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Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 10/2/2008 11:18:11 PM EDT
I've got this .45-70 that's been passed down through my family for over a hundred years, but I've never been told the exact model or the history of it.. supposedly it's a buffalo gun. Cool. Also supposedly, the front sight is made from the bone of an elk this rifle took down. That's also cool. But I still don't know what the actual model is. Anyone care to lend their expertise?

Link Posted: 10/4/2008 3:41:27 AM EDT
The lever action rifle you have is a Marlin Model 1881 and according to Brophy's "Marlin Firearms", it came in two frame sizes, standard and lightweight. It appears yours is the lightweight version. The Marlin Model 1881 was the first lever action rifle chambered for the .45-70 gov't cartridge, coming on the market five years before Winchester's Model 1886. Marlins such as yours do have considerable collector interest and are fast approaching Winchesters in price. HTH, > Gary
Link Posted: 10/4/2008 4:49:23 PM EDT
front sight story is cool but it also may be ivory. ivory will yellow with age.
Link Posted: 10/5/2008 6:21:05 AM EDT
A quick way to tell is by the loading gate. The newer ones 93's, 94's push in like the Winchester. The older ones 81's pushed forward like the one you have.
There is one on Gun Broker in 32-40 for $1990. But no one has bid on it for that price.
Link Posted: 10/5/2008 2:13:39 PM EDT
Then it's an '81. Thanks for the help guys, and yes, the loading gate slides forward instead of pushing in.

On that note, anyone know any rounds that'll feed in this? I can't get Winchester or Hornady LEVERevolution to get through the gate. It's like the rims are too wide or something.
Link Posted: 10/9/2008 3:14:13 PM EDT
I've never loaded an 1881 so I don't know if there is a trick to it but I would have a smith look at it to make sure it is a .45-70. I measured some old internal primed cases and some new cases and the rim measures the same.  So I would have it looked at.
Link Posted: 10/9/2008 9:59:56 PM EDT
It is a .45-70.. the rounds chamber just fine if I load it from the top. I just can't get them through the gate and into the magazine/tube.
Link Posted: 10/12/2008 5:59:34 PM EDT
Might this be a blackpowder only gun due to age?
Link Posted: 10/17/2008 9:48:53 AM EDT
It's possible I suppose. I don't really know that much about this gun, to be honest. Just that it's been in the family for over 100 years and that the front sight is made from bone from an animal the gun was used to take down.
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