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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The thread on the 4 millionth 336 got a question going in my head that has been bugging me for quite some time. Looking over old Marlin and Winchester steel crescent butt plates shows little, if any differences that I can see. Was this type of buttplate something the manufacturer's out-sourced, or was it just happy coincidence that they are just about the same critter?

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Actually the Marlin and Winchester buttplates only look similar. They are quite different, if you try to fit one to the other. The curve is slightly different, and the top tang is shorter on a Win.
Marlin and Winchester both made their own guns complete, but they also sold parts to other gun makers, including each other! Back in the days when both companies had custom shops, it wasn't uncommon to buy a part from the competition, if the customer wanted a "Marlin style" buttplate, or a "Winchester style" rear sight. I have a model 1893 .25-36 takedown, with a Whitney Kennedy style trapdoor buttplate. It is serial numbered to the gun, and thus it is factory installed. This was my first Marlin purchase, and the seller sold it cheaper, because of the wrong "Winchester 1873" buttplate on it. It wasn't until I got it home that I figured out it wasn't wrong, but a special order item.

(edited to correct caliber) Thx Wishbone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now this is finally starting to make some sense to me, especially the special order side of things. Very interesting how gun business was conducted in years gone by. There is a guy that makes the gun show rounds here with a display only table full of Marlin and Winchester lever guns, and I knew I wasn't hallucinating with seeing identical buttplates on both makes. Now if they were a little easier to find for sale at reasonable prices...

Merry Christmas,

Doc Sharptail
 

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MM,
You stated that you have a Model 1893 in .25-35. Is that a typo that should read .25-36, or is it truely a .25-35 WCF, special ordered in the fashion you mention in your earlier post ?
The reason I ask is because I have an older gentleman living in my area who has collected guns for 60+ years. As a matter of fact, several of his rifles were used in the making of the movie DANCES WITH WOLVES. Anyway, he swears that he has a Model 1893 in .25-35WCF. I have never seen the rifle, and have always attributed this claim to a weak roll-stamp and failing eyesight.
Any insight ?

WB
 

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No, it's a misprint on my part! I meant to type .25-36 not .25-35.
Sounds like your friend either has a rare gun, or he's misreading it. As you know, many of these old guns have very faint rollstamps, and often people misread them, or are just uninformed on Marlins.
I had a discussion with an oldtimer (older than me!) at our collectors group, about model 1891 and 1892 Marlins in .32Colt. He swears he had seen numerous guns that were chambered for .32 S&W, and even showed me one, (completely refinished) that was chambered for .32 S&W. I tried to gracefully tell him it wasn't an original caliber, then I firmly told him they never chambered them in .32 S&W, and finally when he became pretty irate, I just walked away.
I guess it's possible they made one in .25-35, but why? When the .25-36 would accept both cartridges?
 

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Exactly ! Why !
I to have tried to inform him that it is very un-probable that Marlin chambered 1893's in .25-35 WCF, but sometimes it just doesn't pay to get into it with some of these old timer experts.

WB
 

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Steel crescent buttplate

I would be very suspect of a Marlin with a trapdoor in the buttplate. I know too many gunsmiths and stockmakers with numbers stamps.
 

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cowboykell,
I would be too, except that Winchester and others used shorter top tangs on their crescent buttplates, so there's no way you could put a Winchester trapdoor buttplate on a marlin. There would be a BIG gap to fill in between the buttplate and the missing wood!
Sure it's easy to stamp numbers on parts, but I know of three other early Marlins, in various parts of the country, that have the exact same trapdoor buttplate, and they too are serial numbered to the guns. Marlin number stamps are very unique, and even though it's possible to replicate them, it would be easy to differentiate between recently stamped serial numbers, and those done over 100 years ago.
I'm a VERY suspicious collector. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, and I have been collecting Marlins for a number of years.
 

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No mention in Bill's great book. As good as Bill's book is, there are a number of things that aren't covered in his book. Before he died, Bill had looked at this gun, and removed the buttplate to inspect it. He was the person who told me he thought it was authentic. Another collector told me that he determined these were buttplates purchased from the Eli Whitney factory, and were of the type used on the Whitney Kennedy lever action rifles.
 

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Yea, I guess I do. You're obviously a lot more knowledgeable.
 
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