Marlin 1894 CSS

marlin_1894_css_01aThe Marlin Model 1894 CSS was a 2009 SHOT SHOW special exhibition, but the company received such positive feedback from SHOT SHOW attendees and gun enthusiasts alike that they decided to make it a part of their standard product line. The “CSS” stands for Cowboy Stainless Steel.

The rifle comes chambered in .357 Mag./.38 Spl. caliber and has a 9-shot tubular magazine underneath the barrel. That barrel is 18.5″ long, and has Ballard-style rifling (six grooves). The shorter than standard barrel is just another feature that makes this carbine a nice brush gun or fun gun. The overall length of the rifle comes in at 36 inches. As the name implies the barrel, magazine, receiver, trigger, and lever are also stainless steel.

The lever has been slightly modified, having a more squared configuration than the commonly rounded versions found on other Marlin rifles. The stock and fore grip are made of American black walnut and are checkered with a familiar Marlin design.

Being chambered in a popular pistol cartridge, allows shooters to enjoy shooting a rifle without the worry of heavy recoil. Even though 2009 saw a run on all types of ammunition, the prices of ammunition have seemed to stabilize this year. That said, shooting .357 or .38 caliber pistol ammunition, although slightly more expensive than say the highly popular .30-30 cartridge, is not going to break the bank.

The other features of the 1894 CSS are those familiar to the Marlin brand. The receiver on this carbine is slightly shorter than those rifles chambered for rifle rounds, but the overall look is readily identifiable with Marlin rifles.

Having held one of these rifles at the 2010 SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas I can tell you that this is a well balanced rifle that naturally and quickly can be brought to bear. This rifle also comes with a solid top receiver that is pre-drilled for optics mounting. To assist with the hammer pull should optics be added, and offset hammer spur is included.

With an MSRP of $800.66 this rifle could easily join the collection of most firearms owners.

  • caliber – .357 Magnum/.38 Special
  • nine-shot tubular magazine
  • black walnut stock
  • 18.5″ barrel
  • 1:16 RH twist
  • 36″ overall length
  • six pounds


By Aaron

Aaron is a sergeant with a midwestern police department, where he serves as a trainer, supervisor and SWAT sniper. In addition to his broad tactical knowledge, Aaron is an experienced hunter using bow and both modern and blackpowder firearms.

4 replies on “Marlin 1894 CSS”

Just a little comment. CSS means Carbine Stainless Steel, not Cowboy Stainless Steel, as this is simply the Stainless Steel version of the 1894 carbine version.

Marlin has a seperate cowboy-line, with a rifle called the 1894 Cowboy (, which is different from the 1894c/1894css, in having a longer barrel, not having a traditional carbine barrel band (wich is present in the 1894c), and also in not having checkered stock and foregrip, which is present on the 1894c and 1994css.

Other than that, great review! I allready have the 1894C, and might sell that to buy this one instead, as the only thing i dislike with the 1894c, is the not stellar corrosion resistance.

Thanks Christian. Looking back I think I was getting information on both guns (the 1894 CSS and the 1894 Cowboy) at the same time, which may account for my naming mishap. For those looking for some other distinctions between these two rifles you’ll find the 1894 Cowboy rifles to have a distinct octagon-shaped barrel and do not have the checkered stock. The 1894 Cowboy rifles are also available in .45 Colt, .44 Spl., and .44 Mag., in addition to the .357/.38 Spl. that the 1894 CSS is chambered in – because if you’re a true cowboy who wouldn’t want a little extra firepower!

Great stuff, thanks for the correction and comments.


1894 C until 1984, 1894 CS after meaning Carbine Safety (crossbolt safety) 1894 CSS meaning Carbine Safety Stainless. Back in the old Marlin days RC was regular carbine, SC was Sporting Carbine etc etc.

The 1894 C means Cabine. The 1894 CS means Carbine Safety and the 1894 CSS means Carbine safety Stainless. All the 1894’s after 1983/84 became S versions due to the crossbolt safety on the receiver.

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