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I also posted this on the SASS wire, but figured you'd enjoy it, too.

A little over a year ago I was browsing through the gun store, when I noticed a Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum. This gun was a real piece of junk -- THE red-headed stepchild of guns. The previous owner had refinished the wood by sanding with a course sandpaper across the grain. This left deep scratch marks all over the wood. Ugly. Then he cut off the butt plate and hollowed out the stock. He replaced the butt plate with a metal one from some military rifle (it seemed). The new plate had a trap door in it so the newly-hollow stock could be used for storage. The plate did not fit the wood at all, so he covered the edges with epoxy. Real ugly.

He then tried to refinish the metal with a cold blue. Ugly.

I think he tried to do an action job, but instead of polishing the internal parts he grinded them. So, the gun didn't feed or eject properly.

The screws that held the front sight to the barrel were stripped, so he JB Welded it on.

Most of the screw heads were stripped.

As a whole, this thing was junk. So, I bought it cheap (there is a soft spot in my heart for Marlin leverguns).

I hacked off about 1" of the stock to get rid of the horrible butt plate that was held on with epoxy, then filled in the hollow stock with a large dowel glued in place. The stock was now solid again. Then I put a 1" decelerator pad by Pachmyr to replace the length I had taken off (I didn't need the recoil reduction, but I needed the stock to be longer).

Then I sanded all the ugly scratches out and refinished the wood (both stock and forearm) with Danish oil. Would you believe that under all that ugliness there was beautiful American walnut?

Then I spent a year in Iraq, and upon returning home took up the project again. The first thing I did was send it to Marlin because most of the internals were worse than I first thought. They replaced the magazine tube, spring, and follower, lever (he had grinded on the end that engages the bolt), several other internal pieces, re-tapped the screw holes for the front sight and replaced it, replaced the band that holds the barrel and mag tube together, replaced the end cap on the forearm, and replaced all the screws with stripped heads. All this plus shipping ran me 80 bucks. I didn't think that was too shabby.

The only thing they missed was the fact that it would not extract. I noticed that the dummy who butchered this gun had also grinded on the extractor, so I ordered a new one. It came in yesterday, so I took out the old one and compared the two. Dummy had grinded off a bump on the extractor, which I assume was there for a reason. He had also bent up the little leaf spring beyond recognition. I put the new extractor in and VOILA, the gun works. Everything works. I am so happy right now.

The last thing I have to do is refinish the metal. I'm going to use that bake-on finish from Brownell's. I don't want to pay for a real hot blue job, and the do-it-yourself cold blues are ugly. I've never tried the bake-on before, but anything would be better.

The question is, do I use it for Cowboy Action Shooting, or take it hunting for black bear? Hmm.... decisions, decisions.

UPDATE: I tried the Brownell's bake-on finish. What junk. I followed the instructions to the "T." I polished the metal with 360 grit emory cloth, cleaned the metal with laquer thinner, allowed it to dry, sprayed 3 coats of the finish with 20 minutes in between, and baked for 30 minutes at 300 degrees -- just like the instructions on the can say. Then the stuff flakes off. I got so angry I decided to send the gun back to Marlin for a complete re-blue job. Hopefully they don't charge me extra for taking off all that bake-on stuff.
 

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Great story Mac! I'm always glad to hear that someone has saved a good gun, and somehow given it new life, especially when some moron with no brains, has done everything in his power to destroy it!
Great job bringing this old gal back to safe working condition!

PS-Thanks for your service to our country!
 

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2nd that!

i also like to get these "cast offs"! i frequent the local pawn shops.....drag home something and listen to my wife laugh.....i had one of the 44mag 1894's, but after she was fixed and cleaned up, my fatherinlaw just had to have it, so it is in his safe now. GEOFF i believe, has a lot of hog hunting stories with the 44mag levers, go ask him about loads etc. i liked the ability to shoot my ruger and marlin together, but i couldn't get the performace i wanted outta the rifle at 100yds. she will print one hole groups at 25yds, then the bullets de-stabilize or something at around 75yds, they then open to 4" at 100yd. and i was using a scope.
i did have to firelapp the barrel to get the "tight" spots out.....nice rifle, but i LOVE my 38-55 93' marlin! just don't get out much these days to shoot it.....
 

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Love to hear stories like that. Way to go Mac266!!

I found a .35 SC in a pawn shop that had extra holes in the metal, poorly fitted new old buttstock, general neglect and abuse.

The price was $200. :eek: The owner wasn't there to deal with, so I'm going back and if I can get it cheap enough I will try and save it!
 

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Mac266: great story and thank heavens you saved that rifle from gun-shop oblivion. It nearly tore my heart out to hear the abuse the poor thing had suffered. It was systematically tortured, and you rescued it. Good for you! Also, thank you for your service to your country in Iraq. God bless you and all like you who serve.
 
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