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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I happened upon a Marlin 97 with a 20" octagon barrel, 16" mag tube, pistol grip checkered stock with rifle buttplate (metal) today. The rifle is in excellent condition. Serial number is 390,xxx (don't have it in front of me). No cracks in the stock or forearm - both checkered. I don't believe the stock or forearm has been refinished. Case color is very strong. Bluing is pretty good as well - not very helpful but the pictures will help later tonight. Has a blade front sight. The Marlin book doesn't mention a 20" barrel at all for the 97s - just mention of the bicycle rifle with a 16" barrel and 16" mag tube. Could this have been a special order as it had the checkered pistol grip stock? I really like the rifle and it would be a fine addition to my collection but want to make sure it is correct. Any information/speculation would be appreciated.

I will put some pictures up tonight when I get home.

Thanks!

Tony
 

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Tony,

Yes it could be special ordered, the ser. Number is out of the range of existing factory records, to check. With good photos, we may be able to tell.
Clark
 

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A very interesting sounding gun, if authentic. Look forward to seeing the pictures for sure.
 

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Tony, That's a nice rifle!
My '97 is very similar, pics here: Marlin 97
I just recently found mine too.
Mine is a "Deluxe" (a bit earlier than yours) and as such it has a fairly interesting serial number. Supposedly the special serial numbers were common practice on the special orders. If you have a cool serial number, that would definitely be a pointer to the rifle being special order.
I could imagine your barrel could have been shortened... but the short magazine matches it. I'd be curious to compare your muzzle with a normal length one. If they look the same and the front sight mount matches it would point to factory work. Mostly I've seen '97 with a smaller front sight like mine. But I have seen some blade style sights on the 'net.

Here is a tip: split the rifle and remove the bolt. Inspect it carefully for tiny cracks in the corners of the rectangular cutout. These bolts very commonly crack with high speed ammo. Use low power ammo only!
The guys here are great and know more than I! Lets see what they say.

Carl
 

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Hey Tony, I am not far from you. In Columbus. My wifes brother lives in Papillion.

I am going to say the barrel may have been modified. But others may have a more definitive for sure answer for you. I am leaning that way but not certain..

That said if you find it was shortened and are going to part with it because of that reason. Let me know. I still would like it even if the barrel was shortened..Nice little rifle either way..

You should move this over to the rimfire section,. You would get alot more action there I think..
 

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Tony,

That is a nice looking 97, the mag tube is correct as they only came 16" or 24" the barrels are listed as 16",24",26",28" in catalogs, but you could order other lengths but not longer then 28" measure the barrel from end to front of bolt and end of barrel to front if sight, should be 3/4" and barrel should be 20". The front sight looks to been there a long time! I have a 1895 that I picked up at a show a few yrs ago that has a 29" barrel that I thought was cut down. I called the Cody museum and it was shipped in 1899 with a 29", so check those measurements as it may be correct! The odd barrels are often on deluxe guns.
 

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That front sight looks further back then 3/4, but it may not be. If it was shortened, they did a nice job.
 

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It's a strange bird. Maybe the end of the barrel was damaged and sent back to the factory to be shortened a bit? I see from the catalog that is a 'Rocky Mountain" front sight, that could have been installed at the same time along with the shorter magazine.
Regardless, I'm thinking I'd call it "original marlin manufacture" unless someone had really good reason to contest it, like how the muzzle was machined. That's a good and fun reason to compare it with another similar period octogon barrel.
Maybe the original owner needed it "just a bit shorter" to fit it in his trunk or something. ;-)
My barrel is "half octogon, "half round" and that isn't explicitly in the .22 catalog pages either, but we know they made those.
Another thing to inspect on the rifle besides looking for cracks in the bolt, is to check out breach face for damage from the firing pin. (And if the gun is yours, make sure to get the firing pin set up so it cannot contact the breech face.)

