Rep Reestablished

A reputation for quality takes decades to earn yet can be quickly tarnished — and once tarnished, hard to regain. As workers gained experience, Marlin quality control has improved steadily. Even though I wanted an 1894 in .357 and was hearing good things about current production Marlins, I’ll admit to a certain amount of trepidation.

The rifle shown here is one I purchased from a local dealer at full retail price. According to the date code on the barrel it was made in May 2018. The fit and finish is very good. The action cycles smoothly, reliability with both .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds has been flawless and accuracy excellent.

My rifle is marked as model 1894CS. Overall length is 38-1/2" with an 18-1/2" barrel (1:16 twist). Weight is 6 lbs., 7 oz. The stock and forearm are American black walnut with machine-cut checkering. Length of pull is 13-3/8". The magazine holds nine cartridges. The trigger? It’s crisp and consistent but heavier than I like at 5-1/2 lbs.

The solid top receiver makes the Marlin well suited to optical sights but when first introduced in 1894, optics were hardly a consideration — Marlin didn’t even start drilling and tapping receivers for sight bases for another 60 years! The perceived advantage of the enclosed receiver was better protection in the event of case failure.