Ruger Announces the Return of the Marlin 1894 Lever Action Rifle

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Many, many moons ago, we reviewed the Marlin 1894C chambered in .357 magnum. It didn’t go well. That was back in the baddest of the bad old days of the Cerberus-owned Freedom Group conglomerate. They’d bought Marlin in 2008 and shut down its New Haven plant in 2011, moving production to Remington’s facility in Ilion, New York.

The only problem was, relocating the machinery and laying off nearly everyone who knew how to make a Marlin rifle was bad for for overall product quality. Very bad. It took the Freedom Group years to work out all the kinks and, in the process, they did a lot of damage to the venerable brand’s reputation for quality and dependability.

Fortunately, Freedom Group is a thing of the past…one that literally no one misses. At all. Even more fortunately, an iconic American brand like Marlin is now in the hands of Ruger, a company that isn’t an investment bank and actually knows a thing or two about building quality firearms.

It’s been very nice to see the company gradually reintroduce Marlin’s most popular lever action rifles again to the American gun buyer. And because Ruger’s making the decisions now — not some asshat portfolio manager in New York — buyers can once again rely on the brand’s name and quality.

The latest model to make its reappearance is the Marlin 1894. Here’s Ruger’s announcement . . .

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. is proud to announce the reintroduction of the Marlin Model 1894 Classic chambered in .44 Rem Mag. The Model 1894 Classic retains the traditional characteristics that made this a truly iconic rifle.

“We’re very excited to introduce our first Ruger-made Marlin Model 1894,” said Ruger President and CEO, Chris Killoy. “We have spent many months working to make this rifle the best it can be.”

Chambered in .44 Magnum, the Model 1894 Classic sports a beautifully finished American black walnut straight stock and forend. The clean and crisp checkering accentuates both the aesthetics and utility of this carefully crafted rifle.

Richly blued and featuring a square finger lever, this alloy steel rifle is equipped with a 20” cold hammer-forged barrel with standard six-groove rifling and a 1:20” twist rate. Also capable of shooting the lighter-recoiling .44 Special, the Model 1894 is equipped with a tubular magazine that will accept 10 rounds of .44 Magnum ammunition, or 11 rounds of .44 Special.

“Our focus continues to be on quality,” continued Killoy. “We remain committed to making firearms worthy of John Marlin’s legacy. The fit and finish of this rifle is reminiscent of what was produced by Marlin craftsmen in New Haven, CT many decades ago.”

The Ruger-made 1894 Classic is marked “Mayodan, NC,” bears a “RM” or Ruger-made serial number prefix, and features the red and white “bullseye” in the stock.

Additional models in different calibers and configurations will be released throughout the coming year. Due to the anticipated strong demand and the limited quantity of Ruger-made Marlin lever-action rifles, Ruger encourages retailers to contact their distributors for availability and advises consumers not to leave deposits with retailers that do not have confirmed shipments.

To stay up-to-date on future Marlin announcements and learn more about the Marlin Model 1894 Classic, visit, or

The acquisition, ownership, possession and use of firearms is heavily regulated. Some models may not be legally available in your state or locale. Whatever your purpose for lawfully acquiring a firearm – know the law, get trained and shoot safely.


Caliber: 44 Rem Mag / 44 Special
Capacity: 10/11
Stock: American Black Walnut
Front Sight: Brass Bead with Hood
Rear Sight: Semi-Buckhorn
Weight: 6.4 lbs.
Barrel Length: 20.25″
Overall Length: 37.75″
Length of Pull: 13.63″
MSRP: $1,239

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  1. The price for a Marlin has gotten insane. $1200 for a Lever Gun chambered in a pistol cartridge? That is double what it was just a few years ago. You can get semi auto rifles for half that price.

    • Lever actions either stayed the same or went up in price over the last decade while ARs have largely dropped through the floor. If it works reliably it will compete with Henry and Winchester, if not it may see a price drop rather quickly.

      • Lever actions have gone up while ARs went down in price.