Carl
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I measured the barrel and it is right at 20". The distance from the muzzle to the front of the dovetail is 3/4" as well. I inspected the bolt and didn't see any cracks as you mentioned to check out. Next will be to check the breech face. Should have thought of that when i had it apart. I haven't purchased this yet. I just have it on hold for a few days.


Wasn't the pistol grip stock a factory option? How would you tell if this was a deluxe? Nothing special about the serial number as referenced above - 390049.

Any idea of what this might be worth, realizing everybody has a differnet tolerance for the "I need that!" effect.

Thanks again for alll the information.
 

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Tony,

It is a deluxe, and if ordered with a barrel shorter then 24, it would come with the 16" mag and with those measurements you got I'm gona say it's correct. It's worth what your willing to pay, how much are they asking?

Ckark
 

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Tony,
Here is what to look for in the breech:
http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/r...-39-39a-firing-pin-questions.html#post1718339

And here is what to look for in the on the bolt:
http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/r...9-39a-firing-pin-questions-2.html#post1723117
(Its small, look carefully.)

Frankly, I don't believe either of these reduce the value much on a 100 year old rifle. But they might effect your opinion or help you with negotiations.

I think yours is a "Deluxe".

The 2013 Marlin Pricing Guide (Standard Catalog of Firearms) says:
Deluxe Rifle: Checkering and pistol-grip stock.
Exc: 3000
VG: 2000
Good: 1500
Fair: 850
Poor: 300

Case color is hard to judge from pictures, and it often looks better in pics than in real life. And it really depends what you decide you think about the 20" barrel. In my opinion (and I am NO EXPERT) if you believe the barrel is as it came from the factory and the rifle is safe to shoot, yours is somewhere between "Very Good" and "Fair". I'd buy it myself at that low end but I probably wouldn't at the high end of that. But I'm stingy. ;-)
If you think the barrel has been modified, as long as it is well done that still fits in the definition of "Fair", at least. But I suspect it's better than that.

If you are curious, and PM me in secrecy with what they are asking for this one, I'll tell you what I paid for mine last month. ;-)

Carl
 

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I just measured the sole 97 I have, the front sight was dead nuts 1" to the center of the base from the muzzle. I recall measuring my C F guns, all are either 1" or 7/8".

And on barrel length, of around 12 vintage guns, from the face of the breech bolt using a rod, only one was exact, the 93 Sporting Carbine at 20", every other gun was either 1/8" over, or 1/4" over. At the time, tried to get some other guys to measure theirs, with apparently little interest.

I know for a fact, from years of making stage coach and hold up shotguns, and cutting stocks for recoil pads, a lot of folks simply do not know how to read a tape or scale under the inch divisions. As well, aging eyes, its easy enough for someone that knows, to misread a tape down to the 1/8" level.

I dont have any Win levers at present, I do not know if they are dead nuts exact or not on barrel length. I dont recall ever making a study of it. I know their shotguns were, at least at one time. And I would say most of the classic shotguns are.
 

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I just measured the sole 97 I have, the front sight was dead nuts 1" to the center of the base from the muzzle. I recall measuring my C F guns, all are either 1" or 7/8".
My '97 is also dead nuts 1" from the center of the sight base to the end of the muzzle.

And measured with a brass cleaning rod down the bore to the bolt face it is 24 1/16".
So perhaps it was their standard to be right on the even inches.
 

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,I said to measure to front of sight and it came out to 3/4", the same as 1" to center. I also checked barrel measurements on 8 97s an 92s all within a 1/16 on the +side
that is 24" 26" and a 28" 97.
 

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The front sight on this gun is a "Rocky Mountain", and is different than mine, so I like the idea of measuring to the center of the slot because that eliminates any issues with the size of different sights, or where to measure on the slot's dovetail.
 

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,I said to measure to front of sight and it came out to 3/4", the same as 1" to center. I also checked barrel measurements on 8 97s an 92s all within a 1/16 on the +side
that is 24" 26" and a 28" 97.
Thanks, I misread your original quote. What strikes me as odd, if Marlin could cut them all to either 1/4 or 1/16 long, why not exact to the even inch mark?
 
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