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We'll include Mossberg to this list too. I used to know a guy who owned quite a few Marlin leverguns. He had them in the same calibers that he had revolvers in, so he had a .45 Long Colt, a .44 Mag and a .357 mag. He also had a .444 Marlin for larger game. I have shot the .44 and the .357 models. I grew up with a friend who's dad had given him a Winchester in .30-30 and it was a nice gun too. I was looking at Mossberg lever action guns in .30-30 and they are the same price as the Marlins. It seems the Winchester leverguns are much more expensive. I looked at a few and all were over $1299 while the Marlins and Mossbergs are between $449-$659, and the $659 model comes with better furniture and is finished by hand by a master gunsmith supposedly. Is there much difference in quality between these or other leverguns?
 

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Despite the current criticism of Marlin and quality control, I would go Marlin. Now, if the pocketbook will withstand the assault of a Winchester, I would go Winchester.
Yes, the quality of the Winchester will outclass them all especially in the metal finish. When the rifles are built by Browning for Winchester ya got a winner.

"On August 15, 2006, Olin Corporation, owner of the Winchester trademarks, announced that it had entered into a new license agreement with Browning to make Winchester brand rifles and shotguns, though not at the closed Winchester plant in New Haven. Browning, based in Morgan, Utah, and the former licensee, U.S. Repeating Arms Company, are both subsidiaries of FN Herstal. In 2008 FN Herstal announced plans to produce Model 70 rifles at its plant in Columbia, SC."

Winchester rifle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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+1 for Marlin

Marlin may not top the list for all rifle types, but I do believe they are a front runner on lever guns. I've found my 1894c to be a well-made, sharp-looking, great shooter. ;)

Marlin Model 1894C
 

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They really are not comparable in design. Which is better, is approaching a 150 year long debate.

At one time they were neck and neck competators. Winchester sold out to Browning, who moved production to Japan. Maybe 10 years ago or so. They more or less tripled in price. But you don't usually hear complaints about the quality. 1200.00 for a rifle that used to be more or less the same price as the Marlin is tough for most to swallow.

Marlin sold out to Remington a few years ago. Although the price remained more acheivable, they made some manufacturing changes that have had the result of much complaint. Winchester and other brands did something similar back in the mid 60s. Comparably, Marlin stuck to it's original quality until they sold out to Remington.

So, which is better? This may be more of a question of date of manufacture rather than model design.

I own both and would gladly own both of more.

Winchester. Pre 64s are better, but I would own any that I find a good deal. Winchesters tend to be lighter. I like the 92 action better than the 94 for handgun cartridges. But there is nothing wrong with rifle cartridges in a 94. You will notice the "post 64 rifles" in general are much sloppier when cycled. Though I can't say it has an adverse efffect on function.

Marlins tend to be a bit heavier (not necessarily stronger). They are more ideally suited for a scope mount. I would gladly own one in any caliber. I would prefer a pre-Remington over a current production.

If it's a good price, I think either will serve you well.
 

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I have never seen a Winchester as easy to kock as the Marlin. I had a gun shop and the only way was have a good gun smith to work on it. I will take the Marlin any day!
 

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If you go Marlin go with an older one. The newer Remlins seem to have there problems, and there QC is less then desirable. I have a 1981 336 that shoots very well the the furniture fits perfectly. I looked at one of the newer ones and I have to tell you Iwas not all that impressed. From what I've read it seems like a 50 -50 deal you either get a good one or you get junk. Good Luck.
 

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When Remington purchased Marlin they moved the production to Ilion. When the machines left the factory for the trip to Ilion they were tampered with and dangerous to operate. I have asked my friend who works at the plant to check to see how things are going. I will report back. I love my Marlin. However it is an early 90's model 1895G.
 

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I purchased a Rossi M92 a year ago. It cost me as much as the rifle to get it smoothed up. It now shoots like a champ and is smooth as any other lever gun I own. But I only own three so I am no expert.
 

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I have several 1894's ranging from 1896 thru 1994, I would put out a little extra cash and find a nice pre 64 rifle and start shooting. The value of these winchesters is only going to increase making them a nice investment, the only problem is once you start buying it is really hard to stop!
 

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One of the best comparisons I have heard is that Winchester actions are looser and some people think it feels cheaper. But the advantage to that "looseness" is that it can handle more grit grime, ice, & even some rust and still function. The Marlin feels tighter, maybe smoother, but that tightness means it's not as forgiving of dirt,corrosion & freezing temps, but it is a lot easier to take down and clean.
So if you want a rifle that's gonna be bouncing around in the truck or atv, without much care then the Winchester may be the way to go. But if you're one to clean it after every use, you'll probably be happier with the Marlin.

I do think the price of the Winchester is because of the popularity of the name with the 50's & 60's TV Westerns crowd. But the younger crowd seem to like the Marlins.
 

