Just bought a 20" barrel JM stamped 1894 in .357 I have done lots of work on my own marlins but never a .357 I'm debating what would be the most desirable to others in this rifle. All my suggestions are things I have done to previous other of my own marlins. I'm thinkIng cut barrel to 16.5" or 18" leaning toward 16.5" debating wether or not to refinish the wood without checkering? Going to add a good set of XS sights fill factory front dovetail Delet CBS and add saddle ring and I have a 1894 big loop lever I made that's going on it. For metal finish I can do hi-gloss bluing, mat-bluing or parkerize the gun and ofcourse any type of spray on bake finish. I have converted all models of center fire marlin lever actions to takedowns, but just not feeling it for this project. I don't have any .357 and bought it just for the project but want your opinions on what you would do if it was your gun and were free to do whatever you wanted to it. Let me hear your suggestions.
Big Marlin Lever fan
I DESPISE the guide gun or railed look on them, and although some like it, I believe that look cuts your market considerably.
Parkerizing a lever (again IMHO) makes it look as though the gun was REALLY beat to hell and is getting covered up.
IMHO they are best left pretty well stock, and the many, many GB auctions I've followed on 357 Marlins bear that out.
Value of a shooter can rise drastically with a dent-steam and tru-oil refinish of the wood and a reblue or touch up with cold blue if wear is minimal.
I haven't refurbed any checkered stocks, but sounds like you might have better skill in that regard.
I say steam out/spruce up the wood, gloss blue the metal, install the big loop (which I think will make it very desirable) and pop on a Skinner sight if you feel like it - I would not go with Big Dot or Fiber Optic.
If you want to personalize a gun and keep it forever, that's one thing, but the closer you get to frankengun status, the fewer will have interest in your rifle.
Unless you have an octagon Cowboy, you're already running an 18.5" barrel...a chop to 16.5" might be interesting, but I've never done it.
I agree I hate the lever gun with rail and need a full lengt mag tube. This rifel is I great shape almost like new but there's enough of them around I want to make it different but all function. My personal favorite marlin is 1895g cut to 16.5" no checkering and smoothed and slimmed forend and parkerized with XS front and rear sights with no rail. Although parkerizing is not the fanciest finish it us very functional but it's not for every one. To me guns ate tools and I usually go for function over looks. I'm not planing on selling it but I want to know what others think incase someday I divide to sell what would be a desirable 1894 .357 that's not an easy off the shelf gun. I enjoy stripping them down refinishing tuning and reassembling to make a different than every other ones.
Checked or non checkers stocks?
What metal finish?
Barrel length 16.5" or 18"
I will try and grt pictures of it up so you can ser what im working with
Let's hear what you think?
If you rifle has a 20" octagon barrel and Is in great shape your looking at about a thousand dollars for that rifle.357 is the more rare of the two that most people want, the other is the 44mag.
If it's an Octagon it's a 1894CB.
How 'bout posting pics of your work????
I will get some pictures up shortly of some of my work. I bought this gun because of it's incredibly inexpensive price for a almost me JM stamped marlin l looked at the serial# and rifle was built in 05. No it's not a cowboy model I currently own several veriants of the 1895 and 1894 cowboys but not a single one in .357 untill now. I thought it would be a fun project and to let the younger shooter or women shoot it. Did marlin ever make a factory 16.5" or 18" barrel in .357 round barrel blued with walnut stocks. I'm not going to sell this any time soon but what would you think a marlin 1894 .357 20" made in 2005 like new with one box of ammo through it
I was thinking it was a 20" barrel but it is a 18" so I'm definitally cutting it to 16.5 and I'm going to use a cowboy styl magazine tube plug and dove tail barrel stud instead of the factory barrel band. That's how I did my 1894 44 mag.
OP, do you sell cast bullets? Name seems familiar.
This .444 has some sort of a black teflon or melonite finish, I am not sure which since I bought it this way and the previous owner hasn't answered my questions about the finish. The rear sight is a Skinner peep that screws into the rear scope mount hole. Stock front sight. Works surprisingly well.
I like everything about this gun EXCEPT for the button magazine, that is something that I would never do. I much prefer full length mags.
This 45-70 Guide Gun has Brockman lumber, which I like, and XS sights and rail. I like the sights, dislike the rail.
I have a pair of Marlin 357s too, one is a 1981 vintage 1894c, it has a Weaver V3 scope on it. The other one is an 1894 Cowboy with a 20 inch octagon barrel. I haven't even shot the Cowboy yet, and am not sure what type of iron sights it will wind up with.
1894c on left
I used to have another pre-safety 1894c that had been hard chromed and an oil finish on the wood. It was an extremely nice little carbine. I sold it to a good friend and it's his wifes go to rifle for everything from home defense to deer hunting.