The Marlin '94
rifle is a decent CAS gun if you treat it well and do a few mods to make it run
smoother. An action job can be done by you if you're not afraid to do a
bit of disassembly. Couple things I did to make mine run efficient.
NOTE: I'm not responsible for any mods you make. I am giving out
free ideas which you can use at your own risk.
- The white diamond rear site isn't SASS legal. Some people just mark
it out with a permanent Sharpee marker. However, I suggest turning the white diamond piece around on the rear sight. Loosen the
screw, pull it up and then spin it around and put it back in. Maybe
not as easy as making it black with a Sharpee but flipping it does much less permanent
damage. Now your sight picture is SASS legal.
- Wrap the lever with leather, avoids bleeding knuckles after a full day's
- A buttstock cover is a good idea for two reasons: 1) Keeps your
stock looking nice and keeps it from getting scratched up, and 2) the
leather pad allows it to stick into your shoulder and doesn't slide
around. I custom-build my own from fairly thin leather and put the
rough-side out. There are many places on the net or in the back of the
Cowboy Chronicles that sell leather buttstock covers.
- Replace the hammer spring. A marlin magic spring is a good choice,
although there's others out there as well. Any of them will get the
job done to make it cycle quicker and smoother.
- Smooth out the bump on the bottom of the bolt that cocks the hammer.
This allows the action to feel smooth as you operate the lever. Don't
grind off too much, just make that bump less pronounced but large enough to
cock the hammer.
- Weaken the loading gate spring. Easier to load, especially on the
stages where you may need to load extra rounds.
- Cut down the rear buckhorn points making the rear sight more flat.
This allows better sight picture and more target picture.
- Stuff a rubber washer on the safety so it never gets engaged or replace it
with a Marlin Safety Replacement
Kit. I've seen a number of shooters
blow a stage because the safety accidentally gets engaged and the shooter
just levers out all the rounds thinking he's got dud primers or a broken
firing pin. The
Marlin Safety Kit is essentially a new bolt that replaces the
plunger-safety bolt. Flat on one side, looks like a screw on the other
side so it blends in well on the rifle. I haven't ordered one in quite a while, so the price probably changed. In case the link fails, here's
the nice gent's address:
P. O. Box 318
Bridgewater, SD 57319
$9.95 plus $3.00 S&H
(if you order more than one kit, the shipping is still only $3.00)
Just remember that if you do sell the gun, remove the safety kit and
replace it with the original plunger safety bolt!
Any lawyer worth his salt can win a case against you for negligence in selling
a gun with a removed safety!
- I shoot 38's in mine with completely reliable feed. The trick I
found to make that happen was to run an OAL of 1.49" and a truncated
cone bullet (I'm shooting Bear Creek moly-coated in 125 gn). This
allows the carrier to completely feed and cycle the round without jamming.
- Once piece titanium firing pin. I got mine from Long
hunter Shooting Supply. There's been a lot of discussion on the
Wire about if it's safe or not or if it's really a good idea to have
it. I really like mine for three reasons: it eliminates that
extra "bump" in the lever cycle that the two-piece gave which
makes the stroke smooth and easier to run quicker, it allows a weaker hammer
spring to fire, and it solves firing ping breakage that many people
experience. I've run thousands of rounds with the new firing pin
and it's really made a difference. If I was ever to sell my Marlin, I'd pull out the
one-piece firing pin and the Safety Kit and install the original firing pins
there would be zero liability issues with the person buying it.
Marlin parts can break. I have a spare set of the following (ordered
from Brownell's) in my range bag.
Note these parts are for a Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .357:
||Marlin part number
||Brownell's part number
|Extractor with spring
|Ejector with spring
|Rear sight complete
|* Firing pin front
|* Firing pin spring
* Of course, if you use a one-piece firing pin you wouldn't need these items.
The front and rear sight pieces are obviously optional and not a breakage
part. However, I managed to lose my front sight after a match and about 9
months of usage. It had worked loose and came off! I bought a
complete rear sight at the same time so I could experiment on cutting down the
tips off to make the sight picture easier. It's probably a good idea to
check your sights during a cleaning session to be sure they aren't working
loose. The carrier assembly is something that should be replaced after a
good couple of years of solid use. I keep it in the bag just to keep
Murphy's law from ruining a match.