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New 1894 CSS .357 shot flawlessly but had feed tube jam problem.

8201 Views 37 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Leverdude

Took my 2 new 1894CSS .357s (bottom 2 under my 1894SS .44 Magnum) to the range today and both shot flawlessly - I got bored with the scoped rifle on a bench rest at 50 yards putting all these holes in the middle of the target. Took about 10 rounds to zero the scope then after 30 rounds I had one solid hole about an inch around in the center of the target. You just have to believe me because I had to leave and the range was still HOT so I could not retrieve the target. The 2nd CSS without the scope I shot 20 rounds standing using the factory sights. I hit a grapefruit sized pattern all around center target so I was very pleased considering I haven't done a lot of FREEHAND shooting in a while. I have no problem focusing on the target but being nearsighted out to about 4 feet I have a problem focusing on the front or rear sights even when I look straight at them.


The only problem I had occurred on the scoped rifle when I fed the very first cartridge, a Federal 158gr JSP, and it jammed exiting the feed tube, once I got it to pop out onto the lift ramp I shot 20 more alternating 5 shots Federal 5 shots Fiocchi without any problems then it jammed again exactly the same way but this time on a Fiocchi.

The two cartridges shown here: on left the FEDERAL 158gr JSP and on right the FIOCCHI 142gr TMJ. Let me say the FIOCCHI shot a little tighter but the Federals had a whole lot more kick!

Here is what happens:
When I pulled the lever down the cartridge starts to come out of the feed tube but when it is about 3/4 out, just about to where the case edge ends, the cartridge tilts up so that the tail end is up higher off the lifter rail instead of laying flat on it as shown in the normal picture below.

Imagine the bullet is still inside the tube where the red plunger is located but cocked up about 20 degrees off the lifter. I did not bring my tool kit so I had to use a long spent cartridge off the floor to wiggle and push back on the cartridge before it finally popped all the way out onto the lifter. I alternated every 5 shots between the Fiochi and the Federal cartridges. As I looked at the cartridges I thought the problem might be the ridge on the Federal Cartridges at the bottom of the bullet (where it meets the case) but then the second time it jammed with the FIOCCHI that is relatively smooth in that area. Could there be a slight edge at the top of the tube where it enters the receiver that is catching and pulling the cartridge up higher than normal? The pressure of the cartridges still in the feed tube causes it to grab tighter.

I do not think this is the same as all the FTF issues discussed in the STICKIES on this form since in this case the cartridge has not even come totally out of the feed tube yet.

Has anyone had this type failure and if so what fixed it?


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what I want to know is where you found an 1894css. much less 2 of them.

but back to your problem, when you had a round stick, was the bullet scuffed up like it was gtting hung like you suggested? also, are there any rough spots on your lifter?

also I guess you could start swaping parts back and forth between the 2 guns to see if you could isolate the problem at a lifter issue, mag tube issue or other.
I'm not an 1894 guy so take all of this with a big grain of salt...

It looks to me like the reason the primer end is canted up is that the bullet end is being pinched inside the mag tube by the carrier lifting. I don't know of anything in the action that could mechanically cause the back of the shell to raise like that.

In the picture it looks like the carrier has begun to lift yet the round has not fully excited the tube. To me that would mean possible a dirty (or damaged) mag tube, weak spring, follower issue, or timing of the carrier. It could also have something to do with the case length but those rounds look like different lengths. I know some folks report their 1894's having definite likes and dislikes but again, not having one myself I'm not of much help.

Hopefully Tomray will see this thread as I've seen him give some very good advice on this same problem with other folks.

Erik has too much faith in me........ ::) ::)...

I viewed your pics and read the text........Not being able to handle the rifle, I suggest a few things:

Remove the mag tube and check for burrs in the mag tube hole in the receiver and in the end of the tube.
Clean the ID of the tube
Stretch the mag spring evenly about 2-3 inches
Remove the carrier, and check the front lip and the cartridge seat area for burrs........polish those areas, but don't remove any material.

I've seen carriers that are too rough to allow the last cartridge from the tube slide into position, and then the nose of the bullet gets pinched in the receiver /tube area as the carrier lifts.

More than likely, the issue is burrs and rough surfaces that need to be smoothed and polished.

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To answer several questions at once - - -

"what I want to know is where you found an 1894css. much less 2 of them." Totally LUCK. I desperately wanted ONE and had posted many comments in MO about them. A fantastic MO member contacted me via PM to offer and purchase an extra CSS NIB that he had available. After I mailed him a M.O. and that rifle had already shipped and on the way my gun shop called and said "The CSS you ordered has arrived from the Distributor." While the gun shop has 100% view before buying and does not require a down/prepayment I felt OBLIGATED to accept the new CSS. Thus on the same day the shipment came in I picked up the 2nd one at the dealer and went from ONE 1894 to THREE!!! - - and as you say, the beauty of this is a have two brand new 2009 rifles that I can interchange parts with to figure out if it is a specific part.

