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The centerfire Marlin Model 1894 lever-action/repeat-fire guns launched in 1894. They pioneered the flat-top, side-ejection receiver. They also had a two-piece firing pin, one-piece trigger and a new locking bolt. The 1894 spans eight models and .44 Magnum / .44 Special, .45 Colt, .357 Magnum / .38 Special. All have either 8-shot or 10-shot tube magazines.

In 1870, John M. Marlin founded Marlin Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut. In 2020, the firm celebrated its 150-year anniversary. That the 1894 debuted over 120 years ago and remains in production is staggering, but with its functionality and tradition, not too surprising.

Marlin pioneered side-ejection ports for safety. Marlin reason that the receiver’s side could be stronger than the top; moreover, side-ejection was safer in case of hangfires. But the side benefit is that side-ejection architecture makes for easier scope operation.

The Marlin 1894 Dark model is all tactical stealthy matte black. The stock looks like black synthetic, but it’s actually black Parkerized hardwood. The gun has a 16.5” rifled barrel (with 6 grooves!) and a big-loop lever down below. On top is an XS lever rail accompanied by a ghost ring peep sight at rear and an XS Sights front post sight.

The short barrel facilitates handling in tight woods. The loop is paracord wrapped for gloved grip for seemingly any condition and any weather. The 1894 Marlin Dark’s length of pull (LOP) is 13.75”. It has a 38.5” overall length and weighs about 8 pounds. You can get this for.44 Magnum / .44 Special or the 1894C Dark chambered for .357 Magnum / .38 Special. Both have an 8-shot capacity.

The flagship 1894 is a 10-shot chambered in .44 Magnum / .44 Special or .45 Colt built around a 20” barrel. The metal parts are blued and joined to nice American walnut. The forend and grip both have beautifully detailed checkering with pennant surrounds. The grip also features an attractive diamond in each field of checkering. On top is a Wide-Scan hooded brass bead ramp front sight followed by a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn folding rear sight. Moreover, the receiver is tapped for scope mounts. LOP is 13.75” and overall length is 38.5”. Weight is 6.5 pounds.

The 1894C is basically the same as the 1894 but chambered for .357 Magnum / .38 Special and built around an 18.5” length barrel.

The Model 1894SBL has a black/gray laminate stock, 16.5” barrel, 35” overall length and XS sights as described on the 1894 Dark. Other models include the stainless on black/gray laminate 1894CSBL, the threaded 1894CST, and the stellar octagonal barrel 1894CB that may get their own writeups over time!

These 1894s have both a trigger block and a two-piece firing pin. Either prevents the gun from firing unless the lever is closed. There are two manual safeties that provide additional safety. These are the hammer block safety and a half cock safety.

Marlin drills and taps most 1894 receivers so they are ready for scopes. The side-ejection port is also scope friendly. Moreover, the rear sights are fully adjustable for windage and elevation.

The solid steel receiver and trigger guard are heat-treated for extra durability and ruggedness.

Marlin’s 1894 lever-actions bridge both classic and contemporary, combining tradition with innovation and modern production. The centerfire Marlin 1894 lever-action guns are made in North Haven, Connecticut, and are thus Made in USA.

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