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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

All the Marlin 1889's that I've seen have long Rocky Mountain rear sights with the traditional seperate serrated elevator and a fairly long half-teardrop shaped German silver front sight blade. I recently came across a Marlin 1889 that has what appears to be different iron sights. Here's a picture of the rear sight and a (albeit poor) picture of the front sight:







The rear sight looks similar to a Winchester carbine ladder sight and the front sight blade (if you look very carefully) is not much longer than the width of the base. It may also be the lighting, but the rear sight appears to be darker than the rest of the rifle.

My suspicion is that the rear sight, and possibly the front sight, are not original. I'm still building up knowledge of these older Marlins, so would like some other opinions --- could these sights be original to the rifle?

Thanks very much!
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

The rear sight is a sporting leaf, it's very close to a Winchester. If you can get an old catalog you'll see it. I can' t tell in the pic. You could order many different sights

Clark
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

cj57 said:
The rear sight is a sporting leaf, it's very close to a Winchester. If you can get an old catalog you'll see it. I can' t tell in the pic. You could order many different sights

Clark
Thanks Clark,

Now that I know the term, "Sporting Leaf", I was able to find some more information. From the pictures I've seen and descriptions I've read, this does look like a Marlin rear sight... still don't know about the front.

Cheers,
Stirling
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

I know a gentleman that has a couple original rocky mountain rear sights correct for your rifle. I'll see him at a gun show next month if your interested.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Sights are one of those things the "serious collectors" like to use to beat a newer collector up over. They throw out some line, "well its a nice rifle, but those sights are "incorrect", and I would pay 100 bucks for the whole gun" or some other happy horse manure type line. ;D

I typically respond with "well, since you insulted my intelligence, I will sell the gun to the guy that offered me 50 bucks"

As already said, back in the day, a guy could order near any dern sight made for his guns. IME, in the Win crowd, that sight is typically called a "carbine ladder sight" and is very similar to the type found on Marlins.

Now back too the trivial points, I have a 94 Marlin carbine, ladder rear, and the range designations are 3,4,5, 6, 7 8 9, that last some bit of optimistic, considering its a 25 20 with a 20 barrel. I am near dead certain, the sight came with the gun. It seems to have the same number of slash marks as mine.

Now I have a 92 Win 25 20 carbine as well, ladder sight, but its marked, " 5, 10, 15, 20" the other difference might be the location of the set screw in the top, on the Wins its off too one side, instead of centered like yours, and my marlin.

Now are these markings a positive difference? I am like you, an FNG on Marlins, I am not certain, but then I still learn every day or so
about Win stuff too, if I keep my eyes open. :)

The front almost looks like a "3 bead" sight, one that rotates, one black, one gold, one ivory" If it is, the sight alone is a couple hundred bucks if all three beads are still extant.

To Mr Kelley, I would certainly be interested in a Rocky Mt rear for a Marlin, if you wish to keep in touch. thanks, Ron
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Hey there SilverBow -- What you have appears to be a carbine rear sight. It is probably graduated to 900 yards. I can't see them clearly enough from the picture. This sight is often confused with the sporting leaf sight. That sporting leaf sight is graduated to 1000 yards by adding a notch to the top of the staff bow above the screw. They are original Marlin sights. I can't tell what is what from the front sight picture. Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Wind is correct I think. Those were standard on carbines, might have been special order on that one. The front sights not standard either.
I built an 89 with parts from MM93, Winmarsav & others here and was tickled when I stumbled on one of these for it. Til I tried to sight in. Theres no real elevation adjustment in the down position and I was way high with it. Mines a repro so I just filed at it until I got it where I wanted and cold blued it. Anyway it might have come on that gun but I dont know how you could tell.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

The carbine sight is about 2" long. the sporting leaf about 2 1/2" long, the screw at top of leaf on the carbine is off center to the right, on the sporting it is in the center. The sight on that gun is a sporting leaf

