Beartooth Mercantile

Most avid sportsman can choose from a selection of handguns, shotguns or rifles before venturing into the outdoors, but which one really fits their needs? Although there are many factors to consider when deciding what to carry, the Guide Gun was designed specifically to fill this niche. During hunting season, a hunter's rifle will normally serve adequately as bear protection and as the means to bring down the game in pursuit. However, for the rest of the year there is a better alternative for outdoor protection while fishing, hiking or camping. In this article, let's look at the Marlin Guide Gun and how it fits in the role it was designed for.


A Marlin 1895G, 45-70 government Guide Gun with ghost ring sites and picatinny rail for light mount. Rifle Stock Cartridge boot made by Ringler Custom Leather. Their website is:


The Marlin guide gun is a rifle designed to be carried as protection against predators like the grizzly bear. The guide gun's 1895 action has been proven over the years as one of Marlin's most widely produced receivers. Also, its availability in the large bore 45-70 government and the .450 Marlin make it very effective for close range encounters with large predators.

Marlin 1895M, .450 Marlin Guide Gun with ghost ring sites, ported barrel, and extended magazine tube


The rifle is handy and compact making it practical as a guide's choice for protection as the name would suggest. The rugged compactness makes it easy to carry on a sling, or in a scabbard with little worry about the possibility of damage. Although one could argue that a large caliber revolver is more compact and easier to carry than a guide gun, handguns require constant practice for the shooter to be accurate. A rifle like the Guide Gun requires less time at the range to remain effective and accurate. In critical situations when every shot counts, one should give themselves every advantage possible to hit their target. 

The guide gun is very capable right out of the box, but it can be customized to improve performance and meet the user's needs. Easy upgrades include high quality followers, improved ejectors, and single point sling attachments. Most of these items are relatively inexpensive and can be added by the rifle's owner. Improved followers add longevity and reliability over the factory plastic followers. Aftermarket, “bear proof” ejectors help assure reliable cycling during moments when a person cannot afford a jam. Some people like single point slings that allow carrying the rifle in a quick-access position.


Marlin 1895G, 45-70 government custom parkerized finish Guide Gun with 16.5” barrel. Work includes big lever, ghost ring sites, thinned forearm stock, custom fitted buttstock, extended magazine tube and saddle ring for sling attachment. Rifle Stock Cartridge boot made by Ringler Custom Leather. Their website is:


Custom work that requires a little more expertise for installation includes big lever loops, and extended magazine tubes. While the big lever loop allows easier cycling and shooting with gloves on, the extended magazine tube adds the assurance of a couple extra cartridges.

Aftermarket sites like ghost ring, red dots or hologram sites can be added if the shooter wants to upgrade from the factory sites. Ghost ring sites are a solid choice for the guide gun due to their accuracy at close range and improved target acquisition ability. However, the most important aspect of a sight system is one that a shooter can use quickly and accurately. A person needs to find a sight that makes finding the target and hitting it accurately almost automatic. There might be a circumstance when one shot is all there is time for.


Ghost ring sites on a Marlin Guide Gun


The Marlin Guide Gun is a capable and useful firearm right out of the box and a shooter can customize it many different ways. Whether it is custom or not, a person should focus on being comfortable with it. A shooter needs to spend an adequate amount of time at the practice range to be certain they can operate it efficiently and accurately. As mentioned before, the use of the firearm should be automatic to give yourself every chance possible of defense when needed.

Of all the choices of firearms a person could choose, the Marlin Guide Gun provides a strong combination of power, accuracy, and functionality. All this capability is packaged in a user friendly and proven design making it one of the best choices for backcountry functionality and protection available.

Written by Honus Titcomb — October 09, 2013


Andy Stein:

Where can I get that cartridge cuff? Best looking one I’ve seen yet. Great article by the way.

December 31 2015 at 04:12 PM

Beartooth Mercantile:

The rifle stock cartridge boot is made by Ringler Custom Leather here in Wyoming. Their site is

January 01 2016 at 08:01 AM

Clyde Peppin:

Ghost Rings are the next project after the Stainless Saddle Ring. Do you sell those? Looks like the XS in the photos.

January 11 2016 at 11:01 AM

Aaron Makings:

Who do I contact to build me this gun?

December 26 2016 at 04:12 PM

Matthew Johnson:

Where did you get the extended magazine tube done? Thanks!

January 21 2017 at 11:01 AM

Beartooth Mercantile:

Aaron and Matthew, we performed the custom work in house on our personal rifles and are working on acquiring an FFL. In the future we hope to be able to perform custom work on rifles belonging to our customers, but have to get the proper paper work squared away. Thank you very much for the interest.

January 22 2017 at 12:01 PM

steven callicutt:

Wheres the best place to find aftermarket bear proof electors for 1895 guide gun in 450marlin

January 31 2017 at 06:01 PM

Beartooth Mercantile:


It looks like has the bear-proof ejectors for sale on their site. They look like a one size fits all application and will work on your 450 Marlin. Thanks for the inquiry.

January 31 2017 at 09:01 PM

Steve callicutt:

I would like to know when you get the blued safety delete back in stock
For the marlin 1895

February 23 2017 at 05:02 PM

Robert Martens:

I am giving some serious thought to getting a saddle ring safety delete. I’m not sure which orientation would be best.

July 31 2017 at 05:07 PM

Beartooth Mercantile :


I added you to the mailing list to be notified when the saddle ring safety deletes are done. Sorry about the delay. Regular safety delete in stock now.

The Up/ Down ring is the most popular, but Front/ Back seems more traditional if you look at old rifles made with saddle rings. I think a person needs to consider if the rings is for looks or how they intend to use it. Also consider that the up/ down naturally wants to fall down but front/ back might move more during carrying.

We would accept a return if you wanted to try one or the other. Thanks.

August 03 2017 at 08:08 PM

Steven K:

Where did you get the lever from? I noticed it’s not a really big wide one like marlin makes on some of their newer guide guns.

August 24 2017 at 01:08 PM

Beartooth Mercantile:

Steven K,

The big lever you see on the parkerized rifle is one we made briefly. I have improved some things in the design and expect them to be available again within the next 6 weeks or so.

Thank you for the interest.

August 24 2017 at 11:08 PM


Where can I oreder the light rail? Can’t find it on your website…. Thanks, in advance. Marc

October 29 2017 at 10:10 AM


marlin makes great saddle rifles i need a 44 mag saddle ring carbine in 44 mag 16 inch or so barrel and barrel band not cap i hope marlin makes one i love em and i bet a million other shooters also love em

March 30 2018 at 05:03 AM

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Thanks for visiting Beartooth Mercantile. We specialize in accessories for Marlin Lever action rifles including 1894's, 1895's, 336's and Guide Guns. We also make other items and accessories, so please browse the site.

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