I recently received this nice Marlin model 88-DL as a gift from my very dear friend and fellow MO member, Maudite. Found in the used gun rack at small shop near him, he spent quite some time restoring it to the condition you see here…
He did a fantastic job and the gun is in phenomenal condition for its age, both cosmetically and mechanically, with just enough small battle scars and wear to lend character. After receiving it from him, I spent the rest of the day admiring it, that evening exploring the inner workings, and the next few days developing a strong desire to learn more about this fascinating Marlin.
The model 88 is a .22 LR autoloader, with a fifteen shot tubular magazine, fed through the butt plate. Originally wearing a 24 inch barrel with Ballard rifling, which was changed to Micro-Groove later in production, the standard version, the 88-C, was introduced in 1946. It is a man-sized rifle with an overall length of a bit over 45 inches, and tipping the scales at 6 3/4 pounds. Sights were the standard Marlin fare, a dovetailed rear notch with elevation slide and a hooded front bead.
The 88-DL was not introduced until 1953 and differed from the 88-C by its hand checkered walnut stock, factory installed sling swivels, and a peep sight mounted to the rear of the receiver. In this example, the receiver is grooved for scope mounting and the barrel is Micro-Grooved, but the peep sight is understandably but regrettably missing, (if anyone knows where I could locate one, I would be forever grateful). Both versions of the 88 were discontinued in 1956, the DL having only a three year production run.
A trip to the range proved the old gal could function just fine, fifty rounds passing through the very smooth action without a bobble. Loading was made easy by a shallow funnel in the butt plate leading to the mouth of the tube magazine. Without the original peep, I had to force these aging eyes to focus on the standard open sights, a very fine u-notch and bead combo. Even so, I was rewarded with ten shot groups at 25 yards hovering around one inch, often with six or seven of those holes clustering into a half inch. My eyes simply can not do better, and the addition of a vintage scope may be the next step to see what she is really capable of.
With Swany’s help, I was able to locate copies of some vintage advertisements….
…but beyond this, there is precious little information available on this interesting old Marlin. Even here on MO, the only reference I could find was an unanswered question on the model 88, dating back to 2004. If anyone has any additional information, please feel free to add it to this thread.
Another heart felt thank you, Maudite. This rifle is a great piece of Marlin history, but it’s the time and effort you put into it, that makes it so special. You’re one in a million pal, and I’m honored to call you a friend.
Barenjager, thanks for the informative post.
So if I understand correctly, this gun loads through a tube in the buttstock, is that correct? How is it for taking down and cleaning? My impression is that it could be a maintenance nightmare, and complicated to manufacture. I don't know, that's just my impression.
Incidentally, if you're interested, I found this post in another forum: http://www.marlin-collectors.com/for...pic.php?p=7598
Thanks for sharing.
Actually takedown is quite easy. But a word of warning...as I was researching this rifle I found a few examples listed on the various auction sites. Invariably, each one had damage to the back plug at the rear of the receiver as shown in this picture taken from one of those auctions...
Sad. Pliars or vice grips are NOT needed. In fact, you will never get the back plug removed this way...it does not unscrew! Even my 88, as good as it's condition is, shows a little of this type of damage from some time in it's distant past...
I had no parts diagram or takedown guide when I first began to disassemble this rifle, and my first impression was the same as many others have apparently and mistakenly thought...but it didn't take me long to realize the back plug removes easily, without tools. A little study and thought goes a long way in preventing harm. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.
To disassemble the Model 88 for cleaning or maintenance, first make sure the rifle is unloaded, put the safety in the off position and pull the trigger to uncock the action. Remove the magazine tube...then unscrew the single stock bolt.
Lift the barreled action out of the stock by tipping the barrel up slightly and sliding the barrel and receiver forward a little to clear the feed tube and trigger group, as can be seen in this picture...
Once you have the action out of the stock, depressing the two opposing back plug retaining buttons simultaneously (as indicated by the red arrow), will alllow the back plug to be easily removed, along with the recoil spring, firing pin spring, recoil guide rod, and rear firing pin. The back plug contains the recoil and firing pin springs within the receiver and is under spring pressure. Control it as you remove it from the receiver.
Pulling forward on the bolt handle will remove it from under it's retaining pin allowing the breech bolt to slide to the rear and be removed out the back of the receiver. Take down can continue, but for normal cleaning this is as far as is necessary. Pretty simple and straight forward, and in this way the bore may be cleaned from the breech. Reassemble in reverse order making sure the safety is to the rear before reinstalling the back plug.
What I thought was rather ingenious, was the way this take down feature was designed. The bulbous end of the recoil spring guide mates with tapered cuts in each locking button, forcing them outward under spring pressure supplied by the recoil spring. As the breech block travels rearward upon firing and compresses the recoil spring, additional pressure is exerted upon the buttons forcing them into even tighter contact with the receiver. A simple but effective design.
As Swany pointed out, Numrich has some parts available for these old Marlins as can be seen in this link...
He was also kind enough to forward a parts diagram...
Last edited by Barenjager; 02-13-2013 at 12:06 PM.
Very nice looking Marlin Roe. I, too, thank you for all the information on the Model 88. I have picked a few up at gun shows to examine but they didn't look anything like your fine rifle.
Great thread on a unique old Marlin,Barenjager.Caused me to dig mine out.It could certainly use a refurb too.I had forgotten the missing front sling swivil(gotta fix that).But it is wearing a pretty nice old Weaver B4 scope with Tip-Off mounts.Thanks for the re-mind.
Interesting scope. It looks like you could put an eye out with it.
Now I want to look around for one of these old Model 88's. Looks like a very interesting gun.
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Yep,eye-relief is under two inches,I think they may have come with a rubber eye cup??,like a lot of other early 3/4" peep-hole scopes.Originally Posted by Halwg
I've seen these on a few auctions and thought would be a neat little addition to the Marlin'itis addiction accuring in my little Man Room..
Gonna have to do some searching now....
Well, at least now I would know what a Model 88 looks like and wouldn't be afraid to pick one up. Thanks again for a great thread.
Thanks Barenjager for the info on the 88. I have a ole 88 and love it, I'm a prudy good size feller and the 88 fits me better than any of the rest of my Marlin 22 rifles. Seems to me like the stock is bigger and beefer than any other 22 rifle I've owned, thats why I say it fits me better. The receiver on mine is not grooved for mounting a scope. I never knew what years they were made, so thanks again for the info!!
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