Making a Widderm'aj'ik Marlin

The "Widdowmatic" verion for the 45 Cartridges
By Widowmaker Hill SASS #59054

Marauder's Notes:
Widowmaker Hill has given us some very good information to help improve the reliability as well as the spped of the Marlin 94 rifles. But . .

WARNING: This information contains some significant modifications to the gun parts.
The work is generally not reversible without replacing parts of having someone do welding and machining. So you may want to give this information to your gunsmith unless you are pretty handy and don't mind a little risk.

- - - Now we return you to Widder's instructions. . .

Want to see a Marlin that will interchangably shoot the Cowboy 45 Special AND the .45 Colt?
Check out the video.

Credits due (in alphabetical order)
Adirondack Jack (tech advisor)
Curly Bill Kelly (tech advisor)
Howdy Doody (tech advisor)
Korupt Karl (financial backing, although he don't know it yet)
Lassiter (tech advisor)
Marauder (
Randy St. Eagle (donation of other carriers and sacrificial offering of a good bolt)

Note: You can see that you can mix different cartridge lengths, BUT Ifn a pard shoots abunch of the C45S and gets a carbon ring in the chamber, he's probably gona have some sticky feeding situations with the longer .45 Colt stuff.

To see the original "Widdowmatic" Instructions Click here.

Photo 1: C45S and the .45 Colt cartridges together.

Photo 2: Carrier used for the C45S and the .45 Colt

Photo 3: Top view of carrier.
When you establish your cutting angle, it should only go about HALF WAY into the wing area. Do not cut the outside portion of the wings but only work with the area between the wings where your cartridges ride. Please notice that the 'shelf' on the left which flows into the llift wing has been lowered to be flush with the carrier cut surface.

Photo 4: Carrier with the C45S in its holding position

Photo 5: Carrier with the .45 Colt in its holding position

Photo 6 : Side view of the C45S on the carrier.
Please notice that the height of the C45S cartridge stop is juust below the primer pocket. This height is critical because it is sufficient to stop the C45S plus it is also low enough not to interfere with the feeding of the longer .45 Colt cartridge. PLUS, its height becomes the sitting position of the .45 Colt that allows the angled feeding process that helps enhance this setup. The stopping wall for both the C45S and the .45 Colt is established lower than the primer pocket to also eliminate the primer from slamming into it during the operation of this setup.

Photo 7 : Side view of the .45 Colt on the carrier.
Please notice that the height of the .45 Colt cartridge stop is also just below the primer pocket.

Photo 8 : feeding of the C45S

Photo 9 : Feeding of the .45 Colt

Photo 10: Picture of shortened .38 and .38 Spl cartridges

Photo 11: Carrier for the shortened .38 and the .38/.357 cartridges

Photo 12: Picture of the shortened .38 on the carrier.

Photo 13: .38 Spl on the carrier.

PLEASE NOTE: due to the setup restrictions, this particular carrier used for both the shortened .38 cartridge and the .38 Spl would not allow an angled feeding process for the .38/.357 cartridges. Therefore, although I didn't experience any rolloffs during my limited testing, the probability of a rolloff exist when using this setup. If it were me and I wanted my Marlin to shoot any of the shortened .38 caliber cartridges and the .38/.357, I would opt for having a separate carrier for both. That way, your angled feeding enhancement would be sufficient for the different length cartridges.

I'm calling it the Widderm'aj'ik. The 'aj' is for the cartridge owner, Adirondack Jack.

For those unfamiliar, the Cowboy .45 Special (C45S) is a cartridge patented by our cowboy pard, Adirondack Jack. Its more than a shortened .45 Colt case but rather a proportionately shortened .45 Colt case that could be considered a .45 ACP case with a rim. For further clarifications on this, I'll leave it up to AJ for comments.

The Widdermajik is a Marlin Cowboy that has been tuned to reliably feed the C45S and the .45 Colt, interchangably.

The items that were changed in this rifle are the carrier (top and bottom), bolt face, chamfer mag tube outlet, and polish chamber entrance. If your extractor is relatively heavy, you might also need to lesson the sprintg tension, as this is something I did to mine.

CARRIER INFO: The BIG KEY to all of this setup is your timing of the carrier. The only 'add-on' piece that was incorporated into this setup was a piece of jigsaw blade that was JB Welded to the ramp on the bottom of the carrier (try to use jigsaw blade instead of hacksaw blade. And please visit Marauders website for some excellent info and pixs by Howdy Doody on this process). This add-on to the ramp was necessary on my rifle to correct the timing of the carrier lifting when working with the shorter cartridge like the C45S.

I don't know if this is true with all Marlins, but on those of mine that I've worked on so far, I've got the timing of my carrier to start rising at about the time my lever has traveled somewhere between midway and the bottom tip of my trigger.

I used a jigsaw blade that was .045 thick and after I got my timing where I wanted and put a polished finish on the jigsaw blade, I ended up with an add-on to the ramp of about .040. I had already smoothed the 'snail cam' on my lever so this .040 add-on became my final work involving my timing issue. NOTE: if you build up your ramp too high, you will know it the first time you try to load your rifle thru the loading gate..........the gate won't open.