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When Remington purchased Marlin they moved the production to Ilion. When the machines left the factory for the trip to Ilion they were tampered with and dangerous to operate. I have asked my friend who works at the plant to check to see how things are going. I will report back. I love my Marlin. However it is an early 90's model 1895G.
I had my friend who works for Bushmaster (they all share the same Remington real estate) see some people he knows who make the Marlins. He said that the quality is now back up to par. Issues sorted out. He asked me which model I wanted. I said a Cowboy in 45 Colt.

Marlin Model 1894 Cowboy
 

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Hi, I have owned lots of Marlin and Winchester pistol caliber and 30-30 lever action carbines. The western action shooters swear by the Marlins and say they are much more amenable to tuning for their sport. However, other than a .22 and 45-70 guide gun Marlin, I have given away all my Marlins to friends. I like and prefer the Winchester 94s to the Marlins. The ease to load just one round from the top is very useful to my target shooting interest. Since being discontinued, the Winchesters have appreciated in value. The Winchesters also seem to be more historically accurate and more fun to shoot than the Marlins.

I'm sure others will disagree with my opinion, but that's their choice.

Regards,
Richard
 

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Never owned a Winchester but to me it is just like a 'Colt' .45 - both have the name that you want to see on a weapon in their respective catagories. That being said, I do own a 1945 Marlin Model 36RC and find it to be very sturdy, feeds well, and shoots straight. Not much more I can ask from a lever action .30-.30.

 

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marlin or winchester

i bought my 94 ae 30/30:) i was after a marlin but it was sold so i went for a winchester but it was alot more money its really a case of apples and oranges me i like them both you can get a good or a bad one, but that can be said of any rifle
 

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You have to weigh the Pluses and minuses and come to your own decision. If we are comparing apples to apples, that is: Both in standard 20 inch configuration, here are my observations. Winchester 94- Pre 1964 models, very well made. if you can find one of the later post war guns in very good or better condition for a decent price get it! They have a smooth action and attention to detail was excellent as most parts were hand fitted at the factory by knowledgable gun builders. These are nice handy, smooth to slide in and out of a gun sleeve. The winchester 94 is 3/4 to 1 lb. lighter than the Marlin 336. The down side - I have never owned a win 94 that would shoot less than 3.5 inch groups at 100 yds. Pre world war ll guns have mostly seen alot of use, with many beeing worn out and have excessive headspace. A good condition pre-war working gun is going to be expensive. These are for the serious collectors.

Post '64 guns were poorly made because of less expensive parts and more automated assembly. I would not buy a winchester 94 between serial # 2,700,001 and 5,000,000. During the late 1980's and into the 90's, production quality did increase when the production was taken over by WRAC. IMHO production quality has since come down again (except fo the recent - Jap-Browning made ones) with the crossbolt and tang safety and rebounding hammers. I will not and do not own one of these guns. I was very fortunate a few yrs. back to pick up a very mildly used recent production .44 mag Saddle ring carbine (16 " barrel) that has the half cock (only) safety. I will keep that one untill my Son inherits it.

Marlin 36, 336 - Very well made carbine. The features that "marlin guys" really appreciate is the flat top reciever, round bolt, side eject and easy scope mount compatability. The Marlins in general will shoot groups 1/2 the size of Winchester 94 groups. I have one early 336 that I have shot 1" 3 shot groups at 100 yds. with, and this is a late 1940's production gun that looks pretty beat. I also have an early 1970's 336 in .35 remington that shoots 2.0" and under groups with its prefered ammo. Marlin did not Install cross bolt safeties into their carbines until 1983-1984. I don't like crossbolt safeties, so my Marlins are all pre-1983 models, except for a model 1894S carbine that I have in .41 Mag. My other son will inherit that one.

My favorite levergun- I have a Savage 99 H carbine in 30-30 that I will never part with. It was made in the early 1930's, excellent condition, and as smooth an action that you will ever find in a levergun. It is a great shooter, and groups nearly as good with iron sights as my Marlins do with scopes.

My vote is for the Savage 99.

If given a choice between a Marlin, Winchester, I would choose the Marlin as a serious hunting gun, and the winchester 94 as a casual camp or truck gun. A win SRC (16" barrel) would be my first choice in a self defense type of levergun.
 

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I'm with 40Nascar on the Marlin 336. Mine was made in 1969 (IIRC) and is smooth and sweet to shoot. This is one of my favorite rifles, either hunting or at the range. I've shot a friend's Winchester 94 built back in the 1980s and no comparison. I was lucky to get 6 in. groups with the thing. A gently used Marlin is my pick but again, I haven't had a chance to try that many Winchesters. Sorry but in my admittedly limited experience, they just seemed overpriced for what you get.

I've heard great things about the Savage 99 but I've never had a chance to purchase in a caliber I already have. The few I have seen for sale are all some oddball caliber, and I already have enough of those as it is.
 
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