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Marlin & Winchester Lever Action 45 Colts

2923 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  45nut
What if a person was interested in owning a lever action 45 colt but has no experience with lever actions.  What purchase should that person consider?  New, used, pre, post etc. etc.

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If you could find a clean, well cared for Marlin for a good price that would be my recommedation.

There are other Marlin vs. Winchester threads you can read so I won't repeat the reasons. I will simply say that between the Marlin 1894 and Winchester 94 actions I'll take a Marlin anyday. (And I own both)

The Win 92 action is a sweetheart and it is much stronger than either of the 94s but it won't feed anything longer than 1.6" in my experience. Your bullet choices will therefore be limited. WFNs work great.

A final tip is to watch your extraction. When it gets tougher to extract a fired case you should back off. Remember, you have a long barrel giving you lots of extra velocity so you don't need to run really hot loads to get great performance.

I prefer the Marlin as well. The action is scaled to the pistol cartridges perfectly and is very easy to disassemble for cleaning (Am I always telling you this?). Of course a simple modification to the Marlin will allow you to use bullets other than the WFN design or standard weight jacketd bullets so thats a non-issue.

I purchased my Marlin last year as part of my 44 magnum combo gun master plan. If I had to pick between it and my Bisley Vaquero as my favorite of the team, the Marlin gets the vote. Its a great little gun. Of course I really like lever guns (Go rent John Wayne's Rio Bravo, its the best lever gun movie ever).

Don't let the cross bolt safety get you down. If you use it, as you should instead of grumbling about how it shouldn't be there, it has no draw backs. There's no need to haunt the guns shops looking for pre-safety versions. I like to buy new but a GOOD used gun is alright. As we discussed before, buyer beware.

Does this mean no 22 pistol? :biggrin:
Thanks for the feedback gents.

MT - the 22 pistola is still scheduled for the end of September (Uncle Sam check).  There is a possibility that I will be able to use the funds from selling one of my 45 colts for the rifle purchase.  The money I budgeted (that which I used to buy the Bisley) for a house project was over estimated so I may just have to use said dinero for a rifle!  The Mrs. doesn't think my logic holds water but I ain't dying of thirst neither  :biggrin:

The only problem I see with the Marlin is the cost.  As far as I know, the only 45 colt offering from Marlin is in the 1894 or 1895 Cowboy which is above and beyond my means (&#36500ish).  I sure wish Marlin sold a 20" 336 in 45 brainer...just the way I like it :wink:

What do standard 1894's in 45 Colt run in your neck of the woods? They should be &#36400.00 or less. The only trick is finding one on the shelf.
An 1894 runs about &#36399 in N. Calif. They're availble and not on allocation.

I've got one in .44 mag. It's a high quality, fast handling rifle that's my all time favorite long gun.
One other thought...

A few years ago I owned a Winchester 94 Trapper in .44 mag. By comparison, the quality was a bit less than the Marlin, the action wasn't as smooth, it was less accurate and could only be cleaned from the muzzle end. I traded it after only about a year.

Just a highly subjective opinion.
Your selection does not have to be limited to Marlin or Winchester. I own and shoot several Marlin lever guns and have owned a few 94 Winchesters. I personally prefer the Marlin. I also have a very well used Rossi 92 in .45 Colt. It is a great little rifle for the money and heavy cast bullets are no problem. Marlin only offers a 1894 Cowboy .45 Colt with 24" oct. barrel and they are between &#36450 and &#36500 when a dealer has one. In the mid 90's.....Marlin offered a limited run of 1894's in .44 magnum and .45 Colt with 16-1/2" barrels(non ported) and I have one each. They can be found from time to time if you look....but still are pricey when you find one. The new Rossi's have a safety located on top of the bolt which I like less than the cross bolt Marlin's or Winchesters. My 92 Rossi is a pre-safety and has performed excellently since shelling out the &#36200 for it several years ago. Good luck to you!

Chuck Smith

I have one of those special run Marlins in .44 Mag. It's called "The Limited." Terrific rifle. Wouldn't part with it. What kind of prices have they been commanding?
Thanks gents.

There is a big gun show coming next month that will provide the best choice and opportunity to find a 45 colt lever gun.  I'll keep my eyes peeled.

MT - prices are dependent upon availability.  Gun shops don't seem to carry the 45 colt in this area (they're all more than happy to order it for me though...from &#36500 to &#36550).  I saw one at a small gun show two weekends ago for &#36515.

Thats highway robbery (or gunshop robbery maybe). 45's both long and short are everywhere in these parts. I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know when one pops up. At the prices your talking about, a transfer would be worth the trouble. A stardard 20 inch version is what you want, right ?
Wow, sounds like the Marlin is a super rifle..   I have the model 94 in Ranger 16 in.  Looks like the traper, dont know the difference...     Cant compare it to the marlin, never shot one.   Shot some loads of 250 cast over 20gr. of 2400 seems pretty stout, and not bad for open sights either....      Will recomend a recoil pad...  Just dont know which one is any good.   Any of you have a preference?    
Thanks MT -

It seems the further south I look, the better pricing becomes.  There's an outfit offering a new 1894 CB 45 colt for &#36430 located 2 1/2 hours south of me.  I may need to reach the CA border to hit the &#36400 mark :biggrin:  I'm in no hurry - I'll keep watching the gun shows and making phone calls.  

PS:  I love shooting the Bisley!  The only recoil that I'm feeling is with 300 gr. loads.  The back of the trigger guard pounds my middle finger.  I can lower my hand a bit to avoid the bite but then the grip (gripe) just doesn't feel right.
i have a winchester trapper in 45colt,  i love it.   handles well,i can use it in cas when i get off my butt an try to get to a match... and although it will handle 9 45 colt rounds i stuff 11 45 schofield into it sometimes without a bobble,,,shoot to same point of aim too !   a versatile gun for sure.   45nut

ps i gave 300 for mine nib
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