Gun Review: Marlin 1895CB in .45-70 Government

Marlin 1895CB (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutgusn.com)

Marlin 1895CB (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutgusn.com)

If you wade into the den of the Dark Lord, bring your guts and a Marlin 1895. The classic lever action rifle has developed a solid following among amateur hunters and professional guides alike. Heck, if someone — anyone — is walking into the field with a big bore lever action rifle, odds are it’s a Marlin 1895.

Sadly, mistakes made after Marlin’s transition to Freedom Group Remington ownership tarnished the reputation of the once sterling brand. Many lever action fans, myself included, turned their back on the new “Remlins”.

Good people, you can turn your faces back to the light. The big bore beauties have been revived, are as good as they ever were, and the new Marlin 1895CB proves it.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

The mid-20th century Marlin is not the original late 19th century Marlin. That’s because the heart of the Marlin lever action center fire rifles changed quite a bit in 1948, with the Marlin 36. The 36 then became the 336 we are all now so familiar with. It’s pretty easy to tell the 19th century Marlins from the later versions.  If you see a big oblong cut-out on the right side of the receiver, it’s a post ’48 model.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

That open receiver housed a round bolt with a corresponding cut for it to travel through the receiver. As opposed to the old model, this allows the 336 to have a good deal more metal surrounding it, and at the same time allows for single round loading. The new 1895 is simply a Model 336, enlarged for the old .45-70 Government caliber and released in 1972. If you are reading reloading data about the modern lever action Marlin, this action is what they are referring to.

The .45-70 load is about the only government I like. The practically ancient black powder cartridge is really at least two, and more like three different cartridges, depending on the firearm it’s used in.

Most reloading manuals will have a “weak” action section, like the Trapdoor Springfield. At this pressure level, generating 1,600 ft/lbs of muzzle energy, the cartridge is capable of taking any game animal in the western hemisphere.

At the far opposite end of the spectrum, you have the Ruger No. 1, probably the strongest action ever created for a hunting rifle. The No 1 in .45-70 Government has been loaded to produce 4,000 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. I can tell you from personal experience, a lightweight Ruger No 1 (7 lbs naked) loaded and fired at this level takes meat on both ends.

Somewhere not quite to that level are the “strong lever actions.” The example of the “strong lever action” in most manuals is the Marlin 1895, made after the 1948 model 336 changes. In this firearm, like the 1895CB, the old workhorse can launch a 320 gr bullet at 1,900 fps, easily surpassing the 3,000 ft/lbs of energy mark, and quite a bit more. With the right bullet, such as those by Garret Cartridges, the Marlin 1895CB is well capable of ethically taking any animal on Earth.

Although the Marlin 1895 shot a buffalo-killing cartridge, it was never one of the buffalo guns. After all, there were less than 100 American Bison free-ranging by the time the first Marlin 1895 was produced. Nor was it really a cowboy gun. It arrived too late in the game for that as well, and the cartridge the great rifle fired was simply out of date by the time the model 336 came out. The .30-30 grossly outsold it (and justly so.)

No, the popularity of the 1895 didn’t really have anything to do with the western expansion or the cowboy age at all. If anything, it was the shorter barreled “guide gun” versions, either custom or from the factory, that really built the 1895’s legacy.

Alaskan bush hunters and their guides needed a shorter rifle that packed a punch, and so many gravitated to the Marlin.  That short barreled (16″-18″) 1895 became synonymous with the Alaskan bush guide’s profession. It also helps that, in the 1970’s and 80’s, there simply weren’t many options for lever action .45-70s to choose from.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

By naming this new rifle the 1895CB (for Cowboy), Marlin is borrowing a bit of mythological nostalgia from its own past, and the reputation of the modern repeater, now legendary for heavy loads in hard country.

Although it has the improved action of the Model 336, the current 1895CB shares a lot of features with the original rifle.

Both the 19th century Marlin and the current CB come with a 26″ blued octagonal barrel. The modern 1895CB has a tapered barrel, and by the time it ends, the .458″ tunnel doesn’t leave much metal left. The result is an easy-handling gun that moves quickly and balances very well, for its length. The traditional Ballard cut barrel has a 1:20 twist, enough to stabilize the heavy 400 to 500 grain flat-nosed bullets.

Directly underneath that barrel is a full-length magazine. That tube holds nine rounds of dinosaur-stomping authority. Folks, if you need more than two, something has gone awry. Consider retreat.

