SOLD FOR: $9825
Model: Factory No. 3 Engraved Model 1897
Serial Number: 246648
Year of Manufacture: 1902
Caliber: .22 Short, Long & Long Rifle
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle With Half-Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “Marlin Firearms Co. NEW-HAVEN CT., U.S.A. / PAT’D NOV. 19. 1878. APRIL 2. 1889. AUG. 12. 1890. MAR. 1, 1892.” and floral scroll engraving at the rear. The underside of the receiver is marked “246648”. The inside of the frame is marked “PAT. JUNE 8, 1897”. The top of the receiver is marked “MARLIN SAFETY”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL / 1897”. The Schuetzen buttplate is marked “CHE” with the letters superimposed over one another and floral scroll engraving. The top rear of the scope is marked “CATARACT TOOL & OPTICAL CO. / BUFFALO, N.Y. U.S.A.”. The receiver features No. 3 factory engraving which shows game scenes on the left and a dog chasing a deer on the right with floral scroll and decorative engraving throughout. The upper tang cut out on the buttstock is serial matching. The left side of the upper tang is marked “648”.
Barrel Length: 26” Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Lyman beach-style front sight that is adjustable for windage. The rear sight is a Lyman folding blade 2 leaf express sight. The upper tang is equipped with a folding aperture rear sight adjustable for elevation. There is one drilled, tapped, and filled hole on the top of the receiver that is not original to the receiver. The barrel has two custom drilled and tapped holes with an installed vintage Cataract Tool & Optical Co. scope in correct Cataract marked mounts. The scope shows scattered dustings of light oxidation, thinned edges, and some scattered light marks. The lenses are cloudy with some visibility. The scope rates in about Good condition.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are deluxe No. F checkered walnut with an S-bottom pistol grip, capped forearm, a straight comb with a cheekpiece, and fitted with a Schuetzen-style buttplate. There are some dispersed draglines, compressions, and faint scratches. There is a faint white scuff near the toe on the left side. The left side of the forend has been relieved at the rear for installation of the rear sight base. The grip areas show slight darkening from age and handling. The checkering is sharp and intact. The LOP measures 13 1/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate, with shows some scattered freckles of finish loss. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition as modified.
Type of Finish: The barrel and magazine tube are blued, the receiver is case colored, and the hammer and lever are nickel. We suspect the hammer and lever have been refinished.
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly-bright and the rifling is slightly rounded yet well defined. There is scattered freckled erosion. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 7.5/10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 70% of its metal finish. The case coloring on the receiver has mostly gone mute but is still visible on the left side; the receiver also scattered light erosion. Erosion is also present on the trigger. The barrel and magazine tube show scattered dustings of oxidation. The octagonal edges of the barrel show faint thinning. There are some light nicks and scratches throughout the metal surfaces. The screw heads range from lightly tooled to sharp. The markings are crisp and defined. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good-Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly although we have not test-fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The installed scope is included as well as a letter from the Cody Firearms Records Office.
Our Assessment: Marlin’s Model 1897 had such a successful production run that its overall design continued in use under the alias of ’97’ until 1921 when the model was changed to ’39’ and then ’39A’ around 1940. The legacy of these rifles is not exaggerated by any stretch of the imagination; a light handling, take-down rifle that has a well-balanced half-length tube magazine and 26? octagonal barrel.
This example is special, featuring factory No. 3 engraving on the receiver, No. F checkered deluxe stock fitted with a Schuetzen buttplate, and equipped with a vintage Cataract Tool & Optical Co. scope with correct mounts. The Cataract company existed for a short time, from 1895 until 1902, before being acquired by the J. Stevens Tool Company.
This is truly one of the hottest examples of a Model 1897 that has come through the office. It has seen some responsible use but has been well preserved. Any true Marlin enthusiast wouldn’t hesitate to add this one to their collection. Please see our photos and good luck!