This is a nice example of a scarce Marlin 1889 Deluxe rifle in Caliber 38-40 with a case colored frame, pistol grip stock, checkered, and deluxe wood! Wow, I thought when I first layed my eyes on her at a recent show. 1889's came standard with blued frames and even most of the deluxes tend to have blued frames and plain straight-grained walnut stocks....this one really stood out with the case colors and burl walnut. It even still has its original sights and a tang sight to boot! I couldn't believe my luck to have found such a beautiful rifle but like most things that seem too good to be true, I found out why! So before some of you start to call or email us to get a Marlin Deluxe for half-price, you need to read the rest of the story.
So there I was the following Saturday morning proudly displaying this rifle to another collector when he noted that he had seen it too the day before, What he told me next really let the wind out of my sails. Before, I tell you what is wrong with this rifle and have another helping of humble pie, I want you guys to know that I showed it to several dealers who really know there stuff. None of them could even guess what was wrong with it. You would never guess simply by looking at it! Here it is folks...the barrel measures 25 3/16" long....which is a very odd-ball length for an industry that made barrels almost exclusively in even increments of 2". You wouldn't notice it unless you pulled out a tape measure...and the fellow that told me said he never would have guessed either but there was another rifle on the dealer's table with a cut mag tube so he made an intelligent decision to whip out his tape measure. It just so happened that the Cody museum was open that day, (what a GREAT idea someone at that museum had to take time out of their weekend to be opened for a major show). Of course, if only I had known this earlier....they checked the original Marlin records while I waited on the phone which I thought was just incredible! Just one a side-note, you'd wait for months and pay more to get a single letter from any place else! The Buffalo Bill Museum will give you 40 free searches for any Winchester, Marlin, or LC Smith for 150 dollars per year and their turn-around is very fast! I highly recommend them. Back to the story, this gun letters as good as any Marlin deluxe will...their records just say it has a pistol grip stock, caliber, and barrel length. To my chagrin, but not unexpectedly, it lettered with a 28" barrel...so someone reduced it to a little over 25" many years ago. The dove tails are so good and their is 100 years worth of dirt around the front sight...you'd never know it. I guess the good news is that at 25 3/16", there is enough iron left on the end of this rifle to re-cut it to a standard 24" inch sporting rifle...however, it will always letter as a 28".
Overall condition is NRA Antique Fine+. The frame shows light mottled original case colors over both sides of the frame that is slowly subsided to a nickelly silver color....its basically worn to what someone might describe as a coined finish. The colors aren't very bright but they're present. Loading port and most of the screws still show original blue which gives a nice contrast to the coin faded metal. The barrel and magazine tube 80-85% original blue. Long Marlin-Ballard style rear sight has most of its original blue present. Front sight is the standard Marlin-Ballard Rocky Mountain Front with German silver blade.