Those who are a fan of big-bore cowboy action rifles have long known of Marlin's 1895 series rifle. Take this gun and chop it down to make it a guide length carbine, give it a big-loop finger lever, make it stainless steel with a blackened FNC finish, and add a painted and laminated stock-- well that's the GSBL baby.
A little history
Marlin actually introduced their lever action rifles back in the 1880s with their classic Model 1895 made between 1895 (hence the name) and the entrance of the U.S. into World War I, when the company switched production to machine guns for the Army. Fast forward to after the end of the Second World War and you have a pair of Marlin firearms wonks, L.L. Hepburn and T.R. Robinson Jr, improving the classic Model 1893 to produce the Model 336-- which is perhaps the embodiment of cowboy gun lessons learned.
Then the action of the 336 was stretched to fit the new tubby .444 Marlin round in 1965 and someone thought somewhere, hey, if we can go .444, why not bring back the old buffalo-slaying, moose-assassinating .45-70 Government round as well. This happened in 1972 and Marlin dubbed it the Model 1895 kind of like how Chevy keeps bringing back the Corvette even though the different generations are largely unrelated.
G? S? B? L?
(Richard Mann giving the new Marlin lever a work out. Photo: Richard Mann Facebook )
There are a whole lot of characters in the model name of Marlin's new rifle.
The "G" is an ode to the fact that the gun, with its 18.5-inch 1:20RH twist barrel with 6-groove deep-cut Ballard-type rifling is the same length as in the Guide series rifles.
The "S" is stainless, and don't get us wrong, even though the gun looks blued, its actually has much greater corrosion resistance as all major metal parts are machined from stainless steel that has been FNC (ferric nitrocarburizing) treated to be a nice dark color.
"B" is for the big-loop finger lever while "L" denotes the full-length tubular magazine and laminated stock. This gives the gun a 6+1 magazine capacity over the more standard Guide guns that only carry 4 rounds. If you are moose or bear hunting, or even for that matter going after hogs in the Pearl River of Mississippi like I do, it's nice to have a few extra rounds that aren't in your pocket. In short, the gun is an improvement on the 1895GBL in the fact that it is stainless.
(Richard Mann firing the new 1895GBLS at Marlin's range Photo: Jeff Quinn Facebook )
But wait the man said, the new gun also has Williams Fire Sights and a painted laminate stock with an overall greenish hue instead of the more traditional two-tone brown models the company has used in the past. The absence of white in the pattern and addition of a black spider webbing aides well with camouflage in my opinion although of course it's just not as pretty and elegant as a nice walnut, but again that's just me. In addition, why didn't they just go synthetic like on the Marlin 336CS and save weight. Maybe there is a 1895GBSS coming?
Richard Mann from Empty Cases talks with Eric Lundgren of Marlin about the new 1895 GSBL
Kat over at TFB seemed to like it well enough.
How much are they running? MSRP is $1150 but hopefully street prices will be lower. When will they be available? Not soon enough!
Thoughts? Drop em below.