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Which Marlins are best to avoid?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by whatnickname, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Haven’t really kept up with the Marlin quality issue in great detail. I know that their machinery was worn out before Remington acquired them and that Remington has made significant capital investment in their effort to revive the Marlin line. I recently acquired a 336Y “Remlin” and I’m very impressed with the quality of this rifle. I would like to acquire another in either 45-70 or perhaps 35 Remington. Like the older model 94 Winchesters, its hard to find an older Marlin lever gun that hasn’t seen plenty of hard use. I’ve also read quite a bit of discussion about the JM stamp and I’m not all that sure it means much, save the designation of an original Marlin barrel. So I have two questions:

    1) What dates of manufacture are the ones to be avoided?
    2) If I guess wrong and end up with a Marlin (not a Remlin) with a problem, will Remington repair the gun for me...pretty sure I know the answer to this one but thought I would ask anyway.
     
  2. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    I can't add any significant info on dates to avoid, i know a ton of guys have gotten great remlins and i'm not one to doubt it. With that said i don't personally think i have seen one yet that had a matching finish on barrel and reciever (blued guns) or one with a great stock fitment. I know they're out there and maybe what i have seen has been on the shelf a long time because of how they look but i just haven't seen it. I really hope they bring the marlin line all the way back to it's former glory and i'll be waiting with a fist full of cash when i can get find it. Best of luck.
     
  3. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Thanks
     
  4. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    I have an old 39a and new 44 mag. Can't complain about either.
     
  5. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    Love my 39a, made in 1954 but looks brand new. I think the price went up to get one, paid $500 for mine about 5 years ago, thought it was a steal and still do.
     
  6. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Would not know what to recommend the only two marlins I own is a 336 in 35 Remington and a cheap Marlin model 60 I bought for about $119 back than. The model 60 is a tack driver which surprised the heck out of me. Now I'm looking at buying one in 45/70.
     
  7. Scrapiron45

    Scrapiron45 Member

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    Have 4 older marlin levers(45/70,35,30 30) and 4 remlins(45/70,45,357,44mag). All been good except the 44sbl. My dealer had a Remington gunsmith make it right. My suggestion is buy from a dealer where you can handle the gun first.
     
  8. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Thank you.
     
  9. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    North Haven made, you are good to go. Ilion made prior to 2018 is a crap -shoot, or a box of chocolates. That's general rule of thumb.
     
  10. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    To make absolutely sure a gun is a Remlin it has to have an MR serial prefix AND an Ilion REP barrel.

    Even then it is not for sure as Remington did assemble remaining Marlin manufactured parts.

    I have all JMs except for a this year production 444 that I bought used. This 444 is the best shooting of all of them.
     
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  11. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    Thanks, thats helpful. Didn't hear they moved back to north haven, i'll keep an eye out. Would like to get the 1895 trapper (16" 45-70).
    Edit: read it wrong, i undertand now, guns from NY after 2018 are gtg.
     
  12. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    That's the rule of thumb. Allegedly, Remington got folks retrained and tooling reset by '17 and there were certainly some good guns in the interim, but '18 for the Remlins seems safe. I may pick up a 444.
     
  13. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    That is good to hear. I love Marlins and have a few; they are all JM's. For some reason the 336 Dark is appealing to me.....
     
  14. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I have a 336 in .35 Rem and a 883SS in .22WMR. I heard about poor quality Remlin units being produced...but had also heard they got it turned around. Was in the market for a . 357 rifle. Looked at their model 1894...liked what I saw and bought it. It's a tack driver. Mechanically sound with a smooth action. Other than one small cosmetic issue I have no regrets.
     
  15. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Check out over at www.marlinowners.com
    There is a thread on serial numbers that allows you to determine year of manufacture.
    The last two years of Marlin production, and first 4-5yrs of Remington production are the ones to be suspicious of.
    For the last two years, it’s the “droop” you have to be mindful of. (Misaligned lathe used to mill barrel channel) Remington “may” replace the reciever. Depends on model/caliber.

    Remington production suffers from rough internal and external finishing, poor assembly, misalignment of sights, careless assembly, and cheap, poorly finished wood (stamped checkering on laminated wood, Or no-grain mystery wood).

    I have a “Remlin” .338 MXLR. The rifle was sent back as part of a partial recall. Reciever was replaced with one with original serial number with a “B” suffix, also spline milled bolt was replaced with a plain one. But, it IS a .338MXLR. Perhaps only 5,000 were made. (I have two!). Got a DEAL on it as no one in middle Georgia knew what it was...
    Yes! I suffer from marlinitis....over a dozen relapses, not to count the ones I’ve sold or traded...

    These two are “Illion’s. ‘16 mfg. Bought two at $264 after rebates from walmart on clearance. Sold one NIB for $500. Second one shot the 3-shot 1-hole group at 50yds with 400gr Lee FN over 24.0gr of #2400... Bushnell 2-7x shotgun scope.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  16. Llama Bob

    Llama Bob Member

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    I agree that the last few years of Marlin and first few years of Remington require a full part-by-part inspection. People say the new Remlins are OK, but I have seen some stinkers (thankfully not mine) and am still cautious and will remain so for a long time. Remington/Freedom Group as a whole has been a disaster for a while. Trust, once squandered, doesn't come back fast.