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

The stocks on the CB are a straight grained American black walnut. Most of the post ’48 models of the 1895s I’ve seen, and the majority of the ones currently offered by Marlin, sport the fuller pistol grip style buttstock. Neither grip is more traditional than the other, at least not on the 1895s. Plenty of examples of both styles exist on the 19th century models.

Lever gun aficionados are familiar with the “Marlin red” finish of the wood on the older guns as well as many custom Marlins.  The CB’s stocks are a natural shade of light brown.

The original 1895’s finish came color case hardened, but a blued receiver was available from the factory as well at no additional cost. This is a firearm that looks especially beautiful with a case hardened receiver, but no such option is currently available from the factory. There are a few folks now that can color case harden these guns. This refinishing is not particularly cheap, but worth every penny.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

If you chose to scope your 1895, I would hope that you would not do so for the CB model.  However, if you absolutely must, the Marlin comes drilled and tapped for a rail atop the receiver.

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

There is no rubber butt pad, but instead a hard plastic checkered plate with the Marlin logo. The originals were metal and more curved like the rifle buttstocks of their time. Although the robustness of the metal is appreciated, the flatter plastic butt plate is far more forgiving in recoil. I would have appreciated a rubber butt pad even more, both for comfort in long strings of shooting as well as the additional length of pull.

The lever is a standard narrow style, and it’s blued. Sharp edges on the lever is one of the things I noticed on the Marlin guns immediately after Remington purchased them. No such failing exists on the new 1895CB. Yes, all Marlin levers are more narrow, and therefore a little sharper than some other manufacturers’ guns, but this lever has rounded and polished edges, as it should.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

Unlike the early Marlins, the current generation of 1895s (and 1894s) include a cross bolt safety. It works perfectly, but does spoil a bit of the aesthetic of the receiver. If you should choose, a filler block for the safety is inexpensive and simple to install.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

The sights are also similar to the old models, although several options on the originals were available from the factory. The 1895CB includes a simple drift-adjustable front sight with a brass bead. Like every other modern production rifle with a brass bead front sight, this one works much better with a little bit of hand polishing.

After Marlin fell under the Remington umbrella, a misaligned front sight was one of the most common complaints against the Marlin guns. There was no such issue here. I also had the opportunity to check out quite a few newer Marlin lever action rifles over the last few months at various Cowboy Action Shooting matches. Although most of the guns had significant work done on them to increase their cycle speed, none had any issues with sight alignment.

The rear sight is a traditional ramp-mounted buckhorn version, with a white diamond insert. This design works well for more precise shooting over longer ranges, as well as using the wider portion between the top of the ears for fast shooting at close-in and moving targets.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

Because of the wide variation of loads and uses, the stair-stepped ramp on the rear sight is particularly vital for rifles firing the .45-70 cartridge. For example, a duplicate of the Trapdoor Springfield cartridge requires the rear sight at the highest setting to hit point-of-aim to point-of-impact at 100 yards. The modern 325 grain Hornady LeverEvolution requires the next-to-lowest setting.

Right out of the box, the Marlin has a darn good trigger. There’s very, very little creep or mush. You really have to try to feel for it. The trigger breaks at 4 lbs, 8 oz as the average of five pulls with a Lyman digital trigger scale. Curiously, although the trigger breaks cleanly, there was a 4 oz difference between the highest and lowest weight of those five pulls. I have Marlins with a Happy Trigger kit installed, and some of those guns needed it. This gun does not.

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

There’s no such thing as a buttery smooth Marlin factory action. The 1895 requires a solid tug to get the action open, followed by a strong pull to get it back started home again, and there are a couple of little hitches along the way. I’ve felt this with every factory Marlin of the modern age, no matter who owned the company. A Marlin action can be smoothed out, but it takes someone who really knows what they are doing to make a big difference.

For this review, I paid particular attention to the action. Problems loading and cycling are the issues I have personally witnessed on several of the new generation Marlin rifles. I’ve purchased a Marlin 336 that, right out of the box, would not load and cycle any commercial round I put into it.

This 1895CB has a lifter that lifts just fine and a finger lever that pivots smoothly and without catch. These were some of the previous areas of concern, but the many folks who coaxed me back to Marlin seem to be right. For all of the things that went wrong, Marlin seems to have gotten back to building guns right, and the quality control to keep it consistent.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

With the right bullet, the 1895CB is capable of more precision than most would expect. Recreating the original Trapdoor Springfield load, a 405 grain lead bullet traveling at just about 1,400 fps, the 1895CB produced an average of 2-inch five-shot groups over four-shot strings from a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest at 100 yards.

