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Discussion Starter #1
I've been on so many boards hunting down information on my rifle that I wasnt sure if I had been to this one or not.

So I registered with a new name.

I have an 1893 Marlin in reasonably nice condition. B grade (Black powder only). Made in Nov 1906 from what I have been told from the serial number.

Caliber 32-40.

26" barrel with a (I am told) Rocky Mountain silver front sight and a Lyman #1 rear sight.

I have purchased 300 Winchester cartridge cases for this caliber and have had a mould fabricated that casts a .321 bullet at 170 gns.

Loaded up 100 of these cases with BP. Goex 3F. Cant remember the exact throw of powder but it was straight from the books and there was about 1/4 inch of compression.

Took it to the range and couldnt hit a 4ft board reliably.

The rear sight may be the problem as it the staff is very loose in its housing. I will either have to replace the rear sight or find some way to tighten the staff.

Loved the feel of the rifle when it fired. Soft but noticable. Action of the rifle was smooth and there was very little fouling left in the barrel.

Cleaned it up and tucked it away for the moment but wish to get this thing working to at least a 2" grouping at 100 yards.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Never slugged the barrel as I understand marlin were very consistant in their barrel diameters and the 32-40 measured between .318 and .321. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Chris
 

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Welcome, or welcome back, to the MO site.
With only the information given I would recommend you slug the bore of your rifle. There is always a chance you have an oversized bore. Are your bullets cast hard or soft?
Lastly, as you indicated it might be the loose rear sight. What was the distance you were shooting? If possable move the target frame up to 25 yards.
I have only used black powder in precussion black powder rifles and a couple of cap-n-ball pistols, so can't address your powder charge, but I know it works best when slightly compressed.
Good luck with your rifle, you have one in a caliber not often found, and it should be a lot of fun. Shenandoah
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes I am a dolt.

I should have slugged the bore before getting a mould made. Having real trouble getting cerosafe here in NZ. No one seems to have it available and everyone i approach over in US will not send it or ask for a kidney for postage.

Using an alloy of 16:1 lead\tin, in the lucky position to have been able to purchase 30lbs of Cornish tin in two ingots.

The range only allowed me to shoot at 100 yards so I was unable to move closer. There were others using the firing points at the same time as myself. Have a friendly farmer who has offered me the use of his land to sight in this rifle.

I'm loathe to change the rear sight as this Lyman #1 has obviously been with this rifle since its birth. It has earned the right to stay together. I need somehow to tighten up the threads in the screw so that the post doesnt wobble around.

Chris
 

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Hey there Mr. Merde -- Here's another welcome. The sight may be a contributor to the issue, but I strongly suggest slugging your barrel too. Mine 32-40 slugs to .3235" or better and wouldn't hit the Pacific Ocean if I was standing in it. Once I got up to a .324" diameter bullet things got better real quick!! I love the rifle and the caliber. I'm gonna add a picture of a Lyman #2 rear sight. Does yours look something like it? Just trying to clarify the information. To slug your bore all you need to do is drive a soft lead egg sinker or .45 caliber soft lead round ball down your barrel from the muzzle end. Then "mic" the high spots. You could probably lap the mold out some if you do find you need a bigger bullet. Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The sight is very similar.

The one on my rifle isnt able to take the eye cup. No thread.

Here is a url to one exactly similar to the one on my rifle

http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/petstore/pet-image-large/winchester-1876-lyman-no-1-tang-sight-coded-i_110647103232.jpg

This weekend i will slug the barrel. I love the feel of this rifle and would love to shoot it more often. Fell in love with it at first sight. Sold my M1 caerbine to be able to buy it.

I have been thinking of getting some replacement wood for this old beauty and putting the original wood away for safe keeping in my safe. I know me and I tend to ding the woodwork on my rifles.

Chris
 

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Chris slugg your barrel and follow Wind's advice. He knows what he is doing. Hey even a dummy llike me can slugg a barrel! If you know a good machinist he could make you a new top part to fit the sight with no wobble. And you could save the original.

