Lightning Review: Ranger Point Precision Medium Loop Lever Upgrade-A “Happy Medium” for Your Marlin

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.

Old loop on top, RPP loop on the bottom

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.

It may be beat-up, but it works great to keep my freezer full of wild boar.  Thanks to RPP, it’ll work even better now!

For more information on this and other awesome upgrades, please visit Ranger Point Precision.





Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


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  • valorius

    Thank god, an article not about a tacticool product or AR, written by a guy who is an actual hunter and fieldsman. More please. More.

    • Rusty S.

      Thanks!

      • Big Daddy

        more please

    • Chilly Billy

      Indeed. AR’s and similar arms are great. I enjoy them and I’m glad we can own them in the States. But they aren’t the only firearms I and untold others enjoy. I sincerely hope this is a sign of TFB’s “expansion of horizons.”

    • Marc

      I second this sentiment.

  • Pete – TFB Writer

    Solid review!

    • Rusty S.

      Thanks Pete! Great write up on that HK!

  • A.WChuck

    I want one for my .357 1894, but that price is close to 1/2 what I paid for the rifle, used but still…

    • Rusty S.

      A) Solid find! B) I’ve used that rifle for a decade without it. After adding it, I only regret I didn’t add it sooner. It feels like a whole new gun.

      • A.WChuck

        It was over 10 years ago when Marlin was still in CT and the .357 was still in production. Used ones were not so dear as they are today. It remains my favorite rifle. I may still get this lever yet.
        I think it was traded in due to the dreaded Marlin Jam. I have fixed that, but would really prefer that someone made improved carriers. They are not available new and used ones seem to have dried up. RPP, are you listening?

        • As you know, the carriers are a very complex part. As such, that part is not on our immediate timeline for redesign. I can say that recently we’ve been able to buy new ones from Remington as a dealer. If you need one, drop us an email.

          One part we have been working on for months is an all new Marlin 1894 extractor system. The 100 year old part is more than due for an upgrade and has had many known issues for years. We’ve been testing with some SASS Cowboy Shooters (who better to test then race guys) and will be introducing the newly designed parts in a few weeks. The new extractor design is superior in every way to the factory unit.
          It is stronger by orders of magnitude. It exhibits better case head
          control. Best of all, when plugged into a “hitchy” 1894, it feels like
          someone performed an action job.

          • A.WChuck

            Sounds great!
            That carrier is ideal candidate for MIM, BUT with a tool steel insert where the lever contacts the bottom of the carrier.

          • I wish we could but it doesn’t make sense for us at this time. MIM is great for someone like Marlin that makes thousands of them and then puts them all of their rifles. For us, we’d need to a) pay for the mold for each Marlin model (e.g. Marlin 1894), and then b) pay the MIM company to make hundreds of parts minimum and finally c) sell them all to make back the money. For a $65 part that we can get from Marlin when someone needs a replacement it makes more economical sense for us to do just that. For all of our parts, we design them in-house and CNC machine every one out of steel or aluminum vs. MIM.

  • Wanlace Yates

    Where did you get the sling?

    • Rusty S.

      I found it on a dusty, broken muzzleloader left in the back of the gunsmithing shop I started working in many years ago. No markings on it, so I can’t say who made it. It’s a neat sling though!

  • Rimfire

    Hopefully they will offer one for my 1892 Winchester soon. Same situation, the standard one is too small for gloved hands, the large loop is unhandy and looks wrong on such a sleek carbine. Besides, you couldn’t spin-cock the gun anyway, the elevator only raises the round. When upside down it would drop free of the gun. Not like the model 70 with controlled round feed, in other words. They modified the show guns with some sort of retaining spring.

    • Jim_Macklin

      A qualified “old school” gunsmith can weld bolt handles on Mausers and lever loops on Marlins and Winchesters. Just don’t try stick-arc welding.

  • gunsandrockets

    Well done review. Good selection of images too. Appreciate the side by side lever comparison.

    • Rusty S.

      Thank you!

  • Dickie

    Anyone know what the best new production lever action .357mag with side gate loading is? Really want a good reliable one but dont know too much. I like henrys but theh dont have side gate. Any body????

    • Rusty S.

