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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am a long time lurker and new poster to Marlins owner board and have a question. I am looking to buy a 38-55. I have found a Marlin 1893 38-55 with the 26" octagon barrel made in 1899 and a Marlin 336 CB with the 24" octagon barrel. I can not decide which one to buy, but before you enablers tell me to buy both (I wish I could) I cannot afford both of them. I am leaning towards the 1893 it is in nice condition overall on the outside, I have not yet looked down the barrel. The only problem I can see is some one cut the stock and placed what looks like shotgun style butt pad on it though the job looks expertly done. The 336 CB I am not able to examine as it is on Gun Broker but is described as very nice with a few cosmetic flaws. So my question is which would you buy and why? I plan on doing some long distance shooting with it and CLAS.

Thanks

PS
I already own a 336 in 30-30 made in 1983 and a 1894 CB Limited in 45 Colt made in 2009 and I love both of them.
 

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I've never owned an 1893...but I DO own a 336 in 38-55 and it is a pleasure to shoot! You have a big decision to make, both rifles are doing nothing but going up in value, but if you shoot a lot, I'd go with the newer rifle.
But, I'd say you have a win win decision here! Good luck and congrats on either rifle!
 

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It's all in preference. If you like the antiques and the 1893 bore and chamber are in good shooting condition I'd jump on it. But if you want the Cowboy to match your 336, then grab that baby.

The main thing to consider, the Cowboy will probably slug at .379 and is easy to reload for and the 1893 could be anywhere between .379 and up. Way up!

I have both and they are definitely two different rifles.
 

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Since you already have a 336 and an 1894, I'd go for something you don't already have. I've had lever guns in the past and had a gap to fill, so I went with an 1893 built in 1894, .38-55 of course. (Already have 5 ,45-70's) Bore was a little rough but it shoots great with .379's. Since I just shot for fun, anymore, I decided to keep the loads mild, considering the age of the rifle. I shoot mostly 6 grains if Trail Boss and a 255 grain cast bullet. Bulls eyes at 50 yards and 100 yard gongs. The rifle looks 120 years old, but I like 'em with a little character, there's history there!! Can't go wrong with the .45-70's little brother!!
 

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Gold308 - First let me say welcome to the MO site from west Texas. As to which rifle to buy I would check the bore condition of the 1893. The bore of the 336CB should be nice. 38-55 is a round you do not have to hot rod to get good performance. If the 1893 does not have a black powder barrel it will take lead reloads that will take you to 1000 yards. It is my desire to one day own an 1893 in 32-40, a round I thoroughly enjoy. I owned a 336CB in 38-55 and it was a joy to shoot. As you have read 38-55 seems to be a round that each rifle chambered for it has a mind of it's own, but once tamed the round will keep you grinning for days after each time it is shot. Good luck with which ever rifle you choose. Shenandoah
 
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Greetings Gold308 and another welcome to the Marlin family.
What you want to do with the rifle will be the big key question. The 1893 will hold up to BP pressure cartridges for your lifetime. But if you decide one day to go bear or big pig hunting that rifle was not designed for 265 grainers at 1750 FPS. The 336 will easily do it.

HDStreet well addressed the next issue.. Throat diameter. My 1893 has a fat throat. .382 bullets will chamber on a just cleaned chamber. But .381 are as fat as I can easily chamber after the first round. The .381 shoots almost as well and would easily take on corn crunchers at 150 yards. But smaller diameter cast bullets do not do near as well. So just be prepared to have to hunt up some fat bullets. Also do not think about a steady diet of jacketed bullets. The 1893 barrels are soft steel compared to today's production and the wear factor is much faster. Lead will only polish the barrel more and more. I do my own casting so fat caliber.38 bullets are no issue. But you have to be prepared for old barrel realities.
Me I would grab the 1893 as I have everything to make it shoot. I am very happy with a soft lead 255 plain base bullet chugging along at maybe 1300 fps. When I want more power out comes my 336 caliber .38-55 rebored by JES Reboring (was a 30-30) and do some sincere smashing.
So ya just have to decide what will serve you the most. You will be happy with either one. That is the good part about the choice.
Mike in Peru
 

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Up here in the great white north I have never seen a 38-55 cowboy, and I have been looking. Well this week an 1893 in 38-55 came up and the price was real good so I bought it. It was made in 1902 and has the smokeless barrel, it will be a good match with my 1893 in 32-40 which is a great rifle. I guess what I'm saying is I didn't have the opportunity to have to choose. If I would have to decide between an 1893 or a 336 cowboy I would have taken the cowboy because the 1893's are a lot more easily acquired up here. Buy the one now that you deep down inside really desire and save up and buy the other one later. eh
 

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Hello all,

I am a long time lurker and new poster to Marlins owner board and have a question. I am looking to buy a 38-55. I have found a Marlin 1893 38-55 with the 26" octagon barrel made in 1899 and a Marlin 336 CB with the 24" octagon barrel. I can not decide which one to buy, but before you enablers tell me to buy both (I wish I could) I cannot afford both of them. I am leaning towards the 1893 it is in nice condition overall on the outside, I have not yet looked down the barrel. The only problem I can see is some one cut the stock and placed what looks like shotgun style butt pad on it though the job looks expertly done. The 336 CB I am not able to examine as it is on Gun Broker but is described as very nice with a few cosmetic flaws. So my question is which would you buy and why? I plan on doing some long distance shooting with it and CLAS.