T-o-m
 

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G'day Chris, welcome aboard mate.

Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Will slug the barrel this weekend comming. Got some soft lead balls for my 1858 revolvers. They should do.

Got to get this old girl up and performing.

Got all her peers going

1861 Ballard carbine .56 rimfire-- shooting
1874 Remington action ---rebarreled and shooting
1854 Whitworth .451 (hex bore) --shooting
1884 Springfield Cadet Rifle--- shooting

Can you tell i love the old ones
 

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Hi and welcome (or back) from Bundaberg, Australia.
 

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The bore on my 32-40 is .322 and I had been running the cast bullets which were .322 thru a .321 sizer and the accuracy was only fair.I then started running the bullets thru an 8mm sizer which is .323 to just apply lube and not resize.Accuracy was much improved as evidenced by this target.Load was 7.0 Unique and 170gr Lyman cast from ww lead.
 

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Hey again Mr. M -- You didn't mention whether or not the rifle still retained it's barrel leaf sight. With all the health afflictions I'm suffering with (Marlin-itus, Dinger-itus and a recently acquired case of Reloading Bench Butt), I also suffer from a compulsion to shoot at things a long ways away. If you go down that change out the Lyman #1 rear sight route, I found the Marbles tang sight, specified by Marbles, will get smacked by the rear of the bolt enough to tip it off the vertical on my rifle. I went with an Montana Vintage Arms (.com) base modified to fit the factory drilled/tapped tang screw holes and it clears the bolt with plenty of room. It also can reach out there a ways as well. More food for thought. Best regards. Wind
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No the barrel leaf sight looks as though it was removed a very long time ago. There is a blanking plug there that has the same patina as the rest of the rifle.

Thinking about changing out the rear Lymans #1 rear sight and replacing it with something else. Appreciate your advice. Been following your threads re longer range shooting. Fascinating. Used to shoot Long range pistol in the UK. Sandbaged butt as the only rest, shooting for groups at 300 yards. 10 shots in 30 min. Loved reaching out distances and touching something.

Chris
 

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Sounds like you're having fun. Wind is correct about the long bolt throw striking the modern Marbles tang sight but he's managed to modify the base so this gives more clearance. If you want to keep your rifle in it's original configuration the only tang sight that will work with the correct bolt clearance is the one your have on your rifle if it's marked ' J ' under the base plate. You have the option of repairing your current sight so that the stem is firm, or finding another Lyman tang sight with the ' J ' stamp under the base plate. They do turn up on e-bay from time to time but are a little pricey but you should get one in good shape for under $ 200.00 American. Failing that you could try to find an original Marlin Rocky Mountain back sight (long type) and these show up on e-Bay too for about the same price. The elevator for these back sights is specific to Marlin and is called a 'fishook' elevator as it has a hook like projection at it's low end, which I've never seen on other sights. Your rifle may be drilled and tapped (post 1903) for Hepburn's receiver sight but these are very rare and very expensive.

I would agree with others on this thread that you should slug your barrel These rifles have a great variation in groove diameter. I have a Smokeless Steel version in .32-40 which slugged to .321" with hopeless accuracy using the Lyman 165 grain bullet # 319247 and sized to .321". The bullets tumbled and some didn't hit the target. I changed to the 8 m.m. Mauser bullet (.323"), the mould also put out by Lyman # 323470 and the rifle now groups to one and a half inches at 80 yards. It is a round nosed bullet with a gas check, and should be safe to load in tubular magazines. I'm surprised with your blackpowder load, and a softer 16 to 1 lead to tin mix, that your bullet doesn't bump up well to fit your bore well. This actually should have given you good results. It might still do so if you soften your alloy to 20 to 1 or even 40 to 1. Even with 'B' grade barrels I think you can safely use smokeless powders provided you keep the velocities to those of blackpowder ones i.e. under 1300 f.p.s. With smokeless the bump up effect isn't there and so one is committed to shooting overbore bullets and for me I find .002" to .003" over the groove diameter to work well. In a couple of rifles I've had to ream the chamber necks to accept the larger diameter case/bullet combination because the shells wouldn't chamber until I had done so. I found this in a .44-40 and a .40-65, both Marlins.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
smithwess,

Thanks for your reply.

