I started thinking about one of my Marlins. A 336, 30/30 my grandfather left me, I killed my first deer with when I was 12. I was thinking how special that rifle is to me, and just how ordinary it must seem to most people my age and older.
With the massive volume of them on the streets, they are just nothing special to most people.
Then as my mind does, it wandered to something else. How many of them are really out there? Well, WIKI says over 3.5 million produced. Man, that is a lot. So as my mind wandered some more, I thought, how many different counties are in the US? Quick google search says 3007.
So, the average would be every county in the US has 1163 Marlin 336’s in it. Then, my mind goes to other rifles, shotguns, pistols, that are as popular and more popular that have been sold in the US
Win 94, 7.5 million, 2494 per county
Remington 870, 11 million, 3658 per county
As special as some of my guns are to me, it just makes me think of the stories each one of these guns could tell, and what they mean to their owners, or the grandfathers and dads that pass them down to their kids and grandkids. There are a lot of memories sitting in closets and safes, riding in trucks, hung above fireplaces, in museums, in the gun rack at deer camps. The US is a special place, and our freedoms gave us some of our best memories. I just hope my grandkids enjoy those freedoms, and think back on the memories that they had in the field with their guns.
God bless our troops! Thanks to all that serve or have served!
NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Pistol Instructor
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Pretty cool OP. Sometimes perspective can be astounding.
Big, flatnose bullets eliminate tracking.
NRA Benefactor Life Member
That is great you have your Grandfather’s 336. I wish my Grandfather had left me a rifle. But I think you’re spending too much time at the calculator, when you could be out there collecting the other 1162 Marlin’s in your county.
I have my Grandfathers Winchester 94 manufactured in the early 40's. It is well worn from riding in a saddle scabbard for years when he worked as a cowboy in Idaho and western Montana. I have heard some of the story's that went with this gun but I wish it could talk as I am sure there are many more. The one I liked the best as a kid was the one shot kill of a grizzly at 20 feet. I believe the lever actions filled a need of a well built, dependable tool that was powerful enough and was portable enough to always be there. Keep enjoying your Grandfathers rifle.
I believe you're over thinking this. There is only one of those guns. It is the one that was past down to you. It's up to you to raise your kids to appreciate what is handed down or inherited from loved ones. Sounds like you've done a good job and congrats.
My heroes’ have always been cowboy’s
There are a lot of good stories out there, and a lot of people wondering where 'grandpa's' rifle might be, while wishing for a glimmer of hope that they could find it and reacquire it.
I'm in that position, myself.
And I do love a good story that goes along with a firearm. Never buy the story; buy the gun. But don't discount the story
But, there are plenty of rifles whose stories are common and uninspiring.
I had a '79 336 .30-30 come to me by way of a family friend. He had gotten it in trade in the late '90s, and used it for a few deer and elk hunts with his son. He had zero attachment to it. Neither did his son. The original owner was the same - he didn't care about it.
It was just a tool.
Like many other rifles out there, it was destined to be a drifter - bouncing from one owner to the next, until it did become part of an important memory, or it was unceremoniously stripped for parts. (Both of those happened in my hands, but that's another story.)
I had a very special rifle about a decade ago. It was a prototype Model 800 variant, built by Mossberg in an attempt to get into the Police market. ...But nothing interesting enough to make it any more valuable than their standard 800s. After Mossberg went belly-up in '78, the rifle went with a former employee, changed hands many times, and founds its way into the truck of a farmer in Southeastern Idaho. It was a truck gun. A tool. It was shamelessly traded to my brother for a set of elk antler drops (a matched set, found three years apart!). It was beaten, battered, and well-used. My brother treated it as a tool. It came my way, and I treated it as a tool. Eventually, I discovered the rifle's true nature, and restored it. Then, I sold it (for a substantial profit). The next owner told me that he intended to give it to his son in Texas, where it would be used, yet again, as a "truck gun"...
And then there are the rifles at the other end of the spectrum: The abused, misused, and abandoned.
Rifles that are treated poorly. Rifles left to rot. Rifles used in crimes. Rifles horrendously misused, such as propping up a dishwasher or being part of a rack on a snowmobile.
The poor things...
I can't say that I "specialize" in such; but a big part of my project lineup and many of my favorite rifles come from the "drifter" and "abused" categories.
My favorite shotgun was found, rusted and broken, in a sunken duck boat.
