Originally Posted by CodeMonkee
Actually, they aren't that bad. The ones coming out of the Marlin factory before they moved weren't very good either - that is supposedly one of the reasons why they moved. IMO the Marlins - at least the 336 design - are a superior rifle to the Winchester/Browning lever actions (92 and 94 anyway).
My '95 .45-70 was made in the Marlin factory just before they moved production and it has some of the problems that are reported lately; poor buttstock fit and the mag tube was dented. It doesn't feed well although that might be fixed with a different follower.
When I get around to it and build up my cash reserves again, I will send it off to be cut down, ported, action slicked up, maybe with a take down kit, certainly with the scout scope mount. The main thing is that it is a good action design, it is .45-70, laminated stock and it is stainless. I can work from there.
I do not care for the newer Winchester lever actions - I've had a few of them. The ones with the safety activated by the lever have a slopping action and don't feel right. I grew up with an old '94 in .30-30 (my grandfather traded some booze and cash to a Trask Indian for the rifle before I was born) with a 26" octagon barrel and I loved that rifle (my brother inherited it) but the Marling 336 type action is superior.
I doubt that they moved to improve quality (the decision was almost certainly driven by a desire to reduce cost and consolidate production under one roof when they bought Marlin). The consensus on the Marlin forums is that quality went south when Remington bought Marlin and did not move the workers when they shifted production from New Haven to Ilion.
All of my Marlins except for a 39 that I haven't shot yet are New Haven guns (pre-move), and I've never had a problem with any of them. I don't doubt that some of the guns leaving the Remington plant are good, and for those who own them...if you're happy with them, that's good. Most feel the quality deteriorated, as Remington tacitly admitted when they suspended production to get the quality problems sorted. You might take a gander at marlinowners.com to see what others' experiences have been.