Looks like i am back on a learning curve again. This is why i love old rifles.

I have had the sight off and there is a "J" underneath. I am going to see if i can get the whole unti tightened up somehow. Failing that I will follow Wind's advice and go for a sight similar to his. Will get it altered to fit the factory screws for the Lyman.

I am so desperate to get this old girl shooting well. So many people told me I was wasting my time as the old rifles were worn out and not accurate. I've tried arguing this point with logic but they will not budge. I want to actually show them that they were accurate then and can be again with a little care, thought and skill on my part. This rifle cleaned up beautifully. The bore is crisp and clean with no pitting anywhere. I can see all the lands and grooves and they look as good as those on my modern rifles. I know that BP frightens a lot of modern shooters butI find it a pleasure to use. I also try to point out to modern riflemen that BP loads by bulk not weight and that it can achieve much smaller SD's in velocity than modern propellant.

All my old girls get used. Not often but they do still roar. My 1861 Ballard in 56 rimfire was a hard one to get going. Got some cases from Dixie that use a .22 blank as a primer. Loaded it with a .52 caliber round ball. Was shooting tin cans at 50 yards with this one. Now i know it shoots i cleaned her up and put her away in the safe. Also made up 20 rounds for the next time I want to shoot her.

The .451 Whitworth was a hard one. hexagonal twist bullet for a hexagonal bore. Had some friends in the UK cast me some bullets and ship them over to me.

Playing around with my 1884 Springfield Cadet and 500 gn bullets. Not good, sights registered for 405 gn hb. This rifle was issued to the University of Minesotta (?) in 1886 for their cadet corps.

My Rolling Block is from a Swedish shotgun. All I had was the action. Had it cleaned up, 34" full octagonal barrel fitted in 45-70. Taken me a year to make the wood work for this one. Working from pictures etc. just have to getthe sights mounted and I will have a new baby to enjoy..


I ramble.

Thanks again for the advice.

Chris
 

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Looks like i am back on a learning curve again. This is why i love old rifles.
Wish I would have figured this out 25 years ago. That road ain't always the easiest but it is easily the most rewarding.

Lots of good advice here. I know Wind has saved me a couple of light years and a lot of "dumb tax" when I've paid attention and tried it.

Sounds like you have pretty cool stuff, not the merde I'm familiar with.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Finally managed to sort out how to upload once I have corrected the size of the files.

My 1893.
B Grade
26" barrel
Lyman#1 rear sight

32-40


She may be old, she may have lost her shine but she still works as intended. Now to just make her accurate.

105 years old she has earned every scratch and bump on her. An honest example of a working rifle.

Serial number 347398
 

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Hey there Mr. M -- That's a nice looking rifle! Shenandoah just got into a 32-40 as well. His is a little newer than ours, but the community seems to be growing. Here is a picture of mine (mostly Cleat, but the rifle is back there too!!) Best regards. Wind
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A lovely rifle. These 1893's certainly have nice lines to them dont they.

Got mine sitting here beside me right now.

Just gave it a wipe over and the bore a clean with JB paste.

Getting ready to slugg the bore today. I have some pure lead round ball that i am going to use for this. would love to use cerosafe but it is as rare as "rocking horse droppings " here in NZ

Love your dog. Just lost mine a month ago. Tanner was a 10 year old, white, golden retriever. Developed liver cancer all of a sudden. Had to put him down. Sharron and I cried our eyes out as he was "our family". We still miss him greatly.

Chris
 

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Hey again Mr. M. -- I'm so sorry about your critter. Cleat is the best. I fly top cover for him here as we are both in the food chain.

That is the thing with these 1893"s... Form and function. They look good, hang offhand steady as a rock, and speak with authority. That 200 yard group would fit inside the finger lever. 115 years old and still getting the job done!

Keep on keepin' on...(keep us posted). Best regards. Wind
 
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