Marlin Cowboy BB gun – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The new Marlin Cowboy BB gun is a beauty!

Well, we’ve certainly heard a lot of passionate comments about the new Marlin Cowboy from the Part 1 report! Today, we’ll test velocity, and I’m including the new RWS BBs in this test. You can’t buy these from Pyramyd Air as of this date, but perhaps if they test out well in a couple guns we’ll give them a reason to stock them.

Somebody commented that the Cowboy looks like theDaisy Red Ryder, but I don’t think it does. In fact, there’s very little resemblance between these two BB guns, other than the fact that they both have levers. The Marlin is a little larger, overall, and perhaps not as refined as the Red Ryder.

Cocking the Cowboy will seem strange to anyone familiar with American BB guns. It has a ratchet that incrementally grabs the cocking lever as it’s pulled away from the gun, hence a ratcheting sound accompanies every shot you make ready for. It’s more of a TX200 sound than a BB gun sound, and I’m still not used to it. It does no harm, but it does remind you that this is a different kind of BB gun.

Thankfully, the safety is manual, so it doesn’t come on when the gun’s cocked. However, the ratcheting mechanism is an anti-beartrap device, so there’s no uncocking this gun. If you cock it, you must fire it. Cocking is hard enough that I think smaller kids will be challenged.

The trigger-pull is single-stage and breaks between 6 and 7 lbs. That sounds heavy –and it really is; but when you’re shooting the gun, it doesn’t seem as bad as it sounds. I guess you can get used to anything. I don’t know what effect it’ll have on youngsters, though.

There’s also not a lot of room inside the triggerguard for your trigger finger. Adults with normal-size hands will find it tight, and large hands may find it impossible.

Not a lot of room inside that triggerguard for a finger. Those with larger hands will find it difficult to operate.

Velocity tests
Velocity with Daisy zinc-plated BBs averaged 328 f.p.s. The spread was very tight, from 324 to 332 f.p.s. Pyramyd Air says these BBs weigh 5.1 grains, but I weighed mine and they averaged 5.3 grains The average muzzle energy works out to 1.27 foot-pounds.

Crosman Copperhead BBs really do weigh 5.1 grains, and in the Marlin Cowboy they averaged 331 f.p.s. The spread went from 327 to 335 f.p.s., so once again it was tight. They averaged 1.24 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

And, now for the RWS BBs. They look so uniform; and when I weighed them, they all weighed 5.3 grains. The average velocity was 335 f.p.s., for the fastest of the test. The spread went from 333 to 339 f.p.s., so another tight distribution. The average muzzle energy was 1.32 foot pounds — the highest of the test.

There were several failures to feed during this test. They happened with all the different brands of BBs. It seemed that if I jarred the gun when it was held level, I would get a failure to feed. So, I’m thinking the BB is falling off its magnetic seat.

Thus far, I’m on the fence about this BB gun. The looks are good and the power is right where it should be, but the trigger’s heavy and there have been a few failures to feed. The accuracy test should tip the balance.

60 thoughts on “Marlin Cowboy BB gun – Part 2

  1. Morning B.B.,

    We all sure had fun as kids with our BB guns. However, we all graduated to pellet rifles and never looked back. I’m of the op ion that kids are safer shooting pellets rather than BB’s due to the ricochet factor. Just my 2 cents worth though.


    • Milan,
      No. I’ve never had Gamo pellets, but if I did, I almost certainly wouldn’t wash them :). In many cases, what people are washing off pellets is graphite lubricant, which leaves them lacking for lubrication.

        • BG-what you are saying is that you need to remove any excess lubricant(graphite lubricant) I think (know from experience) that Gamo TS-22 pellets are lubed with something ,off course my gun is weak for those guys (D34)but i had an opportunity to try them -they are lubed !?

