The NEW Marlin® Model 1895 Trapper 45-70 Lever-Action Rifle

by Boge Quinn

June 6th, 2022

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Bolt is nickel-plated and spiral-fluted for smooth operation.









Skinner Sights blade front sight and adjustable rear aperture sight.



Receiver and barrel are drilled & tapped for scope mount, and a hammer spur extension is included for scope use.





Muzzle is threaded 11/16"-24, with matching stainless steel thread cap.









John Marlin founded his firearms company in 1863 (officially 1870), initially producing rimfire single-shot pistols before beginning to manufacture single-shot rifles in 1875. In 1881, Marlin introduced their first lever-action rifle, setting their sights on a market dominated by the Winchester lever-action repeating rifles; the Marlin rifles were superb in both design and manufacture, proving to be at least the equal of the great John Browning-designed Winchesters. For a more detailed early history of the Marlin Firearms Company, I refer the reader to Glenn Fryxell's excellent article on the subject, posted on Paco Kelly's great resource,

In 2007 Marlin was acquired by Remington, which was in turn swallowed up by a huge private investment company. It soon became apparent that the new management was concerned more with profit than quality, as shooters nationwide began to notice deficiencies with the new Marlin rifles. Although the Marlins produced during that time were good, they lacked the refinement and craftsmanship of the original rifles, and customer service was lacking; this created a thriving collector market for rifles produced by the former Marlin company.

As a result of tumultuous political and financial times, in 2020 the parent company was forced to seek protection from the Bankruptcy courts. While the vultures picked clean the bones of such historic companies as Remington and Marlin, the firearms world could do little but watch the carnage and hope for the best. The dust has yet to settle for some of Marlin's sister companies, and for a time it looked like it was all over for Marlin.

Enter Sturm, Ruger & Co.

In September of 2020, Ruger confirmed rumors that had been swirling and announced its purchase of Marlin. The opportunity to resurrect a storied 150-year-old name, along with a product line that dovetailed perfectly with Ruger's own history and philosophy, was too much to resist, and Ruger was able to place a successful bid with the Federal bankruptcy court. This was only the beginning, as the following year was spent perfecting designs, moving equipment, installing new CNC machines, handling personnel, redesigning and building fixtures, and setting up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Ruger's Mayodan, North Carolina plant. In December 2021, Ruger introduced their first Marlin rifle, the Model 1895 SBL (Stainless Big Loop), chambered in 45-70 Government. The 1895 SBL has already proven to be very successful, and hard to find - I was not able to get one!

Now Ruger has introduced a new, and to me, even more attractive variant of the Model 1895: the Model 1895 Trapper. The 1895 Trapper is likewise chambered in 45-70, which is perhaps my favorite centerfire rifle cartridge. Developed in 1873 as a black powder rifle cartridge, the 45-70 remains very useful in today's modern world of smokeless powders and lightweight, jacketed, flat-shooting projectiles. The 45-70's large-diameter, heavy bullet flies straight and true, and is a wonderful long-range big game or target cartridge for those who are accustomed to its rainbow-like trajectory. The 45-70 is a legitimate 1000-yard cartridge, and its big heavy bullet remains effective at these longer ranges. Recoil is not for the faint of heart, but it is by no means unmanageable, and Ruger  could not have made a better choice than the 1895 for the introduction of their first Marlin rifle.

The primary difference between the Model 1895 SBL and the Model 1895 Trapper is barrel length: while the SBL wears a 19-inch barrel, the Trapper sports a barrel length of 16.1 inches. The shorter barrel does not detract from the 45-70's ballistic efficiency, but it does make the Trapper a joy to handle: the Trapper's balance is perfect.

Like the SBL, the Trapper is made from 416 stainless steel forgings, and finished in a very attractive satin finish. Fitting of all metal parts is superb; the bolt is nickel-plated and spiral-fluted for smoothness of operation, and the Trapper runs like a sewing machine. The lever features a "Big Loop" design for ease of use with gloves, but not too large to get in the way visually or operationally. The stainless hammer and trigger are finished in a nicely-contrasting bright polish, as is the cross-bolt push-button manual safety. As an additional safety feature, the hammer is of the traditional half-cock design.

Also like the SBL, the Trapper's stock is excellent, made from gray-colored laminated wood for dimensional stability. The stock inletting is precise and clean, and wood to metal fit is excellent. Stock and forend are boldly and sharply checkered, making it easy for the shooter to affect the only kind of "gun control" that should be at issue. The forend is wonderfully profiled: not quite as large as those traditionally used by Marlin, but not so slim as on a Winchester, fitting the shooter's hand perfectly. The stock sports a generous rubber butt pad to very effectively help counter the 45-70's recoil, and both buttstock and stainless steel forend cap feature installed sling swivel studs.

