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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went quail hunting with a buddy today. He let me bring home a Marlin 92 to check over to see if I wanted to buy it from him. I only own a couple old Marlins and want to add to my very modest collection and old Marlins are seldom found around here. This rifle has very little finish left and I know that it is not very collectable but I like it cuz its old and it still funtions well. It has a couple other problems I'll run by you.

I got out Brophys book and since I am green on old Marlin .22's there is a ton of info to digest. This rifle serial number is 361927. It has an octagon barrel 24". The barrel roll stamp just has The Marlin Firearms Corporation New Haven Conn USA Patented on the top of the barrel. It mentions no patent dates.

I know that the 1892 became the 92 in around 1906 so obviously mine is made after that. Then I read that they came out with a different ejector scheme and here is where I really get foggy. I think that this rifle should have the ejector screws on the side of the receiver away from the bolt side. I don't think this rifle has them. On this same side of the receiver there are 1 screw head in the middle and 5 pins. Does all of this sound correct????

Moving on to the magazine. On this rifle the magazine stops exactly 3" from the muzzle. The dovetail that is located 1 1/2" from the muzzle has a blank driven into it and the mag is fastened to another dovetail 4 3/8" back from the muzzle. Would this sound correct to you guys that are familiar with 92 Marlins???????????

Last problem with this gun is the butt plate. It doesn't appear that the wood is messed with but someone lost the correct butt plate and they put another one on and filed it to fit. The ill fitting butt plate says Marlin Safety in an upper and lower crest with MFACo in fancy writing in the circle in the middle.

I believe the rear sight is original but the front sight is a horrible replacement from somewhere. I guess I could replace it with a Marbles 1/16" bead though.

From this long a boring desciption how much do you think would be a fair offer for this rifle in this condition. It has its problems I know but sometimes you just have to start somewhere and learn from that piece to be wiser down the road.

I sure would appreciate any help you all can give me!

Geoff
 

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A friend of mine who doesn't post here always tells new collectors to buy the best they can afford - buy quality. Sure, you could most likely get this for under 200, but would you be able to recover your money when you find a better one and wish to upgrade? Will your heirs realize a profit from this investment in years to come? Most likey not.

I'm not saying don't buy it, but if you're wishing to build a collection, stick the money somewhere & add to it as you're able. I believe that in the end, you would be much happier with a rifle in very good or better condition.

When your collection is in the formative stages, it can be darn hard to pass on stuff like this, but you'll thank yourself several years from now if you pass on it. Keep watching the auction sites, attend every gun show you are able & ask friends to keep a look out for you - you will find a nice one you can afford eventually.

Of course, it's easy for me to pompously say all this ( do as I say, not as I do, etc) - I'm STILL a very compulsive buyer! :D SW
 

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I'm gonna take a slightly different tack than Hogger here. I specialize in rimfires that nobody else wants, LOL. I actually enjoy buying fixer-uppers- it gives me something to do with my time. I am not a serious collector- I doubt if any of my guns would garner much collector interest.
That being said, it should at least be in shootable condition with a safe bore and a fairly tight action.... Good shape Marlins of this vintage are hard to find, and usually priced well beyond my modest means....

As to the gun you are looking at, the new Marbles sight is a good idea, especially the 1/16th bead. Marbles shows white bead front sights on their web site, so that might be an avenue worth exploring- some of the earlier Marlin rimfires were fitted with an Ivory bead front sight. The Corporation roll stamp makes it an interesting gun to me. A proper butt plate may be hard to come by, but half the fun is in looking for things like this, for me anyways... If you buy this gun for a shooter, remember that it pre dates hi-speed and high velocity ammo- use standard velocity or slower cartridges. I can't help with the receiver construction- I don't know much about the '92's except I would like one...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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I'm with Doc! I have 12 Marlins and half are very nice and half are shooters. I find myself enjoying the shooters a lot more than the nice ones. I like going hunting or to the range and having people look and ask what it is I am shooting. Especially the 1881! FWIW, moodyholler
 

