Favorite Firearms: A Hobo’s Lever-Action

by
posted on September 6, 2022
Marlin Model 1893 lever-action rifle

My father acquired this Marlin Model 1893 lever-action rifle in the summer of 1959 from a hobo living out of a boxcar in a rail yard in Schuylkill County, Pa. My father, a collector of historic guns, was concerned for the wellbeing of the firearm and wanted to keep it in a safe place for generations to admire.

As a child, I observed him loading the rifle and cycling it to eject the live cartridge. Being a 10-year-old knothead, I decided to try it myself, unsupervised. As I released the hammer, my thumb slipped, and the rifle functioned as intended. The room filled with a boom and smoke, and the .32-cal. bullet penetrated the floorboards, which resulted in a 6" hole. From then on, I was barred from my father’s gun room and never lived down the negligent discharge, which my parents recalled at family gatherings.

My father, who has since passed away, gifted the rifle to my collection. It was manufactured in 1894 and is engraved in the Ulrich family style. The original owner’s name, W. A. Burt Campbell, is proudly displayed on the upper-left side of the action. He was a well-known hunter, trapper and taxidermist from the Pacific Northwest. Burt and his wife, Mary, opened the Horn Saloon in The Dalles, Ore., which was filled with mounted animals from his hunting and trapping excursions.

I can only wonder if Campbell was in possession of the rifle on his noted trapping excursions, or perhaps he took that elk that stood in the Elks Lodge in The Dalles with this Marlin lever-action. Regardless, I’ll always be curious of how a hobo came to possess this rifle, which has provided me with a memorable moment from my childhood and curiosity regarding its past expeditions.

—H.B. Bensinger

Latest

Davidsons Weatherby Vanguard First Lite Cipher Web
Davidsons Weatherby Vanguard First Lite Cipher Web

NRA Gun Of The Week: Davidson's Weatherby Vanguard First Lite Cipher

Watch American Rifleman staff on this Gun Of the Week to see the Weatherby Vanguard First Lite Cipher, a specially outfitted rifle for fall hunting, thanks to its unique camouflage pattern and lightweight construction. And this rugged, camo-clad, bolt-action rifle is available exclusively from Davidson's.

Rifleman Q&A: U.S. 'Trench Gun' Finishes

I’ve been looking to buy an all-original World War II Winchester trench shotgun. I’ve been offered a Parkerized Model 12 stamped “U.S.”, and it has the Ordnance Corps bomb on it. All of the other all-original guns that I have examined were blued. Were any World War II U.S. military shotguns originally Parkerized?

The Armed Citizen® Dec. 9, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

The .45 ACP: History & Performance

Spurred by the need for a more powerful cartridge from the experiences of the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines, the .45 ACP has enjoyed extensive popularity in both military and commercial circles for more than a century.

Brownells Donates $100K To Special Operations Wounded Warriors

The Brownells donation will allow Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW) to continue its mission of providing therapeutic outdoor experiences, professional therapy and other services to wounded veterans.

Federal Custom Shop Offers Custom Loads For Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint

Federal's Custom Shop now offers handcrafted ammunition designed particularly for use in Springfield Armory's Model 2020 Waypoint rifle.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.