The standard deviation of these rounds varied widely, as a percentage. The smallest groups measured just over 1.4″, with a cloverleaf pattern. I got lucky with that one, but mild pressures, gooey bullet lube, a bore-sealing lead bullet, and long sight radius is always a great combination for rifle accuracy.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

Stepping up to a more modern loading, the commercial Hornady 325gr FTX LeverEvolution round shot 2.7-inch average groups. In the Marlin, the Hornady round is carrying 1,000 ft/lbs of energy at three hundred yards. Many hunters consider it the new standard for store-bought lever gun performance, and for good reason.

I ran the 1895CB at a local black powder cartridge long-range match, shooting 8″, 12″, and 15″ targets out to 400 yards. For this match, I used 70 grains of GOEX FFg powder under a well lubed 405 grain bullet, and took first place in my division (barrel mounted sights). I guess I should note that I was the only person shooting in my division.

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

For the match and the practice leading up to it, I shot 80 rounds of this load, cleaning the bore fully and blasting the action with Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber spray after rounds 40 and 80. I also shot multiple Hornady commercial cartridges, to include 40 rounds of their 250 grain Monoflex and 60 rounds of the 325 grain FTX cartridges. In addition to these, I fired 20 rounds of Winchester’s 300gr Super-X commercial cartridge. I also shot 100 405 grain Rim Rock bullets with various smokeless loadings at low to moderate velocities.

Other than the black powder loads, I never cleaned the gun at all during the review and I never had any issues loading, firing, or ejecting a round. I shot all of the jacketed rounds after I shot the lead rounds. Out of the box, this is a gun I’d stake my life on.

Marlin 1895CB lever action rifle

Image courtesy JWT for www.thetruthaboutguns.com

Considering the feeling of betrayal I experienced with some previous Marlins, I was hard-pressed to pick up another one in earnest. Too many people who know their lever guns convinced me otherwise, and I’m glad they did. The new production Marlin 1895CB is just as good as any Marlins produced in decades.

Accurate, dependable, and supremely powerful, it also looks pretty good to boot.

For me, this rifle was just too good to turn back in. I bought the gun and I can’t wait to get a Soule sight set for it and get back to the range as well as bear hunting this Fall and Spring.

Specifications: Marlin 1895CB

Caliber: 45-70 Gov’t.
Capacity: 9-shot tubular magazine
Action: Lever action, side ejection, solid-top receiver
Finish: Blued metal surfaces
Safety: Hammer block safety
Stock: American black walnut straight-grip stock
Barrel: 26″ tapered octagon barrel, Ballard-type rifling (6 grooves)
Barrel twist rate: 1:20″
Sights: Adjustable Marbles Arms semi-buckhorn rear sight and Marbles front sight post
Length: 44 1/2″
Length of Pull: 13 3/8”
Weight: 7 lbs.
MSRP: $972.39

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * * *
The blued finish is even and well done for a working gun. The straight-grained walnut stocks are well executed with an even fitment around the metal.

Reliability * * * * *
With any round, commercial or homemade, from 250 grain Hornady Monoflex to 405 grain pure lead and hard cast, from myriad smokeless powders to old-school black, this faithful lever gun ran and ran and ran.

Accuracy * * * * *
As good as anyone can expect with traditional barrel-mounted iron sights and a long sight radius.

Overall * * * * 1/2
I’ll take half a star off for standard wood and a good, but nothing special finish. The truth of it is that this is a great gun, supremely capable anywhere on Earth. Whatever Remington got wrong on Marlin before, they have indeed fixed the production issues with these guns. With the 1895CB, Marlin has reminded us all why these fantastic lever actions gained such a deserved following. Now that Marlin is for sale again, let’s all hope the new owners take those lessons to heart.

comments

  1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

    What was the ft./lb. energy of the hottest loads you shot through it? And was a butt-stock pad necessary? 🙂

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Standing, none of the rounds were particularly bad. But laying prone behind it? Heck yeah I reached for the butt pad.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Never liked using the hotter loads on bench rest either. Guessing not much change in recoil from the other patterns based on the weight listed.

      2. avatar PlinkrBlaster says:

        Great review JW!

  2. avatar John Bryan says:

    The obvious question is how does it compare to the current Henry’s in .45-70?

    1. avatar Ransom says:

      The Henry I’ve had my eye on onky has a 4 round magazine.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        I have never understood that, unless the weight is that mportant? An under barrel magazine tube should be at least as long as it takes to use up the barrel length. Probably doesn’t make much sense to have a tube that stops taking cartridges when only half of one more will fit. Short of that, run the fool thing all the way to the end.

