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I was at the gun show this afternoon and almost pulled the trigger on the Marlin described above but I'm also considering a new Henry & a used, mint Uberti. The Henry seems like quite a nice rifle for the money and I've heard some negatives about Marlin microgroove rifling in pistol calibers. I like the sights better on the Henry. The guy also had a Uberti 1873 20" octagon barrel in .357 that look immaculate that had been smoothed for cowboy action that he wanted $900 for as well. He's going to be at the gun show again next weekend or I can meet him during the week if I decide to buy one of his rifles. Here are my thoughts, I need some advice:

The Marlin - $900 out the door


  • Pro's- I love a Marlin rifle and it's a almost a twin for my Golden 39M. The price seems reasonable for today's prices given the immaculate condition of the gun, 1982 JM stamp & pre-crossbolt safety, side ejection means that I can always mount an optic at some point in the future, wood was nice & I know it will hold it's value


  • Con's - I can't see the sights as well as I would like & I've heard negatives about the microgroove rifling for pistol calibers, expensive

The Henry - $700 out the door


  • pro's - new, really good sights that I see much better than the Marlin, less money, side ejection allows an optic, good quality rifle, should hold it's value fairly well, less money for what seems like a good quality rifle


  • Con's - it's not a Marlin, wood almost looks plastic, it doesn't quite get my heart pounding like a Marlin

Uberti - $900 out the door


  • Pro's - mint, beautiful wood & case coloring, longer octagon barrel, better sights than the Marlin, owned by a cowboy action shooter and smooth as silk, it definitely gets the heart pounding, should hold it's value


  • Con's - definitely would never take an optic (not sure I would want to anyway on that gun), heavier, expensive
 

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Buy what you want. That said, you need to ignore the morons that say microgroove barrels won't shoot, those fools don't know what they are talking about. Out of several dozens of Marlins I have owned, the best shooters have actually had microgroove barrels.
 

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Don't fret the micro groove barrels in pistol calibers they do just fine. With that said, If you want the Marlin, you best buy it, they ain't gonna get any cheaper. I personally bought the Henry BBS and have no regrets. I also have a Rem. made 357 and there is no comparison. Henry all the way.

Again it's only money, buy what you truly want.
 

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Don't forget rifle value appreciation - they haven't made any more pre-safety 1894Cs and aren't going to. Not so Henry or Uberti.

The 1894C I never should have sold had a few thousand rounds of JHPs, JSPs, and homecast (wheelweights) SWCs through it and would occasionally print a cloverleaf at 75 yards on a Post-It note when I did my part. Forget the MG/lead bullet nonsense.
 

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I really like the feel and weight of my 1894. Haven't held or shot the others. The Marlin is D&T on the top for optics, but not on the side for my Lymans, which I like. It shoots very well and the open sights make it a favorite for "woods walking". Let us know which one finds a home with you.
 

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Since the Henry doesn't get the heart pounding, I would say it's between the Marlin and the Uberti. Frankly, I feel the same way about Henry big bore guns. They just don't hit me on a primeval level. Head says yes to quality and business plan, heart says "meh", so to speak, because they don't connect me with anything special. Nobody in the old the west carried a Big Boy, and today's Henry has no connection to B. Tyler Henry, the real dude. That goes to Winchester. And then there's that durned loading tube....

Between the Marlin and Uberti. You say you already love the Marlin rifle. That should do it.

But if you need anything else: You already have the 39. Buy the 1894 and you have a collection. You know it will hold value. It's a U.S. made shootin' iron. You can always change the sights (lots of different sights available for Marlins) or "scope" it, and change it back if you want. The Marlin will always be the "real deal". I don't see any reason for concern over the Microgroove barrel. Some folks claim accuracy suffers a bit with lead bullets only, thus the return to the deep cut "Ballard" rifling once cowboy shooting as a sport took off, but for decades before that no one had an issue with Microgroove, and it was actually a feature that sold a lot of rifles. My guess is that Marlin started using the deep-cut "Ballard" designation as a selling point to cowboy shooters exactly the the same way they had been using "Microgroove" as a selling point to hunters for decades. It was a sales tactic that worked for the market they were targeting. I cast my own lead and reload as well as shoot store bought copper, but I wouldn't pass up a good Marlin because of the Microgroove barrel. If I had an issue with accuracy with lead bullets, I'd just look for a lead bullet hand load that worked. I'd say after all this time, and with the internet, you could find the work has already been done for you.

Nothing wrong with the Uberti. If I was going to buy a Winchester replica I'd go with one of the Europeans jobs since they do better at duplicating the "real thing" than does Browning through Miroku in Japan. But it will always be a replica. Can't "scope" it, and it would probably look funny with a modern scope on it anyway. Cowboy action guns are "purpose built" and are excellent for the sport. But you don't have the versatility you would with an "all around" rifle like the Marlin.

The bummer is going to be if the fellow sells one before you make up your mind, and that ends up making the decision for you.
 

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Take the Marlin. The fuss about Microgroove rifling is a fuss about nothing; Micro Groove will perform as well as Ballard rifling. You just have to use the right size bullet.