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Like was said above it is a shooter. Most rifles in your serial number range would have been shipped in 1907. Your rifle has a Corporation barrel on it. The Marlin Firearms Corporation did not come into being until late 1921. So it is most likely the the barrel has been replaced along the line. The other items can be found over time. I to have put more money into shooters than I should to save a rifle. To me that is part of the fun. :) Parley
 

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Geoff,
The barrel may have been changed, but it may be original. The Marlin "Corporation" guns quite often were made up of parts recovered from around the plant and assembled. This is not the first 1892 or 1897 that I have seen or heard of, which had a Corporation marked barrel on it. It may also have been sent back to Marlin to be rebarreled at some later time in life.
As to whether you might buy it; I'd guess that depends on what it costs. The extra dovetail can be filled easier than the mag tube could be lengthened, but it will never be correct. The buttplate sounds correct for the era of your gun, but may have come off a larger framed Marlin. Repalacements are not hard to buy, and if the wood is good, then that's what I'd do.
I wouldn't spend a lot of money for this gun, nor put much more into it. If you can get it, and make repairs for a small amount, then you might break even on it later. As Hogger mentioned, it's best to buy the most you can afford, as great guns increase faster than good, or poor guns. I too enjoy fixing up mediocre guns, but I try to avoid guns that can't be repaired to original configurations. Short magazines, and extra dovetails are expensive to repair, or impossible to repair.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hogger, Doc, Moody, Parley, and mm93,

Thanks to each of you for your well thought out responses.

I have the 7th edition of Flaydermans. Take a look at the Marlin 92 they have shown for their example. The magazine tube in that picture is just like the one on this rifle that I might purchase. mm93's great pictures of his .22 display all show full length mag tubes. So why do you think or what is your best guess of why the 2 dovetails were cut on this rifle of mine????

Great point mm93 about my butt plate being off of another Marlin model say a 93, 94, or 95. I did pull the buttstock off and sure enough it is serial numbered to the gun which I was glad to see. I read where Marlin really paid attention to this until I think Brophy said 1921 or so when it became kind of hit and miss. Am I correct on this??????????

Also mm93, I know that you are busy but do you think that at your convenience you could post a picture of the correct rear sight for the 1892, the Rocky Mtn one. Either that or if you know exactly where to look in Brophys book you might just point me to the page or picture. That might be the deciding factor for me, if the rear sight is correct it might swing me to buy this old rifle if not correct probably will pass.

Great comments about trying to buy quality. I will take note for sure. I do have to admit to being a shooter/collector more than a collector/shooter so this gun still interests me. It shoulders and points like a doggone DREAM! I haven't shot it yet but will tomorrow probably.

I probably will offer $150 and stick to it. If he takes it fine if not I know one thing, like Doc now I know I want one anyway!

Thanks again!

Geoff

p.s. I'd sure like more clarification on the ejector situation mm93 if you get a chance. Are there supposed to be screw heads showing through on the non bolt side of the receiver like my new 1897T????????
 

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Geoff,
The correct rear sight for the 1892 is shown on page 651 of Brophy, item "H" is the right one. There were many optional sights on the Marlins of that era, so if it doesn't have that sight, but does have a correct Marbles, Lyman, King's, etc., it may still be correct.
The ejector on the 1892 is nothing like the ejector on your 1897T. It has no screws securing it, and simply nestles into the left side, in a recess cut made to fit the key hole shaped ejector. be careful when disassembling, as they fall out and get lost!
The left side of the 1892 receiver should have one srew head dead center for the cartridge guide. There are the ends of 3 screws protruding; the sideplate screw, the lever screw, and the hammer screw. There are also two pins protruding; the trigger pin, and the carrier pin. For a total 6 penetrations that show on the left receiver side. None of which line up with the bolt on the right side.
As for the second dovetail; my guess would be that someone had problems with the mag tube, and had to shorten it to get rid of the problem area. Thus they then had to cut a new dovetail to hang it. OR, (and this can be most likely) the original mag tube was damaged, and the gun was converted to a later style mag tube, that has a removable inner, like your 1897T. If the mag tube outter doesn't pull out, and the inside remain, then it's been adapted to a late style tube, and you should not buy it, even at $150!
 

