Today, I came across a model 1889, 44-40, serial number 27844. Researching it, I think the gun was actually made in 1889. It was offered to me for $1000, and, after doing some research on the Web, I couldn't see how I could go wrong buying it, so I did. The metal and wood are in great shape, and the rifle does not look as if any modern, or probably old, restoration work has been done on it. I, of course, intend to leave it this way. The only thing that seems to need repair is the little catch at the rear of the lever that holds it closed. I believe the spring is broken. Assuming a gunsmith says it is ok to shoot, my intention is to do this on occasion as that's my practice with all the guns I own. Can anyone point me in the correct direction to find a replacement spring? Where should I go for ammo? I assume some low pressure cowboy loads would be the best thing to buy. Does anyone have any feedback on this, and on the rifle in general? Thanks!!!!!
Last edited by Lotsats; 06-09-2013 at 07:01 PM. Reason: correct typo
Another thing: I've heard of round barrels, octagonal barrels and half octagonal barrels. The barrel on this rifle is hexagonal, 6 sides. It appears to be original, and has "Marlin Fire-Arms Co. New Haven, Ct. U.S.A" "Patented Oct. 11, 1887, April.2.1889." on it.
Last edited by Lotsats; 06-08-2013 at 08:19 PM.
Handsome rifle. I think you should count the flats on that barrel again. There are eight, not six.
You are right. There are eight flats on the barrel. My mistake. Does anyone else have anything to say about my "new" rifle?
Congrats on a fine looking Model of 1889. In a very nice calibre too. It would be good to have more close up pictures if you had the time. The lever catch spring is sometimes broken or missing and it would be good to see a photo of that too. It's a very simple spring and Wisners or Numrich Gun Parts or Bob's Gun Shop may have a replacement for you. If you can't find one you might have to make it yourself and I could help you with this if need's be. I've made several springs for these vintage rifles. The two part one operating the trigger and safety button in the Model of 1889 is a very awkward one !!
If you wish to fire your rifle it's best to understand that it's originally a blackpowder cartridge firing rifle and used only to lower pressures and bullet velocities of 1200 to 1250 f.p.s. That being said it's safer in my view to only shoot factory blackpowder cartridges but if you plan to handload your ammunition with smokeless powder with cast bullets it's quite possible to so, and safely, by keeping velocities to 1250 f.p.s. produced by loads carefully researched from reputable reloading manuals such as Ken Watter's 'Pet Loads' or one of the Lyman manuals. You could always load your own blackpowder loads as well. You should slug your bore to determine it's diameter and cast a bullet one to two thousandths of an inch larger than that. With your old rifle you may encounter difficulty with overbore problems such that the bullet you cast won't fit the chamber forcing you to shoot a smaller diameter bullet which has problems with accuracy. There is much written on this problem in this Forum under the title .44-40 reloading threads which you should find interesting and there is also a "Team .44-40" which you should join as you post better pictures of your rifle. Welcome.
If my wife asks....all guns cost five bucks and ammo is free !!!
Nice Rifle...Very Nice...
Welcome to MO and a very fine catch there.Looks great for its age.I am one of the few here on MO with an 1889.My rifle is in 32-20.I do shoot mine and like smithywess stated,these are BP rifles and very old and should be treated nicely.BP or very lite loads of smokeyless powder should be used.
AVATAR=1889 Marlin 32-20(1890 vintage)
Team 44-40 #23
Team 32 Special #21
Team 45-70 #401
Team Winchester #71
."If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." -
- Samuel Adams
Lotsats, Welcome to MO, Nice looking rifle and a great caliber! Hope to see more photos of the rifle and hear how your journey with it goes. If you use black powder with it I would suggest Swiss.
Ok. I added close up pictures here, and five more in a second post. Oh, do I like this rifle!!!!!
Thanks for the photos, Cool rifle you have there!