Marlin Firearms Forum banner

New 1894 VERY rough?

3987 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Leverdude
I just bought a new Marlin 1894C in .357 magnum. I realize that I need to shoot the gun some before it will begin to smooth out. However, this rifle is not only very well finished with sweet wood; it is the roughest, grittiest lever action I have ever handled. Is there something I can do to speed up the "break-in" process? What say you? Thanks...
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Look on top of the barrel if you're looking from the hammer end of the gun. Is there a proof mark on the rear of the barrel towards the receiver on the left side or right side? If its on the left side, can you please tell us the date the firearm was made? My 1894CB was extremely smooth out of the box but it was also made right before the remington/freedom group take over.

EDIT: If you do want a simple fix to the problem, take some 600 grit sand paper wet or dry, some gun oil, and some chrome polish and polish all contact surfaces, or take a knife sharpening finishing stone, or fine arkasas stone and some honing oil and give all the contact and mating surfaces a good polish. You don't want to polish all the bumps and stuff out, you just want to smooth each part out making them all even and true. After that clean the gun and apply chrome polish to the exposed areas of metal.
The idea of polishing is to not remove mat'l of course. Or, like many just sit in front of the tube with the western channel and help out w/ the BG's. Working the lever for an evening is good for "honest wear", and it helps with muscle control and familiarizing with the arm.
Before polishing anything I would pull the finger lever and bolt and clean all parts and inside receiver good than re-assembel and try again and see if that helps, if your not comfortable polishing take to gunsmith.
yukondog said:
Before polishing anything I would pull the finger lever and bolt and clean all parts and inside receiver good than re-assembel and try again and see if that helps, if your not comfortable polishing take to gunsmith.
+1 Be careful not to take too much metal off, it can't be put back on! Both my Marlins were a little stiff, but they are both smooth now and cycle ammunition great. Best of luck with your new 357 popper! ;D One of those is now on my short list of must haves...
Take some gun scrubber or brake cleaner and douche out the entire gun to remove any gunk, oil, metal filings, etc. Then lightly lubricate everything and try it again. One thing you can use on the contact surfaces is Gunslick, and then just keep cycling the action until it smooths out. When I bought my 1894C it was fairly rough, but a good cleaning, Gunslick, cycling and firing about 200 rounds through it made a tremendous difference. When I sold it it was a very smooth operating gun.

I'm always leery of removing metal, filing and sanding stuff. Polishing is usually OK, but sometimes folks get carried away. A little is good, but a lot is tragic.
A confession: I bought an 1894C back in the 90s (I believe it was the first year they introduced the Cowboy model and the Ballard rifling). The dealer had a cowboy and a regular 1894, and after a bit of soul-searching I went for the standard. I guess my main rationale was that I liked the carbine length better for my intended purposes (mostly target shooting with some pig hunting mixed in). Anyway, after shooting it a bit, I pretty much got out of shooting for a while (too much time spent taking kids to soccer practice, working, and doing all of those other necessaries -- along with living in the SF bay area, a location hardly rife with easy shooting opportunities :(). Long story short, I took it out of the safe yesterday, went over it with some good ol' Hoppe's Number 9 and oiled her up. Then, following the sage advice I'd read about here, I settled in front of the TV and worked the lever a couple of hundred times. Now, it wasn't bad to start out with, but DAMN! It's slick as anything now!

Moral of my story -- before you start removing metal, at least try this method; it doesn't cost anything and can't hurt!
See less See more
Pat/Rick said:
The idea of polishing is to not remove mat'l of course. Or, like many just sit in front of the tube with the western channel and help out w/ the BG's. Working the lever for an evening is good for "honest wear", and it helps with muscle control and familiarizing with the arm.
If you have a new, wide screen, High-def tube, make sure the gun is empty before taking on the "Wild Bunch"... ;) ;D

1.) First things first -- Make sure it is empty.
2.) Next -- Give it a thorough cleaning like has been mentioned. Give it a touch of lube on obvious wear points.
3.) Next -- Forget about the bad guys for a couple of minutes and take the time to really analyze where you feel the action giving you a hitch while you are levering it. Even turn the tube off, close your eyes, and focus on feeling the action.
4.) Then -- Take on the Cooter Gang, or whoever the bad guy club of the week happens to be. Pretend that you have a 300 round magazine full of super-duper mercury doped hollow-points, and start cycling that action.
5.) Then -- Take it apart once more, see where your lube is collecting, put it back together and repeat step #3.
6.) Then -- Consider polishing things up judiciously.
7.) Then -- Repeat steps #1 through #4 until you are satisfied.
I agree with most. Take it apart and clean it before you do anything to it. Even just sitting and cycling it. It is suprising sometimes what kind of grit, dirt, burrs, etc can be roaming arround loose in the action.

