338 Marlin Express-Lever Action

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Mike 338, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    Marlin makes a 338 Marlin Express. It's designed for the pointed gummy tipped FTC bullets from Hornady. This is probably one of the greatest advances in lever action rifles due to their tubular magazines. Bullets in a tubular magazine previously could not be pointy because the point of the bullet would ignite the primer of the bullet in front of it. Hornady has developed a gummy pointed tip that is safe in these magazines and lever actions can now shoot ballistically superior bullets compared to the blunt nosed offerings. It's ballistics are close to a 30-06. Anyway, they makes two models. The MXLR and the MX. The MXLR is their high end offering with a laminated stock, stainless steel, 24" barrel. I got one of those. The MX is the standard model in blue, walnut stock and 22" barrel. I got one of those too, both new.

    Marlin 338 MXLR- Fit and finish was great but beauty was skin deep. It had the worst trigger of any rifle I've held. The gunsmith fixed that however it would jam so badly and misfire that I sent it back. It came back much better after replacing the barrel and breech. No jams but it now misfires approximately every 7th shot and the dovetail insert on the forend stock hanger slid all over the place. It's retired for now. There's a gunsmith a couple hours away I'm taking it to. Hope he can help.

    Marlin 338 MX- Since I won't take the other rifle hunting due to it's unreliability, I decided to break out the unfired 338 MX. I was saving it as a saddle rifle but decided to scope it up and take it hunting. I took it out today to break in the barrel. Once again, disappointment. My new, unfired Marlin was jamming like crazy. It wouldn't cycle and you couldn't get a round chambered by working the action. When you close the lever, it's supposed to lock in place but this one springs open like a bad cabinet door and the rifle won't fire in that position. By this time you might think I would go bizerk but no, that's all out of my system. Remington manufactured Marlins don't work and I've come to accept it. Anyway, since I was breaking in the barrel, I pointed the muzzle down and dropped a round in the chamber, shot, cleaned and so on. It turns out if this lever gun worked, it would be quite a rifle. After 6 break in shots, I shot a 3 shot group below. Not bad accuracy for a lever action with a 6 lb. trigger.

    If the gunsmith can't fix it in 5 minutes, I'll send it back to Remington/Marlin for repair. They haven't made these rifles in a while. I'm not sure they ever will but if they do, the next run has to be better as it couldn't be much worse. Still, you think that if you bought two new rifles from the same company, one of them would work.
     

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  2. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

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    Leave that front tenon loose!!!

    Thats a well known trick for making Marlins more accurate...the looser everything in front of the receiver fits, the better...up to a point anyway...it doesn't need to be sloppy loose, but not overly tight either...that includes the forearm itself, the end cap, the tenon, even the mag tube.

    Thats whats known as "free floating a lever action"...and it does help.


    If you want truly expert advice on Marlins...I recommend you visit Marlin Owners forum...those guys know Marlins inside and out, a few of them worked for Marlin before Cerebrus took over and moved the manufacturing elsewhere.
     

  3. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to mention...unless they changed it...you'll need to join to see the good stuff (the reference library)

    You won't even have to ask the questions though...the answers are already there.
     
  4. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    The newer ones are already floated. To loose is bad. I've tried to tune the MXLR as much as I can. Relieving pressure... Anyway, the MXLR needs to be bedded + fix the misfire problem. Already did a trigger job. The MX is fine. Timing's crap on both. I guess Remington figures guys who shoot lever actions deserve what they get.

    I'm tired.
     
  5. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    What kind of velocity were you seeing? I wish they'd have done that case in .358 as well!

    When Remington took over Marlin they seemed to fall off a cliff in quality
    gary
     
  6. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    The MXLR (24" barrel) was right at 2545 fps. The MX (22" barrel) I didn't clock yet because I was just shooting, cleaning and getting it on paper. It should be close to 2500 fps though.

    At the time, I was sort of transitioning to going all lever action. This whole experience has cooled me down however. After doing some research, I discovered the market was flooded with defective Marlins (no doubt an executive decision rather than absorb the loss of pulling defective units off the line). My experience is not unique.

