Marlin Rifle’s Quality Control 2018 – Making Sure the Receivers are in Spec

by | Jul 25, 2018

I previously wrote an article titled An Illuminating Trip to the Marlin Firearms Factory. In my article talked about the much improved quality control standards put in place by Marlin Firearms in recent years. In the videos featured in Big Woods Bucks Video Gallery chronicling the construction of my Marlin 45/70 SBL Trapper at the Ilion, NY Marlin Rifles factory, one of the most interesting stations was the computer that makes sure all the internal and external measurements and surfaces of the CNC’d receivers are within spec. (shown in detail in the video at the end of this article) as the computer runs its “feelers” across each machined surface to ensure uniformity. It’s this level of minute measurement of tolerances that make the new Marlins have that crisp and clean feel in the hand. Every line and surface of a new generation Marlin is checked and re-checked on this computer run system. It was very interesting to watch. If it finds a discrepancy or measurement out of spec, it goes in the scrap heap. But with all the receivers now made on new CNC machines, very little makes it to the melting pot.

Improved Quality Control

What is interesting about this process is the result. On a few of the Marlin forums you sometimes hear people complain that the new Marlin’s receivers are too angular and “sharp.” In actuality, the dimensions are exactly the same as the older rifles previously made in Connecticut, but without the worn out tolerances of the old factory methods. If you compare the newest Ilion made receivers like the one on my 2018 Trapper, with a late run JM stamped Marlin made in Connecticut, you can see the distinct increase in quality on the newer CNC machined and computer measured receivers made in Ilion. People became so accustomed to the older receivers that were made in Connecticut, that the new ones created in Ilion feel extremely tight and “different.” That difference is the tighter tolerances made today. through rigorous quality control measures. When you received a late run Connecticut made Marlin, it felt “worn in” from the factory. In reality, this is not good. Instead, you want the tolerances tight, and then in time all the parts glean together. That is accomplished by making every part on computer aided machinery. While the transition years from JM to Ilion stamped rifles was a painful learning curve for the new factory, it was the investment in these measuring tools that helped make the newest Marlins some of the best ever made.

Take a look at the Video below by Big Woods Bucks that was shot with Hal Blood and I at the Marlin Firearms Factory in Illion, NY.

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