          • I wouldn’t remove the graphite — it is there for a reason: lubrication. It is not “lead dust”, as commonly believed — that would be fairly dangerous, or at least it would appear so. My understanding is that pure lead (many RWS & JSB pellets) needs no lubricant at air rifle velocities, but that harder compounds with antimony (? — I think) will actually lead the barrel when shot at the upper end of the air rifle range of velocities. In my experience (limited, admittedly), the graphite goes hand in hand with the harder compounds (most notably in Crosman pellets here) and seems to be an attempt to make up for the lack of natural lubrication lost when using the harder compound. If they shoot well “dirty”, I would leave them alone — graphite is harmless, although probably not too tasty, just don’t wipe your hands on your white shirt :). My opinion only.

        • That must suck.
          All you find in the stores around here are mostly junk. The closest thing I can find to good pellets at our Walmart are the CPHP. Crosman is the only kind of pellet that our store sells now. Not even Gamo Raptors anymore. No other stores in the area that sell any airguns or supplies.


            • Tried both sizes. not too bad in some rifles, but not the best.
              Niether one available anymore at wallyworld. Same with the wadcutters….gone. Just cphp and destroyers.


          • Twotalon

            Where do you live that has such a poor selection of pellets?

            No Cabelas or Bass Pro Shops or other gun shops there? Even our Dick’s Sporting Goods has Crosman Premiers and a Gamo selection, and that store is 80% clothes and fishing equipment.

            • Been a little preoccupied today. Starlings started hitting my back yard. Many left in fear. A few did not leave.

              If you are ever travelling by Tiffin Ohio and want to find a place to get some pellets….just keep on going unless you want cphp.


          • twotalon,

            I have three Wal Marts within 7 miles of me. Also a Bass Pro and a Cabala’s within 15 miles of me. Still none have very much in the way of decent pellets. Most opted to go for cheap pellets.

            However all have CPHP’s and those shoot extremely well in a lot of my guns. But if I want a true match pellet or even Beeman or H & N or JSB I have to order from pyramid air.

            There is a large really good gun store about 25 – 30 miles from me carries a pretty nice selection of Beeman pellets and the boxed crosman in .177 and .22 in both weights for each caliber. And they carry gamo and predators and a few other “novelty” pellets.

            What I would like to have is an indoor 25 yd pellet only range with a complete line of pellet guns & bb guns and accessories, scopes, and pellets. Hmm, I wonder if that could be turned into a viable business?

    • I shoot a lot of the Gamo Match pellets in my Walther repeating guns. They fit the 8 shot magazines just right and the accuracy is just a notch below the RWS R10 match pellets. They are dirty buggers though!

      I notice that the bottom of the tins have a fair amount of particles and/or lead “dust” in them, unlike RWS or H&N tins. I think that this is mostly a lack of a washing cycle prior to packaging at the factory and possibly some residual lube from the die/forming process.

      The price is not bad end neither is the performance.

      • Brian -Gamo Match are good pellets really for the price -and even better pellets are Gamo Pro Match Competition pellets(in 22 cal) today i have bought one tin of them and i think that i’ll stay with this gamo match pellets and RWS of course.

  2. BB,
    We’ll have to “agree to disagree” on the legitimacy of the begetting of the “Cowboy Gun”. I don’t see anything but cosmetic differences and a metal cocking lever between the two (CG and RR). The mechanical design and placement of several features look eerily similar. Again, the ratcheting cocking lever is on the RR (I would guess since the 1938A variant in 1979 or so), which is the only American BB gun I’ve had much experience with. The failure to feed or load is also reminiscent of the current 1938B’s particular requirements about position during cocking.

  3. Milan,

    I agree with what everyone has told you about pellets. I think the reason that the graphite is placed on the pellets after manufacturing has more to do with slowing the oxidation of the pellets than lubrication.

    I live in a major metropolitan area and the selection of pellets is minimal. I order all of my pellets online. I know you live outside of the USA but are you able to receive pellet shipments? Will Pyramyd Air ship pellets to you? Pyramyd Air has a 10% off orders today and if your order totals $100.00US the shipping is free AND if you buy 3 tins of pellets you get the fourth for free!


