Marlin, yep that one

A little news. I know this is sixguns, but really if you’re an American with any sense of history, you know the name Marlin. If you also have been following the ups and downs, well mostly downs of the fortunes of the Marlin company, it’s been a sad destruction every step of the way.
Why should we care?
First of all, Marlin was one of the innovators that brought the lever action successfully into the hands of those who needed them, and this design remains relevant today. More than any other, it was Marlin that brought the power of the 45-70 cartridge into the repeating rifle, and until their takedown, they offered the quintessential modern levergun in that configuration.
Secondly, American traitors, aka “woke” types, absolutely hate America’s firearms tradition, and work tirelessly to “cancel” it. This alone is enough reason to care if Marlin lives.
Third, Marlin has been fully, and completely reassembled, under the able umbrella of Ruger. Ruger understands America, and their dedication to traditional arms is second to none. If anyone, anywhere can reverse the tailspin of the last several years, it is Ruger.
The word is that the first Marlin to roll out of this new Ruger tutelage will be, yes, the 1895, in of course, 45-70.
Fitting.

11 Likes

@MAK Very much on point. :+1:

10 Likes

I am hoping that Ruger will make Marlin into the company that it had been in the past and not just another gun line in the Ruger lineup.

9 Likes

Picked up a used but unfired Guide Gun 45 70 with 2 boxes of shells last fall. Guy bought it, but then thought better of firing it. Think it is the base model “1895G”. Very nice furnature, fit, and finish. Still setting around unfired, might donate it to the Elmer Keith Shoot next year, Long guns/ non semi-auto are the only guns you can transfer here in WA without a waiting period. We use to use revolvers and 1911’s as raffle, auction and prize guns but that became a real PITA last year.

8 Likes

Al, your gun there is the 1895 G. The G has the short barrel, and was the original guide gun configuration which literally revolutionized the levergun. Yours looks to be a later model, after Marlin eliminated the ports, due to a hugely vocal minority.
Very nice gun, will handle bullet weights in excess of 500 grains. It’s probably good that we live in different states, because if I was closer, I might get to thinking, and that is always dangerous.
In terms of what Ruger has in store for Marlin, it is definite and transparent that Ruger is the parent company, however all the machinery, spare parts, and computer technology are apparently being organized under one roof. This is, to my understanding, the new Marlin facility, not one being shared. Maybe I’m just being hopeful here, but it certainly seems that Ruger is interested in Marlin being Marlin. Honestly, I hated it when Remington bought Marlin, although just before the bankruptcy, they were turning out fine guns once more, but with the realities of America being hijacked by foreign nationals, woke traitors, and criminal liars, up to and including the highest levels, I can’t see Marlin surviving without Ruger. Now that we have gov’t computer jocks ignoring the law to cook up whatever fantasy regulation that holds their current short attention spans, it takes an entity with significant clout to hold them off.
Let’s not ignore the fact that Ruger has, in the past, listened to America. If you have something constructive to say, say it, just make sure it has something actionable in it.

8 Likes

@MAK

Good eye for id’ing guns. It took me a few tries and I finally got it - the regular 1895 has a curved lever whereas the G model is straight. Of course, there is the longer barrel on the regular model, but hard to tell in a picture.

Both are nice guns to have and shoot.

And agreed, Marlin needs Ruger. And, it looks like they are upping the ante on their Marlin lever actions (ie - making them nicer, but at a much higher price). Hope you have at least $1,000 budget for your next Marlin lever action - you will need it!

7 Likes

Well, no, I’m not any Mr. Moneybags, so most likely the new Marlins won’t be for someone like me, but that’s not the point, the issue here, at least the way I see it, is the survival of Marlin.
Yes, there is, or at least there was an 1895 variant that featured the pistol grip, and the 22" barrel. Just before the belly up position was assumed by Remington, there was a version of this model that I tried really hard to find to no avail. This was a run of 444s that featured a way faster 1-20" rifling twist, instead of the more common 1-38". What this meant was this version was finally heavy bullet practical. Over the hill levergunners like me just about break into song when we can load heavy for caliber bullets in our leverguns, because heavy bullets tend to shoot right through stuff that needs shooting.
It’s really the high tech guys with bolts, and some semi autos that never get enough velocity-and concomitant muzzle blast. Old levergunners who can just about see the happy hunting ground from where they’re at, aren’t too concerned about velocity, because they know it’s all in the bullet.

7 Likes

@MAK

So, you are really looking for a lever action in .444 Marlin? I heard that caliber is making a bit of a comeback. Not sure if it will stick, but who knows. I don’t recall any seriously heavy (300 grain and up) bullets in that caliber, though. But, .45-70, yeah, some bullets over 500 grains.

