January 07, 2022
The Marlin 1895 Guide Gun, rugged, serious big-bore power and the perfect companion to the Alaskan guide. This hard hitting, compact carbine gives the big-game hunter superior handling and is fast on target. Unfortunately, the semi-buckhorn factory sights mounted to the Marlin are somewhat limiting. Plus, there are not a wide variety of optic mounting options for this very practical and useful rifle. So, how could someone bring this 19th century rifle design into the 21st century? I found my answer when Midwest Industries introduced their new line of Marlin Ghost Ring Sights and Rails in 2021.
Seen here is Midwest Industries’ MI-1895-GRR Marlin 1895 Ghost Ring Rail system made for the Marlin Model 1895 rifle and carbine. This combines a protected ghost ring rear sight with a 4-inch rail for mounting an optical sight. While they offer systems specifically made for Aimpoint’s popular Micro Red Dot sight, I chose their longer Mil Std 1913 “Picatinny” rail system. This mount is robust yet lightweight, being machined from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. It is nicely finished and features all the quality and precision one would expect from Midwest Industries. My experience with Midwest was fairly localized strictly to the AR rifle pattern. I'd noted and seen their AK offerings at shows and on rifles at local gun shops, but that was it. This is my first experience outside of that and I must say I am very pleased.
The rail kit comes complete with a fully adjustable “ghost ring” aperture rear sight, the rail system itself and a replacement front sight. The sight picture is reminiscent of an AR-15 pattern rifle, giving the front sight protective "wings" and an adjustable post. I found this to be a welcome addition, as the AR-15 style iron sights are very practical and easy to use. On the 1895 Guide Gun, the sight picture is much like that on my retro and clone 20-inch AR-15 rifles. The large aperture is very fast at speed and in low light situations. The sights are quick to pick up and index onto your target. They are very well-suited for the type of big-game hunting a big-bore lever action rifle will see. Game animals are typically moving, often through trees and brush. If you need a follow-up shot things are going to be happening very fast. That’s the type of action these sights are made for. Plus, they are well protected from the bumps and knocks that are to be expected.
These sights however, are somewhat of a "back-up” sighting system, considering the rail allows easy mounting of modern optics. Many will opt for a compact micro red dot sight. These can be mounted low enough to allow the iron sights to co-witness through them. I opted for an Aimpoint Comp series red dot as a test optic and while a bit bulky, it works well and mounts easily. This allows for all the perks and pluses that a red dot can bring to the table, while remaining well-designed and hugging in close to the rifle. It is not obscenely large and an eye-sore like most scope mounting systems found on lever actions. This actually has style and matches well. I understand rifles such as this are typically utility pieces and "tools" (hence the name, "guide gun") and "looks" might not matter to some. Midwest Industries delivered in both the utility and the aesthetics department though. I also tried an EOTech halographic sight, and it worked well without any issues.
While the ghost ring sights are somewhat of a "back-up" (as mentioned before) and take a back-seat to the optic mounted, the rear sight is fully adjustable, with a wide field of adjustment for windage and elevation. While adjustments aren't "fast" by any means and do require tools, the manner in which Midwest Industries designed these adjustments are smart, practical and impressively executed. Installation was quick, simple and the instructions provided were easy to understand, as were the instructions on all adjustments. A couple of interesting things I noted included the supplied aluminum "plug" for after the factory rear sight has been removed. I found this to be a nice touch and addition to the package. Not only were they thinking of the aesthetics of the user’s rifle, but also the long term protection of the dovetail cut in the barrel. The kit was complete, came with all of the necessary wrenches, Loctite and front sight adjustment tool as well. Midwest Industries really thought of everything with this mounting system.
Overall I really like the quality, the finish, the usability and durability of the product. It easily mirrors everything I've used from Midwest Industries in the past. Their R&D was definitely on point with this product and I believe that this will be a must-have for Marlin owners considering any type of optic system. This is a welcome offering, especially considering Ruger picked up the gauntlet and began producing the famed Marlin .45-70 Gov. again.
A couple of things I would like to see however are the option of either a Cerakote "stainless" or treated aluminum finish. While the anodizing is tops on these products, they don't match the stainless Marlins as well. While it isn't an issue, I believe that it would be a welcome addition and would increase desirability of this product. I would also like to see an offering for Henry lever actions, as the all-weather variant is a popular choice for guides and big-game hunters as well. While again, a non-issue, I would also like to see it produced from 7075-T6 aluminum. This tougher aluminum would lend well to backpackers or Alaskan guides. I don't and can't see any issues coming from the 6061, as it is a very tough aluminum as well; I am just a person that sees redundancy as a necessity.
This is another really nice and well-thought-out product from a great company. It adds a modern edge, modularity and modern sighting abilities in a combination not seen prior for the Marlin. The ghost ring rear sight is a nice addition and their adjustments are simplistic. Also, the ghost ring sight placement adds substantially to the sight radius, making for a much nicer sight picture. This is likely one of the nicest and most necessary accessories made for the Marlin 1895 yet. MSRP is $141.95. Well done Midwest Industries, well done indeed.
The Midwest Industries ghost ring sights and rails incorporate the following features:
- Heavy-duty ghost ring for fast target acquisition
- Wide windage and elevation adjustment range for use with different ammunition
- Constructed from Hardcoat Anodized 6061 Aluminum
- Steel rear aperture and front sight post
- Midwest Industries sight adjustment tool included
- Made in the USA
Currently Midwest Industries offers these four models:
- Marlin 1894 Ghost Ring Rail: 2.25-inch Picatinny rail section
- Marlin 1894 Ghost Ring T1: T1/T2 red dot pattern interface
- Marlin 1895 Ghost Ring Rail: 4-inch Picatinny rail section
- Marlin 1895 Ghost Ring T1: T1/T2 red dot pattern interface
If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.
About the Author:
Michelle Hamilton has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security, is a serious student of wound ballistics, military history, small arms design and manufacturing and is a competitive shooter.