There is another, admittedly minuscule, feature that I find really cool relating to the buttstock, and that is the traditional Marlin "bullseye" inlay: the inlay is there as one would expect, but the traditional black-in-white bullseye is now red-in-white, indicating that this is a Ruger-made Marlin. Other details that distinguish the Ruger-made Model 1895 from the earlier versions are a "RP" proof mark located on the port side of the barrel; "Marlin - Mayodan, NC - USA" barrel marking; "RM" serial number prefix; and a laser-engraved Marlin "Horse and Rider" on the grip.

The sights on the 1895 Trapper are wonderful, consisting of a blued-steel white-strip blade front sight manufactured by Skinner Sights in Montana, and a Skinner Sights stainless steel rear base with aperture "peep" sight and screw-in blued-steel insert. I consider peep sights to be perfect on a rifle like the 1895, offering quick acquisition, ease of use, and precision. If you have never fired a lever gun with a peep sight, do yourself a favor and give it a try: to use a peep sight, one simply peeps through the rear sight aperture to focus on the front sight. This is a very quick and precise arrangement, and works wonderfully for aging eyes such as mine. Peep sights have been around for over a century, and my friend Andy Larsson at Skinner Sights  meticulously machines his sights from solid bar stock; Skinner Sights are precise and rugged, and I congratulate Ruger on including them with the 1895 Trapper.

For those who prefer to mount a scope, the Trapper's receiver and barrel are drilled and tapped for a scope base such as the Hi-Viz Sight Rail offered for sale on To further aid in using a scope, a hammer spur is included to allow the hammer to be operated underneath the scope's objective bell.

Specifications - Marlin® Model 1895 Trapper 45-70 Lever-Action Rifle

Model # 70450
Caliber 45-70 Govt.
Magazine Capacity 5+1
Material 416 Forged Stainless Steel, Satin Finish
Barrel 410 Cold Hammer-Forged Stainless Steel, 16.1 Inches, Satin Finish, 1:20" 6-Groove RH Twist, Muzzle Threaded 11/16"-24 with Stainless Steel Thread Cap
Lever 416 Forged Stainless Steel, Satin Finish, "Big-Loop" design for use with gloves
Overall Length 34.25 Inches
Weight, Unloaded 7.1 Pounds
Stock / Forend Black Laminate, Checkered, Soft Rubber Butt Pad, Sling Swivel Studs Mounted
Length of Pull 13.38 Inches
Bolt Nickel-Plated, Spiral-Fluted
Safety Cross-Bolt Manual Safety, Half-Cock Hammer
Trigger Pull 3 Pounds, 9.9 Ounces
Front Sight Skinner Sights™ Blade
Rear Sight Skinner Sights™ Adjustable Aperture
Barrel Threaded for Scope Mount Yes
Offset Hammer Spur for Scope Mounting Included
MSRP as of June 2022 $1,349.00 US

Shooting the 1895 Trapper was as expected, as I have long owned both full-length Marlin 1895s and the shorter 1895 Guide Gun. The Trapper operates every bit as smoothly as my pre-Remington Marlins, but there is noticeably less "slop" and lateral movement in the Ruger version. These Ruger-made Marlins are built TIGHT, but not so tight that function is affected. 

Since, as I mentioned, I have long been a fan and owner of Marlin firearms, I was expecting good accuracy from the Trapper. Experience led me to expect 1-1/2" to 2" groups at 50 yards, but what I got was far better: seated at a bench rest, using the Skinner open sights, it was easy to achieve five-shot groups ranging from 3/4" to 1" using Double Tap Ammo's  405-grain lead flat-point load. The group pictured measured 3/4" for four shots, with a fifth-shot flyer that was the shooter's fault opening the group to 1-3/4". This Marlin Model 1895 Trapper is accurate, powerful, rugged, and attractive.

When I first became aware that Ruger was taking the reins at Marlin, I was excited because I knew Ruger would take their time and do it RIGHT. The folks at Ruger are "gun guys"; they appreciate the history and Freedom associated with fine firearms, and they take pride in what they do. Pairing an established innovator such as Ruger with an historic and legendary product line like Marlin's was simply a match made in Heaven. I knew it would work, and the folks at Ruger have not let me down. Thanks to Ruger, Marlin is entering a new Golden Age, and we are fortunate to be here to see it happen.

Marlin Firearms:
Marlin 1895 Trapper

To Order Marlin Products Online, Click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns:

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Skinner Sights:

Buy Scope Mounts and Accessories for Ruger and Marlin Firearms at ShopRuger:

Lyman Products:
Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge

Boge Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.













Sling swivel studs are installed on barrel & forend.



Cross-bolt manual safety.