Marlin 1893 question???
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Thread: Marlin 1893 question???

  1. #1
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    Marlin 1893 question???

    Not really a black powder gun but I figure this is where them that know would be hanging out.
    The rifle is new to me and came with no history. Some how it has avoided Bubba's attention and even I have avoided doing any clean up or skin care till I can learn more about it.
    Chambered in 38-55 (O Boy, another search for brass and dies.) with a 24" octagon barrel and the patina of warm fudge it does talk to you. Other than the extractor spring looking a little short every thing seems to function well . Even many screw heads seem untouched.



    That brings me to my question. In several locations on the receiver are traces of brass. In my limited reference material I find mention of case colored an some blue receivers , but not plated. Nothing on the gun suggests it ever got gussied up or ever had a life other than as a utility tool .



    So , what say ya'all ? Did these ever come plated from the factory ?
    Last edited by needsmostuff; 01-23-2016 at 11:13 AM.
    msharley, WendyZXZ, Leo918 and 1 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by needsmostuff View Post
    Not really a black powder gun but I figure this is where them that know would be hanging out.
    The rifle is new to me and came with no history. Some how it has avoided Bubba's attention and even I have avoided doing any clean up or skin care till I can learn more about it.
    Chambered in 38-55 (O Boy, another search for brass and dies.) with a 24" octagon barrel and the patina of warm fudge it does talk to you. Other than the extractor spring looking a little short every thing seems to function well . Even many screw heads seem untouched.



    That brings me to my question. In several locations on the receiver are traces of brass. In my limited reference material I find mention of case colored an some blue receivers , but not plated. Nothing on the gun suggests it ever got gussied up or ever had a life other than as a utility tool .



    So , what say ya'all ? Did these ever come plated from the factory ?
    Yes, Marlin did make a few nickel plated lever actions, but yours is not one of them. I see no signs of old nickel plating flaked off, or ever present. Hard to say for sure from the pictures, but I do see varnish on the receiver, which indicates some added to the wood while it was on the gun, instead of removing the wood to refinish. So it has had some gussying. I'd pull the back stock screw from the tang, and remove the buttstock. Then you can use a penny to scrape the varnish off the tang, and maybe that "brass" might scrape off too.
    Marlin used casehardened receivers for almost all their lever actions prior to WWII. But the 1893's with barrels marked, "For Black Powder" were sold as "Grade B" guns, and had blued receivers, with cased levers, hammers, buttplates, and forearm caps.
    The .38-55 Ballard is a fantastic old caliber, and still in production today. You'll find two different case lengths, as Winchester produced a bunch of short brass, and others have followed that trend. It works in your gun, but the longer original length will work better. It's getting easier to find, and I believe Starline sells the longer brass.
    Looks like a nice old Marlin and will make a great shooter with cast lead, and a load around 1250-1300 fps.

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    Grandpa had an 1889 .38-40 Marlin very similar to yours that my brother somehow managed to inherit instead of me. During those years Marlin took special orders & a lot of 1-of-a-kind variations could be had (pistol grip, special checkering, 1/2 octagon bbl., various sights, etc.). I've seen nickel plating but never heard of 1 w/ brass plating. Does the brass show anywhere besides the tang? It's drilled for a tang sight & possibly that's left from shim material.
    needsmostuff likes this.
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    I have a Model 1893 in 30-30 and it has some beautiful case coloring on the receiver, lever and butt plate. Well, the lever is a bit worn, but pretty good finish everywhere else. Have heard case coloring can turn to nickle over time and since yours looks to have had plenty of use, perhaps even that has worn off. I would agree on some varnish being the culprit on making the brass color.
    needsmostuff likes this.

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    Cool 38-55!

    Hey Needs,

    That is a real BEAUTY!!

    Having good success with the Moyer's bullet Moyer's Cast Bullets, cast lead handgun, cast lead rifle bullets and 10.0 gr of Universal Clays (10.0gr of Unique will play)

    And you are already drilled for a MVA #108! You may be surprised at how "far" that old 38-55 will ............. REACH!!

    On the dies, highly recommend the RCBS "Cowboy Dies"........this will save a lot of grief.....


    Later, Mark
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    Last edited by msharley; 01-23-2016 at 06:50 PM. Reason: added die info
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    Marlinitis Symptoms: More daily.

    Active rescuer of Marlin Rifles, S&W revolvers, 1911's, Mil/Surplus rifles, shotguns.........

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    Case coloring does sometimes get a "nickel" look to it after years of use. Those guns with this look are usually well maintained, and don't have patina or a brown look. If the rest the gun turns brown, the cased receiver will too. I have a couple Marlin Ballards with this nickel appearance. Next to actual nickeled receivers, they certainly don't look nickeled. My Schoyen Ballard has that appearance:


    But doesn't look like my nickeled receiver:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Injunbro View Post
    I've seen nickel plating but never heard of 1 w/ brass plating. Does the brass show anywhere besides the tang? It's drilled for a tang sight & possibly that's left from shim material.
    Prior to WWI Marlin would do just about any combination a customer wanted on special order. But brass wasn't one of the offerings. All Marlin lever action models prior to WWII were D&T for tang sights, whether they got a tang sight or not.
    Injunbro likes this.

  9. #8
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    As stated already, Starline makes both lengths of brass and either one will work in an original 1893 Marlin. Winchester tools up for the brass only once a year for a limited production run, but is usually pretty much all called for before it hits the market. Unless you reload it is an expensive caliber to shoot but cheap to load. I've found an accurate load in almost any .38-55 (especially the old soft steel ones) is a 250-260 grain cast bullet and only 8 grains of Unique powder, and barring any headspace problem your brass will last forever. I've had even this lower velocity loading go completely through a deer.



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