  4. I just order the pellets I want from Pyramyd. There prices are often better than the stores with a lot better selection. Of course the fourth tin is free. It’s hard to beat free.


  5. As soon as the frost melts here on the ground in Gilroy California I’ll put some more shots through my 70th anniversary Red Ryder I picked up at Wal’s yesterday. I got one of those packs of 6000 shiny Daisy BBs. Guess they’re zinc plated.

    I have 2 Wal-marts and a Big-5 near me, and “Predator’s Archery” yep with the apostrophe, the Super-Wal has very basic pellets and BBs, plus a selection of firearm ammo. Big-5 has some RWS, gamo, etc stuff and a selection of firearm stuff. And they sell long guns but not pistols. Predator’s, sells match pellets and they’ll order Sheridan/Benjamin etc pellet guns but at full list plus 15% it seems.

    If I want to buy a pistol I’ll have to buy it at Markley’s in Watsonville or from this little gun shop in Mountain View.

    So that’s the situation in my neck of the woods.

      • I’m shooting this around a bit ….. got the rear sight all the way up….. I’m wondering if I should put some Crosman Pellgun oil in the oil hole. I like the shape of the stock better than the Marlin, just on an appearance basis. I don’t find the plastic lever bothering me at all. I have had it failing to load so I’m using the little window, I may want to put more BBs in it.

  6. This gun seems to share a lot of little details with my Red Ryder. The safety, the loading “door”, bunch of little details make me think they both came out of the same factory. So this might as well be a review of the Red Ryder, in my opinion.

    I was initially put off by the idea of a plastic lever but so far, so good.

  7. Are kids still interested in cowboys? There are no movies or shows for them. I bet that they don’t even play cowboys and Indians anymore. Out of all the bb guns I’ve seen, I must say that the only one that has my serious attention is the EBOS. And it has an impressively low price too.

    B.B., good luck tomorrow. Next thing you know, you’ll be back at home.

    Volvo, based on the reactions of the judges, I expect that the deer would have no idea what they were facing in that woman.


    • Matt, every once and a while a good western still comes out (3:10 to Yuma and The Assisination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford being 2 of my favs) though they are a little (okay, a lot) to violent for younger children.
      Both my boys however love their Red Ryders and regularily choose them over there much more powerful and accurate BAM AK looka likes.
      But dad (that of course being me) had a lot to do with that. I reeaaallllyyyy dislike a lot of the drack that passes for childrens programing these days (however I am a huge fan of SpongeBob). So a couple of years ago I ordered DVD sets of Roy Rogers, Red Ryder and a few older John Wayne westerns.
      On a similar vein I ordered the complete set of Man From U.N.C.L.E. Both boys really want a b.b. gun copy of the pistol Napolean and Illiya used, which if anyone of you remember was based on a Walther P-38 with a barrel extension, shoulder pod and optical sight.
      Way cool!!
      But again, in my opinion (and I am the first to admit that sometimes I am too opinionated) parents these days obsolve themselves of a lot of resposibility as to what their kids read/watch.
      Now the test….anyone know what U.N.C.L.E. stood for (without googling it!)

      • I saw tons of kids playing cowboys in Arizona, only they used real horses, real cattle, real lariats, etc. Some big kids but they start out LITTLE, these kids are learning to rope calves at say age 8.

  8. I got an email today from a friend who has a Daisy Red Ryder he got as a kid. He wanted to know if I could fix it for him and he was going to give it back to his cousin who was the one who gave it to him. I had to say no I don’t fix them.

    I told him he might not want to give it back if he finds out how much it might be worth. Here’s what he could give me about it.

    NO 111 – MODEL 40-PATS 880555-1062855-OTHER PATS PEND.

    It has a wood stock.

    He says it has compression and fires but doesn’t shoot (???).

    Any idea if he has something?


    • Chuck,

      The Daisy No. 111 model 40 was the first Red Ryder, but don’t get his hopes up. I bought a nice one for $60 at Roanoke. Red Ryders are not among the BB guns that command high prices. The most I’ve seen asked for one was about $250 for an original copper-banded one from 1940.

