By Tom Kelly
Most folks know by now that Ruger Manufacturing purchased Marlin Firearms in the Remington Bankruptcy proceedings last year. The question has been, when will we see new Marlin products from Ruger, and will they still be Marlins. Well, the wait is over. The first new Marlin rifles rolled off the proverbial line in December 2021. The first rifles made are the 1895 SBL. SBL signifying Stainless steel, Big Loop. The first rifles will be in the great .45/70 caliber. These will be followed shortly by the mod 1894 in .44 magnum and .357 magnum. The iconic mod 336 in .30/30 will be available in early 2022, as well as the 1895 in .444 Marlin.
The next big question being asked is, will they still be Marlins. Well, I would suggest that yes they will. Here is what Chris Killoy, the Ruger CEO says. Marlins have always had forged steel receivers and internal fire control components. This will still be the case. Ruger is an industry leader in investment castings and these are used in the Ruger products. However, the Marlins will continue to have forged steel parts. Marlin has traditionally had Microgroove rifling. This type of rifling has been controversial since its introduction. Some folks love it, but many do not. Handloaders and folks shooting cast lead or all copper ammo have been the most displeased with this rifling method. Good news for new Marlin rifles. These guns will have cold hammer forged rifling. Why is this good news? Let me explain.
The process of cold hammer forged rifling will produce an extremely accurate rifle no matter what the barrel length. If you have ever tried to sight in a centerfire rifle, you have probably noticed that 3 shots is about all you can shoot before the barrel heats up and your groups start to expand. It is necessary to let the barrel cool for several minutes before you repeat the process. The reason this happens is that the process of microgroove rifling creates stress risers in the metal as it is being cut. When the barrel heats up, these stress risers in the barrel heat at a different rate and actually move the barrel causing the group to change. The process of cold hammer forging has just the opposite effect. The cold hammering actually stress relieves the metal and eliminates any stress risers in the metal.
The point of impact (POI) stays the same from the first round from a cold barrel to the last round in the magazine. This is a great improvement. Some folks will say, who cares? This is a “Brush Gun”, not a target gun. I guess that’s true but what if you could have a “Brush Gun” that could shoot like a long-barreled bolt action. In my opinion, that’s a huge advantage.
Killoy also said that the Marlin Mod 60 .22 L.R. semiauto rifle will again be available early in 2022. The Mod 60 is Marlin’s popular tube fed .22. This rifle was the main competition for the Ruger 10/22. I happen to own both of these .22 rifles and it would be difficulty to pick one over the other. These rifles have both accounted for wheelbarrows full of chipmunks and squirrels, numerous racoons over my coonhounds as well as orienting all of my grandchildren to shooting and some that were not mine. They both have provided many fond memories. It is great to be able to report that Marlin, a grand old American made rifle company, will be resurrected by another grand old American made firearms company.
Tom is a Registered Maine Guide. He is the owner/operator of Shamrock Outfitters in Orient Maine with his wife Ellie. He is a retired police officer as well as a retired manager from two major firearms manufacturers. He is an NRA Certified Instructor as well as a Hunter Safety Instructor in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. You can reach Tom at Shamrock Outfitters (207) 694-2473. Please visit our Facebook Page: Shamrock Outfitters and Properties and come visit us on East Grand Lake.
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