new Marlins still ok?


November 30, 2006, 08:51 AM
Went to Big Five looking at the lever .44's. One had a wire tie on the lever. I cut it off and it would cycle about 30% of the time. Sometimes after rotating and shaking the rifle, it would cycle stiffly. Something sounded loose inside.

Should I look for an older one on the auctions?

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November 30, 2006, 08:56 AM
Sounds like someone might be passing of used as new maybe?
Or just flat broken? The larger stores don't usually check merchandise before putting it out for sale like a smaller store might.

I just bought an 1895GS in 45-70 and it functions flawlessly and I'm very pleased with the rifle and quality of build for the price.

Ranger J
November 30, 2006, 10:07 AM
When I recently purchased my Marlin 1895 45/70 I took along two dummy (no primer or powder) and ask if I could cycle them through the gun. Both the 300G HP and the 400G SP cycled perfectly so I got the gun. If they won’t let you do this or rounds won’t cycle look elsewhere. The vast majority of Marlins are good guns.

November 30, 2006, 12:29 PM
Sounds like somebody in Marlin's QC department was having a sip of coffee when that one went down the line. :D :D

If it is a new one, that is very rare for a Marlin right out of the box to have an issue like that. Could be a used rifle disguised as new.

November 30, 2006, 12:41 PM
Bought my 1895G last summer, everything's peachy with it, new ones are good as ever.

November 30, 2006, 01:02 PM
The problem is Big 5. I had quite the fiasco about a year ago with them. The first was a Winchester 94 .357 that had crookedly drilled scope mount holes. I exchanged it for a Marlin .357. Got the Marlin home and discovered that it would not cycle any ammo properly without a vigorous shaking of the rifle. The rounds would always tilt up at the rear as they went into the chamber and jam the action. Guess what. I returned that Marlin too. I then asked to try the other Marlin they had on the shelf and I opened the action. Well, by now I wasnt surprised by the fact that niether I, nor the flunky behind the counter could actually close the lever. It was totally stuck in the open position.

Do yourself a favor and spend the extra $$ for a Marlin from a decent seller. Even Wal-Mart is a better place to buy rifles. I for one will never buy another gun from Big 5.

November 30, 2006, 04:17 PM
I bought one (357 1894) a couple of months ago and have had no problems.

November 30, 2006, 05:13 PM
I bought one (357 1894) a couple of months ago and have had no problems.

Same here.

November 30, 2006, 05:19 PM
I have a newer 39 .22 and a new 1894 in .357 and both are perfect. They cycle anything, are very smooth, tight, good wood, nice blueing. I have no complaints with either. Sounds like that gun was either a lemon, old or broken from demoing somehow.


High Planes Drifter
November 30, 2006, 08:15 PM
I really dont think its as much a quality control problem on behalf of Marlin as it is Big 5 trying to rip someone off.:scrutiny:

December 1, 2006, 02:28 AM
So, I'm a little confused here.

For those alleging that Big 5 is selling faulty Marlins (and perhaps guns from other makers), are you suggesting that:

1) Marlin and other makers are deliberately distributing their rejects to Big 5?


2) Big 5 (or some of their employees) are deliberately damaging decent rifles in an effort to hurt their customers?

What would either have to gain by this?

Why would faulty guns even get off past Marlin's QC, all of which wind up at Big 5 (faultly lot?), or if they were known to be faulty, why would Marlin sell them to Big 5?

Or if Big 5 gets good guns from Marlin, what would they gain by screwing up those good guns?

Something just doesn't add up in this for me.

High Planes Drifter
December 1, 2006, 10:13 AM
Its possible damaged-in-shipment guns are not being refused by Big 5 and simply being put on the shelves. I own a repair/sales store; I can tell you that when merchandise arrives to me damaged, it is a pain in the arse to sort things out. The shipper blames it on the sender saying it wasnt packed properly, the sender(in this case Marlin) blames it on the shipper, and the retailer(in this case Big 5) still has to pay the sender for the merchandise if they didnt refuse it right when it got there. If the reciever signed off on the shipment without inspecting it thoroughly, as often happens with extremely large shipments, then the stockers find a rifle that was damaged, it is going to be hard for Big 5 to get the frieght company or Marlin to make it right. they've already accepted the shipment. What does Big 5 do? The easiest thing to do. Try to repair it themselves to make it sellable, then let the customer take it up with Marlin after the sale.

