Exploring Marlin Firearms from the Beginning Till Now
Established in the 1870s, by Joe Marlin, Marlin Firearms Co. is currently one of the largest firearm manufacturers in the world. Back in the day, it was the primary competition for Winchester and offered access to all sorts of rifles and shotguns.
It took Marlin nearly a century to overcome Winchester. Currently, it’s the top manufacturer in terms of lever-action rifles, at least in North America. Struggling financially, Marlin was acquired by Remington Arms Company in 2007.
Who owns Marlin Firearms today? In 2020, it was acquired by Sturm, Ruger & Co., after Remington Arms Company went bankrupt. These days, Marlin Firearms Co. is highly active and produces dozens of different models, operating as a subsidiary.
Marlin has never been famous for its revolvers, yet some of its production series have managed to stand out in the crowd.
- XXX Standard 1872 was the first in a bigger series of four revolvers, using the .30 caliber.
- XX Standard 1873 was based on the previous model in terms of appearance, but it was built for the .22 long rimfire caliber. It had three standard variants.
- No. 32 Standard 1875 followed the same standards, using the .32 rimfire cartridge and featuring a three inch long round barrel.
- 38 Standard 1878 was also a pocket revolver, built with a steel frame and rubber grips. It was produced until 1887.
- 1887 Double-Action was the last revolver produced by Marlin, as well as the only double-action model, using .38 or .32 caliber cartridges.
Marlin guns were slightly more diversified, with the manufacturer producing seven different types of handguns.
- 1st Model Derringer was the first handgun in the brand’s portfolio and came with pivots on the side for easy loading.
- O.K. Model Derringer was produced until 1870 and available in three cartridges, .22, .30, and .32 rimfire.
- Victor Model Derringer was based on the O.K. Model Derringer and was made between 1870 and 1881. It was slightly larger and available in the .38 caliber.
- Nevermiss Model Derringer was available in three different sizes and cartridges, .41, .32, and .22 rimfire. About 5,000 units were made.
- Stonewall Model Derringer is basically the Nevermiss Model Derringer, but the .41 caliber variant.
- O.K. Pocket Revolver came in the .22 caliber and was one of the most solid handguns of those times, made until 1875.
- Little Joker Revolver was quite rare, as only 500 models were made.
If there’s one thing that made Marlin famous, that’s the rifle. Marlin rifles outweighed Marlin guns in terms of popularity and for some good reasons.
- Model 1881 is the first lever action rifle from Marlin, still extremely valuable today and considered a quality collectible.
- Model 1888 was made in nearly 5,000 units in 1888 and 1889. Many units were customized for special orders.
- Model 1889 was the first rifle made by Marlin with a side ejecting mechanism and a solid top. It came in .25-20, .32-20, .48-40 and .44-40 calibers.
- Model 1891 was the manufacturer’s first rifle to use the .22 caliber. It’s one of the Marlin 22 rifle models that helped the brand gain notoriety in the 1890s.
- Model 1892 is similar to Model 1891, but it came with some upgrades. Around 45,000 units were produced.
- Model 1893 is among the Marlin lever action rifles with the highest popularity, mainly because it was the brand’s first rifle with smokeless powder cartridges. It was made between 1892 and 1935 in more variants.
- Model 1894 has a shorter action than Model 1893, but other features are similar. It’s often considered the successor of Model 1893.
- Model 1895 was chambered for more cartridges. It was large and stood out with its power. It was made until 1917. Later on, it was reintroduced in 1975. The newer model uses the .45-70 caliber.
- Model 1897 is based on Model 1892. It worked with the .22 rimfire cartridge and came with more variants.
The above mentioned Marlin firearms helped the manufacturer become a well established brand in the North American market. However, the production continued with a series of other rifles.
- Model 18 worked with the .22 cartridge and was made until 1909.
- Model 20 took over and was produced between 1907 and 1922. It came with an octagonal barrel, while the hammer was exposed.
- Model 25 wasn’t Marlin’s most successful rifle, so the production was stopped in 1910, after just one year. The stock could be removed, but the receiver was fixed.
- Model 27 was more popular with its three cartridges, open sights, and beautiful finish. The .25 caliber rimfire variant wasn't well received.
- Model 27S is practically Model 27 with a slight upgrade. The receiver had a button that allowed opening the firearm with a cartridge in.
- Model 29 is almost identical to Model 20, with slight differences in the operation mechanism.
- Model 32 was Marlin’s first hammerless slide action rifle. Its production was limited because WWI approached, and Marlin had to focus on other types of firearms.
- Model 37 was produced between 1913 and 1916. It has a slide action mechanism, just like Model 29.
- Model 38 was introduced soon after WWI ended, and it came as a replacement for Model 32.
- Model 40 was quite rare, and it's very difficult to find today. The slide action design had a few stamps that made it unique.
