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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to treat myself to a new lever gun. Planning on 45LC. I like the look of the cowboy style (octagonal barrel, straight grip, no checkering). I was looking at the Marlin 1894 CBC (cowboy competition) or the Winchester 94 trails end octagon. Both have the straight stock, 20 inch octagon barrel, case colored receiver. I would not put a scope on it (that is just wrong), so the ejection difference does not concern me. One concern is that the Marlin has a 1/16 rate of twist and the Winchester is 1/26. I am not up to speed on riffle twist rate. I would assume the manufacturers have that figured out, but the difference concerns me. Where would one twist rate rein supreme over the other. This may be the deciding factor. On a side bar, I do have a Marlin 1895 CB (45-70) and it is my favorite gun to shoot. Perhaps it's time for a Winchester? Decisions, decisions, I'm such a puss. Both are close enough in cost, no issue there.
 

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Marlin vs Winchester

PeterB,

A quick look at the winner's circles at SASS Cowboy rifle events shows an overwelming Marlin-user majority. Enuff said!

The Marlin 1894 action was designed for pistol-length cartridges. The Winchester 1894 action was designed to use .38-55/.30-30 length cartridges, and had to be adapted to use pistol-length ammo.

In addition to these two design differences, the barrel rate twist on the Marlin is suitable for the range of .45 projectiles from 200-300+ grains, while the much slower Winchester twist rate pretty well limits it to 250 grain bullets at standard .45 Colt velocities. For all practical purposes the two are equals for factory-standard .45 Colt (pistol) ammo. For heavy bullet hunting use, light Cowboy loads, or handloading, the Marlin has the advantage.

Oh, yes: The Marlin Cowboy guns went to the very sucessful "Ballard style" rifling that is favored for lead bullet accuracy from older "Microgroove" style rifling. If appears that Winchester simply used the old standard .45 Colt rifling twist that barrel manufacturers have used since the cartridge was designed 132 years ago.

This is not to say anything bad about Winchesters, but the Marlin is a better rifle!

Since you already have an 1895 and are happy with it, a new matching stablemate would seem to be in order! I like the Marlins enough to have more than half a dozen of them in various models and calibers.

HTH
John
 

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Why not take a look at the various Win. Model 92 clones? I have a couple of them and actually prefer them to the Marlin or Win. 94. My .45 LC is an EMF set up with the 20" octagon barrel and my .357 Mag. is a 20" round barrel with the LSI brand on it. All are made by Rossi.

They can generally be had for $200 or more savings over the Marlin and Winchester generally especially the EMFs.
 

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The statement about winchester 94's made for rifle cartridges , not pistol to me is horse feathers. We own two and have no issues. the 357 trapper spits out 357 as well as 32 Spl for about 6000 rounds now , and we have had the reciever cleaned twice.

The Marlin CB is already tuned, easy to clean,and can fire faster than the winchester 94.

Now the winchester 92 , I think is a real kitten . I handled a browning made in 44 Mag. I would have bought it at a instant.

Now the winchester 73/66 types are fast on the lever , but will not stand the heavy loadings

They all have pro and cons.
Go with the Marlin
 

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winchester 94

Harry Snippe,

The Winchester 1894 was indeed DESIGNED for rifle-length cartridges, and subsequently adapted to pistol cartridges (.357, .44 Magnum, .45 Colt) in the early 1970's when revolver/carbine caliber commonality was "rediscovered". Winchester adapted the 94 action to use those pistol-length cartridges because the model '92 was long out of production, and it was to cheaper adapt the in-production 94 rifle to pistol calibers. At that time, only Browning (Japan) and Rossi (Brazil) manufactured '92 type rifles, and Winchester management decided not to retool for an obsolete action rifle that would compete for that limited market segment.

Time and hundreds of thousands of units later, the Winchester 94 action pistol caliber carbines have proven themselves reliable and accurate. I have nothing against the '94 because I have owned several. The Marlin 1894 simply happens to be a better choice in the caliber for the stated requirements.

John
 

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I've wanted a lever in .44 mag for a long time now. I've heard all of this information before, but what I've never heard is whether or not the winchester's rifle shell design makes a performance difference in pistol loads.

In short, does it really make a difference that the winchester 94 has a longer action? Does is make a longer lever stroke? What are the implications?
 

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I own both a 1894 Marlin in 44 mag (almost 30 years) and a Winchester 94 Ranger Compact in .357. I love them both, they are both 100% reliable in feeding. The Winchester has a different feel due to it's 2 stage lever whereas the Marlin lever has a single pivot point so is smoother working. One thing I didn't like about the Winchester was it's tang safety, and it's rebounding hammer, and the lack of the old fashioned halfcock safety. I'm in the process of changing this into the old hammer/safety design by replacing the lower tang assembly with one from the older model, it's what i'm used to. The Winchester had a lousy heavy trigger pull but it has improved a bunch just by working the action several hundred times while watching TV (old John Wayne flicks of course). The new hammer, and tang should improve the trigger even more.
 

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Based on my limited experience (1 Winnie in 44 Mag and 1 Marlin in 41 Mag), I would take the Winchester hands down. My Winchester spits shells out without a jam but the same could not be said for the Marlin (which is now gone). The Winchester is also smoother in my opinion, but that is a matter of opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for the information and opinions. It appears that either is likely a sweet choice. Guess I'll have to go to the gun shop and hold/kiss/caress/fondle both until the wife calls and says it's time to come home. Just like when my son picked out a puppy years ago. Had two he was considering. Sat in the grass and played with both for around two hours and did the enie-menie-mynie-moe. Thanks again. I'll post back when I pull the trigger. :wink:
Peter
 
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