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Thread: My new Marlin 1894C, first impressions

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    My new Marlin 1894C, first impressions

    Hello,

    Today I started the DROS on my new Marlin 1894C in .357 magnum. I bought it online from Kentucky Gun Co for $620. They were very nice and shipped very fast. I will buy from them again.

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    I am in California so today was the start of my 10 day waiting period before I can take it home. But I have an FFL that is very cool.

    I use The Gun Range here in North Highlands California. I have no business connection with them. But I shoot there at least once a week. They have a terrific indoor range out to 25 yards. The staff is friendly and professional. If you are in the area you should drop in and say hi. They have rental guns available (you must bring a gun of your own) and I have tried many guns there first before I bought one.

    One of the nice things about The Gun Range is that, if you are DROSing a gun with them, you can shoot the gun they are holding for you at any time on their range.

    So I took all of my stuff with me and after doing the paperwork I took my new Marlin to the 25 yard line. What follows is my first impressions and some range results.

    My initial reaction was very positive. The rifle looks very nice. The sights are straight and not canted, the wood has a nice grain, the bluing on the barrel is very dark and shiny. The bluing on the receiver is also nice but the metal was not as nicely polished. Not a show gun but a solid hunting and field finish. The action is a little stiff but positive. No flopping or binding in the handle. No gaps in the wood to metal fit. I am still on the fence about the checkering. As a rule I don't like it and I may sand it off and refinish the wood.

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    When I first looked down the bore I thought that I saw some tooling marks. This rifle has Ballard rifling as opposed to Microgroove and a very fast twist of 1-16". I couldn't quite capture a photo of the bore with my camera, sorry.

    I removed the lever and the bolt and cleaned the bore with #9 and oiled it. The bore looked a little better so maybe it was shipping grease. I took a photo of the bolt face. The face is recessed like my JM Marlin and the extractor looks like it is installed at the 9 o'clock position. I had heard that Remington had made some changes to the new bolts but they look the same to me. I didn't think of it but I should have taken my JM bolt with me for comparison.

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    I lubed the parts with white lithium grease and reassembled them. This helped a lot with the stiffness.

    To break in the barrel I fired 50 rounds of jacketed 38 spl reloads. I cleaned the bore every 10 shots. I then fired 50 38 spl reloads with LSWC boolits sized at .358" and lubed with BLL. All 100 rounds were loaded with 4.5 gr of HP-38. The rifle cycled both JSP and LSWC 38 spl's without a hitch. The trigger is heavy, I would guess 5-6 lbs. But absolutely no creep. It is solid and breaks at the same place every time. I will lighten it up though.

    I then cleaned the bore again thoroughly with #9. All the small imperfections were gone and the bore looked smooth as glass. I slugged the bore and it came out to just under .356"

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    I then went to the accuracy portion of my testing. All loads fired were my own reloads. As a starting point I took the loads with me that work in my Rossi '92 in 357. It is as good a place to start as any. I removed the hood on the front sight because I find indoor ranges to be dark and the sights more difficult to see than outdoors. What follows is my target with ten groups. The groups are numbered from the top left to top right 1 thru 3 then 4-6. Then target 8 then finally the bottom row 10-12. Following the target photo is a table with the load info for each group. Now take it easy on me, I'm no Larry Gibson.

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    Load table by target, all groups 5 shots:

    1: 38 Spl 158 gr LSWC PB .358" BLL 4.5 gr HP-38
    2: 357 mag Lee 158 RF .358" BLL 7.1 gr A#5
    3. 357 mag Lee 158 RF .358" BLL 12.5 gr 2400
    4. 357 mag RCBS 162 gr LSWC GC .358" TAC-X 12.5 gr 2400
    5: 357 mag Lee 125 gr RF .358" BLL 12.5 gr 2400
    6: 357 mag 158 gr Zero JSP 13.1 gr A #9
    8: 357 mag NOE 180 gr WFN GC .360" BLL 12.5 gr 2400
    10. 357 mag Accurate 158 RF .360" BLL 4.0 gr Bullseye
    11. 357 mag NOE 180 gr WFN PB .360" 8.5 gr A #7
    12. 357 mag RCBS 162 gr LSWC GC .360" BLL

    I did notice that on each group the first three shots were much tighter but shots 4 and 5 opened up the groups. Maybe the barrel was overheating or I need to relieve some pressure points. But there was no vertical stringing, just larger groups than I wanted.

    I cleaned the bore again and it was glass smooth. No leading with either the .358" bullets or the .360" bullets.

