1893 Marlin 38-55


April 19, 2013, 02:16 PM
I've got a nice old Marlin 1893 in 38-55, 24" barrel. Problem is throat eroded away out to 6-8", then rifling becomes what I feel is capable of again gripping a boolit. For obvious reasons I don't want to replace the barrel. One things that crossed my feeble mind was free boring it to the good rifling. Remember, I said feeble! I've never seen this done and probably for good reason. What does the forum think about this? Could it work or would it just smear the grooves cut in the boolit?
I've already been advised by the forum against relining for strength reasons.
Another option would be to have new rifling cut to a larger bore. What would be the next logical caliber up?
Of course I can just hang it on the wall, but that bothers me too.
Then I could also sell it, but that also bothers me
Decisions, Decisions-What to do?

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Maj Dad
April 19, 2013, 09:31 PM
If it were a 30-30 you could rebore it to 38-55 :rolleyes: but I think you're kind of stuck. If it were a short cartridge you could go to 44-40, but you would have all kinds of issues with the feed mechanism & bolt. You might talk with a good smith & see if he had any suggestions - I'm stumped... :confused:

April 19, 2013, 10:05 PM
After I finished cleaning the barrel as well as possible (little each day with Shooter's Choice over a 3 week period trying to make sure I got all the leading out), I was going to carry it to the range just to see if it would group despite how bad it looked. Before going there I slugged the barrel to see where that stood. Well it didn't fair well as I found the bore slugged out at .383 to .384, that's.007 over the .377 boolits I have! Geez, I can't seem to get a break here!
Anybody out there have a handfull of full of .384 bootlits I can try? Yea I know, its not the standard fare!

highlander 5
April 19, 2013, 10:25 PM
Bit of a pain but have you considered paper patching the bullets that you have on hand?
You can never tell it might work.

April 19, 2013, 10:52 PM
Great suggestion, a fellow reloader and I were talking about some old paper patch 30-30 cartridges I have. Although I do not know how to do it or what to use for patching. Can you help me here?

April 20, 2013, 02:37 AM
For info on paper patching take a look at the Corbin website, they make swages for all types of bullets including paper patch. There is an online manual with a chapter on making and using paper patch bullets. Also I'm sure you could find info on the CastBoolits forum on the subject.

Reboring to .40 caliber seems like your best answer if there is enough meat on the barrel to handle it. The 'factory' cartridge that is closest to the .38-55 is the .40-50 Sharps straight, the problem might be the rim diameter which is 0.025 larger than the Winchester case. This would bring you out to a .407 diameter bullet, which means you cast your own bullets. The other way might be to open up the chamber to absolutely straight and fire form your .38-55 cases to take a .400 diameter bullet. You could then use the many cast bullets available for the .40 S&W and 10mm Auto cartridges, which range up to 200gr. I'd suggest talking to the people doing the Reboring since they would also be doing the chambering. For sure in either case stick to cast bullets only, the washed out throat in your rifle sounds exactly like what happens to a soft steel barrel subjected to a lot of jacketed bullets.

highlander 5
April 20, 2013, 01:42 PM
I've read a little on paper patching bullets but never have done it myself and IIRC you want to cut the paper in a trapezoid shape in a length that's approx. 3 times your bullet dia. and the width of your grease grooves. I knew one guy who used the old style green and white computer printer paper and AFAIK had good luck with it. Measured some common paper types on hand and the thickness seems to be in the .003" range.

April 23, 2013, 02:27 PM
Update: I am in the process of learning to paper patch now. More as it develops. Thanks for all the help.
So far I've learned plastic straw covers are .001 thick and wet well, some note book paper is .0025 thick and doesn't wet well. Biggest problem so far is expanding the case neck to .385 to accept the patched boolit without the proper belling die. I'm having too improvise. Every step is a quest.

April 24, 2013, 02:34 PM
2nd update: 4 shots ; 2 keyhole, 2 clean, all in 5" group at 20 yards. Load 23.0 gr IMR 3031, 250 gr l fn. Wendy's bag for patching. .Load is way on light side so next try will be 25 gr. May be a mute point but i'm having fun with the paper patching. Got the belling part solved with the shank end of a w letter drill (.3 86)

Bob N. Weave
April 29, 2013, 10:58 PM
Advised against re-lining for STRENGTH reasons?? If it were my gun I would re-line it. This is not a high pressure cartridge!

Jim Watson
April 30, 2013, 02:09 AM
I found an article on relining a Trapdoor Springfield. Read it and call some of the people mentioned.

A .38-55 liner is $5.39 per inch at Track of the Wolf.
That's $130 for a 24 inch; plus labor to install.

May 1, 2013, 10:11 AM
Great gun. I bought mine for $25.00 in 1961. With hard cast heavy bullets and a moderate load, it is one of the most accurate rifles I own despite a somewhat pitted barrel. I'd consider relining yours. Don't know how much you have in it, but relining sounds like a reasonable option.

May 1, 2013, 03:09 PM
Thanks for input men.
I got worse results with 2nd batch of patched boolits. I am giving up on that road, but hey it was a fun project! The chamber seems to be in much better shape than the barrel and i'm hacing a hard time chambering the patched bullet wirhout extremely compressing the patched boolit which I feel is conducive to my goal.
I don't want to change the barrel so it looks like I have two options : reline or rebore.I talked to JES Reboring. He recommends .444 marlin. If I rebore to a cailber not offered in this gun, I feel I will distroy its value. I need to do some research into what was originally offered in this rifle.
Anybody out there know the original offered calibers?

Jim Watson
May 1, 2013, 10:04 PM
As I recall, the 1893 was designed for .32-40 and .38-55; easily adapted to .30-30 and .25-36 to compete with 1894 Win.

.444 would be a stretch on size and an overload on pressure if a factory load slipped in.

Rebarrel, reline, or wall hanger.

You could rebarrel and save the worn out one for display by posterity.

It might clean up to .39-55 Pope, but that would not be original, either.

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