My first rifle was a Marlin 1895G in 45-70, that "Crazy Ray" of Ray's Sporting Goods in Dallas sold to me for a couple of hundred bucks.
That rifle taught me how to handle recoil, eliminate a flinch, etc.
I was 17 or so and had only shot BB guns and shotguns before that.
I had a lot of fun with the Marlin, and eventually took it deer hunting. I stripped the stock and gave it an oil finish, gave it a blade front sight and a Williams peep.