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I need help identifying an early Marlin 1894, .32-20. There are some strange things about it I cannot reconcile with my research. The SN is 286, yes three digits, stamped on the lower tang, under the lever. No SN on the bottom forward of the receiver. The lever does not have the typical Marlin tail or spur and its mating tang does not have a lever latch. The edge of the lever, where the spur would be, is rounded, like a Winchester, but shows no signs of having been ground off. Barrel markings are all typical, with the last patent date being Aug. 1, 1893. The top tang is marked Marlin over MODEL 94. The top of the receiver, over the bolt, has no stamp, writing or sight holes. The bolt that came in it was too damaged to use, but was of the type for a one piece firing pin. Everything else about the gun is typical of the model. I need good valid information. I can speculate but that isn’t helpful. I wondered if maybe it was a prototype before actual production or maybe just a Frankin-gun.
 

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You have a late 94, post WW1, the company was sold in 1915 and when the war broke out, all sporting arms were stopped and when the war ended and sporting arms started up, the slow movers, 92, 95 didn't come back. The 94 resumed, that's most likely when yours was made, and the company went into receivership 1920-21 and that's when McKenna took over and the 1922 catalog left out the 94.
 

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cj57 - I had narrowed it down to early 20's but do you know if they started over on SN's? Of course the copious records are a big help. Wayne
 
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yes, they started the numbers over, there are some late 94s with 2 & 3 degit numbers on the front of trigger plate by forearm and had a grove on plate where a swivel was, because they used left over musket parts. to put some rifles together and went out of business, as i stated above the McKenna family bought it, but the 94 didn't go back in production
 
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