      Best? Hmm, if I had to go with something in that caliber with a side gate and buy it today, I’d get an Uberti 1873. Shot one with a short stroke kit and it was pretty darn good. Or you could buy a used Marlin with a good bore and barrel and send it to RPP or Wild West Guns to get slicked up for about the same total price.

      • We’ve had lots of customers asking about the Marlin .357’s. Remington keeps promising to re-introduce them but…There are plenty of nice JM .357’s for sale on GunBroker. I just bought a beauty for $700 the other day while most go for $850-$1000.

    • Rimfire

      The current Winchester models in .357 are real sweet too, either the 1892 or the 1873.High quality and great looking too

  • Raptor Fred

    I love lever guns! This is a really great idea. The shape and size look to be perfect.

  • Jack Burton

    Nice seeing these guns get some proper aftermarket attention…anything that actually improves their durability/reliability especially piques my interest, so eagerly awaiting the new extractors as well.

  • Gary Kirk

    Do they make a medium for a 336?

    And at that price, Hell just charge an extra few bucks and include the plunger and all..

    Anyways, another nice review, I salute you brother..

    • Rusty S.

      Yes they do.

  • Jim_Macklin

    A properly trained welder using either TIG or oxygen -acetylene can weld in and reshape your factory lever so that the weld is invisible. Still, this looks like a part that can be swapped into any 36/336 Marlin with a straight grip.

    • Phillip Cooper

      MIG would work just fine as well. TIG is unneeded for about 90% of what you see on fabrication shows and the like.

      • Jim_Macklin

        MIG doesn’t allow the work with the puddle that TIG or oxygen-acetylene allows.
        As Ranger Point Precision says above, they offer levers for many different makes and models. Certainly a valuable classic should be treated to a new, replacement lever in order to protect the original.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Completely agree on the worth for a new part- but I have to ask you one question- what sort of work are you referring to with the puddle that MIG doesn’t allow? Stickout and wlectrode manipulation are all I’ve ever concerned myself with.

          I’d be more concerned with warping the hell out of the component with Oxy/Acet or stick. TIG obviously wouldn’t have that concern, but a skilled MIG welder ought to be fine.

          • Swarf

            I could MIG weld that, no problem, but finishing down the weld without jacking up the parent material around it in the process would actually be the trickier part.

            That’s where the finer control of TIG would come in to play… and I would still rather pay these guys than attempt it with mine.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Fair enough!
            For the record, I’m pretty sure I’d have trouble MIG welding it without it walking, too. I’m more of a heavy structural welder (and not a trained expert, at that) than anything. I build Jeeps, not rocket engines. 🙂

        • Phillip Cooper

          I’d love to have one of these levers for my 336, but I’m not spending half what I paid for the rifle to do so. MAYBE if I ever go on a hunt in the cold regions….

    • The 1894 lever works just in 1894’s. We have other levers that work in the other models.

  • gg5k

    great job, like others have said, it’s great seeing more variety, also LOL Rusty Shackleford

  • Marcus D.

    I’m confused. Winchester’s pistol caliber carbine was the 1892. The rifle caliber carbine or rifle (most famously in .30-30) was the 1894. So why is everyone talking abut pistol caliber 1894s?
    Nice product though. Although I have smaller hands, my one complaint with the lever on my ’82 is the sharp edges that require either a glove or a wrap unless you cycle it slowly. I don’t know why the loop does not have the hard edges rounded off.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Marlin released a pistol caliber lever gun in 1894 which is the one being referred to.

    • Laserbait

      Probably because this is for a Marlin, not a Winchester. See how Marlin is spelled differently than Winchester? That usually means that they’re different things.

  • That is pretty much a perfect loop design right there; large enough that it can be easily engaged regardless of hand size or gloves, but small enough to neither look ccartoonish nor take all afternoon to operate and get hung up on everything nearby.

  • Raginzerker

    Sweet! they have a version for the 336?

  • Rusty – Wow thanks so much for the review. What a great way to start the day. Had just poured a cup of coffee and settled in to reading my email. Clicked on my daily TFB email and was shocked to see this review as the first article. Glad to hear that you’re happy with your purchase. We aim to please!

    • Rusty S.

      Thanks! You guys make some quality products, keep up the great work.

  • Swarf

    Every three months when an article dealing with something not Glock or AR comes out, half the comments are about what a breath of fresh air that kind of content is.

    Then we wait for next quarter.

    • A.WChuck

      Truth ^