December 1, 2006, 10:56 AM
There could be something about the way BIG 5 is handling or storing their product.

I can picture a pallet load of marlins getting dumped off the top shelf at the dist. center and then the guns going out to the retail outlets with no inspection. An $8/hr lift operator might not want to rat on himself? And even if he does, the warehouse supervisor may opt to ship the product anyway if everything appears to be o.k.

In transit damage is often revealed by damage to the packaging......but if the gun is bought off of the display might not see the packaging. (I bought a case the same day I made my last purchase and took the gun home in the case.)

And if you do take it home in the box, that's not necessarily the box the gun shipped in, especially if there were two or more similar models on display.

I'm not a gun expert by any standard....but I do design industrial packaging for a living and I've been stunned (strong word intentionally chosen) at how bare bones, absolute rock bottom the packaging is on the long guns I've seen NIB. Hot wire cut, expanded poly-styrene foam (EPS), of a lower grade than even the cheapest disposable beer cooler, and a single wall corrugated box made from really crappy recycled material (without a cert. stamp....most likely imported in mass from the third world).

Were talking about $700 rifles shipping accross the continent (ocean?) in a package that cost less than $2.

Price pressure to compete with imports is driving U.S. manufacturers to cut every penny of cost possible.

We've (the company I work for that is) quoted, on several occassions now, the hand gun cases with foam inserts for a U.S. manufacturer with a reputation for the highest quality. It's a big chunk of business, so we go after it very aggresively with reduced margins. Never got the job yet. Next years contract is up for bid again, and I was quite surprised to see that have switched to a lower grade of foam and resorted to some tricks to get buy with a decreased volume of foam. This will cut all of about $0.15 out of the price, but that's what they want.

Part of any manufacturers quality program should be packaging. Product that rolls of the assembly line immaculate, should IMO be in the same condition when the customer opens the box in their home.

As American manufactures scramble to keep their doors open....they've been presented with a lot of pressure to "cost down". But part of the "Wal-Mart culture" is the idea that you can return anything at anytime for any reason. If you want to play, those are the rules!

Here's a little story that illustrates how this affects the products you and I buy today. About three years ago I was speaking with the PRESIDENT of a profitable American manufacturing company (not a maker of firearms, so please don't ask who) about quality problems they were having and some ideas to improve their process. He made this statement.....which I quote verbatim (it made such an impression on me, I'll always remember it).


Three years later, this company is doing very, very well.

They can be proud of the money their making.....but not of the product their producing. Sadly, I think it's us, the consumers that have set the stage for this kind of mentality.

December 1, 2006, 02:18 PM
Big 5 has special versions of the 1894, AFAIK. They have uncheckered stained hardwood stocks and I think somewhat rougher finish. These are not listed on the Marlin website, which only shows checkered walnut and polished blue or stainless.

It is possible that the particular gun you have has a loose or broken internal part or screw; that can happen with any gun. It can "happen to the best of them."

Marlins in general are excellent, even the 336W, which rated a Best Buy vs. a Winchester 94 Ranger, which rated a Don't Buy in Gun Tests, soon before the demise of Winchester's American plant. Older Winchesters are definitely better, especially the "working gun" versions. Marlins, though, tend to be fine, new or old. The newer ones have nicer wood, generally.

However, know that a Big 5 Marlin 1894 is a special cheapened version and may not be worth saving a few bucks over the listed walnut and polished gun.

December 1, 2006, 09:02 PM
I have a 1894 in 357 that I sent back because it would not cycle more than a few 38's without jamming the action open. After I got it back it is still a little rough with some 38's but not nearly as bad. No problems with 357.

December 1, 2006, 09:47 PM
My Big 5 1894 in 357 worked great with all the 357's I tried. Didn't like 38 swc's though.

The wood isn't walnut and lacks checkering as mentioned. It was only $350 out the door. My older Marlins and newer Guide Gun have much nicer wood. Still it's a fun little carbine that your wife and kids will shoot all your ammo up with...