Well, good luck finding what you are looking for. A friend of mine has been looking for a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 for a while now. He hasn’t bought one, so either he did not find it, or only in too-high prices.

5 Likes

Yes John, but with one caveat;
I am not interested in slow twist guns, which are the vast majority available.
Simply put, I don’t have the money, or the time to buy a slow twist gun, and wait for two or three years for a rebarrel, crown, chamber cut to bring it up to proper spec. I know of people who have done this, and they are quite happy with their results, but honestly, with current conditions, you may be just throwing your project to the wind.
There were very few factory runs of fast twist guns, probably less than half a dozen, in a variety of models. The only way to tell for sure is to actually examine the gun.
This probably sounds nuts to most people. Why bother? Well, because the 444 Marlin is actually two different cartridges, depending on that rifling twist. The slow twist guns are-for leverguns-high velocity standard bullet weight guns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, the cartridge does work well with 240-270 grain bullets clipping along at 2K. BUT, it absolutely places 44 cal bullets under stresses they were never designed for. To get the most out of this kind of load you need an extremely tough jacketed bullet, even the XTP will drop it’s jacket too easily, meaning you’re stuck with top of the price range premium bullets if you want to do more than knock over bowling pins.
If, on the other hand, you need a gun to stop speeding pickup trucks, you cannot do without the fast twist. Garrett Ammunition proved the concept of a super heavyweight 44 cal bullet in all manner of difficult situations. The same goes double for the 444.
Yes, I know that some have stabilized heavy pills in slow twist guns, but I’d like to know if their efforts have been pressure tested-ever. Handloading is a science, and using up a guns safety margin for the necessary velocity to make heavy bullets work is bad science. Take a look around, we have bad science everywhere today, and it’s leading us to very ugly places.
All you need is a 1-20" twist, and you can avoid the nonsense. Problem is, they’re pretty hard to find.

7 Likes

@MAK

I am a big fan of faster twist rates (within relevant range of twist rates for the caliber). In fact, I have even called Marlin to complain about their slow twist rates on their .44 mag 1894 lever action rifles (1:38 twist rate). I told them that when they bring the twist rate down to around 1:20, I would buy at least one, maybe more, of their .44 mag 1894 lever actions. The main person I talked to said that they thought their twist rate was fine and did not need adjusting - despite my comments.

I am no twist rate expert, but pretty sure 1:38 is/was too slow, especially for the heavier .44 mag bullets.

On the other hand, I believe the twist rate on their model 336 in .30-30 is appropriate (1:10, I think). So, it should be fine and not so hard to find.

Trying to find a very limited edition gun will take a lot of time, and probably a lot of money, too. Are you sure it is worth all that? Why not just find out which regular production rifles have the twist rate you seek and select from them?

6 Likes

The faster twist rates were in standard production guns, nor were they ever labeled or marked as such. For example, when Marlin introduced the Guide Gun, they had a 444 version that initially featured a much faster, 1-20" rifling twist. I’m honestly not certain at all how many of these guns went out to distributors before the rifling rate was changed back to 1-38". There was no fanfare, no announcement concerning this feature. I daresay few even knew.
Marlin, under the Remington umbrella did a final run of 1-20" guns. I know of one person who managed to get his hands on one, and it does exactly what one would expect, but again, no announcement I ever saw mentioned this, it was purely word of mouth. I never found any 444s around here, much less the fast twist version. Lots of 30-30 guns, a few in 45-70, but zero 444 models.
I pretty much got the same response from whoever wrote me back years ago when people still actually wrote letters, saying that rifling was already decided, and they didn’t figure on changing those decisions. I guess it would have been taken as combatitiveness to write them back and remind them they already did change the twist rates several times.
Anyhow, I really would like the pistol grip stock, the fast twist rifling, in the 22" barrel.
To my way of thinking, the 444 in heavy bullets has some significant advantages over larger caliber guns, including reduced recoil. This is not to say that recoil is insignificant, just that it isn’t quite as shoulder dislocating as super heavyweights in 45-50 caliber. Trajectory also favorably compares, and penetration is in the ’ no problem’ category.
Personally, I just don’t have a use for slow twist rifling. I don’t shoot in SASS, nor do I stick to factory ammunition. If slow twist is all that’s available, I’ll just pass. It’s not like my needs are standard, so I don’t expect it to be something that walks up and says hello. Call it a quest, if you will. One of those things that just keeps whispering in the back of the mind.

6 Likes

How can you tell if it has the fast twist? Is it stamped on the barrel or is there a serial number range ?

