marlin 1893

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  • Last Post 23 January 2019
loophole posted this 22 January 2019

Back in 1978 I finally scrounged up enough money for a centerfire rifle.  Herter's--remember Herter's ?--put out a catalogue which was my only source of info about guns except for reading Sport Afield in the barber shop.  Magazine subscriptions cost too much money and nobody in the family was interested in guns.

Herters advertised a Marlin 336T which I thought  was the ultimate rifle and for about $90 as I remember.  I ordered one, but it never came.  Herter''s keept making excuses and apparently Marlin was working on government contracts, so I couldn't find anyone who had them in stock.  I went into the Air Force and the BX got a Mod 94 Antique--octagon barrel and some scroll work engraved on the sides of the receiver.   I was ignorant about what Winchester had done to cheapen the Mod 94 in 1964 and also ignorant of hand loading. Through service and law school I didn't have much opportunity for shooting, but when I moved to Asheville I joined the local rifle club and rapidly met a fellow who, among other things was a collector, cast bullet shooter and handloader.  Most of what I know about these things Ron Kiser taught me.

I learned about old fashioned American craftsmanship and eventually bought a pre-64 mod 94 and more than one Marlin.  I was saddened when Winchester closed its doors and I cringed at what happened to Marlin.  Now if one wants a lever gun he pays a fortune for a Japanese Mod 94 (I'm sure it's a well made and accurate rifle, but I'm afraid the damn thing will attack my 03A3 on every 7th of Dec.  From what I've read whoever now owns Marlin has spent far too much time working on a trigger safety to set up a quality control department.

There is another way to get a beautiful real Marlin or Winchester.  There are some 100-year-old rifles out there with nice bores, no cracks in the stocks, and no dings in the metal for the price of a new lever gun.  Personally I much prefer the 1893 to the model 94--much prettier, can accept a scope, and cleans from the chamber.  If these are well taken care of the value is not harmed by shooting.  Particularly with cast bullets  some will shoot with anything made today.  I just bought a mod 94 made in 1906 for less than the price of a new Win.  It shoots as well as I shoot a Japanese Win, and I just feel better shooting something made in America.

Steve k             

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 22 January 2019

i like that story ....  a couple years ago a friend bot a m94 on gbroker for a reasonable price ... imagine our delight when we opened the box and it was a 4 digit made in about 1895, in 38-55 .,... and still tight !! ....  

i have always been a 22 to 7mm wimp ... but i gotta tell ya those 38 cal bullets make a steel plate really jump !! ....  oh, out of about 6 molds, the Lee is as good as any ...

thanks, ken

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BudHyett posted this 22 January 2019

Two 1893 carbines in .38-55 and one 1893 rifle in .32-40 shot well, but there came a time when I needed to cull calibers and the .321 and .375 bore size was dropped in favor of the .45-70. The rifles were light to carry, shot well with the RCBS 37-250-FN and SAECO #373 molds, and were handy in the desert. I saw a friend's collection of three pristine 1893 rifles in .38-55 with 28-inch octagon barrels, straight grip stocks, full magazine tubes and Lyman tang sights one evening and regretted trading my 1893's.   

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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M3 Mitch posted this 22 January 2019

Yeah, for whatever reason, Winchester lever guns bring higher prices on the collector market, but, the equivalent Marlin can be had for less dosh and is a better gun overall IMHO.

I have not seen any real data to say the Marlins shoot more accurately, but that's my impression.

The old and the "latter day" versions with Ballard rifling are the best - I mean, that barrel was made for cast bullets from the get-go.  What more can you ask for?

The post-war guns with Micro-Groove rifling are not as easy to get shooting well with cast, but the general word on here is with a maybe bit "fatter" bullet, they will generally shoot better than most of us can hold anyway.

Like you, Loophole, I am somewhat disinclined to buy a Japanese made gun.  Got plenty of German and Italian gats, maybe like you I consider that whatever our differences were back in the 40's, these guys at least did not whack "us" (I was not born at the time) on a Sunday morning.  And they more or less fought "fair", to the extent that can be considered to make any sense.  Whatever, enough politics on long ago historical events.

