Marlin 1894 44mag Or Puma 92 44mag?


July 8, 2008, 04:42 PM
I'm trying to decide on a lever action rifle in 44mag. The two I'm looking at are the Marlin 1894 20" in 44mag or Puma 92 16" or 20" also in 44mag.
I believe the 20" Marlin holds 10+1 and the Puma holds 8 or 9+1 depending on bbl length.
I also see the twist rates are different. I'd like a gun that will shoot some heavier 44mags, but that's not a deal breaker. Also would like a gun that will also run 44 specials.
I've handled both in stores, thought the Marlin appeared to have better fit and finish, but they wouldn't allow the actions to be worked for comparison:confused:
Both were very pricey IMO at around $530 NIB.
Thanks for any info and/or advice in advance.

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July 8, 2008, 05:03 PM
I vote for the Marlin 1894 platform in Stainless. Easy to laod for if you are so inclined, minimal maintenence, easy to clean, I have had several and can't imagine being without. I have shot the puma in 454 and it was fun but I prefer the smoother (to me anyway) action of the marlin. Resale on the 1894ss is excellent and at $530 I don't really see them as expensive. I bought a 1894ss used for 425 a while back and have shot it ALOT. Not so much as 1 misfeed or glitch. I only shoot reloads...

Have fun with your selection & be safe

July 8, 2008, 05:13 PM
I have Marlins in in 30/30 , 44mag , 444 marlin and 45/70. They all got smoother the more they were used. A shooting buddy has a Puma in 357mag. It was a little rough a first but after some amount of working the action in front of the TV it is smooth as a baby's butt now. My personal choice is the Marlin but the Puma is a good choice IMHO. Find a gun shop that will let you work the action of both before you buy. Thats the place to buy it even if it is a few $$ higher. Gas and infomation are worth it.

July 8, 2008, 05:16 PM
I have not shot the Puma but I do have a 1894SS in .44 mag and love it. The lever & trigger are smooth and the wood is beautiful. AS soon as I can find a NIB 1894C I'll be getting one. I'm kinda holding out for a stainless too.

July 8, 2008, 06:21 PM
I don't have the .44; I have the .357 Marlin 1894C. But it will feed .38 LSWC's just fine. The action seems to be really tolerant of different bullets and case lengths.

I'd go with the Marlin, myself. I've been happy with their quality, and they're easier to clean. But either one will send lead downrange.:)

July 8, 2008, 06:36 PM
I have a Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag, and love it. It is a blast to shoot, I load full power loads for target shooting because I only go shooting a few times a year. The Marlin is a great gun, great F&F. I shoot 240 grain Hornady XTP bullets and get 3-4" groups at 100 yards with open sights.

July 8, 2008, 06:39 PM
+1 for the Marlin.


July 8, 2008, 06:43 PM
Thanks guys for the info.
So far at another shop, I did get to try out the action on the Marlin. It was pretty nice for a new gun. However, the 'wood' looked exactly like plastic.
I too am leaning towards the Marlin as I've had several Marlin firearms and been pleased with all of them. Just wish they made a 16-18" gun.
This is the only reason I'm even considering the Rossi. Well, that and I hear the Marlin will only stabilize 240gr rounds. Is this true?
Around here used 336's are usually $275, the 1894's used are all above $400:eek: Guess they just don't make as many?

July 8, 2008, 08:55 PM
I will take the 92 action over the 94 any day of the week. My Rossi is butter smooth and looks better than the Marlin too. I have only shot heavies out of my .357 and it is plenty accurate. The only complaint was the rear sight. I replaced it with a better sight. You should be able to get a Rossi cheaper than a Marlin.

July 9, 2008, 09:18 AM
I owned Rossi 92 rifles in .357 Mag, .44 Mag, and .44/40

The .44 magnum was good looking and just brutal to shoot full power loads in.
The crescent buttplate made things even worse.

Accuracy wasn't as good as I though it should be either.
The .44/40 was far and away the best shooting and best functioning rifle of the three and the one I really should have kept.

Marlin .44 Magnum rifle are a bit heavier and with the rubber buttpad they are much more comfortable to shoot for any length of time.
Much easier to scope the Marlin too if you are into putting scopes on lever action rifles

My vote goes to the Marlin.

July 9, 2008, 09:46 AM
Out of those two definately the Marlin.

Not only will it be worth more later, but I think that you'll be happier in the long run quality wise.

The Puma's not bad or anything, the Marlins just better and they've been around ALOT longer (which kind of suggests that they'll be there if you need a part or something in the future and they're more common which means it won't be as big of a pain in the ass to find it 10, 20 or 30 years from now/used hard enough and often enough everything breaks at some point).

July 9, 2008, 10:01 AM
Prefer the looks and feel of the Rossi. Oh, yeah, it won't mount a scope, but it's a 100 yard gun anyway. Really nothing "low quality" about the gun, either. I don't think it's a "better" gun than the Marlin, but don't think it's any worse, either, just a different design. I like its Winchester lines better, that's all. It's an accurate gun to be sure. If it weren't, I wouldn't like it. It will shoot 2.5-3 MOA with better loads, which is good 'nuf for deer hunting. No, it's no bolt gun and I've shot M94s in .30-30 that shot a little better, but it's fine for my purposes. The Marlin is a nice gun, though, and my preference is mainly for the looks of the gun.