4 Likes

Put a piece of electrical tape like a flag on your cleaning rod 12 inches from the end of a jag. Then put a dry, patch on the jag, and put your cleaning rod into your barrel from the business end. Slowly push the jag down the bore counting the times the flag goes around until it touches the crown, there you go.

5 Likes

Yep, flagging a cleaning rod with a brush works as well, it just has to be a good enough fit to follow the rifling, and no, there is no information that I am aware of to match serial numbers and rifling, but it is a good question.
I don’t think there are even any records on which models received Ballard rifling, vs. which ones had microgroove rifling. I know a few early 444s had microgroove, but in terms of serial number range, it’s anyone’s guess.

5 Likes

I may be wrong, but the way I understand it the rod would turn less then 1/3 rotation (113 degrees) moving 12" with 1:38 twist rate (Rod would need to travel 38" to give one rotation, or am I thinking backwards?) It would turn a little over 1/2 (216 degrees) rotation 1:20. That method will give you some idea but you would need some way to clock the rod to get an accurate result. A possible modification to this procedure would be to measure the distance it takes to rotate the rod 1/4 turn, (in the 1:38 case the rod would travel 9.5") multiply rod distance by 4, give you a pretty accurate twist measurement. Maybe I am all screwed up, wouldn’t be the first time…

6 Likes

You’re right. It has been years since I had to do this. My apologies for being an idiot. Count inches not revolutions.

When I had to do this back then it was with 308s. For a .308 in 1:12 it will make 1 one revolution. A .308 in 1:10 it will make 1 revolution in 10", thus the flag should be back at the 12:00 position in 10 inches of travel. A 1:20 should be at 6:00 position in 10 inches, or 12 o’clock in 20 inches of travel.

6 Likes

The way you put it makes it sound pretty clear.
If your twist rate is less then your barrel length it is easy. If twist is more then barrel length, need some math.

6 Likes

CLEANING ROD TWIST MEASUREMENT

  1. Cleaning rod with end that firmly engages rifling + some type of tape that registers a pen mark + yardstick or tape measure. Helpful= some means of holding the gun still, including but not limited to a buddy with steady hands.
  2. start the rod from whichever end is available. Muzzle is always available, but all precautions against beating up the crown must be observed. Tape a ring on the rod and make a clear mark on the tape that matches barrel end.
  3. using another piece of tape near the handle, watch for one complete revolution of the cleaning rod. When you get there, place another ring of tape on that spot and recheck. At the point where one full revolution is achieved, which should now have tape on it, make a mark exactly like the muzzle indicator.
  4. remove cleaning rod. If you did it right you should have two rings of tape with two clear pen marks. It’s now a simple matter to measure the the number of inches between the two marks. That distance closely follows the rifling twist. Thus, using our previous example, a 1-20" twist in a 22’ barrel, the distance between the two tape marks will measure 20".

NOTE
In the case of a twist rate that does not accomplish a complete rotation within the barrel, it will be necessary to determine if 1/2 of a full rotation can be achieved. In some black powder guns the twist rate is too luxuriously slow to get to 1/2 rotation, at which point the fraction of twist available will have to be determined for the correct math to be applied.
Hopefully, it is possible to achieve 1/2 rotation, at which point the measurement is simply doubled to arrive at the correct rate. E.g.; in a Marlin 20" barrel it is found that half of a full rotation is achieved at the 19" Mark. 19 + 19 =38. Thus your gun has a 1-38" rate of rifling twist.

7 Likes

Sounds the same as figuring axle (gear) rotation manually

4 Likes

I probably should point out here that the factory rates of twist work great with most factory ammunition. Factory ammo follows a clear pattern of offering correct bullet weights and correct velocities to match your gun. This isn’t by chance, there is a lot of work and math behind this achievement.
Add to that the plethora of different loads, and anyone who shoots even moderately popular firearms should be able to find a suitable factory load.
My situation is completely different. Sticking with the thread, if I am going to load 325 hard cast bullets in the 444, I am either going to have to load them myself, or find someone who will. There is no factory ammunition utilizing such a component. Furthermore, as a non standard loading, it only works best with a faster rate of twist. Such a search for this esoteric level of application comes from long experience with the little recognized virtues of the lever action rifle.
The levergun, in my experience, is best as a fast shooting, handy arm when combined with maximum knockdown power. It really is more of a hammer than a rapier. There have been attempts, with the 50 Beowulf and others, to turn the AR into this type of gun. Sort of like reinventing the wheel.
Maybe at some point we will discuss the 30-30, which is the exception to this rule, but my 444 interest definitely falls squarely into the category of Hammer.

6 Likes