You may recall that TTAG scribe Chris Dumm and I had some “issues” with the 1894c’s Marlin sent us for our competing project guns (retro-funky vs. Cowboy Assault Rifle). In specific, my unfired lever action 1894c broke in two (the stock and the action had a dramatic parting of the ways). Chris’s 1894c had some oaf marks on the screws and various other fit and finish problems. Before posting the pics and video of the unintentional folding-stock lever gun, I pinged Marlin’s spinmeister for comment. She demurred, pending contact with the appropriate product managers. So I pressed play on the Marlin brand slam and called my main man Lew at Grizzly Custom Guns, to whom the 1894c was supposedly headed . . .
Lew said a split stock Marlin lever gun was rare, but not unknown. That’s down to the fact that the stock slots into the action via two protruding tabs. The metal is then tightened on either side of the tabs to “pinch” the stock onto the action, holding it in place. Except when it doesn’t.
Lew’s looking at creating some kind of bolt to improve the stock’s reliability. Note: Marlin’s had since 1894 to perfect the 1894’s design.
I asked Lew if we could forgag [sic] the whole wooden stock thing, given that we’re building a lever action rifle with all kinds of non-Western gear. Hogue had turned us down, but surely we could fit some kind of synthetic stock? I could hear Lew shaking his head all the way from Montana.
“I can get a synthetic stock from DON’T YOU DARE MENTION THE NAME but they’re not worth a damn. It’ll take me $800 in labor to put it right and then you’ll do your article and everyone will want one and I don’t even want to think about going there.
“We’re going to refinish [in the case of the fore-end finish] the stock anyway. Why don’t you have Marlin send you a new stock and ship the whole thing to me and we’ll sort it out here?”
Marlin PR didn’t like that idea. They wanted to inspect the 1894c, rather than provide a new stock. Fair enough. They said they’d send a mailing label for the gun’s return (not via email, they’re not set up for that). So, can you send me a replacement rifle? Sorry, the product is back-ordered again. Hear that? That’s me resisting the urge to make a snarky remark.
Suffice it to say, a package from Henry Repeating Arms arrived today. Inside: a Henry-branded rifle bag for the Big Boy they’re sending to my FFL. By way of contrast, the Marlin arrived surrounded by styrofoam in an unreinforced cardboard box without any case, and then broke before I fired a single bullet. So far, Marlin’s got nothing to say about it.