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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a good year now I've been wanting a big bore Lever Action Rifle, and for the longest time my mind was more or less set on a Stainless Steel Rossi M92 in .45 Long Colt with an 18.5" Barrel, but as time has gone by with the Rossi M92 being largely unavailable, my mind began to stray, I began looking into other Lever Action Rifles of more modern design.

As a result, I have found myself drawn to the Marlin 1895, which I find to be aesthetically superior and by most accounts to be a superior design.
However, Marlin 1895s are more expensive, (especially in Stainless Steel) but not necessarily of much higher quality given the rather iffy quality assurance of Marlin firearms since they were acquired by Remington/Freedom Group.

So if anyone here has experience with both rifles, particularly in recent years, I would like to hear your opinions. Either way it's going to be awhile before I can afford one.
 

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I've a 92, a 1894, and the 1895.

The Marlin 1894 is a great gun in .45 Colt and the 1895 in .45-70 is also great. Both have done exceedingly well on feral pigs and deer, but both of mine are JM marked Marlins. The latest RM marked work well, but if you are looking at used, don't hesitate on a JM marked gun. Only look at new for the RM. Some transitional guns from 7 years ago can have issues.

Now, the Rossi and Taurus 92's are not as smooth or as accurate as a JM marked Marlin, but work better with cast bullets than a Micro-groove Marlin. However, the Cowboy series have Ballard cut rifling instead of the micro-grooving. If you have a choice, get the Marlin with the Ballard cut, and don't look back.

Now I have to mention the Rossi and Taurus can be found and while not as smooth as the Marlin, or original 92's, they are as accurate as the originals with the same flaws. Under heavy use like CAS, lifters can break. However, the traditional lines make them nice to carry and use as an every day carry or truck gun. My Marlins are nice, but the 92's are my working everyday guns for general use and take up less space than my 9mm carbines.

In short, the 92's work as intended.

Maloy
 

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I agree with you that the Marlin rifles are much better looking and feel more substantial. The Rossi rifles however are great lightweight guns to carry. I have lever actions from Browning, Henry, Marlin and Rossi that range from .308, .44 mag, .357 mag., .30-30 and .45/70. As new rifles, both the Marlin and Rossi rifles could use a bit of internal polishing to make them as good and they can be. Used rifles are a bit of a different story as use can do some of the polishing for you. I have a Marlin 336 SC that was made in 1963. It's as smooth as butter and had never had the receiver stripped prior to me doing it. The fact that it had seen 55 years of use helped to smooth it out. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a newly made Remington/ Marlin, they seem to have gotten their machining problems solved when they did away with all of the old worn out Marlin machinery and installed state of the art. It took a while and the transition was rough to say the least. Quality control may still be a slight issue, but not the major stumbling block it had been. Marlin does have a number of special edition rifles shown on their website that you don't see everyday, but are still available. As you say Rossi rifles have become scarce and the choices may not be as plentiful as they had been. The Browning and Henry rifles are great guns in their own right, but just not what we consider to be traditional lever action rifles.
 

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I've owned Marlin, Winchester, Browning, Rossi and Mossberg lever guns of various calibers. .45 Colt makes a fine carbine round if you reload for it. Personally I prefer the .44 MAG over the .45 Colt, since it's already a performance round and has more rim material for the extractor claw to latch on to.

The '92 design is fairly easy to dismantle for cleaning compared to a '94, the Marlin is easier yet. If I wanted a quality '92, I'd try searching for a used one with a Browning marque. A Rossi on the other hand can sometimes be crude in comparison, generally in need of fine tuning with new springs and hard stones right out of the box and furniture fitment can stand improvement. Older made Marlins are fine. Rem-lins don't impress me much, so I won't go there.
 
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I cannot compare the two since I have no experience with the Marlins but I can say that the M92 is a great rifle and its lack of "smoothness" can be easily remedied with some easy shop work most can do themselves.
 

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I will only say that the MicroGroove rifling is not really an issue in a carbine type rifle. I have a few MC Marlins and as long as I use jacketed or bore size lead bullets I haven't had a problem. I shoot .312 in my 30 30 with great results.
 
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Take a look at the Henry. It's a few dollars more, but it's twice the quality and their warrantee service is just awesome!
 

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I would buy the Rossi.

Never been fond of the Marlin '94. The '92 fits and points better for me.
 
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I would buy the Rossi.

Never been fond of the Marlin '94. The '92 fits and points better for me.
Shot a Marlin about 2 years ago and was not impressed, don't remember the year...............
Own 2 Rossi, one in .357 mag and one in .44 mag mares leg. did not take a lot too smooth them up, and they both run anything
fed in them...............
If curious ask the folks who went too the Rapid City event, a few shot my lever actions..................
 

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Shot a Marlin about 2 years ago and was not impressed, don't remember the year...............
Own 2 Rossi, one in .357 mag and one in .44 mag mares leg. did not take a lot too smooth them up, and they both run anything
fed in them...............
If curious ask the folks who went too the Rapid City event, a few shot my lever actions..................
Shot my 1st 3 or 4 SASS matches with a borrowed Marlin '94, so I've got a few hundred rounds under match conditions out of one. It shot fine but I weren't what you'd call impressed. Wrist was too thick for my taste and it was just kinda blah every other way. The only good thing is that I never jammed it. The dreaded 'Marlin Jam' is dreaded for a reason. Unjamming one looks like it's too much like work for something I wanna do on a range during a match that's supposed to be fun.

Picked up a Winchester '94 Trapper, shot it for about 6 months and found that it was a mistake for CAS use. Too short to swing, too light to hang on target, only held 9 rounds and the action was clunky and had more slop in it than a hog farm. Fine as brush gun, sucks as a competition gun.

At the time, you couldn't find a .45 Colt Rossi '92 for love or money (forget the Japanese made Winchesters or Browning B92's, they were like white whales), so I came out of pocket for a Uberti '73 (24 1/4" Rifle without the pistol grip).
 
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Have hunted with a Marlin 1894c (44 MAG) for ~ 30+ years. Shoots great and have taken all my deer with it. Gave it to my oldest son couple years back and replaced it with a Henry in 38/357 (for lever) and a Savage in 30-06.

Never had a problem with the Marlin. No experience with a ROSSI.
 

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I would love a 357 magnum lever action, I don't care if it's Rossi, Marlin, or some other maker. I don't own a 45 Long Colt or 44 magnum, so it would make sense to get the caliber that I am using for most of my revolvers. You can reload specifically for 357 mag rifle rounds and it's a HOT load. almost 2,000 fps in a lot of cases.
 

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Like Bruntson said, consider the Henry. It is a work of art, and the plain steel version is only about $50 more than most of the Marlins out there. Up here they're going for $729.
 

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I have both and use them in CAS, they are both chambered in .45 Colt. The Marlin is the Cowboy Model with the Ballard rifling and I have had the actions smoothed and lighter springs installed in both. I prefer the Marlin for CAS because it is just easier to operate and faster other than that they are both great little carbines. Although both will be retired from CAS next season replaced by a Taylor '73 that will be faster to operate yet with it's short stroked action.



 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies, everyone. However, since posting this thread I have decided that the next firearm I purchase is most likely going to be a Mossberg Shockwave 12 Gauge.

I kind of regret not buying one last year, and despite my best attempts to convince myself that I don't need one, the fact remains that I still really want one, so it's an itch I gotta scratch. Besides, the Shockwave is much cheaper than the Rossi 92, let alone a Marlin 1895.
 
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