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Geoff,
One other thing. The picture in Flayderman's is of a model 1892 with special order 26" barrel. The longest tube available for model 1891 and 1892 Marlins was a 24" tube, so if you ordered anything longer than 24" barrel, the tube was still 24".
I scaled the picture with my calipers, based on the known length of the forearm, to figure out it was a 26" barrel.
 

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Geoff,

Now that some of the other regulars have responded, I realize I should have asked what direction you wish your collection to take. I see you have Flayderman's - he addresses that issue pretty well. He speaks of having a collecting goal, and I believe that is important. At one point in the 70s, I could have embarked on a Remington or Krag or WWII German collection, but I finally realized I needed to settle down & I
sold most of the other stuff to get serious about Marlins.

My stated goal was a representative specimen from each model made prior to WWII & it went fairly well for me. Presently, the only Marlins I am actively seeking are Model 50 22s & 16 gauges.

Recently, I seem to have acquired several Mosin-Nagants, the last of which was given to me by a close friend. Well, I've done some research & those just might be fun!

Whatever direction you choose for your collection, good luck!! :D SW
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mm93,

Thanks is a mighty small word. You spend considerable time answering my questions and I surely appreciate it!

The perfect rifles for me are ones that I shoot well and also shoot well for me as well as having decent collectability. The more I learn the more I see why you like Marlins especially the ones before WW1.

With that and with my affection for shooting cowboy silhouette in mind we come to this rifle that we have been discussing. To get something to better meet my goals I would need a good 92 or a 97 or an early 39. Remember my question about how often you see an original 1895 at gunshows? You told me they are getting pretty scarce. Well how scarce are these 92's, 97's and earlier 39's??????

We live miles from anywhere and this will make you laugh, I think I have only been to one gunshow in my life around 20 years ago in Spokane. I just never seem to get to them so I have no idea how rare the .22 rifles mentioned above are.

To boil it down and hopefully I don't wear you out with my endless questions:

1) What kind of older Marlin .22 lever could I probably get for say $500 or $400 or $300.

2) More bad news about this rifle I've been telling you about. I shot it today and I have never seen a barrel in such poor condition. The rifling is GONE! So to make a shooter out of it I would have to have it relined. I checked today and this will cost around $200. It did function well though and ejects empties better than my 1897T!

3) Say I spend $150 on the rifle plus $200 for relining I'm up to $350 so that is why I am asking the above questions.

4) On the other hand my buddy at the gunstore says he has never had a 92 Marlin come thru his store. You just don't see this stuff up here even in this condition. The rear sight is correct though! Thanks for your help there. The mag tube is correct as you describe so that thankfully is alright.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts or anybody elses as well.

Geoff
 

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I've been through the relining route, and I'm not sure that I would want to do it again. The job came out o.k. and I have a reasonable shooter, but I don't think I'll put up with the wait again. What was supposed to be a 3 week job stretched into nine long months. If I ever have a rifle re-lined again, I will do it myself.

I bought an old 1890 Win that I was sure would need a relining- the bore looked like there was no rifling in it. I went at it with a phosphor bronze brush and solvent. The lead was frosted so bad into that barrel the rifling could not be seen. After a good cleaning it looked like a rifled sewer pipe. Amazingly enough, this old warhorse is minute of pop can at 50 paces. I just have to keep an eye on bore leading, so not to drive pressures up.

200 sounds reasonable for a reline job- a bit less than what I paid to have my 20 relined.

Looks like you got a tough decision to make on this rifle. When all esle fails, if the rifle don't "speak" to you, pass it up. If it does "speak" to you, then the headaches will be worth it. Good luck on your decision....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Doc,

Thanks for the suggestions! I know what you mean about does the rifle "speak" to you. This rifle is making me look wishy washy! I'm usually pretty darn decisive but you wouldn't know it by how I hem and haw over this crazy Marlin 92.

I've learned $150 worth of lessons from it and its not even mine yet. Experienced collectors probably have a routine checklist that they go over an old rifle with. I don't have that much experience so this learning process really helps. I've learned alot of potential problem areas such as magazine length, roll stamp, butt plate, sights, rifling etc.... and one week ago I hardly knew a thing about Marlin .22's.

So we are getting there.

Appreciate your help!

