Sticky feeding Marlin 1894... suggestions?

In forum SASS Wire at The SASS Wire.

Posted by Daguerre SASS#47628 on August 06, 2004
One of my recently purchased Marlin 1894's cycles nice and smoothly due to "tuning" via Jonah's procedures on Marauder's website, but when cycling live rounds through the gun, just after each round's bullet tip enters the chamber, there is a significant increase in resistance getting the round into the chamber. I can muscle the round into the chamber, but my other 1894's don't have this resistance when feeding. Does the chamber mouth need to be opened up a little bit? I'm hesitant to touch that.
Marlin 1894ss - .44mag - this happens with factory .44mag Speer 250gr. Gold Dots and also with factory .44mag Fiocchi semi-jacketed hollow soft points. I have a feeling it's not ammo related as I'm not using .44 specials, swc, or hand loads.
I would just send it to Marlin for adjustment, but since I've polished the action a fair bit, they may frown on that... but on the other hand, perhaps that's exactly what I should do. Any suggestions?

Posted by seven, #15837
My guess is that the round is getting out of position with the extractor. Either the tip of the extractor is pushing the side of the round over a bit or the lip of the round is not getting under the extractor properly. Ya might also look at the lifter too, could be it is delivering the round upward with the primer end of the round too far to the right, a big no-no when shooting a marlin at

Posted by Loco Smith, #60237
I was having the same problem. I took and polished the extractor, it has several sharp edges. I also shortened the point on it and made it flat. I took a round to check the length on the extractor it was touching the brass at the wall, to long. You can feel the edges of one of the case you insert and eject, you will feel some burrs. Try it it worked for me.. Loco

Posted by Nate Kiowa Jones #6765
As I mentioned in your other post, the timing of these multi-cal leverguns like your 44sp/44m is compromised to cover both lengths, so the best running ammo will be somewhere in between the two in length.
From what you discribed, what is happening with your gun is the bullet is hitting the top inside of the chamber before the rim is clear of the slots in the guide.
If you really want to running 44mag, the solution is one of two things, the most likely would be a shorter OAL or the lest like will be a different bullet profile, something like a TC bullet.

I`m not sure why you think the 44spec is harder to feed than the mags. The 44 spec ammo is much easier to make run than the 44m length ammo. It is much easier to make longer 44spec than it is to shorten 44mags.

Posted by Texas Hillbilly , SASS #54039

I will have to agree with Loco Smith on this one. I also have a Marlin 1894SS and did the same thing as you did. I tore it all apart and smoothed it all up and it worked fine most of the time but once in a while it would bind up on feeding a 44 SP round (since that is all I shoot in it). I worked on it time after time also thinking that the chamber mouth may need opening up some to make it slide in. I took it to a great local smith and let him fix it for me and low and behold he found that the extractor was not letting the head of the round slide up into it. He took the extractor and cut some of the edge off it and polished it quite a bit and now it feeds great. This rifle will now feed anything thing from 44 sp to 44mag and is not picky on OAL of the round like a few has suggested is the problem. Work a few rounds through it and watch it real close and you will see that the round has a problem sliding up into the extractor and wants to push the round into the chamber at too much of an angle. Once you cut out the extractor some and polish the face of the bolt it will then slide up into the extractor and will slide in to the chamber at the right angle.
I have been working on guns for almost 30 years and after he fixed it I felt like a fool by not being able to figure out the problem myself.
Good luck and keep us posted as to what the outcome is..


Posted by Curley Ron

All that good advice but I gotta question, pard.
Did ya tighten up all them little screws? Not just think ya did, but got em all tight?

Posted by Daguerre SASS#47628
Yes... Nate is a great help and resource... we're fortunate to have him. There are also a bunch of other pards here who have been very helpful indeed!

the rifle is not a "Cowboy" or CAS riflel, but one suitable for hunting
is chambered for .44 magnum caliber
will be used with factory semi-jacket Soft Point and JHP rounds for which it is designed

I expect it to feed and fire standard length .44 mag factory rounds without a hitch. For these reasons, I would not be happy with the rifle if I have to custom make ammo which is shorter than factory spec .44 mag length, a spec endorsed by Marlin, to make it run right.

Therefore, I will hope that the issue involves tuning the extractor a bit, and I have a feeling this might indeed be the problem. If after tuning the extractor, the issue persists, I think I'll call my buddy at Marlin, Tim Looney, and ask him to do what's needed to allow the rifle to feed typical, factory made, semi-jacketed soft point and JHP .44 magnum.

Thanks to ya'll for the suggestions... I have a "tuned" extractor in my 1894C .357 mag which I can try out in the 1894SS. I can also try extractors from either of my 1894 CBC's (.38 spl & .45 Colt). If any of those extractors do the trick, then I guess I'm in good shape! I'll do a follow-up post to let everyone know how things came out. You are great.

Posted by Daguerre SASS#47628
Seven, Loco, and Texas Hillbilly nailed this one!

I noticed that the sides of the .44mag cases that I had cycled through the gun had scrape marks along the length of them... indicating that the angle of feed was definitely the problem.

I swapped in the extractor from my 1894CBC .45 Colt in the 1894SS .44mag and feeding improved significantly. Gave me more confidence that this was not an OAL issue, but indeed just an extractor issue. But looking closely at the tips of the two extractors, I could see no notable difference. The spring on the 1894CBC extractor did have a little less tension however.

Then I took a look at the extractor tip on my 1894C that was tuned up by a professional and noted that the entire tip of the extractor was polished quite bright.

So I decided to do some extractor tip polishing and try to reduce the spring tension just a tad.

I took my Dremel and lightly addressed the various angles on the tip of the stainless extractor, then worked the spring tension down a touch, and put the extractor back in the .44mag and loaded her up for a cycling test.

VOILA!!! The extractor tuning did the trick... all rounds now cycle through the rifle nice and smooth!

Now I think I'll go buy some .44 special factory rounds and see how they cycle through the gun.

Jonah's tuning guide on Marauder's website and the extractor polishing tune-up has turned a stiff and barely functional 1894SS .44mag into a slick and smooth running rifle!

Nice too that I did all the work myself; so I understand the rifle a lot better now than before this process. Thanks to ALL for the help, suggestions, and support. You guys are wonderful!

Now, I'm still considering having the rifle barrel cut back to 16 or 17" so as to have a really great handling, little brush gun. (Remember, this is NOT a rifle I use for CAS.) Thanks again to all.

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