This is the big daddy rabbit, an early 1st Year Production Marlin Model 1895 sporting rifle in Caliber 45-70. These are scarce guns and they look like the Model 1893 on steroids. This one has an Antique Pre-1898 Serial number is in the 132,000 range (all Marlin models shared the same serial range)...the first Model 95 was in the 131,000 range...so they don't get much earlier than this. The Cody museum confirmed this rifle's configuration exactly as it is...a Model 1895 in 45-70 with 26" octagon barrel that shipped on December 24, 1895. I guess Santa Claus must have been doing some last minute Christmas shopping that year! Marlin only built 18,000 Model 95's from 1895-1917. Compared to a Model 1886 Winchester, its biggest competitor, the Winchester outnumbers these Marlins 8:1. Still, of those, how many are antique with desirable octagon barrels and in the desirable 45-70 caliber? Probably not many.
Overall, NRA Antique Fine+ condition with 50-60% original case colors on the frame. 85% original barrel blue with 70% on the magazine tube. Original sights include the long-style Marlin Ballard Rear sight and Rocky Mountain front sight with German silver blade. Barrel has 1887, 1889, and 1893 Patent dates. Excellent markings throughout. Fine screws. Very good action and fine bore that has strong rifling. Wood is in Fine condition still retaining 80% of its original varnish with an attractive light orange-red hue. A very nice example of scarce big-bore Marlin. If you could have only one Marlin, this is the right model with the most appreciated configuration and caliber a collector could want!