ERICK - I watched the action very closely in both rifles in my gun vise as I open and close the lever. I do see the lifter moving almost immediately as the lever is opened but it does the exact same movement in both of the CSS's.

TOM - this is the new rifle with the DOT CODE/LASER ETCHED SERIAL NUMBER that you and BOBBYTJR advised me on in previous thread last week. This was the first time shooting both new rifles and the accuracy was far better than I expected. By the way I had 3 different people complement me on the beauty of both rifles and especially the wood. We have you North Haven guys to thank for that!
I will check those items as you all suggested. I also tend to lean towards your comment "I've seen carriers that are too rough to allow the last cartridge from the tube slide into position, and then the nose of the bullet gets pinched in the receiver /tube area as the carrier lifts."

I will keep you all posted.

By the way I have to take this opportunity to show my EXPANDED Marlin Family - all Stainless as are ALL my rifles and handguns:
336SS .30-30; 1894SS .44 Magnum; 1895GS .45-70; 1894CSS .357; 1894CSS .357


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Could be a few things mentioned. I'll toss out one more. The lifter acts as a mag cut off, it comes up slightly as the round slips out onto the lifter. It might be coming up just a tiny bit much & pinching the case causing the cant we see. The first round doesn't get thumped back by the spring in the same manner as the following ones do.
so you got an extra one.......wanna part with it? :) I'd adopt it and love it warts and all.
I really do feel bad that I got 2 CSS's on the same day knowing there are a lot of people out there that want one as I did. I actually used the money I had put aside for a .357 Ruger Blackhawk to buy the second rifle. If I did decide to sell one it would be to an MO. The difficult part would be how to do that fairly - - - - - - THAT IS IF I DECIDED TO SELL ONE!!!! Not even thinking that right now . . . . .

I understand. perhaps if I am patient marlin will start production again. who knows, I might even get lucky and they start making them in laminate or synthetic.............
Jam Update:

1. I took the rifle apart and while I had it open I went through many of the FIXES and Action polishing pointed out in the Gunsmithing Stickies including re-bending the ejector spring.
2. There did appear to be a slight misforming of the feed tube right where it snugs into the receiver. Looking at it closely with a 10x magnifying eyepiece there was a small dent where it may have been bumped. I polished the inside of the tube edge using 2400 Microfiber polishing cloth. (from my Pen Polishing operation)
3. I cleaned out the inside of the whole feed tube with a thick cotton swap using a graphite arrow shaft as a push rod.
4. I extended the tube spring a couple inches.
5. I polished the carrier/lifter contact surfaces with the same 2400 microfiber cloth even though I did not find any burrs there.
6. Reassembled and the action is smooth as silk and there were no problems with 30 cartridges exiting the feed tube onto the lifter.

As I watched the cartridges going from the lifter up into the chamber I noticed another problem that I did not realize was occurring. During a normal feed action you pull the lever down then cycle it back up. While I was not noticing a problem there was something happening as the cartridges entered the chamber. My engineering training kicked in and I started to analyze the motion of the cartridge from the carrier into the chamber.

Note in the pictures below how the cartridge is rising way above the chamber hole. As it moves forward it hits the top of the chamber and catches the front edge of the bullet. I checked my 2nd CSS and it is the same. I compared this to my 1894CSS .44 Magnum and they do not rise up above the level of the chamber. The FIOCCHI cartridge has an angled bullet and although they also rise as high the angled edge slides into the chamber better.

I thought that the top of the receiver was beveled into the chamber but the picture shows there is a gap and an edge at the end of the chamber. That edge is where the bullet face is catching.

The picture of the 6 Federal Soft Tip cartridges shows the round dent made in the lead by the end of the barrel chamber. I believe the bullets that I shot may have had a nice slice cut off the edge of the bullets.

I have read that there was some work done by you guys in redesigning the feed mechanism. The lever supplies the lift to the carrier. Are these levers slightly to long on the edge that provides this lift?
Is this style of cartridge not designed for these rifles? Any ideas or suggestions? Obviously we can not rely on an engineering team at Marlin because all of you guys who know anything are no longer there.

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Golfbuddy45 said:
I have read that there was some work done by you guys in redesigning the feed mechanism. The lever supplies the lift to the carrier. Are these levers slightly to long on the edge that provides this lift?
Is this style of cartridge not designed for these rifles? Any ideas or suggestions? Obviously we can not rely on an engineering team at Marlin because all of you guys who know anything are no longer there.

Try swapping the lever out of your 1894 that does not have issues and see what you get. You could try swapping carriers too but do each separately. I'm guessing the parts should be interchangeable between a .44 and .357.
People here have mentioned both carefully polishing that edge and/or bending the lifter (which allows the cartridge to enter the chamber at a more parallel angle).

Hopefully someone who has done this will chime in soon.

