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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
July 11, 2012     The New Era Paper
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July 11, 2012

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Page 12 bl JTI OI , ~1~ - July 11,2012 '08 Chevrolet Impala '05 Buick Rendezvou~ LT Sedan 4D CX Sport Utility 4D Blue V6 Flex Fuel 3.5 Liter V6 3.4 Liter Stock Stock#7674A Stock#2288B W,qS S10.997 WP, S $8.997 SALES9,267 SALES7,999 In my last column I made a tion of this is that the Marlin rifle comment, referring to rifles I con- is available in dozens of configura- sider optimal for youths, about the tions and the Winchester is almost perennial superiority of the Marlin non-existent. The Marlin has been over the Winchester lever-action in constant production for its entire design, lifespan; the Winchester was on hia- The most effective illustra- tus for a few years and even though QUALITY- PRECISION - SERVICE All Work 100% Guaranteed Jeff Hutchins, Owner Read my articles in The New Era outdoors section. 29352 HWY 34, CORVALLIS Open: Tues & Fri 11-6 Sat 11-5 Closed Sun & Monday Closed Wed & Thursday for Gunsmithing New & Used Firearms - Quality Gunsmithing - Hot Bluing DiIN DEE SlILE8 FOR ALL YOUR SPORTING GOOD NEEDS 610 MAIN STREET 1 541.367.5544 l HOURS: MON.- SAT. 9 - 6 I SUN. 10 - 4 UU5 UliTTgH OR SUPERHHD REPELS MOSQUITOS I LAST 200 HOURS OUnLQW PR[[-S,gg b"I'EELHBg JIM 1/80Z I 30 COLORS I SY'S JIGS 8 L Sl.g IIR PUHP DOUBLE QUICK I REG. 5.49 brought back, it is only available in limited configurations at quite high prices. Granted, popularity doesn't necessarily equate to superiority but in this case things happened a bit abnormally - dare I say "back- wards?" When the Winchester rifle was king of the hill, their advertizing was head and shoulders above Mar- lin's capability. The financial dis- parity between the two companies was huge and, as a result, "Big Red" could afford to dominate the public perception of rifle quality and per- formance. The reason for this is that Win- chester got a jump start with the Model 1860 Henry rifle, the "as- sault rifle" of the Civil War era. Winchester.had no less of a salesman than Abraham Lincoln to kick off the company and its sales successes. The president was a huge fan of this rifle and even test fired them at the White House. As an interesting bit of history; this basic design was purchased from Smith & Wesson and evolved into the Winchester lever-rifle. The South was overwhelmed by the "firepower" of the Henry rifle. Sor- ry for the language, but the exact quote was: "That damned Yankee rifle that you can load on Sunday and shoot all week!" Marlin didn't offer any com- petition, or really even exist, until the 1881 Model came to fruition. At the outset, the advantage fell into Marlin's hands. The stronger Marlin could handle powerful cartridges that Winchester couldn't match un- til 1886. That five years might not seem like much but this was during the formation of the "West," it mattered ! Until the 1881 Marlin, this kind of power was basically only available to hunters in a single-shot rifle. Marlin made its signature de- sign change in the Model of 1889, the solid top receiver. I'm sure at the time the only ones to notice the advantage were the gunsmiths who serviced various firearms. The Marlin engineering was so much better and simpler that it had to be glaringly obvious to anyone familiar with the disassembly and reassembly of the two competing designs. Jeff Hutchins I have taken apart hundreds of Winchester and Marlin levers and the Marlins are a joy to work on in comparison. The Winchester is not bad; it is just not as good. One other group who might have appreciated the change at the time is anyone who has ever had a top-ejecting rifle throw a piece of hot brass in their face or down their shirt. Today's more educated shoot- ers have learned of the advantages of the Marlin rifle through the abun- dance of firearms information ava- ialble in the modern world. Evidence of this is that Rem- ington now owns the Marlin Fire- arms Company and even Big Green can't keep up with the demand for this "antiquated" gun design. One of the reasons is that the rifle evolved into the 1893, 1894, 1895, 1936, 36, 336 and 30 series. 1 will just call them the "336 style" as it's the most prolific model. This rifle is available in calibers up to the monster .450 Marlin. Although it is an 1895 deriva- tive, that rifle is nothing more than a 336 with an enlarged ejection port. When Winchester wanted to up the available horsepower in their rifle, they had to make the Big Bore version with a beefed-up receiver wearing ungainly reinforced areas on the exterior of the action where the locking block recesses are. Marlin took those .307 and .356 Winchester cartridges, put them in their 336 rifle and all was well. The 444 Marlin kind of*fit into the 94 Big Bore so Winchester added that chambering towards the end of the 94's life but the immensely popular 45/70 Government wouldn't fit ~ind, as a result, Marlin has pretty much had that market all to themselves i.n a lever action rifle since before World War II. That side-eject, solid top re- ceiver really became an advantage as shooters/hunters became the benefactors of better, stronger and cheaper optical sights. It is nearly impossible to find a rifle without some kind of optical sight installed today and the open-top, top-ejecting Winchester lost out big time in this area. The only thing Marlin had to do was to put four scope base mounting holes in the solid top of the receiver. Winchester had to do a major redesign in the early '80s to accomplish this with its Angle Eject 94 AE but it still wasn't as good. A couple of the Marlin ad- vantages also make it somewhat homely to many. The first is the pistol grip stock that most Marlins have and most Winchesters don't. This feature has actually become attractive to me over the years. I'm not entirely sure if it is because it looks better or simply because it works so much better. I don't under- stand some shooters' preference for a straight-grip stock. When you place a rifle or shot- gun against your shoulder to fire it you would have to be a contor- tionist to hold the stock with your dominate hand consistent with the straight-grip stock's geometry,, your elbow would be above your head. Your hand will automatically form into a pistol grip shape wether your stock has one or not. The pistol grip also allows you to pull the stock back into your shoulder pocket better which will help with recoil control and speed up accurate follow-up shots, propo- nents of the straight grip stock say it is "faster" but I don't see how or why. The second feature is the posi- tion of the lever pivot point. This point is a fixed protrusion extended down off of the receiver of the Mar-" lin that offers greater, consistent leverage while working the action. In the Winchester this pivot loca- tion changes as the lever is cycled through its arc. The unfortunate thing is that there is less leverage available at the beginning of the stroke. All of the important opera- See Hutchins, page 13 !