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  1. #1
    Tenderfoot
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Washington state
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    1356

    Marlin Model 38 magazine tube

    Hi folks,

    I am not familiar with Marlin firearms, so I could use a little help here. I recently acquired a Marlin Model 38 hammerless pump action .22 rifle. I can't seem to figure out how to work the magazine tube. There doesn't seem to be a way to hold the outer magazine tube back while filling the inner tube with ammo through the loading port. I tried turning it left or right when I had it fully extended, but could find no holdback notch. I have resorted to pulling the outer tube fully back, gripping it tightly with my other hand, and then loading the cartridges. But I think I am missing something, since it seems Marlin would have provided some means to hold back the outer tube without the shooter having to tightly grip it to hold it back. Could my gun be missing a part? I am told there are at least a couple of Model 38 guys on this site that may be able to help me out. I look forward to any input.

    Hossfeathers :?

  2. #2
    Deadeye
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    right behind you
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    ????????

    i have one, but hogger and mm93 know best. i think it is just that way, kinda spring loaded? :? i would have to get mine out to see again what it does.....nice rifles tho.....how'd you find yours? mine was a gift from hogger.....and i intend on sending a return gift......lets see, maybe front row seats to the next britney concert?
    ike a one eyed tom cat.....

  3. #3
    Tenderfoot
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Washington state
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    1356

    Gun show find

    Hi Kaintuck,

    I found my Model 38 at my local gun show. It cost me $200, which I thought was a pretty reasonable price. The takedown joint was loose when I first got the gun, and it took me a while to figure out how to tighten it up with that innocuous looking little screw, but now its as tight as it is gonna get. The gun has a nice, tapered octagonal barrel and a shiny bore. The bluing has turned brown, but is pretty uniform on all the metal surfaces. Unfortunately, some amateur worked over the buttstock and reduced the wood to below the upper and lower tangs. Bummer! I have a new replacement buttstock for it from Precision Gunworks, but have yet to begin fitting and finishing it. Besides the magazine tube problem, one other problem I have had is mounting a tang sight on the rifle. I like to put old, original tang sights on all my .22 rifles. However, the design of the upper tang area, with the take down slider and the safety located there, makes it almost impossible on the Model 38. The big Brophy Marlin book shows a Model 38 with a tang sight (Lyman, I think) on a special base mounted on it. I haven't been able to find either another rifle with this setup on it or just the sight and base by themselves. I don't think I ever will, either. I have found a Marble special base tang sight that is marked correctly for this rifle, but I really don't like the look of the big, sweeping design of the base on the sight. I'm not sure I will use it. Anywayz, that's the story from here. I hope the other Model 38 guys spot my postings.

    Hossfeathers

  4. #4
    Marlin Marksman
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    Mar 2004
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    Gering, Nebr
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    Marlin Model 38 magazine tube

    Hoss,

    There is a hold-open feature, but it doesn't amount to much. Pull the outer mag tube fully forward, and you will see an indentation on the inner tube. There is a spring-loaded "finger" or tab built into the outer tube. When the tube is fully forward, the spring or tab will catch in the indentation of the inner tube to hold it open for loading. It does not provide all that much tension or the mag tube would stick, the tab would break, etc & so forth. Your 38 must be quite clean as the usual accumulation of gunk will normally provide enough resistance of itself.

    To cure your problem: With a quality small file, carefully freshen up the indentation on the inner tube to provide a well-defined lip for the tab to engage. Go slowly and stop as soon as the tab will stay in the indentation by itself. It should not take very many passes to do the deal. You could also put a little sharper edge on the tab, but I would only do that as a last resort. Caution is advised here, as the tube isn't any too thick and it would not take a lot of effort to cut right through it.

    Another possible problem is for the tab to be broken or missing. Only a replacement will help with that. The above remedy should not require the magazine be disassembled. These can be an aggravation to put back together. This marginal system was used on other older Marlin pump actions, too.

