For a few brief years in the Reagan-era, Marlin ponied up a lever-action hunting rifle that was among the pinnacle in hard-hitting big game guns of its kind. Based on the same 1895 action proven over the course of a century, the new gun used a very old round that had similarly been reinvented.
What is the .375 Win?
Back in the 1880s, one of the most effective "cowboy" rounds was the big-bore .38-55 Winchester. This black powder fueled cartridge could send a 255-grain bullet out a couple football fields away at 1300fps-- providing enough power to fell just about anything on the continent except for the really big bears. Several late 19th Century Marlins, to include the Models 1893 and 95, came standard in the loading. Even after it was made obsolete by smokeless powder rounds and was abandoned, Marlin still made a few Model 336s in the chambering.
It should have been no surprise that the company jumped on the new .375 Winchester, a trimmed down smokeless powder update of the .38-55 that debuted in 1978.
Did we mention the new round could send a 220-grain bullet zipping out at 2200fps?
Design of the Marlin 375
Marlin took the same classic 1895/336 action that has been around for a century and, like it did with the .444 Marlin, stretched it out to accommodate the new, and improved round. Using a 20-inch 12-groove 1:12 RH twist barrel, the 3-quarter length magazine tube held five of the longer cartridges rather than the traditional six rounds of marginally shorter .30-30.
Groovy accents that were standard at the time to include a black walnut stock with recoil pad, gold trigger, semi-buckhorn rear and wide-scan detachable hooded front sight were carried over to the new Model 375. At just 7.3-pounds, the rifle was about as handy as you could get.
Firing a 375 Marlin on a windy day
Getting your own
Retailing for $210 when introduced in 1980, about $595 in today's cash, the gun was only in production for three years.
The guns sold in big box stores like JC Penny's and Wal Mart for as low as $189 in the mid-80s as Marlin did away with old stocks. Good luck getting a deal like that today though as the going rate is more like $600-$800.
Marlin produced a total of 16,315 Model 375 rifles at their North Haven, Connecticut works and all will be marked as such-- these are classic Connecticut JM guns.
The round? Yes, its still in limited production (Winchester, 200 grain) and runs about $50 a box so reloading may be the way to go if you are able to pick up one of these now-rare and hard-hitting Marlins.
Moreover, if you do have one, drop your love or hate for it in the comments below.