a 100% turnaround in QC overnight.
Slowly, quality's coming back.
There are people inside the company fighting for it, and there are still some people who either don't see a problem or don't care.

It's an uphill battle for those who do care, but at least there's more interest and more support at upper levels now.

There has been talk of quite an expansion of Marlin models & calibers, but again- not happening this week & not next.

And I'll say once again that quality was declining at the old plant, with the old workers, using the old equipment, BEFORE Remington bought the company, so "The Good Old Days" were winding down even then.
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Old June 14, 2018, 09:43 PM   #13
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As you know, DPris, I agree with the quality decline before Remington came into the picture.
Remington truly screwed the pooch with their early production and is still putting out rifles with flaws.

But Marlin kicked plenty of crap out the door, too.
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Old June 14, 2018, 09:51 PM   #14
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10-4, Rubber Duck!
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:30 PM   #15
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The rifles they have been producing the last few years are fine. The new attitude is encouraging that the things will get better.

Finally someone admits that quality suffered before Remington and Marlin has had spats of quality issues for decades and I have owned a few of them. An unpopular fact on some forums. In fact, Marlin quality was always a bit sketchy. But these were never high end rifles are are not now any more so. But they should be good, working rifles and it sounds like Marlin is on a come back.
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:39 PM   #16
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Denis, since you've had a new 1894cs for a little over a month can you share any further opinions on it?
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Old June 14, 2018, 10:49 PM   #17
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Unfortunately not.
Three surgeries in the past 9 months, two of those in the past two months.
Each one takes another chunk, and I don't bounce back like I used to at 19.

Short story long- I was just able to shoot again two days ago for the first time in 6 weeks, and I have not been able to get to the Marlin.

Still trying to work around to it, the Savage Scout, and the Winoku '73.
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Old June 14, 2018, 11:50 PM   #18
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Can anyone bring me up to date on the .357 mentioned? I'm in the market for one like the 1894C, but was turned off by articles like this one: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/201...4c-357-magnum/

I realize a lot has happened since then, but it's not clear to me whether it's a safe buy now or I should wait.
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Old June 14, 2018, 11:52 PM   #19
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The new .357 here, short of actually shooting it, is good to go.
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Old June 15, 2018, 01:46 AM   #20
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Well, as negative as I've been on Marlin and Remington especially the past several years, I'm pleased to hear this. That doesn't mean I'm going to be buying a Marlin anytime soon... or ever. The only lever action I want right now is one that can shoot "Ruger Only" .45 Colt or .454 Casull that can also run .45 Colt and I doubt Marlin is going to be offering one of those soon.

IMO, Marlin is going to be the next H&R within 15 years.
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Old June 15, 2018, 05:36 AM   #21
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Quote:
Can anyone bring me up to date on the .357 mentioned? I'm in the market for one like the 1894C, but was turned off by articles like this one:
That article is seven years old, and dates to the dark ages of Remlin/Marlington. Wipe the slate clean, and start over.

Quote:
IMO, Marlin is going to be the next H&R within 15 years.
Funny story: Marlin was OWNED by H&R prior to Remington....

Wait... That's not so funny.
Um...


(Don't worry about it.)
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Old June 15, 2018, 06:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Water-Man View Post
Buying new machinery may help, but it won't replace the people they lost who knew how to make those levers.
That's assuming that no one else could ever learn how to make those levers. Were the New Haven staff born knowing how to do it? If not, I'm sure New Yorkers can learn it too.
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Old June 15, 2018, 06:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser View Post
As you know, DPris, I agree with the quality decline before Remington came into the picture.
Remington truly screwed the pooch with their early production and is still putting out rifles with flaws.

But Marlin kicked plenty of crap out the door, too.
Hear, hear! I'm glad to have much more accomplished folks who also agree with my opinion of the last JM Marlins.

I had an 1894PG circa 2006 or so. The barrel was torqued such that the sights required either the front blade or the rear to be drifted way to the side of their travel. The magazine tube didn't line up with the barrel. And I'm sure a couple of other oddities I don't remember. But I must've put 6000+ rounds though it anyway.

I currently have a very late JM stamped 336BL. It's pretty, with no major function or cosmetic issues. You have to really look close to decide if the two rear scope mounting holes are straight or not. (They might be out of alignment.) The front holes look matched and I "installed" an XS scout rail successfully. But the bore looks like it was cut with a cutter experiencing a hypothermic level of chatter. And I wrapped some nylon cord around the lever loop to save my fingers from cuts. It's still a good shooter and I can't imagine a rifle more perfectly suited to my local deer woods.

This good news coming out makes me hopeful for the future of Marlin though!

