Marlin Model 1888 M1888, 1 of 4,312, Blue Octagonal 24″ Lever Action Tube Fed Rifle, MFD 1889 Antique

Sold For: $1,292.00

Make: Marlin

Model: 1888 Rifle

Serial Number: 23666

Year of Manufacture: 1889 (

Caliber: .38-40 Winchester

Action Type: Lever Action Rifle With Full Length, 13-Round Tubular Magazine

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “MARLIN FIRE-ARMS CO., NEW HAVEN CT. U.S.A. / PATENTED OCTOBER 11 1887” and at the receiver with “38-W”. The underside of the trigger plate is marked with the serial number.

Barrel Length: The octagonal barrel is 24” in length.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade marked “OCT.6.25”, the other markings are missing. The rear sight is a “U” notched leaf in a buckhorn base, which is micro-adjustable for elevation on a slide-step elevator, which is dovetailed onto the barrel.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are smooth walnut with a straight grip, blued forend nosecap and a case colored steel hammer, lever and crescent shaped buttplate; the wood was sanded in areas and all surfaces were heavily laquered. There are two unrepaired cracks on the underside of the forend and on the right flank, there is gap in fit to the receiver’s surface edge, a few gouges are present. The butt stock has 5 “kill notches” that appear to be very old, under the laquer. The butt stock has sanded gouges on the comb, they are deep and look to have been used as a striking object. The wood has gouges on the flanks, the wood fit to metal is actually quite flush. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate has mottled patina and surface erosion. The buttplate is in about Good condition. The stocks rate in about Good overall condition.

Type of Finish: Blue with case colored casehardened hammer, lever and buttplate.

Finish Originality: Factory Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray, the rifling is still defined. There is moderate depth erosion throughout the bore with a spot of deeper pitting about 1/3 the way from the chamber.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 20% of its metal finish. The surfaces have semi-abrasive cleaning marks on the receiver and lever, small amounts of blue are retained in protected areas on the barrel and magazine tube. There is a faint glimmer of coloring on the extractor, blue is also found on the loading gate. All other surfaces tend towards light erosion and darker patina. There are bruises and tooling marks around some of the screw holes. The screw heads are mostly disfigured, a few are nearly sharp and the markings are clear but shallow in spots. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good Plus condition for its age.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly although we have not test fired this rifle. The hammer has a half-cock safety position and the trigger breaks crisply. The hammer sear is slightly worn, and drags on the underside of the bolt when the action is closed. The lever locks-up solidly. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: Marlin’s Model 1888, one of the 4,312 produced with a 24″ barrel between 1888 and 1889. It has a top ejection port and some very interesting marks on the stocks. It looks like a prime cowboy piece that probably saw some action, there are five ‘kill marks’ on the wrist of the stock, which look to be older than the vintage laquered finish that was applied. Some smoothed impact marks on the comb were smoothed out and the relief in wood actually gives a comfortable ‘over the bore axis’ cheek weld. In .38-40 it was probably accompanied by at least one revolver. The front sight has a patent date in 1925, suggesting a long life of work. The bore is not the worst we have seen come out of the 1880’s it has a genuine charm from its age and use. This rifle will look great sitting next to its M1881, 1889, 1894 and 1895 cousins.

Marlin Model 1888 M1888, 1 of 4,312, Blue Octagonal 24" Lever Action Tube Fed Rifle, MFD 1889 Antique
Marlin Model 1888 M1888, 1 of 4,312, Blue Octagonal 24″ Lever Action Tube Fed Rifle, MFD 1889 Antique