Page 36 - Auction84-Book3
P. 36

Lewis L. Hepburn
     LOT 3027
Documented, Historic, Extremely Rare Marlin Hepburn Model 1888 Prototype Lever Action Rifle Photographed in “Marlin Firearms” - NSN, 44 WCF cal., 28 inch octagon bbl., blue/ casehardened finish, walnut stock. This is certainly a one-of-a-kind, historically significant Marlin prototype designed by renowned firearms inventor Lewis L. Hepburn. In fact, Hepburn’s name is stamped on the barrel. During is 30 year career at Marlin, Hepburn secured some 20 patents and designed many of the company’s most successful arms that included the Model 1888 through the Model 1897. The Model 1888 was Marlin’s second production lever action rifle and was manufactured for a very short period c. 1888/89, making it one of the shortest production Marlins. After developing the Model 1888, Hepburn went on to design the side ejection, solid flat top receiver first used on the Model 1889. This receiver design would define Marlin’s iconic repeaters, and the prototype for the side ejection receiver is also in this auction. This historic prototype rifle for the Model 1888 is pictured and identified in Brophy’s “Marlin Firearms” on pages 163-164 and is based on Hepburn’s patents. As explained by Brophy, “Hepburn’s patent number 371,455, dated October [11, 1887], covers this model; however, his earlier patents, number 298,377 of May 13, 1884, and number 354,059, dated December 7, 1886, are referred to in the 1887 patent as being of the ‘same general characteristics’” (pages 162-163). The rifle is fitted with a dovetail front sight base (blade is absent) and an elevation adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight. The only marking on the rifle is “L.L. HEPBURN” behind the rear sight. The receiver has a concave top ejecting bolt. The full octagon barrel and full length magazine are blued. The receiver, lever, forend cap and buttplate are casehardened. The uncheckered forearm and straight grip stock has highly figured walnut.

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