I just got this old Marlin 12 Ga shot gun in trade - trying to find out some info on it. It is an exposed hammer pump with a safety button on the right side by the hammer. Serial # is 69537 and BBL number is 71557F. Has 4 screws on the left side of the reciever - 2 small and 2 large and 3 screws on the right side 2 large and one small. Seems to be in pretty fair shape on the wood and there is some blue left but the safety button does not work and it racks hard but does rack.
Wondering if anyone can look up the serial numbers and tell me the year it was made I also think it may be a 1898 Model?? Called a Widow Maker Also wondering what it might be worth ( a value range??) so I can decide it it is worth taking to a gun smith to check over and make any repairs?
Is the 'safety' in question a button just to the right and aft of the bolt? If so, that is an action release. I just bought my 3rd 'Standard Model'. They were made before January of 1899 and have the 3 patent numbers you noted. In early 1899, the guns were marked 'Model 1898'. The 'Standard' did not have an action release button. The firing pin must be pushed inward to unlock the bolt. There is a secondary sear that holds the hammer back until the bolt is locked up properly. Later models had other parts added for safety. These guns have a bad reputation as being unsafe. They were made with typical Marlin quality of the period. If the guns are not maintained properly, the safety devices may not function properly, thus, allowing the gun to be fired with the action not fully locked. The barrels usually do not bear the same serial as the receiver. Barrels were made, proofed and set aside for assembly to the receiver group as they rolled off the line. I use Polywad or RST 2-1/2" shells in these guns and do it without worry. I use my antique shotguns for grouse hunting and do not fire more than a few boxes per year through any of them.
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Thanks - I appreciate the answer - I was beginning to wonder if I would get any response. The button is on the right side of the exposed hammer and seems to be broken - or the spring is broken because it just floats up and back and does not seem to have any effect. If that is an action release that may be why it doesn't rack very well. The trigger releases the hammer pretty solidly. The floor plate also seems to always be in the up position rather then down - exposing the shell The trigger also has a sort of 1/4 cock on the hammer - when I pull the hammer back slowly it will set on a partial cock notch and the trigger will not release - pull the hammer all the way back and it works fine. It also has a 1/2" brass square set in a diamond pattern - one of the square points pointing up and looks like it has a pin in it - possibly tapered since one side (left) is 1/4" and the right is about 3/16" round pin. Looks like it might be pinning the stock to the action? The guy I got it from thought it was a decoration. No model 1898 on it so I guess it was made prior to 1899??
Any Idea of a value range on these old shot guns? I'm just trying to determine if it is worth any gunsmith time?? Not wanting to use it much as a shooter but I prefer to have it functional.
Thanks again for the response.
Last edited by motovate; 12-22-2011 at 05:36 AM.