View Full Version : Marlin Model 1894

July 17, 2005, 01:46 PM
I recieved as a gift a Marlin Model 1894 lever action, octagon barrell originally chambered for 32-20. Beautiful rifle.

At some point in it's life it was smithed to accomodate the .38 special round.

But, although the .38 specials fit in the tube magazine, and will fire just fine in single fire mode (hand inserted rounds) it will not work the rounds from the magazine into the chamber.

Two questions:

1. Has anyone an opinion of this rifle in .38? The barrel is very thick, but the action is whatever it was before I assume.

2. Any idea as to why it won't work the rounds?


July 17, 2005, 02:06 PM
Will they actually go into the magazine tube? If they will, I would think maybe they are too big for the tube to move freely with an old magazine tube spring. If they will go into the tube, I would look to Numerich to replace the magazine tube spring with one designed to push the 38-40 cartridge. If they won't fit in the tube, I would replace the magazine tube and spring. Sounds to me like they went the cheap way of converting the caliber and left the rest of gun alone. Good luck with it.

July 17, 2005, 02:19 PM
They do go into the tube. Sometimes the first round will chamber OK, but most often it gets stuck when about half into the chamber, as though the round is too long and is going in a bit off-center. When that happens the bottom of the cartridge is not seated into the space for it where the firing pin is.

Often the second cartridge will only come about halfway out of the tube magazine and then it jams. It will not be stuck tight, a screwdriver inserted into the opening will push it out easily, but it will be jammed up against the lifter.

A stronger spring might be a good idea, but I am not certain it will take care of all the problems. Worth a try though.

July 17, 2005, 02:39 PM
From loking at the two rounds, I would think the carrler would pick up the cartridge. It sounds like the carrier is having a hard time lifting the cartridge all the way. A simple fix for this might be to bend the end of the carrier up a little. The only problem with this is the carrier might not go down far enough to allow the 2nd round out of the mag tube and ontop of the carrier which sounds like you have this problem already. Sometimes the culprit is the magazine spring so this is where I would start. Get one for the 38-40 and replace it. If this doesn't solve the problem, then you will need to look into the carrier more and see if the round is coming down from the magazine and landing ontop of it completely. If it isn't, the part that catches the round in the magazine may not be working correctly. If you think you can handle all of this, it isn't too hard to take careof, if not, I would advise taking the gun to a competent smith.

July 17, 2005, 03:02 PM
I just ordered the spring from Numrich. Will give that a try and see if it solves the problem. If not, would a follower made for the 38-40 be worth looking at? Is it different than the 32-20?

July 17, 2005, 05:24 PM
Without seeing if there is a difference, hard to say, but they should be about the same. This gun is fairly simple in operation. The bolt helps to catch the next round coming out of the magazine. When the bolt goes back, the carrier lifts the round up so the bolt can push it into the chamber. If the carrier doesn't lift the round all the way up, the nose of the bullet can stub in the chamber. This may be what you are talking about. In this case, the carrier needs to be bent up most of the time to help the case get high enough. Sometimed though, this will keep the carrier from going low enough for the case to get on top of it. When this happens, you need to do some other things to allow the carrier up high enough, but to be able to go low enough. Let me know if you need more help with the gun.

July 17, 2005, 05:38 PM
I see what you are saying: There may be a happy medium of bending it up a bit while still leaving it low enough to catch the round to start with. Very good point, I will check that out too. I do appreciate the help! :)