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I want to buy a Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum, and want one with Ballard (6 groove) rifling, and the faster 1-20 twist. How do I go about recognizing one? Is there a serial number range that I can look for? Date of manufacture is possible, I think, but how do I determine that? Thanks.
 

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Read the barrel inscription(s)/stamping. If it doesn't say "Microgroove", then it's most likely Ballard rifled.

Double-check your hunch by actually looking at the rifling. Microgroove has about 12 lands/grooves, and Ballard has about only half as many.
 

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The 44 mag rifles still have the 1-38 twist. Only the newer 444 models have the faster 1-20 twist.
 
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