Marlin's entry into the .22 caliber market, introduced to compete with other popular rifles of its day, it was soon manufactured also in .32 caliber. This rifle was recommended in the 1892 catalog for farmers, as the short cartridges were appropriate for small game, and "the long ones will kill hogs or beef very handily."
The standard finish of the Model 1891 was blued; case-colored receivers and pistol grip stocks could be special ordered. Levers, hammers, and steel buttplates were case hardened. Serial numbers of sideloading Model 1891s have been reported as between 47,889 and 77,943. However, Marlin mixed models and did not have a separate series of serial numbers for models, so it is difficult to ascertain a range. It appears that around 5,000 total were manufactured.