Marlin Camp Carbine, Model 9, Model 45 (Camp 9, Camp 45) FAQ's
I'm fairly new to owning a Camp 9 and have found a lot of great information here and elsewhere, but I had to dig to find it all. In the interest of making it easier for other owners, I put together this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post. The goal of this post is to help out the owners of these great little rifles by having as much information in one place as possible. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of any of this information, since it comes from many different sources.
* General Specifications:
Years produced - 1985-1999
Models: Model 9 - 9mm Parabellum - in blue and nickel (Model 9N); Model 45 - 45 ACP - in blue only
Self-loading 9mm (9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9x19) or .45 ACP carbine, 16 1/2" Micro-Groove barrel; approx. weight 6 3/4 lbs, o.a. length 35 1/2". Features manual and last-round bolt hold open, adjustable folding rear sight, ramp front sight with orange or gold bead front sight post with open or closed sight hood. Stock is walnut, press-checkered or plain finish, includes rubber butt pad and swivel studs. Includes Garand-type safety, magazine disconnect and loaded chamber indicator. Steel receiver is machined and sand-blasted to prevent glare and drilled/tapped for scope mount.
(both are the same - just in case one becomes unavailable)
Marlin "Camp 9" Carbine
Working the Marlin Model 9 Camp Carbine, a Special Report from GunReports.com
Important tip: Don't get bore solvent on the plastic trigger housing. It has been reported that it is made of ABS plastic and may melt if it gets in contact with strong solvents. Hoppes 9 and CLP do not seem to damage the plastic.
* Detailed Disassembly
For detailed disassembly/reassembly of the trigger group, look for an excellent post here on MarlinOwners.com by contributor "Mush" titled "Camp 9 trigger group breakdown and rebuild"
* Cracked Stock, Causes and Replacement:
A common reported problem with the Model 9/45 is a cracked stock right behind the receiver. This appears to be caused by a failure of the internal recoil buffer combined with the fact that the factory only uses 11# recoil springs. One of the first things most people recommend is replacing the buffer and spring (see below). For a replacement stock, Choate makes polymer stocks for the Camp 9/45.
Choate 5-Position Collapsible Rifle Stock with Pistol Grip Marlin Camp 9/45 Synthetic Black
Manufacturer #: 14-01-05
5-Position Collapsible Rifle Stock Pistol Grip Marlin Camp 9/45 Synthetic Black
Choate Side Folding Rifle Stock Marlin Camp Carbine Steel and Synthetic Black
Manufacturer #: 14-01-01
Side Folding Rifle Stock Marlin Camp Carbine Steel Synthetic Black
Thanks to the effort of some members here at MarlinOwners, a wood stock is now available from Boyd's. Note that it may require a little fitting with a Dremel barrel sander. It's not quite drop-in but if you're handy at all it shouldn't be a problem to fit it. You will also need the brass inserts for the screws that attach the action to the stock. They can be purchased from MidwayUSA or Marlin.
Original Replacement Stocks for Marlin Rifles
* Replacement Buffers:
One of the first things many people recommend is replacing the factory buffer with a higher quality one. The original factory buffer is a yellowish plastic. With the age of these rifles, most of the original buffers are damaged if they are still being used. BlackJack Buffers makes the buffer most people recommend, but there are others. These buffers are blue in color.
BJB MARLIN CAMP-45/9mm Recoil Buffer [115 / BJB CMP45/9] : BlackJack Buffers LLC
* Replacement Recoil Springs:
Many folks consider the factory recoil springs to be much too light for these rifles. The most common recommendation is to use a 16# spring for the Model 9 and the 21# spring for the Model 45. Many people have reported success with using the 21# spring in the Model 9 and recommend it when using hot loads, but it can be difficult to pull the bolt back because of the small bolt handle. Both springs can be found from Wolff Springs.
Springs for MARLIN Rifles & Shotguns
Save your original spring for use with very light handloads, if you so choose.