    I'm a fairly loyal person, almost to a fault but Remington/Marlin doesn't even acknowledge there was even a problem and the gun media is mum (I guess I know what that's all about). It sorta reminds me of some people I've worked with. They want the paycheck but the job they could do without.

    I'm now liking what those Finns are doing at Sako/Tikka.
     
  7. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    don't think Sako has never produced a rotten apple! Wasn't all that long ago they were shipping rifles with bad steel. The real problem is that all the gun writers refuse to bring forth the data they know exists. Marlin built a great lever gun and a pretty good bolt gun before remington bought them out. Now they're junk. Perhaps we'd have been a lot better off is Marlin had of bought Remington, and finally instuted quality controll in New York
    gary
     
  8. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    Well said sir.
     
  9. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    I called Marlin today for a return shipping label. The Customer Service guy was nice and apologized for me having to deal with this and e-mailed the shipping label same day. He'll never make upper management.
     
  10. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    you know I have quite a few lever guns and falling blocks, and there are distinct differences in quality controll between them. The Browning 1885's are just beautifull in fuction and finish quality. Every Marlin I own (at least a half dozen) just plain works well. I also have several Winchester 94's, and they do work well, but also feel like they are full of sand. The best lever guns I have are Savage 99's by a long shot, but also a different kind of animal. I probably would call it a toss up between the 1885's and the 99's as to which one I like the best. It almost changes by the day of the month! The Winchesters are fines, but just need some deburring here and there inside. The Marlins are a rung up the ladder. The one lever gun I've always wanted was a Sako (long out of production). Similar in fuction and looks to a 99 or a Winchester 88, always elusive to my hands. (just like the Bernadelli Hemingway in 16 gauge).

    gary
     
  11. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    I got my first Marlin, a ported 444 Guide Gun mostly as a curiosity. After hunting with it in the backcountry for a week, I was hooked. A rifle has to shoot well. That goes without saying but the rest of the time your carrying it and I have yet to find anything that carries better than these Marlins. I never expected perfection from these gun makers but they've become absolutely brazen about squeezing the last ounce of profitability out of their product at the expense of their customer.

    I won't go into detail about the library of quality control issues that went out the door of their plant (Rem/Marlin) but you gotta know it's possible and therefore you do something to prevent it before it happens. Anyway, my 338 MXLR wants to be a shooter but it'll need some professional help. My 338 MX is on it's way back. We'll see. With so many trips from New York to Boise, back and forth again it appears my Marlins are all better traveled than I am. I may even live long enough to see the day I can shoot them.
     
  12. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    been kinda watching for a real Marlin built guide gun in .444 that's ported. Most are not ported that I've seen (heard they only made the ported ones for two years). Also kinda want one in .356 Winchester, and may just build one off a good donor action
    gary
     
  13. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    I've read a little bit about the ported models. They were popular. I'm not sure why they quit making them but it would be great to see them bring the ported models back. Actually Remington/Marlin has ceased manufacturing many of the big bore center fire lever action rifles in 2012. It's been suggested that after they dumped all their crap rifles on the market and purged their inventory, they stopped making them until they resolved their C.R. (crap rifle) problems. Genius... I'll bet unloading that junk earned somebody a trip to Maui and a set of new golf clubs. I can't even imagine how Hornady feels about developing their Leverevolution ammo and the company that makes rifles that shoots it has sullied it's reputation and sales.

    I think, if and when Rem/Mar starts a full line of lever action rifles again, things should be a lot better. It's like when a fast food place kills a bunch of people with E-coli poisoning. A month later, it's the safest place in the world to eat.
     
  14. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I told everybody here about what goes on inside the Remington machine shop awhile back, and a lot of folks laughed at me. So be it! But my source was very well respected in his field of work, and new little about firearms, but machine tool engineering was his game and he was a top 5% person in it. Junk equipment makes junk parts seven days a week and twice on Sunday! Then the way they just throw these parts together is horrible.

    I saw the hand writting on the wall with the old mod. 39 line of 22 rimfire rifles (known as the Cadillac of 22's). They were hand assemdled and fit together. Remington couldn't stand that, as soon as they saw the chance they ruined it.
    gary