1894C review

Discussion in 'Lever Action' started by duster066, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    Well looks like I didn't get a good one. I posted this over at Austin's Hi Point site.

    I have to be careful to remain objective here because I am not happy with what I took out of the box. The guys at the Marlin site warned me about Remlins and the poor quality of Marlin firearms since Remington bought them out. This gun appears to have ALL of the issues that have ticked off recent buyers of new Marlin rifles.

    1) The trigger is crap! It feels like broken glass alright, like a thousand glass shards grinding on metal. There is a nasty step in the pull. It's so bad you can hear an audible click going through it. Once through it you are now on the break, and it takes a moderate heavy pull to break the sear, and the break isn't clean. There is no over travel which is the only good thing I have to say about the trigger. Break in will make it better, but other reviews I've read say a trigger job is needed. That sucks. My Taurus revolver was NICE right out of the box. Very sad American quality...but it gets worst.

    2) There is about a 1/16" gap between the butt stock and the receiver. It's so large you can see whats going on on the other side of the rifle! Worst inspecting the rest of the stock all of the cut outs are set back 1/16"! The stock was properly machined, but a monkey fit it to the rifle. The fact the stock is to specs will make it an easy repair, by fitting a sleeve with an offset hole in it. But this is very disappointing quality.

    3)It will not feed Keith style 158gr lead SWC. This also appears to be "normal" and I have found fixes on line. If it will feed my Lee LSWC (they have a more rounded profile without the step on the Keith style) I wont go grinding on my barrel, but if it wont...[​IMG]. It feeds my 180gr LRNFP 357s just fine.

    The wood work (except the fit) and the exterior metal finish are nice, beautiful in fact. The blueing may be a tad bit light on the mag tube though. The checkering is crisp, deeply cut, and clean and I like the pattern. It feels funny to me, but only because I've been toting around a smooth stocked Winchester for 25 years. The action is much smoother than my Win 94 which has polished parts. The action will break in and then once I polish it it will be very nice. It's noticeably lighter than the Win. It has a 1.5" shorter barrel, but the wood work is thicker. And of course with an 18.5" barrel it handles nice. It balances just forward of the lever while the Win balances about 2.5" forward of the lever. With the same length of pull I can feel the additional momentum when I swing the Win. The Marlin (Remlin) is going to handle nice in the field. I hate the lawyer safety, and will use one of the techniques I've found to be rid of it: It just looks wrong on a cowboy gun.

    Included with the rifle (everything was there) was the manual, a trigger lock, and a spur hammer attachment for mounting a scope. I will not be mounting a scope, but it is drilled and tapped for one. A front sight cover is included, and I hate the look of it's squared profile. I'll probably take it off to, but it may grow on me so I'll leave it for a while.

    Over all without shooting it I'm a bit disappointed. After transfer fee and use tax I paid 660 for this thing, and I think that's enough to expect a bit of quality control. But it will tune up just fine, and once I've shot it I'd bet I'll be grinning.

    Time to load up some lead. We are going out Friday with 100+ rounds of 30-06 (cases for Bitsman!), 150 44mag, about 200 38, a few 357 hunting loads, and what ever 22 we decide to haul along. I'll report back then.
     
  2. MarkAD

    MarkAD Member

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    I feel your pain bro. I got mine and had 15 issues when I brought it home.
    Called Marlin, got it shipped back. A month later I call to see what is happening and the tell me i am getting a new gun.

    I love it. The most fun shooting rifle I own.

    Seems to love 158 grain SJSP magtech bullets. Ran some today. It seems to be a flat shooter from 25 to 100 yards. i will have to test that again this to be sure.
     

  3. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    Man I hope mine is not that bad.:(
     
  4. JohnnyLoco

    JohnnyLoco Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a lot of this with Remlins. Best O Luck to ya.
     
  5. Jrodcody

    Jrodcody Member

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    Send it back and tell them you expect a decent quality rifle. I have talked to a number of them who acknowledge the issues and assure me they have/are improved. I think they will make it right for you.
     
  6. Hyphenated

    Hyphenated Well-Known Member

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    Hey Duster,
    I think that was a fair and honest review of your new rifle. While the stock fit is cosmetic and frustrating, it seems your most serious problem is the trigger. If you get that sorted out, it sounds like you have a pretty decent gun. Thanks for taking the time to share all the info.
     