NEXT STEP: Cutting On Your Carrier Your gona have to check out my pixs to help guide you on this. You want to establish a general cutting spot for the C45S first. You do this first cut based on the OAL of your C45S cartridge. If you cut it too short, the nose of your bullet will rub on the face of the frame as the carrier is rising. Don't panic. All you need to do is file your cartridge stop wall back alittle more. If you cut it a tad too long, your still in good shape because this setup is generous when it comes to OAL sensitivities. Remember, if you cut it too chort, you can file it back more. If you cut it a tad too long, it shouldn't be a problem especially if you have properly tuned the rising of your carrier and chamfered the upper portion of your magazine outlet.

Basically speaking, the chamfering of your mag outlet becomes your 'grace zone' should your timing get alittle outa whack. View Marauders webpage on the 'Widdermatic' that will show you a picture of this chamfering process.

TERMINOLOGY CLARIFICATION: I don't know the proper term, but when I use the term 'ledge', I am referring to the flat area on the bottom right side of the carrier. When I use the term 'shelf', I am referring to that area that rises up and flows into the wing area on the left side of the carrier.

For the C45S, the cut on your carrier will go down to the 'ledge' located on the right side of your carrier. PLEASE DON'T GO BELOW THAT 'LEDGE'. You will still get good feeding characteristics if you leave an itsy-bitsy part of that 'ledge' but please don't go any lower than the 'ledge' itself.

As seen from my pixs, your angle for the C45S will go from the ledge and right up into the mid-portion of your wing area.

Now, concerning the 'shelf' on the back side (left side) of the carrier, I have had to make mine flush with my angling cut. In other words, when looking at the carrier from the right side, you shouldn't be able to see that 'shelf' rising up, except maybe at the very last moment that it flows into the wing.

DO NOT cut any length from this 'shelf' because that little notch on it is necessary for your lever to help function the Marlin rifle correctly.

If you only want to shoot the C45S in your Marlin, not much else is necessary for your carrier mod.

BUT, if you also want your carrier to feed the .45 Colt in an angled feeding process, check out my pixs for this setup and proceed with cutting the carrier for this added enhancement.

NOTE: if you shomehow mess up your carrier in the process of working in the .45 Colt, just remember that anything you do on the back side of your C45S cartridge stop should not effect your C45S setup. Just be sure not to make your cartridge stop to low. See my pixs.

Smooth and purty everything up and your finished with the carrier mods.

BOLT MODIFICATION: When I worked on the Widdermatic (.38 Special), the angle feed process seem to dictate that I totally remove the tip on the bolt face located directly beneath the extractor.

In setting up the Widdermajik (C45S), I also removed the tip below the extractor on the .45 bolt face BUT, knowing what I now know, it MAY NOT be necessary for a total removal of this tip. In talking with Adirondack Jack (AJ) and his working on his Marlin, he has left some of this tip to help support the case rim and it seems to not interfere with the carridge rising up correctly. Sooooo, if your setup allows the rim to ride over this little tip or a shorted mod of it, then leave it alone.

In my future work with the big bore bolts, I'm going to experiment alittle more on this. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THOSE OTHER TWO TIPS OPPOSITE THE EXTRACTOR. You might be able to smooth them on the top side alittle but basically try to stay away from changing them.

I've also had to tune my extractors alittle and make them just a bit less stiff. You can set this whole modification up correctly and a heavy extractor can train wreck you of a smooth feeding process.

If your rifle feeds smooth, then your ready to go. But, should you start to feel some drag or catching sensation when the cartridge has about 1/8" (.125) of the cartridge case inside the chamber, then it might be time to smooth up the upper part of the chamber entrance and check for any burrs around the entrance to the chamber. You should only be performing this procedure on the upper portion of the chamber entrance. Looking at it like a clock, the area to smooth would be somewhere between the 11 and 1 o'clock area. (more like 11:30 to 12:30)

NOW, for my last bit of information.

Once this mod is complete, you should be able to feed the C45S in your Marlin with no problems.

BUT, if you start to run the .45 Colt and experience a rare 'catching' of your action just at the point where the .45 case is sitting on the carrier but the bullet is still in the magazine outlet area, don't panic and please don't change anything that you've already modified.

When you reestablished your timing by allowing your carrier to rise alittle earlier than normal, the length of the .45 Colt case is still pressing on the lever, loading gate, AND the carrier just at the moment that one of those flat areas of the carrier is trying to slide its way into its proper area of the receiver. Take the rifle apart and with your finger/fingernail, start feeling around ALL the edges of the carrier to see if a little scratchy burr might exist. Then, look into the receiver where this carrier edge would ride up & down during its operations, and you might find the gremlin on this.

Anyhow, smooth out BOTH the edge area of the carrier and the receiver area where the carrier rides. This should eliminate this problem. Please don't ask me HOW LONG it took me to discover this. But, it should only take you about 5 (five) minutes to cure.

I've probably missed a point or two but feel free to ask any pertinent questions you might have.

I STRONGLY advise each of you interested in this mod to visit Marauders website to help you get some valuable info on the Marlin. Plus, look at my pixs to help you understand what I'm trying to express.

Another special thanks to Randy St. Eagle out of Wartrace for loaning me two .38 spl carriers to experiment with the setting up the feasibility of the Marlin shooting a shortened .38 caliber cartridge plus interchanable possibilities with the .38/357 cartridges. It works also.

p.s. - AJ: all this info should now help you get your 44 Marlin to reliably run the Rusky, Special and Magnum interchangably.

Best regards and Merry Christmas to all.

..........Widder Clause (walkin in a Widder Wonderland) Hey, its Christmas so I can mix the words any way I want.

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