American Rifleman - September 2017 - 87

It's taken a lot of effort, and both Martinez and Dobler are
proud of the results. A lot of work goes into these guns,
and while the outside is one thing, the inside is another.
The Cerakote finishing on both stock and metal are perfect,
but this facelift is more than skin deep. The basic Marlin
rifle is completely disassembled and the internal parts are
polished and smoothed.
And while it's often said that you can't do much about
The Marlin Custom Shop can install XS Sights' one-piece steel front post the trigger of most lever-action rifles, try the trigger pull
(l.) and ghost-ring aperture rear (r.)-the latter of which is mounted
on one of these custom shop Marlins and you will instantly
on the company's Lever Rail (far. l.) that accepts red-dot sights and
feel that this isn't exactly true. The triggers are crisp and
riflescopes mounted in the conventional or scout positions.
clean, and the example I was sent for this article broke at
3 lbs., 8 ozs. Availability is limited, so it took some time
before I was able to get my hands on one. But as soon as I
that the Marlin Custom Shop was moved to Sturgis. There,
custom rifles are the order of the day, and the Custom Shop did I took it to the range.
is turning out some of the finest lever-actions I've ever
seen. The subject of this article is an "ultimate guide gun"
from the Marlin Custom Shop, chambered in .45-70 Gov't
Marlin's .45-70 rifles have a slow 1:20" rifling twist
and based on a Marlin 1895SBL.
intended to stabilize the lighter, shorter bullets most
This rifle is not your grandfather's Marlin. It is a major
commonly used today. As I said, my 1895 Marlin with 26"
upgrade, and also extremely modern. If my grandfather had barrel is shockingly accurate: At 50 yds. it cuts one ragged
owned a Model 1895 in .45-70 Gov't, it would likely have
hole with every load I've tried. My problem is that there's
been the older "square bolt" model manufactured from
no point in shooting groups at longer distances because
1895 to 1917. The newer Model 1895 is a different design
I can't see the buckhorn sights well enough for it to be
that simply honors the earlier model designation. It traces
meaningful. The rail mount on the Custom Shop guide gun
its roots to 1948 when the Model 36 was updated with a
offered a whole world of alternatives.
round bolt and became the Model 336. That begat the modNaturally, I started with the ghost-ring aperture.
ern Model 1895 in .45-70, which came on the market in
Considering the range limitations of the .45-70 Gov't,
1972. It was a combination that rekindled a lot of interest
I've long figured "paper plate" accuracy was plenty
in the grand old cartridge-even more so when the shortgood enough. So I started with paper plate drills.
barreled guide gun version appeared in 1998. Of course the
Available ammunition was Hornady's 325-gr. FTX in the
Marlin Custom Shop is fully capable of doing traditional
LEVERevolution series, a fast load rated at 2050 f.p.s. The
custom work on all manner of Marlin rifles-but its guide
ghost-ring aperture at the rear of the rail is both removable
gun is a particularly capable lever-action with several prac(for low scope mounting) and adjustable-but it came out
tical enhancements.
of the box in almost perfect zero at 50 yds.
The laminated stock has been finished with a desWith aperture sights there's a compromise to be made.
ert camouflage Cerakote finish; the metalwork has a
The smaller the aperture, the more precise the sight
flat Cerakote finish in desert tan. The rail mount with
alignment; the larger the aperture, the faster the target
ghost-ring aperture is maintained, and the bottom of the
acquisition. The ghost-ring concept is a large aperture,
enlarged finger loop is wrapped with nylon parachute cord fast but not precise. In my case it doesn't matter-my
matching the stock finish. With an 18.5" barrel the rifle
days of precise shooting with aperture sights are over! So,
has a 37" overall length, making it quite handy. There's
although initial accuracy
a lot of steel in those inches; weight is 7 lbs., 12 ozs. In
with the ghost ring was
.45-70, I'm not sure you'd want it a lot lighter, especially
surprisingly good, I next
if you intend to shoot heavy loads. The rifle handles
went to an Aimpoint Micro
extremely well; I first saw a couple of them at the SHOT
red-dot unit that was easShow last year and was intrigued; it seemed a fitting
ily clamped onto the rail
tribute to the guide gun concept-especially if it shot as
mount and zeroed.
well as it looked.
Results on paper plate

ON TARGET

FIT AND FINISH

Remington's product manager for Dakota Arms and the
Marlin Custom Shop is an old friend, Carlos Martinez-as
is Ward Dobler, a key player at Dakota for many years. I
talked to both of them about the custom shop Marlins.
Lever-actions are a lot different than the Dakota boltactions and single-shots produced in Sturgis for decades.
AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

drills at 50 yds. were
excellent. At 100 yds. the
dot starts to subtend to
a size that obscures a bit
of the target, but I shot
multiple 2" groups. Clearly
this dog wanted to hunt.
In time I would take the
SEPTEMBER 2017

87


http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - September 2017

Contents
American Rifleman - September 2017 - CW1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - CW2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Contents
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 3
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 4
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 5
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 6
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 7
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 8
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 9
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 10
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 11
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 12
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 13
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 14
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 15
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 16
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 17
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 18
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 19
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 20
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 21
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 22
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 23
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 24
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 25
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 26
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 27
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 28
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 29
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 30
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 31
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 32
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 33
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 34
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 35
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 36
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 37
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 38
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 39
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 40
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 41
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 42
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 43
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 44
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 45
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 46
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 47
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 48
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 49
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 50
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 51
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 52
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 53
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 54
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 55
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 56
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 57
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 58
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 59
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 60
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 61
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 62
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 63
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 64
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 65
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 66
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 67
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 69
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 70
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 71
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 72
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 73
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 77
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 78
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 82
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 84
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 85
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 86
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 87
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 89
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 90
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 96
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 97
American Rifleman - September 2017 - C1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - C2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - E1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - E2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - MW1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - MW2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - S1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - S2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - SW1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - SW2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - W1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - W2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 100
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 101
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 102
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 103
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 104
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 105
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - 109
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 110
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 111
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 112
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 113
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 114
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover3
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover4
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