* Damaged Hammer Strut/Bridge
Also a result of a buffer failure, the Hammer Strut and Hammer Strut Bridge may be bent/damaged/broken. This is because the buffer stops the bolt's rearward travel and if the buffer is missing or damaged the bolt can over-travel rearward when the action cycles, damaging the parts.
Check these parts carefully if there is evidence of damage to the buffer or if the stock is cracked behind the receiver. Replace any damaged parts before using the rifle again.
The Camp 9 accepts S&W Model 59 and 69 style magazines. When buying aftermarket magazines, most people seem to recommend using original S&W Factory magazines and Mec-Gar magazines. All indications are that these are very reliable.
Original Marlin magazines were sold in 10, 12, and 20 round capacities. They have "Marlin" stamped on the bottom plate. These are only available second-hand, are difficult to find, and are usually expensive when found.
S&W Factory Model 69 magazines come in 10 or 12 round capacity and the curved finger rest bottom plate sits flush against the bottom of the Camp 9 mag well. I have a 10 round of this type and it works as expected. S&W Factory Model 59 mags are generally 15 or 17 round and protrude out of the mag well.
Mec-Gar makes S&W Model 59 magazines that are 10, 15, 17 and 20 round capacity. All protrude out of the mag well. Mec-Gar supplies OEM mags for several firearm manufacturers and from what I have seen they are generally considered to be a high quality manufacturer within the shooting industry. I have several of these and they work exactly as expected. If I were to make a recommendation, I would say it's hard to go wrong with the Mec-Gar magazines.
Smith & Wesson - Magazines - Mec-Gar - World's Finest Firearm Magazines
Triple K, USA, ProMag and National (perhaps others as well) make 30+ round S&W Model 59 mags, but the reliability of these mags is questionable. Others have indicated that minor modifications to the feed lips and/or followers may be needed for them to work reliably.
25 round mags may sometimes be found (unknown manufacturer), but it appears that these are no longer made.
There are numerous other magazines on the market from third party aftermarket manufacturers that are advertised as "Marlin Camp Carbine" or "S&W Model 59". Many of them are thin, flimsy, and/or unreliable. Buyer beware.
Most good quality 1911 magazines should work just fine. Magazines with the curved ("U"-shaped) cutout at the top rear may have difficulty inserting (see Magazine Disconnect, below).
* Glock Magazines for the Camp 9 ?
Back in the 80's there was a gunsmith who could modify the Camp 9 trigger housing to accept the Glock magazine. He has since retired and his son runs the gunsmithing business now. I asked, and yes, they can still do this modification, but it is obviously not their primary business. The cost was quoted to me at $500.00 and you would still have to do some significant work to your rifle yourself.
In my humble opinion, if you are that desperate for a carbine that takes Glock magazines, sell your Camp 9 and get a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 or a MechTech carbine adapter for your Glock pistol rather than buying a $400+ Camp 9 and adding a $500 modification. Good magazines for the Camp 9 only cost $25-35 each, so $500 will get you a lot of magazines.
Incredibly, I found a picture of one. Here's what they look like if you ever come across one.
* Scope/Red Dot/Reflex Sight Mounts:
Mounts that fit the Marlin 36, 336, 444, 1895, 922M (and some others) will fit the Camp Carbines.
Weaver Top-Mount Scope Base #63B, Manufacturer #: 48069
Top-Mount Scope Base #63B Marlin 36 336 444 1895 9 45 922M Gloss
This picatinny rail should fit as well, but it's a bit more expensive.
Marlin 1895, 336 Picatinny Rail Scope Mount: Evolution Gun Works Inc.
Here's another picatinny rail that will fit:
Marlin Camp 9mm .45 Rifle Scope Mount - MARLIN by Combathunting.com
Parts can be purchased directly from Marlin, as well as MidwayUSA, Brownells, and other online suppliers.
* Magazine Disconnect:
The magazine disconnect in the Camp Carbines does several things. It is designed to prevent the trigger from being pulled when a magazine is not inserted in the magazine well. However, it also prevents the magazines from dropping free when the mag release is pressed, and it has been implicated in causing some of the "trigger creep" that most of these rifles experience.