  7. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    I searched around last night and found lots of great sites dedicated to fixing and tuning this rifle. Last night I also cycled the action, and dropper the hammer on the safety a couple hundred times. The trigger smoothed out slightly, but not enough. The detent is still there. However with a trigger/sear jig from Midway and a few stones the trigger job is a very straight forward procedure. Today I took the lever off to radius the elevator cam to head off the dreaded "Marlin jam". While I was in there I polished the bolt and lever, cleaned out the metal shavings and grit left in it, and lubed it up with moly grease. That 15 minutes of work made a huge difference to the already decent cycling action. I made a leather sheath for the lever, and a trick leather sling. By the end of the day I was feeling lots better about it...liking it in fact. Tomorrow we'll feed it a couple hundred rounds of lead and a few jacketed reloads, and I'll know a whole lot more. I'm sure it's going to be fine.
     
  8. MarkAD

    MarkAD Member

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    Range report - 1894C 357 Magnum with a 3X9 scope
    Range 25-100 yards : Magtech 158 grain SJSP
    Flat shooting gun at both 25 and 100 yards only minor scope adjustment needed after initial zeroing of 25 yards. Repeated shooting between 25-100 yrds show gun to shoot the same at both distances. I was impressed as I expected some bullet drop.

    However the heavy pull of the trigger and the grittiness of it kept causing my to pull down and left or down and right. I need to work on my trigger pull for rifles.
    Good groupings with many shots touching or overlapping. When I managed to pull the trigger just right it was no trouble dropping them in the bull at 100.

    Great gun but needs a couple of things like a new "Wild West Guns Trigger Happy kit" 89.00
    This one piece trigger is supposed to bring the pull down to about 3 or 4 pounds. And loooks fairly easy to do and avoid the cost of gunsmith if you wish to.

    The forum "Real Guns" has a really good guide on the process and a few other tips to make the 1894C even better.

    i think until i do the trigger I will follow dusters lead and drop the hammer on the safety a few hundred times tomorrow then clean my rifle.
     
  9. Gaterskiner

    Gaterskiner Well-Known Member

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    Every time someone on M.O. asks if they should buy A new Marlin, one or two guys post not to worry their guns are beautiful and not to worry about all the BS you hear on the internet. Well as you can see it's not B.S.
    Hope it works out for you. But you were warned.
     
  10. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    Well Gater that post was before I shot it which I did yesterday. I'm glad I tried to remain objective with my OP because this is one each fine shooting rifle.
    Ammo:
    Lee tumble lube 158gr LSWC made from WW as cast quenched in water and lubed with liquid Alox
    --Unique 38spc
    --SR7625 38spc +P
    --Blue Dot 38spc
    ---Rem 5 1/2 primers
    ----All loaded in 357 cases
    MO Bullet CO 180gr LRNFP
    --Unique
    ---Fed 100 primers
    ----357m
    Aardvark 125gr LTC
    --Unique
    ---Rem 5 1/2
    ----357m
    Win 125gr SJHP
    --Unique
    ---Rem 5 1/2
    ----357m
    5 rnds each, charges weighed

    The gun chocked cycling the first 2 rounds with the Lee slugs, then cycled everything we put through with near zero issues, aprox 230 rds total. It shot about 2" to the right at 25yds right out of the box. It grouped inside 1", ragged hole, with the Unique and SR7625 loads, the Blue Dot was scattered a bit about a 2 to 3 inch group. We adjusted the front sight for windage and went to 75yds.

    With iron sights it dropped my 180gr bear killers into a 2" group about 2" low. It scattered all of 125gr slugs 6 to 8 inches high and 3 to 4 inches right in 6 to 8 inch groups. It didn't like the 125gr loads. All of these shots were fired from a rest. We then began to plink.



    The plinker rounds were the Lee 158gr Blue Dot load, and all were thrown with my RCBS uni-flow measure so were not intended to be match grade rounds. I also used slugs with flaws, they were for plinking.;) We also had about 30 of these:

    Aardvark 125gr LTC
    --Unique
    ---Rem 5 1/2
    ----A self developed 357m load in 38 cases (My SAA and Taurus 627 loved these!)