Clark
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Thank you everyone for you comments; I've learned a lot. My apologies for the quality of the pictures--- they aren't mine, but were sent to me by the seller of the rifle in question. Although I already have two 44-40 1889's I may make an offer on the rifle --- I'm not terribly optimistic that the seller will accept my offer as he's really been hyping the rifle as the "next best thing to sliced bread". The rifle is supposed to have a good bore, but is missing the loading gate. Stocks are original. That being said, the seller has a high opinion on the rifle, and that if it were in perfect condition (again, whatever that means to him) he'd expect well in excess of $2000. In the condition it's in, and based on what I've paid for my 1889's, I'd say a good price for the rifle would be in the $500 range, disregarding any premium for the unique sights.

We'll see!

Thanks again,
Stirling
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Hey again SilverBow -- I think cj57 is correct, based on the screw position. It could be the pictures preventing me from seeing the notch on the top of the staff. Good luck with your offer. Best regards. Wind
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

I do like that rear sight. Kinda makes me want to put one on my 1894 Cowboy.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

cj57 said:
The carbine sight is about 2" long. the sporting leaf about 2 1/2" long, the screw at top of leaf on the carbine is off center to the right, on the sporting it is in the center. The sight on that gun is a sporting leaf

Clark
So does the "leaf" have the same graduations as the carbine? Just re examined the one on my carbine, its 2" and screw on the right, and graduated to 9.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

RGR, yours is correct for carbine, the leaf will go to 1000 yds and is longer

Clark
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Your front sight appears to be an optional Lyman sight. Not wrong, just not std. Both appear to have been on the gun for a long time. Sight often are much darker than the surrounding barrel color, as sights are harder, and blued differently than barrels. Barrels were rust blued, while most sights were fire blued because the hard spring steel didn't take rust bluing as well.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Hello Stirling,
I can't make comment on the rear 'carbine type' ladder sight but the 1889 came from the factory with the long Rocky Mountain Marlin semibuckhorn sight. There were two configurations as far as I know in that the early ones did not have the sliding, screw held plate, that one could adjust the elevation with without going to the elevator. The later sights were as those seen in later models with the sliding plate. The !889 front Rocky Mountain blade was different from the later models as well in that there was no groove machined into the sight on either side to give the effect of a bead when seen from behind. The blade was flat, but otherwise the same shape.
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Speaking of sights, is there a section here where guys looking for sights, stocks etc, can post and try to locate such from other collectors?

As mentioned, I would love to find a correct Rocky Mt for one of my guns, it has a vintage Lyman or Marbles, (cant recall which) typical full buckhorn now.

One can never tell, might be some guy out there with a Win and a Marlin Rocky, that needs a Win sight. Or most guys will accept cash as well. ;D
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Thanks, glad it was not a snake.... ;D
 

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Re: Question re: original Marlin 1889 rear sight

Thanks again for everyone's "insight" into this rifle (pun intended!). The rifle was an auction with a reserve price. Based on the seller's communication with me, I figured he'd had the reserve at the $1000 level --- too much for my taste. I didn't follow the auction right up to the end, but I believe it got to the $400 level with only 3 or so interested bidders. The rifle didn't reach the reserve price, but shortly afterwards, the seller relisted the rifle with a "Buy it Now" price of $400.

As often happens with Marlinitis, although I already have a pair of 1889's in 44-40, the fact that this rifle came with a different rear and front sight combination was enough to make me take the plunge. I didn't break the bank on the rifle, but it does need a replacement loading gate which is going to cost me some time and money to find. I believe an 1894 44 cal loading gate will work, but I may also make one myself based on the 1889's that I already have. The seller described the bore as "Bore is good, rifleing is good and shiney", so we'll see if that's really the case. Regardless, for the sights alone I think it was worth it.

Thanks again, all, and pictures will be forthcoming once the rifle arrives.
 

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Nice find SilverBow.

I cant see any difference between my 1889 gates & my old 1894 gate. I wouldn't leave it in the gun but I bet a modern 44 gate would work until you find an old style one. Least you could check function that way.
 
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