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Old June 15, 2018, 12:57 PM   #24
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The thing that's hard to understand for many is that Remington had to basically build a new company when they bought Marlin.

They bought the name & the branding rights.
They did not buy a workable factory, and they did not acquire a workable workforce.

The old equipment was shot & the workers who knew how to baby-sit that old equipment ONLY knew how to operate that old equipment.

Those aging processes were not efficient, and while many speak reverently about the JMs, QC WAS going downhill.

I got a .44 Mag JM with a busted stock & a stripped fore-end screw from them toward the end, and I got a .410 model in that just wasn't good enough to keep.

I saw the decline.
I have JM marlins going back several years & it was obvious.

Remington could have offered to take the old workers along to Ilion, but considering that new equipment was going to have to be acquired, those workers who were qualified to nurse the old equipment along would have to be re-trained on the new stuff (actual modern equipment much more efficient), it made just as much sense to hire locally in Ilion & train them.

You would have ended up with essentially a "new" work force either way, with a new learning curve.
Continuing to try to manufacture on long outdated, obsolete, and worn out machinery, where the previous owners had not put money into capital improvements for quite some time, would have been foolish.

So, instead of integrating a new product into an existing manufacturing structure, Remington had to reverse-build a manufacturing structure around the "new" product line.

With no workable plant, no trained workers, and no fabrication drawings to work with, it was basically a matter of building a new company from the ground up.

That meant buying new machinery, developing engineering drawings for each model (that the old Marlin plant didn't have), developing new processes, and training new workers on that machinery & those processes.

All of that took time.

Yes- they "underestimated the complexity" of the move & start-up, which they are very much aware of.

Yes- they were in too much of a hurry to get product out the door, before QC could be maintained. But those in charge then are long gone, and people who do care are now doing their best to bring quality back up.

Yes- there are still issues. But those are being worked on.

In the case of the .357, that was suspended what, three years ago?
They knew what they were putting out wasn't cutting it, and they put the model on hold while they refined processes on it sufficiently to re-introduce it in FOUR different versions.

That took so long because other projects were in the works at the same time, and qualified gun engineers don't grow on every bush along the street.
Those engineers had to be used where they were considered the most urgently needed, and the four .357s soaked up time & talent in development.

As far as the levers under discussion go, this isn't a simple matter of "They had a guy could do those edges at the old plant, why can't they have a guy can do 'em at the new plant?"

Where production time equals money spent in production costs, the process is streamlined as much as possible, for a smooth and EFFICIENT flow.
Process are developed around the time & equipment need to produce each gun component.

The lever, for instance, is not hammered out of a billet of steel by one worker, and finished from start to end, including rounding off the sharp edges.
It can't be, too time-intensive & too inefficient.

The lever's formed completely by machinery, and as it stands now, the production process & equipment leaves those edges sharp.
The lever does get a degree of final finish in terms of either a light polish & then a blue or stainless "finish", but the process still leaves those edges.

And they are NOT gonna hire one lone worker to sit over in a corner doing nothing but filing & stoning those sharps off each lever.

So, after much nagging by a product manager who gives a damn, the go-ahead was given to allocate $100,000 for new machinery & processes to manufacture that lever in such a manner that those levers come out of the integrated production program WITHOUT skin-scraping edges.

I don't know how the old plant did it, that's irrelevant, since it WAS the old plant.
The old plant could not be saved; whether at that location or any other location, new machinery was needed, and the determination was made that if Remington was going to have to re-build Marlin from the ground up anyway, might as well be at home, in a modern building, right at hand.

In a manufacturing context, even simple little things like these levers (not just on the .357s) takes somebody to see the problem, determine a solution to the problem, persuade upper management that it IS a problem, get approval to run with the solution, get upper management to fund the solution, buy the equipment to address the problem, pull an engineer away from something else he's working on to develop a modified process with the new equipment, get the new equipment installed & functional, and get the appropriate people trained on the new equipment & process.

That does not happen in a week, a month, or sometimes even a year.
Compounded by the "Let's cut costs wherever we can" mentality under Cerberus, the whole Marlin rebuild has been handicapped from the start.

Now it looks like attitudes are changing where they need to change, money is a little looser, key people are getting on board with "better" instead of "cheaper", and we're seeing a slow, but notable, rise in QC.

Barring some disaster in the bankruptcy/sale situation, I'm hopeful Marlin can make a complete comeback.
Getting Cerberus out was a huge step forward.
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Old June 15, 2018, 03:51 PM   #25
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I'll believe it when I see it. That said, IF they do get their stuff together, I'll be next in line for one of those threaded .357s. 'N if they don't, there's always Henry.
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