        Ruger’s typically sell for around 75% of their MSRP. Therefore, I’d expect a street price of under $1000 (maybe $900) for this after a year or so. The Rossi lever action can be had for $600-700, but I’m sure the Ruger-Marlin will be nicer.

        All that said, Ruger needs to bring back the Marlin rimfires even though they compete with the 10/22. I generally prefer to tube fed Marlin 60 to the 10/22.

        • Full MSRP for most of NY till at least Fulton county towards Syracuse area then you may see a drop (gotta love AWB economics) agree on the 22s as options are always good to have.

    • Figure an old Henry back then cost between $30-50.
      Most inflation calculators only go back to the early 1900’s and even then $40 is worth $1,200 in todays money.

      Sort of puts your salary in perspective.

      • Before 1937(ish?) an ounce of gold was $20, so by the gold standard a $ in the early 20th century was worth nearly $100. I don’t doubt that rifles like this Marlin are more accessible to the average guy today, but our our expectations have risen greater than our pocketbooks. That and inflation is taxation.

    • And once upon a time a convertible was less than a hardtop. Batteries were for starting cars not for pretend propulsion. And the US AG at least pretended to be honest and nonpartisan. The Easter Bunny played poker with Bigfoot.

      • Until Bigfoot got cheating and the Easter Bunny went all Energizer off on him. If you happen to spot a Bigfoot walking with a limp, well yeah hes a card cheat.

    • It depends on what you want. Yes. If all you’re doing is a militia style load out the cheaper AR is fine. But shooting should also be recreational and fun. And cover a variety of firearms.

      I want a lever action .357 to match my Ruger GP100. No valid reason. Just because. The Winchester I looked at sold for about the same price. I would rather have a Ruger backed Marlin. Maybe they’ll come out with .357.

      P,S. Everybody should have at least one evil black rifle. It pisses the fascist left off.

      • Why only one?

        “If less is more, imagine how much more more is!”

        – Frasier Crane

        • “If less is more, imagine how much more more is!”

          *Snicker*… 😉

      • jwm,

        I am also keenly interested in acquiring a lever-action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum.

        Time will tell whether or not I actually acquire one.

        • Same. Just picked up a 1975 S&W Highway Patrolman Model 28-2 yesterday, they’d make a damn good pairing.

        • The link was useless, all it leads to is a red ‘X’ and:

          “You must be logged-in to do that.”

          *Grrrrrrrrrr*…. 🙁

      • I have wanted the 1894 marlin in 357 with an octagnol barrel. Ruger is awful proud of their Marlins . My Security Six with 6 in. barrel will mate up good with this rifle. Considering what a dollar is actually worth, i guess it’s price is understandable.

        • “My Security Six with 6 in. barrel will mate up good with this rifle.”

          Better be careful, you might end up with them having an SBR and you’ll have to register it… ;-/

        • Love the Security Six, to me it’s way better than my GP100. My wife is lights out with our old SS, used to be my Dad’s til he keeled over.

      • “I want a lever action .357 to match my Ruger GP100.”

        This is exactly what I want. What I really want, specifically, is a new 1894 CSBL. Ruger has done something almost exactly like it in the 1895, so maybe they’ll do it for the 1894 as well.

      • Would love to get a 357 and a 44 to match my Rugers but bunch of other bills and upgrades come first. Hoping to see more options when the budget catches up in a year or 3.

    • You can also buy a 12 pack of canned cokes for the price of one glass bottle coke. And yet the glass still sells.
      There’s a price to nostalgia, and some are willing to pay.

    • yeah, these used to be cheap guns…it was the essence of their appeal…with that gone, it’s hard to see it gaining a significant share of the market….

    • That’s about where the value is for me, providing the lever is quality like these Marlins are supposed to be.

  2. When I was a younger yute, I worked several years for a company that had been founded way back in the 1950s and was a juggernaut in its industry. As is often the case, the original founder put in his blood, sweat, and tears to establish it and oversee its growth. After three decades, he passed it down to his adult son, who (somewhat) shared his father’s vision for the company and helped it to maintain its position and grow a bit further.

