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Thread: Vaunted "older" Marlin quality



  1. #1
    Certified Gunnut
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    Vaunted "older" Marlin quality

    First off I need to say that I love my 1894 - it's the rifle I always wanted since I was 16. But - I hear people complaining about the fit and finish of the Remlins and the almost reverential awe in while folks hold the old JM Marlins.
    Well - I ain't seeing it with mine I hate to say. First time I took it apart I was amazed at the tooling marks on virtually every interior part. Outside the gun looked good - inside I've seen better toolling from a total rookie (that would be me learning from the toolmakers and millwrights I used to work with).
    Seriously I had to stone the back of the bolt as the ridges were holding crap. Stoned out the carrier because it was showing the ding which is the start of the "Marlin Jam" - it's back after 300 rounds or so. I may put an insert of harder metal there.
    But what really got me PO'd today was my complete and total teardown. Over my years ownership I have not taken the tube mag out - well - because I couldn't. Today I decided it *would* come out. What I found was that apparently NOBODY has ever taken that thing out and I found out why. The tube has a recess cut in for the front band screw. I had to literally screw the dang tube out using a piece of leather as a strap wrench. Turns out the tube was apparently drilled to make the relief and in the process caused a raised lip which interfered with the tube holder band. It HAD to have been tapped into place as there's no way you could shove it in by hand - I tried. Now the bad part is the lip gouged the inside of the band which put a nice scratch all the way down the tube as I screwed it out. So I had to stone the tube to get rid of the lip and reblue that and the scratch.
    Now that I could get the front grip off I see that over the years crud has accumulated (because nobody could remove the tube) and caused rust at the receiver end and the front cap. Dress those and reblue. A couple hours of work that I resent. The good news is that other than that buggered slot, the fit of the parts was very tight. So tight that I had to get a file and take a tad off the front of the grip so I could get the little mounting bracket back in for the front cap.
    So for any of those Marlin oldtimers here - you need to eat a little humble pie on some of these rifles you put out. My daddy always told me to never force anything - if you had to then something needed fixin. I'd hope y'alls daddy would have told you the same thing - and to my mind the finish should be as good inside as what you see outside. Oh - and that JM stamp wasn't hit square and is light on the bottom half.
    Now - did I mention I still love my rifle?

    PS: It just occurred to me that if the tube could move then the recoil action could have mmade that raised lip? Except it was on both sides... and there was the buggered inside. Who knows - if anyone else has seen this lemme know...
    Last edited by BubbaJon; 12-31-2012 at 12:59 PM. Reason: added PS
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  2. #2
    Gun Wizard
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    I too admire the workmanship of these rifles. The edges on my Marlins, old and newer, are sharp and clean; everything fits well and tightly.

    Keep in mind that Marlins have always been made for working class hunters who needed a functional, effective and CHEAP rifle. Those tool marks are found inside expensive firearms as well. Look inside Winchesters of the same vintage. Those tooling marks usually don't interfere with action and too much stoning/smoothing may make the actions overly sloppy.

    Cleaning the crevices and wood in an old well used Marlin is only necessary every hundred years or so.

    Here is a great reference for fixing the Marlin jam. I keep several spare carriers in my tool box for this problem. JB Weld can be used in some cases.
    Rifles

    DD
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    Tenderfoot
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    I too have found that type of "quality" on several of my old marlins and mossbergs and rugers and..well you get the idea. We Americans are very good at convincing ourselves that things built inthe good old days were better then they are now. What a load that is and it does not matter whether were talking cars, firearms or any other consumer good (houses/buildings beeing the 1 exception) older rarely equates to better higher quality.
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    You mean "They just don't make like that anymore" type of statement? Hmmm, I think the house I live in falls into that category , it's made of rough sawn 2xs, It'll give but I think next to a new house in a tornado I still might have a home. Just now took a close look at the 1968 Marlin 35 RC, course it has it's nicks and dents from use, but the fit is excellent IMO even after 44 years. The tangs sit flush with the stock and the stock is flush with the receiver, the grip cap shows shrinkage now but probably sat there flush at one time, while not perfect the taper on the forearm at the receiver is done nicely and looking at the top of the forearm the width on either side of the barrel is just fine and even. I think I can state positively this old Marlin was made by folks that had pride in their work!! By our own nature nothing is flawless, as we ourselves are flawed. Mr fixit
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    Sidewinder
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    Vaunted "older" Marlin quality

    Well I guess it comes down to one thing... Older marlins, you just took it apart, cleaned it, and put it together. No hassle, every time. It just worked. Today, no matter what brand, it's mandatory to make some fitting the first time you put a gun back together. No matter what brand, it might be a brand new Blaser costing 5000 grand, or a new Marlin, it's the same thing. I know wich one I'd have...
    Dennis
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    Even more proud to own a .444p
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  6. #6
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    Both barrel band and end cap rifles can be very hard to take apart and put back together. I've had to sand and stone quite a few after taking them apart while wondering how the hell they got them together! All that combined with a barrel heating up has to play with accuracy! At the time of production I would think or hope they went together easily just for production reasons. I've often wondered if Marlin would have sealed the for end wood on the inside where it meets the mag tube that maybe it would have controlled expansion of the wood some so they would come apart easier 20 or 30 years later? On the other hand I have taken apart 100 year old plus guns without a problem except for the dang lifter screw, that one is allways a beeatch!
    Last edited by lever addict; 12-31-2012 at 03:10 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Been sayin' it for awhile, they never were perfect, fourty years ago we didn't have the internet to moan about it on, folks today just like to whine about everthing, young and old.
    "old age and trickery will beat youth and strength"
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    Your 100% right BubbaJon, I've owned Marlins since the early 60's and had many of the same issues folks complain about today. Sights off-center, wood finish, tool marks etc. You just didn't have a place to complain about it, the only ones who heard you were your hunting buddies.
    Got my first Marlin, a Glenfield 99G 54 years ago, time flies.

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  9. #9
    Tinhorn
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    You hear this alot on the S&W forum. How todays guns are inferior to yesterdays guns. Just a short while ago these same people were saying the Bangor Punta era Smiths' were lacking.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrChilly View Post
    Well I guess it comes down to one thing... Older marlins, you just took it apart, cleaned it, and put it together. No hassle, every time. It just worked.
    You misunderstand - this IS a (relatively) older Marlin. 1981 vintage.
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