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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a lever gun in .45LC which I'll use mostly for cowboy shooting. I like the looks of the 1873 24" rifle with straight stock that is on the Cimarron Firearms website. I also like the looks of the Marlin 1894 Cowboy with 24" barrel. I'm leaning towards the 1873 for its authentic looks and I lean towards the Marlin for its reasonable price tag.

Does anyone out there have both or have handeled both? How do they handle in comparison. Do the actions work smoothly on the Cimarrons. I've fired the Marlin in .38 at a Cowboy shoot and was pleasantly suprised how accurate it was. Any opinions on Cimarron's 1873 and its accuracy?

Any other opinions on the two?


· Banned
738 Posts

I have owned and shot the Marlin 1894 CB in .45 Colt.
Mine was beautifully ballanced, functioned flawlessly, BUT, was horribly inaccurate. I could not find a load it would shoot well at all.
Loads that shot excellently out of my Win 94 Trapper at 100 yds, (2" groups) would not group out the Marlin at any range.
It also had one annoying chronic problem; the forward mag tube band kept working loose from the dovetail in the barrel.
Financial reasons caused me to sell the rifle before I could find the reason for the inaccuracy.
I'm hoping that the current ones are better.

I have handled the 1873, 1866, and Henry clones. They are nicely made, well finished, well ballanced, and devoid of any idiotic afterthought safetys. Unfortunatly I haven't had the chance to fire one. Someday for sure. I'd like to have a 73 clone myself.

On another line, I recently bought a Rossi Puma in .45 Colt. It is a Win 92 clone. I am in love with this thing. It has the 20" barrel, and ballances much better than any other lever gun I have owned. When I shoot it, it just hangs there, steady and solid. Not muzzel light like my Win 94 Trapper, or muzzel heavy like the long octagon barrels can be.
And the prices are reasonable.
Mine is an older one with out any safetys but the new ones are supposed to be built much better than the old ones.
Something to consider.

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446 Posts
FWIW, I have a Navy Arms '73 Short Rifle in .45 LC. It handles beautifuly. The action is by far the smoothest I've felt on any out of the box lever gun. The overall fit and finish is excellent.

The only complaints I have are that the trigger pull is somewhat heavy (I've never measured it), and it is very picky about ammo. My standard plinking load for my SAA is a 250 gr. RNFP over 6 gr. Titegroup and a WLP primer. In the '73 it was giving me like 6+" at 50 yards. Reducing the charge to 5.5 grs seemed to tighten things up a bit. Switching to a load using a 250 gr XTP cut groups to around 1". I haven't slugged the barrel, so I may just need to switch to a better fitting cast bullet (I'm using bullets from a local commercial caster that are sized to .452").

I've never fired a Marlin so I can't give a comparison, but I will say that the '73 is a fine rifle and I won't be trading my any time soon!

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50 Posts
I have both,
I use them for cowboy action shooting 3-4 weekends per month. My Marlin is the Cowboy model with a Marbles tang sight, and a Beech front. I has an action job, one piece pin, and lighter main spring. The other has the same sights, 24" octagon barrel, and has a full action job, as well as has had the stroke shortened to slightly less than my Marlin. Having said all of that they are both of equal accuracy. Under an inch a 25 yds. Plenty good for CAS.
Marlin Pros:
Quality of steel
Strength of action
rarely break.
Marlin Cons:
Not as smooth as the 66 or 73
Can kick out a live round if you rack it while quickly swinging to the left. (reason I switched)
Can't be used for Classic Cowboy class
When a Marlin Jams(not often), you will rarely clear it on the clock due to the severity.

Uberti (makes all 66s & 73s) pros:
Looks Cool
Can be tuned to be the smoothest of any of the actions for cowboy guns
Will rarely if ever jam, as long as ammo is proper length.
Live rounds can't fall out of action until they are extracted from chamber.
Soft steel
crappy spring quality
price (66 is about $125.00 less, and is exact same action)
Hope this helps a bit, and you are welcome to e-mail me for more info if you'd like.
Tomorrow, I will be using my Marlin, as I am waiting for a replacement part for the Italian rifle. Like I said, pros and cons.......:)
Take Care

· Registered
71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replys. I went ahead and bought a Marlin for the price. I had the Marbels tang site mounted on it and it shoots great! Don't ask for group sizes because I didn't measure any, but I hit most all of the targets at the cowboy shoots that I have been to.
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