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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post, but I have been a Marlin owner since I bought my first gun, a 25MN from Walmart, in 1998 (no, I don't have it any longer). I have wanted a tube-fed bolt 22, and I found one at a local pawn shop that looks and feel pretty nice. I really like the way it feels, weight and balance, and the action is very smooth. The asking price is $225 after negotiation. It is a model 81, does not have tip-off ring grooves, and I have not looked at the rifling closely enough to tell if it is microgroove or ballard. It does have the two screw holes at the side and rear of the receiver for a Williams sight, but no screws for a side-scope mount.

What else do I need to check for before I purchase? I don't want to buy a project since my hobby budget is extremely limited. After checking Armslist and Gunbroker, I think the price is reasonable for this period of time, though I am sure many can remember buying the same thing for half of that 10-15 years ago. These bolt+tube rifles seem pretty rare, otherwise I think a 781 or 881 would be preferred. How is parts availability?
 

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I'd get it if condition looks good at $225. Marlins are riding high on price right now and if the 81 is in great condition it will be worth it. One thing to consider is if it has the peep sight as those can be difficult to find. The 81's are nice rifles and a good tube feed is always welcome to a collection.

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Welcome from Pennsylvania!! Marlin model 81 are great shooting rifles!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. It does not have the peep sights, but it does have the appropriate holes or their mounting. I'm just wondering what I should check for before I take the plunge. Again, I don't want to buy a project. All I want to do to it is add some Marbles Bullseye rear sights and have trouble-free fun. I have read stuff about springs wearing out or breaking, and since I cannot test before buying ... how do I check those? I'm looking at this kind of like used car buying.

Maybe I am overthinking this?
 

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Make sure the cartridge guide spring isn't broken. It's a common issue with Marlin bolt actions from this series. Not expensive to buy one, but you have to take off the barrel to replace it.
834839
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the picture. That helps a lot. What causes this spring to break off? Abuse, or just regular course of use?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I completed the purchase today. Now I just have to wait on FFL to clear before I can take possession. The guide spring was there and the bore looked nice. It is an oldie though, the magazine tube was not brass either.
 

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Thank you for the picture. That helps a lot. What causes this spring to break off? Abuse, or just regular course of use?
From my experience, the spring catches on the front edge of the groove on the top of the bolt when the bolt closes. If the bolt rotates slightly when it closes, the spring will not line up with the notch as it closes. This causes the spring to get mashed against the breech face. Later versions of the bolt actions have a tab on the extractor that rides in a groove in the receiver to keep the bolt from rotating. I modified my 81DL slightly to help keep from breaking the spring again.
834907
 
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