    Final thoughts:

    A solid rifle. Great so far. I want to put some Skinner sights on it or maybe a low power scope. I had to raise the rear sight all the way. I'm sure that it needs a shorter front sight for my style of aiming. No complaints yet. It cycled every time and as the range session went on it got noticeably smoother. Still up in the air about the checkering. Maybe it will grow on me. I do like the added sling points, a great touch. And the rubber recoil pad made it stay firmly in place even when I started sweating.

    So far I am very happy. It needs more breaking in but I think Marlin has a keeper here.

    Please don't hesitate to ask me questions. And if you are around my area come and shoot it before you buy your own.


    Steve in N CA
    Last edited by sghart3578; 06-13-2018 at 09:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    It seems to me that you got a good one! And that was a very good review you have written.
    It makes me want to go out and get a Marlin.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Glad to hear they are getting it right..Great write up..

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm "actively" considering one which means that I went to the LGS to see if they could get me one and for how much. I am pleased with your report.

  5. #5
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    Making me want another even more. Thanks for the write up. Sounds like they’re getting their act together

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    I sure liked mine but had to sell it when I got layed off like Deere did.
    When I first started shooting mine it wasn't accurate at all. Then I figured out I was using .356 bullets loaded in the 38 spl loads. It was fine with .358s in the 357 rounds. A fun bunny thumper.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Glad to hear the positive report. I really want Remlin to get things turned around, more lever actions available is always a good thing.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Glad to hear the quality has come back and the price is reasonable. I hope yours is the rule and not the exception.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  9. #9
    Thanks for taking the time to write this. Thatís a well thought out and well written review.

    Itís encouraging news. Iím hopeful that the 1894CST comes to reality.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy

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    Good write up, thanks for the synopsis.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.Ē

    ― Confucius

  11. #11
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    Your mention of the adjustment to the rear sight made me think of my Rossi 357. When I got it, it was fine with 38 Special but could not be adjusted for 357 magnums. I had to file off the rear sight to get it to work for the 357's. Went a step further and installed a Williams receiver sight. Winchester had some issues with their iron sights handling a variety of loads.


    Sounds like a good rifle. Enjoy.


    DEP

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy GARD72977's Avatar
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    I'm really wanting a 45/70 lever gun. I want too many different guns! Marlin may movie up the list of I read a few more reviews like this one.
    " If you cant do it with a 308 , you dont need to do it!

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GARD72977 View Post
    I'm really wanting a 45/70 lever gun. I want too many different guns! Marlin may movie up the list of I read a few more reviews like this one.
    I am also looking for a 45-70 lever gun. I was looking at old JM rifles but after buying this new Marlin I am seriously considering a new 1895 CBA 45-70 with the 18.5" barrel.


    Steve in N CA

  14. #14
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Read comprscharg's thread on the Marlin 45-70's before plunking down the hard earned cash. My experience with them pretty much follows his. Gp

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    ^^^ yes indeed. No way I would buy any current production firearm from any Cerberus related company. At some point one would hope moving the production will pay off in decent firearms.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sghart3578 View Post
    I am also looking for a 45-70 lever gun. I was looking at old JM rifles but after buying this new Marlin I am seriously considering a new 1895 CBA 45-70 with the 18.5" barrel.


    Steve in N CA
    Other than the octagonal shape not being as crisp as I like, my remlin CBA is an awesome shooter and looks fantastic to boot.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    Other than the octagonal shape not being as crisp as I like, my remlin CBA is an awesome shooter and looks fantastic to boot.

    It's funny, your review of your 1895 CBA is the main reason that I am considering it. Thank you.


    Steve in N CA

  18. #18
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I will probably end up with a Remlin at some point. If it shoots well I can keep it in the garage or truck and not worry about it like I would my out of production rifles.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Update to my original post:

    I shot my rifle again today at the range where it is being DROS'ed. This time I remembered to take my trigger scale. It is an inexpensive Wheeler but it will give me a reading that I can then compare to my other rifles.

    My rifle shot well from the start, no cold barrel problems, etc.

    The source of my frustration is the trigger. It measures 7 1/2 lbs. I know that is why I am having trouble with the groups. My other 1894's are 3 1/2 lbs. and 5 lbs.

    If I hunker down and concentrate on my hold and follow through I can keep 5 shots in a 2" stickon dot at 25 yards. A trigger job is the first thing on my list when I can take it home.

    And sight replacement. Right now I have to raise the rear sight all the way up. I will address that also. Either another set of Skinners or some XS sights. Don't know yet.

    So far so good!

    Thanks for listening.


    Steve in N CA

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Almost a completely unrelated response, so I won't win any OTC awards. I got the 45-70 bug again and bought a Henry. It needed a trip back to the factory to replace a badly scratched magazine tube. Henry paid everything and it now looks great. All I have to do now is shoot it!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check