I was just checking my Marlin 1894C 357 Magnum and found that the lever would hang up repeatedly when I tried to operate it. This has had no more than 50 rounds fired and always cleaned after firing. The lever action worked after a while but would still hang up where you couldn't operate it. I applied some Balistol and repeatedly operated the lever action. It seems to be OK now, but I was wondering what made it hang up in the first place as it was clean from all appearances. It was like it was locked in place, couldn't move it even a little.
Sounds like you may have the dreaded "Marlin jam", which is a design flaw that Marlin acknowledges but does not readily fix, esp. on older rifles. If yours is new, call them and arrange to send it back. If it's used, you'll need to fix it on your own, and Marlin won't sell you the needed parts . (But Midway and Brownell's will.)
Thanks for the reply guys. I just checked it again it it works flawlessly. Must be repeated working of the action and the Balistol cured whatever the problem was. I just looked in my gun log and see I purchased it new in 1980, 31 years ago for $137 (Woolworth -Woolco). Just checked and they are going for over $500 now. I should have bought a truck load rather than GE stock. :-(