- Model 47 is just as rare. After all, it has never made it to Marlin’s stores. Instead, it was given for free to anyone who bought shares worth $100 back then.
- Model 1936 was built with the .30-30 and the .32 Special cartridges. It had a few variations overtime.
- Model 36 was a lever action unit with three variations. The first two were nearly identical.
- Model 36 Sporting stood out with its front sight, which was practically a ramp sight with hood.
- Model 36A-DL was a lever action rifle with sight swivels and a leather sling.
The recent production of Marlin rifles exploded over the past decades, with lots of different models produced.
- Model 336A
- Model 336C
- Model 336ADL
- Model 336SC Sporting Carbine
- Model 336SD Sporting Deluxe Carbine
- Model 336 MicroGroove Zipper
- Model 336T Texan
- Model 336DT
- Model 336 Marauder
- Model 336 .44 Magnum
- Model 336 Centennial
- Model 336 Zane Grey Century
- Model 336 Octagon
- Model 336 ER Extra Range
- Model 336SS
- Model 336LTS
- Model 336 Cowboy
- Model 336M
- Model 336CC
- Model 336RC
- Model 336W
- Model 336Y Spike Horn
- Model 336 XLR
- Model 336BL
1970 100th Year Commemorative Matched Pair was one of the special Marlin rifles. Only 1,000 units were made in 1970. They’re quite valuable these days if they’re new and never used, but also if they include the original packaging and brochures.
- Model 30AS was similar to Model 336CS. It was only used with the .30-30 caliber.
- Model 375 was made between 1980 and 1983. It had the 20 inch MicroGroove barrel and used the .375 Winchester cartridge.
- Model 444 was introduced in 1965 and used the .444 Marlin cartridge. It was practically a Model 336 unit that was upgraded to take larger cartridges. It came in more variants too, such as 444S, 444SS, 444P Outfitter, or 444XLR.
1895 444 150th Anniversary was a commemorative unit with a gold inlay.
Model 1894 used the .44 Magnum cartridge and came out after many years of planning. Everyone was frustrated with Model 336 in the respective caliber, so this unit was an upgraded alternative. It came in multiple variants:
- Model 1894 Octagon Barrel
- Model 1894 Sporter
- Model 1894P
- Model 1894CS
- Model 1894M
- Model 1894S
- Model 1894CL Classic, which was available in two variants
- Model 1894 Century Limited
- Model 1894 Century Limited Employee Edition
- Model 1894 Cowboy
- Model 1894 Cowboy II
- Model 1894 Cowboy 32
- Model 1894CP
- Model 1894SS
- Model 1894PG
- Model 1894FG
- Model 1894 Deluxe
- Model 1894CSS
- Model 1894 CSBL
Marlin guns evolved a little when Model 1895 was introduced, which was also available in numerous variants, some of them similar to the variants of Model 1894. It was a centerfire rifle.
Marlin 1897 Century Limited is among the successful Marlin 22 rifle models, featuring a few variants and lots of adjustability. Cowboy, Annie Oakley, Texan, and Century Limited Employee Edition were the top variants. Some variants came with gold inlays too.
Glenfield lever-action rifles were built to be sold to the general public in general outlet stores. They were made between 1964 and 1983 and didn't cost a lot, but the quality was a bit lower too.
- Model 30AW was built with the .30-30 cartridge and came out in 1998.
- Model 39 had the .22 rimfire cartridge. Introduced in 1922, it was built in other options too, such as deluxe, standard, and a few variations before and after the war. Presentation models were also made. Top variants include 39A Fancy, 39D, 39AWL, and 39 Century Limited.
- Model 56 Levermatic is known for its short lever throw, as well as the walnut stock. It used the .22 rimfire cartridge and had a different variant too, Model 56 Clipper King Levermatic.
Model 57 Levermatic and Model 62 Levermatic were relatively similar.
Marlin rifles came in all kinds of styles and designs. Rimfire rifles dominated the segment and looked like a top priority for Marlin Firearms Co.
- Model 70P Papoose is a semi-automatic unit, part of the Marlin 22 rifle models.
- Model 70PSS is similar, but with slightly different finishes.
- Model 70HC is better known for its impressive 24 round Banana magazine.
- Model 9 Camp is a carbine with a 16.5 inch long barrel. It uses the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.
- Model 9N is similar, yet it’s finished with metallic parts covered in nickel.
- Model 45 Camp uses the .45 ACP cartridge and represents one of the most attractive collectibles among Marlin guns.
- Model 992M was introduced in 1993. It’s heavy and built with quality materials.
- Model 995 uses the .22 LR caliber and has adjustable sights. Introduced in 1979, it had an upgraded version that came out in 1995, Model 995SS.
- Model 990L is a semi-automatic rifle using the .22 LR Marlin caliber.
