And you may ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here"? That's a good question! Most of my write-ups here have been in the handgun forums, but this here's something different. I've never owned a big-bore rifle or a lever action of any sort, but I am a fan of short rifles, and recoil doesn't immediately scare me off (my Jungle Carbine is one of my favorite rifles). I remember when I was a kid my grandmother, who'd grown up in rural Nova Scotia, often talking about her father's rifle. "It was a .45-70, mind you!" she'd say. Maybe that rubbed off on me! Nova Scotia is really .30-30 territory so a .45-70 would have been pretty rare back then. I looked at both Henry and Marlin rifles (I like Henry rifles a lot) but the higher price of the Henry, as well as its 4+0 capacity compared with Marlin's 6+1, convinced me to go with Marlin. I'd heard of the "Remlin" problems just after the Remington acquisition, but I'd heard that recent models were much improved. I really like the look of the stainless SBL models, but with an almost $400 premium I could settle for blued. So, when I saw this lightly-used GBL model come up for sale at a good price I couldn't resist. Overview The GBL has a brown laminated stock—I would have preferred more contrast in the wood as mine looks pretty monochrome compared with the one on Marlin's site but it looks OK. It has a thick rubber buttpad, too. The previous owner had added an attractive and functional paracord wrap on the lever. You can also see the checkering (pressed not cut I think) and the pretty good wood-to-metal fit. The trigger pull is single-stage, and pretty crisp, although maybe a bit on the heavy side. The previous owner also added a hammer spur that's intended for use with a scope, but I found it handy even without one. You can also see the mostly-derided cross-bolt safety, too. Like all Marlin lever actions the 1895 has side loading and side ejection. The loading port cover has a surprisingly stout spring! The side ejection means that it's easy to mount optics—the top is drilled and tapped. You can also see in this picture the receiver top is matte blued, whereas the rest of the rifle is what I'd call semi-polished blued. The sights offer the best of late 19th century technology. The rear sight is the leaf-style "semi buckhorn": and the front is a ramped post with what might be a brass bead or else just some paint: Range Visit I had a chance this morning to take the rifle the the range. I used both Federal 300 grain softpoint and Hornady 325 grain Leverevolution ammunition. The Hornady ammo is specifically intended to offer better ballistic performance out of lever-action rifles while still preventing the rounds in the mag tube from detonating under recoil. I can attest that the second part certainly is true! I found the Federal ammo was easier to load into the mag tube. The first thing I noticed was the recoil—it is certainly stout, especially with just a t-shirt! I haven't fired a centerfire rifle or shotgun in more than a year so I was a little bit taken aback! You can see that in the first six rounds in the video below I'm getting used to the recoil and working the lever. I also noticed that with the sun immediately to my right the sights were really hard to see. I've mentioned before how the artificial lenses I received during cataract surgery, which giving me great distance vision, really limit my near-focus vision. Centering the nearly imperceptible bead in the rear sight proved really difficult for me. I tried a few more rounds and got more used to the rifle—I was much more comfortable with the rifle shooting the last six rounds in the video. With the sight picture being so poor I didn't really try shooting for accuracy. Conclusions? Well, once you get used to the kick—which feel to me more or less like shooting a 12 gauge with buckshot—it's great fun to shoot. I do have to be conscious of fully working the lever to ensure good extraction, but the rifle worked great. The sights, though, are probably a no-go for me. I've got a couple of red-dot sights around...I might buck tradition and mount a rail on the thing to try that out.