    Some people say they're OK, but I am not a fan of slow twist or microgroove rifling and would not buy one.

    That leaves a middle period from the introduction of Ballard rifling to a few years before the Remington acquisition that I would consider. For the 444SS I own, that "good" period is '98 to '08. I don't know for other cartridges.
     
  17. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I would concur about the last year or two of JM Marlin production. Prior to this everything seemed fine, then a few of the last ones I looked at had misaligned barrels with sights cocked a bit to one side. One odd problem even earlier than these last JM Marlins was rear sights that had almost loose rear sight dovetails, although everything else was fine.

    Remlin production did indeed have the problems mentioned up until the last couple of years. I gave up on Marlins after Remington took over and never figured that I would ever buy one again. They were dead to me.

    However, I can attest that the 1894 Marlins that are being made in 2019 are much, much better. The machining, both internal and external is excellent. Wood to metal fit as a rule is equal to JM standards on most (but not all). The walnut used varies a great deal. Some is figured and very attractive, some is plain but high quality. All of the screws are very carefully fitted without damage, sights and barrels are correctly aligned, and the finish is excellent.

    I ended up owning:
    1) a .45 Colt Cowboy which is really excellent with plain but attractive walnut, which functions perfectly and shoots well.
    2) a .44 magnum 1894 with nicer wood and very good checkering, equally as good, but with a .432" groove diameter which is in spec but not helpful for accuracy IMHO.
    3) a .357 magnum 1894C with really attractive figured wood, with not as good checkering, but again overall excellent.

    I can't comment on the 336 series made in 2019, but I suspect that it must have improved substantially. The 1894 series shows signs of being re-engineered for automated machining and shows a lot of care in finish and assembly.
    That being said, I did encounter a poorly fitted butt stock on one.
    You should still inspect all newer Remington Marlin lever actions in person before you buy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  18. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I bought an 1894CB .357/.38 this year. It is just as reliable as JM pistol caliber lever guns I have owned and fired in the past. The finish is nice but not as nice as they used to be but I don’t buy guns to look at them.

    It reliably feeds RNFP .357 Magnum and .38 Special rounds. I have not tried any hunting or defense loads in it.

    This is one gun, but I hear the same of others built in 2018 and 2019.
     
  19. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix Member

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    I got an 1895 45-70 CB earlier this year. I’m very happy with it and wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Marlin.
     
  20. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    Yeah that seems about right about 2018 being the year that things were looking up for Marlin in Ilion NY. I purchased an 1894 in 2018 in 45 Colt. When I got it I compared it to my 1895G that I purchased in 2003. The fit of the stock was superior on the 1894. Tighter fit and smaller gap. When I talk to my friend who works on Marlin's at the Arms, he says that the Marlin brand appears to be carrying the company right now. They were the only employees at the plant not furloughed over the summer.
     
  21. ilmonster

    ilmonster Member

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    I have a Remlin model 1895 made approx. 3 years ago and also a JM 1894C I picked up in 2006 if memory serves. My 1895 was made after Remington got through digesting the Marlin purchase and should of had everything pretty much sorted out. Given that, mine does have good wood to metal fit, a smooth cycling action, straight sights and nice bluing. I have around 400 rounds through it (mostly handloads) and couldn't be happier. I did fit a Limbsaver grind-to-fit recoil pad to replace the red rubber butt pad and put a WW Happy Trigger in it. Stock one was fine, but heavy.

    The 1895 is made as well as my JM stamped 1894C and if you didn't know they were made by different organizations, you wouldn't know. Fit and finish are the same. I like both, and would certainly consider another "Remlin" based on my anecdotal sample size of one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
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  22. hq

    hq Member

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    My 1895XLR and 1894C are manufactured in 2008 and they're as good as one might expect. The only gunsmithing I've done is preventative rounding of the cam of the 94, in order to avoid the notorious Marlin Jam. Both shoot straight and have functioned flawlessly for about a decade now. YMMV, though.
     
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  23. TikkaShooter

    TikkaShooter Member

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  24. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    everything said above is mostly true. But basically, if it has a REP in an oval on the passenger side of the barrel by the receiver I am not going to buy it over the internet. If it was made after 2010 I am not going to buy it over the internet. The 336's seemed to be easier for remington to make for whatever reason. They never were as bad as the 1894's.
     
  25. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I bought my Remlin 444 (used!?)before they even had made it to distributors. The story is that the gun was acquired at SHOT Show by an acquaintance of someone who worked at Remington. That is who the person I got it from had gotten it from. This rifle changed hands 3 times before they were ever released. I got wind of a new production 444 that was in town through a few Marlin enthusiasts (I guess I have a reputation as a lever gun addict) and tracked it down on a classifieds site.

    Their story was that Remington had to basically reverse engineer the 1894 after the initial problems to finally get it right more recently. Apparently they also preemptively did that with the 444 and that is why the release was about 5 years after the announcement.
     
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