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bushranch posted this 22 January 2019

I enjoy the old lever guns that usually leads to Winchester - Marlin discussion.  Remember to include the Savage 99's in your search .. While they seem to stand in the shadows they have a lot offer .

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loophole posted this 22 January 2019

Mitch, in a day before the internet it was hard to find leverguns in obsolete chambering. I found a used  Mod 53 Browning/Mikoru in 218 Bee and overcame my aversion to a Japanese-made rife to buy it. It was extremely well made and it was far more accurate than I expected.  Over the years  Browning and later Winchester made highwalls, lowwalls, and leverguns in modern and obsolete calibres and every one I ever shot was very accurate and well made.  I still own several of these and enjoy shooting all of them.  Japanese cars, cameras, stereo gear and guns may be the best in the world today, but it still nags me to hold a Browning designed gun with questionable Japanese "improvements" and metric screws.

To me, shiny varnish on the stock and cheap looking checkering really detract from the looks of a modern Marlin.  I have one of the first Marlin 336's with a ballard-rifled octagon bbl in 38-55.  Shoots well but the stock was so bad I sold it on e-bay and restocked with a rifle steel butt plate.  

I doubt I will buy another Japanese or modern Marlin as long as I can find originals I can afford.

Steve k   

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M3 Mitch posted this 22 January 2019

I enjoy the old lever guns that usually leads to Winchester - Marlin discussion.  Remember to include the Savage 99's in your search .. While they seem to stand in the shadows they have a lot offer .

 

Very true.  You will find some older 99's in "traditional" calibers like 25-35, 303 Savage, and the most common one I see is 300 Savage, which is very similar to a .308.  The 99 may be the best-engineered of any lever-action rifle.  Typically much more accurate than the traditional Marlin and Winchester models.  You can use pointed bullets in that rotary magazine as well, without resorting to plastic tips and similar work-arounds.

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gnoahhh posted this 23 January 2019

Hmmm. I have a M1894 Marlin, well most of one, made 1895, .44-40. Perhaps I should make an effort to round up the stuff it needs and put it into service.

 

I'm a Savage guy, owning a dozen of the beasties, all pre-war. Favorite is a 1918 M.250-3000. The .303's and .22 HiPowers are all great cast bullet shooters. But that Marlin is starting to call to me...

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RicinYakima posted this 23 January 2019

Don't look to close! the convertible 32 RF and 32 Colts always made to want one.

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BudHyett posted this 23 January 2019

Frank Marshall wrote an article on the ..30-30 and mentioned the Marlin Micro-Groove barrels. He called them "Micro-Pope" and reminded everyone the Pope barrels that are long prized for accuracy were shallow groove barrels. Owning both the early Ballard style rifling in old 1893 Marlins and 1895, 1894 and 336 Marlins with Micro-Groove barrels, all will shoot well if you take the time to develop loads. I size for the chamber leade and use wheelweight hard alloy,   

In fact, I developed a load with the SAECO 315, sized 311, ;wheelweight alloy, Reloder #7 powder, 1800 feet per second for a friend's teenage daughter's practice. She was shooting a Marlin 336 and would be in a tree stand. She the used the same load to get her deer because she liked that load and ignored the factory ammo her dad had bought.  

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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M3 Mitch posted this 23 January 2019

Frank Marshall wrote an article on the ..30-30 and mentioned the Marlin Micro-Groove barrels. He called them "Micro-Pope" and reminded everyone the Pope barrels that are long prized for accuracy were shallow groove barrels. Owning both the early Ballard style rifling in old 1893 Marlins and 1895, 1894 and 336 Marlins with Micro-Groove barrels, all will shoot well if you take the time to develop loads. I size for the chamber leade and use wheelweight hard alloy,   

In fact, I developed a load with the SAECO 315, sized 311, ;wheelweight alloy, Reloder #7 powder, 1800 feet per second for a friend's teenage daughter's practice. She was shooting a Marlin 336 and would be in a tree stand. She the used the same load to get her deer because she liked that load and ignored the factory ammo her dad had bought.  

 

Somebody needs to get that girl a trial membership in CBA, and/or teach her to cast.  Teach her to cast paying strict attention to safety, and, if casting with me, a young girl would be casting in a full face mask, "just because". 

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