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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't post very often but have been around since the old MT days. I often find it is better to listen than to speak.

But I have been taking quite an interest in OLD Marlins lately and really thinking I need one. My grandfather often tells a story about shooting his first deer with a 40-65 that his dad let him use. The gun is still in the family but my grandfathers brother had it re-barreled to some other caliber at the poor advice of a gunsmith many years ago. ( He now regrets it tremendously). I can honestly say that I have never held a marlin older than my fathers 336 (1970's). They are definately in short supply in my neck of the woods.

I prefer to own shooters and wood condition is less important to me than function and somewhat good looking metal.

Where should I start? What calibers are the most common? What will bring less of a premium?

I have never bought a gun online from an auction and would prefer not to if I can help it.

Thanks for your help.

Ryan
 

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Where to start with an old Marlin? Whatever looks good. Now that you've expressed an interest, someone may contact you via PM, or you could post an ad on the Marlin Collector's site. I don't like the auctions, either. I've bought guns over the internet from people I've become acquainted with, though and have never had a bad experience that way.

There are old Marlins in your part of the country. Make it a point to hit gun shops you've never been to before and attend every gun show you can. Be persistent. There will eventually be one, and you can test your price negotiating skills.

Buy the best specimen you can afford. That way if you tire of it or wish to trade it for something else, you will do no worse than break even. SW
 

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1893 30-30's are very common, priced reasonable, and will retain their value as a collector piece. There are some very good bargains on the internet auctions if you're careful. Make sure the seller offers an inspection period. If they don't, steer clear. Lots of parts guns and Marlin make-overs out there.
 
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I live about an hour north of you and I've bought 2 NICE old Marlins in last 12-15 months. They are out there, but some people are not the most honest or knowledgeble about their guns.
You have a good dealer in your area, he is high on his prices but he's honest.
 
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I live about an hour north of you and I've bought 2 NICE old Marlins in last 12-15 months. They are out there, but some people are not the most honest or knowledgeble about their guns.
You have a good dealer in your area, he is high on his prices but he's honest.
 

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I'm kind of in the same boat as you. An old fella died from car wreck injuries back in the mid 70's or so, when I was a kid. I remembered they auctioned his stuff off and the lever action rifle that was among his things. 20 years later I found out the guy that had bought it had sold it to another guy from the town where I was raised. He had sold it to another guy up there and I met him at a match and asked him about it. He said he still had it and he sold it to me at a very good price. He said he hoped I'd shoot it not just stuff it away somewhere. That man was killed in a motorcycle wreck about 5 months or so after I bought it from him. The rifle is an 1881 and the reason I relate this to you is just to demonstrate how events can start you down a pathway that ends with ownership of a rifle that is a keeper. I really like this old rifle but I would encourage you to get an 1893, 1894, or an 1895 instead.

If you don't have it already getting Brophys book is a must. Like the others said start looking around. It could be you stumble onto a .22 lever first that is too nice to pass up. Like I said, I wouldn't get an 1881 first I don't think, it just happened that way for me. It'll be interesting what comes your way first. I am no expert, but I understand 1895's are pretty doggone hard to find. There is an older man here that had a pretty decent Marlin collection. His eyes were getting worse so he decided to sell his original 1895. This friend of mine asked him how much he wanted. The older man said, "just replace it with an 1895Cowboy, its drilled and tapped so I can put a scope on it." !!!!!!!!!!! Man oh man I wish I had known he was selling it sooner. The guy knew it was valuable but its just a case where an older shooter tries to help out some of the younger ones. Maybe you'll run into a situation like that!

Sorry this is so long. Keep us posted on what transpires. Also check out the suggestions I got on the POST I started asking about the possible purchase of a Marlin 1892. I learned a lot from that.

Geoff
 

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I'm not sure if you just want an old Marlin, or if it has to be a lever action, pump, etc.? All good advice you've gotten form the guys, and if you're interested in a pump, they generally go for a bit less than the levers, but limited in calibers. You'd be looking at a .22, .25-20, or .32-20, in a pump for shooter guns.
I'd go with cowboykell's suggestion of a 1893, or '93 in .30-30 as a lever. The later '93's from the 1920's look much like the earlier 1893's, but generally go just a bit less. You can pick a pretty decent shooter in the $500 range.
Hogger's suggestion of getting Brophy's book, is a very good idea. It will help you learn while you're waiting for the right gun to come along!
Good luck!
 

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I would recommend the 1893 in 38-55: 32 special, 30-30, 32-40, 25-36 they are all usable for hunting. The first three are easy to find ammo for, the 32-40 can be found and the 25-36 you can use 25-35 winchester ammo as it will shoot just fine (it has a slightly shorter shell casing than the original 25-36). These rifles can be found at various ranges depending on condition, from around 500-1200. Check the auction sites and if there is a gun show in your area go look. Pawn shops can be less exspensive than either and a local gun shop you never know. If you want to reload just find one you would enjoy shooting, none of the above should cause flinching or other problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the tips and keep them coming. I am only interested in levers unless a screamin' deal comes along.

93_Marlin, I would assume that you are talking about Bob's gun shop?
 
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That would be the one. I've gotten a couple of guns from him a few years ago, nothing recently though. Most of mine come from the UP. :roll:
 

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I have an 1881 38-55, 1893 32-40, '93 25-36, '93 30-30, '94 25-20, '94 44-40, 1895 38-56, 29 in 22, 39 in 22, and 39A in 22. I have purchased several from the internet. 1881 came from an antique furniture show in NC. The rest have came from local gunshows. This weekend at Roanoke there was a '94 in 25-20 for 499.99, 1893 TD 30-30 900.00, 1893 38-55 Holf round barrel 799.99, and a 39 3 digit serial number for 1000.00. They are out there! moodyholler
 

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Moodyholler,

Holy smoke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats a fine collection! Well maybe if I keep pecking away at it mine will be like that in about 20 years! Is there much difference in the fit and finish of rifles made before and after WW1????????

Geoff
 

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Geoff, my pre-war rifles seem to be a little nicer. My stuff is all shooters. No collector guns here. They all get a workout when I go to the range. Half the fun is getting them to shoot well. Only 1881 is evading me in my endeavors to make it shoot small. Moodyholler
 

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Not much difference in the fit and finish, but a big difference in what options and calibers were available. Post WWI era Marlins were standard guns for the most part. If any had special features, they were made up from pre war leftover parts.
No post WWI model 1895's at all, and the 1893 calibers were down to the .32 Spl and the .30-30. The pistol gripped, takedown, checkering, engraving, etc. 1893 and 1894's, were a thing of the past. Many of the round barreled short rifles found on the '93 model, were made in the 1920's.
 
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