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Thread: Marlin 38-55

  1. #1
    Boolit Master PaulG67's Avatar
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    Marlin 38-55

    My local enabler just got in an old Marlin in 38-55. Octagon barrel must be 26/28 inches long makes the gun real heavy in the front. Unfortunately it is not wearing its original bluing and the job was poorly done there are some awful spots on the barrel that are bare of blue and the buffing job that was done prior to rebluing was just terrible, the corners are rounded in some spots and not in others, the engraved "Marlin" on top of the receiver is wallered out quite a bit as is the engraving on the barrel and the blue looks like it was put on with a spray can but it ain't paint. Overall it is butt ugly. The stock has dings and scratches and looks like it was refinished right over all the dings and scratches and dirt and crud that was on it and was done without removing the wood to do it. Mechanically it is in very good shape. Nice bore with sharp rifling. I am wondering if it is worth it to buy and reblue, clean up the furniture or maybe acquire a new stock. As it sits it is just screaming at me "make me pretty again"

    Because it was so yugly I did not even ask the price, but as I was cruising along the shelves down in the dungeon I came across two, yes TWO brand spanking new sets of 38-55 RCBS dies and I am pretty sure I have some brass down there also.

    So I may go back and take another closer examination of it and inquire about the price.

    Anything I should know before doing so? I have no experience with the caliber so if anyone can learn me something about it I am all ears, or eyes as this is a visual media.

    Thanks for anything you got.
    Paul G


    I am Retired, I was tired yesterday and I am tired today!!!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    kungfustyle's Avatar
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    bring $300 or $400 cash and see if he'll take it. Refinish the stock and refinish the rifle. Check them out on gun broker, they go for $500 or more as a 30/30 converted to 38-55. Great round for cast. You can use 30-30 brass if you want just neck it up to 38 cal.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master PaulG67's Avatar
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    " You can use 30-30 brass if you want just neck it up to 38 cal. "

    Now that is good to know as I have several thousand 30-30 brass.

    Thanks.
    Paul G


    I am Retired, I was tired yesterday and I am tired today!!!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Bohica793's Avatar
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    The 30-30 brass will come out just a hair short when necked up but will still work. I agree with KungFuStyle - go back and get that rifle. I have one and absolutely love it.
    Protecting this country and it's communities isn't just the job of soldiers and police, but of every patriot who is capable.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    I have a similar rifle I haven't gotten to shoot well yet. It has a tang sight on it and I think I'm going to try a standard side mounted Lyman receiver sight I have somewhere. I've also been using very old Winchester brass in it, bought some Starline, not sure if it'll make a difference. I've been shooting mostly the Lee 250 grain plain based, unsized and lubed with LLA.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master PaulG67's Avatar
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    I went back and looked again, the bore is not as good as I was led to believe, still ok but I had hoped for better, and the price is $675.00, ain't gonna happen.
    Paul G


    I am Retired, I was tired yesterday and I am tired today!!!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Wait a while it may get cheaper. It is a caliber that I want but not sure I can justify. Have a 338 Win Mag and a 348 Win to shoot big things.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master PaulG67's Avatar
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    He is selling it on commission for someone. The price may come down but not for a while. I think it will be there a long time.
    Paul G


    I am Retired, I was tired yesterday and I am tired today!!!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    You might get lucky and find a 336 Cowboy 38-55 for less. I'd sure like one.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    All most not on Gun Broker any more. I got 2 about a year ago then the price went up. Same with cowboy .45-70's too. A better can give you a lot of fun fixing it up. Price is too high for that one. I wined about the price till now. Dan Wesson's did the same thing. Brass from Starline. read what they and others say about Cowboys and their quirks. CAN"T BEAT THEM. Good investment as today goes...

  11. #11
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    Is it a Model 1893 ?

    Consider that a good/used .30-30 Model 336 can usually be had for $400 (+/-), with a rebore to .38-55 ( www.35caliber.com) costing another $250 (+/-).

    How does the asking price compare to that $650 (+/-) ?

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    Is it a Model 1893 ?

    Consider that a good/used .30-30 Model 336 can usually be had for $400 (+/-), with a rebore to .38-55 ( www.35caliber.com) costing another $250 (+/-).

