What the name implies
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I have a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Competition that I have used regularly in matches over the last 10 years. Recently the following problem has occurred: when I lever the unloaded rifle open while holding it vertically, the carrier will occasionally move over the magazine spring retainer that protrudes slightly into the firing chamber and the gun locks up. I will be unable to get the carrier back into position unless I disassembly the gun enough to push that spring retainer up into the magazine so the carrier can slide back into place or I remove the magazine assembly from the gun, reposition the carrier and then reassemble the magazine. Do I need a new magazine spring to get more tension in order to hold that retainer more firmly in place. I should add that the gun loads easily, maybe too easily?
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Check the loading gate screw! If it gets loose it can cause the issue you're having. If it gets weak it can also create this issue. Try tightening the screw, but be careful not to get it too tight as it's a very small thread and can be snapped easily.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!