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While I don't have any personal experience with firing this rifle. We recently got one of these in for a customer and this beast was far to impressive not to at-least mention it. This specific model is the Marlin 1895 SBL .45-70 lever action rifle.
Just take a moment and admire the beauty of this rifle.
You won't find many things on this planet that are much more American than a lever action rifle. In fact I believe that the first ever lever action chambered in 45-70 was the open top Model 1881. This was back when lever guns were powered for short cartridges. Which were also some nice rounds, but no where near the power of the big 45-70.
The blackpowder .45-70 was the most powerful cartridge of its time. And while Teddy Roosevelt’s pet Winchester Model 1886 –designed by John Browning–may be the more famous .45-70 lever-action, Marlin was first, five years earlier.
Marlin trumped Winchester again when it introduced a solid-top, side-ejecting .45-70 with its Model 1895. It was based on the flat-sided receiver of the smaller-caliber Model 1889 similar to Marlin’s still-produced Model 1894.
Without going deeply into technical details, it is useful to note that the Marlin Model 336 series and the current Model 1895 series are essentially same-design rifles; the 1895 is heavier-duty. Both series feature solid-receiver side-ejection, which allows scope mounting on top of the drilled and tapped receiver unlike competing top-ejection lever-action designs. Therefore, the modern Model 1895 is much stronger than either the Winchester open-top lever-action design or the original Marlin 1889 and the ’94-style Model 1895.
In 1998, Marlin introduced their Guide Gun, which was a shortened version of the 1895. Custom gunsmiths had been cutting down the 1895 rifles into handier brush guns, and the Guide Gun was the factory version of those custom guns, wearing a straight-grip checkered walnut stock, and an eighteen and one-half inch ported barrel.
Now, Marlin has introduced what many consider to be the ultimate Guide Gun, the Model 1895 SBL. The SBL takes all of the features of the Guide Gun, and improves upon that wonderful rifle. Like the Guide Gun, the barrel has Ballard style rifling to handle all types of bullets well. The barrel is still eighteen and one-half inches in length, but is not ported, as the early Guide Guns were. It wears a full-length six-shot magazine tube for a total capacity of seven.
The SBL has a laminated wood stock, with ample cut checkering for a positive grip. The metal parts are mostly stainless steel, with a couple of the smaller parts nickel plated to match. As any hunting rifle should, the SBL has sling swivel studs for easily mounting a sling or carry strap. I remember when it was pretty routine to buy a new rifle, and have to drill it for sling swivel studs. Thankfully, most good rifles now come with them already installed. In designing the SBL, Marlin took note of the things that many were adding to their Guide Guns to improve the handling and sighting equipment. The SBL wears a medium-sized lever loop, to better accommodate a large gloved hand.
Sadly, this is where i have to stop for I have not shot this rifle. Thankfully the customer picked it up pretty quickly. Otherwise I have a strong feeling that I would be around $900 lighter in the pocket. And may still be.
Simply put this is one of the nicest Marlins that we have ever seen.