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Thread: Marlin M1894 barrel swap

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Marlin M1894 barrel swap

    Three questions concerning the 1894 Marlin. Let me preface by saying I had one fall into my lap (free!), and never having owned one am pretty much in the dark about them. It is an early one, pre-1900, .44-40 carbine, minus the wood and with a positively rotten bore- but complete otherwise, in very nice condition and functions slicker than grease on a door knob. Full restoration is contemplated, but that may devolve into "throw it together and make a hunter/shooter/plinker out of it".

    First, are modern 1894 barrels interchangeable with vintage ones? (Given the usual concerns of headspacing, etc. encountered when rebarreling any rifle.) Mainly concerned with threads being the same in this regard.

    Second, if I stumble onto a .38-40 barrel, or any other caliber they have been offered in, how big of a deal is it to modify/replace feed mechanism parts, and are magazine tubes caliber specific?

    Lastly, if question #2 is satisfied, how viable are the real early ones for conversion to a modern magnum pistol cartridge (.357, .41, .44)? I'm guessing it wouldn't be prudent given 120 year old metallurgy, but I don't know for a fact. Obviously I'm feeling my way through options before making a final determination as to the gun's fate.

    In that vein, anybody know of a decent barrel floating around?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Not sure if modern 1894’s will work but I believe gunpartscorp.com( Numrich Arms)had them. You probably could get the original barrel relined.

  3. #3
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    badgeredd's Avatar
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    Given the age of the rifle, I personally would investigate getting the barrel relined and re-chambered in its original cartridge. The 44-40 is a good BP cartridge as well as a moderately loaded smokeless cartridge. I would doubt there would be much involved to convert it to 38-40 because the two cartridges are so similar. The bottle neck of both cartridges aid in feeding and seal well at modest pressures.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnoahhh View Post

    Three questions concerning the 1894 Marlin.

    It is an early one, pre-1900, .44-40 carbine, minus the wood and with a positively rotten bore

    First, are modern 1894 barrels interchangeable with vintage ones ? - IDK

    Second, if I stumble onto a .38-40 barrel, or any other caliber they have been offered in, how big of a deal is it to modify/replace feed mechanism parts, and are magazine tubes caliber specific ?

    E-Z-Peazy, a good solution that only requires replacing the barrel & checking for correct headspace.

    Lastly, if question #2 is satisfied, how viable are the real early ones for conversion to a modern magnum pistol cartridge (.357, .41, .44) ?
    In that vein, anybody know of a decent barrel floating around ?

    AFAIK, Marlin Model 1894's in .44-40 are not a good candidate for conversion to .357 Magnum, due to too large magazine diameter, cartridge guides, & a different carrier config


    .44-40 & .38-40 Marlin 1894's used the same magazines, lifter & cartridge guides.

    I would suggest a call to Marlin's Customer Service Dept, with your question: Would a current production M1894 barrel in .44-40 or other caliber fit my original M1894 ? (have the SN handy)


    .
    Last edited by pietro; 03-10-2018 at 12:09 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Relining keeps all the original barrel markings. Something to think about.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    Modern marlin 1894s have a 6 degree modified square thread, which is an artifact from back in the day. I don't know if it is the same thread as your antique. I have bought a marlin 1894 44-40
    barrel, from numrich, and the groove was 0.4295", which doesn't yield acceptable accuracy with a 44-40 lead boolit.

    If you remove your barrel post pics of the threaded shank and measure the tpi, diameter, thread width and depth and I will compare it to one of my modern takeoff barrels and see if they match.

    BB

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    The cases on the .44-40 and .38-40 are the same. The .44 actually being .42 and the .38 actually being .40. Little difference, will feed the same.

    As previously mentioned, relining is probably the best way to go.

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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