Marlin started building lever-action rifles in 1881. Marlin is one of America's oldest firearm brands, and gained renown for their excellent guns that were accurate, reliable, and durable. After almost two years off, Marlin just started producing rifles again in December 2021, starting with the Marlin 1895 SBL with the Marlin 336 and Marlin 1894 rifles expected to come to market in 2022. Owned by Sturm, Ruger and Co. Inc. now, the Marlin Firearms Company has been moved from New Haven, Connecticut to Mayodan, North Carolina.
Marlin lever guns aren't as cheap as they once were, but we expect that with Ruger now owning the company, Marlin will make them as good as (or better than) the day they were first manufactured. Marlin lever guns are easy to maintain and upgrade - assuming you have the right tools and parts. That includes installing a new Marlin loading gate. We have an install video that can help. Watch the video here.
In this article, we'll take you through the process of installing a loading gate on your Marlin, and some pointers to keep in mind while you're at it!
Read ahead to learn more!
The Marlin lever-action’s loading gate is a truly unique feature that sets the rifle’s apart from the competition. All Marlin lever-action rifles come with a side loading gate as a standard design. Beginning in 2020, Henry released all-new redesigned rifles that include a side-loading gate as well as their standard loading tube port.
The Marlin loading gate or “action-lock” isn't something you unlock and open like a door; instead, the Marlin loading gate works like the magazine well on an AR-15 rifle (except much larger). There is no lock to push in or flip; instead, the lever itself acts as the release.
This means that for left or right-handed shooters, Marlin lever guns will eject spent cartridges out to the right side of the rifle. Marlin lever-actions use a set screw that secures the Marlin 1895 or Marlin 336 or Marlin 1894 loading gate in place after it's installed into your rifle.
Steps to install the Marlin Loading Gate - Marlin 1895, Marlin 336, Marlin 1894
The gun will need to be partially disassembled - just go slow, and remember that each screw needs to return to its original home, so get a piece of a cardboard box, draw an approximation of the receiver on it, and poke a hole in your drawing where each screw can rest until reassembly.
1) Clear the rifle & ensure the chamber and magazine are EMPTY.
2) Unscrew/remove the tang screw from the upper/rear receiver tang, and pull off the buttstock to the rear.
3) Partially open bolt/lever, remove lever pivot screw, and slide lever out of the bottom of the receiver (no need to remove bolt).
4) De-cock the hammer with the safety disengaged. Push forward on the hammer spring bridge and pull or push out one side of its groove. This will free the hammer spring.
5) Remove hammer pivot screw, bottom trigger plate screw, and side support screws to free the trigger plate from the receiver.
6) Remove the trigger plate / lower tang from the bottom of the receiver (some gentle prying may be needed).
7) Pull the locking lug out of the bottom of the receiver and swing the carrier out of the receiver (no need to remove the carrier pivot screw).
8) Unscrew the loading gate spring (1” behind the loading gate opening) and install the new gate and screw it reassemble in reverse order.
It's important to remember that Marlin lever-action rifles were designed and built in a different era. Marlin firearms used to be made with much tighter tolerances, using higher quality materials and craftsmanship - Marlin firearms were built like tanks!
The Marlin 1894 or Marlin 1895 or Marlin 336 loading gate's installation process can be made quick and much simpler if done right. Even if you think it looks complicated, following the instructions above and the video makes it very easy and you should be done in around 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to reduce marlin 1894 loading gate spring pressure?
Loading gate spring pressure on a Marlin 1894 can be reduced by simply going slowly and easing the lever back. You may need to experiment with different ways of holding and operating the lever to find what works best for you.
Additionally, replacing the factory steel loading gate spring with one of our featherweight aluminium ones will make loading much faster and easier.
What is the Marlin loading gate screw size?
Marlin uses a proprietary screw size for the loading gate which is 8-32. A secure fit is necessary in order to ensure that shells are properly loaded into the chamber.
Is it easy to install a loading gate for the Marlin 1895 rifles?
Installing a loading gate on a lever action rifle is not difficult, but it does require some basic gunsmithing skills. The first step is to remove the stock from the receiver. This will expose the trigger assembly and magazine tube. Next, you will need to remove the lever assembly from the receiver. Again, this will expose the magazine tube and trigger assembly. Once these components are removed, you will have access to the loading gate.