Marlin 1895 Ltd Ed 125 years

Marlin Micro-Groove Rifling


Q: For years Marlin promoted Micro-Groove rifling as enhancing the accuracy of their rifles. If this is true, why don’t they use it on their big-bore rifles in .444 and .45-70? This has got me wondering if Micro-Groove rifling isn’t just another sales gimmick.

– Dave Edwards

A: Over the years I’ve tested quite a few Marlin rifles which had Micro-Groove rifling and found them to be very accurate.

For a while it was used on big-bore rifles, but then a problem reared its ugly head: the fine rifling does not work well with lead bullets unless you are super careful when reloading with regard to the alloys and velocities you are using.

Many handloaders found that when using lead bullets, especially at higher velocities, Micro-Groove barrels leaded up badly.

Marlin got so many complaints about this that they went back to ‘regular’ rifling, which Marlin calls Ballard-type. I believe the .30-30 and .35 Remington still had Micro-Groove rifling, because these calibres are generally used with jacketed bullets.

Ruger has now begun limited production of Marlin lever-guns under its ownership, and so far only of the Model 1895 in .45-70 with standard six-groove barrels. It’s not yet clear whether they’ll use Micro-Groove rifling future production.

On the subject of accuracy: back in the 1960s Marlin claimed a Micro-Groove barrel was 25% more accurate one with than conventional rifling. True or false? Search me! I’ve never noticed any difference when shooting lever-guns with either type of rifling.

On the subject of accuracy: back in the 1960s Marlin claimed a Micro-Groove barrel was 25% more accurate one with than conventional rifling. True or false? Search me! I’ve never noticed any difference when shooting lever-guns with either type of rifling.


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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