December 2, 2006, 12:53 AM
i noticed the marlin 1894s at big 5 were lacking chekering too i was unsure what to think of it. just buy from a different company and you will be fine

December 2, 2006, 01:02 AM
I don't think the buyer can ever conclusively place blame on the retailer, distributor, manufacturer or shipper. You are guessing at best. Some good points have been made here.

Product history and track record can lean you for/against the manufacturer blame-wise, but even that isn't absolute. As has been stated, "happens with the best of them"... and in fact did with me once with a NIB gun. Said gun was returned and manufacturer made it right, for the record.

December 3, 2006, 03:34 PM
I purchased an 1894C yesterday from Cabela's, and put 100 rds. of .38 LRN and .357 LSWC through it today and it ran flawlessly. It has a nicely checkered walnut stock, and fit and finish are nice. SSN VET is right, the box it came in was corregated cardboard with no styrofoam protecting the rifle. I could see how something could get quite banged up if handled improperly. Hopefully, that was a one-off situation.

December 4, 2006, 01:48 AM
About three months ago I bought an1894C from a local Big5 having one of their great sales - it was $335. I've only fired about 50 rounds through it, but it seems to work fine.

My brother went down the next day to buy one, and aparently I bought the last one, so they gave him a rain check. It took 8 weeks for the gun to come in, I went down with him to pick it up, and the lever would not cycle properly. I personally took it brand new out of a sealed box, not off the rack. They acknowledged it didn't work, took it back and ordered him another one (haven't heard from them yet).

I won't venture to guess whether its Big5 or Marlin, just sharing my experience.

December 4, 2006, 02:13 AM
1. I will buy at least one Marlin.
(1st, a 336. After that, who knows?)

2. I may buy used so that I can examine it before buying.
(No locks on the action (as in "the big stores"),
no styrofoam-less boxes, no boxes.)

3. If I buy a new one, it won't be from Big 5.

(M-R, good to hear from you.
I think I owe you a PM.
Hope that LTR is working out well for you.)


December 4, 2006, 09:59 AM
Only one Marlin? :confused: :eek: :p

Good luck wiht that one. ;) 336 in 30-30 & 35 Rem are good all around rifles. Way more accurate than the should be (mine outshoots most of my bolts).

In the field they excel. Easy to carry, quick to put on target and shoot. Most of the guys I know that hunt with levers also shoot em a lot so they are proficiant and typically make better shots on game in my experience (limited sample). Better shots = ethical harvesting.

Be very careful if you decide to go to a big bore lever. I picked up two 1895's in 45-70 this year and I'm considering a deal with another guy for another... Very addictive...

Of course EVERYONE NEEDS at least one model 39.... and the 1894's in 357, 44 & 45 colt are important if one is to truely be "equiped." ;)

December 4, 2006, 11:28 AM
I have 3 new-ish Marlins, 336 in 30-30, 1894's in .357 and .44. If I get another, it'll be a duplicate of one of the above. Funny how Marlin lever rifles are so superior to any of Marlin's other offerings.

High Planes Drifter
December 4, 2006, 07:48 PM
quote:If I get another, it'll be a duplicate of one of the above. Funny how Marlin lever rifles are so superior to any of Marlin's other offerings.

Marlin levers are as durable as cast iron skillets. They're superior to many guns, not just other Marlins;)

December 4, 2006, 09:32 PM
Low quality guns are very common at the BIG BOX stores. It's all about time and money. The store places an order for X amount of a certain gun to be delivered on a cetain date, if the order is late the manufacture gets charged a penalty for not completing the order on time.

In order to make this deadline the manufacture ships any gun that is SAFE and will not cause injury, in a bolt or single shot it means it passes the GO-NO GO gauge and the saftey works. If the gun won't fire period it's still safe and can't injury anyone. In a lever gun if the lever doesn't cycle the gun can't be loaded so there for it's safe. Working or not the gun still counts towards their quota.

It's cheaper for the manufacture to do the repairs on the guns that are sent back than take the penalty for late or partial shipment. It may sound like a ad way to do business but it's they way things work so you can blame who ever you want.

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