Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

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KirkD
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Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#1 Post by KirkD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:10 pm

One of my boys really likes the Marlin 1895 SBL 45-70 and asked me if it is a good rifle. I love the old Marlins, but I heard there were serious quality control issues more recently. Have these issues been resolved? If my son buys this, is he going to buy a good quality Marlin 45-70? To clarify, it would be a new one from recent production. https://www.marlinfirearms.com/lever-ac ... el-1895sbl
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#2 Post by Pete44ru » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:12 pm

.

Kirk, IME each rifle would need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, for things like mis-aligned sights and various/sundry other issues.

Yes, Remlin had QC issues after Remington bought Marlin, and moved the Marlin manufacturing facilities out of Connecticut - in the process losing the highly-skilled long-time craftsmen who had been making Marlin leverguns for decades (retiring ILO moving).

The QC suffered to the point that Reminton shut down Marlin levergun production totally, until they could work things out/over.

Remington has since re-instituted Marlin levergun production, and reportedly, their QC is much improved (according to the feedback from recent buyers).

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Last edited by Pete44ru on Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#3 Post by Old Savage » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:27 pm

I would want to see the rifle I was buying. I have owned and shot a number of Marlins of various production years.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#4 Post by Sixgun » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:29 pm

Kirk,
Pete 44 and O.S. said it perfectly. As for a shooter, I don't think any of them are bad but when we put the bucks out we also want it to be good looking with attention to detail.......you know, the way all antique guns looked with that nice metal to wood perfection.

I'm in this game quite a bit and I've noticed the QC has come up a million percent since the early days of Rem/Mar. You have to remember that when ordering a gun from a gun shop, they just "pick one out" whether it's from the back room or a distributor so that means that you have to be proactive in your quest for a quality looking gun.....letting them know in advance you will not buy junk.-----6
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#5 Post by AJMD429 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:32 pm

I think he would very likely get a functional rifle, but many have shown cosmetic issues or minor issues that someone knowledgeable about guns can fix themselves fairly easily.

I'm not saying that to excuse poor quality control but I do think if I merely wanted a gun that would function properly I would not be too worried. Even sights that are slightly canted can work perfectly but just looks silly (and of course makes one skeptical that some other issue may be present). I would be replacing the rear sight anyway so a slightly canted front sight is easy to compensate for and should make no more than a tenth of an inch difference and impact out to several hundred yards if you adjust the rear sight properly.

I've bought and traded several Marlins and Rossi's over the past decade, and they seemed roughly equivalent in terms of fit finish and function. Henry's are far more consistently well made, though some feel the design is not quite as ergonomic. I would certainly not hesitate to buy a Henry, but I'm not sure if they have the larger lever loop which I really do like on the SBL.

A more 'vintage' 45-70 like you have would be far better made, but not in the 'carbine' (as in 18.5" barrel) size or with the other features of the SBL, and unless he got one with the collector value already destroyed, modifying one of the older guns would not be a nice thing to do. H could find a 1970's or 80's manufactured one in 45-70 and modify that one I suppose, but I'd just get the SBL unless he demands perfection versus functionality alone.

If he has the money, and wants to buy a lever action rifle that will have perfect fit, finish, and function, and be of heirloom yet rugged quality to hand down for many generations, I would suggest a Big Horn Armory lever action in 454 Casull, 460 Smith & Wesson, or 500 Smith & Wesson; they are in the same ballistic realm.
ImageAt 37" and 7lb, 10oz, the Big Horn Armory 89 is comparable to the 37" 8 lb Marlin SBL 'Guide Gun'.
I also prefer the more durable matte nitride-on-stainless finish. Adding a scope rail/base of choice would be no problem. The magazine capacity of 7 rounds also is nice versus my old Guide Gun if use against fang, claw, or violent criminal were needed, but the SBL at least brought the Marlin up from four to six.

In addition, regardless of whether it is rational or not, I feel more confident that the Model 89, designed around a 60,000 psi cartridge, is less likely to kaboom than a Marlin 336, designed for a 30-30 sized cartridge at 42,000 psi that is reamed out for a hugely bigger diameter 28,000 psi round that we are pushing up to 'Marlin' levels but have to avoid 'Ruger' levels.....too many variables for me.

