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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.
 

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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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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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Its been linked to before. Its neat but incorrect. It shows the lifter raising on the opening stroke but Marlins raise on the closing stroke. That little cam its showing lift the lifter only raises it enough to prevent the next round from following the first into the reciever. Other than that its a good representation of whats going on.
Heres a link to a write up Erik did on it that might help, http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php/topic,61441.0.html
 

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Golfbuddy45 said:
Reading through Marlin history it is difficult to determine exactly when the current style action was developed but just considering that it is over 100 years old boggles my mind to think how many trials they had to perform to come up with those intricate "timings" from the 4 basic action pieces - lever, carrier, bolt, and lock. The trigger, hammer, firing pin, barrel, ammo tube, are just supporting cast IMO.

Ralph
The current design was pretty much in use with the model 1889. It has a one piece fireing pin & the locking lug/lever interface is different but as far as the lifter & feed mechanism goes its the same. The 1888 looks to share the locking mechanics with later guns but I dont have one to fiddle with. It is pretty amazing when you realize that Marlins do everything with what basically amounts to one ratchet & a couple cams. I dont know if you have Brophy's book but in it theres illustrations of design conceptions Hepburn came up with going from the top eject 1888 to the side eject 1889. Some look pretty complex compared to the finished product.

Anyway I'm glad you got her up & running! ;)
 

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Eli Chaps said:
Ken,

Did Hepburn come up with the final design? Was it a mutual endeavor with John Marlin? I don't have Brophy's book but I've always been curious just what John Marlin's primary role was. As in, was he as much an engineer as businessman...?
John Marlin was certainly involved but as I understand it Hepburn did most of the R&D involved in turning Marlins top ejects into the guns we know. John Marlin himself I think had more to do with the designs of the earlier revolvers than the rifles. The 1881, Marlins first lever action, was a Burgess design that operated very similar to the current 39 rimfires. Without looking in the book, so I may be wrong, I believe that Hep first came on board turning the 1881 into the 1888, Marlins first lever action with a modern type breech block, the 1881 locked up on the lever like todays Marlin 39's. The Breech block was a major step, Winchester beat Marlin by 2 years in that regard with the 1886. Or John Browning did anyway. They kinda went back & forth, Win built the first really sucessful lever action, Marlin built the first chambered for the 45/70 govt, Winchester built the first with a true locking breech, Marlin built the first with side eject.

All that aside I think Marlins action is superior in most every way. Its very simple & that is what lent it to easilly be wrapped around all three classes of cartriges these guns have been traditionally chambered for. From the diminutive 25/20 to 45/70 & beyond. Sure he needed to alter size a bit but the basic mechanics are the same from one extreme to the other. Winchester needed three completely different actions, all much more complex, to do the same thing, 4 if you want to count the 1873's that were still in production into the 1920's if I remember right. Of course John Browning had an incentive to create new different actions rather than easily adaptable ones since he was never an actual employee of Winchester but a design contractor I guess he could have been called. It served him better to create 3 different designs to sell to Winchester. All three of Marlins actions, 1893, 1894 & 1895 shared the same patents to my understanding.

All that was off he top of my head so I hope people will be kind if I made a mistake or two. ;)
 

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Golfbuddy45 said:
I might look for that book - my engineering trained mind WANTS TO KNOW . . . . after you guys mentioned the timings and radii I started looking at it as slow as possible to see the interactions as the lever movement goes out and back. I took all the pieces out and laid them on each other like Erik did in his picture and slowly moved them as best I could with everything being loose. For example, I never realized that little pin on the carrier is FLOATING and spring loaded! I wonder how many MO's have really noticed that before? One of the things I always disliked about the Winchester mechanism is how it swings down and the cartridge ejecting out the top. The Marlin design is simplicity and functionality in one.

Ralph
Its even more clear if you drive two finishing nails into a board, the same distance apart as the lever screw & lifter screw and drop the lever over one & lifter over the other. It really is a deceptively simple design. Winchester has the lever pined to the bolt so that the lever pivot point NEEDS to be floating to acomodate the arc of the lever & straight line movement of the bolt. That applies to the 86, 92 & 94 Winchesters. Marlin did away with all that & the complexity it necessitates by simply not attaching the lever to the bolt. The top eject was something Winchester was stuck with, especially after he got greedy & John Browning stopped working for him. I'm fairly certain that had they both kept working together Mr Browning woulda come up with a side eject. There doesn't seem to be much he couldn't do if he set his mind to it. He designed everything from auto pistols to machine guns, he didn't design MY favorite guns but he's still somebody I'll always admire. :)
 

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44-40 Willy said:
Ken, that's been pretty much my understanding of it too.

One thing though is that the Lyman manual on the 44-40 pages has the 1888 in the list of weaker actions and the 1889 and 1894 in the strong action listing. Not sure why, but I always assumed that the 1888 probably locked up different than the newer actions.
I saw that too & dont understand why. If you see an 88 with the action open its got the familiar cut out on the bottom of the bolt & with it closed its got the same lever/lug setup as an 89. I think they are mistaken calling it a weaker action.
That said I trreat my 89's with kid gloves & would do the same with an 88 if I could get my hands on one.
 

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44-40 Willy said:
I would treat 'em easy too. They're over 100 years old and the metalurgy back then isn't like it is now.
Exactly. I have a 32/20 1889 & really like the caliber but am limited because of the age of the gun & even more importantly I cant scope it. So I'm turning my 1894C into a 32/20CL. Just dropped it off yesterday to get the barrel swapped!
Once it comes home I need to find a forend for it and then I figure I'll have the best woods varmint/small game gun I could ask for. :) The 1889 is alot of fun to shoot but is hard to be precise with. Clay pigeons at 50 yards are easy with 115 gr lazer cast at the range with good light, but the old carbine sights leave much to be desired in field conditions. Plus I'd barf on the spot if I dinged it up bouncing around in the woods with it. ;) Thats why when I put my 1889 44/40 together I just cold blued it & called it good. Making them pretty & shiny is great too but limits its usefulness.
 
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