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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang,
I have a question about buying a JM Marlin online. I'd rather buy one in person but that may be hard where I live. I will call around and see though.
But for buying online, I don't know what to look for, or what questions to ask the seller.
Is an early 80's JM more desirable because some people don't like safeties, or because they were better made? Should I avoid a rifle that's been used in cowboy action contests, or seek one out? These may be bad examples of what I'm getting at, but I think that illustrates how little I know about what to look for and what to ask.
I'm looking for an 1894 .357 / .38 if that helps.
Thank you,
jerdog3
 

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Not sure about your area, but dont forget to check pawn shops if they handle firearms in your area. Its getting pretty hard to find used guns in most gun stores anymore.

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Not sure about your area, but dont forget to check pawn shops if they handle firearms in your area. Its getting pretty hard to find used guns in most gun stores anymore.

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Good point. I did try to find pawn shops that buy / sell guns, but I don't think most can in Los Angeles. Or maybe they chose not to. But thanks for the reminder. I'll look again.
 

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The JM 1894 357 Mag was the first year in 79, it does not have the cross bolt safety.
The 80-84 models are stamped 1894c.
The 85 to 2000 models are stamped 1894CS, these models have the cross bolt safety. (not sure but I think everything from 85 on has the CBS)

The Cowboy II in .357 were issued in 97 - 2000
The Cowboy in .357 was issued from 2001 to 10
The 1894c was issued from 2001 to 10
The 1894cp is the ported .357 made from 01 to 02

The 1894CSS issued in 2010 is the only stainless .357

So take your pick and try to find one!
 

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In my case I could find no JM in ANY store I visited....in the caliber and model I wanted. I tried about everything and it got me nothing. I didn’t really want to go to Gunbroker, but that’s what I did. Here’s what I learned:

Dont be in a hurry unless you KNOW the gun is exactly what you want and exactly as described. Taking your time is how you learn, and find more guns.

Be a bit skeptical about the descriptions you read. Sellers are usually somewhere between 80 and 95% honest about all marks on the gun. A few try to be 100%.

Study pictures carefully. You can spot dents, scratches and marks that are not described in detail.

Start some dialogue with the seller. If they seem disinterested it doesn’t mean the gun isn’t good, but it can mean you don’t have someone who really wants to work with you.

Gun shops on GB can be pretty terse and not so accommodating to your needs.

Every seller gets hit with a request to sell for less. Every single one. Don’t start with that approach. Be gentle and be interested in the gun. There are ways to see if a seller will help you out on the price....eventually.

Try to get the serial number of a gun and use it determine age.

Know the return policy and be willing to live with it.

In my case I had my eye on a pretty 1895G in JM clothes. The seller had a good rating, but he just was terrible at answering my questions. I tried for two weeks and finally gave up on his gun. I just wasn’t willing to buy without some Q&A. The gun had some marks on it, but nothing major. Nobody ever bid on it in a 7 week span.

In the end, you’ll be holding your breath and hoping a gun arrives better than described. Just don’t pay a premium price for a gun you can’t return....especially if you’re looking for something in superb condition.
 

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My 2 cent: Be patient. If not, be ready to pay a premium. The safety is up to you. Some people are concern with disengaging the safety during hunting. I am not familiar with Cowboy action type rifles. But, I suspect you will not be doing any rapid shooting. So, standard model should work fine. I would look for a site that accept returns, at a low cost. One other thing, checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB.ORG) may not be a bad idea.
 

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I understand my 1894CB was re-introduced in 2018.
Mine is a 2019.03 production run, with flawless fit and finish.
 
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Don't forget 'Nate Kiowa Jones' at Stevesgunz.com. Steve (NKJ) is a "Rossi specialist", but, as one of the real Go-To guys in CAS, he sees a ton of guns go through his store, including Marlins. See if you can enlist his help watching for what you want.
 

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My collection niche is pre-safety Marlins. That's the way they were when when I became familiar with them, and that's how they were when I started buying them. That is pre 1983.