        Especially in any color of bear country.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      I’ve learned the saying “buy once, cry once”, the hard way.

      Go with the Henry.

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I have reviewed a couple of the Henry 45-70s for this website. Absolutely love them. Fantastic guns.

  3. avatar kahlil says:

    In June I bought my first Marlin, .45-70 1895GBL, new. Went back to store for replacement within a week due to issues with feeding and cycling. The replacement was shipped back to Marlin/Remington also at the end of the following week due to similar (not as bad) issues but also problems with the hammer fit and alignment. After several weeks the gun was shipped back to me, filthy (as in the repair shop didn’t even bother wiping it down and cleaning off the handprints and shop grime from the repair. The hammer was replaced but with what appeared to be a used part AND the alignment was still bad. Sent back a second time. This time they decided to replace the gun, which was decided by end of July. For over a month I have been waiting for the replacement. Delay after delay despite them saying once they got the FFL info they’d ship (hint, they lied). I told them I’d give them a couple more weeks but if it wasn’t shipped they’d have to refund the gun as I’ve purchased something that they’ve held hostage all summer long. They said they would set up a refund if needed. For me the “new” Marlin has been a big hot turd. If this one goes back or I get the refund I’ll get a Ruger No 1 or what was my initial plan, a Henry. Never had an issue with any lever guns until this point and my Henry in 45 Colt has ran like a champ since I got it in 2016. I really wanted to like the Marlin but I’ve been stung too many times. Both of the guns, the original from June and the replacement were both brand new, with the replacement being manufactured in 2020.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “I told them I’d give them a couple more weeks but if it wasn’t shipped they’d have to refund the gun as I’ve purchased something that they’ve held hostage all summer long. They said they would set up a refund if needed. For me the “new” Marlin has been a big hot turd.”

      Man, that flat-out *sucks*… 🙁

    2. avatar Jim from LI says:

      The contrast between your experience, similar to that of many YouTube posters, and that of JWT suggests to me that Marlin is capable of building a proper rifle, but they can’t do it predictably so they hold onto the good ones for when they need a ringer to send off to a gun journalist.

    3. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      The problems you describe must be very frustrating. I cautiously bought the 1895 Trapper SBL 45-70 in stainless a year ago February, it is comparable to my older Marlins, superior in some ways. Cycles well, Skinner peeps are accurate, I have been very pleased with it, thankfully. Kicks like mother, but LeveRevolutions shoot best.

    4. avatar Eric Lundgren says:

      I’m curious what you mean by this: ” but also problems with the hammer fit and alignment.” I’m not sure I can think of what problem you could have been experiencing.

  4. avatar hawkeye says:

    I once had a notion to buy a Marlin lever gun, but the recent past reputation put me off, and the earlier good ones were pricey and hard to find, so I pushed that notion way down the list. The Henrys are purty, but all the ones I’ve shouldered just didn’t fit quite right. If the new bosses are getting Marlin back on track, then I may have to give them another look. You make a compelling case, Mr. Taylor.

  5. avatar jwm says:

    I really like the 336 Marlin. Much easier to take apart than the 1894 Winchester.

    If you’ve thumped something twice with a .45-70 and it’s still coming it’s too damn late to run.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Too old to run, too young to die.
      Speaking of running, there’s a goat farm here down in Texas if you need a place to hightail it to.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Thanks. My wife has raised goats. But if I run it will be to Utah. Granddaughters would be angry if I didn’t run to them.

  6. avatar Tim says:

    It’s good to know that Marlin is ‘back’. Great review! I always enjoyed shooting a friend’s 1895, and treasure my 1990s vintage 1894.

    Question… Ever tried Unique in .45-70? There are some loads in an early Lyman Cast Bullet manual, and based on my notes, 12 grains was still subsonic at 1085fps out of a Sharps, and an absolute joy to shoot for plinking in terms of recoil and noise.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      No sir, I have not tried unique in the 4570.

  7. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Thanks for the review. Glad to hear the quality is back for the Marlin marque.

    I prefer round barrels and the older folding rear sight (so I can install a William’s peep).

    But I realize this rifle is targeted at cowboy action shooters.

    Having shot Garrett’s loads and their handloaded equivalent in a 1970s 1895, I can attest to the recoil. 5 round groups quickly become 3 round groups.

    Great rifles….nothing better for getting into action than slim ratchet gun.

