It could be the end of an era. It could mean disaster for those who really love & enjoy nice traditional lever rifles. I've reaquainted myself these last few years with lever guns and purchased new or used lever rifles in .308ME, .375Win, 45-70, .444, .450 and .325WSM. Over the years, I've killed game with levers in 7mm08, .308Win, .356Win, .358Win, .375Win, .44mag & .450 Marlin. You guessed it, I'm a big fan!
I am becoming increasingly disturbed, however, from what I am reading on the Marlin Owners Forum site (not officially affiliated with Marlin) as well as some other sites. Seems the QC of new Marlin rifles has perhaps gone down the tubes. Horror stories of misaligned barrels/receivers, guns that will NOT reliably feed rounds, rough cycling of the action, misaligned stocks, misaligned sights and much more have been very prevelant of late. Marlin (Remington) actually began shipping mount shims with many rifles because new owners could not get scopes level enough to site in at all! I have heard (read) many a complaint that barrels and receivers were so misaligned that iron sights could not be sighted in either.
The Marlin Owners site actually had to add another forum topic (Marlin Rant Forum) to prevent many other topics from becoming overrun with bad comments, complaints and stories bad enough to make one want to cry. WHY?? Well, it seems to have all stemmed from when Remington was involved with the purchase and take-over of Marlin production, when Marlin "sold out".
The sale was a few years ago and things went as they always had.... for a while. But, Remington then decided to close down the Connecticut Marlin plant and move operations to Ilion, N.Y. That's when all h*ll broke loose it seems. Seasoned Marlin owners, along with shooters enamored with Marlin rifles for practically their entire lives will not even think of buying the newest production guns now coming from Remington's Marlin N.Y. plant, at least not without a thorough examination of know problem areas.
Many Marlin afficianados will only purchase older guns now and also ensure the production years by serial numbers (new numbers are now changed so no one can tell the exact age). I did recently purchase & still, now await arrival of a new 1895M. But I only did so after checking it's serial number and ensuring it's build date was at least as old as 2008.
(The serial numbers actually are set up in an odd fashion and for a time the numbers went down as production became later.)
In closing, I own new Marlins made in 2007 (two) and they were fine. I am hoping my 2008 that's inbound as we speak is as well. I've known others who have '07 & '08 guns that were fine but a couple friends bought newer ones that needed work to simply function at all, never mind smoothly & properly. I ain't here to slam Remlin. I love my real Marlins, made in Ct. I'm simply hoping to caution anyone thinking about purchasing a new Marlin to be sure and look it over VERY well before taking possession. Turn-around times for repairs are not short, on the order of 3 months and longer at Marlin (Remington) for typical repairs. And the number of guns needing them is staggeringly high.
I truly love my Marlins and do hope that all this cr*p can finally get ironed out soon and fine, smooth operating, quality rifles again start being sold under the Marlin Moniker!!