Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a thread here 2 months ago, asking about the minimum value of an old Marlin. It's taken me 2 months to get back over to the gun shop where I saw the old Marlins and look them over, and yesterday the 1881 came home with me!

It's a pretty nice rifle for it's age, all things considered. I wish I knew where it's been in the last 130 years, but it's clearly been used and not sitting in a safe. In the serial/date chart section of the forum, it shows serial number 15000 as the final number for 1886 and this rifle is 14953 so it must have been toward the end of the year.

I got home and snuck out into the shop while my wife was distracted so I could get started on the cleanup. I had never had an 1881 apart before, but it was relatively simple to figure out how it came apart. It is a 28" barrel which is the most common length, but the set triggers are a bonus, with only 2929 of the 16,000 total made with the DST (looked it up here on this excellent forum!!).

So here are the pics:













I know you're probably wondering if a rifle this ugly on the outside could possibly have any rifling left in the bore... well I was shocked when I looked down the tube.
It doesn't show up here at all, but there is quite a bit of shine to the grooves:


Another shot... this is without any cleaning at all:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is where the fun starts! I sat down with a bunch of rags, a brass scraper and a can of KROIL to clean out the gunk and also stop the active rust deposits on the action & barrel. I've done this quite a few times on other rifles and it is actually kind of fun to get the crap out and get it cleaned up. The amount of junk in the action was rather shocking.

Here's a shot of the gunk around the triggers:


Dropping the action out of the frame:


Plenty of work ahead of me:


There was enough dirt in the action to grow a flower:


Scrubbing the inside of the frame:


Frame shot:


All the numbers match:


More numbers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Very cool!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flyin Brian

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's pretty cool. Can't wait to see how it cleans up. Was it very expensive?

Rob
I guess I should have put the pictures in a different order :D

The photos at the beginning were taken this morning after the clean up session. The ones with it all taken apart were last night when I got home.

The shop was asking $500 for it and I got them to knock a little off the price, so I am happy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,596 Posts
Excellent---- I've been looking for one in the same caliber for quite some time. Would love to find one at that price also.

Steve
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,263 Posts
WOW, that's a nice old Marlin Brian! I think you made a great deal on a nice find.:congrats:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I know a pawn shop that would be asking $1999 for that rifle. Every old Winchester and Marlin made before 1920 is priced at $1999!

Nice rifle. I HAD missed that the first pics were the "After" glamor shots.

Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Now I need to decide how I am going to shoot this thing! I see I can make brass from 45-70, but buying the RCBS die set is going to run $170, which is more than I really want to invest in this project. I found Lee sells a 40-65 Winchester die set, I wonder if that will work?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
Congratulations indeed. Any Model 1881 is a treasure and yours is in good shape. What a nice bore !! A fantastic price !! In Canada those rifles fetch $2000 to $2500. Nurture it and shoot it. The .40-65 Win. dies should work. You may find the bore diameter very large ( early blackpowder rifle) when you slug it which may make it a little difficult to find a mould to cast your bullet a hair larger than that bore diameter. That's easy to overcome. Fantastic buy, and I'm pleased for you. Enjoy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,578 Posts
Why can't I find these things! You got a real beaut and a great price! I went to several gunshops the other day and the only levergun I saw was a Henry .22! Congrats!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,177 Posts
Very nice piece to have!Was it made at the New haven,Ct Marlin factory?i can't see a stamp in the pics.Or does it even say?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flyin Brian

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
That cartridge has always fascinated me. Considered (and still am) rebarrelling an 1895 beater from 45-70.
Yours looks great...kind of wonder how many bison it has killed. If only they could talk!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,388 Posts
If you've ever seen one of those old shops they are something to behold (belt driven machines on overhead shafts that is). Meekers Machine Shop in Bonners Ferry was like that. When old man Meeker died they condemned the place. Should have made a museum out of it. Turned out great work too. Belts and shafts going every which way but you felt like you were inside a clock. Parts of the place even had dirt floor from back when it served as a Black Smith's shop. Bet it was a lot smaller than the big old brick mill complex Mike got to see but I sure loved going in there.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top