Accessorizing Your Ruger
Marlin SBL 1895

Turn ‘Great’ into ‘Superlative!’
17

Here’s Tank’s accessorized Ruger/Marlin 1895 SBL loaded for bear.

As Marlin fans anxiously awaited Ruger’s rendition of the classic levergun with trepidation, I never doubted it for a second. In fact, I was quite confident Ruger would deliver — and they did — to the applause of serious levergun loonies everywhere! Choosing the Marlin model SBL 1895 as their first-made Marlin model, Ruger knocked it out of the proverbial Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robot ring, stretching our necks and popping our heads in KO amazement!

SBL is an acronym for Stainless Big Lever. This model has appeared in the movies Jurassic World and Wind River. I’ll admit to developing a case of lever envy seeing this rifle portrayed on the silver screen. It was destiny in the making when Ruger purchased Marlin, both favorites of mine. Add to the fact the grand old .45-70 is my favorite rifle cartridge and obtaining a Ruger Marlin 1895 SBL was a dire priority.

Ruger did a wonderful job, tweaking the SBL by slimming the forearm, adding a threaded barrel for suppressor or muzzle brake and spiral-fluting the bolt. Plus, the rubber butt pad actually absorbs recoil. The rifle’s action is very slick and smooth in operation, as well as being very accurate. What more could you ask for?

As gun guys/gals, we always want to accessorize and personalize our guns to meet our needs. Here’s a few things I did to mine to make it more user-friendly.

Leather Loading

Carrying spare ammo in a convenient means is always a priority. When you can combine great looks with this need, it’s a win-win situation. I turned to Barranti Leather for their stylish cartridge sleeve. I requested black leather, thinking it would complement the grey/black laminate wood stock. I think it looks great!

Next, I added a minimalist sling from Skinner Sights. It’s as basic as it gets, which I love, and is made of synthetic Biothane so it won’t absorb sweat, water or blood. It simply makes shoulder carry possible while wrapping it around your offhand elbow provides stability for offhand shots.

Mag-na-Brake

I ordered one of Ken Kelly’s Mag-na-brakes since the barrel is factory-threaded. The brake is perfect for long shooting sessions on the bench with heavy loads. The higher the velocity, the more efficient the Mag-na-brake becomes. Bottom line, it works, especially when shooting ammunition like Buffalo Bore heavy loads in such a compact, powerful package. Plus, it looks appropriate for stopping any T. rex dinosaurs you may encounter. But hey, we don’t care about looks, right?

The Barranti Leather Cartridge Sleeve adds style while conveniently keeping
extra ammo on hand. The Skinner Sights minimalist sling makes shoulder carry
possible and offhand shooting more stable.

Skinner Sights Short Rail/ Scope/Front Sight

I replaced the factory scout rail for a Skinner Sights CNN machined aluminum short rail for two reasons. First, I prefer traditional scope mounting over scope forward, scout-style set-up. Second, the Skinner peep has no lateral movement while having optional interchangeable apertures available, compared to the factory sight. I added one of Andy Larsson’s 1-6×24 30mm tube scopes, which has an electronic red dot for low-light shooting scenarios.

The glass is sharp, clear and looks perfect on the SBL. I replaced the factory fiber optic front sight for one of Andy’s “Bear Buster” white line sights. This is my favorite front sight type, allowing me to shoot more precisely than fiber optic sights. The sight is easily replaced using two screws.

For serious work — bear, buffalo, T. rex, — Buffalo Bore Ammunition is hard to beat.

Ammunition

As a dedicated handloader, Buffalo Bore Ammo is my favorite factory hunting load. Owner Tim Sundles loads his ammo the way a handloader would. It’s always accurate, and usually exceeds listed velocities from real firearms, not factory test barrels. He offers hard cast bullets for traditional shooters as well as mono-metal bullets for dangerous game and jacketed soft-point bullets. Groups from the SBL ranged anywhere from 1″ to 2″ for 3 shots at 100 yards.

Final Say

So, there’s my rendition of the finely accessorized New Ruger Marlin 1895 SBL. It adds convenience without unnecessary weight or bulk while making it aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Leverguns are as American as cowboys on the open range and big-bore hunters in the big woods. The Ruger Marlin SBL is a great addition keeping these traditions alive and a welcome addition to any rifleman’s battery.

(Editor’s note: The Marlin SBL is our cover feature of the November 2022 issue of GUNS.)

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