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Ammo box for Marlin Safety from Winchester
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November 15, 2021 - 1:12 pm
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Winchester apparently also made ammunition for the rival companies.

Anyone know what the difference to the normal 38 WCF is? Or was it just for marketing?

 

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November 15, 2021 - 2:12 pm
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steff said
 Or was it just for marketing?
 

Right–a sales gimmick.  Though it’s surprising WRA would care to draw attention to its superior lever-action rival.  On the other hand, ammo making has always been more profitable than gun making, which is how Western ended up owning WRA, like UMC acquired Rem.  Are the bullets lead or jacketed?  Looks like lead.

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November 15, 2021 - 2:55 pm
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Same weight bullet and powder charge as 38 WCF. Don’t know about case size but they look the same.

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November 15, 2021 - 4:35 pm
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The original period production 38 Marlin Safety is different from the 38 W.C.F. Even though they are essentially the same. 

Winchester produced separate reloading tools for each caliber. They also had different Cherries for each caliber for making their respective bullet molds. So I believe the profile, shape, or lemat is slightly different between the two bullets. I’d have to dig mine out to compare them. 

The same occurs with the 40-60 Marlin and the 40-65 W.C.F. as they’re also essentially the same. But when looking at the 40-60 Marlin, they did change the bullet profile during production. The older 40-60 Marlin molds will have a round nose cavity and later ones will be flat.

After the formation of the U.S. Bureau of Standards (known today as NIST) and SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) this may have changed to make them standard across the board. There was a big push to make everything to follow a standard. Partly due to War World I and other concerns. Mostly to ease in manufacture and bring cost down. 

Winchester was considered one of the premier ammunition companies in the world and produced a wide variety of ammunition for the market. Not just merely their own calibers but for everyone else. They proudly proclaimed this in period advertisements, even as early as 1875.

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November 15, 2021 - 5:35 pm
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Maverick said
The original period production 38 Marlin Safety is different from the 38 W.C.F. Even though they are essentially the same. 

Winchester produced separate reloading tools for each caliber.  

Reasoning for that is probably the same as introducing the .38-40 after the .44-40, which was to sell another rifle. Telling the .38 Marlin owner he needed special tools may create a sale that might not be made if he already has .38 WCF tools.  Manufacturers of all products strive to convince customers that something they already own is not as good as something else the manufacturer wants to sell them; it’s called salesmanship.

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November 15, 2021 - 6:46 pm
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clarence said Reasoning for that is probably the same as introducing the .38-40 after the .44-40, which was to sell another rifle.

I suppose you could make that argument for all cartridges ever manufactured. Why have so many when only one is all you need?

 Telling the .38 Marlin owner he needed special tools may create a sale that might not be made if he already has .38 WCF tools.  

I doubt most .38 Marlin owners in the 1880s already had any additional tools. Let alone any additional guns.  

Manufacturers of all products strive to convince customers that something they already own is not as good as something else the manufacturer wants to sell them; it’s called salesmanship.  

I think it is more about brand recognition. I think Marlin wanted to have its own line of products, even though they’re essentially the same as their competitor’s but have the Marlin name attached to it to build the brand up. Winchester came before Marlin, so Marlin was trying to catch up with them.

I’d have to research it further but this article discusses Marlin relying on WRACo to make its ammunition. Which I’m not certain is the case, but interesting to ponder. We as collectors often think of these manufacturers a bitter rivals, but I think its far from the case. I’ve seen regular correspondence between various manufacturers helping each other out from time to time. 

https://www.oldammo.com/july13.htm

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November 15, 2021 - 7:52 pm
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Maverick said
I suppose you could make that argument for all cartridges ever manufactured. Why have so many when only one is all you need?
 

No you couldn’t, because “all” cartridges don’t have almost identical ballistics, but .44 WCF & .38 WCF do.  Can you look at today’s roster of 6, 6.5, 7 mm & .30 magnums & tell me this welter of very similar cartridges has been introduced for any reason except to sell new guns? 

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November 15, 2021 - 11:36 pm
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Clarence,

Come on now! Now your getting all technical on me. Everything that flies, walks or crawls has been killed with a .22 Short. From an elephant to a house fly.

All joking aside, Yes! I agree with you about salesmanship. But was focusing on the differences between the two companies.

I don’t get the movement on the modern cartridges either. But I did buy the .300 WSM when it came out, as I liked the idea of a shorter cartridge having the capability of the original .300 Win Mag. As I have shot with both calibers and for the most part enjoy that most animals I’ve shot with them have always been dead in their tracks. The only trouble I’ve found with the .300 WSM is that it is somewhat harder to reload and tends to collapse at the neck.

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November 16, 2021 - 10:45 am
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Here are two more examples:

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November 16, 2021 - 10:39 pm
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 Interesting topic.Have enjoyed reading all the posts.

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November 17, 2021 - 2:48 am
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Steff-

Great illustration of the fact that Winchester’s ammunition division of the day was in the business of making ammunition, not just ammunition for Winchesters. They even acquired other manufacturers to reduce competition and acquire patents & machinery. A fascinating business case study (so to speak) if you enjoy that sort of thing. One interesting tidbit; Winchester manufactured component shotgun shells for years before offering factory loaded shells. 

 

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November 22, 2021 - 7:35 pm
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The “Marlin Safety” bullet has a large flat tip, designed to keep pointed bullets from resting against the primer of the cartridge ahead of it in the magazine. There was a supposed risk of setting of a round in the magazine though I’ve always felt it was a solution in search of a problem but John Marlin specified that requirement to the cartridge companies.
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