- Model 7000 came out in 1997. It doesn’t have any sights, but it comes with a 10 round magazine. Model 7000T comes with some changes, such as the recessed muzzle. It doesn’t have any sights either. Model 795 and Model 795SS are based on the same profile.
Compared to other Marlin rifles, Model 60 gained more notoriety and was available in more variants too. The semi-automatic unit uses the .22 LR caliber and came out in 1960. Some of its main variants include:
- Model 60SS
- Model 60SN
- Model 60S-CF
- Model 60SB
- Model 60SSK
- Model 60C
- Model 60DL
- Model 60DLX
- Model 60 150th Anniversary
- Model 2000 is a bolt action single shot rifle with the .22 LR caliber. The buttplate is also adjustable. Variants included 2000A and 2000L, all of them discontinued, though.
- Model 880 is a clip fed rifle using the same caliber. It was produced until 2004, along with variants 880SQ and 880SS.
- Model 881 was first offered in 1988 and had a magazine that could hold multiple calibers.
- Model 882SS stood out with Marlin's proprietary fire sights. Like other Marlin 22 rifle models, it was discontinued in 2004. The classic 882, 882L, and 882SV were also quite popular.
- Model 883 was a bolt-action rifle using the .22 Win Magnum caliber. Variants included 883N and 883SS.
- Model 25N was a promotional model chambered for .22 LR. Variants 25NC, 25MN, and 23MNC were similar, but with different calibers.
- Model 17V came out in 2002 and used the .17 Hornady Magnum cartridge. Model 17VS is similar.
- Model 15N was introduced in 1998, with .22 Short, Long, and LR cartridges. It's worth noting 15YS Youth and 15YN Little Buckaroo too.
- Model 81TS allows users to adjust the rear sight and was produced between 1998 and 2004.
- Model 83TS used the ,22 Win Magnum caliber, but was also discontinued in the same year.
- Model 717M2 came out in 2005 with the .17 Mach 2 cartridge.
- Model 915Y Compact features iron sights and uses the .22 rimfire caliber. 915YS Compact has fiber optic sights, while the barrel and receiver are made of stainless steel.
- Model 917 is a .17 Hornady Magnum rimfire rifle made since 2006. Variants include 917V, 917VR, 917VS, 917VS-CF, 917VSF, 917VT, 917VST, 917M2 and 917M2S. Differences are insignificant.
- Model 925 uses the .22 LR cartridge and a full pistol grip. It also has a few variants, including 925M, 925RM, 925MC, 925C, and 925R.
- Model 980V uses the same caliber and features no sights. 980S is similar, but has sights. 980S-CF is the same as 980S, but with a carbon fiber stock.
- Model 981T uses .22 LR, Long or Short cartridges. 981TS is an improved version.
- Model 982 has adjustable sights, as well as a full pistol grip. Similar Marlin guns include 982S, 982L, 982VS, and 982VS-CF.
- Model 983 relies on the .22 WMR caliber, like 983S and 983T.
Over its long history, Marlin has also introduced a bunch of centerfire rifles.
- Model 322 is chambered for the .222 cartridge and was made between 1954 and 1959.
- Model 422 took over, but only 354 units were made.
- Model 455 used .30-06 and .308 cartridges, also made until 1959 only.
- Model MR-7 was made between 1996 and 1999 and used a bunch of different cartridges, including .30-06 and .25-06. MR-7B was similar but introduced in 1998.
- Model XL7 came out in 2008 and allowed multiple improvements. Model XL7C is similar but with a different finish. A similar gun was made with the same name, but it was built like a shotgun.
- Model XS7 Short-Action is similar and available with .308 Win, .243 Win, or 7mm-08 cartridges. Similar guns include XS7Y Youth Rifle, XS7C Camo, and XS7S.
Marlin-Ballard rifles are also worth some attention. Most of them were made more than 100 years ago. Some of them were used in the military only. They’re quite rare these days:
- Ballard No. 1 Hunters Rifle
- Ballard No. 2 Sporting Rifle
- Ballard No. 3 Gallery Rifle
- Ballard No. 4 Perfection Rifle
- Ballard No. 5 Pacific Rifle
- Ballard No. 6 Schuetzen Rifle
- Ballard No. 7 Long Range Rifle
- Ballard No. 8 Union Hill Rifle
- Ballard No. 9 Union Hill Rifle
- Ballard No. 10 Schuetzen Junior Rifle
- Ballard Hunters Rifle
Most of them had at least one variant.
Marlin firearms were quite varied overtime, and the successful manufacturer hasn't overlooked shotguns either.
Pump shotguns were more diversified than other categories.
- Model 1898 has a visible hammer and a takedown receiver. It was made until 1905.
- Model 16 is similar, yet it’s made for 16 gauge only.
