Marlin 1895 GSBL

Marlin 1895 GSBL

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.

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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.

Marlin 1895 GSBL

Marlin 1895 GSBL

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.

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  • Chappy

    I have an 1894 and love it, really want the 1895 bad enough to deal with the Remlin issues

  • Fred Johnson

    Nice write up. 🙂

    Message to Marlin/Remington. Make a bunch of the .357 1894 models just like that with a receiver rear sight. And offer it with a regular sized lever loop, too. Please. 🙂

    • Rabies

      couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Nicks87

      I would buy one in a heartbeat. Or maybe even one chambered in .44 magnum as well.

    • Nandor

      Agree on the .357, but as someone with bigger hands, I need the bigger loop.

    • sadlerbw

      Juuuust before Remington took over, Marlin had advertised an 1894SBL in their catalog. It was supposed to be a 16″ barrel, stainless with laminate pistol-grip stock, the scout rail/peep sight and would come in .44 and .357. I was all ready to drop some cash and pick one up in .44 as soon as they came out. Sadly, they never became real. Remington took over, moved production and pretty much ditched all of the ‘new’ products in that year’s catalog. Since then, I haven’t seen a single new levergun model from Marlin. This is probably the closest thing to a ‘new’ lever gun that Marlin has put out in all that time, and that has me excited. Hopefully it means their quality has improved enough that the are willing to spend some money on new products again.

      Oh, and cut it out with the stupid twist rate on your .44’s marlin! It’s long past time to move to 1:20!

      • Blake

        Sounds exactly like what I want: a modern pistol-caliber trapper carbine.

    • I shot an octagon barrel 357 with regular loop. Also a compact lever action firing 38/357s. A good number of lever actions were on hand.
      I want this rifle. I loved shooting it!

  • Kanger

    My first rifle was a Marlin 30/30 lever action.

  • Stephen

    What is the magazine tube capacity?

  • Lance

    Got to love the classic.

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    Marlins are great rifles. RemMarlins, however………well, lets just say that the firearms descriptions on GunBroker are very specific about if a particular rifle was pre- or post-Remington acquisition.

    • They realize there were problems and have been putting a good deal of effort into improving the wood, steel finish and just about every other part of these rifles.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        That’s good to know. Thanks, Phil!

      • MrPotatoHead

        It must be a really recent change, then. I handled an 1895GBL at the NRA show in Harrisburg earlier this year and it was pathetic. The front sight was canted, the fit and finish was horrible, machine marks and gaps galore. And they had the balls to have an MSRP of over $1k.

  • Fruitbat44

    Usability. A very important feature of rifles, and come to think of it pretty much anything. But’s it also difficult to quantify; unlike say muzzle velocity. Anyway it’s a neat little article, and looks like a neat little rifle as well.

  • echelon

    I don’t want a Remlin, but why can’t some other company make a clone of one? Surely the design patent isn’t held by Remington is it? I want one in .357 and I have a Rossi clone of the Winchester but as a lefty I love the side ejection of the 336 and I want one badly! But I do not want to pay $800 for one…

  • Blake

    RiP Marlin Firearms: 1870 – 2007

  • Mark N.

    Why such a short barrel? Wasn’t the round developed around a 24″ barrel?

    • Because it’s handy on a snowmobile, or any other kind of vehicle not to mention carrying it through heavy brush when hunting in some parts of the country. I can say the balance was good with this barrel.

      • Mark N.

        I understand that part, I would think that if one were using the heavier loads, like the 405 or the 500, there would be one terrific muzzle blast. This test used pretty light bullets for this caliber. But with its sights, this is really intended as a 100 yard gun, yes? Is this action strong enough to handle the big loads?

      • Mark N.

        I just checked Marlin’s site. Their regular 1895 Cowboy with walnut furniture, also chambered in .45-70, has a 26″ barrel, which was more typical of the breed.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Thanks very much for an informative and well-written article, Katie! The GSBL is certainly an attractive rifle with a proven pedigree, and I personally like the dark FNC finish because of its low visual signature, especially when in the field and/or hunting.

  • Zebra Dun

    Good article.
    Good short range stopper of anything from a large mouse to a small truck.

  • dan citizen

    Very nice article, thank you.

    I could see this gun as useful in a lot of circumstances. Not many critters can shrug off 45-70