My vote goes to the Marlin, out of the box they have better triggers, better Barrels, Smoother actions, and the Cross Bolt Safty isn't as ugly. The main reason is you can take out the bolt with one screw and clean it from the Breech. IMHO the Winchesters quality is really lacking plus that rebounding hammer is awful................................................Marko
If you want to put a scope on it, then definitely the Marlin.
Otherwise... personal preference I suppose. The Marlin cartridge carrier would probably have to be modified to go longer than SAAMI OAL, not sure about the Winchester. Should be able to get peep sights for either.
Marlins do have better out of the box triggers, both are too heavy but can be adjusted.
Unfortunatly you cannot overcome the long take-up on the Winchester trigger without major alterations. There is a very good Tech tip on converting the new rebounding hammer Winchesters to the earlier hammer and lower tang - all it takes is money... that should have to be spent by the consumer.
I disagre that Marlins have "better" barrels. I have found more tight spots in Marlin barrels than Winchesters. In particular around the sight dovetails and where the word Marlin is stamped in the barrel, to a lesser extent where the front sight ramp is attached on some models.
Winchester barrels, in my experiance do not suffer from this - I have seen one exception.
The Winchester cross bolt safety is down right ugly and an affront to all sensible people. There is no good way to make the Winchesters safety acceptable, appearance wise.
I shoot a lot of cast bullets and have not found the Marlins easily removable bolt to be a great convience in cleaning. That said, the Winchesters really suffer in this regard with the cross bolt safety. When you need to remove the bolt on a Winchester you first must remove the safety - their is a small spring and ball detent that tend to "get away".
I have not found Winchester quality to be lacking.... Winchester blue is not as pretty.
I have had no trouble whatever scoping the modern Winchesters. They shoot well with scopes. I suggest Millett angle lock rings and a cheap coloumator...
If you plane to shoot lead bullets of rather blunt ogive, or cast pistol bullets (swc'rs) the Winchester will give less feeding problems.
My father delights in demonstrating his Winchester .357 Magnums ability to feed flush and button wadcutters, and any swc pistol bullet along with the RCBS 200 grains .35 cal gc bullets. It feeds without a glitch upside down right side up or laying on its side. This is a help when shooting from the bench as the Marlin will tend to drop the empty case and the next loaded round out onto the bench if you are tilting the rifle to save your brass. I have not found this to be inportant when hunting.
The Winchester is a little slimmer, the Marlin has that "solid feel" that comes from a little beefier reciever.
Set pictures of the two side by side, one or the other will call to you!
I've had both. Both shot great and handled well. The rebounding hammer on the win trapper made it feel like a 1970's bumper jack. I never could get used to it and traded it for a marlin 94. The older wins are very smooth so are the rossi clones, my vote still goes to the marlin. On the win I had a round feed under the ctg lifter while try to carefully empty the gun. What a pain.
Which 94 to get.
Well, I have had both Marlins, and Winchesters.
My current Win Trapper .45 Colt is a pre-safety model, which I swapped out the rebounding hammer tang assembly for an older style. ( I wrote the tech. article that william iorg mentioned above.) This has made a major improvement in it's feel and function.
My 94 will feed anything I have stuffed into it. From short stumpy 200gr SWC's, to overlength Keith SWC's. No problem.
It is fitted with an older Steel Lyman reciver sight and will if I do my part shoot 2" groups at 100 yards.
"The Winchester cross bolt safety is down right ugly and an affront to all sensible people. There is no good way to make the Winchesters safety acceptable, appearance wise."
The above quote is the best description I have ever read of the Win. safety. I agree completly. That is why I can't buy a new Winchester 94.
As for the Marlin 94, I had a Cowboy .45 colt and it was the most inaccurate rifle I have ever owned. Side by side, with any loads I could find, my 16" Win. Trapper would out shoot the Marlin every time.
I don't know why. Could have been tight spots in the barrel, or rifling twist, or oversize bore diameter, or well, I don't know.
I was a beautifly ballanced rifle, good to look at, but useless to shoot.
I don't shoot CAS and I expect a handgun caliber rifle to be able to group into at lest 4" at 100 yards. My Trapper will do it, but the Marlin wouldn't. As for functioning, the one I had would feed anything I put through it.
I had to sell it due to financial problems.
Today, if I had to make a choice I would try to find a PRE-Safety Rossie or Navy Arms Mdl 92.
I have a Trails End Win 94AE- Haven't shot the Marlin, handled one in the gun shop-looked nice felt good but for the price I got the Win 94. Just worked up a load with 300 gr
WFN for Muley. I'm get about and 1 to 1.5" at 50 yds.
I'll let you know how they work if i get a shot this weekend.
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