    Nice...very nice. It cycled everything smooth and shot very straight. Nearly all shots were taken off hand at 75 yards. With the Lee cast slugs in my hand guns I can expect maybe 1 in 10 to go flying to who knows where at 75yds due to the casting flaws. The worst I got with the rifle was maybe 12" off point of aim. It more than exceeded my expectations. I'm very very pleased with the rifle. The trigger is still crap, but that can be easily fixed, and will only improve what is already a very useful brush gun and cowboy action gun.

    Loved it, and I don't miss that race kart one bit today (I sold it to buy the rifle)!:D I would recommend the gun and The Olde English Outfitters in Tipp City, OH.

    Oh ya zero leading!
     
  11. Gaterskiner

    Gaterskiner Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear it worked out for you. Enjoy!
     
  12. Hyphenated

    Hyphenated Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the report Duster. I'm glad it's shooting nice.
     
  13. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    I worked up some light Bullseye cowboy loads for it today. It was flawless, and after smoothing up the internals the action is so light and smooth compared to my Win 94. This rifle has become my favorite shooter. Heck the trigger didn't bother me today, but it still needs help.
     
  14. Hyphenated

    Hyphenated Well-Known Member

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    Maybe that trigger is getting better with use.
     
  15. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    It has gotten better. I've shot 250 to 300 through it now and the trigger only caused me to think about it once or twice Wednesday. I love the gun and am so glad I bought it. I've been wanting a 357 carbine for some time. My poor old Winchester wont be seeing the trail much anymore.

    That's a little sad for me because I've been toting that gun through these mountains for almost thirty years, and as a boy a Winchester 94 30-30 was the gun to have. A friend of my step dad let me shoot one when I was about 10, and I wanted one from that day forward. It's still my best deer gun so it wont get ignored.
     
  16. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    A little update. A month or so ago I tore the gun down and performed the tune up tricks, polishing and spring trims, that can be easily found on line. It made the action very smooth. The gun still jammed up on swc and failed to extract a high pressure load. I traced the problem to an ill-fit extractor and sharp edges on the bolt face I had missed during the polishing. With those problems addressed the gun now feeds and extracts everything I put in it. Yesterday was my second cowboy shoot in a row in which the gun functioned perfectly with my swc cowboy load. There were two other 94Cs in my possie that had typical Marlin problems. But mine and the others that had been tuned worked perfect.

    The tune up costs about 300 bucks if a smith does it. It cost me nothing using simple procedures found online at the cowboy sites. The $300 smith job gets you an improved ejector, one piece firing pin, aluminum mag tube follower, and reduced strength springs through out the gun so it may be worth it for some.
     
  17. 1894

    1894 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update !! Glad to hear it all worked out well :cool:
     
  18. Rooster59

    Rooster59 Well-Known Member

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    Great review duster. Too many of us start out the same way and forget to do the updates later.

    Sadly, I think the negative feedback on Remington made guns may be over stated versus the positive but it's only my guess based on other aspects of life. I think we do have to assume the new models could very well be "kit guns" of a sort as yours was. Apparently most of the basics were intact or easily solved by an experienced lever owner.

    The 1894C was my first lever action and probably remains my favorite or co-favorite. I have to admit though, I chuckled at your reference to making up some "light" TrailBoss loads. My light loads for the 1894C is to pick up my 22 lever instead. I've only shot factory and factory level handloads in it. Other shooters who've used it range from 10 year olds, friends, and friends' wives including my wife who claimed full ownership of it a few years ago. None has suggested lighter loads.

    Too bad you weren't 100% happy initially but with your handy work and time it will be a prized posession.
     
  19. duster066

    duster066 Well-Known Member Supporting

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    Yup I do love it...money well spent. I use light loads for the revolver sequences of the cowboy competitions, and I use the same load in both guns. It's also cheaper that way. But I have a big booming lead bear load for it that will go out to 125 yds point blank range. The bear killer is very easy on the shoulder too.
     
  20. MarkAD

    MarkAD Member

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    Hey duster, the complaints about remington Marlins are not over stated. I was looking at a new 1894c and the quality was not in the finish. The gun looked dead. I may as well have been holding an AR. It made me sad. Hopefully the issues will be fixed but for me, from now on it is JM proof marks for me.