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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK fellas, here's a quiz for you. Pretty easy for the advanced marlin collectors, but good trivia anyway.
I purchased a model 20a today, the barrel is marked, "The Marlin Firearms Corporation."
Now I know there are no records on this gun, but I can pin it down to the year it was built. Tell me how I can, and what year that is!
Go get 'em fellas!

I never buy Marlin pumps as I have always been an early lever action collector, but this gun is as close to 100% condition as I've ever seen! Also has a Lyman locking base tang sight, and Lyman combo front sight! I guess I'll make an exception for this one pump!
 

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I'm going to guess 1922. Before 1915 the barrel should have been marked "Marlin Firearms Co." and in late 1916 thru 1917 the barrel should have read " Marlin-Rockwell Corp." In late 1921 the roll stamping was once again changed to "The Marlin Firearms Corporation".

If I'm correct, I'll be surprised. These barrel markings are very hard to follow.........


For what it's worth - I too collect the lever actions. But I have 3 Marlin pumps and absolutely adore them. Be carefull MM, they're as addictive as the levers !

WB
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are correct again Wishbone! The only year for the 20a to have a "corporation" marked barrel was 1922.
The seller has two model 27's set aside for me also. One in .25-20, another in ,32-20 cal. Both are average guns, not nearly as nice as the 20a, but still interesting. I need to figure out what they're worth, as I don't follow them. The Bluebook shows them pretty low, but I can't believe a 90% model 27 would go for $150! Seems off to me? The seller is a friend, so he says I should price them. I want to be fair to him.
 

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I will agree with you in that $150 is to low. The .32-20 is the most desirable with the .25-20 gaining and close behind. IMHO the .32-20 is the one least frequently seen for sale for some reason. It seems the the .25RF and the .25-20 are the ones you see for sale most of the time. Wish I could help on the pricing but I'm not much better off than you on the pumps. Parley
 

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I agree with Parley -- $150 is too low.
Back east here, Model 27 or 27S are apparently quite desireable. I have a 27S in 32-20 that set me back $325 about 4 years ago. It is better than average, but certainly not "pristine". Recently I missed a 27S in 25-20 that was a pristine gun with barely wear on the slide or hammer ---- $400. I would have paid the price, but was at the wrong place, if you know what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Both of these guns exihibit about 60% original finish on metal and the wood is solid, but no varnish left to speak of. I'm guessing they are in the $200-$225 range? I'll do a bit more looking before we talk about monies.
 

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A little quizzing back at Parley- (nobody give this one away- let's see Parley figure it out)

Where is the location of the possible s/n if your No. 20-A pump has one?

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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My 2004 Standard Catalog of Firearms 14th Edition, Collector's Price and Reference Guide states:Exc 375, VG 300, Good 175, Fair 100, Poor 70. 25% off for the 25 rimfire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Sure Shot! My Bluebook is a couple years older, and these seem more realistic. I'd call these two guns a bit above "good".
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Doc,
I know, I know!!! But I'll wait for someone else to guess, and yes it has one. It also has another special mark in the same area! Guess what that might be, and where!
Here's a picture of the 20a:
 

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That's a nice one all right! Especially the tang sight and full length magazine! Guess I hafta pull mine outta the vault for another look.....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Doc! Besides the full length mag, and special sights, it appears to have a longer barrel also. This one is a 24" rather than the standard 22".
 

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Hmmmm, a little quiz thrown my way. :D Most of the Marlin pumps have the serial number on the inside of the upper left tang. You have to remove the buttstock to see it and I believe the Model 20A falls into this category. However there are a couple of models with the serial number on the outside like the Model 27. Parley
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's correct Parley, but in addition I found a small surprise on this 20a when I pulled the stock to check the serial number! On the top left side of the top tang was the serial number as expected, but on the left side of the lower tang was the star stamp! This is the first time I've seen the star stamp hidden, and in addition it contradicts everything I have ever read concerning the date the star stamp was initiated!
Supposedly these guns with the star stamp were started around 1925-26 era, and possibly a bit earlier. I have always heard it was not done before Frank Kenna took over Marlin, but if that is true, then how could this gun have a star stamp, and why is it hidden? Is Brophy and many others wrong about who started the stamp? Was it used in a concealed location on earlier guns, and then put in an obvious place under the Kenna leadership?
I don't know about you, but I find this pretty interesting! I need to start checking the hidden areas of tangs on "Corporation" marked guns, that don't exihibit a star!
 

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20-a

MM93,

What's your serial # range? My much-abused 'corporation' 20A has a hidden star and a single digit serial #. Could the star have been used to designate a re-barreled gun? With the corporate changes, I can see the different shop foremen having a different take on things like the star.

Oh by the way, that is a FINE 20A!! :D SW
 

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Interesting that the standard length was 22" for the barrels- mine is also 24", but with the half length magazine tube. I also see a slight difference to the cut of the slide handle- at the rear towards the receiver- but this may be due to the refinish job on my rifle. The grasping grooves seem to be of equal depth all along the handle....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hogger,
My 20a is in the 6,xxx range. I don't know if marlin marked them in any way if they were rebarreled, but I suppose it might be possible. Being a 20a rather than a regular 20, it would have had the Corporation marked barrel already. I guess we might want to check a 20 that had a later corporation marked barrel to see if this theory works.
I have a model 1892 that was factory rebarreled during this time, and it has a Corporation marked barrel. I think I'll pull the buttstock, and see if the theory holds water! I bought it from the owner's daughter, and she said it was sent back in the late 1920's, so it might shed some light on the subject!
Doc,
Is your pump a 20, 20s, or 20a? Most of the 20's I've seen had the longer barrel and half mag. The pre WWI era Marlin catalogs I have show the 24" barrel and half mag as standard, (round or octagon) and the 24" full mag, as an option. The post WWI model 20a shows in the catalog as a 22" barrel, with half mag as standard. (ctually I believe they list it as a 22.5" barrel) They actually called the optional full mag version, the "Model 20 Full Mag".
Anyway, if your gun is a 20 rather than a 20a, then you have the standard configuration as cataloged.
Hope this helps.
 

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MM,
How can one tell if that Marlin rifle has been factory re-barreled ?

Are you simply going on the daughters say-so ?
I'm not questioning her integrity - just wondering if there is any sure-fire way to tell.
For instance: Smith & Wesson pistols of that era are all marked by the factory when they were returned for work.

WB
 

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Actually MM93 you are confiming my theory. When I started collecting data on the Marlin Model 93 it became quite apparent that the star was started a lot earlier like maybe in 1922. When you get to see my data in the Marlin Collector you can judge for yourself. I think the reason the date 1926 was given is that is the first time anyone could find the meaning of the star in print. Parley :wink:
 
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MM-93

My 20 is the "S" version with the short bolt lock and spring in the rear of the firing pin. It has a blued steel S buttplate rather than the full crescent buttplate as shown by your rifle. I checked and there is no star concealed on the tangs anywhere. I'm at work right now and don't have the s/n commited to memory... I'll post a little more on it when I get home- the s/n is also impressed into the wood of the buttstock beneath the top tang- the digits have been spaced to avoid being marked by the tang sight hole screw plugs....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 
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