Rifleman Q&A: Firing An Early Marlin?

by
posted on October 5, 2017
early.jpg

Q: This .44-40 Win. Marlin Model 1894 lever-action was carried in my father’s police cruiser in Hollidays Cove, W.Va., and is reported to have taken part in the pursuit and stopping of the legendary “Pretty Boy” Floyd in a corn field in East Liverpool, Ohio. Although the Marlin was not fired during Floyd’s apprehension, it was present at the scene. A letter to Marlin Firearms Corp. produced no information at all. I was interested in how old it is. A three-digit serial number, 425, is all that is stamped on the gun aside from patent dates. Interestingly, the barrel’s bore is drilled off-center. I would be pleased if you could give me any information at all as to the age of this gun or its production history. My grandsons want to buy .44-40 Win. ammunition to fire in this gun, but I have told them it is too dangerous to fire modern ammunition.

A: The Marlin Model 1894 lever-action rifle was manufactured from 1894 to 1935. Some 250,000 were eventually built. This very nice repeater was offered for the .25-20, .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 Winchester cartridges. The earliest rifles were offered in .38-40 Win. and .44-40 Win., so that corresponds with the low serial number on your piece. Model 1894 Marlins were offered in rifle, carbine, baby carbine and musket versions. I would be circumspect about shooting modern .44-40 Win. ammunition in the piece, particularly given its historical significance. If you do intend to fire it, take it to a qualified gunsmith first for approval.    —Garry James

Latest

Jo.Lo.Ar Pistol
Jo.Lo.Ar Pistol

I Have This Old Gun: Jo.Lo.Ar Pistol

It was in 1919 when José de Lopez Arnaiz cleverly devised a unique single-action pistol with a moveable lever (palanca) of which enabled shooters to single-handedly chamber and cock the gun using only the index and middle fingers.

The Armed Citizen® May 27, 2024

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

Preview: Camp Chef 9 Piece Professional Knife Set

In order to make the most out of harvested game, you need a set of quality food-prep tools like Camp Chef offers in its 9 Piece Professional Knife Set.

New For 2024: Mossberg Silver Reserve Eventide HS12

After introducing its Silver Reserve Eventide series of over-under shotguns earlier in 2024, Mossberg expanded the line yet again mid-year with the HS12 variant designed for defensive use.

Preview: Arming The World | American Gunmakers In The Gilded Age

In an incredible tour through the American experience during what is arguably the golden age of firearm development, author Geoffrey Stewart highlights the 25-year period between the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 from the perspective of the American arms industry.

Favorite Firearms: A Mystery Colt Single Action Army

Perusing an expired paper-edition Gun List several years ago, I came across an ad for this old 1880-1881 Colt Single Action Army. Can’t remember what I paid, but at that time, it was too cheap to believe it was still for sale.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.