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Always wanted a "real" lever gun, so found a JM 1894 .44 on gunbroker. Thought I had a good deal till I got it. Missing screws, missing sight parts, bad blueing, mis-matched wood. Did total takedown (LOTS of YouTube videos) and cleaned and re-assembled. Worked fine w/o any ammo in it. Tried some .44 snap caps and… only about every other one would feed. Action scratched the snap caps badly. Tried it with actual brass & lead and MUCH better cycling.

At the range, I noticed that it would sometimes catch just as it was about to feed the round into the chamber. A wee rocking of the lever and … zip, it'd slide right in. Sometimes it would cycle super cleanly with no hitch. Sometimes it would seem to catch. I've been shooting something or other since forever, so practice what I think of as good range safety, BUT I was occasionally tilting the rifle to the left so I could watch the new shell cycle into place (yes, keeping muzzle downrange safely). Wondering if my peeping (because of tilting) may have caused some of this? I think I heard somewhere that some lever guns don't like to be taken off level (tilting, that is) when cycling.

Is this little hitch a common Marlin thing? Or operator error in trying to watch the cycle? Or maybe a "feature" of my particular copy?

That .44 doesn't tame much just because it's in a rifle! Thinking maybe I should have opted for the .357/38 version. And if this whole thing should be posted somewhere else… correct me gently!

Greetings from Colorado.
 

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Marlin 1894's can be picky about bullet nose shape. Were you shooting round nose flat point bullets? SWC nose? Some Marlins won't feed Keith bullets, some will. It's random luck of the draw. 99.9% feed round nose flat points smoothly. If you're shooting cast lead, make or order your bullets at .432", as Marlin rifles have .431" grooves. Some guys even like .433" cast. Jacketed bullets aren't nearly as critical for diameter, they all shoot well.
 

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Welcome from South Carolina. Good advice so far. One thing you might want to check is the carrier. Dry cycle it to see if the carrier is rising all the way up to the chamber. A little off isn't bad, but if too much, the cartridge will bind or the case rim may be catching at the chamber entrance. I'd also check the chamber entrance for a burr or rough edge.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for moving thread.
Appreciate the welcomes from all over!

RE the feeding issue… I was using Fiocchi 44A 240 GR JSP. They're rounded, with a flat nose. Brass case.
I suspect it may be my tentative "what's going on in there?" way of running the lever that may be at fault. I'll try it with more "authority" as mentioned. Perhaps I was too curious as to how the sausage was being made ;-)

Related… is the action of the .357/38 1894 identical to the .44 with exception of scale?
 

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It's a good tutorial on how to slick up an 1894.
I've done everything that he recommends with the exception of needing to time the carrier or use after market spring kits. Did it on a SS .357 so no need to reblue. Did mine about two years ago.
I was surprised at the difference it made.
 

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It's a good tutorial on how to slick up an 1894.
I've done everything that he recommends with the exception of needing to time the carrier or use after market spring kits. Did it on a SS .357 so no need to reblue. Did mine about two years ago.
I was surprised at the difference it made.
I've thought about getting that very rifle (1894 SS in .357). Never considered the advantage of not having to reblue! Curious if you did this on a <10 years old Marlin. So much humbug about the newer ones that are not JM stamped. Mine is JM stamped, and it's not all rainbows and unicorns there either! If it's a newer one, did you find any difference to pre-Rem? I know there are tons of opinions on this, but not many from actual owners that actually worked on them.
 
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