Geoff
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My buddy wouldn't give me a price so I said $150. Long pause, then he says he was thinking $250. So I'll take some of the good advice you all gave me and pass on it and look for something better.

mm93, I hope you saw my questions above and will answer them. What kind of budget will I most likely need to buy a nice, all original, good barrel 92, 97, or early 39. Remember with me, finish is not all that important but originality and shootability are. I REALLY want someday a .22 lever that shoulders and points like this 92 I was looking at.

Geoff
 

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In regards to the models you're looking at. The model 1897 and 39 are not that scarce. If we did a search at a auction site, they are on there pretty regularly. As for the 1892, it is a bit scarcer, but still I see them a couple times a year at gun shows. Last month I passed on a pretty nice original 39 at our little show for $400. It only needed a buttplate, and had about 90% blue, with 10-15% case colors. Any case colors at all on these old guns is good, and the more the better. A gun like that will generally sell for $150-$200 more. I also sold one about 6 weeks ago that had a scope mounted on it for $385. Bought my latest from a dealer/friend for $200. So 39's seem to be coming past me pretty regularly.
I bought and sold two '97's in the last year. Both were original decent guns, but average good to above average condition. One was $350 with a nice tang sight (which I kept) and the other was $250. Both of these I resold for $300 each. The tang sight was my profit on one.
My 1892 in .22 was a purchase back in September (I believe?) and it is in excellent condition. It is staying in my collection, but it was about $350, if I remember correctly?
I realise that I come across a lot more of these guns than most, because I pass out a lot of business cards, and my monthly displays at our show brings in some guns that might not be shown to everyone, but they are out there. If you have time to go to more gun shows, you might find them. If you wait for the local gun dealer to call, it might take a long time!
From what I've seen of these guns for sale; the model 1892's in .22 run in the $500-$700 range for above average good guns. The same in a 1897 or '97 will run a bit higher, and model 39 will run right in that area too. You can find them in somewhat brown, or bare, with decent bores that run a bit less, and you can find them in excellent condition that run double these ranges! Really nice Marlin .22's can bring remarkable prices!
Hope this helps!
 

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MM-93

Your prices are about right from what I've seen at gunshows over the past couple of years rearding old Marlin rimfire levers that are in cared for and un-abused shape. Pristine examples with 90% or better bluing go for considerably more.... I notice that there are not many of them around here-maybe the few marketable ones left are being snapped up and held onto. It's funny- I was looking at a brand spanking new 39-A a couple of weeks ago, and it didn't do a thing for me- no excitement at all. The price tag didn't help much either, but I always head for the used gun rack first...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hogger,

I somehow missed your post about setting a goal for a collection. Excellent advice and I certainly am a beginner so finding a direction is good. Funny how you can kind of get directed by circimstances as they come. Got a really nice unaltered Krag rifle made in 1902. That was 3-4 years ago and I haven't seen one since. I've got a so-so military WW2 rifle pistol collection going but these Marlins interest me alot more.

mm93,

Once again I thank you! I was bummed out a little about that 92 but like Hogger said most times it's best to pass on those guns that tempt you but are not "correct". Now I know what kind of a budget to save for to get a good specimen to fill a spot in my gun rack along side my favorite my old 1881 and a really nice 27-S.

Doc,

I know what you mean about the brand new 39's. On the other hand I'm certainly glad that Marlin is still making them. They are still all forged steel and walnut and thats a mighty fine start! I love my 1897T but my boy that just turned 12 will start shooting silhouette with me this spring and I will turn that rifle over to him. So with this in mind I checked into new 39's and they just don't give me that warm feeling that I get from even my 1897T.

Well we will move on to other subjects. I definitely learned a BUNCH checking into purchasing my friends 1892 Marlin. So the whole experience was good for me and I thank you all again for your help.

Geoff
 

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Yea Doc, it's amazing what I've seen really nice 39's and '97's going for! I've seen them with 90%+ bluing, and equal case colors go for between $1500-$2000! These weren't even special order '97's either!
I love the old Marlin .22's, but I'm way too thrifty to pay that kind of money!
 

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There's a difference for you: Marlinman is thrifty - I'm just plain CHEEP!! :D SW
 

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But thrifty sounds so much nicer! :D
 
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