Marlin Model 1895M
After the success enjoyed by its Guide Gun
(Model 1895G) introduced last year, youd think the folks at Marlin would be content
to enjoy the profits for awhile. Not so. The new M models physical specs are the
same as the G models, but its chambered for a brand-new, belted round created
by Hornady and dubbed the .450 Marlin.
Everyone at Hornady and Marlin is quick to
point out that the .450s belt wasnt designed to magnumize the
cartridge but to prevent anyone from inadvertently trying to thrust a .450 into some
belted magnums chamber or, worse still, into an old .45-70s. For insurance,
the .450s belt was made almost .03 inch wider than those on regular belted magnum
Its name to the contrary, the .450s
bore is .458 inch. At the moment, Hornady is the only outfit manufacturing ammunition for
the caliber. In time, dies and components will undoubtedly be available from many
Only one load is being produced. It features what Hornady calls a 350-grain flat point (a contradiction in
terms if ever there was one) launched at 2,100 fps. According to the Oehler chronograph,
five rounds from the test carbine averaged 2,011 fps 15 feet from the muzzle. Extreme
velocity spread was only 47 fps.
Like the Guide Gun, the .450s muzzle
sports a built-in muzzle brake consisting of 14 ports, each 3/16 inch in diameter, angled
to deflect escaping gases upward about 45 degrees and 90 degrees to the side.
Do they work? Probably. Recoil feels like
that of a 7-pound 12 gauge shooting goose loads - impressive but not painful. When fired
offhand or from a kneeling position, the .450 came straight back with its muzzle tending
to arch directly upwards. On the bench, it was a different story. Not unexpectedly, the
.450 turned out to be pretty lively. It was difficult for me to control. Whenever a round
went, the carbine came back and simultaneously tried to torque right. A stronger man might
have been able to impose his will on the little lever gun, but according to the targets,
one round out of three got away from me.
Instead of a scope, a Redfield receiver sight
was mounted on the Marlin. Some prefer scopes on their woods rifles, but a receiver sight
weighs a lot less and, more importantly, never disturbs a guns balance.
At the test range, the targets were set up at
50 yards instead of the usual 100 because the wind blew constantly from the left quarter
at 15 to 18 mph, according to the bookies at the weather bureau. Ambient temperatures were
in the low 90s (Fahrenheit), so three-shot strings were fired to prevent the barrel from