    Only a few years after I left that company in my journey up the career trail, that son sold to an outside investment firm and handed the reins to new management who had no relationship with the original family or vision, and within the amazingly short span of only three years, set out upon one blunder after another leading to the eventual demise and closure of the company entirely. Literally half a century of prosperity, and it was wiped out by a new owner that didn’t know what it was doing.

    I imagine the gun manufacturing industry isn’t immune to that. I hope Marlin rises from the ashes in good fashion…

    • To buy a the gunms that were made and bought 60 years ago a riffle would cost $7000

    • Remember the idea behind the first Ruger 6 gun was an affordable 22 cal pistol for the average working man, way cheaper in price than the Colt. Seems that Ruger has forgotten the affordable ideal.

    • The new owner started out with eyes on the pension plan – he knew what he was doing.

  3. Some u-tube “expert” will let the world know if the new boss is the same as the old boss…MSRP equates to an AP-308 build.

  4. A major blunder, not threading that barrel so a suppressor could reside there, *especially* for a .44 caliber.

    A locked-action like that gun just CRIES for subsonic loads and a can.

    *Sobbing*… 🙁

    • I could see threaded lever action barrels (as well as #1,#3 and contenders) have standard threaded options very quickly after suppressors are deregulated.

        • LOL will do especially when I was told the same thing about Bruen removing intermediate scrutiny years ago. Full auto from vending machines is probably not going to happen but deregulation of short barrel rifle/shotgun, suppressed, and opening the machine gun registry are certainly possible. First off need to kick the carry and awb in the teeth (start local) but good to have intermediate term goals.

    • Here here, I want a .44 mag lever gun, but it must be threaded, and it must have a wood stock.

  5. haz, i have similar hopes. by all appearances ruger will be a good steward, so far they’ve come out of the gate with well received margers (ruglins?).
    no need for that much barrel length, a peep sight will give you enough distance. my 94ae trapper is supposedly 1:37″ twist, i’ve only tossed 180 and 240 down it but read it won’t stabilize 300+ gr. it’s said that was rectified in the moroku models. the (jm) marlins also have faster rate.
    this being 1:20 it should be good to go for the heavy slugs.
    now i’m gonna look up henry’s.

    • tshhoa.p.jr,

      I was thinking about twist rate at one point. Being able to shoot 320 grain .43 caliber pills is a very NICE option–especially if you hand load and create a load tailored for that long barrel.

      As it stands, I believe that my .44 Magnum rifle will only stabilize bullets up to 240 grains. Nevertheless, 240 grain bullets with a muzzle velocity upwards of 1,600 feet-per-second are absolutely deadly on white-tailed deer out to 100 yards. And it doesn’t matter if the deer is standing perfectly broadside or quartering–the bullets ALWAYS pass through.

      If your quarry is white-tailed deer and all of your shots are within 100 yards, .44 Magnum in a rifle platform is second to none–especially in brushy areas where those heavy bullets tend to plow right through twigs without a huge change in trajectory.

      • works well. i knew not of twist rates when i acquired mine. the .444 handles anything heavier, and uses the same diameter freedom seeds.

  6. I imagine threaded and stainless models are on the horizon. I’ll wait for a stainless 45 colt with a threaded barrel to match my Trapper before I lay down money, but when that comes, I will be first in line.

  7. Quality? We’ll see how they work out in time.
    Price of over a grand for a design that’s been around for over a century? Why? Sorry Ruger, Winchester, or Henry. There is no reason, nor the demand for lever guns costing twice the price of a basic AR.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the lever guns. I own a couple well loved and used examples.
    My first center fire rifle that I purchased was a second/third who knows how many hands, lever action rifle. Been at least 1 in my collection for 60 years. Handy, light, reasonable accurate, easy to shoot and operate. Used to be reasonably priced for some farm boy or kid starting out hunting.

