Someone up there must love me . . .

. . . because within two hours of posting yesterday evening about a rifle I was seeking, I found exactly what I wanted, and at a very fair price.

I wanted a Marlin Model 1894 in .45 Colt (a 20″-barrel example is shown below), as a companion long gun to the S&W Mountain Gun I found last week.  There were a few used examples listed on gun auction sites, but their prices appeared exorbitant and (in most cases) they weren’t in like-new condition.  That’s why I posted here, asking readers to keep an eye out in their local gun stores.

I continued searching online, varying search terms to see whether I could turn up anything suitable.  Sure enough, within a very short time I came across the perfect gun for my needs – and it may be one of the rarest 1894 models, if not the rarest.  I mentioned in my earlier post that Marlin had produced a special 16¼”-barrel version for Talo Distributors.  It made about 1,000 of them, which sold out almost immediately and are almost never found for sale used (and when they are, their owners usually demand exorbitant prices due to their rarity).  However, I didn’t know that in 1997, Marlin had produced just 250 of a specially-barrel-stamped and specially-serial-numbered version for the Ohio Gun Collectors Association’s 60th anniversary, also in .45 Colt and in the same shorter barrel length.  They even named it the 1894-Ohio model.

Would you believe one was put up for sale just yesterday afternoon, new in the box and unfired?  When I found that auction last night, shortly after putting up my bleg to readers, I was overjoyed.  The ‘buy it now’ price was reasonable compared to the auction prices on other Marlin 1894’s in .45 Colt, irrespective of barrel length, and I knew that given the rarity of the short-barrel versions it was likely to be bid higher;  so I gleefully hit the ‘buy it now’ button before anyone else could beat me to it!  I’m already in contact with the seller to arrange payment and exchange of dealer information for shipping.

I particularly like the handling qualities of short-barrel carbines.  I’ve owned a few in other calibers, and learned to love the speed with which they can change direction and their instinctive ‘pointability’.  This one may have been made for a collectors association and kept in pristine condition so far, but I’m going to shoot it;  I don’t see any point in owning ‘safe queens’.  It might be in the field during hunting season this year.  My disabilities make it difficult for me to stalk-hunt, but I have friends who love to do so, and a short, light carbine makes a handy-dandy ‘brush gun’.

I’m going to sell a couple of guns that are surplus to requirements, to fund this one.  One of the sadder parts of training disabled and handicapped shooters is that sometimes one buys a firearm for a shooter whose health deteriorates to the point he or she can no longer use it.  I’ve bought several shotguns for shooters who can no longer handle them, so they’ve returned them to me in exchange for .22’s.  Anyone want to buy a Mossberg shotgun?  I have a brand-new, unfired 20ga. and a used 12ga. with a recoil compensating stock.  If you’re interested, drop me a line (my e-mail address is in my blog profile).  Tennessee sales can be face-to-face, others must send details of their dealer’s FFL.

This was your humble blogger yesterday evening – and still this morning, for that matter!



  1. Ooooo my, you lucked out ! Lever 'trapper' lengths are FUN little guns and in an old school big bore – slow bullet round, even more moreso.

    Congratulations on your good fortune sir.

  2. I like the Marlin '94. I have a 1980 vintage .357 and an older round barreled rifle in .44-40, age unknown, though I believe it's around the turn of the previous century. Both shoot well.

  3. You dog you. As one gun guy to another I hate you, excellent score my friend.
    To the best of my knowledge the rarest of the Marlin 1894s is the one in .41 magnum with octagonal barrel, but yours might just equal that.

    One small quibble, per current BATFE regulation, which of course can change in the blink of an eye, a private face to face sale of long arms may take place between residents of a state or an adjoining state. Handguns across state lines must go through FFL holders. I know it's a nit, but does open up your customer pool considerably. Not currently in need of a shotgun or I'd make the drive up to Nashville myself.

  4. I like the .41 mag a lot. I nearly bought a .41 mag lever gun like that at a gun show many years ago, but it being 1999 or so I thought an extra few cases of ammo might be a better idea, so I passed on it. Meh. Still a very nice gun, but not with that premium.

  5. Peter, gee thanks. My back pocket is feeling lighter even as we speak.

    I may have misspoke on that comment about cross state transfers. An FFL dealer can sell long arms to an individual from an adjoining state, but after digging in further it appears that does not apply to private party transfers except in the case of inheritance or other special circumstances.
    So, in general I appear to have been mistaken.

  6. You roused my curiousity – "The 'buy it now' price was reasonable" – just how much is "reasonable" for something like that these days?

  7. @Duke of URL: The problem is that the Marlins are hard to find in certain calibers. Perhaps the hardest on a routine basis is .357 Magnum, but .45 Colt isn't far behind. On the other hand, .44 Magnum is relatively easy to find, as is .45/70 in the Model 1895.

    As for prices, check out the Gunbroker listings for Model 1894 Marlins in all calibers, and note the asking prices:

    Those asking higher prices don't always get them, but many sellers are quite willing to let the auction end without a sale, then re-list the same gun a day or two later. The problem is aggravated by the shortage of recent good-quality Marlins, as when production moved to Remington their quality control went haywire. There've been some real horror stories about Marlins produced during the last decade or so. I deliberately look for pre-2000-production guns if I can find them (and I was lucky enough to do so in this case).

  8. I used a Marlin 94 cowboy in CAS for over 20 yrs. .45 colt, rifle, not carbine. To my disgust I sold it last yr. and am sorry every day. But I kept a .357 Marline cowboy carbine, so all is not lost. You will really enjoy your Marlin, the older ones are fantastic.

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