Yeah, if you get the Rossi, expect to put a decent rear sight on it. The leaf sight really sux. A smith will have to do it if you go with a receiver sight. That could kill the deal for you, don't know. Don't know about the Marlin's sight, but it might be drilled for a receiver sight already and I know it's drilled for a scope. In that light, it might be the better deal.

You mentioned wood. I'm not sure about new ones, mine was bought in the 80s (for 198 bucks as I recall), but the wood is walnut and linseed oil finished. It is very nice. Has no checkering, but it's pretty.

July 9, 2008, 10:07 AM

Harve Curry
July 9, 2008, 11:27 AM
I have and like them both.
I'd get the Marlin 1894. I like the so called cowboy models because of their tradtional riflling and not micro groove rifling. There's a 20" octagon barrel that I think can be more accurate then the lighter barrels, plus it's a handy length. new ones have the cross bolt safety, not a bad idea really. 1894 Marlins have a square bolt, not like the 336 or the Bigboy with it's round bolt. Not to mention the fact that they are all American made without much changes since 1894.

July 9, 2008, 11:36 AM
I did the same search. Ended up with a Winchester Wrangler in .44 mag. Otherwise I would have bought the Marlin. The Puma's are OK, but quality is inconsistent.

July 9, 2008, 11:42 AM
Have just recently purchased a Puma 92 in 44 mag. carbine length.

I'm more familiar with 44 mag revolvers. I know I can shoot 44 specials in a 44 mag revolver. Anyone know if 44 specials can be shot in the Puma 92 chambered for 44 mag? Seems like you should be able to but want to be certain.

The 44 mags (180 grain Remington) I shot were very accurate but also very stout! even in a rifle...I'd like to tone the recoil down without having to reload

Thanks for helping me out

July 9, 2008, 11:49 AM
seems like you can. I know you can in a marlin, and I know you can shoot 38s out of a 357 rossi.

Harve Curry
July 9, 2008, 12:02 PM
Yes you can shoot specials in a magnum. The question is OAC length and how well one or the other will feed in a individual rifle.

The newer or recent Winchester brand rifles for short cases like 44 mag, 45 Colt are 1894 actions. Long action, adopted to function with handgun cartridges. 1894 Win were long action for 30-30 (30WCF) and the like. Winchester's short action was the 1892, like the Rossi Puma '92 and those japan made by Miroku. All of these are Browning's design.

The short action for the Marlin is the 1894 (not to be confused with the Win 1894 long action).
Marlin's long action for 30-30's was the 1893 which later became the 336 round bolt model.

July 9, 2008, 01:44 PM

Puma .44 mag 20" barrel 10+1 right out of the box I could chamber a round with one finger thats how smooth the lever action is .Recoil was not harsh with 300gr, rounds ,added a side see-thru scope mount .

Phil DeGraves
July 9, 2008, 03:02 PM
I have had several of both. IMHO the Marlin is a MUCH better gun. Both the Rossis and the Marlins will shoot the Specials. Browning (Miroku) was the only 92 that would shoot only magnums.

July 9, 2008, 03:08 PM
Better toss in another +1 for the Marlin.

Mine is a blued 1894PG with the 20" barrel and pistol grip. This rifle gets the most range time after my 10/22! It's fun to shoot, lightweight, low-recoil and cheap when I'm feeding it low-range lead reloads I cook up. My favorite load would be a stout .44 Special, chucked into a Magnum case because I have a few to work with! ;) A 240gr lead SWC at about 1100-1200 fps rifle-speed is a handy thing, and very easy to shoot.

I have fired a small number of 300gr rounds through mine. Yes, I know the 1-38" twist is not ideal for them, but they grouped OK at 50 yards, and hit the 100 yard steel with authority.

As for rifling, if you get one NIB or recently manufactured, it will have the Ballard-cut rifling, which is better for cast lead bullets. You don't have to get the Cowboy to get the Ballard rifling. AFAIK, Micro-Groove is currently used on the .41 Magnums, .22s, .17s, .30-30s and .35 Remingtons. I'm relatively sure that all the .44s and .357s made now get Ballard-cut.

Get the Marlin. It may be a little more money up-front, but you won't mind in a couple of years. Use it and it will wear in and slick-up nicely.

July 12, 2008, 07:19 AM
So, I look all around semi-locally and only one shop has a Marlin in stock. Most others said they couldn't even get on on order!
So I grabbed the only one I could find. It was NIB, not the best price, but at a good individually-owned shop that I frequent.
I still think the wood looks like plastic, and the front sling stud has a good gouge in it, but again, it was the only one to be found.
Gonna slick up the action a bit, shoot it, and hopefully get rid of that awful rear sight.
Thanks again for the advice! Should make a good short-range deer gun to go along with my Tikka 7mm magnum.

July 12, 2008, 09:50 AM
Did you end up with blue or stainless? Either way nice rifles and I am sure you will enjoy shooting it. If you don't reload consider doing so. They do seem to suck down 100 rounds pretty quick and you can go mild to wild at minimal cost.

Be safe


July 12, 2008, 10:46 AM
It's a blued gun.
Already tore her down, slicked up some rough spots. Man, there was a ton of fine metal shavings in there:eek:
Now if I can just find a punch small enough to remove the lever locking pin, I can lighten that spring. It's one heck of a spring, very hard to unlock the lever. After that, should be good to go!

July 13, 2008, 04:12 PM

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