My pre-Freedom Group Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum is a super reliable, quick handling meat getter when it comes to wild boar. It is lightning quick out of a scabbard, slings and carries easily, and is overall a handy and dependable tool on the ranch , in my truck, or out in the wilderness. That being said, it had one serious shortcoming from the factory: the standard lever was far too small. I could only fit two of my fingers in the loop if I was wearing gloves of any sort. Ungloved, it was still like jamming 11 rounds into a 10 round magazine. Being that my 1894 is a firearm in pretty constant hunting/utility rotation, I decided to rectify the situation by swapping out the lever.
Some “big loop” levers are cartoonishly large. I’m not trying to do John Wayne one-handed cocking and trick shooting with this rifle, so I didn’t want a loop so large as to be slower to cock than the standard lever. In my search for a replacement part, I came across Ranger Point Precision. Based in Cypress, Texas, RPP specializes in all sorts of precision CNC’d upgrades for lever guns (want some m-lok on your lever gun, Patrick?). Their medium loop lever for the 1894 caught my eye due to the fact that it added room and functionality without changing the overall contour of the rifle. Per RPP:
We designed our Marlin big loop lever to put functionality first, with a strong secondary emphasis on style. We felt that current offerings placed far more emphasis on style without addressing practical concerns.
The RPP Marlin “medium” loop levers are precision CNC machined in-house in chro-moly steel, and mil-spec coated in KG Gun Kote (stainless steel or gun metal blue) for superior wear and corrosion resistance.
Note: Our levers were carefully designed to be a true, drop-in fit part which should take minutes to install. Very occasionally, minor fitting / sanding may be required
What makes our Marlin “medium loop” levers better?
1) Current “big loop” lever offerings incorporate a loop that is very tall and circular, but the aggressive upper curve still makes gloved fingers bunch together. We made more space fore and aft by flattening and extending the upper curve, allowing the fingers to rest naturally along the pistol grip.
2) The overly tall design of current levers has two effects that we don’t care for: a) it creates an odd lag time when opening the action, while the hand leaves the grip and the fingers travel downward before smacking abruptly into the lower rung of the loop (with bare hands this can get uncomfortable quickly); and b) the loop adds significantly to the height dimension of the rifle and becomes the lowest point. Finish scratches are inevitable, and handiness is sacrificed for style.
3) Our design introduces additional space into the trigger guard area, where it is vital. Gloved fingers are a pretty tight fit in factory trigger guards. That should make anyone nervous when the hammer is back. We also decreased the dimension separating loop and guard, allowing the fingers to sit naturally, close together. In the overlay photo below you can clearly see the generous new space we’ve introduced in key areas.
4) Aesthetically, we designed our lever to blend more naturally with the lines of the stock, complementing rather than contrasting the attractive curve of the pistol grip. Our design may not pop out as much other big loops, but we feel that it presents pleasing, natural lines that look right.
As far as cost goes, the price is $145.00, slightly less than double that of a standard 1894 lever. Being that there is superior function, material, and they are finished in KG Gun Kote, I felt the value was there. I promptly received my product shortly after ordering it. It came with adequately detailed instructions for installation. Parts are needed to be retained from the old lever, namely the lever plunger, spring, and crosspin. Uninstalling the old lever and installing the new one took me a total of around 5 minutes, using a screwdriver, punch, and hammer. Immediately after installation, I noticed a huge improvement in comfort and function. The RPP lever has much better polished and radiused surfaces than the factory lever. Not only did it feel good in the hand, but it cycled much smoother than the factory lever as well.
I took the RPP lever-equipped 1894 to the range for a test fire evaluation of 50 rounds to see if there were any issues with it before I took it hunting. Churning through full mag tubes of .44mag was so much smoother and comfortable. I was able to fit all my fingers in the loop with no pinching or bunching, even with up to medium weight gloves on. The trigger finger portion of the loop is also more generous and accommodating for large or gloved fingers. Before, I would sometimes have issues with glove material pinching between the lever and the stock. Not so with the medium loop.
Overall, the RPP medium loop has been a relatively inexpensive and easy to install upgrade to my 1894. I’ve been quite pleased with the ability to finally fit my fingers in the loop without pinching or bunching. It cycles smooth and looks great. If you have a Marlin 1894 or Glenfield 30 style rifle and regularly use it in the winter or have sausage fingers like me, I highly suggest the RRP Medium Loop Lever.
For more information on this and other awesome upgrades, please visit Ranger Point Precision.