Sights on any of these rifles flat suck. You will be replacing them if you really want to shoot them.

Marlin is probably the lightest of the three guns and will be a lot easier to carry.

The 1873 clone might be the best looking and is likely the smoothest of the three but I have sereious doubts about the action standing up to prolonged use of standard .357 loads. Uberti might have overcome the deficiencies of the design with better metallurgy but I would personally use the gun within the original design specs.

Both the Uberti and Marlin have the King's patent loading gate which was a recognized improvement in, I think, the late 1850s and is much more practical than the regressive tube loading of the Henry.

Unless you use your rifles like I use mine, you will get the price difference back someday in retained value with the Marlin.

Buy the Marlin.
 

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Three words: Marlin
 

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Three words: Marlin!


Double post.....man, am I stupid or what.
 

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.

If you had to write a magazine article each and every month about guns and shooting what would you write about? After a year or two, you probably would run out of subject matter.....right? So you depart from facts and imagine things that "could" be an issue. Things like Micro-groove barrels....so you bash the Micro-groove without even having any first hand knowledge. So it is with the gun writers.

Micro-groove is done by forcing a metal bar thru the barrel, a metal slug that has the micro-groove pattern machined in reverse on the outside, a process know as "button" rifling. Because the button uses pressure to engrave the rifling on the inside of the barrel rather than the cut method as in Ballard rifled barrels, the inside finish is smoother but because the button is larger than bore size the resulting groove size is also larger. Ballard rifled 44 mag barrel is usually .429 whereas the button rifled Micro-groove is normally .431 diameter. Cast bullets for a 44 Mag are normally sized .430 or .431, such bullets would be too small for a Micro-groove and give erratic accuracy. Gun writers who are too dumb or too lazy to learn the difference would just label the Micro-groove unusable for cast bullets, and so the rumor spreads.

I have found that the Micro-groove barrel is usually more accurate with correctly sized cast bullets than the Ballard cut rifling. As with everything on the internet, you should test it for yourself before drawing conclusions.
 

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I'm with those who say to get the Marlin. While you can't go wrong with any of your three options, the Marlin is the one that is no longer made. Minty examples will become ever more diffficult to find.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I decided to buy the Marlin, mainly because it is in such nice condition and it is a pre-safety JM. I will be meeting the seller later today or tomorrow to pick up the rifle. I'll post pics when I get her home. I'm still dealing with the cognitive dissonance of paying $900 for a $500-$600 gun but I'm sure I'll get over it.
 

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Good to hear, looking forward to pics.

I couldnt do henry either mostly for the tube loading.
 

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I decided to buy the Marlin, mainly because it is in such nice condition and it is a pre-safety JM. I will be meeting the seller later today or tomorrow to pick up the rifle. I'll post pics when I get her home. I'm still dealing with the cognitive dissonance of paying $900 for a $500-$600 gun but I'm sure I'll get over it.
You will, especially after you keep it and use for several years and can still sell it for a much higher price. :)
 

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I decided to buy the Marlin, mainly because it is in such nice condition and it is a pre-safety JM. I will be meeting the seller later today or tomorrow to pick up the rifle. I'll post pics when I get her home. I'm still dealing with the cognitive dissonance of paying $900 for a $500-$600 gun but I'm sure I'll get over it.
Good choice! Can't wait to see pic's.
 

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I thought the guy was going to back out on me because it took him a long time to respond on a time to meet and finalize our agreement but he finally got back to me and I'm picking up the gun on Saturday morning.
 

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I decided to buy the Marlin, mainly because it is in such nice condition and it is a pre-safety JM. I will be meeting the seller later today or tomorrow to pick up the rifle. I'll post pics when I get her home. I'm still dealing with the cognitive dissonance of paying $900 for a $500-$600 gun but I'm sure I'll get over it.
I fully understand the "cognitive dissonance". Leverguns ain't as cheap as they used to be.

I did most of my gun buying 20 or so years ago, and the "sticker shock" of today's lever guns still gets me. New and used, they've WAY outpaced the inflation rate. (Except for maybe the Mossberg 464 and the bare bones basic Marlin 336) For many years now I've fondly remembered buying my last new Winchester 94. An American Made .44 magnum "Trails End" beauty, for $399.95 brand new in the box. That was in 1997-98. Still have the rifle and love it. A few months ago, I was cleaning up my reloading room to move it to a different outbuilding and found the price "hang tag" from that rifle. That's when I saw I'd just been remembering it wrong and that I'd actually paid $299.95. $299.95?!! That's almost unbelievable in this day and age so I guess my mind said "Not Possible" and came up with the $399 price.

In January, after a couple months of searching in vain for a 26" barreled 1895 Marlin Cowboy, a local pawn and gun shop said they'd order me one brand new for $700. After seeing what local shops within 50 miles wanted for their "in stock" 18 1/2 inch barreled versions of the same rifle, and checking a few online outfits, I thought $700 was a good deal and jumped on it. Go figure.

When I'm out in the field shooting it, I don't even think about the price.
 
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