Marlin has been making lever-action rifles since 1881, and in their early years the Model 1895 was a standout. Although the original M1895 was, indeed, created in the year of its name, the modern M1895 is actually based on the receiver of their Model 336 – made in 1948 – and the lever action mechanism of the Model 444, which came out in 1965. Today we have the Model 1895 GSBL, which is a lever-action rifle being made with the expectation of improved performance and an aesthetically pleasing finish as well.
The M1895 GSBL is chambered in .45-70 Gov’t and has an 18.5” barrel with a stainless steel barrel action. Also featured are Williams FireSights, which are designed specifically for a better sight picture and faster target acquisition, and it also has a front sight hood to protect its front sight from the kind of damage it might take during the course of regular use. The finger lever is large so it can be used more easily, even while wearing gloves. Aesthetically it’s an attractive rifle as well, with an FNC finish – that’s ferritic nitro carburizing – that darkens the gun’s various stainless steel parts and also gives them a durable surface that is significantly more resistant to scratches. The FNC parts include the receiver, barrel and magazine tube, finger lever, trigger plate, and bolt. The laminate stock is also painted for a longer lasting, stronger finish. The finish is medium green with black mixed in.
At the range, it delivered the kind of powerful-yet-surprisingly-smooth recoil that comes with the territory of its .45-70 chambering. It is, after all, a gun capable of handling such big North American game as bears, although due to its lower velocity many Deer hunters also favor it. Aside from its hunting capabilities, however, it’s simply an enjoyable rifle to shoot. Putting Remington’s own 250 grain LRN through this gun was a pleasure not only for its power but for its ease of handling and comfortable fit to the shoulder. The trigger reach is at a good distance, resting your fingers in that large loop finger lever is comfortable, and the trigger pull is firm but smooth. Working the lever requires only a light touch with spent cases ejecting rapidly. This is a great gun whether you’re an avid hunter or target shooter, because with the M1895 GSBL you get power and performance without sacrificing usability.