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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after over 15 years of searching, I finally found an 1881 Marlin in .32-40! Was at the Reno Hilton gun show Fri. and Sat. and couldn't find a gun I wanted to buy. Got pretty discouraged, when a friend came up to me and asked if I'd seen the small frame 1881 walking around?
Of course I hadn't, and went on a search, with him as my guide to spot the guy. Never found him, and I gave up. A few minutes later, here comes my friend, with the guy and his 1881 in tow! After some negotiations, I ended up with the 1881, and a nice old box of Rem. .32-40 ammo. The gun needs a correct front sight, rear elevator, and it will be back to original. The finish is well faded, but the best part is it has a gorgeous bore!
There were only 1785 of these .32-40's made, so it's about as rare as Marlin variations get for a particular caliber.
I also found a neat gun for my traveling partner. Saw a Savage 99 in .300, takedown, with an old Stith mount, and steel Weaver 1" scope. It's the pistol gripped model, with checkering, and I ended up with it for under $200. My buddy was pretty mjealous when he saw it, until I told him it was his if he refunded my investment! That made him a happy guy! The stocks need to have some revarnish finish removed, but he says the scope and mount are worth more than the price of the whole package!
Another friend with us got a Merwin and Bray Ballard sporting rifle, and a unique '93 Marlin saddlering carbine. The Ballard is beyond excellent, with a perfect bore in .38 dual ignition system. The '93 is unusual, as it has all the features of a pre WWI gun, with saddlering, carbine rear sight, 4 digit serial number, but later rollstamp, and Bullseye in the buttstock. It should date from mid 1920's, but it's the first I've seen from that late, with the saddlering and carbine rear sight. The sight dovetail is cut rearward, as they did for these shorter sights, so it all looks legitimate too. Pretty nice '93, with most the original blue, and faded case colors of about 20%.
We had a good time, and the other guys got some other non-Marlins that were also pretty cool guns. Good to be back home after a grueling fast drive both ways! Got in at 1:30 this morning, and it's 7:30 now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Pictures added

Found all the missing sight parts in my stash. Still need to make up a correct tang screw, as this one's too long. Here she is:


 

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mm93,

Congratulations on the new member of your Marlin family. Of course you know my afinity for 1881's. Your remark about your rifles bore being in great shape particularly drew my attention and it will be interesting to hear how she shoots. I always notice how you don't sell sights and this is another case of why you try to stock up on site parts to have on hand for situations like this rifle.

Nothing against my 1895 Cowboy, but I like my old Marlin 1881 so much better after a year of trying both at silhouette that I am selling the 1895 Cowboy. The reason I mention this is just to tell you how highly I regard my 1881 as a shooter, not just to be shooting an old rifle but how well that old rifle shoots. Man with the old corrosive primers combined with black powder combined with poor facilities in the old days to clean rifles when you find a really old one with a great bore it speaks well for the owner or owners of that rifle and the way they took care of their rifle. I didn't appreciate the clean burning stuff we have today until I shot corrosive military 8mm Mauser ammo and saw rust form in the bore in one day and we are in a DRY climate!!!!!!!!!!

There is an old Savage 99 around here for sale in .303 Savage caliber and I think they said it was a B model, I know it has an octagon barrel. Pretty neat rifle but the serial number is totally blocked out with stamped X's so it looks like this XXXXXX. Any idea why someone would have done this to this rifle. After listening to advice on this forum I think it is best to stay away from this and patiently wait for a better speciman. Other than the xed out serial the rifle is in good shape. Price I hear is around $500.

My wife got a digital camera, if we can figure out how I will post a picture of my old 1881. I don't have much of a collection but I can tell you this for sure that rifle is very dear to me because it shoots so well.

Take care mm93 and thanks for sharing your good day with us all!

Geoff
 

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uh oh.............

:shock:
geoff.....only ONE reason people XX out serial numbers!....and it's a FEDERAL crime to do so, and/or possess one!......say bye bye to this rifle!, or take the stock off and see if they were through in deleted numbers...then call the local PD and they will run the number........but if ALL numbers are deleted......it's a BAD deal~ especially at $500!
about as bad as i could stand it.....i believe i would pass to....kinda like Paris Hilton asking you out~ ya wanna , but ya KNOW better!
:wink:
 

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That Savage could be anything- esp. if it pre-dates the GCA of '68. Wonder how Savage dealt with duplicate serial #'s before that time. Anything is possible, though, even the untoward stuff that Kaintuck alluded to. The X's got me thinking it could be something not quite unlawful- why take the time to alter each number when a wheel would obliterate the whole works with less time and effort? Interesting to think about, anyways...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Geoff,
As you mentioned, this is the reason I don't sell any old original sights, or elevators. I've got a small box I keep in my safe; that's how important they are to me!
The fella I bought the 81 from said it was a great shooter, and the bore confirmed that, but I'm still anxious to get it out and try it!
I didn't notice it before, because I was caught up in the purchase, but this gun also has a 26" barrel, which is rarer than the caliber. Only 277 were made with the 26" barrel! I put it next to my .38-55, and that's when I realised it was 2" shorter.
I'm with Kaintuck on the Savage. I'd steer clear of any gun with x'd out serial numbers. May be some innocent reason why, but nowadays they don't care when it was done, they still take this as a serious offense.
 

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Marlinman,

Great 1881! :D I always enjoy hearing about people finding rare pieces!

I would also steer clear of any firearm with an altered serial number. The only thing I have ever purchased that was a couple 'second' Western knives. All Western markings had been Xed out, and the knives were not finished. Good steel, though. A little buffing & they made good hunting knives.

They were advertised in this condition to begin with, though. SW
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I knew you really had good taste Hogger! Western built the best knives around in the old days, in my opinion! I have a few of them too, all users, but I'd rather buy a worn old Western States, than a brand new knife! Even the Westmarks of the 1970's were great, but from the time Coleman bought them, and then Camillus, they've done nothing but go downhill.
Too bad, as at the time of their sale to Coleman, they were the oldest knife makers in the USA!
 

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My main deer hunting knife is an old Western folder with folding saw blade. A blocky knife with maroon jigged plastic of some sort handles. I wish I knew what steel they used - it really holds an edge and the saw blade still cuts right through deer pelvis like nobody's biz! Got it for 50 cents at a yard sale.

I have played around trying to make a couple knives and like 'D2' for steel. I have never gotten used to the stainless - probably because the 440C used by mass knife makers has never done that well at holding an edge. I believe they use it because it is a little easier to shape.

I also like Puma knives - very tough steel. SW
 
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