Guns of Pop Culture: “Jurassic World” & the Marlin Model 1895 SBL


Let’s say you’re what’s essentially a dog trainer to dinosaurs, and you double as a park ranger. What weapon would you choose to deal with dinosaurs?

Obviously, some dinosaurs are too big to handle with anything less than a crew-served, but what about a general-purpose dinosaur defense rifle? 

Such good boys and girls, yes they are…

That seemed to be the question asked by the Jurassic World crew, and honestly, the answer wasn’t half bad.

In the film Jurassic World, we see Chris Pratt play park ranger/dinosaur tamer Owen Grady.

When things inevitably go south, he retrieves a Marlin 1895 SBL in .45-70. Government, and it’s not a half-bad choice. 

Not all dinosaurs are T-Rex sized, and the Marlin 1895 SBL offers a lightweight, repeatable, and easy-handling rifle for dealing with most threats.

Owen holding the 1895 SBL
Owen holding the 1895 SBL alongside Claire

Sure, something like a .375 H&H Magnum would be more appropriate for a lot of big game, but those double rifles are big, heavy, and often don’t allow for a quick follow-up shot due to the massive recoil. 

The Marlin lever gun works much better at moderate ranges and might not be the best dinosaur hunting rifle, but it’s a solid choice for dinosaur defense. 

The Modern Lever Gun? 

As the name implies, the Marlin 1895 SBL isn’t a high-tech lever gun, but believe it or not, it’s one that might have reached peak lever gun in 1895.

There is only so much technology can do to improve such an old-school design. Marlin has done a few things to modernize the SBL. 

Marlin 1895 SBL prop gun used in the film
Marlin 1895 SBL prop gun used in the film

It features a stainless steel design with plenty of modern features. This includes an optic rail across the top, a ghost ring sight that maximizes sight radius, and even a threaded barrel. The big .45-70 would be great for suppressor use. 

The movie doesn’t make use of a can, but it does come with a Leupold 2.5x28mm scope.

This simple, lightweight, and fixed power design gives Grady a little more precision, and the optic features both a generous eye box and a long eye relief for quick and accurate shots on target. 

Grady also wisely rocks a sling, albeit a simple one fitted with a few spare cartridges.

The 1895 SBL features a side-loading port so much like a shotgun an experienced user would be able to keep the six-round tube topped off. 

Owen with the Marlin on his back during the iconic motorcycle scene
Owen with the Marlin on his back during the iconic motorcycle scene

The big .45-70 rounds are capable of taking game measured in tons and were a popular choice for killing American bison.

L to R - 22 LR, 45 Colt, 30-30 Win, 300 Savage, 45-70 Government
L to R – .22 LR, .45 Colt, .30-30 Win, .300 Savage, .45-70 Government

It’s a solid choice for killing big, dangerous dinosaurs, especially if you’re in charge of raptors. It’d punch a big hole through the reptilian bastards and put them down quick and hard. 

The lever-action combined with the lightweight and maneuverable design makes it easy to put down multiple raptors since we know, according to Jurassic Park, they are pack animals.

I’ll take any excuse to link to this excellent scene from the original film, thanks.

It’s seemingly a smart choice for Grady, plus it’s a nice rifle that captures the audience’s eye. 

Hero guns make the hero stand out, and that’s exactly what this gun does. All of the other Ingen commandos have modern rifles that are some shade of black, but Owen’s and his 1895 SBL stand out. 

Owen fires the Marlin
See what I mean?

Hunting Dinos 

You know that awesome Leupold scope?

Well, it’s a long eye relief design seemingly mounted fairly far rearward. There is enough scope rail to push it a little further forwards, but to be fair, Grady’s style of shooting seems to take advantage of the long eye relief optic. 

Owen aiming the Marlin
Owen aiming the Marlin

He’s often seemingly right around that 9.3 inches of eye relief that the scope requires. Being that far from the optic has its advantages, one being a wide field of view and awesome peripheral vision. 

Owen Grady did aim his rifle and handled it like he knows a thing or two.

Owen’s using a tranq gun here, but the clip does at least show you his shooting style and you can see the Marlin on his back.

I will say after shooting some .45-70. I don’t think the film captures the recoil of the round. Maybe I just need to shoot these big bores like a shotgun with some push/pull, but I feel fairly beat up after a few rounds fired. 

Jurassic World shows a wide variety of firearms, but the Marlin 1895 SBL makes the most sense, right beside the Remington 870 and S&W 500 in dinosaur hunting capabilities.

It’s a well-made, powerful, and good-looking rifle. 

Barry with his Smith & Wesson Model 500
Barry with his Smith & Wesson Model 500

Not only does it work as a good hero gun, but it’s a practical choice.

It’s a shame the gun wasn’t used in the sequel, but honestly, most of that sequel was a shame. 

What do you think of the Marlin Model 1895? Let us know below. For more Guns of Pop Culture, head to our Fun Category!

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