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One of the classic modern rifles from Marlin's line wasn't in a rifle caliber. Produced for almost two decades, the pistol-caliber Camp Carbine is well remembered and growing in collectability.


The Marlin Camp carbine was a elegant and utilitarian little rifle. Introduced in 1985 during the height of the Ruger Ranch Rifle craze, it offered a handy little blow back operated semi auto rifle that chambered inexpensive handgun ammunition. Chambered in either 9x19mm Parabellum or the classic and hard-hitting .45ACP, the Marlin carbine used popular non-preparatory handgun magazines. The 9mm version used the old Smith and Wesson Model 59 magazines, then the most common US wonder nine. The .45ACP, as a no-brainer, used the single stack GI 1911-style magazine.

At 6.75-pounds, 35.5-inches overall with a 16.5-inch barrel, the Camp Carbine is the same size and weight as the US Army's current assault rifle, the M4. Those savvy with military small arms will also note the similarity in length to that favorite WWII-era brush gun, the M1 carbine.


Wood stocks of high quality Maine birch/walnut set the Marlin apart from its modern competitors, the synthetic-stocked Ruger PC9, KelTec Sub2000, and Beretta CX4. This makes the Camp Carbine both more aesthetically pleasing and less offensive in appearance to the anti-gun lobby.

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The Camp Carbine was relatively accurate out to 100 yards and its light recoil was a crowd-pleaser. Besides its use at the woods and its respect as a plinker, it offered solid creds as a home defense tool. Its short length and snappy ability to deliver a lightning fast second-shot made it ideal for clearing hallways of things that go bump in the night.

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For those who wanted a more 'Black rifle' concept, there are any number of after market stocks for the CC.

Collectability today.

Sadly, the Camp Carbine ceased production in 1999. With the steady trade in inexpensive pistol caliber carbine such as the Hi-Point 995, the Marlin was a hard sell. However, they are still loved and admired with few bad words spoken about them. The only common issue reported among long time CC owners is the need to replace the original plastic factory buffer with a higher quality one to prevent stock cracks. A quick browse of online auction sites show that today's used Camp Carbines still in circulation cost about $450-$600
Better grab one while you can.
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