This is an interesting special order Marlin Deluxe Rifle with an antique serial number in the 173,000 range. It has checkered wood and a pistol grip stock with 32" octagon barrel in Caliber 32-40. Left side of the barrel is marked "Special Smokeless Steel"...so it was graded for both black and smokeless powder rounds. We called in the serial number to the Cody Museum which houses the original Marlin Factory records and they confirmed this rifle's configuration is correct and original. As you will note in the photos, Marlin did not offer a full magazine past 30" so on all special order guns with 32" barrels, the magazine will always stop 2" shy of the muzzle. This rifle shipped from Marlin's New Haven factory on October 7, 1898. Back in the 1800's, 32-40 was considered to be one of the finest black powder cartridges in existence. It was incredibly accurate and set a record for a 10 shot group at 200 yards that lasted for nearly a century. Even today, the vast majority of modern smokeless rounds still cannot out-perform a good 32-40 at 2-300 yards. Can you imagine how accurate this rifle with its 32" barrel must have been 100 years ago during its period of use. Whoever used this sure must have thought so as it has 49 hunter's kill notches on the left side of the stock.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Good+. The frame is mostly light grey with strong traces of silvered out case colors in the corners and edges of the receiver, bolt, lever, and hammer. Top of frame marked "Marlin Safety" in script. Barrel and mag tube have mostly aged to a plum patina. Good markings and edges throughout with the "32-40" caliber on top of the barrel just in front of the frame. Left side of barrel next to rear sight has the Special Smokeless Steel designation which the top of the barrel has the Marlin address and patent dates. Rear sight is original...its the standard long Marlin-Ballard type while the front is a special Lyman Hunting sight with ivory bead and matted face..an add-on from the dealer or hardware store that was considered superior to the standard Marlin blade front. Very good screws throughout. Action works and it appears the extractor and firing pin are intact. The bore has good rifling but a shallow ring about 8" from the muzzle. Wood shows lots of wear and usage. Original checkering on the pistol grip or wrist of the stock is worn but all there and visible. Forend checkering has worn almost completely from carry wear. 20% original varnish remaining. As mentioned earlier, there are numerous kill notches (probably deer) where some careless hunter was keeping score on the left side of the stock. Its a colorful gun with what I'd describe as more "character" and/or personality than condition. This is not by any means a nice deluxe rifle but you'll have a tough time finding one with these features for a more reasonable price.