Looks like theyre catching on the edge of the hood. Breaking that edge might help. Getting the lifter to stop a little lower can be done by fiddling with either the lever or lifter if your lifter has a rocker in it, yours probably dont though.
If you pull the lever and look at the forward edge of the part that extends inside & moves the bolt etc you'll see its got two angles on it. Towards the pivot point its angled to catch the rocker or button depending on vintage. As you swing the lever closed the rocker or button rides up this edge, when it reaches the chamber the bevel on the lever swaps sides so the lever can ride over the button or rocker. MOving that transition towards the pivot point will lower the lifters final position. IF the gun has a rocker in the lifter you can work on it instead of the lever, moving the lobe on the lifter slightly forward will also raise the lifter slightly less. If possible I'd tinker with the rocker rather than the lever since its alot cheaper to replace if it gets screwed up.
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On the older rifles, the carriers were all heat treated..............That required the carriers to be bent to fit a gage after H-T to remove the deformation caused by H-T..............

In the New(er) rifles, the carriers are not heat treated (another Remington driven cost savings) the re-bending was eliminated.

you can adjust the carrier timing a bit by bending that carrier so the front end is a bit lower. Judging by the pictures, I'd try that, but would limit the amount of bend to .030 MAX..........If you were to bend more, You will affect the timing at the other end of the carrier position and caus other issues.
The safe thing about bending is, you can always go back, if you went too far.......

If you decide to try this, Develope a good setup fixture so you can measure the amount of change with calipers, and write down your original measurment so you can get back to it, if needed.

I should tell you all.........We never could fine any excessive wear, or any other negative characteristics in testing the non Heat treated carriers in automated cycling tests, but I was not comfortable with the change.

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Great info. If I were to order a carrier from Brownells or Midway is there a way to tell which ones are heat treated or not? Obviously since I have an additional CSS I could at least use one for a backup part.

I checked Brownnells and found that the .44 and .357/38SP are different carriers. I also found that Brownells has TWO carriers available and in stock for the .357 - one is $62 and the other is $46. I wonder if the more expensive one is the Heat Treated. The description of the $46 carrier says "NEW STYLE" while the other one does not. They both say manufactured by Marlin.

As I scrolled through the parts I also see there is an aluminum tube followere available to replace the plastic one. Anyone try one of those and is it worth $19.95?

I don't know why there is a price difference in carriers.

When you talk with Brownells, ask them about that.

Unless Remington has changed the carrier, the 'new style' would be the carrier I would get.

As for the aluminum follower, Personally, I would not get it. I would try to get a stainless follower from either Adirondack Jack or Longhunter.

I can only speak from my limited experiences.

Best regards

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Last time I checked, the stainless steel follower from Longhunt was less expensive.


Checking on parts schematics I verified that all 1894's use the same lever except STAINLESS or BLUED.

I took out the levers from my 1894SS .44Mag, and the two 1894 CSS .357's.

First I put the lever from the CSS that was feeding OK into the one that was lifting the carrier too high. Result - the carrier is not lifting as high.

Then I put the other lever in the other CSS and the lever close within a half inch and then stops. IT WILL NOT CLOSE. . . . . Hmmmmmmmm

So I put all 3 levers together and compared them - I have not modified any of these levers except for polishing some edges with 2400 grit microfibre cloth.

Failure to close the lever:
Look at the longer and more rounded edge on the bottom lever in the first picture - that longer tip was catching on the locking bolt. All my Marlin levers have a flat edge there - not rounded like that one.

Now for the carrier too high problem:
Look at the tips of the 3 levers. The one on the right is the SS .44 Mag Lever. The center is the CSS that was feeding OK. The left is the lever with the carrier too high.
The left lever has a whole different shape than the two on the right. It has a round top edge where the other two are almost flat. The SS and CSS levers on the right are perfect copies of each other all around.

The failing lever (on the bottom in this picture) also has a more pointed tip where the lever rides on the carrier.

My plan now is to shape the one cam to match the other two and see how it works. A new lever costs about $60 so I have to be sure not to take off any more than on the other two levers.

Will let you know what happens in a couple days.

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The levers ARE the same dimensionally..............The difference you are seeing is due to levers being made in different barches, with tool changes and setups done by different people...........The reason they work a little differently is that they were "fitted' to the particular rifle............Each rifle is a little different also.......Thats why when you swap parts, addition fitting is needed.

I'm not sure if you really understand the lever carrier relationship, but this pic shows a couple important things pretty clearly.
When you said this one had a more pointed tip where it rides on the carrier I assume you meant the very tip of the lobe on the end. That doesn't operate the carrier, its just pushes the bolt back & forth, the top is curved so it wont scrape the reciever on its swing.

If you look 1/2" or so left you see a rub mark & another lust to the right of the stamped L. The one furthest from the L is where the lever rides over the rocker or button depending on your lifter/carrier. The carrier rides up the knife edge of the lever until it reaches the bevel we are looking at, that bevel depresses the button or rocker at the top of the lifters travel. Thats why bending it can work, just as long as you bend that end of the lifter. But if you bend it down too much it'll start letting in two like Tom said. Bending is much better than trying to reshape the lever or rocker most times. Theres a write up with pics of somebody bending a carrier in a vise with a simple jig they made.
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