Rifleman Q & A: Marlin Heirloom

posted on February 25, 2019

Q: I have an octagonal-barreled .30-30 Win. lever-action rifle with no definitive past, other than it belonged to my grandfather, who supposedly was stationed in the Philippines with the U.S. Navy. The rifle has the words “SPECIAL SMOKELESS STEEL” stamped on the left side of the barrel below the rear sight. It is also stamped “MARLIN SAFETY” and “MODEL 1893” on either side of the hammer. A stamped serial number, 384XXX, can be seen forward of the trigger guard. Can you help identify this family heirloom?

A: Nearly 1 million Model 1893 Marlin lever-action rifles were manufactured between 1893 and 1935. It was a highly regarded repeater available in the popular chamberings of the day, including: .25-36 Marlin, .30-30 Win., .32 Win. Spl., .32-40 Win. and .38-55 Win., with .30-30 Win. being the most common. Both rifle and carbine configurations were offered, as well as special-order guns. Your Model 1893 is definitely a rifle variant. Rifle barrel lengths ran from 24" to 32". The fact it is stamped “MODEL 1893” on the tang, plus the barrel markings, indicate that it was probably made between 1894 and 1916. --Garry James


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