With the Camp 45, many people have reported that magazines with a curved cut-out at the top of the rear of the magazine jam on the magazine disconnect when inserted. Those with a straight cut across the top rear tend not to jam. The Camp 9 does not seem to have this problem.
If you have problems inserting or seating a magazine with either rifle, check to see if there is a burr on the disconnect lever that protrudes into the magazine well.
As part of a "Trigger Job" service, some gunsmiths will remove the magazine disconnect to improve the trigger on the Camp Carbine. I do not condone nor recommend the removal of any factory installed safety device from a firearm. That being said, I will say that in my experience the trigger feel is significantly improved in a rifle where the magazine disconnect is no longer present.
* Bolt Fissure:
I personally found a fissure in the top of my bolt. On top of the bolt, along the 90 deg angle of the groove where the bolt handle catches the bolt, just above the recoil spring tube in the bolt, the metal is slightly worn through (on left side of picture, below). There is a ragged long narrow fissure that allows you to see light if you shine it in the recoil spring tube in the bolt. It appears this area is surrounded by beefy metal and is just a thin spot in the material between the recoil spring hole and the bolt handle notch. This same fissure has been reported by others with no ill effect.
* Bolt Hold Open - Two Types Depending on Manufacture Date:
Shamelessly stolen from another thread. RGPM1A said it better than I can... There are 2 types of bolt hold open systems for the Camp Carbines. The result is different bolts, different bolt handles, and different trigger housings, as well as a couple of other minor parts.
With the old type bolt hold open system the operating handle is pushed in while being held to the rear to hold the bolt open. The new system has a little latch on the left side of the mag well right above the mag release button that you slide up while holding the bolt operating handle to the rear to hold the bolt open. I have used both types and the new system is much better and more durable. After a while with the old hold open system the corner of the bolt that engages the lock back slot in the receiver eventually rounds off and it becomes very difficult to lock the bolt back.
* Damaged/Crimped Brass:
The recommendation to prevent damaged brass is to use the stronger recoil springs mentioned above.
Cases ejected from the Camp 9 may also be slightly crimped at the mouth. It's been reported that the Camp 9 uses a chamber that is within industry specifications, but is on the short side. This was reportedly done to ensure proper primer ignition. Lengthening the chamber is NOT recommended.
* Miscellaneous Problems
The first thing most people will recommend for a variety of problems is to take the rifle apart and give it a very thorough cleaning. The Camp Carbine uses a blowback design to cycle and the action gets dirty very quickly. Cleaning will fix many problems from a failure to extract, to bolt hold-open failures. If the problem still occurs after the cleaning, it's time to do more investigation.
* Replacement Sights
I took as close of a measurement as I could using calipers of the difference in height between the top of the end of the barrel and the top of the reciever, and I came up with .235". Keep that in mind if you will be looking to use receiver mounted rear sights. The front sight bead will need to be nearly 1/4" taller than the mounted height of the rear sight peep aperture above the receiver to get a good sight picture.
XS Sights makes a ghost ring sight set specifically for the Camp9/45.
XS Sights for Law Enforcement
The following two companies make peep sights. Williams sights has a specific rear sight for the Model 9/45, while the Skinner rear sights fit a Model 336 and 1895, which SHOULD fit a Camp 9/45. You will likely need a higher front sight since these rear sights sit higher than the factory rear sight.
Williams Gun Sight, Inc. | Gun sights for rifles, pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and more
31683 FP-M9 For Marlin Model 9 and 45 Carbines
It would probably be a good idea to contact the company by phone and talk to them about putting the sights on a Camp 9/45 so that you get the right hardware and front sight.
Galapoola (post and pictures below) recommends the following as a good replacement set:
Front Site: Williams Fire Sight Rifle Bead .570 Height, .340 Width
Rear Site: Williams WGRS-336
* Flash Hider / Muzzle Device
Choate used to make a flash hider for the Camp Carbines back in the 90's, but they no longer do. I have not been able to find any other aftermarket devices commercially made.
More will be added as appropriate...