My favorite .22 rifle was stripped for parts ... in the Sixties ... and used as a door prop in a gunsmith's shed for forty years.
Though not my favorite, another one of my well-loved shotguns (by others in the family, especially), was rolled over by a horse, badly broken, and used to hold open the damper above a wood stove. (Same gunsmith's shop.) I bought it for $8, as "parts".
I have what's left of a handgun that was used in a fatal crime. (Ordered destroyed by the court, so their contractor destroyed the frame - but sold the rest of it.)
I have an AR-15 upper receiver built around a barrel that was drilled clean-through by someone "trying to remove a stuck gas block screw", and then used as a jack handle in a hydraulic press. (Shoots great! Looks "special". Got it stupid-cheap.)
I have another .22 rifle that was in a house fire and unceremoniously sold to a pawn shop for pennies by the owner. All it needed was a good cleaning and some metal refinishing.
My first 336W was disliked by its original owner, and passed around the family like an STD in a mining town. No one cared about that particular rifle. (It did finally find its happy place - but as a 444!)
I could go on for at least a dozen more examples that I own, plus more in my family.
But there's one more category, or sub-category...
The rifles that SHOULD have made memories, but never did.
I have two personal examples to share, but I have more and know of many more involving other people.
A few years ago, my grandfather decided that it was time to divvy up his collection, and let his children have them (most retired or nearly-retired, themselves). The family met at the house, agreed that certain items needed to go to certain people, due to important memories attached to them, and then went about taking turns choosing which other rifles and shotguns they wanted. After each of the kids had at least two rifles and/or shotguns chosen, my grandfather stopped them and asked,
"Why isn't anyone choosing the Model 70?! I worked on that for five years! You guys want a bone-stock Marlin 336 and the [fatherless child] Springfield with a bad chamber [03A3 in .30-06 AI]; but you don't want the Model 70! Why don't you care? Doesn't it matter to you?"
This was very true. It was a beautiful Winchester Model 70 that he had fully customized, stoned and polished, refinished, and inletted into an amazing piece of Bird's-eye Maple that had a hand-rubbed Tung oil finish to make it really pop (the entire stock was smothered in Bird's-eye figure, not just one side, or part of the butt, like most modern pieces). He LOVED that rifle, and it shot like a dream.
Three of the kids answered him almost in unison: "You never let us shoot it!" One of them expounded, "It might as well have just been a decoration."
Similar situation with my own Marlin 39a. When my father handed his Model 39 "Centennial" down to me, I told him I'd pick it up some other time, in the future. He didn't understand why I was so unenthusiastic and made a comment about the amazing memories and thousands of rabbits we must have killed with that rifle. My response caught him off guard when I said that I had no good memories with the rifle, and that I only wanted it because it was a 39a. He was taken aback, and requested that I explain. So, I did. I reminded him that I had, essentially, two categories of memories attached to that rifle:
1. When I was a kid, any time I so much as breathed on that rifle, I got yelled at. I wasn't allowed to touch it or hold it. And, God forbid... I was never allowed to shoot it (neither were my brothers - or my mother whom had given it to him).
2. To add insult to injury, the first time he took his girlfriend (now his wife) out to go chase Jack Rabbits, she stuck the muzzle in the dirt, plugged the barrel, and ringed the barrel by continuing to shoot it. (A feat repeated two more times in the following decades!) ...All of this made worse by the fact that EVERY single scratch, dent, ding, gouge, rust pit, or bit of damage/abuse showing on that rifle was from her.
As my father stared at me, dumbfounded by the words I had just spoken - and probably searching the memory bank in an attempt to recall something to the contrary - I summarized: "You never let us shoot it, because it was too special to you; but you let [the new wife] beat the [poop] out of it and never said a word to her. There's no nostalgia for me. It's just a rifle."
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your rusted masses yearning to live again,
The wretched refuse of your humid closet.
Send me the partless, broken-stocked,
The Marlins in need of new life...
your rifle is priceless.
Its to bad that liberal democrats can't experience fond memories like that. I guess the only thing they can pass down to their kids is how great the latte was at starbucks.
Might this become a sticky? "Grandpa's Gun"
Mine are a Winchester 63, Remington 121, a well used Ithaca 37 with that Cutts Compensator Adjustable Choke, and a Number 1 S&W made during the Civil War that was my Great Grandfather's.
Last edited by gunscrewguy; 03-26-2019 at 05:21 AM.