What kind of malfunctions are common with Marlin Lever guns?


June 10, 2003, 03:01 PM
And how do you clear them?

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June 10, 2003, 03:15 PM
Can only speak from my own experience, which is limited to a couple of Marlins: a 336 (.30-30) and an 1894S (.44 Mag).

Never had a problem that caused a jam on the 336, although short stroking could cause a misfeed. On the 1894, though, because of the shorter case, it's possible to get a misfeed that looks like a "stovepipe" jam in a semi-auto pistol. Never had a problem clearing it, though. Just opened the action fully to extract the rounds.

My lever-gun experience doesn't go much beyond that, but my general understanding is that one really needs to avoid short stroking the lever. Do that, and you should be fine.

June 10, 2003, 04:01 PM
Broken extractor tips are fairly common, esp. on the 45-70 models there is no easy work-around, other than replacing the extractor.

I'm not sure if this is caused by short-stroking or working the lever without dummy or live rounds or ? but I've seen it on several 45-70 sized rifles, and on a 336 after years of use.

Also, when you work the lever of your Marlin, WORK it, it should be a fast, fluid motion rather than a slow creeping one. That's true of any caliber.

June 10, 2003, 04:11 PM
Let me start by saying my Marlin 1894 is my absolute favorite gun. Super reliable, accurate, well made and just shoots so nice.

However, after about 3000 rounds, I had the lever lock wide open and only removing the lever and bolt would free it up. I soon learned what caused and, more importantly, how to fix the Dreaded Marlin Jam (http://www.marauder13.homestead.com/files/Marlin94Fix.html). Marlin sent me a new carrier no charge and after rounding over the lever's cam slightly, everything's fine.

June 10, 2003, 04:12 PM

June 10, 2003, 04:27 PM
Good link, larryw; thanks!

June 10, 2003, 04:58 PM
i've seen a couple just lock up in the open position at our cowboy matches....both were pistol calibers......i don't know beans about them but i think a smith dissassembled to fix them....DICK

June 10, 2003, 08:17 PM
well, foehammer, as soon as I have a malfunction, I'll tell you. I have been shooting my 336, and 1894 for many years, with zero malfunctions.

June 11, 2003, 02:07 AM
Thanks for the links and info.


Mannlicher: How much do you clean your levers? Do you do preventative maintenance? How many rounds?

I will be getting a lever action 357 soon. And plan to shoot it a lot. Goal will be to average around a box of shells a week. So looking at well over 2k rounds per year. Probably over 3k.

June 13, 2003, 10:40 AM
I followed the link on the "Dreaded Marlin Jam" and d/l'd the article.

Are all of the Marlin levers made this way? I have a model 30AW, and even after looking at the docs for it, can't tell if I should take apart and radius the lever cam.


June 13, 2003, 04:49 PM
On that same site there are instructions for a full takedown. You may want to take your gun apart and check the bottom of the carrier (the part at the very bottom of the receiver that lifts the round from the magazine up to the breech as the lever is stroked); is there a fine line running across the carrier arm about middle of the carrier, parallel to the pin? If so, call the nice folks at Marlin for a new carrier.

While you wait for the new one, you can use a file and lightly grind out the line. I did that and the gun functioned just fine. However, I don't know how long-lived this would be as I don't know if the carrier was heat-treated or had some other surface hardening process done.

I was talking about this to a friend who just bought a 336. He said the sharp edge of the cam on his lever had already been fixed so it didn't damage the carrier. Apparently, Marlin is fixing this problem in the new guns.

June 13, 2003, 07:37 PM
is cold flow of the lead bullet nose under spring compression if you store the rifle with rounds in the magazine tube.

I used to have a .357 Marlin (1894CS, I think) and stored it for a couple of months in my gun safe with a full load of cartridges in the tube. A couple of months later I worked the action to remove the action and had jams. Upon investigation I noted the tips of the bullets were slightly flattened (they started out as round-nose lead). The flattened edge tended to hang up during the chambering process and jam.

I worked with it for several months afterward, experimenting with flat nose bullets, hard cast round nose, and so on. Jacketed hollow points seemed to flow the least but still had a bit of a problem.

When I loaded fresh rounds at the range-no problem.

Maybe it was just my rifle or maybe it's just something others have experienced, I don't know. I also had a .30-30 that never experienced this problem; perhaps it had to do with the longer cartridge compared to the pistol-length. Dunno, but take my one data point FWIW. I still like the Marlins, though; great rifles.

June 13, 2003, 09:05 PM

I never store the rifle with rounds in the mag. I never shoot lead bullets, only JSP, and I clean the rifles every time I shoot. I do not over oil or grease them . I do not try to shoot 250 rounds per min.

I do not shoot the lever guns as much as I do the Military types. My old 30/30 has probably not fired over 500 rounds, and I don't think I have put that many through the Rossi .357 carbine. The Marlin 1894S has quite a few rounds through it, from my notes, a little better than 1500 rounds.

I suppose I could force some malfunctions, but the way I shoot these rifles, I may well never have a failure.

Brian Williams
June 13, 2003, 10:18 PM
I have a new 2002 1894 which I just detail stripped and found the dreaded line on the bottom of the carrier. I don't think Marlin is fixing this "problem". I did take a file and a stone to the cam and relieve the sharp edge into a nice radius. I also smoothed over the line on the bottom of the carrier. I have not had a chance to fire it since. I also did a slight tune up which is also one the same site as the "dreaded marlin jam fix". While I did the smothing operations I did not do any of the spring cuts, but I did bend the trigger spring a little. It does function a whole lot better. Enjoy

June 14, 2003, 02:36 AM
I have a Marlin 30-30. No problems in over 10yrs.

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