I have an older 'Guide Gun' I got for about a third the cost of the BHA 89, and it is great for stashing behind a truck seat and using 'cowboy' loads of modest pressure (which are fine for most everything I need), however.....if I could only have one levergun it would be my BHA model 89 in 500 S&W; the second would be my 1980 vintage Marlin 1984CL in 32-20. Between those two everything from squirrels to moose is covered.
Last edited by AJMD429 on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#6 Post by KirkD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:27 pm

Thanks for the feedback thus far, men. Much appreciated.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#7 Post by 3leggedturtle » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:35 pm

We had 2 30/30's and 1 45/70, they seemed ok to me. Guys that bought haven't come back to complain, so that's a good sign. If I was gonna buy another 45/70 lever it would be Henry. Todd/3leg
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#8 Post by Old Savage » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:55 pm

Addressing the fit and finish of late. I have seen a few in the Gun Shop that I would buy.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#9 Post by claybob86 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:50 pm

Old Savage wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:55 pm
Addressing the fit and finish of late. I have seen a few in the Gun Shop that I would buy.
Same here. The ones I've looked at over the past year or so looked pretty darned good.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#10 Post by .45colt » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:20 pm

From what I have seen at various shops and sporting goods stores there is No Way I would buy a new one unless I could really give it a detailed exam. some of the repeated problems Members on Marlin owners report makes Me nut's. I have six Marlins the newest one was built in '09. As much as I like Marlins if I were going to spend big $$$ I would look at one side by side with a new Henry. At least if there is a problem they are all over it. because of Your posts on this forum around '08 Kirk I picked up a Marlin CL 32-20. Thanks for all the excellent posts over the years.

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#11 Post by KirkD » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:17 pm

Thanks for all the input men. I sure appreciate it.

.45Colt, I had one of those Marlin CL 32-20 on order as soon as I saw they were going to produce one way back in the late 80's. I waited up here in Canada for a year and finally cancelled my order, with regret. It seems like it has turned out to be a nice little varmint rifle.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#12 Post by Old Savage » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:01 pm

Well Kirk, I also wanted one of those 32-20s but ended up with a 25-20.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#13 Post by Paladin » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:31 pm

Kirk, for your family I would be willing to part with an Old 1895 I got in 1984 on a trade for machinegun parts. I was going to send it to Alaska to be made into a Co-Pilot but while in Afghanistan got a used one from a member here. It is in GREAT SHAPE and I have never fired it. Let me know if you want photos (I will try to do as well as you). I just had it in my hands today unpacking another box from the last two moves. Took a couple of photos with a pocket camera in the sunlight. It has Ballard rifling in it in excellent shape. There are marks from use on the stock but it did come from an old guy in Richwood WV.
Image
Image
Not a great photo but from a pocket camera, are these not Ballard Rifling? The MICRO Grove were smaller I thought.
Image
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#14 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:50 am

That's a nice offer, Paladin.

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#15 Post by piller » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:07 pm

My Stainless Guide Gun from about 2005 is one of my favorite guns. I smoothed the chatter marks in the channels on the bolt and slicked it up nicely. A Dremel tool with a felt wheel and some polishing compound worked wonders. I was cautious, and it took a lot of time. The marks are still visible, but the rough tops are polished off and the drag when cycling it has been reduced by about 5 foot pounds of pressure. Time and wear will probably finish the job to make it nearly perfect.

If he gets a new one, inspect it carefully. I bought a Henry Survival Rifle, and didn't notice a bent barrel. An e-mail to Henry and it has a new barrel. Other things can be more difficult to fix.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#16 Post by AJMD429 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:13 pm

piller wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:07 pm
The marks are still visible, but the rough tops are polished off and the drag when cycling it has been reduced by about 5 foot pounds of pressure.
That's cool...!

How do you measure that...? A trigger-pull gauge...???
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#17 Post by piller » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:22 pm

A 5 pound weight and a bent wire. At first the 5 pound weight would not move the lever. Afterwards, a 1 pound weight would move it all the way open. The arc that the end of the lever moves through is nearly a foot along the outside of the curve. Not very scientific, but it gives a good idea of how much drag the poor quality machine work left behind. I don't have a 6 pound weight, and I did use the 5 and 1 pound weights together. They barely opened the action at first. About an inch of lever movement.
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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#18 Post by KirkD » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:50 am

Paladin wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:31 pm
Kirk, for your family I would be willing to part with an Old 1895 I got in 1984 on a trade for machinegun parts.


Paladin, I just saw this. That is the perfect 1895 in my mind, especially with the Ballard rifling. Thank you for your offer. I'll send you a PM when I get back home from church. I teach the high school kids and I can't be late for my class (got to set a good example for the next generation). :)
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#19 Post by .45colt » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:28 pm

That is the exact one I was going to suggest you look for Kirk. A local shop has the same Marlin, Ballard rifling , has had very fine porting job, and a recoil pad added. To work the action is like ice on Teflon . if I didn't already have two 45-70's I would have already bought it.

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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#20 Post by Old Savage » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:38 pm

I would be very surprised if the rifling in 1984 was Ballard. They changed to that in the late 1990s. I bought one in 1997 that had Micro groove, very accurate BTW. I bought another in 2000 that had Ballard. This is also accurate but not quite to the degree as the first. Micro shoots cast fine as long as the bullets are oversize.


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Re: Need input on the new Marlin 1895 SBL

#21 Post by KirkD » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:17 pm

Paladin, PM sent.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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