Thanks

PS
I already own a 336 in 30-30 made in 1983 and a 1894 CB Limited in 45 Colt made in 2009 and I love both of them.

That is like asking "which woman should I marry?" Heck, man, buy the one you want. I recently purchased a 111 year old 1893 in .38-55 because I love the old antique rifles. I also happen to prefer more mature women because of their experience level! :biggrin: If that 1893 has a good barrel, then she's got a lot years on her where owners cared for her. But if you like the "young ones", go for the 336CB. In either case, .38-55 is a fun round to shoot. However, it's a hard one to zero in on the "perfect" round for your particular rifle, so it's a rather frustrating journey. Let's see, old girl, young girl.....Old girl, young girl.....Old girl, young girl. Good luck, but it's your decision.
 

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Gold308 - You have gotten a lot of sage advice from others who have played a lot more
innings than I have. I also have both old and new. Just sent MY 1893/38-55 off for a reline.
It's bore was big enough to send bank deposits through. But I love that rifle when I hold it.
On the other hand, I just took the CB to shoot yesterday no special considerations, gosh,
I love that rifle when I hold it. Reminds me of my friend who had to decide between which
Airstream trailer he had found, should he should get, the old "tear drop" in " camping " condition,
or the newer model " ready to go ".
He got the tear drop a year and a half ago. Still hasn't camped in it. But he loves it and
says it is good to go this year. So.....camp now or camp later...as HD said your preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the help and information. I have made my decision and will go with the 336 Cowboy if I can win the auction as I think it will do every thing I want to do with it such as hunting elk, long range shooting and CLAS shooting. Also it sounds like reloading is a little simpler with the newer rifle.
 

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You made the right decision going with the Cowboy, especially with the type of shooting you are going to be doing with this gun. Let us know how you make out with the auction. eh
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I won the auction for the 336 CB. I paid a little more than I wanted to, but over all I am happy. Now all I need to do is order some brass (if I can find any), bullets and the RCBS cowboy dies. Also have to decide which tang sites I want to use. The sites I have in mind are the MVA sites #107 Sharps Long Range Vernier, #108 Sharps Mid Range Vernier, #100 Long Range Soule, #101 Mid Range Soule, #103 Long Range Buffalo Soule and the #102 Mid Range Buffalo Soule (all these are quite expensive, but read good reviews about them). The Lee Shaver sites either the super grade or economy model of Long or Mid Range Soule for Lever Action Rifles (I have also read good reviews about the Lee Shaver sites and they are a little less expensive) or the Marble's Improved Peep Tang Sight ( I have read mixed reviews about these sites). I can hardly wait to receive this rifle. Here are some pictures and more to come when I get the rifle. pix347750522.jpg pix644128108.jpg pix147223269.jpg pix189772653.jpg
 

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Nice! I really like the looks. Hope it's a shooter, but it's a Marlin, of course it will shoot great. Brass will be hard to find, but it's out there. If you shoot cast bullets I've had good luck with Rimrock Bullets and Penn Bullets.
 

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Congrats on winning that cowboy, I know you'll enjoy it. Whereabouts are you? I have some short starline brass to get you started.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Old-machinist I live in Lochbuie, which is a few miles NE of Brighton. Also on the high plains of Colorado.
 

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Congrats!! You lucky dog you....I'm way jealous!!!
 

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Thanks for all the help and information. I have made my decision and will go with the 336 Cowboy if I can win the auction as I think it will do every thing I want to do with it such as hunting elk, long range shooting and CLAS shooting. Also it sounds like reloading is a little simpler with the newer rifle.
You won't regret your decision provided the rifle was well cared for. As has been written by our wise and experienced Marlin Owners Brothers, once you have that hot little babe in yer mitts, breath real deep, take some required time and clean the barrel like you would service a beautiful new to you used car. You will then get positive results.

Edit ... Congrats on winning the auction. Quick advice from the experience of reloading for my 336 Cowboy :
Laser Cast in .381 and Starline brass.

Winchester brass is a hair too thick for that diameter of bullet and some just won't chamber. Starline brass has worked very well with that boolit!
 

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You won't regret your decision provided the rifle was well cared for. As has been written by our wise and experienced Marlin Owners Brothers, once you have that hot little babe in yer mitts, breath real deep, take some required time and clean the barrel like you would service a beautiful new to you used car. You will then get positive results.
Yup, what HDStreet said.............then go and shoot the crap out of it and have some fun! :marchmellow:
 
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Old-machinist I live in Lochbuie, which is a few miles NE of Brighton. Also on the high plains of Colorado.
Hey Gold - I was working northeast of Ft.Lupton earlier this year!
 
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