Nothing wrong with the hammer block safeties. Truth be told, I've let a round off more than once dropping the hammer to half-cock. Nothing wrong with the hammer blocks. They can be deleted and a plug inserted to fill the hole, if you insist.

Go over the pics on line carefully. You can request additional photos, if you're serious about a rifle. The serial numbers you need are only the first two digits. Date of manufacture can be calculated from that. But for an 1894c, the range of manufacture is not that long. Obviously you want to distinguish between a JM and a Remington era manufacture--after 2009.

You may want to find out what the present owner has been doing with the rifle, hunting, competition, etc. Maybe it's been sitting in his safe. Since you plan to have it gone over and modified, you may find reassurance in a rifle that was regularly shot. You will know that it works. If it was used in cowboy competitions, the action was likely slicked up and perhaps the springs were lightened. If you're planning to have it Ceracoated, the condition of the metal is less important, as it will be covered. But deep pits are a turn off.

Make sure you look at the finger lever. Examine it for rust caused by a leather wrap or a leather pad. If you're going to replace the lever anyway for a large loop, it doesn't matter.

I wouldn't sweat the accuracy. Nearly all the 1894c's will shoot into one hole at 50 yards with jacketed ammo. Accuracy can be improved with hand loads.

Once you land a rifle, get a spare ejector or two. The seldom break, but they can be tough to find when you need one. Sometimes the seller will throw in an extra, or brass, bullets, or dies. Doesn't hurt to ask. I'd keep that communication to private emails, not attached to the listing.

Likely some one else will jump in here, but the most reliable site is GunBroker. Some of the other sites have scammers trying to sell a fictitious rifle. If the price is too good to be true, it is. Pass on that one. Try to get an inspection period with option to return. Don't buy from a seller with a very low sales count.

Line up a FFL to do the transfer for you before you bid on a rifle. Make sure your FFL will accept a transfer from a private individual, and what ID is required. Be prepared to pay for a transfer on his end also, if your FFL requires it.

Are gun shows an option for you? Sometimes transfers from private sellers can go through without a transfer, it the show is a club function and show admission is restricted to members only. Don't know if CA has those. Small commercial shows are not likely to have a 1894c, but who knows? You could find a private seller walking around with one. Learn to recognize an 1894c by its size and configuration. If you go, get there early. If you have a friend or two who collect firearms, have them keep an eye open for you. Again, think finder's fees. There are two or three dealers at the show I attend regularly who tend to have a selection of Marlins. If I were looking, I'd definitely let them know what I was after.

If you're looking at something on line, you can ask questions about it here.

It's good advice to be patient. Visit as many gun and pawn shops as you can. Let the shops know what you're looking for and that you'll pay a premium or a finder's fee. Same for estate sales and auctions. Yeah, I know, you don't have a lot of time. But you're looking for a rare bird. That being said, have a budget and stick with it. Sounds like you're willing to pay a bit more for the right rifle. That helps.

Good luck.
 

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Here is my two cents. For some it might not even be worth that, but here it is anyhow.
Avoid anything made after the 2009 takeover of Marlin. Its a risk as to what you will get in terms of fit, finish and function.
If dealing with an online seller, get into contact with them and developed a good report with that person.
Cover your rear end when making a payment. Use a USPS money order or PayPal. This gives you some protection if the buy turns into a scam.
Ask to see up close photos of the bore, chamber crown, bolt, hammer, lever, barrel sights, wrist and anything you may question from the base photos. If the seller won't do it, move on.
Ask for time to look over the rifle with option to return on your dime.
I have bought rifles off of Gunbroker and have had excellent results.
Keep an eye on this forum's gun sale posts. You never know when one may come up for sale.
Network with other members as to where they have seen one for sale.
I hope this helps. Good luck,
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You guys have been so helpful! Thank you so much!
This is an email response I got from one of the leads to a custom shop HIKayaker gave me. When I asked why my AR15 can shoot lights out with sights straight as an arrow, but lever guns seem to need more adjustments:


Its old technology verses new. The guns will shoot straight but the sights might set a little off. Peep sights on the frames are the real problem with these lever guns. Was a little surprised when Marlin offered them with XS sights. With a barrel mounted rear sight it’s not as big an issue. With a tang sight it’s also not an issue since they have windage adjustments. Just so you know, the current Remlins are better built guns than the JM’s. Had a lot more trouble with the JM sights lining up as a whole and the internals were not near as good as the current Remlins.