    • Lever actions really have gotten spendy. So have all the combloc and other milsurp weapons. When I graduated high school (early 90s) SKS rifles and Makarov pistols were super cheap, fun, and reasonably effective. Now all of them have gotten really expensive.

      On the other hand, these days “farms boys and kids starting out hunting” can pick up inexpensive but accurate and effective bolt guns (like Savage Axis) for about $300, or build a basic PSA AR15s for about $400. There are also a lot of decent and reasonably priced polymer pistols out there (G3C, Security 9, Shield). They can grab a Rossi RS22 plinking rifle for about $100, a Ruger Wrangler for under $200. and a Heritage Rough Rider cheaper than that. There are also inexpensive but decent shotguns (like Maverick 88) out there.

      There always seem to be some good deals if you look for them. Right now isn’t the time for the best deal on a lever gun.

    • In this case Quality should really be “redesigned for manufacturability and modern production”.

      I have every expectation that Ruger looked at every single drawing of every single part, and re-drew it in a modern 3D CAD program, and actually did a tolerance analysis to make sure the parts fit together.

      • ” Gee, I wish (fill in the blank) would bring back the (fill in the blank), I’d be first inline to buy it. ”
        Except when they discover that shaped and finished Walnut is more expensive than molded plastic, same as barrels and receivers that are produced by everyone and his kid brother, an action that requires fitted linkages instead of running off of barrel farts, and OMG !!, etc., etc.
        Now it becomes “look at what those greedy bastards are charging for that archaic POS !! No Way that I’m gonna buy one….. “

  8. Offer it with a 16″ barrel, no muzzle break. Keep the straight black walnut stock w/straight grip. Loose the checkering. No cross bolt safety. Firearms cost what they cost today. I only ask the manufacturers make them worth the price.

    • safety not mentioned? i don’t see cross block. hate the one on my u.s.repeating arms. will delete it someday. henry’s don’t have them.
      agree on barrel length. prefer hoop lever and pistol grip.
      checkering has to be really nice, can’t stand rolled, laser might be ok. stripped off the “wintuff” and oiled it until it glowed.

    • Ditto on 16 inch barrel – no need for ports. With an abbreviated fore end.

      I’d keep the checkering and the safety doesn’t bother me.

      Don’t currently have a 44 mag lever – so I NEED one. To go with my JM 357 1894, Winchester 45 trapper.

      Bought a 357 Rossi last year and was impressed that the quality had improved over the last few years. But if this Marlin is as nice the Ruger Marlin 45-70s I’ve seen, it will be nice.

      Not much prettier than some nice walnut. I also need them to make a 16 inch Texan 336 for me. Yes I do NEED it.

    • Oh! Lose the rubber recoil pad also. It snags on clothing. A hard, thin, synthetic is better. Besides, it’s only a .44 Magnum. A revolver cartridge. In a carbine. Are you scared?

        • Would a leather texture/appearance rubber be more appealing to split the difference?

      • I have my Dad’s JM stamped in .44, it’s money on a big buck inside of 100 yards. Love busting deer with it after bow season.

  9. Forged and machined STEEL, cold hammer forged barrel, real (solid) wood, new production and made in the USA all add up $$$ fellas.
    I for one am glad to see Ruger/Marlin not produce this to a price point. They will still sell. And be handed down proudly to the next gen. Hopefully.

  10. Pleeeeeeeease Ruger . . . make this in .41 Mag! My Dan Wesson .41 Mag needs a fieldmate!

    Marlin made 1984’s in .41 Mag for a few years. If you can find them today they are stupid expensive (at least $2500, usually more).

    • LKB – you do know that Henry makes .41s – mine happens to be the Big Boy Steel, nothing ‘fancy’ about it, sort of plain jane but it matches well with my S&W Model 57. Not sure what the supply of them is like, Henry tends to be streaky in producing certain calibers. Still trying to find one in .327Federal Magnum ;-(

      • Yup, I’ve seen them. Problem is that none of their .41 Mags come in a side gate configuration. That’s what I want in a brush gun.

