Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

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BUSSMAN69
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Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

I recently purchased a Marlin Model 1894 in .44-40. Serial number traces to an 1897 manufacture. Rifle is in really good condition with a good, shootable bore. On the right rear of the barrel, right ahead of the forearm. Are 4 British Proofmarks. These are from the London Proof House, not the Birmingham Proof House. Apparently these exact same proof marks were used up into the mid 1950's yet.
A Google search turned up some old threads from this forum from around 2010. That's all that showed up though. So for some reason this rifle made it from here to Britain and then back to the states again. Both trips would have been by ship I would imagine. The stories this rifle could probably tell ?? That is very impressive to me, and adds to the appeal of the rifle to me definitely.
Does anyone have any input as to what this rifle may have been doing over there or how it got over there and then made it's way back ? It is an estate rifle, so may have been back over here for quite awhile now.
Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) »

BUSSMAN69;

Very good possibility that your Marlin Model 1894 was sent over to England during WWII in the lend-lease program. I have seen a number of firearms that made the trip. Since the UK has restrictive firearms laws. the civilians were unarmed during the war, so Americans sent over their owned firearms to arm the UK citizens in case of a German invasion. The guns were returned after the war.
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marlinman93
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by marlinman93 »

It's also possible the gun was sold new to a dealer in England. Marlin sold a lot of rifles to John Rigby co. and he was the largest dealer of Marlin firearms in England. So much so that in the early days of Marlin rifle production John Marlin offered a "Rigby Model" Ballard named after John Rigby. It continued throughout production of the Ballard rifles.
Possibly an Englishman immigrated to the US at some point later, and brought this rifle back here with him.
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BUSSMAN69
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

Well a BIG Thank You to the replies to my post. Apparently there are a couple of different possibilities as to how this particular rifle would have made it over to Britain and back again. It makes it twice as appealing to me as a Model 1894 that didn't make the trip over the pond and back. If only it could talk. And it is in great condition too. With a great bore and probably very shootable. So it was very well taken care of during it's adventures overseas and back. I feel very fortunate to have it in my collection now. Thanks again for the replies on this subject.
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marlinman93
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by marlinman93 »

A hint as to whether it was sent over to England when new, or later taken along used with an owner, is the buttplate. English hated crescent buttplates, and almost every Marlin rifle I've owned or seen with British proof marks on it had a shotgun style hard rubber, or steel buttplate. I think when they were ordered and sold new to England they were requested to have these non crescent buttplates.
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BUSSMAN69
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

MARLINMAN93,
Thank You for yet some more new information that I was not aware of. This rifle has the steel crescent butt plate, what I refer to as the "Rifle" style butt plate. So this would definitely be the kind that the Limeys hated so much. So with that being said, maybe this was a WWII lend lease gun from an American gun owner ???
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marlinman93
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by marlinman93 »

It is extremely unusual to see a crescent buttplate on one sold new. So another possibility is an American immigrated to England, and brought the gun with him. Then later went back home with the same gun. If you were only visiting your gun wouldn't get proofed. But if you brought a gun with you, and applied to stay they would require the gun to be proofed.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
BUSSMAN69
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

So that would be another possibility for this particular rifle. If only it could talk. Thanks again for that information. So now there are 2 possibilities for the British proof marks. A WWII lend lease gun or an English immigrant that crossed the pond and later came back to this country with this rifle in hand. However this rifle ended up with British proof marks on it, from the London Proof House. It's fascinating to me, we'll never know for sure. Thanks again for the input, it is appreciated.
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marlinman93
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by marlinman93 »

As I mentioned, it's also possible it was an American who immigrated to England with the rifle, and then later returned home to the US. Or maybe he passed away in England, and his wife came home with it?
I'm not following why the London proof house is unusual? If this wasn't taken over by it's owner when it was new, then it wouldn't get proofed until the owner went to England. They will proof it at the time it's taken there.
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

Nothing unusual about the London Proof house. Just pointing out that the proof marks on it are specific to the London Proof House, not the Birmingham Proof House. Not even really sure what, if any difference there is between them. So don't know if one was for civilian guns and the other was for Military weapons maybe ??
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marlinman93
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by marlinman93 »

Historically the London Proof House is the oldest of the two proof houses, starting back in the 1600's. Birmingham is the new kid, starting around 200 years ago. Both serve the same function, so it's likely just a case of which was closer to the owner when he wanted to have to have his rifle proofed? Birmingham Proof House is more Centrally located to the entire country, so unless the owner lived in London it would likely do most proof work outside the London area.
I doubt there's any more significance to it beyond where the gun owner lived.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
BUSSMAN69
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Re: Model 1894 with British Proofmarks on the barrel.

Post by BUSSMAN69 »

Well Thank You again for that information and update. Really glad I finally decided to join this Marlin Collectors Association website. There is a wealth of information on here when you get to the right people. I have learned alot in the last year and a half of starting to collect old Marlin Lever Guns. And getting a copy of Brophy's book was priceless. Too bad there is no serial number information after around 1906. And then with a serial number block being used on every gun they made, instead of a specific model. Talk about mass confusion. I don't know how Brophy was ever able to figure anything out for sure.
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