Expert advice, appraisals and the fascinating stories behind your firearms
I own a Marlin Model 1893 in .32-40 for black powder only (above). The serial number is 407977. I’m looking for a cartridge to display with this rifle.
WANDERING RIVER, ALBERTA
The .32-40 was a fairly popular cartridge, and it can usually be found at gun shows. Winchester made some commemorative boxes of the .32-40 a couple of decades ago, and they seem to show up at gun shows fairly regularly. You could also try Ontario’s Ellwood Epps (www.ellwoodepps.com), which can make a special order if there are none in stock.
The Marlin 1893 was produced from 1893 to 1936; yours was likely made around 1907 or 1908. Marlin offered two variations of the rifle. One was marked “Special Smokeless Steel,” and it had a case-hardened receiver. The other variation was marked “For Black Powder,” and it had a blued receiver; it was also referred to as the Model B.
The Model 1893 is well regarded by collectors, but values vary widely depending on the rifle’s condition. Assuming there’s no rust, pitting or broken parts, even with 40 per cent of its original finish it would likely bring in $700 to maybe $1,000 at an auction. Double that amount if it’s in 70 to 80 per cent of its original condition; at 90 per cent, it could command $3,000-plus. Since your rifle was made for use with black powder, I think you are wise to keep it on display only. It is certainly a fine collectible well worth preserving.