Look at the bolt. run your fingers across it and the ways in the action. do not worry about tool marks right now, They are often harless. you are looking for burrs, rolled over edges etc. Knock or polish off any burrs or rolled over edges. Do not do anything else at this point. Just put it back together, lubricated it, and sit down and cycle it. It will probably clean up very quickly. If it doesn't it may be a clearnce or geometry issue. Highly unlikely but they do occur as tools wear and are reaching then end of thier life.

Like some have said do notpolish for the sake of polishing. It may be a huge waste of your time. After cylcling it several hundred times and you still have issues, you can take it apart and look at the wear patterns. That will often show you the problem, especially a clearance or geometry issue.
See less See more
Well, I guess I'll be the preverbial red-headed stepchild and list a slightly different method.

And I mean.....slightly.

The above post are pretty good to bank on.....with a minor exception.

For sure, clean it and lube it accordingly.

BUT, before you sit in front of the tube working the action a few 000 times to help smooth it up alittle, you really should focus on WHERE that rough spot(s) is located.

Example: I had a friend bring his Marlin .44 mag Cowboy over because of bad stiffness in the lever operation. Basically, he could only open the lever half way before serious drag started to occur.

Sure, working his lever a couple 00 times would have eased it alittle, but it would have also messed it up alittle.

Diagnoses: without the lever, the bolt would slide easy in the receiver, even when the ejector was in place.
When the lever was placed on the rifle without using the bolt, the stiffness problem became obvious.

His problem was that the end of his lever that is up in the receiver was just alittle to long and was dragging on the upper portion of the receiver itself.

Working his lever a few 00 times would have improperly worn either the knife edge of his lever and/or caused a bad, yukie groove (or indent) in the upper portion inside his receiver.

CURE: I just polished out alittle of that lever tip to allow his lever to open/close without the levers edge dragging on the upper portion inside the receiver. Plus, I made sure the correct amount was removed that ensured good bolt closing tolerances.

Originally, his rifle was one of the stiffest I had ever encountered but yet was one of the easiest to fix without other slicking techniques.

So, try to evaluate each situation carefully. Don't be afraid to talk with knowledgable folks and gunsmiths. Sometimes, alittle can go along way in helping cure problems.

Best regards

See less See more
Yes making an online assessment without the gun is pretty tough. Disassembly cleaning and looking for those wear points is key. I always take apart a new or used gun for cleaning and inspection.

Check for burrs and remove them...then a good polishing. Not just the action, but the mag tube also. Clean it like a barrel and look for burrs where it joins the reciever.

For feeding issues some loaded blanks run through the gun while watching closely helped me come up with tweaking the extractors in both the 1895 and 1894's!

For the new people...please read all stickies in your sections of interest. There's fixes in the 1894 section and the gunsmithing sections. Disassembly, cleaning or anything else you want to know. ;)

If you need info on your gun you need not look elsewhere. Marlin Owners has more info on leverguns than ANY OTHER SITE ON THE WEB HANDS DOWN! ;D

If you can't find it asking will get you a lot of help! ;)
Good advice Widowmaker, lever addict and others. I will add one other little one. When I first got my 1894 it was chambering a little rough, and I was seeing some small nicks or gouges in the case a short ways down from the neck. Wasn't sure, what was causing but I started paying attention and I could feel a little drag spot, right as the round was entering the chamber. I read somewhere on MO to look at the edge of the chamber for any burr, and what I found was not even easy to see, but I could feel the edge of the burr with a tiny screwdriver. It was easy to clean up as there wasn't much metal, but instantly the gun started chambering rounds smooth as butter, and no more nicks in the brass.. I doubt, considering the softness of brass wearing on it that that would have ever gone away, and yet it was really a tiny amount of metal, hardly seen..
Widow maker makes a very valid point. If we patiently try to determine exactly where & what is causing a problem its easier to adress it without possibly screwing something else up. Unless its something I can identify immediately I'll take out a part at a time & try to see when the problem stops or starts. In this case he just had to yank the bolt to figure it out. Often times theres a hitch at the top of the lifters travel. Its at that point the lever needs to snap over the carrier rocker or the button in newer 94's. It just so happens that thats exactly where the bolt starts pushing in the ejector, so often folks think its the ejector & waste time on it when its got noting to do with the trouble. But, if you yank the bolt or even just the ejector it becomes obvious thats not the trouble. Thats a common one but theres more, theres alot going on in there when we cycle the lever & its best IMO to figure out the catch before just randomly polishing things. Of course polishing donr carefully wont or shouldn't hurt anything, but it might not help either. In Widows example for instance the gun woulda been smooth everywhere except where it bound up. In mine simply polishing the correct place on the rocker & lever would have fixed it.

So, after cleaning it all out real well, if its still gritty try it without the bolt. Try it with the bolt but no lifter. Those 2 parts are where most issues come from, isn't much else inside.
See less See more
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.