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please clarify: lever gun questions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by thomis, Oct 4, 2012.

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  1. thomis

    thomis Member

    Jan 20, 2009
    NC for a spell
    These questions are geared towards those of you that have experience with both Winchester and Marlin levers.

    I want a .45/70 lever gun.
    I want American made so I am not considering Uberti or Rossi, though they may just as well be fine guns.
    With that out of the way, here are my questions:

    Are the current production Winchester levers made in SC like the other Winchester guns (I know my Featherweight came from SC)?
    I hear the Winchester levers are more difficult to strip and clean than the Marlins. Is this as well true for current models? How much of a deal-breaker is this, I mean how often do they need field stripped and cleaned? Reckon it probably depends on how often I shoot it.
    If I buy used, what year range should I look for and which years to avoid?
    I've heard good things about Winchester customer service. I am completely satisfied with my new Featherweight.

    I understand the new Marlins are manufactured by Remington or at least a Remington-owned, new-management Marlin.
    Are the problems with the new Marlins strictly fit and finish alone, or are there functionality problems as well? For the price, I may be able to live with the fit and finish problems, as this will be a field gun. But I definitely want to avoid functionality problems.
    If I buy used, what years should I target and what years to avoid?
    How is Marlin customer service?

    This obviously won't be a bench gun but I will be handloading, so I expect a fair level of accuracy. How do they compare in accuracy, in general? I won't be putting a scope on it.
    By the way, what is the reason for the hood or "shroud" over the front sight I am seeing on a lot of the levers? Is this easily removed? I'm not sure I'll like it. And I'll probably be putting a peep sight on the rear.

    I realize I asked a lot of questions. Just trying to do my homework. Thanks a bunch.

  2. BluegrassDan

    BluegrassDan Member

    Oct 25, 2008
    Elizabethton, TN USA
    For a .45-70 I would go with the Marlin. The action is a bit stronger, easier to takedown, and you have lots of option for mounting a scope (if you change your mind in the future). I certainly love my Winchester 94s, especially in .30-30, but I'd say Marlin for the big bore. There are many versions of the 1895 model - some with stainless steel, laminated stocks, traditional blued steel with walnut, etc.

    I would definitely look for something used. The new Marlins' fit and finish is not what it used to be even just three years ago. If it was made before 2009 I'd be a buyer. You can find gun stores and pawn shops full of models going back into 1970s on up. They're all great.

    The hood over the front sight helps with sunlight reflection. Yes, it does obscure your sight picture a little, but not having it might affect your point of impact. Light reflecting off the front sight can make it difficult to see and align with the rear semi-buckhorn.
  3. Abel

    Abel Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Eastern CONUS
    Winchester is owned by Herstal-FN. They make the M70 in S.C. and the lever actions are made in the Miroku, Japan plant. Most report that lever actions made in Miroku are some of the nicest ever with the Winchester name on them, and the price definitely reflects that. $$$

    The Marlins are getting better in this last production cycle, but I am suspect of any of the lever actions made from 2011-12. Luckily there are plenty of fine used Marlin 45-70 rifles on Gun Broker and local gun dealers used gun racks. This is the route that I would take.
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