      The Blue Book says they go as high as $600 and I supposed a really fine early one might, but that would be a very rare gun.


  9. Got another email from the red Ryder guy. Here’s what he says about the firing,

    No noise when cocking. Sounds like a new one, just nothing comes out the barrel
    so I’m guessing it’s somehow not feeding the BBs into a firing chamber. There is
    enough air burst coming out the barrel to blow a hole in a plastic bag – just no BB
    with it.”

  10. BG Farmer,
    You said, ” The failure to feed or load is also reminiscent of the current 1938B’s particular requirements about position during cocking.”

    Is this something I can pass on to my friend as a solution? What is the correct procedure?

    • Chuck,
      Here’s a link to the current manual for Red Ryder.
      Its not exactly like his, but it won’t hurt to try following the cocking procedure.

      Basically you have to hold the muzzle up and the front sight perpendicular to the ground for consistent feeding. My older one doesn’t really seem to care, but the newer one requires the method in the manual for best results. I’ve also found that more BB’s is better than fewer. Finally, his gun could be jammed…I vaguely remember pulling the shot tube (the end of the barrel unscrews it) one or two times for some reason, but I don’t know if that could help clear a jam or not.

  11. I wanted to thank everyone who has responded to my questions in the last month or so. I just wanted to let you know that I have read the input and it has been very helpful (regarding TX200, IZH 60, etc). I have limited on-screen time and often can’t reply to replies….

    I’m rethinking the IZH 60/61 idea…. but I will probably buy it anyway


    • T.E.

      Buy it, and buying try to find metal one on the secondary market. This is a great small gentle rifle, that would serve you and even your grandchildren. I posted a picture of what can be made out of it with a little woodwork – fit for FT and looking gorgeous.


  12. Anyone here bought this pistol?

    “From Russia With Love’ poster pistol sells for Β£277,250

    A pistol held by Sean Connery as James Bond in a poster to promote the 1963 film From Russia With Love has sold at auction for Β£277,250 ($436,828 USD).

    The Walther air pistol fetched more than 10 times its estimate of Β£15,000-Β£20,000 at Christie’s in London on Thursday”

    You can learn more here :

    I want to wish you all the best for tomorrow BB.
    Hope everything goes well and your back having fun with us as soon as possible.


  13. BB: During your blog on one of Crosman’s new guns you mentioned the Benjamin Legacy SE and that you were working on a blog for the gun when you were forced to stop due to illness. I’m curious what some of your initial findings were on the gun. Bub

    • Bub,

      Well, I pretty much said it all in my report on the other gun. The Legacy is a dream rifle, but in light of the Titan with reduced power, it seems superfluous.


  14. To All

    If you have not visited the new NRA Museum on-line, you are missing a treat for the eyes and a walk down memory lane (or walk down an alley with a Tommy Gun)

    Go to but be prepared to stay there for a few hours!

    PS if you are ever in Fairfax VA (D.C. suburb) the museum is free of charge for admission.

    Brian in Idaho

  15. If I remember correctly, the new Red Ryder has a similar ‘failure to feed’; it also has a ratcheted lever action. Likewise the model 105 Buck. Probably all 3 guns share the same mechanisms.

  16. This was posted by Harry, who used some colorful language, so his oroginal comment was deleted.


    Sorry to come so late on this post, but I just discovered this tiny Marlin and I’d like to know if anyone here has tried to mod this gun.
    I’d really like to shorten the barrel, but I don’t know if it possible to open/dismantle the frame to cut the barrel from the base (not from the end, as one could do with any coach gun, but impossible here due to the “loading window”. I’d like to give this beauty a “mare’s leg” look, no matter if I can load 250 BBs instead of 750.

    Any idea ?

    PS : I live in France, and as the laws on firearms are VERY restritive, I just want to have a small BB carbine in my car/home.


    • Harry,

      It would be a major task to shorten a Marlin Cowboy barrel, because the real barrel inside the outer jacket would also need to be shortened by the same amount.


Leave a Reply