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Marlin Guide Gun or XLR ?

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  • Marlin Guide Gun or XLR ?

    hi,
    I'm planning a trip to AK for next summer, will be in the field for 4 months and plan to bring a firearm for "just in case" protection from bears.
    I'm thinking Marlin levergun - the guide gun in 45-70 specifically, with 18.5" barrel, but the only model I have found in my local shop is the new XLR with a 24" barrel. The latter is somewhat more expensive, but my main question is the barrel length.
    I was hoping someone who has shot both could give me their thoughts on any differences in handling (not so much accuracy, since I am not buying for hunting), and how much more of an advantage there is to the short barrel.

    thanks

  • #2
    There's a cult following for the Guide Gun, with the faithful more defensive than conversant about its shortcomings. Be that as it may, here's a significant difference for field use, and I own both Guide Guns and other Marlins:

    Watch any user of a GG and due to the straight grip on the buttstock, they'll drop the rifle from their shoulder every time they cycle the action. But with a conventional pistol grip on the butt stock, it's possible to keep the regular Marlin on your shoulder while cycling. That's a huge difference for speed of repeat shots, especially under stress.

    I got so frustrated with both my GG's over this issue that I recently dumped them. If a short barrel looks like an advantage to you (as it is for me), get the XLR and have the barrel clipped. I had my 1895 clipped to 20" rather than 18.5", but that's a taste call. I prefer the balance with a little more weight out front. You will want to replace the Marlin sights on whichever model you buy, so clipping the XLR barrel and recrowning will only cost you an extra $100 or less, depending on the smith.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    • #3
      I'm still using my old 1894S with a 22 inch barrel and would not trade it for one of the new ones with a short barrel for any reason. I've killed caribou with it and it always did the job. Jim

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      • #4
        I owned a Guide gun but sold it to obtain the XLR. The XLR (to me) makes a better hunting rifle. The guide gun is a better rifle to carry for that unexpected "charge"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BrownBear View Post
          Watch any user of a GG and due to the straight grip on the buttstock, they'll drop the rifle from their shoulder every time they cycle the action. But with a conventional pistol grip on the butt stock, it's possible to keep the regular Marlin on your shoulder while cycling.
          I've also owned several Marlins including an older 1894-before the pistol grip! In my expirence the pistol grip handles recoil much better than the straight grip, as well as what BB said.
          I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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          • #6
            thanks. This is all very useful. I'm hoping to be able to handle both (and ideally shoot both) before buying, but I'm not sure that will happen, so these sorts of insights are very helpful.

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            • #7
              Gude Gun

              I have the Guide Gun and do not have a problem cycling the lever for a quick followup shot, while keeping it on my shoulder. I have fired (do not own) an xlr, and liked it the same. So for my money, the Guide Gun, is just fine. I would not shy away form the XLR, just because it has a few more inches on the GG. I would, however, recommend that if you go with the guide gun, you get the stainless model.
              "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

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              • #8
                marlin guide gun

                I got a marlin guide gun stainless 45-70 for a 14 day canoe trip up in the noatak preserve in august. this gun is perfect for bear protection. I sent it off to www.stevesgunz.com in texas and had him do an action job on it. amazing difference to factory and only charged about $100. well worth the money. got some high power ammo from buffalo bore that nearly doubles factory ammo in power. I sanded the stock and applied several light coats of spray on truck bed liner. this stuff is tuff. the gun is flawless for its purpose. and at 7 lbs, you wont suffer by carrying it around with you. if you want any more info, feel free to send me a private message and i can give you more details. this is the perfect gun for bear protection. if you are going to be out for 4 months, the last thing you want is to be undergunned. if money is not an issue, check out www.wildwestguns.com (i think) in anchorage. they make a co pilot and one other model marlin guide gun conversion that breaks down in half and comes in a nice (super nice) carry case. amazing gun but out of my price range. i had to do a kind of do it yourself customization.
                The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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                • #9
                  I have a stainless Guide gun and love it. A pistol grip version would be nicer, but you don't have to take the gun off your shoulder to cycle the action. I fast fire with it at the range fairly frequently and it hasn't bothered me in the least. If you prefer the laminated stock of the XLR, Marlin has just come out with a limited production run of stainless Guide Guns with laminated stocks and fiber optic sights (they're in town). Personally, I think a ghost ring receiver sight in conjuction with the fiber optic front sight is the cat's meow. The main disadvantage of the GG as far as I am concerned is the difficulty of disassembly to clean it thoroughly. The good old 870 with Dixies or Brennekes in it shines in that regard.

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                  • #10
                    Ya only have to take out one screw to remove the bolt and lever and then be able to clean it from the breech.

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                    • #11
                      I have a co-pilot and I had a 1895SS at the same time. I like the shorter bbl alot better than the longer tube (18"vs22"). For what you have planned I would definitly go for the shorter bbl. If you like the pistol grip, find an older SS model and chop a couple of inches off, and re-crown.

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                      • #12
                        Hey dogrunner...check www.marlinowners.com Those guys are serious about their lever actions (not that you fellas aren't) ..you'll get some good opinions there. There are some guys from AK on it too....

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                        • #13
                          thanks for the ideas. I have found an XLR 45-70 in town and I really like the pistol grip. Haven't found a straight stock yet to handle. I need to make a decision soon, so the link to more reading is timely too!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by akav8r View Post
                            Personally, I think a ghost ring receiver sight in conjuction with the fiber optic front sight is the cat's meow.
                            I second the motion. I have never had faster target aquisition and followup. If this is a carry gun, get the ghost ring!
                            "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

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                            • #15
                              puma lever action in 454

                              check out the Puma lever action carbine with either the 16" or 20" bbl chambered in the .454 casull. This modern handgun cartidge should produce similar stats as the 45/70 when shot in a carbine rifle bbl. I have read good reviews on this gun.

                              http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/19537

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