October 23, 2008
A Mighty Mini Marlin
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
A number of you have asked if I have a fixation on Ms. Elisha Cuthbert. The answer is yes, but just to show that I’m not weird about it or anything, here is a photo of Ms. Megan Fox, and my thanks to Nate Matthews for finding her, as it were.
But I digress. Marlin has interesting new stuff for 09, including new walnut and laminated stocks for the wonderful, and bargain-priced, XL-7 centerfire rifle. For $300 and change (Cabela’s has sold it for below $300) this gun is beyond belief.
For you lever-gun lovers who yearned for something just a tad more powerful than the .308 Marlin, there is now a .338 Marlin Express, loaded with a 200-grain bullet at 2,565 fps. It is not the ballistic equal of the .338 Win Mag. or the new Ruger short magnum of that caliber, but it is a thumper, and a serious step up in power.
What grabbed me, though was the Marlin Model 1895SBL. The company has taken note of all the hot-rodded Guide Guns out there and decided to build one of their own. It’s .45/70, all stainless steel, laminated stock, heavy 18.5-inch barrel, an enlarged loop lever, a 5-shot half-magazine, and instead of the usual horrible factory sights, it’s been fitted with the XS Ghost Ring sight system. This consists of a big white post up front and a huge, adjustable-aperture rear. You look through it and the aperture seems to vanish. It’s very fast to use. There is a long rail mount that let you use long-eye-relief scopes or standard scopes.
I think Marlin is going to be back-ordered on these for years. It is an altogether nifty little beast, and all the gun writers rushed to grope it. The two samples they had at the range were extremely slick in operation; I don’t know if they had been tuned or not. It’s possible that, in the future, Marlin may establish its own custom shop, where you can get not only special working guns like this, but fancy ones as well. Many years ago, Marlin offered all sorts of grades with fancy wood and checkering, and engraving and inlaying. It would be nice to see that come back.