It's a very interesting answer. I'm sure some will agree, and some will not. But I find it makes sense about the rear sight being on the barrel working better with these guns.
Thank you all again!
 

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I'm late to the Party. Check companies that do Estate Auctions. What you see at those auctions depends on where you live. I live in PA and the NE US has had a lot of families that hunted, owned rifles, and other gun related items. When the older folks die off, the family puts the contents of their Estate up for auction. I bought a number of Vintage rifles at Estate Auctions. I found several Marlins that were in Pristine condition, and one Model 1895 chambered in 45-70 that was unfired. Most hunters are looking for bolt action rifles, and sometimes, lever guns don't get a lot of bids. I got that unfired Marlin at a very low price, there were not a lot of bidders.

If you live in a state where Hunting was never a big deal, you may not have any luck.

Location, location, location.

I would never buy a firearm over the Internet, but I don't have too.


Mike T.
 

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You guys have been so helpful! Thank you so much!
This is an email response I got from one of the leads to a custom shop HIKayaker gave me. When I asked why my AR15 can shoot lights out with sights straight as an arrow, but lever guns seem to need more adjustments:


Its old technology verses new. The guns will shoot straight but the sights might set a little off. Peep sights on the frames are the real problem with these lever guns. Was a little surprised when Marlin offered them with XS sights. With a barrel mounted rear sight it’s not as big an issue. With a tang sight it’s also not an issue since they have windage adjustments. Just so you know, the current Remlins are better built guns than the JM’s. Had a lot more trouble with the JM sights lining up as a whole and the internals were not near as good as the current Remlins.

It's a very interesting answer. I'm sure some will agree, and some will not. But I find it makes sense about the rear sight being on the barrel working better with these guns.
Thank you all again!
Glad you are doing research. The sights I can accept. The construction, I would take that with a grain of salt. In the end, salesmen are out to make money. They can not sell what they don't have. I am not stating that this man is not being upfront with you. But, I am sure that some people can chime in to confirm that statement or not.
 

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I have a 1894SS with safety (2009) and a straight 1894 without (1975). I prefer the safety for hunting. It makes it nice for loading and unloading. Once loaded, I slip the safety off and rely on the half-cock.
 

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You guys have been so helpful! Thank you so much!
This is an email response I got from one of the leads to a custom shop HIKayaker gave me. When I asked why my AR15 can shoot lights out with sights straight as an arrow, but lever guns seem to need more adjustments:


Its old technology verses new. The guns will shoot straight but the sights might set a little off. Peep sights on the frames are the real problem with these lever guns. Was a little surprised when Marlin offered them with XS sights. With a barrel mounted rear sight it’s not as big an issue. With a tang sight it’s also not an issue since they have windage adjustments. Just so you know, the current Remlins are better built guns than the JM’s. Had a lot more trouble with the JM sights lining up as a whole and the internals were not near as good as the current Remlins.

It's a very interesting answer. I'm sure some will agree, and some will not. But I find it makes sense about the rear sight being on the barrel working better with these guns.
Thank you all again!
I can only go by what I have seen personally. Two Remlin 1894Cs have come into my LGS during the past year and a half. Both of them had off center iron sights--meaning that either the front or rear sight were not aligned to the bore. The LGS owner sent them both back to Remington for repair.
 

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If you live in a state where Hunting was never a big deal, you may not have any luck.

Location, location, location.

I would never buy a firearm over the Internet, but I don't have too.
Good logic. I'm from Ohio which has only recently allowed the .45-70 cartridge to be used in deer season. Prior to that event there was almost no reason to own a .45-70 here, unless a guy was simply a fan. As a result, there are precious few JM guns in safes, gun stores and shows....there simply is little to no reason for there to be many around. PA, MI and other states with a history of rifle hunting for deer or black bear it's much easier to find such guns from decades ago.
 
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