The Marlin Trapper

Skinner-Sighted Modern Day Marauder!
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The Marlin Trapper has a brushed stainless finish and is 3" shorter than the Model 1895 SBL (top), the first gun Marlin put into production after being purchased by Ruger.

I’ve always loved Ruger guns. Who doesn’t? Imagine my surprise when I heard Ruger purchased Marlin, my second-favorite gun brand! Now I’d have the perfect one-two combo for one-stop shopping! I was confident of Ruger’s ability to rise to the occasion when building these lever guns — and they did! As a matter of fact, they exceeded all expectations! The Ruger/Marlin first release was the SBL, stainless big loop 1895. Chambered in .45-70 Government, my favorite rifle cartridge, I knew I wanted one. Correction, I needed one, bad — or my head was going to explode!

During the heyday of the mid-’60s, the Marlin Firearm company released a dandy of a carbine called the Marauder. The Marauder series was only manufactured for two years and built on the Model 336 action chambered in the .30-30 and .35 Remington. The Marauder had a 16.25″ barrel and I lusted after them. The short barrel would indeed be handy.

The Ruger/Marlin combines two giants in the firearms industry with Skinner Sights to make the handiest powerful shooter in the business.

Retro Release

Ruger/Marlin’s latest release is diabolical indeed, being a blending of old and new. The 16.1″ threaded-barreled 1895 is reminiscent of the old Marauder but built of stainless-steel with brushed finish. With an overall length of only 34.25″, it is a truly weather resistant, minimalist carbine with its slimmed laminate hardwood stock. It’s a pure new-wave, indestructible shooter! Called The Trapper, it fulfills the needs of every woodsman, hunter, outdoorsman and well, trapper, but nothing is stopping you from buying it for its coolness factor!

The short barrel is perfect for thick cover hunting, or peering around the corner when slicing the pie while checking on things going bump in the night. The short overall length allows the carbine to be carried one handed along your side without the muzzle hitting the ground while traipsing through the woods.

A minimalist rifle, the Trapper model (above) provides all you need without any extras to get the job done. Shown here with Skinner Sights’ new soft case, a perfect companion for the Trapper. The “Bear Buster” front sight (below) is Tank’s favorite sight style with the painted white line. It works great in low light at dawn and dusk.

Sights Fore Sore Eyes

The biggest addition setting the Trapper apart from other Marlins is the addition of custom front and rear sights from Skinner Sights. So long buckhorn sights, the nemesis of middle-aged eyeballs! The front sight is one of my favorites! Called the “Bear Buster,” it is machined from steel, blued and then painted. This white line makes for extremely fast target acquisition while providing hunters an extra 15–20 minutes of low light hunting with the contrasting white line. The name is derived for the beautiful contrast of the white line sight against the hide of a black bear.

The Skinner rear peep is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Elevation is accomplished by screwing the peep sight up or down, depending on your needed adjustment. Windage is adjusted by loosening the rear mounting base screw and pivoting the base to center your point of aim and retightening the screw.

Andy Larsson, owner of Skinner Sights, states he’s “proud to have it on there!” The Skinner Sights are the highlight of the Trapper model, setting it apart from other factory guns. Larsson explains he “wanted the most aesthetically pleasing sight for the Trapper project while maintaining the integral strength we’re known for.”

Once you set a Skinner Sight, it’s locked in for good! The 303C stainless steel is used for the peep sight and, according to Larsson, is the only stainless-steel peep he knows of. I personally watched both rear and front sights being machined from bar stock in Larsson’s shop in Montana. They are stoutly strong indeed!

The sights ship with a 0.125″ screw-in aperture, providing a wonderful sight picture with the “Bear Buster” front sight. Need more light? Simply remove the aperture. The threaded hole is 0.185″, allowing more light to enter through the larger hole. Different-sized apertures are available from Skinner Sights. The Trapper model peep allows for 18 MOA adjustment.

(above) provides all you need without any extras to get the job done. Shown here with Skinner Sights’ new soft case, a perfect companion for the Trapper. The “Bear Buster” front sight (below) is Tank’s favorite sight style with the painted white line. It works great in low light at dawn and dusk.

Short Stature Big Value

If you’re looking for a carbine chock full of value and ready to shoot straight from the box, the Marlin Trapper is the handiest-packing lever gun around. Chambered in the powerful .45-70 Government, you’ll be loaded for bear or any other large critter. The Trapper would easily group factory and Tank’s handloads in 1″ or less at 50 yards, more than enough accuracy needed in thick cover conditions.

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