- Model 17 comes in two variants, 30 or 32 inches for the barrel. It’s chambered for 12 gauge. 17 Riot Gun and 17 Brush Gun are two variations.
- Model 19 was only made in 1906 and 1907. It’s an improved version of Model 1898, but it’s also lighter.
- Model 21 Trap is based on Model 19, but the stock features a straight grip appearance.
- Model 24 follows the same rules. It also comes with an automatic recoil lock, located on the slide.
- Model 26 was available in two sizes, 30 or 32 inches for the barrel. Variations include 26 Brush Gun and 26 Riot Gun.
- Trap Gun is a unique model that doesn’t feature any codes. It’s widely known as Marlin’s trap gun. Barrels can be interchanged. It was made between 1909 and 1912.
- Model 28 Hammerless is Marlin’s first hammerless release and a 12 gauge. It was made until 1922. Variations include 28TS Trap Gun and 28T Trap Gun.
- Model 30 has an automatic recoil lock. Other than that, it’s similar to Model 16. Model 30 Field Grade is its main variation.
- Model 31 is a smaller alternative to Model 28 Hammerless, available in 16 or 20 gauge.
- Model 42, also known as Model 42A is a 12 gauge shotgun produced until 1933.
- Model 43A is based on Model 28, but it looks better and has different markings. 43T and 43TS are its main variations.
- Model 44A was released as the successor of Model 31. Chambered for 20 gauge, it has similar features. 44S was a variation of it.
- Model 49 is a 12 gauge unit that borrows features from Model 24 and Model 42. It was a cheap option that Marlin has never even listed in its catalogs.
- Model 53 has an interesting history. It was produced in 1929 for a short period of time, but then, it was produced again in 1980.
- Model 63 is an icon among Marlin firearms. However, it came out during the Depression, so sales were pretty low. 63T and 63TS are its main variants.
- Model 120 was considered the direct competitor for Winchester Model 12. It was based on nothing but walnut and steel and featured interchangeable barrels.
- Model 778 was also known as Glenfield. It was based on Model 120.
- Premier Mark I was also known as LaSalle. It was made by Manufrance, but Marlin purchased it without the barrel and enhanced it with its own barrels. Two other generations were produced, Premier Mark II and Premier Mark III.
Marlin’s bolt action shotguns were less varied, but customers still had a decent amount of options.
- Model 50DL was a 12 gauge unit with a ventilated recoil pad.
- Model 55 was chambered for more cartridges, 12, 16, and 20 gauge. It had a good production run between 1950 and 1965. 55 Swamp Gun, 55S Slug Gun, 55GDL, and 55 Goose Gun were its main variations.
- Model 5510 Goose Gun came with the 3.5 inch 10 gauge caliber and was produced until 1985.
- Model 512 Slugmaster was brought in 1994 and came with a 21 inch barrel. 512DL Slugmaster and 512P were similar.
- Model 25MG used the .22 Win cartridge and was introduced in 1999.
As for lever action shotguns, Marlin only produced a few models.
Model .410 was the original. It was based on Model 1893, but it was drastically improved. It was also given for free to those who purchased shares worth $25. It was produced for three years, between 1929 and 1932.
A newer version of Model .410 was also released, with more upgrades. It’s also worth noting Model .410 Deluxe, another classic, as well as Model 410XLR and Model 1895 410 Bore.
- Model 60 was a single barrel unit, boosting 12 gauge calibers, and only available in about 60 units. It was made in 1923.
- Model 90 was an over/under produced at the people’s pressure. Everyone believes Marlin should produce such a unit. However, it was made for Sears.
A bunch of modern shotguns were made by Marlin and advertised as L.C. Smith shotguns:
- Model LC410-DB comes with the .410 bore mechanism. It has a single selective trigger and three choke tubes.
- Model LC28-DB is similar to Model LC410-DB, but it’s chambered for 28 gauge.
- Model LC12-DB has two barrels and is chambered for 12 gauge.
- Model LC20-DB is based on Model LC12-DB, but chambered for 20 gauge.
- Model LC12-OU is an over/under shotgun with a single selective trigger.
- Model LC20-OU is nearly identical, but chambered for 20 gauge.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Marlin has also produced a few proprietary cartridges, not to mention Model MLS-50/54, an inline muzzleloader brought in 1997 and known for how difficult it is to remove and clean.
Muzzleloaders are made of stainless steel and come in .50 and .54 calibers. The production has been discontinued since then.
Bottom line, Marlin Firearms Co. has mostly gained popularity during the beginning of the 20th century. Its rifles, in particular, were used in multiple wars, including WWI. Some of its firearms were even mounted on airplanes during military operations.
Marlin Firearms Co. is still active today, producing guns for both civilian and military use. Overtime, it’s produced under a few different licenses. These days, it’s a subsidiary.