  8. avatar Rustybore says:

    ;Very nice review! …Now i want one, sheesh. This review and those like it are why I visit TTAG daily – Thanks!

  9. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    This doesn’t have anything to do with the review. Sorry, I’ll read it later. This is for Tom In Oregon. Thought it might be an article he would read. Tom, prayers for you. Don’t know where you live in Oregon, but hope the fires are not near to you and yours. If you need help later I’m sure the TTAG community will respond.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Appreciate the note. I really do. I’ll toast ya’ll later.
      Streetlights never went off today it stayed so dark. 2 fires within 10 miles of home.
      Not anywhere close to any type of evac order. I seriously doubt it’ll come to that.

      Made the mistake of washing my car this morning. Before it could dry, the ash settled all over everything.

      With the exception of no cell service, we’re fine here.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Tom. Same here. We’ve been in twilight all day. Ash all over everything. Told my wife it looked like something out of a cheap ScyFy movie.

  10. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I prefer the Marlin to everything else out there. Solid top. Easy to install ghost ring sights. No stupid cross bolt safeties, thank you. It’s a lever action!

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Oh! Good review.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Thank you sir.

  11. avatar merlin grayman says:

    ” The example of the “strong lever action” in most manuals is the Marlin 1895, made after the 1948 model 336 changes. ”
    and the modern 1886 brownings and winchesters … both of which are actually stronger than the marlin.

  12. avatar Rick says:

    I love my stainless steel 45-70. It’s really a piece of art. Very accurate and cycles perfectly. My only complaint is that the front sight is tipped off to the right. It’s crooked. Whats up with this?

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Rick, it’s called bent. The number 1 solution is called to “fix it.”

  13. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Great review of a really nice rifle. I’ve got a stainless in .45-70. It’s a really nice thumper. All I did was take it apart and polish anything that touched anything else.

    I was considering taking it to Africa next May. But I think I’ll stick to my Ruger No. 1 in .375.
    Then again, I was looking at some hunts in Namibia where the .470 double will be a better choice. Prices are super cheap right now.

    I still want a Florida gator. A nice 10 footer. The .45-70 should be great for that.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      ‘Choot him, choot him!’

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        CCI has a ‘Troy Landry Special Edition’ .22lr mini-mag with ‘Choot Em!’ on the box :

        https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/cci-mini-mag-high-velocity-troy-landry-special-edition-22lr-plated-lhp-36-grain-300-rounds?a=1786999

        You may be interested since it was the winner of ShootingTheBull410’s NAA Mini-Revolver ammo ‘shoot-out’. I use it in my around-the-neck holster NAA Mini.

        And CCI has a 22 Plinkster special edition ‘Stangers’ with a “22” head stamp instead of the usual “C”…

        1. avatar Matt in SC says:

          Funny you posted that. I bought a TCR-22 earlier this year and just took my son out to shoot it for the first time a few weeks ago. I had a box of that 22 I got from Gander Mountain during the previous great ammo shortage and that’s what I took to shoot. Seemed like good stuff, no ammo failures in the new gun.

          As for the article, nice review! I have a JM stamped 1895 Century LTD I bought new old stock a few years ago. 24(?)” half octoganal barrel, engraved nickel receiver. Only holds 4(!) plus one. It has the curved metal butt plate mentioned in the article. I’ve only shot two loads through it, a 430 “Bear” load that hurts like hell, and a 405 cowboy load that’s a pu&&ycat. I did shoot some LeveRevolution 305 grain loads, but they locked up the action. I had to take the magazine off to get it running again. They seem to have a shorter OAL than the traditional factory rounds that I had.

          “Your comment is awaiting moderation. 

          September 14, 2020 at 20:26”

          ??

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      #jelly

    3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Tom, a 10 foot gator will be tuff. You’ll probably have to find private water for him. Even with the tag system they’ve gotten hard to find. We have one in the big pond that will probably go 12′ but the older he gets the more shy he is. I haven’t checked out the new pond. But the other three old ponds only hold 6 footers. Tops. (The new pond isn’t new. Just new to us since it was absorbed into the farm.) Ray fished it a few days ago last couple of hours of daylight.Eight bass 2-5 lbs. Topwater. He didn’t say anything about gators. But, they’re so common; why would he?

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    “Sharp edges on the lever is one of the things I noticed on the Marlin guns”

    My old Winchester M94 will also have you feeling like Beatrix Kiddo after training on the unpadded shuri makiwara for Pai Mei.

    That means it hurts.

