Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marlin model 1893 Project part 1

Foreword by Glen E. Fryxell

Marlin Firearms, the very name conjures the image of a lean horseman, with a red bandana wrapped around his dusty neck and a work-worn felt hat jammed awkwardly onto his head, his chestnut mount braced at a sudden stop, and both of them are intently focused on something just out of the picture.  The Marlin levergun is poised, almost at port-arms, ready to snap to the rider's bestubbled face and deal the unseen threat a leaden blow.  It is a picture of a man, independent and free, taking care of himself.  This image has captivated generations of American shooters, and undoubtedly has helped sell countless Marlin rifles over the years.  After all, it is one of the central facets of how we Americans view ourselves -- independent, free, and capable.

Excellent words, I don't think I could find fault in a single line of that. Even though the company is a shell of its former self, the silhouette of this image lives on today in the Marlin logo.

This rifle was brought to me by a friend last year. He thought that I would like to take it on as a project.

First a little history on the Marlin model 1893:

The 1893 rifle was introduced by Marlin in ...wait for it... 1893....It is the granddaddy of the current Marlin model 336.

The 1893 was unique among lever action rifles with its solid top and side ejection, allowing the use of telescopic and other sights that may otherwise interfere with the ejection of spent shells. Marlin thought this was also a safety feature and called their receivers: "Marlin Safety". Remember when this gun was designed, modern gun steel did not exist, black powder was still in use and the powder was not as reliable as it is today.

The model 1893 was offered in a variety of popular (for the day anyway) calibers such as .25-36, .30-30, .32 Special, .32-40 and .38-55 (now known as .375 Winchester). In 1905 the model name was shortened to the model 93 and in 1936 a revised version was guessed it! the model 1936.
The model 1936's name was shortened to the model 36 and in 1948 it was replaced with the revised model (including a rounded bolt) called the '336' which Marlin still produces today. 
According to Marlin, this is the "oldest firearm design still being produced".

The guns came in a few different configurations including a carbine (some came with the requisite saddle ring). Straight and pistol grip stocks, full & partial crescent butt plate. 
Sight options included a barrel mounted buckhorn sight, a top mounted Marlin-Hepburn sight or a tang mounted peep sight. Barrels came in octagon, half octagon/half round and round forms. They also offered a take-down version as well as special, high end units with upgraded walnut stocks and factory engraving.

This particular gun has a full round 26" barrel, full length magazine, and standard "buckhorn" sights.
This gun has all the early markings including the "Marlin Safety" on the top of the receiver, "Special Smokeless Steel" on the barrel and Model 1893 on the tang.
The top of the barrel has the roll marks: "Marlin Firearms Co. New Haven CT. Pat'd Oct 11, 1887 April 2, 1889 Aug 1, 1893"
The lower tang has the serial number of C84XX. The "Special Smokeless Steel" stamp was added in 1904 and in late 1905 the model designation was changed to the Model 93. 
If the above is true, that would put the birth year of this gun in either 1904 or early 1905.

The gun was at one time in the hands of the heathens at Century Arms as they stamped the side of the receiver CAI STALBVT (Century Arms International St. Albans VT).

We will attempt to restore the gun as best as we can. I believe the receivers on these guns originally were color case hardened, but I have also seen them blued. I will be bluing this one as Color Case Hardening is difficult to master, requires additional equipment that I don't currently have and sending it out can be very expensive (as an example, Doug Turnbull charges $350, not including shipping, for this service)

I know there are people out there who will whine about restoring a 100 year old gun, but this one has little collector value, and unless one of those whiners wants to put up the necessary cash to buy this rifle in "as-is" condition, then they should keep their opinions to themselves.....

Here are the before restoration pictures


The magazine tube has a large dent that must be contended with, also the barrel and magazine have considerable pitting

The wood is not original and needs to be fitted to the metal

Here is the dreaded CAI stamp that will be removed like so much graffiti. 

The front sight appears to be bent, I will search for a replacement.

I may cut the muzzle back and re -crown it, it has seen better days.

The previous owner secured one of these Precision Gun Works butt plates. These are a bit bigger than the originals, so we will trim it down , fit it to the stock, drill the holes and then polish it.

This is going to be a year long project, so stay tuned for updates as I turn back the clock on this old levergun.

The Story of Marlin and the Levergun
Marlin Owners Forum
Turnbull Restorations