marlin 1894c fun @ the range


July 13, 2009, 06:03 PM
Took my latest acquisition out for a little plinking after work Friday.

Sun was on it's way down and it was still pushing 100deg F. so I didn't stay long.

It's a .357mag and I was shooting handloads to set my new Skinner peeps.

Speer 158gr SP over 14.6gr 2400, remmy brass, Winny standard small pistol primers.

After I got it hitting where I wanted I popped 5 shots at my homemade gong. All hit in the same spot @ 50 yards, standing with my front hand on a sandbag. That particular lane at the range has a very tall table. The hits show up on the paint in the pic below.

I was so happy with those results I went ahead and jumped from my gong at 50 yards, to the range gong at 200 yards. First two appeared low, so I shifted to a high 12 o'clock hold (it's an 18" gong @ 200 yard), and the next 7 rounds made that chunk of steel ring. :D

Much fun for a short trip. And a big thumbs up for the Skinner peep.

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P. Plainsman
July 13, 2009, 06:46 PM
Great looking carbine! They can be so much fun to shoot. Watch out, because owning an 1894C is a good way to clean your house out of .357 ammo in a hurry :cool: and it ain't cheap to replace these days. Good thing you reload.

A piece of friendly advice. You might think seriously about having yours looked over and get some "reliability work" on it by a gunsmith who knows Marlin levers. I say this only because I was so fond of my own 1894C, but its reliability gradually deteriorated until it wasn't any fun to take to the range anymore.

I took it to my then-gunsmith, who was OK, but not the best, and not a lever specialist. He couldn't fix it. First it wouldn't chamber .38s, then started locking up w/ .357s as well. I had to sell it. I still wonder if it was the fabled "Marlin Jam" where the lever's cycling gradually cuts a notch in the receiver or something. The Marlin Jam can be avoided entirely (if memory serves) by having a knowledgeable gunsmith radius the offending part of the lever, early in the rifle's career.

(PS: Or maybe you are a knowledgeable gunsmith and can do it yourself. Either way, I am convinced that the 1894C needs some PM before the owner starts to shoot it heavily.)

Best of luck!

July 13, 2009, 06:52 PM
First it wouldn't chamber .38s, then started locking up w/ .357s as well.

Yep, the Marlin Jam. Experienced it myself.

Took a piece of old hacksaw blade and cut/ground it to shape to fit on the bottom of the shell lifter where the notch was forming and JB-Weld-ed it in place. I also tried to radius the lever, but it still cut a small notch in the new piece of metal. But, ever since it has run .38's and .357's quite reliably. And I know that if the part wears to the point of malfunction I can fix it again myself, too. And trust me, you do not have to be a genius gunsmith to fix it; if you can run a screw driver, bench grinder, and a file and glue Piece A to Piece B, you're good to go.

Looks like you have a good shooter there, N4Z.

July 13, 2009, 06:56 PM
Well, I'm no gunsmith, but I did use a handfile to put a radius on that nasty part of the lever you are speaking of.

It had already started to leave a mark, but hopefully I got to it soon enough.

July 13, 2009, 07:02 PM
The other thing I have heard/read is that changing the radius may stop the gouging, but may also change the timing if there isn't another piece of metal grafted on the bottom of the shell lifter. Only time and use will tell.

If you got to yours early enough, hopefully there won't be any further problem. I got mine at least second or third hand and so had a heck-of-a-time trying to figure out why it wasn't working right and what the fix was. Even called Marlin and they said at the time the wait for repair work was six months before they would take it in.

July 13, 2009, 09:31 PM
Nice report................Thanks!

July 14, 2009, 03:36 AM
I bought a used 1894C fifteen years ago. I wanted to use it in Cowboy Action Shooting so I sent the gun to a "name" cowboy gunsmith for an action job.

The rifle came back so slick that I could effortlessly work the lever with one finger. I have fired perhaps 25,000 rounds through the gun since then, and I have NEVER had a jam. I shoot .38 spl loads through it the vast majority of the time. If you load .38 spl. with a lighter bullet be sure the cartridge oal is around 1.42. If you use 158 gr bullets stay away from the Keith or semi-wad cutter. Best results with a round nose, flat point bullet.

It will cost you a hundred or a little more to get a good action job, but whether you are a CAS shooter or not, it will be well worth the money in user satisfaction alone, plus it will greatly extend the life and reliability of your gun.

If you want to do the action job yourself, go to Marauder's web page. Google it. Full illustrated instructions for free.

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