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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm researching a Model 1881 SN 8479 caliber .45 GOVT.

Flayderman says short barrels are rare with only four made with a 20 inch barrel.

This one measures 20.75 in every way I can think to measure it. While the muzzle is not crowned, it doesn't appear to have been cut. The front sight and dovetail, and the magazine tube appear original.

I measured with a wood dowel, and with a tape measure down the bore with the action open and closed. 20 3/4"

What do I have here?
 

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I'm researching a Model 1881 SN 8479 caliber .45 GOVT.

Flayderman says short barrels are rare with only four made with a 20 inch barrel.

This one measures 20.75 in every way I can think to measure it. While the muzzle is not crowned, it doesn't appear to have been cut. The front sight and dovetail, and the magazine tube appear original.

I measured with a wood dowel, and with a tape measure down the bore with the action open and closed. 20 3/4"

What do I have here?

I've found posts here saying that all 1881s had exact barrel measurements, i.e. a 20 inch barrel would be 20 inches long.

Also, that the front sight dovetail should be one inch from the center of the dovetail to the end of the barrel. This one is .75 inch in that measurement.

I reluctantly conclude that the barrel has been cut. I would appreciate knowing how it looked when shipped from the factory.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
 

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I have one I purchased several decades ago. It measures exactly 21 inches and is not crowned. I added the front sight as the original was damaged. The rear sight on this one is the most unique full buckhorn I have ever seen.

Brown Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel

Wood Air gun Trigger Line Gun barrel
 

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You can get a copy of the original factory record, for $9.99 from the link below.
You not only get yours, but all of the other guns that were listed on the page.

It has the basic info, model, caliber, and barrel length. And the day that it was shipped.

After you pay for your page, you can then download it, with in minutes.
I have bought several from them.




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Your 20” being 20 3/4” I think it has been cut down. 1881s were not crowned and should Measure 20” to the front of bolt +- 1/16-1/8” they offered even number lengths in catalogs shorter and longer then standard. Back then you could order most anything. I have a 1893 ordered with a 27” barrel and no dove tail for rear sight, ordered with Lyman sight and I have a 1895 ordered with a 29” barrel, 28” 30” , I have a 93 rifle with 20”,that said all barrels standard or Special length always Measure within that 1/16-1/8. The mag hanger should be the same distance on all unless a short mag or longer then 30” barrel
 

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You can get a copy of the original factory record, for $9.99 from the link below.
You not only get yours, but all of the other guns that were listed on the page.
Sent from my XP8800 using Tapatalk
Schtoolee, thank you! Great information. Records show the rifle was shipped on 2/18/86 with 28" barrel "sl". I don't know what the sl stand for? Can you help? Thanks again.
 

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Might be SL for standard length. 28" was standard for the time. But not sure why they would need to say that.??

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Might be SL for standard length. 28" was standard for the time. But not sure why they would need to say that.??

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That would make sense although the actual barrel length is listed in most entries. The complete entry for 8479 reads:

479 81 45/70 28" s.l.

Others in the serial number range read for example 473 81 45/70 28 oct. s.l.
 

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Is there a hole in the bottom of the stock? Might be filled in. Looking at the catalog, one of the extras was Swivels and Sling.
SL might be for sling.

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Is there a hole in the bottom of the stock? Might be filled in. Looking at the catalog, one of the extras was Swivels and Sling.
SL might be for sling.

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I'm the firearms historian for the Wyoming State Museum and the Marlin is one of the guns in the collection. I won't be able to access it until Monday. I did a fairly through inspection and don't recall a hole in the stock. But I will check for one. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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I looked at the pages, that my 1881 32-40 sold 1888, is on, and there are 4 listed that have the lower case sl, written after what I believe is pg. Not sure what else SL would be.??
19017,19018,19020, 19061, these all show sold in 1888.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Is there a hole in the bottom of the stock? Might be filled in. Looking at the catalog, one of the extras was Swivels and Sling.
SL might be for sling.

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Checked today, no hole or filler in the bottom of the butt stock.

Whoever shortened the barrel and installed the sight did an excellent job. The rifle was the only firearm in a huge estate donation. There is no history or back story. The family was prominent in the early days of Cheyenne as merchants and investors with no record as hunters or outdoors people.
 

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Tachelberry

To measure a Marlin barrel you should close the lever and drop a cleaning rod down the bore. Wrap tape around the rod at the crown, and then pull it out and measure it.
I can just look at your pictures and tell you that barrel and mag tube have been chopped down. The mag tube length is incorrect, and the barrel is going to measure up at an odd length Marlin never did.
Original mag tubes with be slightly shorter than the barrel length, or about 4" out past the forend cap, and yours is neither. Original barrels were in even number inches, so if it was a factory barrel it would measure 28", 26", 24", 22", etc. And the lengths were not exactly even. So a 28" or whatever length will measure about 228.25", not exactly 28" and that's the same for shorter barrels also. With yours being 21" to the receiver, I'm guessing it will measure around 21.75" total. Not a Marlin length cut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for your comment. Yes, that's how I measure barrel length, 20.75 inches with the rod measurement or 19.75 to the receiver with a tape measure on the outside. Note in post #8 that factory records show the rifle was shipped with a 28" barrel.
 
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