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Hi all,
I just purchased a model 90 from a local gunshop. I have a few questions about it. I've been searching for info on the age, and other facts about this gun. It's double trigger, it's serial number 13xxx with no letter prefix, so I've been having trouble finding its age. It's also got a checker pattern on the forearm and the stock. No birddog scene though, that everyone talks about. Thank you in advance for the help!
 

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Have you tried a basic google search, should turn up some info.
 

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Congratulations on getting a Marlin Model 90DT. I and many others think they are great guns.

Marlin introduced the Model 90DT/Sears Ranger 103.xx in 1937 and stopped production of the M90DT/Sears JC Higgins 103.xx in 1957. Some early model 90's had an oval with flying ducks on the frame. The very early models also had forearm iron that extended only half way up the frame. It was replaced by a second generation design having the metal that extends the full heigth of the frame. Marlin used the bird dog scene in 1939, 1940 and possibly 1941 but I don't know if all Model 90's made duing those years had the bird dog scene. It is my understanding that checkering was an extra cost option prior to WWII.

Marlin didn't start using letter prefixes on all of their model 90's to indicate the year made until after WWII.

There are no records remaining at Marlin or anywhere else referencing serial number to the year made prior to WWII. Since your gun does not have a letter prefix, you can only be sure it was made sometime between 1937 and 1941.
 

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I too am the recent proud owner of a good Model 90. This one in 16ga, and in near-mint condition, and I am gathering my education on these guns.

Once again, I proved to myself that "the books" cannot be relied upon all the time. Blatant contradictions exist between the Blue Book and Standard Catalog regarding these guns and when features (such as solid rib between barrels) came and went. Brophy agrees with the Standard Catalog (perhaps their source of info) at least where the solid rib is concerned. (These sources advise the solid rib was changed to open space between the barrels at about 1950.)

Utilizing what information I can from these three sources (and with a substantial grain of salt), I place my Model 90 firmly in the group manufactured between 1946 and 1950. Prefix "D" may well indicate 1947. The gun sold roughly then for about $75.00. (Probably a full week's wages for a well-paid working man.)

Of interesting note is that this was the ONLY American Over/Under shotgun produced for quite a number of years. Marlin presented cowboy Tom Mix with a presentation grade Model 90 20ga. in 1937. Brophy's book has multiple detail plates of this beautiful gun.
 

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Congratulations on your "new" Model 90. D-serial number does indicate your gun was made in 1947.

The Blue Book is wrong regarding when Marlin introduced the open barrel design. All of my Model 90's made in 1950 and later are open between the barrels. I've heard from other model 90 owners who have F-serial number model 90's (1949) that are also open between the barrels. I've not heard or seen of any 1949 model 90's that are closed. All of my pre-WWII guns have the rib between the barrels. I also have a 16 ga. with D-serial number that has the rib.

Interestingly, I had a 12 ga. Model 90 with D-serial number that was open between the barrels. I know of two other owners who also had D-serial number 12's with open barrels. I can only assume that there was a transition period from when Marlin first introduced the open barrel design sometime in 1947 until they went across the board with the open design in 1949/1950.

Brophy devoted 8 pages to the Model 90 in his book on Marlin Firearms published in 1989 by Stackpole Books. However there are some discrepancies. For example, according to Brophy, Marlin did not use letter prefixes on Model 90's to indicate the year made until after WWII. However, a few folks have indicated that they have Model 90's with an A-serial number (1940) and a B-serial number (1941).

Regardless of the lack of records, I and many others think model 90's are great guns. My 16 ga with 26" barrels is my favorite upland bird gun. If you haven't already, I suggest you post pictures of your latest "treasure" on 16 ga.com. There are a lot of 16 ga. Model 90 fans who would appreciate seeing them.
 

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Barkey, I salute you, and accept the mission. But not before doing same here. See new thread (I'm so gawdammned proud!)

You can pretend you are exploring new ground to see the same on 16ga.com (I've never been there, so will take a bit of time to establish membership).

I killed my very first Pheasant with my Iver Johnson Champion 16, at a range at which my father patiently waited for me to pull the trigger. It fell slowly, but dead. (Full choke on those guns was FULL!) Dad said that was the first Pheasant he'd ever seen killed at 75 yards. I still have the gun, and it still serves regularly.
 

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My first model 90 was a used 12ga (G-serial number, 1950) that my dad bought for me in 1957 or 1958 (neither of us can remember for sure) that I still have. I never hunted with a 16 ga until I got my D-serial number 16 ga. Model 90 with 26" barrels in 2007. It is choked .002" (apparently opened up by a previous owner) and .019" (Imp. Mod). As I said, it is my favorite upland bird gun.
 

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I have a Ranger O/U 12 ga that belonged to my grandfather. My dad said he purchased it in 1940. It has a 4 digit serial number. The barrel is 26 inches. I haven’t seen any posts about a barrel that short. Is this barrel length uncommon?
 

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I have a Ranger O/U 12 ga that belonged to my grandfather. My dad said he purchased it in 1940. It has a 4 digit serial number. The barrel is 26 inches. I haven’t seen any posts about a barrel that short. Is this barrel length uncommon?
Ranger is the Sears trade name for the Marlin Model 9O made prior to WWII. Marlin offered the 12 ga with 26, 28 and 30” barrels. 16 ga and 20 ga had either 26 or 28” barrels. .410’s and 22/410 combos had only 26” barrels. No records exist for Model 90’s made before 1952, but likely fewer 12, 16 and 20ga were made with 26” barrels.
 

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Wanted to add to this thread, also have a D serial# 12 ga. that is open between barrels, but also with a ventilated rib. Not sure when ribs came in, but there is no barrel matting below it, so think it is factory original.
 

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Congrats, why no pic of your Marlin model 90?:party:
 

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Wanted to add to this thread, also have a D serial# 12 ga. that is open between barrels, but also with a ventilated rib. Not sure when ribs came in, but there is no barrel matting below it, so think it is factory original.
I am not aware of Marlin ever supplying model 90's with ribbed barrels except perhaps on presentation guns, but anything is possible.

Simmons and PolyChoke, possibly others, installed aftermarket ribs on Model 90's, so it might be possible that they removed the matting before attaching the rib. Some Simmons ribs were marked with the company name. Maybe PolyChoke also marked their ribs.

i have a very early 12 ga Sears Ranger 103.1 (Model 90) that does not have matting on the topbarrel. It also has the first generation forearm, and the top lever is attached to the frame with a visible flat head screw.
 

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Use a magnifying lens and inspect the area of barrels to locate the stamping of the choking use.

Chack out the website : www16ga.com for additional sources of information
 

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I have a 103-1 with a 3 digit serial#, 26”barrel, stock has a pointer and quail carving. Any info you may have acquired?
 

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I have a 103-1 with a 3 digit serial#, 26”barrel, stock has a pointer and quail carving. Any info you may have acquired?
I have never seen a production Ranger 103-1 (or any Model 90) with a carving on the stock. It is possible that a previous owner customized the stock.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, 1939 and 1940 Model 90’s had a bird dog scene stamped on the frame. However, I think the 103-1 was likely made earlier than that, especially if it has the first generation forearm ( only the top half of the forearm wood mates with the frame) and the top lever is attached to the frame with a visible flat head screw.
 
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