        Plus while I like Henrys (their .45-70 is a superb bear protection gun), to me Marlins are the ultimate lever gun. (Excluding the crap that came out after the buyout, of course.) Still have my circa-1973 Model 39 (.22). Been a tack driver for me for coming up on 50 years.

  11. I like this but likely never get one. I was eyeing a Rossi 92 but the doofus owner’s in the Indiana Gunshop decided not to sell to Illinois residents. Are they being harassed? Doubt it. They’ll never get my business if/when we move to Indiana…

    • @fww

      Because of the draconian firearm restrictions placed on the peasants in Washington State, Montana FFL’s have stopped doing any out-of-state over-the-counter long arms sales to Washington residents.

      Your Indiana FFL may have the same kinds of insurmountable hoops to jump through for long-arms sales to IL residents.

      My favorite LGS used to sell lots of guns to WA residents (no sales tax in MT)…so this is not a voluntary restriction they endorsed on their own.

      I wonder if any one has approached suing the WA government based on stifling inter-state business? After all, the Pheds use the interstate commerce loophole to justify almost anything THEY want.

      • Guess what? I don’t care. I did nearly $10000 worth of business with another Indiana shop. Other border shops continue to do business with Illinois residents. We also have an antique business for some 30 years & understand harassment. Pretty short sighted when so much business is online!

        • Ok. Agree with it being short-sighted, however sometimes it is out of the business’s hands.

          Were you purchasing in person or arranging an FFL to FFL transfer (IN to IL)?

          Out of curiosity, have you reached out to the shop you’ve done business with in the past to see if firearm procedures between IL and IN have changed?

        • They secretly sent me a message giving me a “special dispensation”. Sorry Blythes/Griffith,IN but your shop went to he!! when you sold it to Mormon’s. I’ve moved on & found other shops to spend my $ in. I just wish I hadn’t sent so much business their way!

      • sometimes straw-purchasing is justified…this is one of those times…get a friend or relative to buy it for you…screw the regulations!

  12. Looks nice. Ruger will sell all they can make no problem. Nice to see a company that decided to pursue quality with these old Marlins rather than “let’s see how cheap we can make them”.

    • Done right, Quality can save money. It does that by reducing scrap, rework, idle time, tact time, and inventory.

    • if something is of poor quality it will get around…but these guns were never intended for more than “acceptable” quality…and short range use…for that money there are better choices out there…..

  13. My favorite application for a lever-action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum is a societal collapse scenario (whether short or long duration)–especially if paired with a revolver in the same caliber. Add the fact that you can shoot .38 Special out of .357 Magnum and .44 Special out of .44 Magnum and you have some serious versatility.

    Why do I like a lever-action rifle for a societal collapse scenario? They are simple, compact, light weight, extremely maneuverable, easy to carry (no magazines protruding out away from the bore axis), reliable, and fairly good for close quarters as well as longer ranges out to 100 yards. Oh, and they even support a fairly fast rate of fire if necessary as well as reloading on the fly (e.g. “topping off” the internal tube magazine) at any time. Of course ammunition commonality with a revolver on your hip is a big plus as well.

    • Microgroove does not get along with lead bullets in a center fire.

      Owned 2 357 1894s and sold them. My last one in 1998 had Ballard rifling and shoots well with pure lead.


  15. I’m sure glad that Ruger is using the correct twist rate for .44 Magnum, 1:20 twist.
    The Remington Marlins (or “Remlins”) used a ridiculously slow twist rate of 1:40, which simply won’t stabilize modern bullets such as Hornady LeverEvolution. Even at just 25 yards, my old Remlin 1894 keyholed every bullet, due to that stupid slow 1:40 twist rate. Keyholing is when the bullet turns sideways due to lack of stabilization — and it shouldn’t happen at 25 yards, but it did with my Remlin 1894. Henry uses the correct twist rate of 1:20, and I’m glad Ruger got with the program.

    Hey, if Remington Marlins were “Remlins,” what should we call Ruger Marlins?

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