    If you feel like providing it, what is the serial # range of your 38? Kaintuck & I have model 38s that "were never made", if you believe everything in print. Also, does it happen to be a Rockwell gun?

    Oh, did I mention to proceed carefully with the remedy? It should not take much at all. If you have doubts, a trip to the 'smith might be in order.

    Best regards,

    SW

    Kaintuck,

    Britney tickets??!! Sir, you have my address!! Woo hoo!!
    f you got to shoot, Shoot! Don't Talk!

  5. #5
    Tenderfoot
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Washington state
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    Marlin Model 38 details

    Hi NebrHogger,

    I see the finger cut in the outer magazine tube that you are talking about. But I don't see a way, without dissasembly, of getting to either the finger or the slot in the inner tube to do any kind of sharpening, modification, etcetera, on them. And I don't see how the system worked, when everything was working properly, to release the spring finger so the outer magazine tube could slide back down to the relaxed position. Was the outer tube supposed to be pulled fully back, then was the finger supposed to be depressed into the slot with fingernail pressure while the outer tube was released, and then, when finished loading, was the outer tube to be pulled back again, allowing the finger to spring back out of the slot? I have a couple of old Marlin catalogs that show the Model 38. They don't, however, describe how the gun is to be loaded. Rats!! I'll probably just live with it the way it is.

    The serial number on my gun is 68xx. The barrel address isfirst line) "The Marlin Firearms Corporation. NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A." (second line) "<--<< PAT'D. MAR. 17. SEPT. 15. 1914. JULY 13. 20. 1915--PATENTS PENDING. >>-->".

    Any comments concerning tang sights for this model??

    Hossfeathers

  6. #6
    Marlin Marksman
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    Gering, Nebr
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    Marlin Model 38 magazine tube

    Hoss,

    The hold open was not meant to 'lock' the magazine tube in place - just delay it, so to speak. I believe it was designed to be used with as little spring pressure as possible. If it locked, it would need a release device as you have stated, so it barely held the outer tube for the brief time it would take to load. I looked a couple of mine over more closely, and you are right that it would need to be disassembled to use a file. A Dremel could be used without taking anything apart, but that would take a steady hand, and a slight bobble could ruin the tube.

    The only other possibility I see would be to clean the slot on the inner tube with cotton swabs & alcohol and then press the 'lip' or tab with a small screwdriver to see if that would hold the outer tube sufficiently to allow loading. The edges of this system were not sharp when they were new, and it would not take a lot of wear to get to the condition you have.

    The tab of the outer tube could be gently bent in to more firmly engage the slot, but that might involve considerable trial & error. Not to mention taking the whole thing apart & I speak from experience that there is considerable frustration associated with that.

    For a tang sight, I believe it is the Marble's 'simplex' M3S. I have never actually seen one mounted and can offer no advice there other than haunt the internet auction sites looking for one. If you can find an image of one, commit it to memory and pester every sight vendor at gun shows you can find. It will be more expensive than you think. Marlinman93 is very knowledgeable on the various sights. PM him & he will have more information for you. Doc Sharptail also has a good reference library & may have something to add, as well.

    Thank you for the serial number! What I am attempting to learn is a serial # range for the Rockwell guns - that were 'never made'. I regret I could not be of more help. SW
    f you got to shoot, Shoot! Don't Talk!

  7. #7
    Marlin Marksman
    Join Date
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    Winnipeg, Canada
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    Marlin Model 38 magazine tube

    I don't have much on the Marlin pumps except a xerox on the rather small section on the No. 20 from Brophy's book- other than the experience I have with the latch magazine on my 20, I'm pretty well tapped.... I had to disassemble and clean the mag-tube in order for it to stay open just asfter I got my 20. Other than to repeat the suggestion of trying it again with the action closed and slide handle forward, not much help here...

    Regards,

    Doc Sharptail
    "If you are under 25, and not a Liberal, you have no heart. If you are over 25, and not a Conservative, you have no brain."

    -Winston S. Churchill


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