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The Marlin 1895 GBL: my initial thoughts and range report.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dragonfly, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    D8HiiFU.jpg

    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.

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    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.

    u0Y6gub.jpg

    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. ;)

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    Like all Marlin lever actions the 1895 has side loading and side ejection. The loading port cover has a surprisingly stout spring!

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    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.

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    The sights offer the best of late 19th century technology. The rear sight is the leaf-style "semi buckhorn":

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    and the front is a ramped post with what might be a brass bead or else just some paint:

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    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.

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    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.

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  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Be glad it has that recoil pad. My 1895CB just has the plate and it will leave you with a sore spot after shooting a box of those Federals.
     
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  3. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    A nice Talking Heads reference...brings me back to my college days...

    I just fell for a .45/70 brother to my Guide Gun... once I get it (10 day wait here) I’ll post about it here.

    Beauty of a rifle you have there!

    Stay safe.
     
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  4. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    Dragonfly, thank you. Nice rifle. :D

    Regarding working the lever, ride it like you stole it! ;)

    On my cross bolt safeties I install an O-ring or two to keep them from getting bumped into “safe”.

    Those brass bead front sights rarely look good in the real world. They do look nice indoors though. I tried a set of XS Sights ghost ring and white lined front post sights on my Winchester 94 and have decided to install a set on my Marlin 336. I like them very much.
    Here’s a link: https://www.xssights.com/Products.aspx?CAT=8563
    This link shows the Marlin 1895 dovetail In barrel set. They also have a set for the ramped front sight.

    Have fun with your new Marlin. :thumbup:
     
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  5. SG1

    SG1 Member

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    Great write up and pictures! I find it easier to work a lever action rifle if I keep it shouldered during the levering action. I see a lot of people pull the rifle off their shoulder to work the lever and it always looks awkward. At any rate, enjoy the new rifle and thanks again for a great report!

    Edited to say that I'm glad good ones are coming from Marlin now. I've read multiple reviews lately that have been positive on different models.
     
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  6. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    I enjoy my 45-70, mine doesn't have the pad so i installed a limbsaver, yours looks a lot better. I like the idea of peep rear sight better than a red dot for a lever 45-70. I can get lead from 300 to 450gr locally and enjoy the 350 and 405gr the best. I reload for both the lever and a drop block so I mark the primers with a marker. Mine is accurate at 100yrds but takes deer REAL good at 20 and 30yrds.
     
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  7. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    Yes—the recoil pad makes it quite bearable.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Yes—I found that as I got used to the rifle it was easier to work the lever from the shoulder. Even with the recoil you can have a pretty good rate of fire.

    Yeah, a red dot would ruin the lines for sure. I like peep sights but most of the good ones are pretty pricey. I see that Williams has fibre optic sights...I may give them a try.
     
  8. lionking

    lionking Member

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    nice!
     
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  9. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    I like the paracord lever cover, do you know where it came from?
    When I take mine to the range the younger shooters want to shoot it, not as much as old military guns, and that makes me smile getting them into aiming instead of blasting with the ARs.
     
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  10. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    Sorry, the previous owner installed it—I'm not sure where it came from.
     
  11. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    Here’s a video showing one way to do a paracord lever wrap.


    Here’s one that is similar.


    I do my levers with leather so I haven’t tried the methods shown in the videos.
     
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  12. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    Well, I have a bit of an unexpected update. I was trying on some different sight arrangements on my GBL when I saw this SBL for sale locally for a good price. It also included a Skinner Alaskan rear sight that works really well with the XS front sight. The Alaskan model extends the rear sight back an extra 1/2" for a bit more sight radius. I really like the look of the SBL so I picked it up. While it'd be nice to have two for dual wielding ;) I think one is as much as I can handle so I'll be selling the GBL.

    A4paIpn.jpg
     
  13. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Member

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    I bought that same rifle a while back. I haven't had it out to the range yet as I'm still having troubles with a botched shoulder surgery from the VA, so I probably won't til spring. Thank God it was my left... (I'm right handed) I did put XS sights on it, and add a Vortex red dot, so at least it will be ready when I am... I probably could shoot it from the bench, I just haven't. I have shot some with less recoiling guns. (bench only)

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  14. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I just ordered an 1895GBL, along with the XS sights Ghost Ring and rail combination. Plan to put a Vortex 2-7x32 scope on it in Warne QD rings.
     
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  15. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

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    Love the 45-70 Marlins. We almost own twins.........
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  16. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    May have to get one of these. I’ve always been a fan of the 94 Winchester and only recently acquired a Remlin 336y with a scope in like new condition at my LGS for $400 out the door. Put up a post on this site a couple weeks ago about this rifle. Very impressive and the scope works better for my tired, old eyes. The recoil on your rifle looks manageable. Would love to hear from others on accuracy. Think if I had one I would mount a 1.5 X 5 Nikon scope on it.
     
  17. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Picked up my 1895GBL today. Wood to metal fit is very good, and the action is smooth with a good trigger. Box date code is WN, wihich is August of this year. Still awaiting the XS sights/rail, but the scope/rings are here. Also need to load up some .45-70. I will probably shoot it some just as it came out of the box before installing the sights/rail, just in case there is something that requires a trip back to the Remington/Marlin mothership.
     
  18. HamSlamma

    HamSlamma Member

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    Good post and GREAT photography!

    Ive had my GBL for about 10 years and have had NO problems with it,,,,NONE!

    Have shot a ton of hogs and a lot of deer with it and love the way it performs. I always keep my eye in the scope when I ram another round in the pipe. Have killed three hogs back to back doing this. Dam that's fun!
    You will find that it will shoot a lot of different makes of factory ammo and be close to zero no matter what you run in it, but find that the Hornady 325 grain Leverevolution is the most accurate in mine.

    I also have a Leupold VX-R Firedot 3X9X50 scope on top. I use mine as a tool to hunt with,,,,its NOT a safe queen!!
     
  19. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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  20. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Informative write-up, Dragonfly, and a nice rifle. Regarding the checkering "process", I'm thinking it's cut, albeit "machine-cut". Not many, if any, long guns have impressed "checkering" anymore (thankfully).
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019 at 5:25 PM
  21. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Who made the cartridge carrier /riser ? It looks nice and I need one.
     
  22. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

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  23. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    I finally had a chance to take the SBL out to the range today—it's (Canadian) Thanksgiving today so instead of spending a Monday at the office I was at the range—much more fun! The sight set-up on my SBL (Skinner Alaskan rear, XS front post) worked really well—I like it much better than the buckhorn rear of the GBL. The Alaskan sight fits perfectly on the SBL's receiver—mine has fairly large aperture, almost like a ghost ring sight. Since this will not be a rifle intended for maximum precision I'm happier with a larger aperture.

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    16bLDgO.jpg

     
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  24. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Since I work out of small boats (and rig, fix, repair, etc.) I recognized that wrap on the lever with paracord as coxcombing (a fancy ropework decoration and/or functional sailor's art..). Here's the site for anyone wanting to learn how to do it from simple to fancy to .....

    http://www.frayedknotarts.com/tutorials/coxcombing/coxcombing.html

    These days coxcombing is quite popular on high end microskiffs - particularly for steering wheels that are just plain stainless steel...
    Hope this helps...
     
  25. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    What are your thoughts on a laminated stock versus a stained birch stock? They are certainly more attractive.
    However, I recall that a Ruger 10-22 that I owned that had a multi-colored laminated stock, which was also attractive.
    I recall that the wood seemed like it was a bit brittle where you could touch a straight edge, and might be inclined to splinter.
    Solid birch, on the other hand, is pretty tough.
     
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