  15. avatar possum says:

    I’d like to have that rifle, but can not afford it. Can not afford it, Can not afford it, Can not afford it,,,,well I tried.

  16. avatar Wally1 says:

    I wish that I could like the newer Marlin lever rifles, However there were three on the rack at my LGS. The first one I handled, I opened the lever and it locked up in the open position, The second felt like It had sand in it and it had machining marks on it. Very disappointed. I only buy the older stamped JM Marlins. They work.

  17. avatar Bill E. says:

    I think a Marbles aperture sight mounted on the top tang would be perfect for one of these except not sure if a) it would fit and b) the recoil would be an issue. Any thoughts?

  18. avatar Craig in IA says:

    I must’ve gotten good 45-70 Guide Guns back when they first offered them. Mine came with the ported barrels but still have the damn crossbolt. I’ve never had any issues with either one over the years but I consider them toys for now. I put in one of Jim West’s extractors and pondered sending mine to him to convert to a Co Pilot. Still have the receipt in the box, cost me $325 tax at the time. The shorter version fits my style and needs better than the rifle versions.

    A couple of side notes- pal of mine bought an off-the-rack Turnbull 1895 standard grade and it, IMO was not worth the money. Stock finish looks like someone laid a rag on it while drying and there is a lot of varnish clogging the checkering. The crossbolt was filled with a metal dowel to conceal the hole but obviously done after all the metal polishing. Either the hole or the dowel is not round- quite a gap can be seen on one side. I don’t think he paid an arm and a leg for the gun but if I was looking for smithing I’d contact West’s Wild West Guns in Anchorage. Not cheap but I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed.

    Another side- I had a Win 94 trapper w/o crossbolt in .44 mag converted to takedown by a fairly local smith using the specs in an old NRA gunsmithing book. Gun was probably $250 new back then and the conversion cost more than the gun but it’s a cool trick. Boken down it’s about the size of a Browning .22 ADT, sneak it in about anywhere. Like I said, I may yet send my Guide Gun off to West sometime in the future. I have no plans to use it to save my life, I’ve got others to use for that. Just like cool things

    Nice write up, John.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Thank you sir.

  19. avatar Jim says:

    I happened to spot a new Marlin 1895 in the gun store the other day and had never handled one so I asked to look at it. Short time later I was taking it home with me.

    I’d heard of the problems Marlin had a few years ago but the one I bought is just great. After cycling the action a few hundred times and a good lube job it’s smoothed up. The wood is not bad at all. First time on the range I shot 50 rounds through it and was impressed by the accuracy and perfect function.

    It may not be as nice as other guns in the category but at just $625 I think it is a great deal.

  20. avatar achmed says:

    Can you get peep sights for the rear sights? Like the Lyman type?

    1. avatar David says:

      XS peeps are available and work well, have a set on my 1895GBL.

  21. avatar Wood says:

    Check out Skinner sights. They do nice thin and tall post sights, as well as receiver top peeps. I have a Marlin CB in .38-55 with a tall skinny front sight and an MVA vernier. I use a flip down sight in place of the buckhorn as a “BUIS” and dovetail filler. This thing is an absolute pleasure to shoot.

    Great review JWT, thank you!

  22. avatar P_Ang says:

    I desperately wanted a 5+1 model 1895BL and pestered my local gunshops for six months. They refused to order one because they didn’t do enough volume with Marlin to order. I finally settled on a 3+1 standard in .45-70. I’ve never had any problems except for the front sight hood, I keep ordering replacements and the stupid “clip on” hoods keep blowing off in the tall grass and getting lost.
    The standard model does have a nice rubber buttpad though. Yes, the LeverEvo rounds still hurt, but I could fire off the Remington 405 grain rounds all day. Too bad Remingtons declared bankruptcy, I don’t know how to reload and I hope to get more easy-shooting ammo!

    1. avatar Wood says:

      Good news is .45-70 is super easy to load for, smokeless and black. Get the 48th edition Lyman reloading manual, it has a section specifically on .45-70. Also “Forty Years with the .45-70” by Paul A. Matthews.

  23. avatar Nanook says:

    I bought the Trapper model in 2019, owned a JM stamped early 2000’s guide gun in 45/70. The Trapper is hands down a better operating gun than the earlier JM model!!!
    I sold the guide gun after figuring the cost of all the mods to make the gun work right for me. The Trapper worked right out of the box, except for highlighting the front sight ramp in fluorescent orange over the white (for snow). I use the Trapper as protection from bears in Alaska.

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