Marlin Firearms Short List of Factory Ported Guns
"You Either Love em or Hate em!"
by Scott Crawford - July 1, 2021
1st off I need to state up-front that this topic is covering past Marlin Firearms, no new product coming from Ruger owned Marlin.
Marlin introduced their first factory ported long gun in 1998 with their introduction of the model 1895G, 45-70 Guide Gun. Their first offering was so successful that they followed up the next three years with an additional seven models with factory porting. Six of which were distributed directly by Marlin and one model built exclusively for Davidson's.
My 1st Marlin Guide Gun, a 1998 Factory Ported 1st Year Model
Dates that Factory Ported Marlins Were Manufactured
Some of these models are extremely rare and tough birds to find, especially these days. The 336D, 35 Remington Guide Gun built by Marlin and sold by Davidson's was the smallest quantity made. One thousand rifles produced in such a popular caliber became an immediate success. I finally came across one in 2010 and I scooped it up at a decent price. I eventually traded it away for another stainless model 1895GS factory ported Guide Gun.
The initial reason behind the factory porting was to provide the shooter a better chance of staying on or getting back on target especially for dangerous game. Initially made for Guides & hunters of Alaska tracking down brown bear in thickets.
It's been proven that barrel porting can reduce muzzle jump considerably and I personally can attest to it having fired Guide Guns side by side both with porting and non-ported. It's especially a significant help when magnum-type loads are being shot. While many of the factory ported rifles are big bore made for heavy game and can benefit greatly using the ports, several of these (357 mag, 44 mag & 35 Remington) really show very little if any benefit from the porting. It really was a "phase" at Marlin where it became popular and sold well more than a "need".
All of this became a moot point towards the end of 2002 when company lawyers (it's been argued) ended the porting for a couple of reasons. Firstly the potential hearing loss from a much higher decibel reading was being realized by both the shooter and anyone standing nearby. Secondly there were and I have personally witnessed this, moments of shrapnel released through the porting and injuring bystanders. The later maybe not the driving reason however bloodying shooting enthusiast standing by the firing line doesn't help firearms sales.
I find the Marlin factory porting to be an enhancement that I utilize to the fullest. Often times my hand loads push right up against maximum pressures and the purpose built porting has a secondary affect. Many would argue that I'm wrong on this topic however in fact I feel a reduced recoil with big bores under heavy magnum loads where porting is involved. Shooting identical Guide Guns with the same loads, one being ported and the other not I feel less recoil in the ported models. Maybe it's related to the reduced muzzle jump and the physics involved with the geometry and path of the recoil but it feels significantly less to me.
Therefore I'm a huge fan of the Marlin Firearms factory porting and have bought numerous other types of firearms where porting was involved because I have an appreciation of what the porting offers. There are advantages. There are also disadvantages with porting. It certainly takes a little more effort during the cleaning process which I can attest to. Still worth it in my book.
A 1999 1st Year Marlin 444P Outfitter in the Field
I've been fortunate enough to own all but two of these models over the years. Some I have traded away, some I have owned multiples of the same models while the two that escaped me are always still on my radar if I find them at the right price. Those two I've missed or passed on previously are the models 1894CP and the 512P. I've never owned a Marlin in 38 / 357 but when I do it will be an 1894CP! I have no need for a bolt action 12 gauge shotgun although if I found a 512P at the right price I'd make it mine as well.
A 2000 Model 336D, Davidsons Limited Edition 35 Remington Guide Gun
The model 336D pictured above was a lot of fun to shoot however staying with my true love of "straight walled" calibers I traded this one off for another stainless 1895GS 45-70 Guide Gun.
As I'm describing these rifles I need to address the optics I have on each of my Marlin centerfire rifles. With the effective range on most of my Marlins about the same distance (250 yards: self-imposed) I chose the 1.5 x 4.5 x 33mm >Bushnell Banner to keep the same optics across all of my rifles. This has worked well for me in the field, no need to try and remember how to dial in during an often short window of opportunity to take a shot.
I'm so comfortable with these scopes that I can adjust them without having to give a seconds thought. I've had great success with these scopes living just fine through some of the toughest hand loads I make. The years of manufacture on these scopes were 2009 / 2010. Still going strong with bright glass.
While I have a preference for Marlin's factory porting there are other alternatives for gun owners finding themselves without porting. Mag-na-port International, Inc. offers aftermarket porting on your rifle and is well known for the gun smithing capabilities worldwide.
For a list of aftermarket Gun Smithing check out our database of Known Marlin rifle Pro's. This listing reflects years of positive feedback from other Marlin owners around the world.
While I love the performance characteristics of a ported barrel there are real safety / hearing concerns to be dealt with so I've included a link to this document on decibel readings & warnings from EAR Customized Hearing Protection.
Always wear proper eye & ear safety gear while shooting firearms to protect your sight & hearing for decades to come.
A 1st Year 1999 Marlin Model 512-P Slugmaster
Yes I like collecting lever guns, especially Marlin lever guns however I will always fall head over heels for another 1895 in 45-70 Govt. After all, I took my handle from them. We all have a favorite cartridge and rifle, I'd love to hear about yours and your thoughts on porting versus non-ported in comments to this article.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Marlin Firearms Davidson's Bushnell Banner Scopes Mag-na-port International, Inc. Ruger Firearms EAR Customized Hearing Protection
Marlin Firearms, Bushnell Banner, Lever Action, Gallery of Guns
July 1, 2021 at 9:14 pm
My first Marlin 1895 was a Guide Gun, built (and bought) in 2000. (JM Proof).
It's ported w/ ballard rifling, and has a low serial number.
This 1895G is my FAVORITE rifle to shoot. Period.
I have an 1895CB (2001 model - JM Proof) that I bought new, and is still in the box, in the safe, never fired.
The 1895G is one ACCURATE .45-70!!! Sub-MOA at 100 yards with my handloads.
This 1895G is one rifle that will NEVER be sold!
I have a total of FOUR Marlin 1895 rifles.
None will ever be sold!