    How does the asking price compare to that $650 (+/-) ?

    .
    JES has the best!!!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
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    JES did my 336 Texan from 30-30 to 375 Win and I couldn't be happier. Cast boolits all the way!
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

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    Marion Road Gun Club
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Jes converted my 336 waffle top 30-30 to 38-55 and it shoots and it shoots cast/ sized 379 terrific

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    The asking price is way high for what essentially is a parts/salvage rifle. If the gun is a 93 Marlin and not marked "Special Smokeless Steel," it is strictly a black powder rifle and severely limits your options. There are more and better fish in the ocean for that money.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grinch View Post
    JES did my 336 Texan from 30-30 to 375 Win and I couldn't be happier. Cast boolits all the way!
    That will be my next project. I am looking for a decent 336 that hasn't been abused, just used. Then it's off to JES for q 375 rebore. JES made a 30-06 BAR, with a very badly neglected bore, into a 338-06 for my shooting buddy and it has never shot so well. JES has resurrected more than one old rifle from the dead and his price and work are the best.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Be patient. Watched a guy bring a .375 Marlin into a gun shop. The shop low balled him saying, those cartridges are just too hard to find so we don't sell many of these. I think they paid him $200. I almost offered him $250 but I had to get back to work. Never saw what price the shop put on it.

  18. #18
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    Buckshot's Avatar
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    ................I was lucky in finding a very nice 1893 Marlin in 38-55 in 1998. I had an 01 FFL at the time and the rifle came from a gun shop in upper NY state. I paid $300 plus shipping for it.



    The action and the more protected parts of the lever and tangs still show case colors, but this rifle had been hunting quite often, but was well taken care of. It also may have been a special order as it has 3 non-standard rifle features. One is the half octagon, half round barrel, second is the 'S' type butt, and the 3rd is the half magazine.



    I added the Marbles tang sight. It had it's barrel mounted sight, but no front sight blade. Instead it wore one of Leupold's first production rifle scopes. A straight tube 4X with not adjustment turrets. Instead the windage and elevation are handled via 2 rings around the rear portion of the scope tube.



    The scope has a tapered post and single horizontal crosshair. It's clear and still works just fine. Only negative is that the top of the action has 2 additional threaded holes (plugged with screws now). On the other hand this rifle was from someone who used it for it's purpose, and I'd like to think that the scope was added in his later hunting years. The rifle was made in 1906 and I believe the scope was made in 1948. Heck, it might have been a one owner rifle! The front sight I installed was a vintage elevation adjustable one.



    It has a tiny little slotted screw to bear against the threaded post that carries a round bead. The barrel slugs .368' x .376" and I'ways shot cast lead sized to .380" as I'd had it for several years before ever slugging it and it's tight bore was a surprise to me! It always shot very well, even with the light jacketed 225gr SP's (.375") I'd fired in it. I only fired 100 as I had no real need for jacketed slugs. The chamber is the correct 38-55 being 2.125" long, although at first only the shorter 2.085" cases were available.

    My 2 favorite loads for it are both very simple. One is the 250gr Lee over 10 grs of Unique. The other is the 225gr Saeco over 16.0grs of 2400. Both are equally accurate and with the Marbles tang sight and the front bead 5 rounds into a solid inch at 50 yards is normally delivered. I've never shot it using the scope.



    I made myself a set of swage dies for my RCE Walnut Hill press mainly to produce slugs for paper patch shooting in my Uberti 38-55 Hi-Wall (which ALSO takes the long cases). I've shot some of the patched slugs through the Marlin, but they're an uneeded use of time and shoot no more accurately at the ranges the Marlin is used at. I think the 38-55 is a delightfully proportioned cartridge, and in an accurate rifle it's a pure joy to shoot.

    ................Buckshot
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Now that's a rifle, pure and simple. I believe you got your money's worth! I am looking for a 336 to send to JES, but if I found a specimen like yours, I'd buy it in a minute. The "s" type butt must surely make repeat shots from the shoulder a lot easier and more comfortable than a full crescent. I've never seen a Marlin with a 1/2 round 1/2 octagon and 1/2 magazine. I am drooling!!
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check