The Column, No. 121:
Will Marlin Firearms Survive the Remington Outdoor Chapter 11 Reorganization?
By Gary Zinn
Will Marlin Firearms survive the Remington Outdoor Company Chapter 11 bankruptcy? The question is inspired by Randy Wakeman's recent article on the ROC Chapter 11 reorganization maneuver The Column, No. 120: The Latest Chapter in the Remington Saga: Chapter 11.)
The Marlin Firearms product lineup is so unimaginative (even quaint) that it probably does not much register on the radar of many "modern" shooters and hunters, which is part of the Marlin problem and has been for some time. Briefly, Marlin centerfire rifle models are all lever action, tube magazine designs, including the Model 336 in .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington, the Model 1895 (Big Bore) in .45-70 Government and the Model 1894 in .44 Magnum/.44 Special, .45 Colt and .357 Magnum/.38 Special.
Rimfire models include the XT bolt rifle in .17HMR, .22LR and .22WMR; Model 60 tube fed autoloader in .22LR and Model 795 clip fed .22LR autoloader. I suspect that some, if not all, of the Marlin lineup is vulnerable to being eliminated in the course of the ROC reorganization.
It is an easy argument that the entire rimfire lineup is highly vulnerable to elimination. One need look no further than the extensive line of Savage and Ruger bolt action rimfire rifles to find products of this type that put the Marlin XT model in jeopardy. The Marlin Model 60 autoloader, introduced in 1960 and once the best selling rimfire autoloader in the world (over 11,000,000 sold), was introduced four years before the Ruger 10/22 (over 5,000,000 sold).
Is there any question which of these continues to be a huge success and which, relatively, has fallen by the wayside? Meanwhile, the Marlin Model 795 (a Model 60 with a detachable box magazine instead of a tubular magazine) has likely been even less successful than the Model 60. If a final scoop of earth needs to be shoveled onto the grave of the Marlin rimfires, it would be supplied by the successful Henry line of lever action rimfire rifles.
Concerning the Marlin centerfires, the Model 336 probably has the best chance to survive a ROC reorganization purge. This rifle, chambered in .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington, is an iconic deer rifle that would probably be the most lamented of any of the Marlins if it were to be discontinued. If the Model 336 survives the purge, whether it will continue to be offered in (the less popular) .35 Remington caliber is an open question.
I believe the Model 1895 is almost as vulnerable to elimination as are the Marlin rimfires. How many shooters/hunters need or want it? The question is particularly relevant now that Henry offers a well reputed lever rifle in .45-70 caliber that competes directly with the Marlin Model 1895. (In addition, the Henry lever action .30-30 is an attractive alternative to the Marlin Model 336.)
Finally, I hope that the Marlin Model 1894 survives, if the Remington reorganization results in a paring of the Marlin lineup. The venerable Model 1894 design has stood up over time and the current caliber offerings still have appeal in the shooting scene. I admit that I have a dog in this fight, for I own a Model 1894 in .357 Magnum/.38 Special. It is my favorite centerfire "fun gun" when I go to the range for a relaxed afternoon of plinking. (The Marlin Model 1894 also has some stiff market competition, specifically the elegant Henry Big Boy rifle series.)
These musings assume that Remington Outdoors Company keeps Marlin as one of its brands. Another scenario would be that ROC sells Marlin outright, but the implications of that for the Marlin brand and product lineup are so open-ended that I will not hazard to speculate on the possible outcomes of such a reorganization move by ROC.
Time will tell what happens to the Marlin brand in the course of the Remington reorganization. My crystal ball gives me a glimpse of a "new" Marlin Firearms, but exactly what it will look like is obscured in a cloudy haze.
Copyright 2018 by Gary Zinn and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.