Marlin 1893 38/55

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Old Wheelgun, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Old Wheelgun

    Old Wheelgun New Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Hello. On Thanksgiving I went to my great uncles house as always and after dinner he wanted me to clean his guns like I do every year. Among the various guns he has is a Marlin 1893 chambered in 38/55 and has a 26 in octagon barrel and case colored receiver along with the other parts. On top of the barrel it has the patent dates which say MARLIN FIRE - ARMS CO. NEW - HAVEN, CT. U.S.A. PATENTED OCT 11, 1887, APRIL 2, 1889, AUGUST 1, 1893. Back by the rear sight it's marked SPECIAL SMOKELESS STEEL and behind the rear sight it says the caliber 38-55. On top of the receiver it's also marked MARLIN SAFETY. On the tang it's marked MODEL 1893. It also has a nice brass front sight. Serial number is 409XXX. I can't find any info in my Marlin Firearms Book. The bore is very good with absolutely no rust or pitting, very bright and very good rifling. It belonged to his grandfather who bought it new. He wanted me to have it since he has no more use for it anymore and because he knows that I like lever actions. He said the last time the rifle was fired was July 1983. Along with the gun he gave me 40 old Winchester cartridges which is 2 boxes which is what comes in most boxes today. The cases are stamped W.R.A. CO. 38-55 and are jacketed soft point bullets. I have no idea what grain bullet they are. I'm guessing 225 maybe? I don't intend on using those cartridges just collect them. I shot the gun yesterday for the first time since 1983 with some reloads that I use in my other 38/55s which are a Uberti High Wall, Winchester 1894, and Marlin Cowboy 336 (which is recent production.) They are loaded with 18 grains of Alliant 2400 powder and a Moyer's cast bullet .379 diameter 245 grain flat nose. This load came from an old lyman reloading book. The loads say Marlin or Winchester. Are handloads any good for this rifle if I don't push them up any higher? It put out really good accuracy at 75 and 100 yards without any adjustment to the rear sight and no leading in the bore. He told me it shoots dead on and that I probably wouldn't have to adjust the rear sight. Every shot was on paper almost at the bulls eye! I would greatly appreciate it is anyone could help me find out when the gun was made, what the correct bore diameter is for it, and if it's safe to use jacketed bullets because I have a few new boxes of factory loaded Winchester 38/55s that are loaded with jacketed bullets , and what it might be worth although I'm never going to sell it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,

    Attached Files:

  2. Jolly Bill

    Jolly Bill Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Old Wheelgun,

    You are indeed fortunate to acquire your great uncle's and his grandfathers 1893 Marlin. Looking at your pictures, it looks to be a classical 1893 with case colored frame and much of the original finish in pretty nice condition.

    By all means, keep the entire gun original. Resist the urge to touch up the wood or metal finish. Take it out and shoot it once in a while, give her a good cleaning and wipe down and consider your self lucky.

    I have some older .38-55 cartridges and boxes and yes, those are 255 grain bullets.

    I would guess the date it left the Marlin factory was around the late 1910's to 1920 or so. And My guess as to value would be in the $1500 to 2000 range.

    Hope this helps and hopefully some more responses will be added.


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