went in to look at 1894 marlins, specifically the 357c model, handled it and looked it over closely. it was on special so I decided I wanted it. after waiting for the paperwork. I asked to see a henry big boy in 357, to me the henry didn't feel as solid. it just had a cheaper feel as I cycled the action. yeah the wood is way better and finished better. I wish marlin would just simply darken the finish a tad, then maybe make the finish deeper. not having the loading gate is kinda of a big deal. you can't really top the gun off like you can with the loading gate. ALSO imo the loading gate is part of the lever gun experience.